Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Spider In The Family

Yesterday, I took a longish ride of nearly 300 miles. Sadly, I think it is the longest ride I've taken this year. A far cry from last year's fun indeed. It was also the windiest too. Into the 20+ mph wind for 150 miles. Bleh.

The ride was worth it though. I got to spend the afternoon with family. My uncle rode up on his new CanAm spider. We had a nice time chatting about riding. The CanAm looks pretty comfy, but way out of my price range at $26,000. I could buy two Urals for that kind of cash. Actually, thinking about it now, I could buy all my bikes for less than that and have plenty left over for accessories.

I should have asked him if I could ride it, but I was busy visiting and stuffing my face. It was a nice time.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What Gear Is Inside Your Gear?

Gear inside Gear

I recently had to empty out my Roadcrafter before I brought it to Aerostich to get repaired. This is the small pile of stuff that came out in roughly the location in the suit.

  1. Velcro pocket (easily removed to take with me)
    1. Insurance card
    2. Extra cash
    3. Spare motorcycle key
  2. Armored shoulder pads
  3. Extra velcro pocket (handy for holding directions. It can be placed inside or outside the suit on the arm.)
  4. Armored elbow pads
  5. Armored hip pads
  6. Heated coat temperature controller
  7. Waterproof glove covers from Aerostich “Crab Claws” (these work quite well)
  8. Armored knee pads
  9. Waterproof boot covers from Aerostich (these work very well allowing me to wear my vented boots more often)
  10. Garage door opener
  11. Waterproof camera (never leave home without it)

Not shown is my armored back protector. I just got some velcro from Aerostich, so I will be mounting it inside to have one less thing to take on and off. Yes, it’s a lot of armor. I like ATGATT (all the gear all the time): helmet, gloves, boots, riding coat & pants. The roadcrafter is waterproof, so I don’t bring extra rain gear anymore. Just the suit, and I’m done.

What gear do you keep in your gear? How much stuff are you wearing inside your gear? Write it up, and I’ll put links to posts below.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Annual Rideable Days

Annual Ridable Days Map

On a recent trip to Aerostich, I saw this map taped to the counter. How many days would you like to ride? An interesting listing of the average amount of rideable days around the country. A rideable day is defined by temperatures between 25F and 95F.

Minneapolis is listed as 253 days. In the last year, I’ve ridden in temps on either side of that range. I have to say the lower end was more comfortable than the higher end! I find it interesting that Anchorage almost has as many days as Minneapolis, and that Minneapolis has more than Houston. hmm. San Francisco and Honolulu are at 365. Nice.

Do you agree with the number for your area?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Visiting Aerostich in Duluth

Outside of Aerostich

This weekend we made the trip up to Duluth to enjoy Lake Superior. On the way, we stopped at Aerostich to get my Roadcrafter Light repaired. It has developed a couple minor issues with the zipper and a small seam coming apart. Thanks to the generous two year warranty, I was able to get them fixed without issue, but more on that later.

Inside of Aerostich

The inside of the showroom has been expanded since my visit last year. Lots more stuff to get distracted with. The staff were incredibly friendly and helpful. They fixed the zipper and seam issues right there on the spot, but the person to fix my final issue had already gone home for the weekend, so they’ll fix it on Monday. It was a nice experience.

Outside of Aerostich

On the way out, there was an interesting trailer behind this BMW from North Dakota. Our stomachs were screaming for food, so we didn’t stick around to chat.

I should get my suit back fully repaired in a couple days. I suppose now that I’ve had my Roadcrafter a year, I should think about writing a review. The short version is, I don’t wear my other gear anymore. I like the Roadcrafter Light that much.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fixing a Squeaky Givi Topcase Rack

While I was riding home from work today, I noticed my Givi rack was making more noise than usual. It shouldn’t be making any noise! Noise means something is loose. Not good.

Tightening Givi Top Case Rack

Last year, on the way up to Alaska, I had trouble with the topcase mount wiggling loose on the rough Canadian roads. I was tightening it, and the rest of the rack, every few days. After I got home, I put some new thread locker on, and the problem went away until today.

Tightening Givi Top Case Rack

The problem isn’t helped by the rack design. It’s a Givi rack on my 2001 SV650. There are only two mounting bolts for the topcase mount, and they are lined up. This causes the topcase to eventually wiggle back and forth along the line of the two bolts. Time to fix it for good. Bring on the power tools!

Two more bolts should add enough strength to keep it from wiggling. I decided to remove the rubber bumper and drilled a 1/4” hole through the rack.

Tightening Givi Top Case Rack

A quick dig in my pile-o-spare-parts, and I found two bolts, washers, and lock nuts that fit just perfectly.

Tightening Givi Top Case Rack

A little blue thread locker and it they were ready to tighten up.

Tightening Givi Top Case Rack

With four bolts, things were much more solid. The bolts were about the same height as the rubber stoppers, so the top case went on snuggly.

Tightening Givi Top Case Rack

All put back together and no more movement or wiggling. Nice.

Tightening Givi Top Case Rack

I use the topcase constantly; it is super handy to have locking waterproof storage. Other than the wiggling loose occasionally, I’ve never had a problem with it. I’ve ridden with it on the bike for over 40,000 miles. I’m not fond of wearing a backpack while riding either. The sidecases don’t see as much use, but they are very handy for stashing all my riding gear or Costco trips.

Friday, July 5, 2013

LiveMap: Helmet with Navigation

I don’t normally write about startups, but this is a particular product that I’ve wished existed ever since I started using a GPS on a motorcycle. The designers are going for a voice activated experience much like the inside of the ironman helmet from the movies. Cool! I just wish I had the $1500 to get one. Check out the video embedded below.

Indiegogo: LiveMap: Motorbike helmet with navigation

YouTube video:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Not Much Riding

Teaching a BRC

I haven’t been doing many pleasure rides outside of taking the long way home from work or to the store. What have I been doing instead? Teaching and working in the garden.

I taught a BRC nearly every weekend in June. It sounded like a good idea when I signed up in February. It was a fun time, but was a bit exhausting not having a day off between my day job and the weekend fun of coaching for so many weeks. The class I just finished this past weekend was a good one. No one dropped a bike, and everyone passed!

I have one more class to teach in August, and then I’ll be done for the year. Time to start planning a trip I think.