Daytona Demos and MORE Clutch Problems!!!!
I left the house about 7:00AM Friday morning headed for Daytona Speedway with plans to play on someone else’s bikes for the day. I took the interstate down to save time even though there was frost on the ground. 85MPH on the interstate, temp gauge reading 36 degrees… it was cold. I had the closeouts over the crash bars and was geared for the cold, so it wasn’t that bad. I arrived at the Speedway just before 9:00 and hit the Kawasaki tent first. I got a couple of time slots for later in the day, so I decided to go ride a couple of Victorys and try out the heated grips while I waited. Hopped on my XC and started the slow cruise to the other end of the track. On the way the clutch did something funny… again. Cruising at 10MPH in first, pulled the clutch in, and the bike coasted down to about 5MPH and then just wanted to keep going. I had to stop for the traffic and thought maybe I was imagining things. There was a lot of traffic which didn’t allow me to try it again before I got over by the Victory tent.
I rode the XCT and the heated grips work well (Man these things would have been nice on the ride down!!!), wind management on the tour is awesome (although the windshield is about 1” too tall), and there was ZERO funny business with the clutch. Then I rode the Vision for the first time. Wind protection was good, but not as good as the XCT, again the heated grips worked well, adjustable windshield is a great feature, and the bike is very balance with super light steering. I was able to do a complete stop-n-go without putting my feet down. Although I am not a fan of the styling, the Vision is an awesome machine. Again, I was looking specifically for issues with the clutch and found NONE.
Then it was back to the Kawi tent for my first scheduled demo. Traffic was thick and didn’t let me test for the problem I thought I had felt earlier. So I get over to the Kawasaki tent and they give me a free shirt, and then I get to take the Voyager out for the first time. Kawasaki has the best demo rides going at Daytona. It lasts about 30 minutes and has a good mix of interstate and back roads. The leader rode at a spirited pace giving me the opportunity to really get a good feel for the bike. Overall the Voyager is a very competent machine. The engine and transmission were very smooth, clutch pull was extremely light (hydraulic), brakes are solid, and the wind protection was surprisingly good. On the down side the tank and engine were wide between my legs, I very much missed the Victory foot room, the bike felt underpowered, and the plastic that the bags and tour pack were made of was thin and wimpy feeling.
After that… the problem with my clutch was killing me. I blew off my next Kawasaki demo, and quickly found a fairly empty shopping strip to determine if I really had an issue or not. Bad news… I was not imagining things. Rolling at roughly 10MPH in first gear, pull the clutch in, and the bike slows to about 5MPH and then keep going. If I hit the brakes it will stop just fine, or if I try to go up any real incline it will coast to a stop. But when it’s on flat land it will just keep going in circles at 5MPH all day. I just idled around the parking lot in a daze. I just had my clutch replaced maybe 2,000 miles ago. Now I have the beginnings of the same problem that toasted the last clutch as 22,000 miles. What the heck do I do now???!!!!????!!!???
I ate lunch mulling it all over. I putted back over to the Speedway with all this stewing in my head. Talked myself out of taking the issue up with the guys at the Victory tent. Decided that the conversation may not go as planned, and I didn’t need a place to sleep at tax payer expense.
Then I went and hammered on a couple of Harleys. I have to thank Harley for allowing me to let off some steam on their machines, I found it very therapeutic. Both bikes were… well… Harley. Beautiful paint shaker time machines with cramped egos, so-so powered engines, so-so brakes, and no cornering clearance. The same thing that they have been doing for… yeah.
The day was done.
2013 Cross Country Tour: Custom paint, stage 1 exhaust, Lloydz Hi-Flow air filter, cams (HOH-VM1-DR), timing gear (HOH-PTS), Power Commander V, Auto Tune module, Gustafson flip shield, OEM passenger backrest with Cycle Ops luggage rack, Vic HID, heel shifter, Rockford amp, Infinity speakers all around.
2011 Cross Country: Burnt and Traded