Triumph Bonneville Report, Day 2: You Can’t go Back, but the Ride there is Awesome

This is the second in a series of articles reviewing the 2010 Triumph T-100 Bonneville.  The first article is here.

My apologies from the start.  I had set up the perfect Triumph picture with this beautiful backdrop, great clouds and awesome red rocks, only to find my camera’s batteries dead and my phone sitting in my hotel room.  So there’s no pictures of this ride!  I promise at some point in the future to get a bike up this wonderful road and snap some pictures the next time I get out that way.  I found some shots on the web of the road and sights for reference.

So I wake up on Day 2 of my temporary Triumph Ownership.  The temperatures in Phoenix and my body had finally risen to acceptable levels to make the 200 mile round trip to the town of my birth and first 18 years — Miami, Arizona.  It’s about 90 miles East of Phoenix, and about 90 miles North East of Tucson.  What one will find out about Arizona is everything seems to have “ ’bout 90 miles” distance from major towns.  The Globe-Miami area is no exception.  It is nestled halfway up the steep Colorado Plateau.  Highway 60, leading east from Phoenix and through Superior, delivers its first real curves, sweepers and even a tunnel as it lines itself straight from the Pacific.

The road from Phoenix to Florence Junction comprises the first 45 miles of the trip.  This gave me a chance to experience the Triumph on city streets, local freeways and interchanges, and on divided rural highways.  Arizona has great roads.  I’m sure that the roads around Chicago were like this, perhaps, for at least 20 minutes at some time in the past.  The Triumph accelerates wonderfully in the crisp morning air as I begin my trip on the 101 loop, heading South out of Scottsdale, to take the 202 Loop towards the Superstition Mountains and the beautiful Arizona Sonoran Desert.

Supersittion Mountains -- from Bryan Flaming's blog - Linked because it's a great shot and I didn't ask permission!

As a kid and young man, I had been on this road hundreds of times in all kinds of vehicles.  Nothing, NOTHING is better than riding this road on a comfortable, competent motorcycle.  The Triumph T-100 really IS this bike.  I crossed through 600 miles in two days with this trip, and the seat, ergonomics, riding position and general comfort exceeded my expectations by a long shot.  I couldn’t wait to get into the wonderful series of twisties after I reached Superior, AZ and headed that last 15 miles through Devil’s Canyon, rising to more than 4500 feet in altitude and then descending 1500 feet on the other side.  Twists, turns and topography.  I sure as hell am not in Illinois!

Queen Creek Bridge

Queen Creek Bridge between Superior and Miami Arizona - Hwy 60/70 through Devil's Canyon

This is a special set of curves in Arizona.  The ascent has a series of right/left turns and big sweepers that cross the Queen Creek Bridge and hug the side of a narrow canyon going up has a passing lane most of the way.  The climb, smooth road and nice bankings make for a smooth, fast and adventurous ride, especially when the traffic is light and the Arizona Highway Patrol is somewhere else (this rarely happens) like it was on the day I rode up. The Triumph took the sweepers beautifully, and the shorter turns allowed me to experience moving around on the seat through smooth but fast transitions, and feel how the bike reacted at speed when the conditions were, well, perfect.

Flawless performance.  The T-100’s linear torque just pulled and pulled at all throttle settings, and the upright stance gave me the feeling of control, almost an eerie “dirt bike” feel as pushing on the handlebars were so reactive, yet so predictable. Only slight feathering of the brakes were needed to set the bike for the tightest turns.

I stopped at a place known to the locals as “Top of the World” and reflected on the last 12 miles.  Of course this is where I planned to take pictures with my unkown-to-me dead camera.  So I sat for a moment and sucked in the 4500 foot elevation’s clean air, amazed that the Bonneville adjusted itself so beautifully to the altitude changes as much as it had through the last stretch of road’s directions.

Triumph fuel injection looks like a carb, but behaves like anything but....

I climbed aboard, fired up and started down the last 5 miles into Miami.  My rear view mirror showed a Highway Patrol car, so it was a mellow trip from here on. Traffic slowed further as a truck with overheating brakes brought things to a crawl.  Keeping steady, I was able to inch my way,  nearly stopped,  never putting a foot down. Great low speed manners.  Just wonderful.

I arrived in Miami, stopping at the Police station to visit and old friend that worked there.  An avowed Harley Rider, I think he liked the bike.  Few bikes have any cred with the Harley crowd, but I believe the retro Bonnie brings back fond memories from older riders and makes newer ones think twice about riding with their hands as high as their shoulders.  My buddy and I had a nice chat, and I decided to get some of the glorious Mexican Food that the area is so rightfully famous for.   I went looking for old friends.

Most had moved away, and I had trouble finding others.  Time was running short as my wife and our friends were back in Phoenix, expecting my presence.  I needed to get going, so I went to gas up.   The first place wouldn’t take my card, so I decided to go to a station on the other side of Globe and see the sights.  Arriving at the next station, I looked down and noticed that the gas cap was missing!

I’m used to my bike, which has a locking gas cap.  You can’t start the bike unless you put the gas cap back on.  I remembered setting the cap in a spot above the handlebars.  I then proceeded to back track 3 times along my route looking for the cap to no avail.  It’s gone and I have a wadded up paper towel to keep gas from blowing all over me.

You can just see the missing cap at the edge of the picture... It came in the next day.

 

The ride home was slower as the Highway Patrol was out.  I finally hit the freeways in the far east end of the Phoenix Metropolitan area and dropped the hammer.  Wonderful freeway sweepers and empty roads greeted me, getting me back to my hotel in no time.  I called the local Triumph dealer, and they didn’t have a cap, but said that there were four other places in the US that DID have one, and she supplied me with the numbers.  I found my part from the Dealer in Salt Lake City.  Fedex and the part came in under $50 and the cap was on and like new.  I called the $50 “stupid tax” for not taking better care.  Somehow I think I’m not the first person to drop a cap on a trip…

I hadn’t spent time in Globe-Miami since my Dad sold his business in 1991.  I made a trip up a few times, but after my Dad passed in 2000 and my mom in 2008, I never had a reason to go back since I was living hundreds, and now thousands, of miles away.  The area had changed in odd ways.  It seemed familiar, yet I felt so out of place kicking the dry dirt of my youth talking to people I’ve known for more than 40 years.

I recaptured nothing from my own “genesis spot“, but had a great trip up and back on a wonderfully predictable, responsive and exceedingly comfortable bike.  The Triumph T-100 delivers the goods on short and long trips. Now if anyone in Globe-Miami reading this runs across a chrome gas cap…

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Triumph Bonneville Report, Day 2: You Can’t go Back, but the Ride there is Awesome

This is the second in a series of articles reviewing the 2010 Triumph T-100 Bonneville.  The first article is here.

My apologies from the start.  I had set up the perfect Triumph picture with this beautiful backdrop, great clouds and awesome red rocks, only to find my camera’s batteries dead and my phone sitting in my hotel room.  So there’s no pictures of this ride!  I promise at some point in the future to get a bike up this wonderful road and snap some pictures the next time I get out that way.  I found some shots on the web of the road and sights for reference.

So I wake up on Day 2 of my temporary Triumph Ownership.  The temperatures in Phoenix and my body had finally risen to acceptable levels to make the 200 mile round trip to the town of my birth and first 18 years — Miami, Arizona.  It’s about 90 miles East of Phoenix, and about 90 miles North East of Tucson.  What one will find out about Arizona is everything seems to have “ ’bout 90 miles” distance from major towns.  The Globe-Miami area is no exception.  It is nestled halfway up the steep Colorado Plateau.  Highway 60, leading east from Phoenix and through Superior, delivers its first real curves, sweepers and even a tunnel as it lines itself straight from the Pacific.

The road from Phoenix to Florence Junction comprises the first 45 miles of the trip.  This gave me a chance to experience the Triumph on city streets, local freeways and interchanges, and on divided rural highways.  Arizona has great roads.  I’m sure that the roads around Chicago were like this, perhaps, for at least 20 minutes at some time in the past.  The Triumph accelerates wonderfully in the crisp morning air as I begin my trip on the 101 loop, heading South out of Scottsdale, to take the 202 Loop towards the Superstition Mountains and the beautiful Arizona Sonoran Desert.

Supersittion Mountains -- from Bryan Flaming's blog - Linked because it's a great shot and I didn't ask permission!

As a kid and young man, I had been on this road hundreds of times in all kinds of vehicles.  Nothing, NOTHING is better than riding this road on a comfortable, competent motorcycle.  The Triumph T-100 really IS this bike.  I crossed through 600 miles in two days with this trip, and the seat, ergonomics, riding position and general comfort exceeded my expectations by a long shot.  I couldn’t wait to get into the wonderful series of twisties after I reached Superior, AZ and headed that last 15 miles through Devil’s Canyon, rising to more than 4500 feet in altitude and then descending 1500 feet on the other side.  Twists, turns and topography.  I sure as hell am not in Illinois!

Queen Creek Bridge

Queen Creek Bridge between Superior and Miami Arizona - Hwy 60/70 through Devil's Canyon

This is a special set of curves in Arizona.  The ascent has a series of right/left turns and big sweepers that cross the Queen Creek Bridge and hug the side of a narrow canyon going up has a passing lane most of the way.  The climb, smooth road and nice bankings make for a smooth, fast and adventurous ride, especially when the traffic is light and the Arizona Highway Patrol is somewhere else (this rarely happens) like it was on the day I rode up. The Triumph took the sweepers beautifully, and the shorter turns allowed me to experience moving around on the seat through smooth but fast transitions, and feel how the bike reacted at speed when the conditions were, well, perfect.

Flawless performance.  The T-100’s linear torque just pulled and pulled at all throttle settings, and the upright stance gave me the feeling of control, almost an eerie “dirt bike” feel as pushing on the handlebars were so reactive, yet so predictable. Only slight feathering of the brakes were needed to set the bike for the tightest turns.

I stopped at a place known to the locals as “Top of the World” and reflected on the last 12 miles.  Of course this is where I planned to take pictures with my unkown-to-me dead camera.  So I sat for a moment and sucked in the 4500 foot elevation’s clean air, amazed that the Bonneville adjusted itself so beautifully to the altitude changes as much as it had through the last stretch of road’s directions.

Triumph fuel injection looks like a carb, but behaves like anything but....

I climbed aboard, fired up and started down the last 5 miles into Miami.  My rear view mirror showed a Highway Patrol car, so it was a mellow trip from here on. Traffic slowed further as a truck with overheating brakes brought things to a crawl.  Keeping steady, I was able to inch my way,  nearly stopped,  never putting a foot down. Great low speed manners.  Just wonderful.

I arrived in Miami, stopping at the Police station to visit and old friend that worked there.  An avowed Harley Rider, I think he liked the bike.  Few bikes have any cred with the Harley crowd, but I believe the retro Bonnie brings back fond memories from older riders and makes newer ones think twice about riding with their hands as high as their shoulders.  My buddy and I had a nice chat, and I decided to get some of the glorious Mexican Food that the area is so rightfully famous for.   I went looking for old friends.

Most had moved away, and I had trouble finding others.  Time was running short as my wife and our friends were back in Phoenix, expecting my presence.  I needed to get going, so I went to gas up.   The first place wouldn’t take my card, so I decided to go to a station on the other side of Globe and see the sights.  Arriving at the next station, I looked down and noticed that the gas cap was missing!

I’m used to my bike, which has a locking gas cap.  You can’t start the bike unless you put the gas cap back on.  I remembered setting the cap in a spot above the handlebars.  I then proceeded to back track 3 times along my route looking for the cap to no avail.  It’s gone and I have a wadded up paper towel to keep gas from blowing all over me.

You can just see the missing cap at the edge of the picture... It came in the next day.

 

The ride home was slower as the Highway Patrol was out.  I finally hit the freeways in the far east end of the Phoenix Metropolitan area and dropped the hammer.  Wonderful freeway sweepers and empty roads greeted me, getting me back to my hotel in no time.  I called the local Triumph dealer, and they didn’t have a cap, but said that there were four other places in the US that DID have one, and she supplied me with the numbers.  I found my part from the Dealer in Salt Lake City.  Fedex and the part came in under $50 and the cap was on and like new.  I called the $50 “stupid tax” for not taking better care.  Somehow I think I’m not the first person to drop a cap on a trip…

I hadn’t spent time in Globe-Miami since my Dad sold his business in 1991.  I made a trip up a few times, but after my Dad passed in 2000 and my mom in 2008, I never had a reason to go back since I was living hundreds, and now thousands, of miles away.  The area had changed in odd ways.  It seemed familiar, yet I felt so out of place kicking the dry dirt of my youth talking to people I’ve known for more than 40 years.

I recaptured nothing from my own “genesis spot“, but had a great trip up and back on a wonderfully predictable, responsive and exceedingly comfortable bike.  The Triumph T-100 delivers the goods on short and long trips. Now if anyone in Globe-Miami reading this runs across a chrome gas cap…

Triumph Bonneville Report, Day 2: You Can’t go Back, but the Ride there is Awesome

This is the second in a series of articles reviewing the 2010 Triumph T-100 Bonneville.  The first article is here.

My apologies from the start.  I had set up the perfect Triumph picture with this beautiful backdrop, great clouds and awesome red rocks, only to find my camera’s batteries dead and my phone sitting in my hotel room.  So there’s no pictures of this ride!  I promise at some point in the future to get a bike up this wonderful road and snap some pictures the next time I get out that way.  I found some shots on the web of the road and sights for reference.

So I wake up on Day 2 of my temporary Triumph Ownership.  The temperatures in Phoenix and my body had finally risen to acceptable levels to make the 200 mile round trip to the town of my birth and first 18 years — Miami, Arizona.  It’s about 90 miles East of Phoenix, and about 90 miles North East of Tucson.  What one will find out about Arizona is everything seems to have “ ’bout 90 miles” distance from major towns.  The Globe-Miami area is no exception.  It is nestled halfway up the steep Colorado Plateau.  Highway 60, leading east from Phoenix and through Superior, delivers its first real curves, sweepers and even a tunnel as it lines itself straight from the Pacific.

The road from Phoenix to Florence Junction comprises the first 45 miles of the trip.  This gave me a chance to experience the Triumph on city streets, local freeways and interchanges, and on divided rural highways.  Arizona has great roads.  I’m sure that the roads around Chicago were like this, perhaps, for at least 20 minutes at some time in the past.  The Triumph accelerates wonderfully in the crisp morning air as I begin my trip on the 101 loop, heading South out of Scottsdale, to take the 202 Loop towards the Superstition Mountains and the beautiful Arizona Sonoran Desert.

Supersittion Mountains -- from Bryan Flaming's blog - Linked because it's a great shot and I didn't ask permission!

As a kid and young man, I had been on this road hundreds of times in all kinds of vehicles.  Nothing, NOTHING is better than riding this road on a comfortable, competent motorcycle.  The Triumph T-100 really IS this bike.  I crossed through 600 miles in two days with this trip, and the seat, ergonomics, riding position and general comfort exceeded my expectations by a long shot.  I couldn’t wait to get into the wonderful series of twisties after I reached Superior, AZ and headed that last 15 miles through Devil’s Canyon, rising to more than 4500 feet in altitude and then descending 1500 feet on the other side.  Twists, turns and topography.  I sure as hell am not in Illinois!

Queen Creek Bridge

Queen Creek Bridge between Superior and Miami Arizona - Hwy 60/70 through Devil's Canyon

This is a special set of curves in Arizona.  The ascent has a series of right/left turns and big sweepers that cross the Queen Creek Bridge and hug the side of a narrow canyon going up has a passing lane most of the way.  The climb, smooth road and nice bankings make for a smooth, fast and adventurous ride, especially when the traffic is light and the Arizona Highway Patrol is somewhere else (this rarely happens) like it was on the day I rode up. The Triumph took the sweepers beautifully, and the shorter turns allowed me to experience moving around on the seat through smooth but fast transitions, and feel how the bike reacted at speed when the conditions were, well, perfect.

Flawless performance.  The T-100’s linear torque just pulled and pulled at all throttle settings, and the upright stance gave me the feeling of control, almost an eerie “dirt bike” feel as pushing on the handlebars were so reactive, yet so predictable. Only slight feathering of the brakes were needed to set the bike for the tightest turns.

I stopped at a place known to the locals as “Top of the World” and reflected on the last 12 miles.  Of course this is where I planned to take pictures with my unkown-to-me dead camera.  So I sat for a moment and sucked in the 4500 foot elevation’s clean air, amazed that the Bonneville adjusted itself so beautifully to the altitude changes as much as it had through the last stretch of road’s directions.

Triumph fuel injection looks like a carb, but behaves like anything but....

I climbed aboard, fired up and started down the last 5 miles into Miami.  My rear view mirror showed a Highway Patrol car, so it was a mellow trip from here on. Traffic slowed further as a truck with overheating brakes brought things to a crawl.  Keeping steady, I was able to inch my way,  nearly stopped,  never putting a foot down. Great low speed manners.  Just wonderful.

I arrived in Miami, stopping at the Police station to visit and old friend that worked there.  An avowed Harley Rider, I think he liked the bike.  Few bikes have any cred with the Harley crowd, but I believe the retro Bonnie brings back fond memories from older riders and makes newer ones think twice about riding with their hands as high as their shoulders.  My buddy and I had a nice chat, and I decided to get some of the glorious Mexican Food that the area is so rightfully famous for.   I went looking for old friends.

Most had moved away, and I had trouble finding others.  Time was running short as my wife and our friends were back in Phoenix, expecting my presence.  I needed to get going, so I went to gas up.   The first place wouldn’t take my card, so I decided to go to a station on the other side of Globe and see the sights.  Arriving at the next station, I looked down and noticed that the gas cap was missing!

I’m used to my bike, which has a locking gas cap.  You can’t start the bike unless you put the gas cap back on.  I remembered setting the cap in a spot above the handlebars.  I then proceeded to back track 3 times along my route looking for the cap to no avail.  It’s gone and I have a wadded up paper towel to keep gas from blowing all over me.

You can just see the missing cap at the edge of the picture... It came in the next day.

 

The ride home was slower as the Highway Patrol was out.  I finally hit the freeways in the far east end of the Phoenix Metropolitan area and dropped the hammer.  Wonderful freeway sweepers and empty roads greeted me, getting me back to my hotel in no time.  I called the local Triumph dealer, and they didn’t have a cap, but said that there were four other places in the US that DID have one, and she supplied me with the numbers.  I found my part from the Dealer in Salt Lake City.  Fedex and the part came in under $50 and the cap was on and like new.  I called the $50 “stupid tax” for not taking better care.  Somehow I think I’m not the first person to drop a cap on a trip…

I hadn’t spent time in Globe-Miami since my Dad sold his business in 1991.  I made a trip up a few times, but after my Dad passed in 2000 and my mom in 2008, I never had a reason to go back since I was living hundreds, and now thousands, of miles away.  The area had changed in odd ways.  It seemed familiar, yet I felt so out of place kicking the dry dirt of my youth talking to people I’ve known for more than 40 years.

I recaptured nothing from my own “genesis spot“, but had a great trip up and back on a wonderfully predictable, responsive and exceedingly comfortable bike.  The Triumph T-100 delivers the goods on short and long trips. Now if anyone in Globe-Miami reading this runs across a chrome gas cap…

Triumph Bonneville Report, Day 2: You Can’t go Back, but the Ride there is Awesome

This is the second in a series of articles reviewing the 2010 Triumph T-100 Bonneville.  The first article is here.

My apologies from the start.  I had set up the perfect Triumph picture with this beautiful backdrop, great clouds and awesome red rocks, only to find my camera’s batteries dead and my phone sitting in my hotel room.  So there’s no pictures of this ride!  I promise at some point in the future to get a bike up this wonderful road and snap some pictures the next time I get out that way.  I found some shots on the web of the road and sights for reference.

So I wake up on Day 2 of my temporary Triumph Ownership.  The temperatures in Phoenix and my body had finally risen to acceptable levels to make the 200 mile round trip to the town of my birth and first 18 years — Miami, Arizona.  It’s about 90 miles East of Phoenix, and about 90 miles North East of Tucson.  What one will find out about Arizona is everything seems to have “ ’bout 90 miles” distance from major towns.  The Globe-Miami area is no exception.  It is nestled halfway up the steep Colorado Plateau.  Highway 60, leading east from Phoenix and through Superior, delivers its first real curves, sweepers and even a tunnel as it lines itself straight from the Pacific.

The road from Phoenix to Florence Junction comprises the first 45 miles of the trip.  This gave me a chance to experience the Triumph on city streets, local freeways and interchanges, and on divided rural highways.  Arizona has great roads.  I’m sure that the roads around Chicago were like this, perhaps, for at least 20 minutes at some time in the past.  The Triumph accelerates wonderfully in the crisp morning air as I begin my trip on the 101 loop, heading South out of Scottsdale, to take the 202 Loop towards the Superstition Mountains and the beautiful Arizona Sonoran Desert.

Supersittion Mountains -- from Bryan Flaming's blog - Linked because it's a great shot and I didn't ask permission!

As a kid and young man, I had been on this road hundreds of times in all kinds of vehicles.  Nothing, NOTHING is better than riding this road on a comfortable, competent motorcycle.  The Triumph T-100 really IS this bike.  I crossed through 600 miles in two days with this trip, and the seat, ergonomics, riding position and general comfort exceeded my expectations by a long shot.  I couldn’t wait to get into the wonderful series of twisties after I reached Superior, AZ and headed that last 15 miles through Devil’s Canyon, rising to more than 4500 feet in altitude and then descending 1500 feet on the other side.  Twists, turns and topography.  I sure as hell am not in Illinois!

Queen Creek Bridge

Queen Creek Bridge between Superior and Miami Arizona - Hwy 60/70 through Devil's Canyon

This is a special set of curves in Arizona.  The ascent has a series of right/left turns and big sweepers that cross the Queen Creek Bridge and hug the side of a narrow canyon going up has a passing lane most of the way.  The climb, smooth road and nice bankings make for a smooth, fast and adventurous ride, especially when the traffic is light and the Arizona Highway Patrol is somewhere else (this rarely happens) like it was on the day I rode up. The Triumph took the sweepers beautifully, and the shorter turns allowed me to experience moving around on the seat through smooth but fast transitions, and feel how the bike reacted at speed when the conditions were, well, perfect.

Flawless performance.  The T-100’s linear torque just pulled and pulled at all throttle settings, and the upright stance gave me the feeling of control, almost an eerie “dirt bike” feel as pushing on the handlebars were so reactive, yet so predictable. Only slight feathering of the brakes were needed to set the bike for the tightest turns.

I stopped at a place known to the locals as “Top of the World” and reflected on the last 12 miles.  Of course this is where I planned to take pictures with my unkown-to-me dead camera.  So I sat for a moment and sucked in the 4500 foot elevation’s clean air, amazed that the Bonneville adjusted itself so beautifully to the altitude changes as much as it had through the last stretch of road’s directions.

Triumph fuel injection looks like a carb, but behaves like anything but....

I climbed aboard, fired up and started down the last 5 miles into Miami.  My rear view mirror showed a Highway Patrol car, so it was a mellow trip from here on. Traffic slowed further as a truck with overheating brakes brought things to a crawl.  Keeping steady, I was able to inch my way,  nearly stopped,  never putting a foot down. Great low speed manners.  Just wonderful.

I arrived in Miami, stopping at the Police station to visit and old friend that worked there.  An avowed Harley Rider, I think he liked the bike.  Few bikes have any cred with the Harley crowd, but I believe the retro Bonnie brings back fond memories from older riders and makes newer ones think twice about riding with their hands as high as their shoulders.  My buddy and I had a nice chat, and I decided to get some of the glorious Mexican Food that the area is so rightfully famous for.   I went looking for old friends.

Most had moved away, and I had trouble finding others.  Time was running short as my wife and our friends were back in Phoenix, expecting my presence.  I needed to get going, so I went to gas up.   The first place wouldn’t take my card, so I decided to go to a station on the other side of Globe and see the sights.  Arriving at the next station, I looked down and noticed that the gas cap was missing!

I’m used to my bike, which has a locking gas cap.  You can’t start the bike unless you put the gas cap back on.  I remembered setting the cap in a spot above the handlebars.  I then proceeded to back track 3 times along my route looking for the cap to no avail.  It’s gone and I have a wadded up paper towel to keep gas from blowing all over me.

You can just see the missing cap at the edge of the picture... It came in the next day.

 

The ride home was slower as the Highway Patrol was out.  I finally hit the freeways in the far east end of the Phoenix Metropolitan area and dropped the hammer.  Wonderful freeway sweepers and empty roads greeted me, getting me back to my hotel in no time.  I called the local Triumph dealer, and they didn’t have a cap, but said that there were four other places in the US that DID have one, and she supplied me with the numbers.  I found my part from the Dealer in Salt Lake City.  Fedex and the part came in under $50 and the cap was on and like new.  I called the $50 “stupid tax” for not taking better care.  Somehow I think I’m not the first person to drop a cap on a trip…

I hadn’t spent time in Globe-Miami since my Dad sold his business in 1991.  I made a trip up a few times, but after my Dad passed in 2000 and my mom in 2008, I never had a reason to go back since I was living hundreds, and now thousands, of miles away.  The area had changed in odd ways.  It seemed familiar, yet I felt so out of place kicking the dry dirt of my youth talking to people I’ve known for more than 40 years.

I recaptured nothing from my own “genesis spot“, but had a great trip up and back on a wonderfully predictable, responsive and exceedingly comfortable bike.  The Triumph T-100 delivers the goods on short and long trips. Now if anyone in Globe-Miami reading this runs across a chrome gas cap…

Triumph Bonneville Report, Day 2: You Can't go Back, but the Ride there is Awesome

This is the second in a series of articles reviewing the 2010 Triumph T-100 Bonneville.  The first article is here.

My apologies from the start.  I had set up the perfect Triumph picture with this beautiful backdrop, great clouds and awesome red rocks, only to find my camera’s batteries dead and my phone sitting in my hotel room.  So there’s no pictures of this ride!  I promise at some point in the future to get a bike up this wonderful road and snap some pictures the next time I get out that way.  I found some shots on the web of the road and sights for reference.

So I wake up on Day 2 of my temporary Triumph Ownership.  The temperatures in Phoenix and my body had finally risen to acceptable levels to make the 200 mile round trip to the town of my birth and first 18 years — Miami, Arizona.  It’s about 90 miles East of Phoenix, and about 90 miles North East of Tucson.  What one will find out about Arizona is everything seems to have “ ’bout 90 miles” distance from major towns.  The Globe-Miami area is no exception.  It is nestled halfway up the steep Colorado Plateau.  Highway 60, leading east from Phoenix and through Superior, delivers its first real curves, sweepers and even a tunnel as it lines itself straight from the Pacific.

The road from Phoenix to Florence Junction comprises the first 45 miles of the trip.  This gave me a chance to experience the Triumph on city streets, local freeways and interchanges, and on divided rural highways.  Arizona has great roads.  I’m sure that the roads around Chicago were like this, perhaps, for at least 20 minutes at some time in the past.  The Triumph accelerates wonderfully in the crisp morning air as I begin my trip on the 101 loop, heading South out of Scottsdale, to take the 202 Loop towards the Superstition Mountains and the beautiful Arizona Sonoran Desert.

Supersittion Mountains -- from Bryan Flaming's blog - Linked because it's a great shot and I didn't ask permission!

As a kid and young man, I had been on this road hundreds of times in all kinds of vehicles.  Nothing, NOTHING is better than riding this road on a comfortable, competent motorcycle.  The Triumph T-100 really IS this bike.  I crossed through 600 miles in two days with this trip, and the seat, ergonomics, riding position and general comfort exceeded my expectations by a long shot.  I couldn’t wait to get into the wonderful series of twisties after I reached Superior, AZ and headed that last 15 miles through Devil’s Canyon, rising to more than 4500 feet in altitude and then descending 1500 feet on the other side.  Twists, turns and topography.  I sure as hell am not in Illinois!

Queen Creek Bridge

Queen Creek Bridge between Superior and Miami Arizona - Hwy 60/70 through Devil's Canyon

This is a special set of curves in Arizona.  The ascent has a series of right/left turns and big sweepers that cross the Queen Creek Bridge and hug the side of a narrow canyon going up has a passing lane most of the way.  The climb, smooth road and nice bankings make for a smooth, fast and adventurous ride, especially when the traffic is light and the Arizona Highway Patrol is somewhere else (this rarely happens) like it was on the day I rode up. The Triumph took the sweepers beautifully, and the shorter turns allowed me to experience moving around on the seat through smooth but fast transitions, and feel how the bike reacted at speed when the conditions were, well, perfect.

Flawless performance.  The T-100’s linear torque just pulled and pulled at all throttle settings, and the upright stance gave me the feeling of control, almost an eerie “dirt bike” feel as pushing on the handlebars were so reactive, yet so predictable. Only slight feathering of the brakes were needed to set the bike for the tightest turns.

I stopped at a place known to the locals as “Top of the World” and reflected on the last 12 miles.  Of course this is where I planned to take pictures with my unkown-to-me dead camera.  So I sat for a moment and sucked in the 4500 foot elevation’s clean air, amazed that the Bonneville adjusted itself so beautifully to the altitude changes as much as it had through the last stretch of road’s directions.

Triumph fuel injection looks like a carb, but behaves like anything but....

I climbed aboard, fired up and started down the last 5 miles into Miami.  My rear view mirror showed a Highway Patrol car, so it was a mellow trip from here on. Traffic slowed further as a truck with overheating brakes brought things to a crawl.  Keeping steady, I was able to inch my way,  nearly stopped,  never putting a foot down. Great low speed manners.  Just wonderful.

I arrived in Miami, stopping at the Police station to visit and old friend that worked there.  An avowed Harley Rider, I think he liked the bike.  Few bikes have any cred with the Harley crowd, but I believe the retro Bonnie brings back fond memories from older riders and makes newer ones think twice about riding with their hands as high as their shoulders.  My buddy and I had a nice chat, and I decided to get some of the glorious Mexican Food that the area is so rightfully famous for.   I went looking for old friends.

Most had moved away, and I had trouble finding others.  Time was running short as my wife and our friends were back in Phoenix, expecting my presence.  I needed to get going, so I went to gas up.   The first place wouldn’t take my card, so I decided to go to a station on the other side of Globe and see the sights.  Arriving at the next station, I looked down and noticed that the gas cap was missing!

I’m used to my bike, which has a locking gas cap.  You can’t start the bike unless you put the gas cap back on.  I remembered setting the cap in a spot above the handlebars.  I then proceeded to back track 3 times along my route looking for the cap to no avail.  It’s gone and I have a wadded up paper towel to keep gas from blowing all over me.

You can just see the missing cap at the edge of the picture... It came in the next day.

 

The ride home was slower as the Highway Patrol was out.  I finally hit the freeways in the far east end of the Phoenix Metropolitan area and dropped the hammer.  Wonderful freeway sweepers and empty roads greeted me, getting me back to my hotel in no time.  I called the local Triumph dealer, and they didn’t have a cap, but said that there were four other places in the US that DID have one, and she supplied me with the numbers.  I found my part from the Dealer in Salt Lake City.  Fedex and the part came in under $50 and the cap was on and like new.  I called the $50 “stupid tax” for not taking better care.  Somehow I think I’m not the first person to drop a cap on a trip…

I hadn’t spent time in Globe-Miami since my Dad sold his business in 1991.  I made a trip up a few times, but after my Dad passed in 2000 and my mom in 2008, I never had a reason to go back since I was living hundreds, and now thousands, of miles away.  The area had changed in odd ways.  It seemed familiar, yet I felt so out of place kicking the dry dirt of my youth talking to people I’ve known for more than 40 years.

I recaptured nothing from my own “genesis spot“, but had a great trip up and back on a wonderfully predictable, responsive and exceedingly comfortable bike.  The Triumph T-100 delivers the goods on short and long trips. Now if anyone in Globe-Miami reading this runs across a chrome gas cap…

2010 Triumph Bonneville T-100 Ride Report Part 1 – Thrust into the Thick of It

This is the first in a series of articles reviewing the 2010 Triumph Bonneville T-100 over the Christmas Holidays in the Phoenix Area, 2010.

A couple of months before Christmas, I had a few plane tickets that needed to be used before they expired.  Sheila said that she wanted to go to Scottsdale between the holidays to get together with her closest girlfriends and their kids.  Sounds like a great idea — although I thought I might enjoy it more if I could break away from time-to-time and ride on the roads that I spent the first 40 years of my life on.

A call to my friend Johnny Scheff, the Triumph Dealer in Chicago (MotoWorks Chicago), got me in touch with their National Marketing crew, and a bike was arranged.  I would need to pick it up in Anaheim and drop it off there, but that just meant that I would have a great “getting to know you” ride on the 380 mile trip out, and then make a great ride back on one of my favorite rides — Phoenix-Wickenburg-Parker-29 Palms-LA.  That was the plan, along with a ride up to Globe, AZ and some nice around town stuff.

Time marched towards the date, and the bike firmed up to be a Triumph Bonneville T-100.  I kept checking the weather, frowning at all the rain that was pouring down over the Southwestern United States.  California was getting plastered.  Arizona was getting the leftovers.  The temperature was plummeting.  I kept looking at the reports.  At the last minute I packed all my late fall gear and resolved to make the best of it.  61 degrees in LA when I landed.

The 2010 Triumph T-100 Described

The Triumph T-100 is a throwback-bike.  It’s made to look like a 1960’s T-120, but the similarities end at the looks.  This T-ball is all new, from the fuel injection that inhabits the carburettor-like intakes to the disc brakes, electric start, modern Metzler tires and…  Gear selection with the left foot.

The audience for this bike is fairly wide.  Number one would probably be the now-to-familiar “re-entry rider” that rode when they were kids, then had their own, and now, as they get older, are ready to get back on the bike.  The Bonneville was the classic Bike for years.  Brando, Fonzie and “The Steve” all were Triumph people.  The heroes of one’s youth are revisited in a most natural way on the modern Bonnie.

The second audience would be someone that wants a “town” bike.  Not everyone embraces the forward-lean of many mid-level bikes, and often the whole dual-sport look is best left to those that can’t leave their house without all their tactical gear.  Many people just want

A Nice, Normal, No-BS Bike.

One that they can ride around town easily and well, take short trips to some curves, and just have a reliable, well-handling standard bike.  A bike that is tough to describe, but you sure as hell know it when you get off it after riding around for a few hours.  This is the bike I had hoped to find when I decided to brave the weather and spend a week with a new Triumph Bonneville.

The Long Ride Home

I picked up the bike after taking my first and last Prime Time Shuttle ride from LAX to Anaheim.  The local shop that cares for the demo fleet had a bevy of old BRE Datsun 510s (yes, those 510s!) and I knew right away I was in a Gearhead Paradise, one of many pocketed away in the small industrial parks around the LA basin.  I could’ve stayed and talked all day, but it was already 1pm and I knew that I was losing an hour crossing the AZ border, so I had to get on the road.

Super wire wheels and a disk brake. Minty.

 

I had read the manual for the T-100, available on-line, a few days before from the Triumph Website, so I was familiar with any details that needed to be covered.  Poring over the details I found only this — the choke, located under the tank on the left, can be pulled out all the way for very cold weather, or halfway for mildly cold weather — once warmed up, just push it in.  And that’s about as eccentric as it gets.

I took the 91 out of town through Riverside, since it was right there and I was familiar with it.  It was the second day after Christmas, a Monday, and this early in the afternoon I expected the traffic to be light.  I was wrong.  There are malls scattered across the Chino Valley/San Bernardino area, with the Largest Outlet Mall on the Planet on the extreme East end in Cabazon.  I hadn’t lived or rode in LA for two years, but I soon remembered how to split lanes.  I’m not a hot-rod lane splitter on my best day, but it took a long time to get out of town.  I looked down at the trip meter when traffic finally broke. I had split lanes for 50 miles and taken 2 hours.  The sun was now way behind me as I dropped into the Santa Catalina Valley to ride past Palm Springs and Indio.  I stopped for gas.  The desert was getting cold.  I added layers, thinking about maybe getting some Coconut Cream pie at Chiriaco Summit with a hot cup of coffee, another 50 miles up the road, at the highest point on the trip.

On the climb up to Chiriaco Summit, you actually start in Indio,  which is just below Sea Level.  You then climb 4500-plus feet in less than 25 miles.  The climb is so steep there are warning signs to turn off your A/C in the summer, and six or seven water stops so you can quench an overheating car.  No worries about overheating today, and the just-under-900cc engine of the Triumph T-100 just made the hill into something as flat as Nebraska.  Tons of torque and mid-range, I slalomed through the slower traffic like a Jack Russell Terrier through an obstacle course.  Fun stuff, even in the rapidly declining temps.

I arrived at Chiraco Summit just as the sun dipped behind the Santa Catalina Mountains.  I realised that I had 230 miles to go, all in the darkness, and I knew that the Arizona desert punished people with sever temperature declines after 10pm.  No pie today.  I topped off and knew that I could make Quartzite before seeing the low fuel light again.  Time to drop the hammer and see how these lights work.

A nice set of tail lights provide visibility for the cagers. Love the seat logo!

Plenty of light.  The Low Beams light the road in front of you with a very predictable beam, and the high-beams give you the light you need to really drop the hammer and cruise 80mph, as long as it is on an Interstate and a road that you know.  I know this road, having run it easily 200 times.  I arrived at the Love’s truck stop in Quartzite shivering cold.  I couldn’t get warm, was coughing and DEFINITELY not happy about it.  Still the T-100 Bonneville was such an easy bike to ride, I might have been in an old Pontiac Station Wagon had it not been cold.  It didn’t occur to me at the time, but after 4 hours of seat time and two hours left, my butt wasn’t screaming like it might have been on a lesser bike.  comfortable.  Hell, could this bike be a sleeper on long trips?  I’m not tired, not sore, and definitely not feeling well, yet this bike, sitting underneath me at 75-80mph, is hardly noticeable.  Between the weather and my cold, I have problems, yet this bike not only isn’t one of them, it feels wonderful beneath me.

Headlight throws out plenty of light for safe night riding, even on the super slabs.

I just wished that it would shed a little more heat off the engine.  Not really much of a nit to pick?

I finally hit the outskirts of Phoenix about 9ish, filled up and noted that it was cold enough indeed.  I knew that I wasn’t going to die of hypothermia at this point, but Scottsdale is on the other side of Phoenix, and Phoenix is One Big Damned City when you take land area in Consideration.  Somehow I felt better, knowing that this bike was just a wonderful long distance bike — something that I hadn’t expected — and now with the short distances, I gathered the strength to ride through a few nice freeway transition ramps presented to me and arrived into the welcoming arms of my wife and wonderful daughter.  Two days after Christmas, and a warm family and fun bike to ride for a week.  Santa not only hung out late on Christmas, he stayed and brought dessert.