Tuesday, March 30, 2010

SV650 Radiator Coolant Flush and Change

Changing the radiator fluid or coolant is part of the regular service every liquid cooled bike needs. The SV650 manual suggests replacing the fluid every two years, but I like to change mine at the beginning of each riding season. Changing the coolant is just as easy as changing the oil. Even taking all the photos for this post, it only took me an hour.

Tools needed:

You shouldn't have to replace any bolts, screws, or washers unless they are damaged.

tools needed

Make sure the coolant you will use is compatible with your bike. For my SV650, I chose a 50/50 premixed solution specifically for a motorcycle with an aluminum engine.

fill with 50/50 aluminum safe coolant

Here are the important locations for changing the coolant on a SV650:

  1. overflow Tank Reservoir
  2. drain bolt
  3. overflow cap
  4. radiator filler neck and pressure cap
  5. safety screw on pressure cap

Location of Radiator Parts

Make sure the bike is cold. Changing the coolant is not something to do on a hot bike. I let mine sit overnight. Set a container to catch the fluid near the drain bolt. I found putting mine on a case of oil was about the right height.

pan to catch fluid

The overflow cap can be removed without lifting the tank, but I found it easier to take it on and off with the tank out of the way. Remove the cover to allow the system to breath and drain more easily.

Overflow Tank Cap

Remove the side panels with the 4mm hex key and the seat with the 6mm hex key. Lift the seat out of the way.

Remove Side Panel and Seat to Lift TankRemove Side Panel and Seat to Lift Tank

With the seat out of the way, remove these two bolts with the 4mm hex key and lift the tank.

Bolts to remove to lift tank

The tank is supported with the included tool underneath the passenger seat.

prop the tank up

Remove the overflow cap to allow the system to drain more effectively.

open the overflow cover to allow system to breath

Using the Philips screwdriver with the PH0 head to remove the safety screw. Be careful to get the right size screwdriver head as the screw is easily stripped.

Radiator Fill Cap

Slowly remove the pressure cap from the filler neck. If you hear hissing, stop and let the bike cool down further.

radiator cap removed slowly

Use the 10mm socket to remove the drain bolt and be ready to catch the stream of coolant in your container. I found rocking the bike back and forth worked well to get all of the coolant out.

Water Pump and Radiator Drain Plug

When the coolant has stopped flowing out, use a garden hose to flush the system by filling it up and letting it drain out. It took at least five times before the water coming out of the drain was clear for me.

flush with garden hose

Check the washer on the drain bolt and replace if necessary. Then replace the drain bolt and torque to 13Nm (13Nm * 0.7376 = 9.58 Ft Lbs)

replace drain bolt

Add coolant to the system slowly until it reaches the base of the filler neck. Start the bike and let it run for two to five minutes to help the air escape from the system. I found gently rocking the bike back and forth helped, especially if you only have side stand. Let the bike cool down and check the fluid level. Add more if necessary and repeat this entire step. It took me three times for this step.

fill to bottom of the filler neck

Replace the pressure cap like this to align the safety screw for easy access. Replace the overflow cap, lower the tank, and put the seat and side panels back on.

put cap on like this to make the safety screw easy to reach

Check the overflow container to make sure the coolant level is up to the full line on top. The level on mine is very difficult to see without shining a very bright light on it.

Overflow Tank


Monday, March 29, 2010

Tumbler Wisconsin Sport Bike Ride

I was lucky enough to spend the entire afternoon riding my SV650 Sunday. The ride started out a tad brisk at 40F with a strong wind, but eventually it got up to 52F. My Gerbing coat and heated grips kept me comfortable the entire day.

Late on Saturday night, I saw a last minute ride posting on the MSTA forum from a guy named Tumbler. It looked like fun, so I decided to go.

sv650 at point duglas park near prescott

I arrived at Point Douglas Park just outside of Prescott and waited for the rest of the group. The St. Croix River has been very high and flooding the surrounding area. When I arrived, Washington County had just finished piling sandbags around this park building.

Point Douglas Park near Prescott

Finally, some of the group had arrived


The ride started just outside of Prescott, Wisconsin and wound its way North through Hudson up to Taylors Falls. From there, we road South on Hwy 95 to Stillwater where most of the group stopped for dinner. Here’s the route sheet we mostly followed. The ride totaled 110 miles and took almost four hours with breaks.


At the first break, I noticed this sign. I like it.


The group at Taylors Falls


We parked the bikes at the gas station and walked down to Interstate State Park aka Potholes Park to look around. Glacial flood waters carved the St. Croix valley and the potholes in the basalt resulting in a very scenic area.

IMG_0282 IMG_0284 IMG_0286 IMG_0287 IMG_0296 IMG_0297 IMG_0298

After our walk in the park, we decided to take Hwy 95 to Stillwater rather than follow the rest of the route sheet. Many of the side roads were covered in sand. People were also starting to get hungry and wanted to take the most direct route to food.


We couldn’t park in the normal parking lots because it was under water.


You can’t even see the fence next to the gazebo because it is under water.


This bridge was just recently opened after being closed due to the flooding of the St. Croix River.


It was a good spring ride with about 15 bikes. I had a good time on the ride and chatting with some of the other riders. I’m looking forward to future rides when the temperature is warmer and the rains have washed more of the sand away.

The full flickr photo set is here.

I captured almost three hours of video. I put the short clip on both Vimeo and Youtube.

Vimeo Video:

Youtube Video:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Indian Mound Park

I stopped by Indian Mound Park, just east of St. Paul today to get some pictures for Rogers George. Of course, I have to get a shot of the bike in too!

My SV650 at the overlook area at Indian Mounds Park.

Indian Mound Park

Here are a couple more shots of downtown St. Paul from the overlook area.

Indian Mound Park

Indian Mound Park

Indian Mound Park

While I was riding up this hill, I saw two bald eagles playing or fighting. It was hard to tell, but they were flying vigorously.

Indian Mound Park

I stopped to get my camera out and they disappeared, so I put the camera away and got ready to ride. This repeated about three times. They really didn’t want their picture taken. I was wearing my GoProHD and caught them on video, but there isn’t a decent shot. They were too far away and small, and it was hard to tell they were birds in the video.

Thanks for reminding me to visit the park again Rogers. I should really visit in the morning instead of the afternoon when the sun can cooperate and give some better lighting for the photos.

I also received a number of packages today. One of them was my new Giant Loop Great Basin Saddlebag (thank you taxman). I’m quite looking forward to using this bag!

Giant Loop Saddlebag has arrived

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

SV650 Meet T2i

sv650 in front of downtown st. paul

The riding the last few days has been fantastic. It's been cool in the mornings (30Fs) and then warm in the afternoons (50Fs). I’ve been mainly riding my WR250R and SV650 with the Ural finally getting to rest.

Earlier this week I finally received my new camera. I ordered over a month ago. First, I had to wait for it to be replaced, and then I waited for the backorder. My new camera is a: Canon EOS Rebel T2i. It has been quite fun learning how to use it and I hope my overall picture quality will improve with a more capable camera. I also need to finish reading the inch thick manual! 

Here are a few shots I took this morning on the way in. For contrast, you can look at the same shots from Feb 10 here. No snow anymore, and not quite all green grass yet either.

downtown st. paulminnesota capitol 

On the way home, I stopped on the river bluff just to the South of downtown St. Paul and captured these two shots, and the pic of my SV650 at the beginning. Click on any of the images for a full 18MP version.

downtown st. pauldowntown st. paul

I’ve been spending a lot of time riding and trying to figure out my two cameras. I’ve easily put a few hundred miles on both the WR and the SV in the last ten days.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Uraling through Stillwater

Saturday, I took the Ural out for a long ride into Wisconsin and back. I stopped by the Ural dealer in New Richmond, WI and picked up a knobby tire. I had some “gear bucks” left over from my first service, and needed to spend them. The knobby tire seemed like the best choice!

knobby tire for the ural 

It wasn’t as nice as Sunday. I was sprinkled on a few times. There were still a couple motorcycles out and even one who remembered how to wave!

I used the GoPro chest mount again to capture some video riding around Stillwater and across the St. Croix River. I wrote about Stillwater last year here and earlier this year here. Looking back on those winter photos in the second link is really a contrast to the video below.

Bobskoot: the boats in the video were for you

Youtube: Uraling through Stillwater

The video will also be on Vimeo later this week. I’m waiting for my upload restrictions to lift. Too many videos posted this week.

Monday, March 15, 2010

WR250R and Super9 on a Ride

I spent the morning working on the Ural, so I didn’t realize how nice it really was until I had to make a trip to the hardware store. I took the Super9 since it is easy to park. It is a moped, so you can park it at the bike rack next to the door – very nice for quick trips to the store.

It was WARM, way too warm for all the cold gear I was wearing. Sunday Minnesota finally got started with spring. We had blue, sunny skies and the temps soared up to 62F! I raced home after the store and changed into some cooler gear. I broke out my summer gloves and helmet, and the Gerbing gear went into the closet.

I took the WR250R out for a couple different rides. The SV650 is still in pieces… I really need to get the wiring finished!

Here are two of the many videos I captured this weekend:

Youtube: GoProHD on a WR250R

Youtube: Super9 and WR250R on a Ride

The videos are also on Vimeo.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Commuting in the Rain

When I went to work on Wednesday, I apparently forgot rain was wet. I took the Super9 instead of the Ural for some variety. I forgot the seat on the scooter is well used and depresses into a crater when you sit on it. It’s very comfortable, but not ideal in the rain. When it rains, the water collects in that crater. By the way, I was NOT wearing my rain gear.

My Tourmaster riding gear is quite nice, and it is waterproof. I’ve never gotten wet wearing it while riding, but apparently sitting in a puddle for thirty minutes is beyond it’s capabilities. I arrived at work Wednesday with some wet clothes, and ended up standing at my desk for a few hours while things dried out.

It’s has been raining for the last four days. I’m happy to see the salt, oil, and other grime being washed from the roads. The rain is also slowly melting the snow. Yesterday was the warmest day of the year so far at 50F! It was only in the low 40s today though.

Today, I was smarter. I wore my rain gear, and I didn’t get wet at all. I also wore my new GoPro Chest Mount. I found my DIY chest mount a bit clumsy to get on while wearing riding gear.

The new mount is MUCH easier to put on. It goes on like a vest and has a nice buckle in the front to secure it. The straps are made of a stretchy nylon that is easy to get on while wearing full gear. I did find that the right side had a tendency to become disconnected from the buckle, but it only takes a second to reattach it.

I thought the video turned out nicer than the DIY too since the mount seemed to absorb some of the bumps. It is also more comfortable to wear without gear on. I just need to learn to aim it a bit better. This video was a bit high, but I still like how it turned out.

I think the GoPro HD Camera worked quite well in the rain. The sound isn’t quite what I wanted because I had the camera in the waterproof case. The case worked as expected and kept the camera dry.

Bobskoot: here is your rain video as requested:

Youtube Video: GoProHD in the Rain on the Super9

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

First Ride in the Rain in 2010

It finally rained today. The temperature has been hovering in mid to high 30s (F) for about the last week or so. It’s even gotten up to the 40s a few times. I have been enjoying not using my heated gear. It is very comfortable, but the wires get bothersome getting on and off the bike frequently.

This morning was misty-fog and about 35F when I rode the Ural to work. I really wanted to take the Super9, but I needed to bring more things with me than the little scooter could handle.

By the time I finished working today, it was already raining. I was actually excited since it was the first time I was able to the ride the Ural in the rain. Riding the sidecar in the rain felt great. I was able to pay more attention to the scenery and slightly less to the road surface since there is no chance of falling down.

On the contrary, with the roads wet and covered in gunk, I was able to drift the back end of the Ural around the corners slightly. I’d read about the technique in my sidecar book, but have only been able to pull it off on snow.

Basically, you give the bike a little bit of gas while in a right-hand corner to cause the rear wheels to slide just slightly. When done correctly, it reduces the lateral forces on the bike making it less likely to tip over in the turn. It’s also kinda fun. It makes the corner feel much smoother.

I am really enjoying finally seeing other riders on the road! I saw a number of bikes on Sunday. I saw two yesterday, and one forgot how to wave. Today, I saw three. One was even a sidecar! I have no idea what kind – just a random white a hack. He gave a big wave though.

It is supposed to rain the rest of the week. I really need to finish my projects on the SV650, so I can put it back together and get it on the road!

Monday, March 8, 2010

DIY GoPro HD Chest Mount

I’ve spent a lot of time lately playing with my new GoPro HD. Probably too much time. Ever since I received my GoPro a few weeks ago, I have been wanting to do something with the base of the original packaging. It is a base for attaching the camera just like the others in the kit.

Here is a video showing what NOT to do with the GoProHD:
YouTube: The wrong way to mount a GoPro HD to a Super9

I had the idea to modify mine after reading about someone else who attached theirs to a kite.
Tools needed:

1) Use the rotary tool to round the corners of the base plate. It wouldn’t be nice to be stabbed while using the mount.
2) Use the drill to make four holes in the base.
DIY GoProHD Chest Mount
3) Run a long piece of nylon rope through the holes to make an X pattern on your back.
DIY GoProHD Chest Mount
4) Attach the GoPro HD to the DIY chest mount with the vertical clip
DIY GoProHD Chest Mount
5) After some quick testing, I determined a small piece of paper needed to be stuffed under the clips to prevent rattling. The connection between the base and the clips isn’t quite perfect. Because we used the vertical clip above, we can’t use the orange rubber stopper that comes with the camera for this purpose.
DIY GoProHD Chest Mount
6) Put it on and go make some video!

Here is the video showing the DIY chest mount:
YouTube: DIY GoPro HD Chest Mount

UPDATE: I was frustrated with the lack of flexibility for this mount and eventually bought the GoPro Chest Mount. This could be improved with nylon webbing and velcro instead of rope and slits instead of holes.