Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Circus is in Town

The Cycle World International Motorcycle Show will be in Seattle next month, although not in town per-say, close enough to make a weekend out of it. We are going to Seattle on the train with some friends we regularly ride with. I am also looking forward to meeting some forum members who are planning a meet up at the show, which got me thinking about bloggers in the Pacific Northwest. Are any local bloggers going to the show? I know Bolty can't make it no matter how often I ask, but I'm sure that Irondad, you must have some work related ride that would put you within a 100 miles of Seattle on the weekend of the 12th. Bobskoot? Baron? Lance? Bluekat? Daily Rider?

Here is the webpage with all the details to the Seattle show, LINK

It will be interesting to find out if it is true that Suzuki is not shipping 2010 models to the US. Hell For Leather Magazine reports that no 2010 Suzuki are being imported as Suzuki claims 2009 inventory will satisfy demand. You can read the article here: Hell For Leather Magazine

I don't understand why Suzuki would do this while other manufacturers like Honda is entering the next decade with not only updated 2009 models but all new for 2010 models. I am afraid that Trobairitz's Suzuki TU250X may not be available.

It reminds me of the hot dog cart story that our local Triumph dealer has posted in his shop. Here is the short version:

A humble hot dog man had a successful business selling quality hot dogs. Every customer was served with a smile. One day the man’s son came home from college and told his father a recession was coming so he better cut costs. The hot dog man stopped advertising and garaged some of his hot dog carts. Sales fell. He retrenched staff and used cheap sausages and sales fell further. Eventually he decided he would go back to doing what he was doing, that is selling good quality hot dogs with a smile … and sure enough… sales went up.

We are going to Seattle to check out the new 2010 models and to sit on alot of bikes. Come spring, if Suzuki doesn't meet demand I'm sure that Rod of Cycle Parts will have something available.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Photo Tag

I was stumbling around the interweb a couple, two weeks ago and found a comment on my blog from Bucky of Bucky's Ride. Evidently he too owns a Ninja 650R the same color as Trobairitz's.

I found his blog post about a local game of photo tag. Although I haven't had time to read all of his posts I could certainly relate to his photo tag post. He found someplace new to him and took the time to wander around and learn about the area instead of racing back to the computer to win the tag.

We play photo tag as well and have discovered some local landmarks we would probably never have bothered to consider. The most recent experience was a photo tag a forum member had posted:

This one was a little difficult to pinpoint as the were no actual identifiable landmarks included in the photo. I had a general idea where it was but with daylight diminishing soon after work I could not ride out to the two remote areas I thought it may be. This post required more of a hint and a simple request gave me a bigger picture:

Okay, I still didn't know where exactly where it was but I knew where it wasn't. That eliminated the ride north of town where I thought it may be and narrowed my search to the west of town up King's Valley. With a little help from Google Maps and a hint from a friend I found confirmation.

We met the gang for Saturday morning coffee then just the two of us ventured the damp morning fog and threatening showers to find the tag.
We rode out to Fort Hoskins and got more than just the tag, as I mentioned about Bucky's post, we learned about the history and heritage of the area.

And got the tag.

Had it not been for photo tag I doubt that I would have ever gone out there. After the tag we rode out to Summit along a gravel road. Not having a compass or a visible sun to guide us west I had an inkling of where I was headed. As Trobairitz mentioned in her post, we got a few looks from hunters scouting the area. I am sure it was a strange sight from the cab of a four wheel drive truck to see a shiny cruiser riding up a wet, slimy, remote gravel road.

She ain't shiny anymore, but she ain't a prima donna either.

We enjoyed the ride, discovered a new road and learned a little more about the area. The sun came out and I put some time aside to wash the bike for I had 24 hours to go find a new photo tag to post.

Consider this a Photo Tag introduction, I'll periodically post a new series of pics from the past summer's tags. You'll see Stacy's bike in a few and hopefully I can get Irondad signed up on the forum and joining us too. We need a few die hard winter riders to keep photo tag going through the dreary season.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day

My brother Barrett posted this quote and I thought it appropriate how it reflects the significance of this somber day.

"As we pause and bow our heads, we remember those brave men and women who courageously volunteered for the cause of freedom and peace...Two minutes is scarcely enough time for thought and reflection...For one brief moment of our life, we remember why we must work for peace every day of the year."

Thank you Bear.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I procrastinate, it's a guy thing, I'll get around to it, maybe later, I want to finish this first, hey what's that?! Okay, a little A.D.D. too, I don't know how anything gets done but it does...eventually. If it's really interesting it gets done as soon as I stumble across it while I am doing something else. I think of it as prioritizing.

I've been meaning to change tires myself since I had the shop change my front tire last spring. I babbled on about doing it myself and managed to put it off until the fall rains. My rear tire on my Triumph should have been changed a couple of thousand miles ago but as long as the roads were dry and I only used the outer edges of the tire I could ride through the summer.

I ordered a rear tire and went online to read up and watch YouTube videos on how to break the bead, remove the tire from the rim and place the new tire on. What a wealth of information that interweb is.

I was ready to save $20.

I built a bead breaker out some scrap angle iron and a wooden 2x2 I had laying around, then lag bolted it to a 4x6 arbor post outside.

But when I got the wheel off my bike I found my cush drive went ka-put and I had to order a new one.

Meh, I have Trobairitz's Ninja to ride in the meantime, this also gave me the rest of the week to remove the old tire and reinstall the new one. Those guys on the interweb videos make things look so easy, they didn't even break a sweat. I strained my milk just trying to break the bead and you wouldn't have wanted to see me wrestle the tire off and wrestle the new one on, it looked so much easier online, but I saved 20 bucks.

Now to set the bead, which turned out to be another adventure all in itself. Everything I've ever known, watched and heard about setting the bead on a tire had me anxiously waiting all the fanfare and revelry of the infamous bead pop. Thinking my little 100psi pancake compressor didn't have the volume to even think about filling a bicycle tire forget setting a bead onto a rim, I hauled the tire into work the next day in the car. I removed the valve core and filled the tire. That's it, the tire filled and held air. I was as disappointed as kid who dropped his ice cream cone in the sand. So I removed the valve core and dumped the air from the tire and tried again...nothing. I checked the tire against the rim, check, good, even, holding air, but set? I just wasn't sure, had this been a car tire I wouldn't have given it a second thought and mounted it. But this is a rear tire of a motorcycle and I could just picture the bead slipping while leaning hard into a turn. After hoping on a couple forums and asking the guys, evidently sometimes a tire will just silently and effortlessly slide right onto the rim.

Now with my bike on the jack I just had to wait for my new rubber damper to come in.

In the meantime I fashioned a wheel balancer from instructions I found online.

Oh boy, another project and the rest of the week to find parts. I had 2x4s kicking around from remodel projects, I just needed some bearings, bolts and some steel flat bar. Off to the store I went in search of supplies. After two days of searching I found bolts and bearings but yet to find any flat bar or angle iron. Evidently scrap steel is quite a commodity, but I eventually found some angle iron from a friend down the street.
I fashioned a stand from 2x4s and attached the brackets and balanced my wheel. Worked pretty darn slick.

I mounted the balancer to some leftover counter top we had from our kitchen remodel and used a bar clamp so I could adjust it for mounting the Ninja tires too.

And as far as setting the bead, my little 100psi pancake compressor set the bead on both the Ninja tires just fine...with all the fanfare and revelry I was expecting the first time.

I have now changed the rear tire on my Triumph and both tires on the Ninja and saved myself $60. Unfortunately, I have three tires in my backyard collecting water that I'll have to eventually recycle, but I'll get to that later.

Now where did I put...hey what's that?


Monday, November 2, 2009

How the Mighty Have Fallen...

The bigger they are, the harder they fall is not always necessarily true, at least if we as riders can help it.

Last Thursday I renewed my membership into the dropped bike club. I don’t know if it is the lesser of two evils, but thankfully I dropped the Ninja and not the Triumph. I hopped on the bike after work to go home, started it up, put it in gear and raised my right leg to the peg. Ouch, what the…my keys in my right pant pocket were stabbing me in the leg. It was quite uncomfortable to say the least, so I put the bike back into neutral and tried to adjust my keys with gloved hand through my riding gear. I stood up and tried again with out any luck. Damn, I’m just going to have to get off the bike, unzip my riding gear and go after the offending key. Anybody who has ridden motorcycles knows what happened next.

With my left foot close to the bike and me leaning, leaning…uh oh…past the point of where the kickstand “should” have been, I couldn’t save it and she went down as I stepped out of the way. Crap, well at least the tank was near empty, saving me from lifting close to an extra 40 pounds as I hefted it back upright. Next thing I heard was a rap from the office window as two co-workers motioned to ask if I was alright. I gave them the “thumbs up” and scurried home with bruised pride and a little embarrassment. I didn’t even look at the damage, I had to make a left turn out of the parking lot and the signal flasher was working fine so I knew the signal lights were spared. I take the back road home so I stopped at a rural stop sign and leaned over to look at the damage. Meh, not bad, some cosmetic scratches, Trobairitz has no emotional attachment to the bike, nor do I, so it is my winter commuter and it's going to get scratched. I'll blame "the previous owner" but it's going to knock a hundred bucks off the selling price.

It isn’t the first time I’ve dumped a bike and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I dropped my first street bike, a '75 CB750Four in the carport at home. I just came back from a ride and forgot to use the kickstand. I think I strained every muscle in my body trying to pick that old bike up. Several years later I dropped my '84 Honda Magna V45 in a strip mall parking lot. I was in a hurry to drop off a roll of film to be developed and stopped the bike in gear, dropped the kickstand, hit the kill switch and let go of the clutch all in one fluid motion. Evidently I was a little bit faster than the motor and the bike lurched forward off the kickstand and down she went. Another drop came with my '76 KZ900LTD. I just pulled into work, pulled up to a parking spot and I got my boot lace caught in the shifter, seemed like the slowest tip over ever and sat me on my ass. I don’t think any of the previous drops resulted in any serious damage so the scratches in the fairing of the Ninja will be the most expensive repair to date.
It happens to all of us sooner or later and to many of us in the group I ride with. We call it napping; sometimes our bikes just like to take a nap. I just wish they'd let us grab a pillow first.