Sunday, January 31, 2010

1Down4Up Ice Race – January 31


A friend and I watched the 1Down4Up Ice Race in North Center Lake in Center City, MN today. I wanted to take the Ural, but with my heated gloves not working right it wouldn’t have worked. Fifty miles is too far to ride at 5F with no heated gloves, and then sit outside all day before riding back. It sure would have been fun to take the Ural on the track though.

It wasn’t a big event. There were only about thirty racers spread across seventeen different events with no more than three to five out at once. The track was small (1/4 mile modified oval) which made spectating much easier as you could see the entire track from any other point on the track.

Above is a shot of the “road” across the lake.

panorama photos

Here you can see all the cars lined that attended the ice race. and a panorama of the track below:

Panorama of the track

It was fun looking at all the different bikes before and between the races.

IMGP6539 IMGP6540 IMGP6541 IMGP6564 kid ice bike kid ice studs IMGP6643 IMGP6644

Below you can see how many of the racers kept their hands warm while on waiting to pull onto the starting grid.

keeping the hands warm

Entire families came to the event with lots of them having every family member race.

whole family race

I like this bike and the DIY ice fenders.


I had fun trying to catch the racers with my camera as they flew by. It proved to be quite challenging and I took a lot of photos. One of the strangest bikes we saw was this custom chopper with studded ice tires riding around the track during one of the breaks. He went around about six times and only crashed once.


The fire department was on hand in case anyone crashed badly. Other than the chopper above, we only saw one other bike go down in the middle of the race. He got right back up and kept riding.


I made a video of the event and posted it to Vimeo:

The video is also on Youtube if you prefer.

I couldn’t decide which photos to keep, so enjoy the next string of thumbnails. :) The entire flickr set is here.

IMGP6559IMGP6561 IMGP6572IMGP6573IMGP6584IMGP6587IMGP6588IMGP6590IMGP6591IMGP6593IMGP6594IMGP6611IMGP6612


UPDATE: Cycle News Article about the day.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

SV650 Brake Light LED Upgrade and Hyper-lite Install

I wanted to make my 2001 SV650 more visible to other road users, so I decided to upgrade the brake lights. I chose a two prong approach after reading a lot about other SV650 owners and their upgrades. I replaced the two stock 1157 brake lights with red Matrix II 32 LED bulbs that I purchased from I also added the modulating brake/running U32 kit that I purchased from The combination should make me more visible at night with three lights instead of one, and MUCH more visible when I use the brakes.
LED 1157 bulb hyperlites
I used the following tools to do my install:
brake light tools

Below are all the pieces that came with the U32 hyper-lite kit. This is the modulating brake/running like with 16 LEDs on each block. I also ordered the license plate bracket to make the mounting a bit easier.
Here is a photo of my current setup, stock brake light, and running light.
stock brake lightstock brake light onstock brake light - running light
I took a lot of extra pictures of the hardware than normal. There are many bolts and screws of different sizes, and I wanted to remember where they all went since I did this work over a few days.
Remove both of the seats. Use the allen wrench for the main seat.
remove the rear seat
With the 12mm socket, remove the grab bar
Use the philips screw driver to remove the screws on the rear cowling between the seats.
Remove the six screws that hold the rear cowling.
My SV650 has a custom undertray:
with two screws and two 8mm bolts with 10mm nuts.
Remove the two screws holding the brake light lens cover
IMGP6402 IMGP6403
Remove the two screws holding the pillion seat lock
Twist the cable for the lock out of the grove and then remove it.
Now, the rear cowling can be removed. There are two rubber post shown below. Carefully pull to the sides and remove.
tricky rubber nub on each side of rear cowling
Rear cowling removed:
All of the plastic removed, and the bike is ready to work on.
everything removed
I mounted the license plate bracket to the bottom of my license plate since I have the turn signal bracket is on the top.
hyper-lites installed on bracketclose up of hyper-lite
I used a bit of rubbing alcohol to clean the bracket and then stuck the hyper-lites on with the supplied double sided foam tape.
Connect the three brown wires together and the three blue wires together. One wire from each LED block and one from the controller.
The wiring guide that comes with the hyper-lites was correct under the Suzuki listing. I confirmed this by checking with my service manual.

brake light +12V = SV white with black stripe = hyper-lite red
running light +12V = SV brown = hyper-lite grey
ground = SV black with white stripe = hyper-lite black

Attach the positap to the brake light wires by inserting the wire to tap into the open prong as shown below
then screw on the middle connector which taps the wire
push the hyper-lite wire through the other end and screw on
it looks like this when connected correctly. check that both wires are secure.
Repeat the above for the other two wires.
I cleaned up the bottom with some zip tipes and some extra heavy duty electrical tape to support the wires.
Remove the stock 1157  12V 21/5W bulbs
stock 1157 bulb
replace with the new red MatrixII 32 LED bulbs
LED 1157 bulb
I turned the key and below is a shot of the running lights:
new running lights
And with the brake lights on:
new brake lights on
I did end up cutting the green wire on the hyper-lite controller, so I only flash the brake light for five seconds and then it stays on solid. The hyper-lites are REALLY bright, and my camera doesn’t do them justice. Check out the video here from the hyper-lite website.

When I get some more funds ($94!), I will be buying a set for my other bikes too.