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rong's motorcycle geek out thread

Started by rong, November 16, 2009, 02:17:00 AM

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rong

this is the thread where i talk about motorcycles, my motorcycle and motorcycling experiences.

today i needed to run to the hardware store to get some shit.  it's normally a 20 minute drive - but today i took the scenic route and turned it into a 3 hour motorcycle adventure.  it was 43 degrees out, so carhart bibs were in order.  all in all i stayed pretty warm - feet got a little cold, but that's on account of having poorly (i.e. not) insulated riding boots. 

i saw a nice chunk of state forest that had been clear cut, so now i know where i can go get some firewood:


i also rode by the abandoned groveland mine:
 

there's really good fishing in the mine ponds here cuz the DNR uses them to farm fish to stock many lakes around the upper peninsula.

i think this winter i will try to ride at least once in every month - just to say i did it.
"a real smart feller, he felt smart"

rong

#1
this is a picture of my first motorcycle, an '03 Honda Rebel.



like i said, it was my first and i bought it to learn how to ride on.  it's an excellent bike to learn on.  not a lot of power, but i could get it up to 70 mph without too much trouble.  being a 250cc, it got awesome gas mileage - i averaged 65 mpg.  i once rode it from minneapolis to chicago and certainly would've took first place in a sore ass contest - not the best bike for long hauls, but if you're not very tall (or at least have short legs) it's an excellent commuter bike.  

i learned how to wrench a bit on it, too.  adjusted the valve clearances and replaced a leaking left main crank oil seal.

i sold it to a kid this summer as i had upgraded and out grown it.  plus, living at the end of a dirt road meant for a lot of work keeping it shiny.

edit: oh yeah, i forgot -  the guy i bought it from had crashed it so i spent a lot of time (way too much time, in retrospect, but hey, i didn't know what the hell i was doing) re-aligning the front wheel.  it always pulled ever so slightly to the left, but i got it so close to perfect that i think it was due to an un-evenly worn front tire.
"a real smart feller, he felt smart"

rong

#2
this is my second motorcycle.  it's a 1981 yamaha seca 750.  i mainly bought it cuz a) it was shaft drive (so less maintenance) b) it has a flatter seat, so more room to shift around on long trips and c)it was only $600



this has definitely been a fixer upper experience.  it needed a new fron tire when i got it, and while replacing the front tire, i discovered that the right front (it has dual front disc brakes) brake was dragging.  so i had to rebuild the calipers.  and, after being parked for a winter it just flat out ran like shit - so i rebuilt the carbs (it's a 4 cylinder and has 4 carburetors - 4 times the fun! yay!).  after i got it running pretty good, the petcock (that's the fuel on/off valve for those not in the know) started leaking gas, so i had to rebuild that, too.  

luckily it has good compression.  #2 exhaust valve is a little tight, but i plan to remedy that right soon.

then i decided to do some plug chops to see if it was tuned even close to right - (a plug chop is when you get the bike at a good cruising speed and hit the kill switch, coast to a stop, pull the spark plugs out and look at 'em).  if they are black, you are too rich (or burning oil).  if they are a nice brown paper bag tan you are good and if the plugs are white you are lean.  unfortunately, even though running lean means better gas mileage, it also means running too hot - which can burn a valve or burn a hole through a piston which really sucks.  unfortunately, this bike turned out to be running incredibly lean (wouldn't know it from riding it though - she goes like a raped ape).  so this summer i learned a lot about carburetors.

turns out the bike doesn't have the stock exhaust - this means easier air flow through the engine which causes the engine to pull more from the carburetors.  but since the jets in the carb weren't modified to coincide with the aftermarket exhaust - all the engine got more of is air.  i ended up going up two main fuel jet sizes and shimming all the main jet needles up with 2 washers each.  now the plugs are tan.  i still have a little stumble at around 1500 rpms and i can't decide if i need larger main air jets or larger pilot fuel jets.  (or both)

i purchased a "colortune" to help diagnose the problem - which is a pretty sweet tool.  it's a sparkplug made out of glass - so you can actually see the color of the combustion inside the cylinder-  if it's blue you are too lean, if it's orange you are to rich - if it's an orangish bluish purple color you are dead on.

anyhow, as frustrating as that bike has been, it is a real joy to ride on a nice twisty road.  it has really good accelleration and is very comfortable.  i plan to put some taller handlebars on and replace the ugly as shit stock headlight, maybe this winter . . .

edit: i forgot to mention my favorite thing about the look of the bike - it's the straight 4 engine - to me, the 4 exhaust pipes make the engine look like a clenched fist.  A CLENCHED FIST OF FURY PUNCHING DOWN THE HIGHWAY!!!!!!  well, that and it's got to be the most phallic looking gas tank i've ever seen
"a real smart feller, he felt smart"

rong

this is my '07 Kawasaki KLR 650 (also pictured in the 1st post)



i bought it cuz a) i live on a dirt road so i wanted something more able to handle it for commuting (the seca kinda sucks to ride on dirt and the honda was even worse) and b) after dealing with a 4 cylinder, 4 carburetor engine, i was pretty stoked to get a single cylinder with 1 carb. 

i have since learned that these bikes are referred to as "thumpers" due to the nature of the single cylinder.

i can't say enough nice things about this bike.  my only complaint is that it's so dang tall - which isn't a problem unless you need to put a foot down when you have an "oops" moment.  i have links to lower the rear suspension, and the front can simply be adjusted to match, but this would require shortening the kick stand - so i'm not sure if i want to do it yet.  plus, i don't want to give up all the ground clearance.  i bottomed out the front shocks on some really big rocks today and was thankful i didn't go scooting on my engine guard.

it's often referred to as the bike that's good at everything, but great at nothing.  for me it's perfect for logging roads.  on twisty pavement i find myself wishing i was riding the seca and on single track woods roads i find myself wishing i was on a smaller dirt bike.  i describe it as it's like they made a motorcyle out of a monster truck.  i never thought i'd find myself aiming for potholes saying, "ooooh! this one looks fun!"

it's supposed to get over 300 miles on 1 tank of gas (i haven't pressed my luck yet to find out - i did end up hitting reserve at 230 miles) which is nice, too.  it can be a pain getting gas every 100 miles or so like my other 2 bikes.  but the 6 gallon tank really makes a difference in the handling when it's full vs empty. 

i'm looking forward to putting many thousands of miles on this bike.  if i ever get around to riding to alaska, this will be the bike i do it on. 

there's some work that needs to be done though - i need to upgrade my balancer chain tensioner (i've read they're prone to failing and that can cause catastrophic engine damage).  i also have been thinking about upgrading/modifying my thermostat (this bike is liquid cooled) to make it better suited for cold weather riding.

funny story - i brought my chainsaw to a local shop to have some work done on it and saw an old honda enduro parked out back.  i asked the owner about it and we got to talking bikes and it turns out that he is the former owner of my KLR (he sold it on consignment thru a dealer).  small world, eh?
"a real smart feller, he felt smart"

rong



i really get a kick out of this motorcycle.  i'm guessing it probly sucks to ride.  but, still very cool.  i wouldn't mind having one like this.
"a real smart feller, he felt smart"

rong

did you guys know there is a Bavarian Illuminati Motorcycle Club  part of me wants to try to start a local chapter but part of me doesn't.  i'm not sure if i like the MC thing or not.  i'm sure i'd get hassled by other clubs.  i don't really like riding with other people, either.  spend too much time wondering if the guy in front of  you is gonna crash and checking the mirrors to make sure the guy behind you is still there.  although it is reassuring to know that someone will be around if you crash or break down.

seems like the BIMC is all harley riders, too - so they probly wouldn't want the likes of me in their club anyway. 

i've met some harley riders that are pretty cool, and some are total dickheads.
"a real smart feller, he felt smart"

rong

"a real smart feller, he felt smart"

MMIX

Quacker = Kawasaki dunno if its just britslang . . .?

they did my fave bike ad back when I were a kid wi' a bike

"Kawasaki - better than your average Yamahonduki"

sadly mine was a Honda . . .
"The ultimate hidden truth of the world is that it is something we make and could just as easily make differently" David Graeber

rong

i kinda was guessing that's what "quack" meant.  'round here folks call 'em "kawi's" (pronounced cow-ee)

i really like that bike.  there's a rally next summer not too far from where i live that i'm hoping to attend.  4 days of riding trails and drinking beer* sounds pretty good to me.





* although i strongly endorse the consumption of beer.  i do NOT endorse riding while intoxicated.  just don't do it!
"a real smart feller, he felt smart"

rygD

Quote from: rong on November 16, 2009, 07:43:55 AM


i really get a kick out of this motorcycle.  i'm guessing it probly sucks to ride.  but, still very cool.  i wouldn't mind having one like this.

I was admiring this and someone saw it over my shoulder.  He thinks it kicks ass as well.
:rbtg:

Quote from: rygD on March 07, 2007, 02:53:03 PM
...nuke Iraq and give it to the Jews...

rong

#10
you might also enjoy this ride, then:


i can think of no cooler way to cut my grass

(although, on a closer inspection, it looks like the belt is missing off the deck - so this one might just be for show)
"a real smart feller, he felt smart"

rygD

Image is dead to me, but if it is what I think it is, I am pretty sure I have seen it.
:rbtg:

Quote from: rygD on March 07, 2007, 02:53:03 PM
...nuke Iraq and give it to the Jews...

rong

Someday, I hope to ride the Tail of the Dragon at Deal's gap.  318 curves in 11 miles.  (the link is a map showing all the deaths since 2000)

my wife's cousin and his dad rode their classic BMW's down there this summer.  said it was a blast, although from what i understand it's getting to be such a touristy destination that you can hardly enjoy the road most days - too crowded, etc.
"a real smart feller, he felt smart"

Hangshai

California Central Valley.  Kinda like a little bit of red state right in the middle of a blue state.  Lots of ag around here.  Ive also got a 1982 HOnda CX500 and a 1963 honda CL175(sick!!).  Also have a 1963 Ford Falcon and Im looking into getting a Plymouth Barracuda right now.  Hopefully I can find a decent '65.  I like to restore old vehicles for a hobby.  There can be decent money in it, too(sometimes).  Ive found that the people looking for such vehicles usually have the money to spend, but they are also looking for something that is completely FINISHED, so...  Lots of work.  The 63 CL is one of my favorite bikes ever.  I think I have a pic of it...

Here it is.



Still a work in progress.  It needs front foot pegs, a kick stand, a battery, the electrical needs to be rewired (and repaired), and, oh, I need the side body panels...
All text and pictures uploaded by/to/from this person/account is/are purely fictional and for entertainment purposes only. Or not.

rong

very cool.  you've done a great job cleaning up that bike.  good luck with those side covers.  i was extremely lucky to find strong online support at xjbikes.com for my yamaha seca. 

i'm trying to fix up my buddy's '81 honda CM500C.  i fear i will be pulling the head off pretty soon, as teh compression is not very good and with now immaculate carbs and properly adjusted valve clearances, it still doesn't run very good.  you wouldn't know a good resource to get used parts for early '80s Hondas online, would you?  i need a new (cheap!) front master cylinder for that bike, too.  i might have a few miscellaneous parts (mostly lights and turn signal related) that might fit your '82 CX500.  Let me know if you need anything and i'll check it out for ya.

too bad you're so far away. 

i love working on bikes, but i absolutely hate working on cars.  i recently had to replace the heater fan in my truck and it completely sucked.

safety tip:  something i recently learned about old drum brakes - the brake pads can, over time, delaminate from the shoe.  this can cause the wheel to suddenly lock up (even when you're doing 70mph).  take the time to check out all your drum brake pads (if you haven't already).
"a real smart feller, he felt smart"