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Discussion Starter #1
I'm back from the ride to Hill City, South Dakota, to attend an annual BMW centric rally held by another MC forum I belong to and would like to post some pics and a ride report on my ST experience.

Even though I've owned the ST for about three years I've only done day rides, i.e., 100 to 250 mile days in CO so my experiential reference is limited. The one way trip was about 430 miles of which about half was slab and half 2 lane/back country riding. The ride up was relatively uneventful with only some rather nasty wind to contend with in wonderful Wyoming.

For those of you who've never ridden in Wyoming, here's a good weather guide:


Taken somewhere close to Lusk, WY:


Like the 907IE I owned before the ST, weight worked against my steed while out on the open road. At 450+ pounds one would think a motorcycle WITH luggage AND rider would handle the elements well. The ST did but it/we also got tossed around like a cork in the ocean. I arrived at the rally destination tired from fighting the elements but in good spirits. It also helped to have a bourbon on the rocks or three after unpacking, showering, and changing into street clothes.

More to follow.....
 

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Discussion Starter #3
......so there I am in street clothes standing in the parking lot of the Lodge at Palmer Gulch, a KOA resort. A small crowd gathers around the ST and ask lots of questions. By this time I'm pretty tired and in need of something to wet my whistle and lo and behold, there's a bar & restaurant a mere 100 yards from my room. :)

The next day I head out to the parking lot with a cuppa joe to kibbitz and find out who's riding where. It didn't take long to snag an invite so I suited up and off we went to the Needles Highway: https://www.visitrapidcity.com/things-to-do/black-hills-cruising/needles-highway

Here are a few pics from that ride:


A pic of a tunnel cut through the mountain:





Our small ride group, I was joined by "Ed" from Utah riding a Triumph 800 dual sport and "Brad" from Dallas riding a BMW RT.


Ed & Brad consulting Brad's cell phone map program:


A little history about the gent who the tunnel's named after:


To be continued.....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
.....and here's more.....My mighty/sexy/gorgeous/mystical ST and Ed's Triumph 800 whatever-the-f**k-you-call-it:


Getting close to Mt. Rushmore:


Hey, I know that guy! He's on the dollar bill!!!


We wanted to visit the monument but the line of cars, RV's, and Harley's was way too long to waste time.

The event featured other BMW forum members cooking a different meal each night. The resort let us use one of their event buildings where a bar was set up inside with libations for all tastes and two large propane grills where many brats and burgers cooked to perfection. Featured in this pic is Brian, a member from CA who rode in on a Yamaha FJ:


To be continued.....
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
....my fourth day at the rally started with an invite to join a slightly larger group on a ride to Devil's Tower. The group consisted of seven riders on various bikes, all with experienced riders heading out for what was to be a very spirited trip of about 275 miles round trip. The ride leader was armed with a radar detector which came in handy on several occasions. :)

The first leg of the trip went straight to the monument without stopping. Not a big deal if one is riding slab but our trip was mostly 2 lane twisties at a high rate of speed (I ain't saying HOW fast if ya know what I mean) with no stopping. Here we are close to the Tower:


And here we are at a tourist trap just outside the main entrance:


The ride back was just as spirited - and hot - which left me arriving back at the resort exhausted. Later that day I spent time with fellow rally attendees on what would be the eve of my last day at the event.

I own a small business and this is my busy time of the year so with things being the way they are I elected to return a day earlier than planned. The KOA desk clerk let me out of my stay without dinging me for the cancellation so I packed and hauled ass. The skies looked perfect but that changed as I got closer to Wyoming where I encountered rainstorms with high winds so strong I came within a few feet of meeting some rancher's pasture.

In all, I encountered six rainstorms with one being mixed with hail. This occurred a few miles north of the WY-CO border and I was able to seek refuge under an overpass. Within minutes I was surrounded by a flock of motorists trying to save their cars from serious hail damage. About ten minutes later the hail stopped but the rain continued so I decided to head out into the great (wet) unknown albeit with protection from my rain gear. A few miles later I'd passed through the storm and saw clear skies ahead which then gave way to about 3 1/2 hours of almost continuous stop and go traffic starting near Loveland, CO, until I crested the apex of Monument Hill, the northern most boundary of El Paso County, home to Colorado Springs, a span of about 110 miles. I love Colorado but am beginning to dislike its growing traffic congestion.

My impression of the ST3 is that it's a most capable sport tourer with the emphasis being on the "sport" side which contrasts with my BMW R1150RT. The RT's heft helps when dealing with strong cross winds, the ST's svelte countenance makes it the ideal ride for aggressive back road intrastate jaunts. Still, I love them both and each has proven itself on a number of levels.

Thanks for reading!
 

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Regarding wind sensitivity, you might try playing with the rear ride height. When on the centerstand, increasing the gap between the tire and floor "heavies" the steering response and seems to enhance stability at speed. Even a 1/4" change in that gap makes a noticeable difference. Because I don't do much freeway riding and am often stuck in traffic, I went the other way to lighten the steering and now have a ~3/8" tire to concrete gap. The numbers you get may be different, depending on brand of tires, how the front forks compress on the particular bike and rider weights, etc., but the effect will be in play regardless.
 
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