Last time I talked about the physical and emotional process of getting back to riding after a crash. With that out of the way, let’s talk about the technical aspects of re-gearing and choosing a new motorcycle.
The logistics of starting over…
As a result of the crash, my motorcycle was totaled and my gear was destroyed in the effort to save my life. Getting back to riding obviously meant starting over from scratch which is a substantial investment, of course. That means making careful decisions. Since I couldn’t walk for quite awhile, much less ride, I had time to consider my choices at length.
In my final my decisions, I employed some new safety strategies with regard to my gear and equipment. It involved an investment in auxiliary LED lighting and more hi-viz gear. But more on those details another time because, let’s face it, the key factor is the ride…
So meet Nina. My 2016 Moto Guzzi V7 II Stone.
Why Moto Guzzi?
I loved my Bonneville. Marlo was a fantastic bike. And I was almost set on getting another Bonneville until some less-than-stellar experiences with Triumph’s customer service and a sudden scarcity of dealers in the Atlanta area compelled me to start looking at other options.
That’s when Moto Guzzi’s V7 Stone came to my attention. The Bonneville and Stone are very comparable bikes. Either one is a great way to go if you like the classic style and a mid-size ride.
Initially I was looking at a 2015 model of the Stone. I decided to be patient, though, and wait for the 2016 V7 II version that had substantial changes over the 2015 model. Those changes included ABS, traction control, and a 6-speed gear box. Given my experiences this year, the safety features were very attractive.
Here are some other pertinent points that put the Stone ahead of the Bonneville for me:
- The Stone is about 100 pounds lighter. That makes a big difference on a good day and especially when your left leg is a fraction of its former strength and ability.
- Running 120 cc less displacement and a nudge less horsepower, the Stone is just a little less bike. The Bonneville was always more than I wanted or needed but when you are inseam-challenged and you still want something more than 250cc, you don’t have a lot of options in the classic styling.
- In that vein, the Stone is also a little smaller. She has a slightly shorter wheel-base and overall length. The specs don’t seem to shout “I’m a smaller bike!” but she is more compact and sturdy. Kind like her rider.
- To me, the Stone’s center of gravity seems a little lower as well. Bonus points there.
- Equipped with a drive shaft instead of a chain, the Stone will require a lot less maintenance on the road. It does mean a bigger ordeal when you need a repair, it just won’t be as often. That’s a trade-off I’m willing to make to not have to lube my chain constantly on trips.
- The Stone’s fuel tank is 1.6 gallons larger than the Bonneville. With the unexpected bonus of much better mileage, my range on the Stone is substantially improved. Those combinations of factors mean I can get at least 100 miles more out of a tank of fuel on the Stone. That’s really important when you’re on long hauls with few refueling options.
- It’s a little detail, but the Stone has a recessed, locking fuel cap. I could have replaced the factory cap on the Bonneville with a locking one but it would still be raised above the tank, interfering with my tank bag.
So given all of that, what do I plan to do with her?
What’s coming up…
Well, I had big plans for this past spring that didn’t come to pass, as you know. But I’m coming back hard. A lot of my efforts have been to build strength, stamina, and confidence in the post-crash era of my life.
In conjunction with that, I’ve also been working to refine my traveling and camping process on Nina. I’ve been testing loads and my travel strategies on some weekend adventures to make sure I’ve got it dialed in for the bigger ones… like riding to Overland Expo East in Asheville (NC), Horizons Unlimited near Robbinsville (NC), and to the fall photography workshop at Tremont in the Great Smoky Mountains (TN).
But before all of those, I have a really groovy trip starting on Monday. Tune in for Monday’s post to find out all about it!