I've been avoiding riding Mr. Oilburner's RT for a year. I do not want to be the one responsible for dropping it for the first time. And drop it I will since I am so obsessively thinking about it. Kinda like object fixation; if you continue to stare at something because you really want to avoid it, you will more then likely hit it dead on.
I've sat on the RT and tried it on for size. And it has always felt a little tall. I've tried maneuvering it in the garage and just found that I couldn't really flat foot it. And I really like having that full contact with the ground. Especially for something that feels so top heavy.
So I have been avoiding riding that thing. Until...
The weather was great and we needed to clear our heads, so we hopped on the bikes and headed SW for a late lunch/early dinner. And, of course, I played it into my head that the friction point didn't feel right on my baby. It felt like it was at the very end of my fingertips and that I only had about a quarter of an inch to let it slip. I needed that slip for all of the slow dimwits in front of me that accelerated from 0 to 35 in 3.2 miles. So I was doing some jerky around, not really having the room to slip the clutch.
Mr. Oilburner thinks this is all in my head. He just can't reconcile that anything can go wrong with a hydraulics clutch. My adjustment knob is nowhere it can be accidentally adjusted. And if something were to go wrong with the clucth and hydraulics it would cause the friction point to move closer to the grip, not farther away.
We reach an area that I know is basically a straight shot forward with no real turns and no hills. So I pull over and tell him to see what it feels like to him. I traded bikes. Wow. I mean these bikes are "supposed" to be the same. But they aren't.
First, the seating position is just taller, not to mention that cushiony padded bum rest that feels like an air cushion seat in a truck with air suspension. Just kind of float along. Back to the height...it is conducive to sitting up straighter than the R. And it seems the seat to foot peg distance might be a little longer on the RT than the R. I've noticed quite a few people in the R boards complain about leg issues and eventually install a peg lower kit on the R's. So I might not be crazy.
Second, the cockpit on that thing!?! Of course, I pull out of the parking lot and someone just so happens to be passing in the opposite lane. I really don't want to run into them, but the bike just doesn't seem to be turning. Now, I don't look at the windshield on my R when turning, but it is in my periphery and I am aware of it and the angle to horizon when turning. That damn windshield wasn't turning!! I manage to turn that behemoth into my lane (don't worry, there wasn't any near miss, just in my head) and point her straight down the road. This gives me the chance to take in windshield, mirrors and instrument panel. Nothing moves on that thing!! I just don't get any feedback of turning.
Third, the mirrors suck. They are placed in front of, and lower, than the grips. They are convex, giving a little more view of things behind. But the top half is taken up with my knuckles on those grips. You could have seen the death grip, slowing turning my skin white, if I didn't have gloves on.
Fourth, the gearing is completely different. I can't seem to find a spec sheet for the gear ratio, but Mr. Oilburner and I have had lengthy discussions during our rides comparing gear to tach information. We know they have different gearing. I found the gears quite acceptable. It promoted regular shifiting and nice speeds. Of course, I wasn't prepared to go over 50, but I am sure that would have come along in time. I also found downshifting extremely smooth.
Why wouldn't I go over 50? Fifth...without that feedback of turning the handlebars the thing just seemed to respond so quickly to the mere hint of pressure on the grips. I could flick that thing around easily, at speed. I didn't want to press my luck of something darting in front of me going faster than I was comfortable.
Sixth, connection to the bike. My little R, with the lower seat, allows me to tuck my pelvis into that tank and grip it with my knees in the provided contours. On the RT, I just felt like I was sitting on top of the bike. I didn't feel a real connection to it, to be able to snuggle into it and purr along together.
Seventh, those windsails they call fairings. OK. I may be exagerating a little. Nah! There wasn't much of a wind to speak of, but gusts would come through now and again. I could definitely feel it on the RT. Not anything that worried me. But then again, they weren't coming across a 1000 acre plain at 60 mph. And all those fairings masked the engine noise...what little there is.
In all, I probably ventured 10 miles on it. At most. It was a very interesting experiecing and I am glad that I finally did it. I will not be hopping on it first the next time we go out. I'm still in love with my baby. But there are definitely differences between two bikes that are supposed to be closer than kissing cousins.