Friday, July 27, 2012

Ride to Mont Tremblant Park with the Rally


I went for a day ride with the 1200GS Rally to get acquainted.  The day was perfect – forecast was sunny with passing clouds, temperature: 70 Fahrenheit (20 Celsius).

The path that I followed to get to Mont Tremblant Park was somewhat tortuous.  Here’s the description.

1. Follow the 344 west alongside the Ottawa river…

For most Lower Laurentian motorcyclists the 344 is one of the most scenic roads in the area.

Before stopping at Carillon village to take this shot with the Hydro Quebec dam in the background, I was telling myself: “Wow!  What a great motorcycle!  The thrust from the throttle opening is just great and at all speeds, I must mention it in my ride report ... the saddle is really comfortable ... it's pure bliss ... I cannot believe I’m about to throw this wonderful bike on the unpaved roads ... I'm completely nuts ... etc etc ". In short, quite a monologue in my head.

As I planned to go for the day and I had no hard case provided with the bike, I strapped a rigid bag (Bags-Connection) that I bought years ago for a ride to Pennsylvania.  As you can see on the picture, the bag was a perfect match for the Rally!

2. At Grenville, turn left to the north and continue on Scotch road…


It's not a coincidence that I took Scotch road for this ride: to understand the bike’s behavior on rough roads. So here's how everything took place.

As usual, I stopped on the edge of this lake for a caffeine break.  I like the sight and contact with nature that this place offers.

After a while, two fellow adventurers I had seen before joined me. One named Martin and the other…well, unfortunately, I forgotMoi ?

Briefly, two great guys who chat on motorcycle forum. They enjoyed the Rally and were surprised to learn that I was from St-Eustache: "Huh? Weird ... your bike has an Ontario plate". I explained that it was a borrowed bike…hopefully they did not think I had stolen it!  One thing led to another, and they invited me to follow them.  I told them: "Sure! I have no specific plan, but do not wait if you lose sight of me, I would rather not take chances with the BM..."

So I started to follow these two amateurs ... but not for long!  These guys were great riders - they vanished in a flash!  The bright side is that in trying to follow them, I greatly increased the pace at which I used to ride on the bumpy Scotch road (especially after heavy rains the previous day). I noticed how the Rally suspension was effective and able to handle the obstacles while remaining stable. A world of difference with my Versys which requires much more caution.

Speaking of suspension, the Rally was equipped with electronic suspension (an option).  There are as many modes as one can ever imagine:

  1. one up;
  2. with luggage;
  3. with a passenger;
  4. with a passenger and luggage; 
  5. light off-road; and finally
  6. heavy off-road.

Each mode can then be configured as comfortable, normal or sport.  Total: 18 possible configurations at the tip of my fingers...a real gem!  Electronically adjustable suspension is the option I liked the most on the bike – and sincerely all road bikes should offer this feature.


Testing 1..2..3.  I took this picture when I was on my break before chatting with the two "amateurs".

I was often frustrated in the past because I was using my iPhone for photos and missed many wildlife moments. The day before the ride, I bought a Canon SX 230 HS with integrated GPS. It's always interesting to have the location of the images when you look at them back home ... but still, one needs to turn on the function!

Yes…I did not Triste

In short, with a 14x optical zoom, I was able to photograph these two tiny frogs.


Here is an overview of Scotch road in one technical section. A 4x4 would probably pass, but forget it by car.

Again, I was able to enjoy the low-end torque of the bike on my way up this path. Gear changes are optional!

Another thing I liked about this bike is the natural position when standing on the pegs.  It seemed like I could ride for miles without using the seat.

To be continued…next, part 2

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