Northern California has been getting a lot of precipitation and at home we’ve been hosting a lot of family over the holidays and we got one clear and sunny day between storm systems so I took off for a ride on the big BMW R1250 GS today. I planned a ~4 hour route with minimal freeway time that took me from Petaluma to Healdsburg to Cloverdale to Boonville to Ukiah to Hopland to Kelseyville to Calistoga and home. The total route was a bit over 200 miles. Weather was 50-60F and the roads were mostly dry except in areas with a lot of shade and there were some dirty sections, either due to runoff from the hills or previous road sanding.
My goal for the ride was mostly to just get out and stretch my moto-legs but it turned out to be a great bit that ended up practicing longer, lighter braking and adding brake pressure after turn-in. This worked out really well because I knew a lot of corners would be dirty or damp and this led to me being able to better control my corner speed and lean angle (minimizing risk) and I also worked on trying to trigger the electronics, in particular, TC for exits. I was only able to get the TC to engage a couple of times, even when I was deliberately provoking things on dirty corners. I’m pretty sure grip on Highway 175 was better than Sonoma was when it was cold and damp and I was lighting up the TC all over the place.
One sensation in particular that I’m trying to build feel for is chopping the throttle and going to the brakes and collapsing the front end, shooting for that ~100mm of front fork travel at turn-in. The idea here is that it decreases rake and trail thereby making the bike easier to turn, however what I’m feeling is the weighted front end and the sensation of the front tire flattening out making for a bigger contact patch. I’ve had trouble bringing this technique to my Daytona but I am much more confident doing it with the big BMW and my Ninja 400. My suspension mechanic is looking into the Daytona as well, possibly lowering the rear of the bike a little bit to instill more confidence to use more of the front suspension.