Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Motorcycle Filled Weekend


This weekend was filled with lots of motorcycle fun. It started when my friend Joe came over to help wrench on the Ural. I discovered it mysteriously wouldn’t start last weekend. Amazing how a bike can won’t start after being parked for two months. Arg.

Ural Wrenching Rear Brake Pedal and Hal Sensor

The starter turned over, but no spark. A bit of troubleshooting and some Internet searching later we decided it was probably the hal sensor. A simple part to replace; it took less than 30 minutes to get the cover and gas take out of the way and the unit replaced. We were very happy when the Ural roared to life again. Apparently, this is a common failure. If the wires aren’t damaged, mine were not, then it likely died due to overheating. For such a simple part, I was quite shocked to pay $75 bill to get it. It is a bit pricey to have a spare laying around.

Ural Wrenching Rear Brake Pedal and Hal Sensor

Since I had extra hands available, and our ultimate goal was to get the Ural roadworthy again to test out the new trailer wiring and hitch, I got some help with the rear brake lever. It was sticking badly. This first happened about 18 months ago and it was a real pain to get the lever out to re-grease. I need to grease this more often, so it’s easy to take out. We had to hammer it out. The picture below shows the spot to hit, so nothing important gets bent.

Ural Wrenching Rear Brake Pedal and Hal Sensor

The lever all cleaned up and shiny again. One of these days I would like to get ambitious and add a grease fitting to the lever housing as shown in this video:

Ural Wrenching Rear Brake Pedal and Hal Sensor

We also played with the rear brake switch since it was misbehaving. I had my 2009-style switch modified to use the newer style (as simple as replacing the rear brake lever and soldering a two wires. It is rather primitive inside and was completely corroded. We tried to polish up the copper, but it didn’t help. I will have to replace it instead.

Ural Wrenching Rear Brake Pedal and Hal Sensor

While waiting for the Ducatis to show up, I took a few pictures with my SV650. I really like how this one turned out.


Sunday, was the Blind Lizard rally. I last wrote about it in 2012. This year started off slow due to rain in the mid-morning. By 11am, it was sunny and blue skies again. I rode down with some Ducati friends. My SV was surrounded by Panigales. 


There was quite a crowd around this three-wheeled converted Studebaker. It was pretty interesting to look at.


I would guess there were about 200 people/bikes at this event. I had a great time as usual catching up with friends and looking at motorcycles.


I wanted to buy one of the coveted t-shirts, but they didn’t have the orange one in my size. Too bad. I’ll have to keep rocking my 2012 shirt.


Before I left, this great looking 1942 Harley pulled up. I enjoyed looking at it and listening to it. I was surprised how quiet and mechanical it sounded; I liked it. The blue isn’t the original color, but it suits the motorcycle perfectly. It was quite the contrast next to the new Panigale.


Later in the day, I swapped the SV650 for my Ural and went to pick up some hostas from a friend’s house. The Ural makes a good SUV or more like freeway capable lawn tractor.

Ural Hauling Hostas

After planting all the hostas, I finished the weekend off watching the latest MotoGP race in Spain. It was a great weekend to be on a motorcycle. What did you do with your motorcycle this weekend?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Motorcycle First Thursday–June 2014

First Thursday June 2014

Last week, was Motorcycle First Thursday at Dulono’s Pizza in Minneapolis. It rained earlier in the day which initially put a damper on the starting attendance, but as the evening wore on the crowds started to come out. It was set to be the first well attended First Thursday of 2014. I would guess there was easily over 1,000 people there.

First Thursday June 2014

The crowds grew as more and more motorcycles rolled into the area. The energy was electric. I loved the sound of the inline four sportbikes bouncing off the rev limiters as cruisers rumbled slowly by with the two stroke pitbikes ring-ding-dinging in the background. A great noise. The weather was near perfect and the crowd was fun.

First Thursday June 2014

First Thursday June 2014

I enjoyed looking at the bikes and of course catching up with friends. I left the event early to watch the Isle of Man TT races with some racing friends downtown. It was a great night to be on a motorcycle.



First Thursday June 2014

I’ve never seen the above/below custom vehicle before. It took him a few laps to find a parking spot.

First Thursday June 2014

A fun color scheme on this one:

First Thursday June 2014

Ural sidecar on a cruiser:

First Thursday June 2014

I have a soft spot for scooter sidecars. Aren’t they cute?

First Thursday June 2014

Thursday, May 1, 2014

My New Girls: Motorcycling with Honeybees

Bees in the Sidecar

Last night was the most passengers I’ve ever had in my sidecar before, and they were all girls! I’m guessing at least 10,000.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Rack Fixed and Ready to Travel. Where to go?


Thanks to my friend Paul, the luggage rack on my SV650 is finally fixed from my Everyday for 7 weeks trip. Where should I go?

While I was on that most fun of trips in 2012, my rack broke twice. I had it welded up and it made it through the trip, but a few months after I got home the rack began to loosen on one side. I was unable to tighten it because the bolt was stuck. I had it tight by using a few zipties between the grab handle and the rack. It worked since I didn’t take any serious trips and very few pleasure rides in 2013. It was a strange year.

sv650 givi rack repair

Paul tried a variety of mechanisms to get the bolt to turn by grabbing it with various tools. None of them worked. It was firmly stuck in place, so he cut it off at the mount point.

sv650 givi rack repair

Then he drilled the mount. We both had a hearty laugh after I showed him this picture. He has a lot of experience working with metal and it was impressive to watch him twist and angle the drill around to get all of the old material out. Like watching a sculptor at work.

sv650 givi rack repair

After making a near perfect hole by hand, he then tapped it with a helicoil kit and them hammered out the end of the coil to allow the new M8 bolt to seat fully.

sv650 givi rack repair

I tested both sides, and was really impressed how much smoother the new bolt hole was compared to the original on the other side. We lubed them up with some anti-seize to reduce the chances of future issues. The rack is as good as new now and properly tight, so I can use the side cases again. A HUGE thank you to Paul for his help! You can check out his moto creations at Manic Salamander.


The bike is ready for a long trip and so am I. Where should I go?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

SV Repaired and Back on the Road

SV650 Radiator Replacement

Two weekends ago, I was able to ride my SV650 for the first time in 2014. It was a glorious ride, but way too short. Something hit my radiator and most of the fluid leaked out by the time I made it home. Darn.

Radiators from Suzuki were close to $500 new, so I bought one new from a Delkevic for $100. It came in a few days, and I excitedly tried to install it. The fan switch was galled into the old radiator since both were stock from 2001. It eventually came out sans-threads. Darn.

The WR250R has been picking up the slack while I waited to fix the SV. The Ural? sitting in a corner! Ebay to the rescue and a new fan switch arrived in a couple days for $24. It was quickly installed, and I went for a glorious ride last night. Oh did I mention the temps finally hit 70F?!

SV650 Radiator Replacement

I took the long way home last night. It should have been a mere fifteen minutes, but turned into over an hour. Isn’t it amazing how ten miles turns into over fifty? The warm air and empty roads probably helped. It felt great to ride the SV again. It is my favorite bike!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Motorcycle First Thursday–April 2014

April 2014 1st Thursday

Last night was the first Thursday in April, and that means hanging out at Dulono’s Pizza in Minneapolis with fun motorcycle people. In the morning, it looked like I might not be the only rider, but by lunch it was freezing rain and then heavy snow by 5pm. I think the weather scared away a number of folks, but all the fun ones managed to show up. I had a blast chatting inside!

April 2014 1st Thursday

When I came out, it was snowing even harder with about two-three inches of snow. I stopped off at Bob’s Java Hut for a few hours and it was closer to four-six inches by 10pm.

A few blocks after leaving the café, a guy in a completely snow covered car started yelling at me. He kept saying I was insane and awesome and wanted to take my picture. I gave him a thumbs-up. We were waiting at a red light; he in the left lane and me in the right. He jumped out of his car slipping and sliding and started snapping pictures while continuing to say how awesome I was. I waved while I was laughing at him under my helmet. He really cracked me up. He was way too excited. He made it back to his car just as the light turned green and we both pulled away.

The ride home was invigorating! The wind was blowing the snow so hard visibility was less than a 1/4 mile if not just a block. The three lanes of freeway were rutted into two and with the few vehicles out making their own lanes. The rear of the sidecar was wandering quite a lot swaying side to side while the rear tire was loosing traction with almost rhythmic frequency.

Slow and steady and I made it home without incident. Others were not so lucky, there were at least a dozen cars in the ditch. I should probably put my new tires on soon. It’s 40F again today, so hopefully the snow will melt by Monday. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

First Two Wheeled Ride to Work for 2014

It has been a very long winter. I first had my kymco scooter out a few weeks ago for some short rides once enough of the ice had melted. I don't mind getting some salt and slush on it.

This past weekend was the first ride of my SV650 and it was glorious. Unfortunately, it was short lived. Something hit the radiator and made most of the coolant leak out. A new radiator arrives tomorrow. The WR250R to the rescue!

It has been in the 40s in the afternoon and icy cold in the mornings, so the ural has been in service for commuting while the other bikes come out and play after work.

This morning I was able to ride the WR250R. It was in the high 20s, but no ice. The bright blue sky matched the blue on the yamaha nicely.

The weather guessers claim snow tomorrow. It dusted snow yesterday; it all melted before lunch. I hope they are wrong for tomorrow. It feels soooo good to lean again!

Are you able to ride two wheels to work yet?