Friday, December 11, 2009

First Ural Service – December 11

My first 500km service was scheduled for today. I had talked to the dealer Thursday to get some advice on how to ride the bike out there since I could barely keep it running. Changing the spark plugs didn’t help.

I left the house around 7:30am to hopefully arrive at 9am at the dealer in New Richmond, WI about 50 miles away. I took the slow scenic route to avoid cars and to stay warmer by not having to deal with so much wind. The temp when I left the house was –10F which is now my new record for cold! –10F is cold riding.

After talking with the dealer last night, we decided the bike was running lean because the temps were too cold and the air more dense. They suggested running with the enricheners on all the time when the temps were around 0F. This solved the popping and stalling while I was moving, but created a new problem: it stalled when I stopped moving. It wouldn’t have been such a big deal, except the battery was defective and not taking a charge, so I’ve been kick starting it. Kicking a stalled bike in traffic is not fun.

The ride to the dealer was amazing. The sky was clear blue and the sun was shining bright. Everything except the road was covered in snow. I especially enjoyed riding past the many bodies of water we have in Minnesota. Most were frozen over, but some had some open water in the middle that had steam/fog coming off it. Looked amazing in the sun.

I tried to take some photos, but my camera was frozen. Apparently it was designed to work below zero. I will need to find a way to store it inside my coat, so it will stay warm enough to work.

It took me about an hour to get to Stillwater, MN along the St. Croix River. My toes were pretty cold, so I stopped at the local Cafe for some hot tea and oatmeal. They couldn’t believe I was out riding.

When I took off my glasses, I noticed I had about 1/8” of ice on the left lense. I have to ride with my visor about 60% open so my glasses and visor don’t ice/fog up. I’ve tried antifog stuff, but it just ices over. The Arai solution is to buy the pinlock visor system. I’ve also looked at Snowmobile helmets, but they have very soft flexible shields that aren’t DOT approved. They seem like a rock would go right through them.

The rest of the ride to the dealer was great with rolling hills and more beautiful blue sky. The service manager was pretty shocked when I walked in all dressed up.

They did the 500km service and changed all the fluids. They found the battery was completely defective, an exhaust leak (new gaskets), and the clutch needed work. All was done under the warranty. I also had the carbs richened up to run better in the cold tems.

All in all, I was there about four hours. I was again very impressed with the high level of customer service and professionalism at St. Croix Ural aka St. Croix HD. Everyone I interacted with was extremely friendly and helpful.

The ride home was again amazing and beautiful. I did have some excitement when I prematurely ran out of gas after 110km and had to go on the reserve tank. Running with the enricheners uses a lot of fuel!

The bike seems to be back in good running order and by the time I got home, there was a brief heatwave: 18F!

A great day of riding.

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