Been going to COTA MotoGP and combining it with a few days of riding the Texas hill Country to shake off the Minnesota winters. Usually I throw a bike in the back of the truck and head down, but this year at the end of March a 1098R showed up on Ebay out of Austin. Been looking for one of these for a few years, but unlike most buyers who want pristine gem like bikes, I tend to prefer ones a bit moist around the edges. I collect bikes, but have no interest in garage queen static displaying the bikes I own. I try to put at least 300 miles a year on everything I own so I try to avoid ultra low mile bikes. I also like my bikes to work properly which means unless a seller can give me proof of service and tuning by a shop that I'm familiar with, I'm going to do a full service and have Lofgren tune it, so a recent service can be a negative. Got a magical painter so the need for a bit of paint work doesn't bother me either. The 1098R on Ebay fits the bill well. 12K miles some slight tip over damage, "ready to ride" and the seller will hold the bike till I get to Austin. No shipping costs! Winner, winner chicken dinner. I drive down to Austin empty, planning to ride the 1098R when I get to Texas.
In the flesh, no big surprises. The good, the bike has some nice aftermarket riser bars on it and comes with current TX tag. The bad, about a half dozen fairing screws missing, rear tire is plugged and it won't start! Cranks over fine, but won't fire, the seller is getting nervous swearing that it started and ran fine and has been sitting on a battery tender up until I showed up. After cranking it for a while, we decide to put it on a charger to make sure it isn't somehow a weak battery. Nope, that isn't it. It takes 3 things for a bike to run, air, spark and gas. Open the fuel cap up. No gas. Put some gas in it and we're good to go.
First stop, Alpine to ride Big Bend NP the next day. On the way I go through some torrential downpour with hail. Never thought I'd be thankful that a 1098R has a plastic tank. Off loading the bike in Alpine, I set about making sure it is ready to ride. Fill the tank with gas, mount a ring for a tank bag on the tank, wire power to the tank bag, check the tire pressures, adjust the chain, put a Sargent seat on it that I already had. Hmmm, one of the bolts that hold the seat down isn't screwed in at all! I give a much closer look over, but everything looks good.I ride it around the block and it seems fine. We'll see for sure the next day.
Beautiful morning out on the road on the way to Big Bend. After a dozen or so miles of normal speeds, everything seems good. The road stretches to the horizon and I progressively open it up. It is 80 miles from Alpine to Big Bend, Suspension needs to be adjusted to my weight, but otherwise everything works I get to Big Bend in less than an hour. Guess everything is mechanically fine.
At the end of my visit, the current TX tag comes in handy. A park ranger catches me at 70+, the limit in the park is 45. I not only have a current TX tag, but also have a MN temp registration and current proof of insurance for the bike with me. He lets me go, but declines to let me take a picture of the pull over. He's the first park ranger I've ever seen wearing a bullet proof vest. The west is clearly still wild in certain parts. To celebrate I hit a higher top speed on the way back to Alpine. Yep everything is mechanically fine. 365 miles for the day.
Next stop Kerrville