(last update: 2/2007 by Nataraj Hauser. Visit my homepage.)

Let me preface this article by stating, unequivocally, that I love four stroke singles. I am biased. I have no use for inline fours. If 90 hp and 35 fp of torque on a 600cc bike sound like a good thing, you're in the wrong place. If, on the other hand, that hp/torque balance is more like 50/50, and the roads where you do your riding are tight twisties, you are in the right place. (Click HERE to jump to the newest entries.)

I have owned a handful of big singles and one small one. They include a Suzuki TS125 (two stroke), a Suzuki Savage, a Yamaha SR500, and a one-off custom with an SR500 (540) engine in a Suzuki GS500 chassis. Just recently I added a big cat to the mix: I bought an MZ Baghira Street Moto.

The MZ is a different cat. It looks like a dual purpose bike, but is set up primarily for the street. It is direct competition for the KTM Duke and the BMW F650. The standard Baghira is aimed more at the dirt, with sky-high seat and semi-knobby tires. The Street Moto is three inches lower. The Pirelli dual use tires disappear quickly on the street (I estimate 1000 miles, tops), and that's a good thing because I really wanted some premium sport-touring rubber on this cat. I have a set of Metzler MEZ-4's waiting to get spooned on. I'll provide an update when I get 'em on. (They're on, drop to the bottom of the page for updates. 4/03)

The bike uses Yamaha's excellent 660 cc, water-cooled engine. In stock form it makes about 45 rear wheel horsepower and about 40 fp of torque (as tested on the Cycle World dyno), just a bit less than what the BMW F650 makes. The demo model I bought has an aftermarket exhaust - M4 - and the dealer claims 52 hp but the M4 factory guestimates more like 48. As soon as I get a chance I'll have it dyno'd and post the HP and torque curves. If they're right with 52 hp, that puts it just a bit better than a stock KTM Duke. Weight (wet) is similar to the Duke, and about 40-50 lbs lighter than the BMW. Cycle World (April, 1998) tested the MZ Mastiff, the cousin of the Baghira (same engine) and lists the following specs:

- compression ratio: 9.5/1
- weight, tank full: 387 lbs
- fuel consumption (higk/low/avg): 41/36/39 (my first tankful, ridden pretty mildly, resulted in 47 mpg)
- seat height: 33.5 in
- best 1/4 mile: 13.52 seconds @ 92.5 mph
- zero-60 mph: 4.4 seconds
- 40-60 mph: 3.8 seconds
- 60-80 mph: 4.8 seconds
- measured top speed: 100 mph

For reference, Motorcyclist magazine ("Hard Numbers" section) lists the BMW F650 at 49 hp, 42 fp torque, best 1/4 mile of 13.01 seconds at 97.7 mph, 60-80 roll-on of 4.77 seconds, and a list price of $8,700 dollars. The KTM Duke measures to 48 hp, 40 fp torque, best 1/4 mile of 13.1 seconds at 96.75 mph, zero to 60 in 4.0 seconds, a top speed of 102 mph, and a $7,200 price tag. My MZ was under $6k including tax/title/license and aftermarket parts, but it was a demo model.

As an interesting comparison, a Suzuki Bandit 600 has 73 hp, 39 fp torque, a 12.6 second at 107 mph 1/4 mile, and (noteworthy) a 60-80 mph roll-on of 6.8 seconds. Now my friend, who's gonna win coming out of that corner? hehe. Suzuki's awesome GSX-R 600 with a whopping 101 hp and 46 fp torque barely edges the Baghira with a 60-80 mph roll-on of 4.7 seconds. A Honda VFR800 needs over 5 seconds for 60-80. Honda's RC51 takes 4.94 seconds. Honda's VTR1000 Superhawk takes 5.00 seconds. Suzuki's lovely SV650 needs 5.13 seconds. Triumph's Sprint RS does it in 4.8 seconds. That real-world oomph is the reason to play with a big single. Very few bikes in the 500-750 cc range match that grunt (Kawasaki's Ninjas do, as does Honda's CBR600F4i and Triumph's TT600). Yes, I do realize that every bike listed above will STOMP the MZ at the top end. How often, exactly, do you drive more than 100 mph in America?

This is a play bike for the twisty roads around your town, not for the race track. Where do you ride most of the time?


You can find photos of my 2001 MZ Baghira Street Moto here.


I'm a music junkie in addition to a passionate motorcyclist. Since everything in life deserves a soundtrack, I've compiled my own 'album' inspired by the roarty, raucus MZ Baghira Street Moto. I deliberately limited myself to 12 songs. There are multiple songs by some of these artists that would make it onto such a compilation. Links are provided so you can sample my choices. Feel free to comment.

ARTIST		        SONG
Ravonettes		"Cops Are On Our Tail"
Sit ‘n Spin		"Jaded"
Pogues			"If I Should Fall From Grace With God"
Sahara Hotnights	"Alright Alright (Here’s my fist now where’s the fight?)"
Tea Party		"Grand Bazaar"
The Vaselines		"Monsterpussy"
Ramones			"Rockaway Beach"
Donnas			"Skin Tight"
Social Distortion	“Ring of Fire”
Sleater Kinney		"Anonymous"
Joan Jett		“Bad Reputation”
Talking Heads		“Burning Down the House - Live”


The ride is pure thumper. That means that you feel each and every power pulse. Anecdotally you can think of it as one bang per fencepost. At low revs this is a very noticeable thing. As the revs climb, the pulsing smooths out and the bike is relatively vibration free. What vibes do intrude are low-frequency, and thus don't make your hands or feet all tingly like a buzzy inline four can.

No speed demon, the bike tops out around 100 mph. That's plenty however, as the front end is getting pretty light at that speed. I found that I had to lean a bit forward to weight the front wheel or feel as though the bike was going to go into a tank-slapper (huge, uncontrolled head shake). Once I shifted my weight forward the problem mostly disappeared. I figure putting more street-oriented tires on should eliminate the rest of the problem. In the twisties is where this bike shines. It launches out of corners hard. The typical technique for a low horsepower/high torque engine is to run in hard, break when you see God, then the moment you reach the midpoint of the turn get back on the gas with gusto. So far I haven't run it against anything other than a hotted-up Buell Blast (about 35 hp) and a mildly hotted-up Yamaha SR500 (also about 35 hp) so I don't have any real comparison. Once I find a larger bike to play with I'll report back on the results. It'd be fun to dice it up in the tight stuff with someone on a decent 600/4 or a 750/4. I'll get killed on a straight, but should have a bit of an edge in the corners. I'll bet my wife's Honda Hawk 650 GT would be a great playmate.

My only nitpick so far is that the headlight fits so strangely in the vestigial fairing that it seems like the inside of the fairing is illuminated better at night than the road is. I have a strip of duct tape (red, so it's not real obvious) covering the gap from the inside, but I think I'll need something a bit more opaque to really block the light leak.


The bike has an aluminum aftermarket muffler from M4. It is a bit on the loud side, but not unreasonable. To me it sounds like the V&H SS4R can on my custom 540 single. Earplugs are not needed. You can find out more about M4 here: M4 Exhaust

I just scored an ATV tank bag from my local parts shop (Madison Motorsports) in basic black for only $26. It is small, yet will hold my raingear (just barely) or my lunch and a book. However, it fits, was cheap, and provides a small (5" x 6") map window. The brand is QuadBoss. UPDATE 7/03: I just found a larger, more versatile ATV tank bag from Moose. It has a largermain compartment (maybe 50% larger) than the QuadBoss bag, and on the top flap has a pouch for a water bottle and another zippered pouch for glasses or whatnot. On the inside of that flap is a map pouch. It makes using the bike to commute a bit easier, and I *needed* the extra capacity for an upcoming trip (watch this site for the trip report!).


Since I ride more than the Baghira, my gear is primarily street oriented. I am an avid Wisconsin rider and ride in most conditions (I draw the line at snow. 2/2004: Not any more!). Therefore my gear is chosen for versatility and armor. Style is a distant third. Here's what I use:

JACKET: Cycleport Kevlar Ultra II. This is an amazing jacket. The kevlar makes it more abrasion resistant than racing leathers, the armor exceeds stringent European standards, the two liners can be used seperately (thermal and waterproof) or together, and the pockets are well thought out. I opted for the hi-viz yellow and, well, it's YELLOW! Really yellow. Really visible. The jacket with both liners in is pretty bulky, but I forget about it the moment I'm on the bike. Cycleport claims a useable temperature range for this jacket from -20 to 120. I can't vouch for -20 (yet) but I was fine at 14(F) with a wool turtleneck under it. So far my warmest day with it is 45(F) so I can't give a hot weather report. Great jacket. Really expensive. My rainpants are stowed in a big pocket at the lower back.
PANTS: *update 2/2005* I just ordered the kevlar pants from Motoport to match my jacket. The pants are black, and made of the same stretch kevlar as the jacket. Armor is similar to the Fieldsheers, but CE standard. [Fieldsheer Titanium Mesh. I used to use chaps, but I never wore them when the temp got too warm. These are just like the jacket, and they zip together with an 8" zipper in the back. Like the jacket, the pants are loaded with armor. There is high-density foam on the thighs (the point of impact for a friend's recent crash, by the way...his jeans didn't cut it for a 15-20 mph low-side) as well as the knees and shins. There is hard plastic over the knees and shins as well. These are designed to be worn over undies, but I have been wearing them over my light work slacks with no problem. I figure I'll wear these a lot more than the chaps when the weather gets toasty.]
RAINGEAR: This is the component that ties it all together. I bought Helly-Hanson waterproof/breathable pants at a sporting goods store for about $50 on sale. There was nothing to keep 'em from blowing up at the cuff, so I bought "instant grommets" from a farm and fleet store. These things are designed to add a grommet to a tarp without puncturing the fabric. Too cool! I put one on each side of the leg and added a few pennies worth of elastic to go under my boot. I think they were $3-4 per pair and I needed two pair. The pants are light and throughly waterproof. [In theory I no longer need this raincoat, but I have it, so here's the info...] My raincoat is also waterproof/breathable (gotta love that GoreTex!!!) obtained at a sporting goods store on sale for $80. The brand is Pacific Trail. The best part? The jacket has a "game pouch" type pocket on the back, and if stuffs itself into the pocket for storage. AND there is room for the pants as well. It has two loops so that I can fasten it around my waist like a fanny pack. When I need just the jacket and not the pants, I can leave the pants in the game pouch. Packed up it's about the size of a travel pillow (hint!): 8"x12"x3" and soft/bendable. Adding the rainsuit on top of the Fieldsheer jacket and pants extends my comfortable riding down to about 30 degrees fahrenheit. This setup simply rocks! [Final note: riding west across Quebec into a constant wind this jacket flapped a lot and left me feeling pretty beat up. One day might not have been bad, but three?!!]
GLOVES: Alpinestar. These gloves are waterproof/breathable and come in a variety of colors. Not the best armor, but adequate all-around good gloves. They won't last more than 3 seasons though. I don't remember the price, but somewhere around $40. My winter gloves are TourMaster, also waterproof/breathable. For kicks, and to get rid of some bonus money, I just got a pair of white (!) Icon gloves. You know, the ones with the titanium knuckles...hahaha!
BOOTS: I alternate between well-oiled engineer boots (mostly waterproof) and Hi-Tec Magnum swat team-style boots. The Hi-Tecs are comfy and allow lots of air to move through them which make them ideal for warmer temps, but my feet get wet if it rains. For me the cool feet outweighed the possibilty of wet feet. I am considering adding a pair of Gore-Tex socks, about $40, that could live in the game pouch of my jacket, but so far it has just never been an issue.
HELMET: My two current helmets are an Arai Quantum and a Lazer Century. Most of the time I wear the Lazer because it is a flip-up style full-face helmet and I wear glasses. The Arai is quieter - less wind noise - though and is nicer for long rides. Any DOT approved helmet will be better than no helmet. I tend to look for helmets with the stricter Snell 95 (or later) rating rather than just a DOT approved model. One look at a helmet that hit the pavement should be all the convincing one needs to wear one. Pick a comfortable helmet at any price point and wear it. 'Nuff said. I added a visor strip to my helmet to block low-angle sun. It works great and is unobtrusive when not needed (I typically ride with my visor open anyway) and I need only tip my head down slightly to put it between the sun and my eyeballs. My helmets tend to be light and bright colors: white or silver. I once observed a riding buddy in a pearl white helmet a quarter of a mile ahead of me on a grey, damp day (read: questionable visibility) and noticed that his helmet was really, really visible. My next helmet was white.

GLASSES: I need prescription lenses to drive. I wanted wrap-around sunglasses 'cause I like to ride with the visor on my helmet open. For the last twenty years I was stuck with normal prescription sunglasses because they can't put a 'scrip in curved plastic. (I don't wear contacts because they bother my eyes.) At last I found the right answer: Bolle Parole sunglasses. They are wrap-around sunglases with a prescription insert that fits behind the curved sunglass lenses. Too cool! You can read about 'em here.


Learn about countersteering! Really. It'll save your life someday.


4/5/2003: Well, as I expected, I used up most of the stock rear tire by 950 miles. A few smokey burnouts and dozens of wheelies took their toll. I took the bike back out to Sharer Cycle Center - from whom I bought it - to get street tires installed. I opted for Metzler ME-Z4s front and back. They probably are overkill for the bike, but I'm a big believer in using the best rubber you can afford. The mechanic who put 'em on said he thought they were a great choice after he rode it. Alas, the day I picked the bike up (after a 25 mile ride on their loaner bike to get there) it was snowing. A lot. And it was windy. I did not do any playing on the way home. The weather has been cold and snowy ever since. Spring really sucks in Wisconsin! There is 5 inches of fresh, heavy snow on the ground today. However, the forecast for the next few days calls for temps up in the fifties, so the snow ought to be gone (for good?) in a day or two. Assuming the roads are dry on Saturday I'll ride. It'd be nice if it'd rain between now and then too, to get the salt off the road.

4/12/2003: The new tires perform spectacularly. What a difference tires can make. With the stock Pirelli's on the bike felt squirrelly at any speed above 70 mph. With the new Metzler's on, the wiggly front end is gone. The bike is rock solid up to an indicated 95 mph. Yesterday I took the bike out to the twisty part of southwest Wisconsin and let 'er rip. Hwy 39 from New Glarus over to Mineral Point is filled with good pavement, fast sweepers, and loads of hills. The scenery is pretty too, when one is going slowly enough to observe it. That road was pretty clear of sand and salt. A few forays onto lesser highways proved that those roads were treacherous yet. We need a good thunderstorm to clear the roads. I put about 240 miles on yesterday and loved every moment of it. This bike LIVES to launch hard out of corners. My riding companions were on a Yamaha SR500 and a Honda Hawk GT. Neither rider felt like playing hard, so I still don't know how the Baghira is versus the Hawk. Anybody out there wanna go out and play?

04/29/03 - I got a good long ride in this weekend on the Street Moto: 470 miles round trip. I rode from Madison, WI to Maiden Rock, a small town on the Mississippi River at the western edge of WI. Since I was going up there Friday night after work, I opted to take the optimal route rather than the scenic route. It was going to be dark soon after I started anyway. So the first three and a half hours were a straight blast on the interstate.

I had already realized that sustained highway speed resulted in mild whiplash from fighting the windblast to my helmet. To remedy the problem I installed about a foot of "Stealth Edging" from Saeng Corp. While seemingly expensive (I paid $11/foot with a minimum order of three feet) it was enough to do the Targa fairing on my Buell M2, this small fairing on the MZ, and a test strip across the top of my wife's Hawk fairing. What a great difference it makes! For normal road-burning it is almost a must have item. This particular night it was really windy, and we were getting blown all over the road - nothing would have helped except a barn door.

The seat was getting pretty annoying after the third hour. I wasn't too bad though when I got there. The trip home was another matter. I opted for the scenic route, which added an hour, and by the time I got home my butt was screaming. Some of that was due to restricted movin' around room, but mostly it was the narrow seat. Alas, Corbin doesn't offer a seat for the Baghira. Maybe Sargent would build a good custom seat. If you have any experience with a custom seat on a dual purpose bike, PLEASE contact me. Mail to: NATARAJ (at) PocketMail (dot) com.

The bike had no trouble sustaining speeds of 75 mph or so (though the speedo indicated 80 mph). It seems like the speedometer is inaccurate right from the get-go. One of those unattended radar stations told me my speed was 25 and my speedo read 32. A friend pacing me in his car gave me the 80=75 measurement. The bike felt really happy at an indicated 65; so good I imagined buying an MZ Traveller to use as a bagger!

I had the bike loaded with a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and a small amount of clothes - all in a canoe dry bag. Not bad, but I felt a bit cramped. It was all strapped down so well on those grab rails that it wasn't going anywhere. I've never had a load feel so secure. My small tank bag contained a better tool kit (the one that came with the bike is a joke), alternate gloves, some paper oil funnels - these are a MUST HAVE ITEM - a spare bungee, and a candy bar. Here is a photo of the bike loaded and ready to go.

For the ride home on Sunday I came south on highway 33 out of LaCrosse, WI. 33 is a reasonably direct route that also has a few good stretches of twisty stuff. There are better roads to be sure, but the trip was going to take five hours as it was. It was worth the extra time. The MZ simply devoured the tight twisties around Wildcat Mountain state park! It charges out of corners at least as hard as my '99 Buell M2. I was grinning like an idiot and laughing out loud. I have got to go play more in western WI.

Memorial Weekend - Six people on five bikes took the three-day holiday weekend and went to explore the twisty roads of Western Wisconsin. The bikes were my MZ, a Honda Hawk NT650, a Yamaha SR500, a Honda Shadow 750 (two-up), and a Honda Goldwing 1100. Our base for the weekend was a motel in Soldier's Grove, WI, a small town just SE of LaCrosse. As the direct route goes, Soldiers Grove would be just under two hours of driving ... maybe 80 miles (lots of secondary highways). Our route wandered all over the place on every two-bit paved cow path I could find. We went 147 miles getting there and had a great time. The next day I led a spritely pace over more of those obscure roads - mostly paved - and was delighted with the aggressiveness of the route. One of the riders asked for "roads with center lines" at lunch, presumably after a too close encounter with a milk delivery truck. The afternoon was much more sedate, sticking to the scenic Mississippi river road (Hwy 35) and larger primary roads. The third day was a fast (for me anyway) blitz west-to-east from the Mississippi to a tiny town called Boaz, all on Hwy 'C'. GREAT ROAD! The MZ behaved flawlessly and really shined in the tight stuff.

07/19/03: I drove East from Madison to Saukville, WI, to check out Corse Ducati. What a shop! Nice building, cool bikes (Ducati and Aprilia), good cafe too. I took a Multistrada for a ride because I was thinking I'd buy one of those early this year but opted for the MZ instead. It was a fun ride, but I don't know if it was TWICE as fun as the MZ and it costs twice as much. Riding the MZ today told me that if I really, truely want to take the MZ on a long ride later this summer, I needed to kill the buzz in the handlebars. Big time. My hands were falling asleep due to the constant highway speeds. I stopped on the way home at (Madison Motorsports) and bought foam hand grips. Next I ordered a set of ThrottleMeister bar ends. The combination worked magic: The buzz is still there but way more manageable. The ThrottleMeister's weigh about 8oz EACH, and also function as a throttle lock (really the primary function). Now when my hands do feel buzzy on the highway, I can dial on the throttle lock for a mile and give my hand a break.

07/21/03 - Uh oh. Oil leak. Damn, it's the head gasket! The bike is under warranty, and will be fixed for free.

07/22/03 - Decision made: I'm going to take the MZ on a 3,200 mile ride this summer! I test fit some luggage last night and went for a shake-down ride. Everything seemed OK. I won't have much extra space, but it ought to be a trip worth remembering. Watch this site for a trip report! [No update to appear here: I provided the story to "Dual Sport News" magazine. You'll have to read it there!] Suffice it to say that I had a mostly trouble-free ride (cooked the battery) and loved the bike as much when I got home as I did before I left. It was an ok long-distance mount. I scoot way back onto the passenger portion of the seat for most riding and scooch 'balls up' only for aggressive cornering. It vastly improves the quality of the ride. I don't care if it's 'proper' or not.

07/20/04 - OK, so it's been a YEAR since I posted any updates. I've been busy! Actually, I rode the bike all winter here in WI. Mostly I used it for commuting, and I rode it any day the roads were dry and clear of snow, and the temp was above 15 degrees (F). Hands were no problem because the PowerMadd guards block a lot of the wind. I also added some heated grip wraps from Aerostitch (about $45). They work pretty well, but of course only warm the inside of the hands. For real cold weather riding electric gloves seem to be the answer.

I now have 12,000 miles on the bike and I'm still loving it. It's my first choice for most rides. I do like the brute power of the Buell, but it feels big and heavy compared to the Baggy.

The chain is shot! Too many wheelies and hard launches I guess. Gotta get it replaced.

I also added a cheapo top-box and rack from JC Whitney. It was only $54 and has been just great. The rack makes a useful deck for mounting 'stuff' with bungies, and the box makes commuting or even small shopping trips a snap. How did I live with out it? I also rigged a metal bracket that can bolt on to the rack that lets me mount saddlebags and clear the muffler. Now I really can use it for longer trips. Note: Loc-Tite is ESSENTIAL for such home-built racks. I've gone through a bunch of rattled off nuts already.

This past weekend a friend (on Yamaha SR500), my wife (on her 'new' 2000 Suzuki SV650) went west of Madison for a few hours of riding. The highlight was riding Hwy T north out of Barneveld to where it intersects with Hwy 23 near Taliesin. We were grinning like idiots, so we turned around and thrashed it in the other direction. Of note was that Reena, who normally lags at the back of the pack, was nipping at our friend's heels when she was behind him, and leaving him behind when she was in front. Two years on the (now sold) Buell Blast really improved her twisty road skills and speed. Of course, the SV might have something to do with it too!

I just ordered some kevlar gloves and a 130db horn from Aerostitch. They should arrive today, so I'll post some comments in a few days. The stock horn is so lame as to be nearly useless.
I sent the gloves back. They were laughable: after two (2!!!) wearings, they were fraying and one seam had ripped out. I sent 'em back for a refund (no problem from Aerostitch). The horn is too big and won't mount in the same place as the stocker. I'll have to think about this...

BIG MODS HAPPENING (2/2005): The bike is getting a shot of testosterone. My favorite shop is installing a 1 mm larger, higher compression piston, and doing flow work to the head. While they're in there, they're installing stiffer valve springs in case I opt for a hotter cam at a later date. The initial guestimate was 50-56 hp (as compared to 39-40 hp stock, and 44 hp when it went in). All things being equal, torque should be right up there too. I'll post a dyno chart when I get one. Waa-hoo!!!

(4/2005) Here's the before/after dyno:

What can I say? The bike just charges much harder. It feels more like my wife's Honda Hawk 650 twin than a 676 single. I have about 300 miles - and an oil change - on the new motor, so I've been easy on it so far. The roads hve been still cold and sand-covered (at least the good twisty ones) so I haven't gone out to play hard yet. This weekend looks like good weather coming up, so I'll wring it out and see what happens.

2007 Update (02/2007) - Okay, I guess it's been a while since I put any updates out here. So let's see what's happening. The bike now has just shy of 20,000 miles on it and I still love it. The engine has proven to be stone reliable, even with the performance mods. When stock the it would break the ton, but barely. Last fall I had it hit a real (GPS verified) 110 mph. There was more to go, but not much. If it made it to 115 I'd be surprised. Still, 10% on top is alright. Mostly in the past two years between posts I just rode the bike. I did remount the rack for the hard trunk box so it's lower and more stable. Pics to come shortly. I quit trying to cobble together ways to use throw-over saddlebags. When camping I simply strapped dry bags to the lower edge of the hard box (using bungee hooks I bolted through the box, sealing the hole with silicon calk) and to the grab rails. Simple and effective, but inelegant.

CRASH! - Well it had to happen some day. In late January I crashed in slush at about 25 mph. I was stupid, riding the evening after it had quit snowing. The couple of main roads I was on were clear so I assumed all the main roads would be clear. Nope. The irony is that I was on the way to the shop to drop the bike off to avoid a $50 towing charge. After the crash I ahd to have the bike trucked there anyway, so in addition to the $50 hauling fee, I get to repair or replace the front fender (snapped off), the front turn signal (smashed), the rear brake lever (smooshed), and a couple of dings in the paint on the right side. Yippee.

The bike is getting some spa time, so in addition to a bit of rejuvination, I'm also opting for a bit of augmentation. I bought racks from that fit the bike and are designed to carry Zega bags. I already have a set of Givi bags that I use on my Honda 919 (replaced the Buell M2 that a buddy crashed) so I wanted to have one set of bags I could swap back and forth. Cheaper right? It would have been if I could have sourced the same ($200 racks I bought for the 919, but after waiting 13 weeks, Twisted Throttle informed me that the SW Motech racks were no longer available for the Baghira (the delay was NOT Twisted Throttle's fault...their service was great and I recommend them). I bought the racks from Touratech knowing that I'd have to have some tabs welded on so that the Givi adapter kit ($20 from Twisted Throttle) could be installed. The racks from Touratech were $303, so I was 50% over budget from the start, not counting the cost of the welding. I also noticed that the rack would not clear the M4 exhaust, and thought that I'd have to have the shop cut 1-2" out of the mid-pipe, but they found a simpler (and cheaper) solution. The turn signals up front got clear lenses and amber bulbs. The rear brake lever will be fixed not replaced.

While at the shop I was belly aching about the stock headlight, which sucks at night on a dark road. They just happened to have a pair of PIAA 1100x driving lights that had been involved in a tipover accident. The housing of one was smashed but the lights worked fine. The list price is $349, but I got them for $100 and some time spent to fix the case with silicone epoxy and glass fiber cloth, plus sanding and painting them matte black. The shop found an effective way to mount them to the bars that flank the stock headlight. The three-way switch for them on the handlebars will toggle between OFF, STOCK HEADLIGHT ON, and PIAAs ON (Stock Headlight OFF). I think that'll let me run the PIAAs on the highway as my high beams without drawing too much power. A voltage meter will be installed to monitor the situation. Maybe now I'll see the friggin' deer in time to avoid them.

As of 2/12/07, the lights are on and the racks are on, sans tabs and Givi adapter kit. It should all be done soon, and I'll get pics to post as quickly as I can. Stay tuned!

Some Useful Links

- Motorcycle camping checklist form
- Motorcycle accident info

So you think you're a hooligan? Find out here.