Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ducati DirtBike

This isn’t very practical, but I still want to ride it. It reminds me of the R1 I saw turned into an ice racing bike a few years ago.

YouTube: MotoCorse Presents: Ducati 1199 TerraCorsa

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

SV650 and Fall Colors

SV650 with Fall Colors

The falls colors are in fine form, so I took the scenic route home last night to spend some time admiring them. It was a cold ride both ways with the temps in the mid 30s. I took the windshield off; it was too noisy. I like like clean quiet air more than the minor wind protection I was getting.

The weather-guessers are predicting snow for the next several days. I hope they are wrong. I want to stay on the SV a bit longer before switching to the Ural for the winter.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Another Hardy Soul

SV650 and Triumph

I didn’t expect to see any motorcycles in the ramp, but yesterday, I met another hardy soul. He was riding a very clean looking Triumph. I call him hardy because the temp when I left the house was 29F. It was a cold 12 miles for me. He said he only rode four miles and wearing minimal gear. The SV isn’t nearly as warm as the Ural, so I had my heated coat cranked up. The lack of wind protection makes a big difference.

If you look closely at the photo, you can see I’ve been experimenting with a small windscreen. It cuts the wind slightly, but it is way to noisy. I don’t like it.

It snowed a few inches just north of me last weekend. I’m not sure many more weeks days I can enjoy the SV this year, so I am riding it every chance I can.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Watching Motorcycle Racing with Friends


This past Sunday, I spent the day watching the final round of World SuperBike and the Australian MotoGP. My friend Ray has a new workshop with lots of space for bikes, people, and a nice TV. The weather was cold and rainy, so I was the only rider. I took the Ural since it is much warmer than the SV.


It was a fun time watching with so many other interested fans. Normally, I watch on the couch at home. More people is definitely better. The MotoGP race was quite good. If you haven’t seen it and have the means, take the time. It’s worth it. They did something they’ve never done before, mandatory pit stop for a dry race. Bridgestone didn’t have tires that could go race distance, so they deemed it unsafe to ride more than 10 laps of the 19 lap race on one set of tires. It made the race very interesting.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

New Battery for the SV650


The new battery for the SV650 arrived. If you remember, I had to get a jump last week since it wouldn’t start. After pouring the acid in and putting the new battery on the charger for the night, I swapped it into the SV. Everything seems back to normal. On the plus side it also starts a lot easier. I had intended on replacing the battery this spring, but got lazy about it. I think I will order a new battery for the WR250R since that is of the same vintage.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

September RiderCoach Night

September RiderCoach Night

For most months in the summer, a local driving course is opened up to MMSC RiderCoaches to ride. It is a fun time riding and chatting with other coaches from the area. The course is at DCTC in the south metro. It is a one mile long driving course with about 17 corners depending on how it is configured.

September RiderCoach Night

The last one for 2013 was a few weeks ago in September. Due to conflicting schedules, I haven’t made many this year. This was my first of 2013, so despite some spitting rain, I went. 

September RiderCoach Night

There weren’t many others that showed up. I’m guessing due to the weather. I think we had less than ten people. There were some interesting bikes though.

September RiderCoach Night

Several guys tailored older bikes they had restored to the track to play with them.

September RiderCoach Night

This two-stroke race bike above was pretty impressive. I tried to make a short vid of it, but it didn’t turn out.

The few laps I did were enjoyable. It was nice to burn off some energy in a safe environment. The track started getting greasy with the rain, and I still had to ride home. No room for crashing by leaning over too far. I had a nice time, but didn’t run many laps.

I’m looking forward to the first event in 2014.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

MSF Thank You Card and Coin

MSF Thank You Card iRETS 2013

I was surprised to see a package waiting for me yesterday. I didn’t remember ordering anything small enough to fit in the small padded envelope sitting in the mailbox. The fact that is said MSF on it confused me even more. Inside, I found the above card and small commemorative coin. The coin has “40 Years Motorcycle Safety Foundation 1973-2013” on one side and “August 15-16, 2013 Indy MSF International Rider Education Training System Conference” on the other.

MSF Thank You Card iRETS 2013 MSF Thank You Card iRETS 2013

The inside impressed me the most however with all the hand-written signatures. It was a really nice touch. All those people (16!) must have spent a day signing all the cards to send out.

MSF Thank You Card iRETS 2013

Thanks MSF. I have a great time at the IRETS conference in Indy. I hope I can go to the IRETS in 2014.

A hand-signed thank you card with a motorcycle on the front, this is one of my favorite thank you cards so far. What’s yours?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Dead Battery on SV650

Dead Battery on SV650

I had a bit of a shock when I left work the other day. I walked to the SV650 and put my back in the trunk. When I tried to start it, the headlight was very dim and it didn’t start. It made that sad “whirr whirr” noise when it doesn’t quite have enough juice to start. I’m all too familiar with this noise thanks to the Ural and Super9. Dang!!

I took my tools out and started taking off the seat to get to the battery when a friend walked over to see what I was doing. I was hoping I could remove the fuse for the headlight and get the bike to start. The fuse is one of those really small ones, so I had to use a pair of pliers to get it loose. My fingers couldn’t get a solid grip on it because it was so small. With the fuse removed, I tried again. It didn’t start. My dream of getting home ahead of traffic were melting away just like I was beginning to melt in my Roadcrafter with all this messing around. Time to take it off.


My friend asked if I needed a jump, and offered to go get his car. Awesome! He even had jumper cables. It took him a few minutes to walk to his car and drive it over which gave me think about why this happened. Yes, I used my electric coat on the way to work like I have been doing for several years, and just like I used it nearly every day on my trip to Alaska last year. The battery is almost five years old. I’ve also been lazy about putting the bike on the tender like I normally do each night. I hope it is just the battery and not the charging system.

My friend arrived and I pushed the bike over to where he parked. He got the jumper cables out, and I hooked them up with the car off. Red and then black on the car, and then red and black on the bike. I turned on the choke, pulled the clutch in, and pressed the starter button. Please work. It fired on the second try! Success! I left it running while I put my tools and gear away. The choke kept it at 3000 rpm which is in the charging range.


I thanked my friend profusely for rescuing me, and then started the ride home. I made it home without trouble. I was even able to stop and restart the bike several times in the driveway. The battery charged to full on the tender over night; it seems fine now. I have a new battery on the way.

Do you carry tools to get to your fuses and battery? Have you used them to try it?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Start Seeing Deer

A co-worker recently told me of a great ride he had last week along the St. Croix river while admiring the fall colors and enjoying the crisp fall air. He said:

“The ride was amazing, but the last 10 miles home were terrifying! There were dozens of deer right at the edge of the road and in the middle of the road. I had to ride at 30mph to avoid hitting them. It was scary.”

I have a similar experience on my return trip from Indianapolis with the deer right on the edge of I-94. I slowed way down to give my headlight a chance to see them. I even saw a deer in the city on my way to work last week. A motorcycle rarely wins with a deer.

Our state safety coordinator sent out this infographic, and I thought it was timely and worth a share. It’s the motorcycle-deer crash stats for ‘91-‘12:

motorcycle-deer crash stats for ‘91-‘12.

They also had some safety tips to share for both motorcycles and cars.

Motorcyclist Safety Tips:

  • Avoid night and low-light riding periods (dusk and dawn) when deer are more active.
  • When encountering deer, use both brakes to stop. If riders cannot stop in time, swerve carefully and slowly around the deer if there is space.
  • If a collision cannot be avoided, keep head and eyes up to improve chances of keeping the bike up.
  • Wear protective gear, especially a DOT-approved helmet.

Motorist Safety Tips:

  • Buckle up, drive at safe speeds and pay attention — be especially cautious during dusk and dawn when deer are more active.
  • Don’t veer for deer — swerving can cause motorists to lose control and travel off the road or into oncoming traffic. Bringing a vehicle to a controlled stop and hitting a deer is safer than swerving.

Ride safe!

Friday, October 4, 2013

New Winter Tires for the Ural (HF307)

Duro HF307 for Ural Winter Tires

With the temperatures getting colder, I decided it was time to order this year’s winter tires for the Ural sidecar to facilitate my year round riding. The Heidenau K37 Snowtex I have on now are proper winter tires with the snowflake printed on the side. They’ve worked great for the last two years, but are now pretty worn out. This will be my fifth winter riding, so I guess it is fitting that the Duro is also the fifth tire I’ve tried for winter riding (Uralshina, Duro HF308, Kenda K335, Heidenau K37 Snowtex, and now Duro HF307).

Duro HF307 for Ural Winter Tires

Above, you can see the K37 Snowtex on the left and the new HF307s on the right. If the K37 Snowtex worked so well, why did I switch? Cost. One K37 Snowtex is about $180. I found a deal on the HF307 which put them at $65 a piece. I bought three HF307s tires for just under $200 shipped. It was a pretty easy choice once I looked at the money.

Duro HF307 for Ural Winter Tires

The Heidenaus were very difficult to get on because they were so stiff and barely cleared the rear swingarm and drive shaft. The Internet promises me the HF307s will be easier to install. We’ll have to see how lazy I am this weekend before I can find out. I’ve been admiring them in the garage for a week now. hehe.

I wrote about the K37 Snowtex a few times. They worked really well in the snow, but I couldn’t justify the price difference. I hope the Duros work as well as people say they do, and last longer than the crappy K335s.


K37 Snowtex posts:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Dogs and Motorcycles

Dogs and motorcycles seem to go together. I’ve seen several different ways our canine friends ride and managed to get photos of a few of them.

Riding on the tank seems to be a popular option. My friend on YouTube has a whole series of videos with his dog Yoshi riding on the tank of his dirtbike. You can see his videos here:

Below is a small dog riding on the tank of a Ninja at First Thursday last month. He was strapped in by his harness.

Dog on Motorcycle

Another one I’ve seen a few times, but only managed to barely catch with the camera once is the small dog in a backpack. The little guy kept looking away every time I pressed the button though.

Backpack Dog

Sidecars and dogs seems to be the safest way to haul a dog around on a motorcycle. It’s a common reason folks tell me they want to get a sidecar too. 

Sidecar with Dog

One of my favorite shots of my friend’s dog. His dog loves to go for rides almost as much as we do.


Do you have any nice photos of dogs and motorcycles?