… Spark plugs, that is. Friday after work I rode over to Yamaha Sports Plaza for some scheduled maintenance work on my 2007 V-Strom. After 35,000 miles, it was time for a new air filter element and spark plugs. I went with the touted K&N air filter and the NGK spark plugs recommended by the service manager, Steve. While there I had them grease the speedometer sensor in the front axle. After a while it can dry out and make an odd chirping noise.

I rode home before the rain started. To anyone that isn’t aware of what’s been going on in Oregon lately, we’ve had an extremely wet winter and Spring. March had one or two days without measurable precipitation, and that was it. It’s been nothing but rain the rest of the time, and lots of it. The few dry days we’ve had have been noteworthy, and even die-hard web-footed Oregonians are starting to grumble about the sun’s absence.

It was dry again on Sunday, so I rode up to Ripplebrook ranger station and back. It’s one of my standard routes. The bike performed great and the new air filter and spark plugs make it feel like new again. It never felt old and has been rock solid for all 35,000 miles, but psychologically it felt new again. You know what I mean.

I’ve been practicing leaning off the bike a little bit on my turns, a la Leon Haslam and Valentino Rossi, etc. I don’t corner fast enough for it to be necessary but it’s fun to do. I’m considering taking a Total Control course and being able to lean off your bike is one of the things they teach you. Lately I’ve been dreaming of getting a sport bike in addition to my V-Strom. I don’t necessarily like to go fast but I really like carving up the twisties.

From a practical standpoint, a sport bike doesn’t make much sense, though. My V-Strom is capable of harder cornering than I am, so why get an even more capable bike until my skills jack up enough to utilize it? That’s where Total Control comes in. Not only is it a good idea to gain further mastery of the bike from a safety and confidence standpoint, I think the new skills it imparts would add some excitement to an already exciting motorcycle. Cornering like a sport bike is fun, but having the skill to live to do it again another day is even better.