12.31.2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all 3 or 4 of our readers.

Hope you put many happy miles on your odometer this year. Let's get together and ride.

12.26.2012

Snow riding madman.

I've mentioned him in the past. This pictures captures him perfectly. This is Wheels:

12.20.2012

Short trip up memory lane: A pre-holiday ride

I've been clocking a few miles here and there on the Yamaha. The longest being to Red's house and back. For a while now I've been thinking about taking a visit back to the old town I grew up in. Life has a way of circling back to your past and as it were I now live 30 minutes from where I grew up. Since my father passed away earlier this year I've had an itch to go back to my old stomping ground.

I've been waiting for the right time for this short trip and had initially planed on Saturday December 15th. The rain shut the trip plans down however, Red and I did get together for some wet weather skills improvement.



December 16th ended up being a perfect day.
I met Red at a nearby McDonalds. After a quick trip overview and the securing of a neglected helmet strap and we were off.

The temperature was around 45ยบ. I had installed some MSR soft hand guards to protect my hands from the wind. However, because the Yamaha doesn't have dedicated hand guard supports I had some issues with the guard. The soft hand guards were applying force to the front brake level causing the brake light to come on. Red disconnected the switch fixing the problem. Also, when I would turn to the left sharply, the left hand guard would press against my tank bag causing the horn to sound announcing my arrival everywhere we stopped. After the 3rd frustration I vowed to purchase the MSR clamp on hand guards which would put some support between the soft guards and control levers.

The trip mostly hugged a local reservoir, though recreationally it was lifeless this time a year. The areas that were familiar to me have been fully developed with new homes. Many of the landmarks remain the same but the area around them have been altered with time.



The home my family and I lived in was relatively new at the time. Today it shows age and looked empty under the overgrown trees. It was strange to see how small the neighbor hood really is. From 10 year old perception the area was much larger.

We drove by a number of familiar homes and places. Then left the neighborhood to stop by the local park. I used to be on a little league baseball team sponsored by Dairy Queen. We used to have practice at this park every weekend.





This old gorilla has been around longer than I have. There were a few more animal sculptures in the 80's but the gorilla seems to be the last. Few original items remained in the park including an old metal curly slide. I remember how its mirror like surface used to burn the crap out of you in the summer.

After the visit to the park we headed into town for some ice cream at Dairy Queen. When we pulled in the only other vehicle in the parking lot was a Harley Davidson. When we walked in, the rider was sitting down with no apparent riding gear.

Look Mom. No helmet!

Look Mom! No helmet!
On a side note, not to get on a gear bandwagon (to each his own), but while Christmas shopping I did see a kids Harley Davidson sporting a child with no helmet. Cool.

Today was the day for motorcycles though. Three older gentlemen in the late 50's or early 60's in full riding gear pulled in on two BMW's and a Ducati. Friendly guys. After some quick "safe travel" wishes, Red and I were off to our last destination. Last on my list was my old Elementary School.



A small school out the middle of corn fields. The only destination on this trip that hasn't been overdeveloped with homes. The school still looked the same.

I was able to peer in a couple of windows and see the same hallways I once sat on the floor to sort my Garbage Pail Kids cards. Good memories.

After the school the trip was over. Good weather and no serious bike issues. A big plus.

Overall the trip is what I expected. No profound connection or sense of closure. The trip was a reassurance of where I should be looking. Forward. It was good to experience but I don't want or need to let my mind live there.

Big thanks to Red and his patience. I'm looking forward to our next ride.

12.18.2012

dashboard lights

I've been pondering the idea of adding a gear position sensor to the Buell.  A friend of mine told me about HealTech Electronics, they produce a whole range of cool products for motorcycles.

I'm eyeing the GIPRO DS-Series gear indicator and the Brake Light Pro. The build looks high quality, they're waterproof and seem to be fairly plug and play.  Prices look very reasonable as well. 




12.17.2012

Squeezing in a few more days.

McMark and I went out on Sunday so he could get pics of some spots from his childhood. I needed to do a test ride after advancing my timing. The ride was great, the Buell acted up after some low speed riding. I definitely think the fan is not activating when it should. Another sign of a failing engine temp sensor. All in all, a good ride.











12.14.2012

shudder to stop

Buells with ZTL brakes are notorious for brake pulsing and my bike is not immune.  Most people assume it's a warped rotor, others believe it's pad build up.  Another thought is the flexible mount system on the rotor mounts becomes bound up or off center.  Unlike normal brakes, where the caliper is spring mounted, the ZTL system uses a solid mounted caliper and a spring mounted rotor.

Jacking up the bike to remove the wheel is a bit nerve racking.  The exhaust has two jack points, one front and one rear.  The weight shifts to the opposite wheel and the side stand.





Removing the front wheel, is complicated by the perimeter rotor design.  It's not difficult, it would just be easier with a third arm.  Once the wheel is off, all you need is a T40 socket and you can pull the rotor.  Under the rotor lives the flexible mount system.  I soaked the hardware in good ol' PB Blaster while I prepped the rotor for resurfacing.  






Unfortunately, I didn't take any pics of the sanding process.  I used my el cheapo electric sander and some 200 grit paper.  Using the vice to hold the rotor, a few light passes with the sander then a few by hand and I moved on to rinsing with brake parts cleaner.  

Reassembly was difficult until I realized I was being stupid.  (That tends to happen.)  Once the wheel and rotor were back together, you could definitely see (maybe not from the pics) there was a change in appearance.  





Putting the wheel back, was just like the removal, complicated by the rotor.  After some struggles, I got the wheel back in place.  The axle is a left hand threaded, so be aware!  With the wheel back on, I could feel once spot of drag and I'm curious if it's due to reusing the old hardware.  





Tomorrow, McMark and I will finally get to ride together, even though it's just a short one.  I'll update this post with a report on the brakes.  


**update**

McMark and I did some laid back riding today, focusing on getting experience riding in the rain.  The front brake on the Buell is much better but not perfect.  Time to order the replacement hardware kit.  I don't believe the rotor is warped, it was just build up.

I need to hook the bike up to ECMSpy to see if I'm still getting a trouble code for the active muffler control.  I'm having some low speed popping and stumbles, including one stall.  I need to clean the throttle body and plates, while I'm in there, I might as well clean the IAT and see if it helps.

**update**

12.06.2012

AGV Sport Telluride H2O Motorcycle Pants Review

I was excited to see these pants at my doorstep a few Tuesdays ago. I had caught a sale at motorcycle superstore the pervious weekend and was even more surprised when they showed up 2 business days later.

After I popped the box open I found the pants adorn with tags featuring all the flashy features of these pants. The AGV Sport Telluride H2O's come with a quilted thermal liner and a waterproof liner which where already in place when I pulled them from the box. I wear a size 33 in jeans and with little help from the ambiguous sizing chart and online product comments, I ordered the regular large. The AGV's are not over pants so expect to bring some different pants if you don't want to where armor while off the bike.

With the 2 additional liners in place the pants are snug and have a "stay in place" feel to them. The knee armor was positioned slightly low on my knees which should be positioned correctly for my riding position. With all the liners in place, my legs began to sweat really quickly. Because these pants are snug, it took quite a bit of effort to remove them once my legs got sweaty.

To secure the pants to your waist there are two adjusters on either side of the pants. I've almost never been known for my hulk like strength but when I gave the right adjuster a tug it ripped free from the pants. Working on the assumption that these pants won't disintegrate in a crash, I decided I would sew the adjuster back on. However, a week later the other side ripped free as well providing me with more sewing practice.

Overall I'm very happy with the pants. Other than than the adjuster straps, the pants seem well constructed. I didn't spend a lot of money and being my first pair of motorcycle pants, and I felt like I got a pretty good bargain. My next priority will be to get a compatibile jacket that will zip to the pants back panel.

Overall Impression:
Good construction (where you need it)
Comfortable and warm on cool and windy days.
Priced right for a beginner rider looking for good protection.


12.03.2012

one smaller issue down.... one big one to go.

In the process of trying to track down the issue on the Ulysses, I've fixed a few other that popped up. As much as I liked the idea of a throttle lock, it was causing some serious drag on the right hand grip.  That plus some poorly routed cables caused the throttle to not snap back as intended.   That's been taken care of.

While doing TPS resets using ECMSpy and a cable, I noticed the TPS voltage would randomly change, as would the opening percentage.  That can't be good!  At first I thought the sensor might be failing and at 67k miles, not surprising.  Before I threw down the dough to Southside Harley Davidson for a TPS, I decided to be smart and check connections. I have a sneaking suspicion that the TPS sensor probably works better when it doesn't wobble on the throttle body!

The mounting bolts are little.  9/32 of an inch little.  With it being almost 6pm on a Sunday, Wheels and I head towards Lowes in search of some micro wrenches.  Kobalt didn't make any so it was time to race to Sears in hopes of a Craftsman solution.  I found a bag of ignition wrenches that are perfect!  With the TPS tightened, we did another reset and I went out for a test ride.

The idle was smooth and all was well until the bike hit closed loop mode, then it went to hell again.  Tonight, we'll be replacing the oxygen sensor to see if that helps.  If that doesn't work, then I'm going to go ahead and  track down an CPS.

**UPDATE**
The culprit ended up being a failing TPS.

It was replaced with one from AutoZone.  Duralast #TPS213, fits early XB12X only.


11.29.2012

A quick trip to Motorcycle Superstore Outlet


This week I spent a few days in Louisville for work. While I was there I thought I would slip away and check out the Motorcycle Superstore Outlet. Along with the decision ride again came the endless gear quest.

I've been lucky to have great friends who have been gracious enough to outfit me with some essential pieces of gear. For the kit I'm putting together I needed find a decent pair of riding boots. I've been poking around on all the major retailer sites for good deals but nothing has really grabbed my attention. I was hoping to pop into Motorcycle Superstore Outlet, be overwhelmed, make a few selections and walk out with a good deal.

I walked in around 1pm on a Thursday. The shop was dead. I was greeted by a very friendly sales person. We talked a little about riding and about how the outlet works. I informed him that I was looking for a pair of touring boots. He happily led the way and let me know that he would be around if I had any questions. There were quite of few offerings. I started picking up a few pairs to check the size when the idea of an outlet hit me. I'm of average height, weight, and shoe size. Those types of products don't have problems selling. If however you are a small or very large male or just female then this is your gold mine.

Finally I found a pair in my size. A sharp looking boot with an aggressive sole. I liked the idea of having a sole I could tromp around in, especially if we were going to do some adventure riding with camping. The price tag was a bit more than what I was looking to spend. I tried them on and liked the fit and features but really I have no experience to compare them against. After a pricing nudge from the sales person I was out the door with my newly purchased Rev'it Apache H2O boots.



I got home from my trip early enough to get a ride in before I had to pick the kids up. The boots kept my feet nice and warm and I felt a little more secure with the boots covering my shins. The only issues I had were working the shifter and foot pegs. The boots prevented me from getting a good feel on the shifter. Because of this I missed a few gears. I assume I'll be more in tune with the boots in the future. Also, because of the aggressive tread on the sole I was often searching for the right footing on my pegs or wondering about the placement of my feet when downshifting and coming to a stop. I'm looking forward to putting a few more rides in on them. As for the Motorcycle Superstore Outlet, I'm pretty happy with the service I received. I plan on taking another trip down some time this winter.




11.27.2012

A Hard Restart: an introduction to McMark.


I owe Red a lot of thanks for many things in my life and this is no exception. Red and I have gone through a number of adventures in our lives and I look forward to many more. As Red mentioned I am now the proud owner of the Seca II. 

For as much similarities as Red and I have, our lives at home are different. Because of this, our perspectives may differ as well. The hope for my contribution in this blog is communicate my view around that context. 

As Red mentioned I am a returning rider. What he hasn't mentioned is that the decision to get back on a bike hasn't been easy. When I was wee lad my father bought a Honda CL350 scrambler. He would reminisce of his younger riding days with stories of jumped railroad tracks, slide outs, and other guitar slung adventures. For me, It was exhilarating to scoot around town on the back of that Honda. When I was old enough he would let me drive it around a small field in the back of his house. I used to do endless laps in that field. A few times my younger sister would ride on the back. And if my father was in earshot when I kicked that little Honda above 3rd gear I would be sure to “hear” about it when I got back home. Sadly, like many other Honda’s from that era, it would end its life in a scrap yard as a discarded project my father and I never got a round to finish.

As I transitioned into high school I dreamt of getting a sport bike. I always had my eye on a Honda F2. I would pour through Dennis Kirk catalogs endlessly outfitting myself and the bike. I had a subscription to Motorcyclist Magazine that continued to fuel that fever each month.

It wouldn’t be until I was in my second year of college that I bought my first motorcycle. It was a ’88 Kawasaki 500ex with full custom fairings and a lovely paint job to boot. I would take many things for granted with this bike but I enjoyed every minute of it. As if I were following the stat lines in every safety manual, I put that bike down twice in 6 months. The first time was at night. I was wearing nothing more than a t-shirt, shorts, and a helmet. While slowing to make a turn into a local drugstore I hit the pavement. Before I knew what was going on my helmet whacked the ground amongst the dust of gravel. What I failed to see while making that turn was that the power company had removed a small section of pavement and filled it with gravel. To my error I was braking while in the turn and failed the see the gravel. When that front tire crossed the small section down I went, pride and all. The once beautiful paint job was now battle scared and the right front turn signal found a new home inside the fairing. 

The second time the bike went down was pure old cockiness. Most of the classes were letting out at the college I was attending so traffic was pretty heavy. I was following a good ol’ boy in a white pickup that was racing from light to light. Of course my head I was screaming “race him.” I was following way to close. The driver let me know by locking up his back wheels to graciously let me slide into him. I had it coming. It was a game I was destined to lose. My rear tire locked up the bike kicked out from underneath me. Luckily I was able to to plant my feet and remain standing as the bike slid down. When I got it back up I gave chase. The driver apologized and shook my hand. Again I found myself prying that turn signal from the front fairing. 

A couple years later I sold the bike. Regretfully I found something useless to spend the money on and my bike owner days disappeared as did the hobby I invested in. I’ve said many times I wouldn’t own another bike using my lack of self control and the danger I would put myself in as the excuse. Was I fit to responsibly ride? At that point in my life I wasn’t fit for many of life’s responsibilities. 

12 years have gone by. I’m happily married, have found good work, and have two young children that I live for every day. The decision to get back on the bike was a battle. It still is. How does this risk balance in my life and is it necessary? Instead of dwelling in the land of risk and safety statistics I’ve decided to focus on the positives. Friendships, new experiences, and rekindling a lost love. 

My plan is simple. Stay alive. Always SEE. Participate in driver safety courses. Wear the right gear. Ride within my limits and enjoy every minute of it.  

11.26.2012

taking a few steps back.

Spent part of Thanksgiving night and the first half of Sunday in the garage digging around on the Buell. On Thursday, I swapped in the loaner ECM and reset the TPS, the bike fired up and I took it for a test ride. About 2 miles away from home, the fuel light came on so I decided not to go too far. After exiting the freeway on to surface streets, I thought I felt that same slight surge or hesitation. Almost like some invisible force is pushing back against the bike. Thinking it was all in my head, left over paranoia from the break down, I kept riding and decided to fill up the frame.

With a fresh 3.something gallons of 93 octane sloshing around betwixt my legs, I headed towards home. The slight surge/hesitation/stumble I felt before was back, now growing stronger with every minute that passed. It became an almost "bucking" sensation from the bike that was not reflected in the tach. Like it was missing or not firing on both cylinders. The CEL (check engine light) did not come on, nor did the bike throw a code via ECMSpy. Keep in mind, this is with the loaner ECM. So, now it has acted up with both ECMs after the TPS reset.

After I stumble the bike home(that's another good description of how it feels, a stumble) I decided that I must have done something wrong. So, on Sunday, I set out to reset the TPS and AFV again. It was much warmer and the bike acted up much faster than on Thursday night. Plus, after all the test running, the Uly peed precious high octane gasoline all over the floor. Clogged fuel vent? Could that be it?

Perhaps a more basic issue? A sensor feeding the wrong data back to the ECM? TPS? CPS? PBS, wait, what? What about a fuel issue? Both injectors test fired properly. It seems to act up once it's up to running temp. What about a plug wire?

On lunch today, I'm headed towards South-side Harley Davidson to pick up plug wires. I would rather support American Sport Bike but I want to rule this out now (and not pay for shipping).



Here's a video of the Uly running (poorly):

video


**UPDATE: The issue was caused by a failing TPS Sensor!**


11.21.2012

Goodbye Yamaha, hello McMark!

I delivered the SECA to it's new home last night. Glad to have the room but I'm more happy to get a friend back into riding. If you look to your upper right, you'll see a new name under "Contributors", McMark. He is the proud new owner of my SECA II and will start writing on here as well. I imagine he'll post some sort of introduction in the coming weeks.

In February, we'll be heading to a whole cluster of moto related events. The International Motorcycle Show, Dealer Expo and the Indiana Motorcycle Expo are all happening between Feb 15th and the 24th. It's going to be a busy month. We'll report back about all the awesome moto related goodies.

11.19.2012

cleaning up my engine's diet

The breathers on the Thunderstorm engine feed back into the air box. According to Buell experts far and wide, this does not help the low end stumbles the Ulysses suffers from. Another emissions control setup that hampers our fun. Just like the extremely lean mixture on the Yamaha SECA. Well, just like the Yamaha, there is a bypass for this. About $20 in parts, or cheaper if you just let your bike spooge all over the ground. I took a couple of t adapters, an air compressor filter from Harbor Freight and a crankcase breather filter and made this:



This will keep my engine from ingesting all the blow by, water vapor, oil gunk and whatnot that was feeding back into my air box will now get trapped in the little plastic bowl.

It's not the prettiest set up but it should work fine. I can either unscrew the bowl or press the bleeder on the bottom. I cut some rubber sheeting and wrapped it around the frame bar to keep the filters from scratching it up. I need to find a new filter, the chrome is only temporary. Just because it has a Harley Davidson (*spit*) based engine, doesn't mean it has to suffer from chrome accessories.

Tonight, we'll be fixing my mess with the air box screw. Once that is done, I can get that cleaned up and reassembled. My ECM/TPS diagnostic cable should be here today and the loaner ECM arrived on Saturday. Hopefully, I will get an answer as to what in the hell is going on.

Still plenty of good riding days left and I'd like to be out there enjoying them.

11.17.2012

Going mobile

I downloaded the Blogger app today.   Now I can post on the go.

And last night I learned my wife actually reads my posts. :-)  

The motorcycle addiction continues to spread.  My breast, I mean best friend from High School just got his permit and is in the process of buying my Yamaha. 

Looking forward to riding with him and another friend who just got his first bike. 

11.16.2012

ICON Variant Construct







It would be awfully cool if I could get one of these from ICON to review. But I'll probably just end up buying one next year. Need a new lid and even though I'm a cheap bastard, I can't get this helmet off my "want list". Plus, it would go really well with the Ulysses.

magic boxes and the kindness of strangers

I finally got the torx bolt out. It didn't turn out like I wanted but it was what I expected.

The heat and chisel method didn't work. It finally came down to drilling it out, which of course, I got off center and buggered up the threads. This tends to happen when you leave a moron alone in the garage with power tools and an expensive motorcycle. (Yes, that moron is me.) So now, I have to either tap it for a larger bolt or use a bolt/nut combo. Not sure which way to go.

Since I have the air box off, might as well do the breather re-route and keep my engine from ingesting all that gunk. To catch-can or not to catch-can, that is the question.

I'll post some pics of the progress, once I make some. My loaner ECM is on it's way from the BadWeb member. Need to get the bike together and ready to test, I don't want to keep his ECM longer than I have to. Plus, I have an ECM/Diagnostic cable on it's way. I'd love to get the Bluetooth model but it's for Android only and I know if I drop $90 on it, my work will switch us to Apple phones.

So the plan of attack is get the air box back on, reset the TPS and AFV. If that doesn't help, time to swap ECMs. Also, while I have the chin fairing off, time to clean up and check all the connections that the guys in East Troy shoe-horned in there.

11.15.2012

I was not the right tool for the job.

The Buell is my first serious encounter with Torx bits, the allen wrench's pointy cousin. I had some minor run ins back in my Jeep days but nothing this intense. So, after I brought the Uly home, I bought what I thought was a complete set of Torx head sockets.



Turns out, I was very wrong. A T25 is not a T27, which is rarely included in Torx sets because someone has a very sick sense of humor. So, during all this tear down to find the cause of the poor idle and stalling, I decided to check the intake seals. To do this, I need to pull the bottom air box plate, which is held on by... you guessed it, T27 bolts. Well, that T25 sure is close and if you didn't know any better (or in my case, were just being a moron), you'd think it was right.

It's not.

It only took a few slips to round out that torx hole. To add insult to injury Buell uses a thread locker that was meant for those giant rock quarry trucks, not 1/4 diameter bolts. I'm not the first Buell owner to suffer this fate and I doubt I'll be the last. So, there's no room for a Dremel to slot the bolt head. I can't hit it with the torch because it's a plastic plate and the frame is kinda full of 93 octane gas. I tried heating up a T27 with the torch and using it heat the bolt, no luck. I tried using a soldering iron to heat up the bolt, no luck. I tried pounding a T30 then an allen head sockt in there, no luck. I almost made a blood oath to murder the man who decided to leave out the T27 bit. But, that little amount of wiggle on the T25 should have told me that wasn't the right fit.

Now, I'm using my lunch break to buy a cold chisel, a reverse drill bit (just in case) and a sacrificial T27 bit for round 3 tonight. I'd love to just weld a nut on there but something about welding on top of 4 gallons of gas doesn't sit well with me.

At least a quirky motorcycle gives me something to write about!



11.14.2012

living with a crazy and fun but high maintenance motorbike



I went out for a ride down into the curvy section of Indiana last Saturday with Funky and Wheels. The Buell ran great, my confidence and skills need to grow to match it. I think a track day would do me well. So, the Buell eats up the curves like mad, it almost glides from turn to turn (as long as I do my part and stay smooth). I'm fairly sure there are either suction cups or magnets in the wheels, that's how well it stays planted. I did have to tinker with the front fork to cut out some fork dive. Currently, it's set for a guy about 50lbs heavier than myself according to what the book says, so it's probably time to change the fork oil.

After some spirited riding, we stopped at Rino's place to admire his renovated garage. Once we were rested and hydrated, it was time to follow Rino the Rocket through the twisty roads of southern Indiana. Admittedly, I wasn't "riding my own ride" on Saturday and found myself being a bit liberal with the throttle at times. This caused a close call on my part. Wheels, almost got a Ulysses enema due to a very sudden right hand turn onto a side street by Rino. Oops. Everyone stayed on two wheels and there was no contact, so it's a learning opportunity.

Wheels and I split off from Rino and Funky, hopped onto 46 and rocketed towards I65. After a pit stop at Scrubway to fill our bellies with crap food, we headed north towards home. The sun was setting and I would finally get a real chance to see how the Ulysses headlight works. Turns out, it's pretty damn good. We burned dinos all the way into downtown Indy and battled much traffic. Occasionally, I felt a stumble or hesitation, perhaps a surge from the 1203 Thunderstorm. "Eh, it's just your brain playing tricks, or maybe time to do the TPS reset.", I thought and carried on avoiding texters, pot-holes and street zombies.

Then, it happened, another stumble. There it is again. The idle drops below 1k and climbs back up to normal. At the next stop light, it gets worse. Now, I have to tickle the throttle to keep it from stalling. Oh shit, here comes the price for our day of fun. We hope on to Fall Creek, and now, I'm keeping the pig alive, just barely.

I turn into my 'hood and BAM, she dies. I thumb the starter and she howls back to life and runs all the way to my garage and stays alive long enough to pull inside, then kaput. After a few days rest and much Googling, I swap the plugs out and fire her up. She awakens with a throaty roar, like a motorcycle version of Tom Waits. I don't bother w/the airbox cover but I gear up and take off. She's running a bit rough but I think it's just from all the air dumping in. Then, it happens again. The stumble, then the idle craps out...time to turn back. I don't want to push the beast home.

So now she waits until I can do the TPS/AFV reset but the consensus on BadWeb is that my ECM has gone t*ts up. Thankfully, a BW member is going to ship me his to try out. Now that's freaking awesome. That way, I don't have to drop $300 on an EBR model and learn it's something else.

You'd think I'd be full of violence and murder since my new bike is in the garage all torn apart but I'm not. She's so damn fun to ride it is worth the wrenching and I knew Buell's are finicky when I bought it.

**Update:  The issued turned out to be a failing TPS Sensor!**

10.30.2012

altitude adjustment

Took the Ulysses out to meet some of the TA Moto guys for breakfast at the Historic Steer In Diner on Saturday. The ride was chilly but the heated grips did well on low along with the hand guards.

The seat height on the Buell has me on the balls of my feet while standing vs the SECA which I could flat foot while sitting. So, it's taking some getting used to. Admittedly, I had two close calls where I almost dropped the Uly. One during a slow speed u-turn and the other in stopped traffic because I stalled the bike. Ugh. At least I saved it both times. Time to break myself of the two-foot down habit.

I mentioned a few posts ago, that the dealership filled my bike with 87 octane before I took it home. The manual calls for 91. So, on my ride home the bike didn't run as well. However, I added 2oz of octane booster and then filled up the tank with 93 octane. This helped the low speed stumble. I still plan on doing a TPS reset just to be safe.

The Ulysses, well most of the XB bikes are prone to pulsing front brakes. Some are warped rotors, some are deposits from the brake pads and others are from the mounting hardware getting bound up. The perimeter rotors are kind of spring loaded, so they move instead of the caliper. My bike has a some pulsing and it's tough to tell the cause. I'll take some 220 grit paper to the rotor first, test ride, then check the rest if needed.

Did I mention my bike has built in butt and leg warmers? I bet your's doesn't. Turns out, a big 1203cc air-cooled V-Twin will keep your legs pretty toasty. The previous owner added the comfort kit, which funnels air to the back cylinder and directs heat way from your legs. There is also a heat blanket that goes under the seat to help in the warmer months but my bike doesn't have that.

Before the big snow gets here, I need to do a fluid change and valve job, oh wait, no need, they're hydraulic. =]

Sorry for the lack of pictures. I'll get some up soon.

10.26.2012

what is hiding in your closet?

I haven't been in the moto world very long but even I have a pile of gear that I don't use. Stuff I bought from eBay that didn't fit, styles I no longer like or things I bought and just never wear for some reason. Whatever the reason, it piles up and wastes money. I've given some of it away to other new riders who needed the gear but couldn't afford it. What about the rest?

Enter Turn 2 Exchange, a brilliant idea from some riders in Portland, OR. They will sell your old gear for a % of selling price. A good way to get people protected on the cheap, well, at least cheaper.


I don't know how to make that picture a hotlink, so use the text link.

10.25.2012

shakin' things up!

It's the weirdest thing.


This was in my garage when I woke up this morning.



Sometimes you're set on one path and life steers you towards another.

I was set on a KLR when my riding buddy Rino sent me a craigslist ad for the Uly. For $3k w/full hardbags and the comfort kit, I couldn't pass it up, even if it has 67k miles.
Runs great, rides smooth, shakes like mad at idle and has ridiculous amounts of torque. It will run better after an oil change and I flush out the shitty 87 octane the dealership filled it with before I left.

What's weird is 1 year, 4 months and 10 days ago, I made this post: http://7plus8.blogspot.com/2011/06/dreaming-of-future.html

10.19.2012

Protecting my $100 brain.

I've been eyeing some of the less expensive "adventure" or "dual sport" style helmets lately. I've seen the ones from Shoei, Arai and AGV but they're all outta my price range. Thankfully companies like Fulmer, AFX and others have caught onto the adv craze and started producing their own style.

The first dual sport helmet I saw was the Simpson GS3-MX and it got terrible reviews. So, I burned that style into my brain and waited. Now, the market has sub $300 dual sport helmets and it's time for me to retire my M2R lid.

I don't know much about Bilt products but some of their stuff is pretty lame. However, I do like their "Adventure" helmet. I have a thing for white helmets, maybe because they're like a blank canvas and I can sticker them up. Maybe it's some weird residual Star Wars speederbike lust.



Anywho, for a $100 I think it's a good risk and I'll probably order one soon. The reviews on ADVrider have been pretty good. After all, you can't expect German engineering at India pricing. Plus, the Bilt has a retractable tinted shield and ever since my Caberg, I've wanted that feature again. The Mrs also needs a new lid and I think we're going to go for AFX Hi-Viz modular.






**Update**

I finally pulled the trigger on the Bilt Explorer helmet but it we never really hit it off.

Check out the post here: http://7plus8.blogspot.com/2013/05/bilt-adventure-explorer-review-return.html

10.12.2012

bike drooling on a budget.

There have been some financial upsets at the S3 Compound lately. Our shack has needed a new roof for a while now and we can't put it off any longer. (Stay with me, I promise there is motorcycle content ahead.) Our little place was built just after the Great Depression and that definitely reflects in the build quality. The roof has a pretty obvious sag in the ridge line and short of reframing, it's going to stay that way. At some point, you have to let an old house be an old house. We've looked into having the roof redone (about $5k for shingles and $9k for metal) and if we're gonna throw down the scratch for a new roof, I don't want shingles. Our shack is surrounded by trees of all sorts and metal is the only way to go.

Originally, when I moved up to my new position at work, I was going to go bike shopping in celebration. Responsibilities have won over fun, so that's going towards our metal roof. Instead of paying $9k to have someone tear off the asphalt shingles and replace them with metal panels, we're going to tackle it ourselves with a little (ok, a lot) of help from our friends. I'd rather sweat and swear than go $6k deeper into debt.

Finally, we get to the moto content. This changes my outlook on my motorcycle shopping options. I had dreams of rolling an F800GS into garage using BMW's tempting 3asy payment program. Well, I thought about it and thought about it and dreamed of that new bike. Then, I did the math. No thanks. You can keep your brand new blue kool-aid. Instead of getting hyped up about fuel injection, blue/white roundels and high tech 21st century materials, I'm going backwards. Single cylinder, single carb and simple tech. Something easy and cheap to maintain. Something that has a plethora of used parts and information on the web. Something that has stood up to the test of time.



That's right. I'm shopping for KLR 650s. It's time to admit, I'm cheap, well, not just cheap, I'm also generally broke. Not poor mind you, that is a state of mind. It's got enough umph to haul the Mrs and I around plus some gear. I can always add a larger bike for long haul two-ups later. Something like the R1100GS or a Wee Strom.



I admit, the new 2013 is growing on me. But no more financing until something is paid off. (At least that's what the adult inside of me says.)

10.08.2012

*poof*

We gave my bike a SeaFoam treatment directly into the cylinders, a bit in the gas and some in the oil. After cleaning the cylinders, it seems to have more umph! and overall smoother acceleration. Peaking into the crankcase after doing the SeaFoam and oil change, it looks spotless and shifts much smoother than before. Overall, it was well worth the $9.

9.21.2012

a weird slump...

No issues with the bike, my gear or the weather but yet, I haven't been riding much.

Life is kind of hectic and way too stressful right now but my mind isn't in the right place to swing a leg over and hit the starter. Not that I post a lot these days but it might get even less for awhile.