Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Long Term Test: 2007 Honda S2000 Post #7

Update #7
Mileage: 82,057

As much as I love my S2000, I have to admit that it is starting to wear me down a bit physically. I recently changed jobs, necessitating having to travel to West Los Angeles daily. This is only a mere nine miles north of where I used to work by LAX, however, during rush hour traffic, that nine miles easily translates to an extra 30 to 40 minutes added to my commute. Driving from the South Bay to LAX and back was not all that painful, but driving from the South Bay to West LA and back is starting to actually hurt my back. It is also probably not good for my blood pressure either, as I find myself angry at other commuters far more often than I used to be.

East Brother and I have been talking about jointly getting a car for quite some time now, and we decided to push our timeline up. The idea was to get a car that I could use as a daily driver, and that East Brother could use as a road trip car if he and his wife needed to go somewhere that was beyond the range of their Focus Electric. We will reveal which car we picked over the course of the next few weeks. Of course, this is a post about my S2000, and not our new car.

Back to my S2000. Since my last post, I have had to take my car in for its 90,000 mile scheduled tuneup. I always knew maintaining the S2000 was not exactly going to be cheap, but this scheduled tuneup ended up being quite a bit more than I had expected. All those years of sloughing around in 405 rush hour traffic clearly did not do my car any favors. After spending well over $1,500 to get my S2000 back into top shape, it is interesting that it will only see duty on weekends now. I definitely still love the car, and I do sometimes miss driving it daily. The plan now is to see how things work out with our new vehicle, and to possibly turn my S2000 into a project car. I suppose we will see what happens down the line.

Oh, and that infernal clutch pedal squeak is back. See what I mean? Mind of its own.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Editorial: California legalizing lane splitting is hugely important

The debate has been a long and boisterous one, but after all the battling, the stats finally won out and the state of California is the first in the US to officially make lane-splitting legal. Lane-splitting has always drawn a lot of controversy in America, a country dominated by car drivers who selfishly believe that the roads are theirs and theirs alone.

Even in California, the practice had previously only been allowed because it was not expressly disallowed. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) supported it because it allowed their motor officers to move more freely through the gridlock traffic that burdens the greater LA and San Francisco areas during nearly all hours of the day. Motorcyclists support it because it allows riders the ability to move through traffic and keep air flowing to prevent overheating (mostly of the rider, though some older bikes benefit from it too). Car drivers, however, have long disliked the practice because it requires that they be more attentive about lane position and lane changes. Still, most drivers who have lived in California long enough have grudgingly adapted to it, some better than others.

But by taking it from a tolerated act by virtue of lack of legislation to a totally legal act backed by legislation and with guidelines to be provided by law enforcement, California has changed the game. By making it expressly legal, California is saying that lane-splitting is not just safe enough to be a practice, it is safe enough to be a law. That has long been a major argument used by detractors of lane-splitting to fight its implementation in other states. Many opponents have argued that by allowing one kind of traffic to travel between other traffic, it increases the chances for collisions, even though this has not been backed by the statistics. If anything, it has reduced one of the most common car-motorcycle collisions, which is motorcyclists being hit from behind in slow moving or stopped traffic. When practiced with abundant and appropriate caution, lane-splitting makes motorcyclists safer with little impact on car drivers at all.

By taking the step to make lane-splitting a fully legal act, California is hopefully the first domino to fall in what will eventually be more states allowing the act. Attempts have been made to legalize lane-splitting in states such as Arizona and Oregon, but all were quashed by legislators representing car-centric constituents who are fearful of change. But now that someone else has taken a major leap, hopefully more attempts will be made to bring up lane-splitting legislation and more "trial periods" will be considered as other state legislatures begin to realize the potential safety and traffic relief benefits that lane-splitting can bring.

Friday, August 26, 2016

F-Type vs. S2000: Is the Jag Really Worth an Extra $42k?

Ever since we acquired a Jaguar F-Type in our long term garage, we have been wanting to pit West Brother's S2000 against it in a sort of "David vs. Goliath" type scenario. Seems like an apples to oranges type comparison, right? Strangely enough, not really. The 2015 Jaguar F-Type we have access to is the standard, supercharged V6 equipped model, making 340 horsepower. Its fastest recorded zero to 60 time is five seconds flat, with a 13.0 second sprint to the quarter mile. West Brother's 2007 Honda S2000, while having a 100 horsepower deficit, makes up for the power difference with a huge weight advantage. The fastest recorded zero to 60 time is 5.4 seconds, with a quarter mile sprint completed in 13.8 seconds. Just by looking at the numbers, there really is not a huge difference in performance. From just performance alone, the Jag has a hard time justifying that extra $42,000. But what about the rest of the car?

Friday, August 12, 2016

Test Ride: 2016 BMW F800R

Lately, while having the K1200S serviced, I took the opportunity to take one of the dealerships loaners out for a day. My local dealer, BMW of Long Beach, has a number of brand new F800R nakeds available as rented loaners for riders who did not originally purchase their bikes there. For $50 a day, I had essentially unlimited miles and a chance to play with a brand new motorcycle.

Designed to compete in the middle weight super-naked class that has increased in popularity in recent years, the F800R is BMW's answer to bikes like the Yamaha FZ-07 and Kawasaki Z800. However, taking a decidedly BMW spin to the idea of a middle weight super-naked, the existing F800 sport touring platform was modified with a regular chain-drive rear wheel and stripped down to the bare essentials. Using a 798cc parallel twin making 90 hp and 63 lb-ft of torque, the streetfighter comes standard with ABS and ASC to ensure safety, but provides strong torquey power low in the rev range making daily riding in city traffic as easy as lofting its front wheel at a twist of the wrist.