Monday, June 1, 2015

Solo Bataan Ride with the XR150L

Bataan is a very historical place, being witness  to the hundreds of Americans and Filipino forces during World War 2 when the Japanese had them march to their deaths.

Ok, so they delivered to me the most beautiful creation in the world.  A motorcycle.  And not just a motorcycle but a motorcycle that is capable of going off roads, the XR150L.

I so wanted to take the XR150L for a spin last weekend but it was coincidentally our company outing. Actually, it was the perfect excuse.

After the Honda event Let Your Beat Out wrapped up, I immediately hopped on the XR150L and trod the dreaded Metro Manila's traffic despite it was already 10.30pm.  When I reached Bulacan, I was hexed by thousands of so many little things that hampered my way to our company outing in Morong, Bataan.  There's the unannounced splatter of rains, and the flooding that made many motorists u-turned just to avoid it, adding to the already massive traffic jam in the area.  Oh and the ongoing constructions didn't help.  So to recap, there were potholes, constructions, flood, muddy, unpaved road and I was tackling all those at night all night. The Honda XR150L handled them all easily.

I reached my destination, Juness Beach Resort at 3.30am.

This ride is actually my commitment to our company outing.  Of course I took the opportunity to brandish the XR150L and tear the wide open roads of Bataan.
Frankly, even though I missed the wild drinking session and neighbor-disturbing karaoke of the boys and girls the night before, I've had to much fun enjoying the sand and waves of Morong, the forced boodle fight (most did not bring own utensils) and the perpetual photo-sessions of my workmates.

It was exactly 12nn when everybody boarded the bus back to Manila.  And it's just me and my bike, and we still had a good half day to spend roaming Bataan.  So the logical thing to do?  Roam Bataan!

When goodbyes were said, I immediately twisted the throttle to it's maximum configuration, Bataan roads are nice!  At this point, with already close to 500 kilometers registered on the odo, I already have a good feel of what the XR150L is all about.  It's fast it's agile and it's powerful. The Bagac-Morong road led me to the kilometer zero of the series of markers that reminds how Filipino and American forces suffered pain and ultimately death in World War 2.  It's surreal to think about what happened here so many years ago, still gives me chills about hour heroic history against oppression from the Japanese.

The Death March marker is the Kilometer 00 when they started their doomed walk.
There are two kinds of kilometer stones in Bataan.  This one marks the distance in kilometers that was traveled by Bataan Death March soldiers.
Carrying on, Governor JJ Linao National Road is a series of twisting and turning road that lead up to the Mt. Samat National Shrine also known as the Dambana ng Kagitingan a reminder of the Filipino and American heroism in the last World War.  

The twisting roads to Dambana ng Kagitingan.  See the fire trees?  They're beautiful!
See that small upright speck atop the mountain?  That's the Dambada ng Kagitingan that commemorates the fallen soldiers during the World War 2.  I had a round of my el-cheapotitis, and decided a 20 Pesos entrance was too much draining for my pockets.  

Registered 600 kilometers already.  The XR150L is a very VERY fun bike to ride.
My Riding Impression on the XR150L:  (Ride Review)

I think I can honestly say that the XR150L is one of the best, bang for the buck, bikes one could ever own  Its dual-purpose nature allows the rider continuous riding despite many road hazards such as surprise potholes, unseen speedbumps, and many other things.  No need to slow down for them.

This bike has decent speed, and that's all the speed you'll need.  Remember the XR150L is a dualsports bike.  If you want really fast one, go get the CBR.  But the immediate power for the XR150L is there.  Overtaking is no problemo with the 12.6 horsepower.  The fastest I registered was just above 105 kmh.  I was told it could go faster.  But I'm entirely satisfied with that speed.

As for the handling, it's light, quick and nimble.  Weaving in and out of traffic jams is almost a joy with this bike's attributes.  If you're one who's embattled with the every traffic of the Metro, a shortened handlebar would do wonders for snaking around cars.

Braking is decent, with the front's disc brake and the rear's drum brake.  If you find yourself more on the road, the front's disc brake is more than enough to stops the bike effectively.  The rear brake is a major component in trail riding.  Though we'd wish for disc, the drums seems to do the job properly.

All other electricals are decent such as a bit brighter headlight, flexible signal lights.  The rear light and brake light are highly visible at night.  The horn is, well, due to Japan's regulation against "noisy" horns, they have no choice but to abide and not equip the XR150L's with a more imposing horns.  Pfft.  

The tires are real dual-purposes, as such, they grip the road nicely and offroads, they still give moderate traction against the dirt elements.  But if you plan to use it more for offroading, you'd want to change the tires to an 18-21 combination for rolling things over.

Impression?  Impressed!  I'm happy with the XR125L.  But now that I've had a taste of a 150cc, I want it!  I really really want it.