Thursday, October 6, 2016

New Motorcycle–2008 DL650A

Vstrom DL650

I’ve been wanting a Suzuki VStrom DL650 for a couple years now. Since I sold my Ural earlier this year, I finally had the funds to make it a reality.

I got very lucky with craigslist and found a DL650 very near my house and for a great price. I was really excited once I saw it had ABS. It was covered in dust and cobwebs. The front tire was very sketchy and cupped, but I rode it home safely. The previous owner didn’t ride it at all.

I’ve had it for over a month now, and I love it! I don’t know why I waited to get it! It is a lot like my SV650, but with better wind protection, ABS, and better luggage support (no more broken racks!). The fuel injection is a nice bonus, and I feel safer having ABS again.

I’ve changed the oil, lubed the chain, changed the brake fluid, new front tire, new rack to accept my givi bags, and a windshield adjuster from madstad. Next up are heated grips and hand guards to keep the rain off.

I look forward to many more fun miles to come!


PS: Thanks Steve for the photo!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Goodbye Ural


This past weekend I sold my Ural sidecar. I’ve had it for sale for a couple weeks now. It was something I have been wanting to do for many months. I’ve struggled to bring myself to sell it. It felt like it was part of my identity even though I only rode it a few times in the last year.

I originally bought it because I loved the look of it and the idea of it. I wanted to experience the challenge and adventure of riding a motorcycle in the winter. A sidecar seemed much safer than the scooter I was riding previously and it was.

Over the years, the challenge and adventure started to wane. I had “figured it out” if you will and it became routine and easy. After six years of riding in the winter, it became a chore. There wasn’t a break that I have now with the car. When I am too tired to ride, but could still drive. I previously had to stay home. There is more balance now.

I love riding in the snow and in the extreme cold! There aren’t that many days were those have been happening in MN lately. I also loved the impact I had on those around me. Being able to brighten someone’s day just by riding to work was a nice thrill.

I’m not sure what will replace the Ural yet. I’m eyeballing a vstrom. I’ve been looking at them for a few years now. An R6 sounds fun as does another sidecar. I’m also not sure what my winter riding future has in store for me. I am not done with winter riding; just done with Ural winter riding. Stay tuned to find out what’s next as I figure it out myself.


Above is the proud new owner of my Ural. I sold it with 17,000km on the odometer which was broken, so it was more likely 20,000km. I’ve had it since it came out of a crate in 2009. It’s been a fun bike, and I am glad to see it going to a good home.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Installing a Shockwave Horn on an SV650

Banshee Shockwave

The shockwave is the newest horn from Screaming Banshee. It’s smaller, lighter, cheaper, and most importantly, louder!

I’ve had very loud horns on my motorcycles and cars before. They were kind of frustrating since they only had one sound: crazy loud. One of the things I like about the shockwave is how it has two loudness modes. The first with a quick tap is normal 100db, but with a long press it is the full 123db! Nice to say “hi” and another to say “look out!”.

It was easy to install this horn on my SV650 and it is MUCH louder than the stock. I ended up putting it on the left side of the engine since there isn’t room above the fender in the stock location.

These are the tools I used to install the horn on my SV650.

Banshee Shockwave

Banshee Shockwave

The contents of the Shockwave box. The horn itself, connecting wires, connectors, and mounting hardware. My box included an extra mounting bracket shown on the left.

Banshee Shockwave

Here is a close-up of the back of the horn with the dipswitches for changing the function of the horn and the 25amp fuse.

Banshee Shockwave

1) Remove the side panels with the 4mm hex

Banshee Shockwave

2) Remove the two seat bolts with the 6mm hex

Banshee Shockwave

3) Disconnect the battery with the Philips screwdriver

Banshee Shockwave

4) With the 6mm hex, remove this bolt on the left side of the frame.

Banshee Shockwave

5) Crimp the round connector onto the black ground wire.

Banshee Shockwave

6) Put the ground wire on the inside of the bolt and horn mount, so it connects to the raw metal of the frame.

Banshee Shockwave

7) Use the short mounting bracket and the blue loctite.

Banshee Shockwave

8) Put the mounting bolt and washers on the other end using loctite again. Tighten the bolt in the frame.

Banshee Shockwave

9) Mount the horn on the bolt and make sure there is a gap between the horn and the engine. Tighten with the 14mm wrench.

Banshee Shockwave

10) Attach the wiring harness to the back of the horn.

Banshee Shockwave

11) Crimp the flat connectors onto the end of the blue wires.

Banshee Shockwave

12) Route the blue wires around the frame and radiator to the front of the bike where the stock horn is plugged in. Detach the wires from the stock horn and connect to the new blue wires.

Banshee Shockwave

13) Crimp the other round connector onto the red wire. Route the red wire along the frame back to the battery.

Banshee Shockwave

14) Connect the red wire to the battery and tighten. Reconnect the negative side of the battery.

15) Reattach the seat and side panels.

Banshee Shockwave

16) Use the zip ties to secure the cables to the bike. I attached mine to the frame.

Banshee Shockwave

17) Test your new horn and use it wisely!

Banshee Shockwave

The total install time was less than 20 minutes. It was one of the easiest mods to my SV yet.

While I received this horn as a demo unit in exchange for this post, I liked it so much I bought another one.

Get your horn at: 

Until July 20, 2016, there is also a Kickstarter going at:

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Friends, Fun, and Food aka Oregon

I’ve been traveling a lot for fun this year. My goal for 2016 is one trip a month. This last weekend’s trip to Oregon was easily the best trip of 2016. The competition so far includes Miami, Thunder Bay, Costa Rica, Austin, and Colorado. Oregon was filled with friends, lots of fun, and tasty food.

x500-Brad and Chris

I flew out to Oregon and took a shuttle down to Corvallis to meet up with Trobairitz and Troubadour. It has been too many years since we last had fun together. I first met them on my Everyday for 7 Weeks trip and we have been friends ever since.

Brandy Pizza

Of course, before I left Portland, I had to grab some delicious food. This is the southwest bowl which went perfect with a marionberry cider. Southwest Bowl at Bye and Bye

Trobairitz was gracious enough to let me ride her Gladius, so Troubadour and I took off into the Oregon mountains for some two-wheeled fun. After trying on a combination of their gear, her helmet, my gloves, his boots, my buff, and his spare roadcrafter, I was ready to go. The flowers and butterflies on the helmet were cute; too bad they didn’t show up in photos.

Riding the Gladius

The riding was magnificent despite the minor rain here and there. It is Oregon after all; rain is expected. The Gladius is very similar to my SV650 which made me feel very comfortable riding it.

x500-Alsea Falls

Troubadour took me on a tour around the area stopping at Alsea falls and then we had a spirited ride up Mary’s Peak. So fun

Marys Peak Flowers

On my last trip out, we ran out of daylight before we could ride up. It was great. The wildflowers blooming made it even better.

Wild Iris

The top of Marys Peak ~4900 feet.

Gladius and Tiger on Marys Peak

Afterwards, the three of us had a great lunch and then hung out at the local ciderhouse: 2 Towns. We played games and drank some low priced, delicious ciders. My favorite was the gingja ninja.

2 Towns Cider

Troubadour about to win at corn hole.


On Saturday we attempted to eat all the food in Portland. It was a valiant effort, but we didn’t succeed. Did I mention it was delicious? We stopped to look at a few motorcycle shops in between stuffing ourselves. We had fun being silly.

Troubadour trying on a new helmet at the Vespa shop. What do you think?

Brad's New Helmet

We took turns drooling on the Ducati Scrambler down the street at Moto Corsa. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to ride it.

Drooling on Ducatis

Vespas also make great wheelbarrows and flower pots. Who knew?

Vespa Wheelbarrow

My last full day we met up with another friend who had just moved into the area from MN. It was nice to see her again and introduce her to T&T. After an enjoyable brunch, we headed to the coast for some more eye candy interspersed with some brief hiking.

Oregon Coast

I was gushing a bit on the drive out there. The mountains vistas and ocean views were beautiful. My camera hardly does them justice.

Three Way photo

Me taking a picture of Trobairitz who is taking a picture of Troubadour who might have been taking a picture of me. More tasty food was had in Eugene on the way back from the coast. Yes, those are whole cloves of garlic. Yum!

Pizza Reach Institute

It was a great trip! I ate entirely too much food; my scale must be lying as it said I gained six pounds?! I got to ride a motorcycle in the mountains and gawk at the ocean. The best part was being able to visit three awesome people. I can’t wait to go back to Oregon!

Friends on the Coast

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Happy Holidays!

Uraling in a Snow Storm

Happy Holidays! I hope you have a fun and safe time filled with lots of great people and riding.

I’m excited to share the above photo is the header image at right now. They also sent it as a printed card. It is pretty great to see my work in print!


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Two-Up Warm Winter Motorcycle Ride

Minnesota has been experiencing a heat wave the past week with temperatures in the high 40s F. Time for a motorcycle ride! Laura and I picked the Super9 to ride today. 

It was wheeled out from the garage and gassed up. I have to make my own premix of one part oil and 32 parts gasoline for it’s two-stroke engine. When I pressed the started button, it just turned over and over and over. It didn’t start. Much too soon, the battery was worn down from trying and the headlight wouldn’t light up. Darn. I put it back on the charger from which it came. I will have to investigate the charger.

The SV650 to the rescue. It was a short 25 minute ride around the area. We visited a few lakes to see them free of ice.

It is supposed to get cold and snowy again in a couple days, so this may be our last two-wheeled ride of the year.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Winter Motorcycling

SV650 Next to Snow Bank Winter Motorcycle Riding

For the last couple weeks, it has been cold and snowy with the temps below freezing. I’ve been going to work as the sun comes up and returning in the dark. Not fun.

Finally, the weekend has come! I slept in and awoke to the sun shining brightly. It was a nice lazy morning. While enjoying some blueberry pancakes and sipping a strong glass of chai, I saw a motorcycle ride by! I was surprised. I haven’t seen one on the road in weeks. Stepping outside felt like stepping into Spring. Even though it was only 40F, it felt much warmer. The sun had melted the ice and snow on the roads. My bikes were calling my name.

With my gear on, I stood in the garage looking over the motorcycles trying to decide which one to take. I pondered taking the Super9 or the SV650. I didn’t have to think long. As you can tell from the photo, the SV650 won out. I pulled it out of storage and it roared to life on the first press of the starter button. It was a lovely sound that brought a smile to my face.

It felt great to be back on the Suzuki. The growl of the vtwin and the punch of torque at the slightest movement of my right wrist. I rode all around my neighborhood checking out the road conditions and getting reacquainted with my favorite bike. It has been too long.

I rode for about thirty minutes before I started to feel the cold. It’s been a couple hours now, and I am still smiling. I really love that motorcycle. I hope to be able to ride it again soon, but first I need to get on a plane to Iceland. Ride safe.