Friday, April 18, 2014

Rack Fixed and Ready to Travel. Where to go?

sv650

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.

sv650

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?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Good Service: Heindl Engineering

I recently bought some replacement parts for my Ural from Heindl Engineering. I’ve bought tires, spokes, and host of other parts for my Patrol over the last few years from them. My Ural was leaking some oil from the left valve cover and the front brake pads were very worn. I placed the order and a few days later a box arrived via UPS. I was excited; no more mess on the garage floor from leaky oil.

The brake pads and other items I ordered were in the box, but unfortunately, the gaskets were not. Disappointed, I called Heindl to let them know. It was after hours, so I left a message. A few minutes later Jon from Heindl called to apologize for the lack of gaskets. He also said he would get them in the mail the next day, so I would have them before the weekend was over. To say I was impressed would be an understatement. Saturday arrived and so did the postman with my one-day express shipment with the gaskets. Awesome!

Mistakes can happen with any company, but it is what happens after the mistake is made which makes the difference. In this case, Heindl was extemporary. I am happy to share this story, and I will be ordering from them again in the future.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Subzero Furniture Moving With the Ural

Subzero Furniture Moving

My friend told me about how his son needed a new desk to do school work. I just happened to have an extra one. The problem was how to get it across the city without renting a truck as it wouldn’t fit in his car. The Ural to the rescue.

It just happened to fit perfectly in the sidecar with the edge hanging just past the wheel. Four straps later and it locked in place not even wiggling. I positioned it so the wind wouldn’t be pushing on it while I was riding or so I thought.

The morning came to bring it over, and it was –16F. There ended up being an interesting cross-wind the entire ride over. I was worried about the wind from the front, and didn’t think about side winds. I made it the 30 mile ride without incident. It was an interesting ride. A few other road users though so too, and snapped photos.

My friend’s son likes the new desk, and it is working out great for them. This is one of the weirder things I’ve hauled on the Ural displacing the several loads of compost and a tree.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve hauled on your motorcycle or sidecar?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Motorcycle First Thursday in Minneapolis–March 2014

March 2014 First Thursday

Last Thursday, was Motorcycle First Thursday’s at Dulono’s Pizza in Minneapolis. The temperature has been quite cold this winter. They say it has been the coldest in about thirty years. The parking lot showed it. I was again the only rider this month. The snow banks were slowly creeping into the lot as well, consuming several of the limited parking spots.

I had a nice time chatting with friends inside, and am looking forward to warmer temps. I expect I will not be the only rider for April. Bring on Spring and the two-wheeled riding season!