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.


Snow riding madman.

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


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.


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. 


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.


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.  


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.



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.


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.

The culprit ended up being a failing TPS.

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