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 45º. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Good construction (where you need it)
Comfortable and warm on cool and windy days.
Priced right for a beginner rider looking for good protection.
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.
The culprit ended up being a failing TPS.
It was replaced with one from AutoZone. Duralast #TPS213, fits early XB12X only.
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.
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):
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
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!**
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.)
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.