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Discussion Starter #1
Excellent weather persists here along the Upper Mississippi. I don't ride much on the Minnesota side of the River, but I decided to put some miles on over there before coming home tonight. Oh, I will be doing much more of that.

The alphabet county roads on the Wisconsin-side really can't be beat. But I was riding the dirt roads tonight in MN, which we don't have all that much of over here, and it was major fun.

I started by hitting the ton on 14/61 north of Winona. First time for me, mostly because I really do very little highway riding. That speed was nothing for Bonnie though, she got there quickly had plenty left. I expect now that I've done the ton I will be more attractive to women, I'm looking forward to that.

Enough talk, here a some pictures of what I was up against:









 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I'm getting more-and-more used to riding on the dirt. On pavement I never put weight on my foot pegs, but I realized tonight that I could control the bike better by using my legs more. Seems like if I put my weight on the outside peg when turning I felt more stable, and in general could steer a bit with my weight on the pegs. Not sure what the proper technique is though. But I was steering a bit with the throttle and getting used to the sideways movement of the bike. I have a lot to learn about riding the dirt, but it's fun.

Then, it got dark. Very dark actually. Here are my low beams:



and here are my high beams:

 

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Discussion Starter #4
I kept trying to avoid pavement and stay on the gravel. I actually passed a couple signs similar to this one:




It was most awesome working the narrow dirt roads in the pitch black. With the time change and dark and all it felt like it was midnight and I should be home in bed. Then I checked my tricorder (I mean Droid) and it was like 6:00.

I decided not to ride this road, I figured it was best left to daylight hours one day after I've put a touch of armor over my oil pan:




But I got to ride many miles of stuff like this:

 

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They don't know what they're talking about.

Have you considered putting additional lights on your bike? And maybe a set of engine bars would be a good move, since you have a taste for the gravel now. Just a thought. I'm considering the same things.

Looks like a fun time - that's adventure riding!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I like the experience of rider the motorcycle in of itself, but I am primarily a sightseer. I like finding those rural places that not many people have been to, and seeing sights I've not seen before. The dirt opens up a whole new menu of rides for that sort of stuff.

I like the current look of my bike, specifically the simplicity of it. Not sure I want to bolt too much on.

Don't know about the crash bars. I don't love the look and the last time I saw a Bonnie with Triumph crash bars go down they didn't seem to help all that much. Seem to remember a puddle of oil on the ground and waiting for a tow ;)

But, my next tires will be some sort of dirt/road compromise tire. I'm going to give the oil pan some protection and put on folding shifter and break pedals. When I upgrade the suspension I'll keep this type of riding in mind. Certainly stuff like that. I'm going to have to paw around the ADV site for advice on stuff like this.

If money were no object I'd be out right now buying electric clothing, a light dual-sport and knobby studded suitable-for-ice tires and ride all year long.

But a second bike isn't in my near future I'm afraid, so I'll make the Bonnie a bit more dirt friendly without changing her current character too much.
 

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The Triumph engine bars are rubbish. If I put any on I'll go with the Renntec bars, which are a much better design, and actually protect the engine properly.

I hear what you are saying on the simplicity of the look though. I totally agree.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
The Triumph engine bars are rubbish. If I put any on I'll go with the Renntec bars, which are a much better design, and actually protect the engine properly.
I see. Founds some pictures of those in black on a Bonnie: http://www.triumphrat.net/twins-talk/22561-black-renntec-engine-guards.html#post298301. You're right, that surely would be a better option than the Triumph ones.

EDIT: Here's a more recent picture of those bars after having been put to use: http://www.triumphrat.net/biker-hang-out/158082-new-rider-crash-report.html#post1730264
 

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That's them. They don't look too bad. I'm not crazy about them, but those are the best ones. I may well get a set. We'll see. I'm not short of things to buy right now.
 
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