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Discussion Starter #1
Not sure where to start but I guess I'll go with saying we purchased my wife's first motorcycle this weekend, the lovely R3 ABS. Got a lightly used one with 2,000 miles on it for $4,300 OTD, and the cheapest price I could get from 8 dealerships around Seattle on a new one was 4,999 OTD. So we got a 2017 and saved $700.

Anyway, bike purchased on the East side of the Cascades here in amazing WA state. We live on the wet, West, side. We happened to be going over to what we locals call the "dry side" anyway and ended up buying this bike from a dealer over there. Anticipating this, I had brought all my riding gear.

What followed was 470 miles of the most epic new bike ride I can imagine. I drove the wife's bike (it's hers but she hasn't ridden since taking her BRC so we are going to ease her into it) first from near Pasco, WA to Pullman, WA. That was a lot of dark, cold, rainy riding on two lane country roads. Pullman is where Washington State University is, but it's on Mars as far as being in the middle of nowhere. Because the R3 is new, and not my fully outfitted Concours 14, I had no heated grips, heated suit, or big windscreen. Needless to say, despite all my clothing efforts, I was cold, wet and worn ragged by the time we got to Pullman some 3 hours later.

The next day we had to ride/drive back to Seattle. Along the way I experienced every possible riding condition one can have on a street bike. We had sun and warmth at the beginning. Then we entered several hours of howling windstorm. By wind I mean 50 knots of wind in the Columbia Gorge and nearby terrain. It was so incredibly windy that the little R3 was getting tossed sideways like a toy. I was gripped for hours. There was a full on dust storm during this time.

A little later, leaving the worst of the winds behind, we begin our climb up to Snoqualmie Pass, the pass I90 goes over to Seattle. It started pouring rain. POURING RAIN. We climbed up to the 3,000 foot pass in a deluge, with the rain and spray obscuring visibility to nothing but the lights of the car ahead.

After an hour of rain, we dropped down to Seattle where it was sunny, dry and warm.

On this 470 mile first ride, I had sun, rain, day, night, storm force winds, a dust storm, warmth and cold down to 42 degrees.

The R3 is a grand little bike, and I've bonded with it. But I was sure wishing I was on my Connie. I should mention by way of credibility that I am an MSF certified instructor and a year round commuter. I know wild weather on bikes.

Nice to join this forum, and I do most all work on our machines myself. Keep the rubber side down y'all.
 

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I had a fantastic time reading your post. Couldn't help but to feel vicarious pains & pleasures of your trip. I also like your username, is that an ode to the Coast Salish?

I'm hoping to get on an R3 within the next month, very excited.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Zen, Yes, I give respect to the Coast Salish whose traditional territory we all live in here around Seattle. I'm not Native, but believe respect is due to their loss and the beauty of this area.

Anyway, glad you liked the write up. There is a lot of detail I left out for the sake of brevity. You know how difficult experiences like this assume detailed and unforgettable impressions? I can still clearly recall every second of my time riding down to the Columbia River and then up toward Ellensburg, in the confirmed 50 knot winds and dust storms. And the pouring rain on the mountain pass and 42 degree temps while riding behind my wife in the car, I will not soon forget.

She was so terrified for me. I told her later I wish she hadn't been near me because I think it scared her more than it did me. She was looking back and seeing my bike get thrown around within my lane where it was windy. And she couldn't even see me behind her during the deluge in the mountains. I wear a bright yellow High Viz one piece by Scorpion and she could see glimpses of my brightness behind her.

All's well that ends well. Now we have a beautiful R3 in our garage that we saved a lot of money on. And I got another few stories to tell around the fireplace of my future life.
 

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First mod I'd recommend, would be to get rid of the stock (bias-ply) Michelins. The slightest sideways breath can push you over to the adjacent lane. I put on some Dunlop GPR-300's and it's a night and day difference. Any radial tire should work as well, from the research I've done. As a new rider, that one "mod" improved my confidence in the bike's handling immensely.
 

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I thought the Pilot Street is a radial tire? That's what I see online.
Your R3's OEM Michelin Pilot Street tires are bias ply, thus the recommendation from most to replace with ----- (fill in the blanks) radial tires. And YES, most retailers I've noticed advertise Michelin Radial Pilot Street tire. Same name, different construction. You'll get tremendous mileage out of the original bias ply tires, but more grip and performance out of a radial tire, at the expense of longevity. It's certainly a trade-off. But, most riders on this forum are willing to give up mileage for better grip and handling qualities concerning their tires. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Oh, that's interesting. In that case I fully agree with those here. I live in the rainy PNW, and this is my wife's first bike. I don't give a crap about longevity. I care only about grip, stopping distance and handling. Guess I will be replacing these tires with what I use on my Connie sooner than later. I ride the PR4's on my Connie but don't think those are made for this tiny bike. May look at the radial version of this same tire.
 
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