Thursday, July 10, 2014

My new ride: TU250X

I just bought a TU250X last month. Here it is:

It is a small bike, but has a closed loop injection system, which means I won't run in the gummed carburetor problem I have on my GS500E. Plus it is light enough to do some mild off roading, or dual sporting, as it is now called. Since this is a street bike, I started with an easy ride: Spada lake, and I had a blast. I do not regret my choice of a light bike, off-road is where I can appreciate the simplicity of the TUX.

Seattle to Monroe, via back roads (Novelty Hills, NE Snoqualmie rd) ~ 35 miles.
Monroe to Spada Lake = 27miles, including 8miles of switch backs on gravel.

From Monroe WA, take Old Owens instead of the boring Highway 2. It will lead you to Sultan through a 35mph (legal limit) road. The TuX is in its ideal element on such roads.
Enter Sultan, take Highway 2 to cross town, then turn left on Sultan Bassin road at the last traffic light. This is another 35/25mph road, starting with a long hilly stretch, followed by multiple turns, the guys that drew those turns must has had the TuX in mind... Uphill, the engine nicely speaks as you progressively open the throttle.
The gravel road goes up to 2000FT in a series of switch backs, most of them taken in 2nd gear. There are a few flat stretches where I could go up to 4rth and allow the engine to cool of. The climb and the thinner air are going to put some thermal stress in the engine, so don't hammer it too hard. I kept rpms low, sometimes very low, just to reduce the amount of torque on the rear wheel and avoid skidding on the gravel. Everything went fine, and the engine sounds is pretty nice at low rpm.
At the top of the road, you have to register. There was a truck registering when I stop, one of the passengers came to me and said "nice bike, what year is it?". He was surprised to hear "2009". This is the second time I get a compliment on the bike, the first time was the day I bought it, 3 weeks ago. Leaving the registration area, I took the right path, the South Fork, which is the longest. The left path goes to Culmback dam, but it is a short drive, followed by a hike. The path on the right goes to two boat launches and nice picnic areas. Here is a pic at the first stop.

There are a few very nice picnic areas at that first stop. You can also fish. Here is a view of the lake, with snow covered tops in the background.

The gravel road goes further, with some nice views of the lake, and ends to a second rest stop / boat launch:

The lake is actually a fresh water reservoir that provides most of Snohomish county water. No swimming, nothing that involves body contact with the water, and no power boats allowed. I drink that water every day, so be kind :-)
View from the second boat launch, looking North. Only light row boats and electric boats allowed.

Same spot, looking South.

Time to leave. Last snapshot, looking at the mountains. The lake was in my back.

The drive back was fun, after the gravel switch backs, the Sultan Basin road is a dream on the TuX. Next time I may check Culmback dam.

One thing I found out is that the front fork springs are too soft for dual sporting, they compressed hard on the potholes. I was advised to replace them with stronger springs by a motorcycle mechanic I met on my morning commute. I think it is a good advise I will probably follow.

Warning: the road is snow covered for a good part of the year, and access to the lake is blocked by a barrier. Check on the snopud website for accessibility to the lake. It is open at this time of the year.