Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Suspension Success, I think.......

Saturday night we went out to the garage and tweaked the suspension on Max a little more.  We loosened the spring pre-load to adjust the SAG and then the high speed and low speed dampening compression.  We also backed off the front suspension slightly.  Thank you to all who supplied suggestions and especially to Geoff for the great literature he emailed me.  You're a peach.

Sunday the rains stopped for a while and we figured we'd test out the suspension by taking the back roads to Salem for a Costco run.  A mixture of showers and sun were forecast, but we figured we'd take our chances.

Troubadour put the panniers and tail bag on Lucy and we headed off.  The sun even came out to play.

When we hit the twisties I was in the zone and having a great time.  The bike seemed to be reacting quite well and I was having a ball. Some of the most fun I'd had on the bike.

It was just after noon and the sun was shining.  Our first stop was at Wal-Mart since Troubadour wanted to see if they had an oil filter for Lucy.  As we left Wal-Mart I experienced something I'd never felt on the bike.  I think I said in my helmet: "holy crap, did I just do a mini wheelie?"  Needless to say I was surprised.  

When accelerating away from a light it felt as though the front tire raised up when shifting out of 2nd.  I have a habit of quick acceleration from a stop.  Max shifts must smoother when shifting quickly as opposed to a slow easy shift.  He tends to clunk when shifting slower.  I made sure to accelerate quickly, but carefully after that.  We attributed it to the softer rear suspension settings.

From there we headed to Sushi Kyo for lunch.  What might a vegan find at a sushi restaurant you ask?  Plenty, such as avocado rolls, cucumber rolls, miso soup, veggie rolls, edamame, seaweed salad, and sesame balls filled with sweetened mung bean paste.  Yummy.

The only picture I took on Sunday was as we were leaving Sushi Kyo.

(Lucy and Max take us for sushi)
We left Sushi Kyo and made our way to Costco to venture the Sunday afternoon crowds.  I don't much like Costco crowds to begin with but we needed vitamins, coffee and pickled asparagus, etc. We had enough goodies we needed a cart to carry it to the bikes. Troubadour managed to pack away our purchases into the side cases and off we went. Back through Salem (our State capital) to our favorite twisty River Road towards home.

We decided not to go directly home, but to a riding friend's place.  She and her husband have started a traveling food cart to take to fairs and events and wanted to do a test run for their friends and family.  We detoured into Albany to visit and partake in Pronto Pups and Hurricane Fries.  I'd had neither before so it was an experience.  A Pronto Pup is like a corn dog (battered hot dog on a stick) only the batter is made with corn flour and is slightly puffy like it has baking powder in it.  Luckily one of her daughters is vegetarian so she had vegan dogs for us.  The Hurricane Fries are russet potatoes that are cut into a spiral on a stick, spread out and deep fried so that they are a combination of french fry and potato chip.

They were tasty but my body did not care for all of the oil.  We visited and gave feedback and suggestions and rode home later than expected.  We arrived home about 8:30 pm and relaxed for the evening.

Troubadour took Max to work yesterday and decided the front suspension needed to be tightened a smidge more as it was wallowing a bit in the corners.  He still hates the throttle lurch at low rpm but it is just part of everyday riding for me.  I am so used to it that it only really bothers me when I am tired or trying to adjust my grip. According to the Gladius/SV forum there is a TPS adjustment that eliminates it, so we may try it one day.

- Au Revoir

"I don't think America will have really made it until we have our own salad dressing.  Until then we are stuck behind the French, Italians, Russians, and Caesarians." - Pat McNelis

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sunday Shock & Dock Ride

On Sunday we decided to ride to the coast for two reasons: 1) to test the stock settings on the GSXR shock in Max; 2) to see the Japanese dock that washed ashore in Newport. Okay, 3) I needed allergy relief.  Troubadour has already blogged about the dock itself and you can read his post here ----> link, if you haven't already.

We had a relaxing morning and left the house about 11 o'clock.  It was warm but quite windy in the valley.  We chose not to wear our mesh jackets since I'd checked the ODOT trip cams and could tell it was only 58˚F (14˚C) in Newport and overcast.

We rode south to Alpine where Troubadour stopped to see how my shock was feeling.  My only thoughts at that point were that it felt like a bouncy/bumpy ride.  It felt as if every little variance in the road surface was coming through the bike.  Not a hard bump, but more of a bouncy bump.

We continued east around Alsea Falls (a favorite twisty road) until we met up with Highway 34 in Alsea.  We then headed west on Highway 34 and stopped at the junction with Five Rivers Road.  I took the first pictures of the day while standing on the bridge at that junction.

(Looking east)

(Looking west)
(Looking south down Five Rivers Road towards Lobster Valley)

Five Rivers/Lobster Valley is a great twisty road that we saved for another day.  When stopped we talked a little about the shock and how it handled up over the twisties.  I really didn't think it felt much different from the previous stock shock.  With the fuel tank running low the extra 30 lbs from petrol was absent as well, which normally weights the front end a bit.  
Maybe there was just too much of a gap between riding that road on the stock shock and then again with the GSXR shock.  Much easier to compare two bikes back to back than two shocks weeks apart.  

We closed some vents on our jackets and pointed the bikes west towards the coast. Highway 34 ends at a junction with Highway 101 in Waldport.  We stopped at the Chevron on the corner and fueled up the bikes, used the restroom facilities and had a quick break.

From there we went north on Highway 101 into Newport and made our way to Agate Beach.  Man were there a lot of people out looking at the dock.

FYI - walking in deep dry sand in full gear and riding boots is not as easy as it might sound.  Luckily the wet sand by the ocean was much easier to stroll along.  I know that Brad posted a few pictures of the dock so I will try not to duplicate them.

(Looking North along Agate Beach)

(Antique tint compliments the safety vest)

(Not sure why so many people wanted to climb on it)

(The kids found a foothold to climb up and down)

(Photo by Troubadour)

(Troubadour enjoying the beach)

(Hard not to squint without the shades on)

(Steady stream of people heading to check out the dock)

We were going to have a snack when we got back to the bikes then ride home.  When we arrives at the parking lot we found some hillbillies had parked beside the bikes and were smoking and chawing on some grub.  We lit out of there as fast as we could and headed to Starbucks for a coffee and a relaxing sit on the patio by ourselves instead.

We took Highway 20 - a more direct and less twisty ride home.  Unfortunately it was 5:30 pm and most of the valley it seemed was also driving home from the coast.  It was an uneventful return trip, but I did notice that the bike seemed to handle fine at highway speeds.  In 5th gear it was vibrating enough my right hand was falling asleep so I put it in 6th on the long straight stretches. Usually it feels underpowered like it is lagging in 6th so I ride most of the time in 5th.

I still wish the bike felt as planted in corners as the Bonneville did, but I know that isn't going to happen.  I loved how the Bonneville felt in corners and how it loved holding 70 mph, but I can't keep it  for those reasons alone.  

Now if I could get Max to ride like that I'd be set.

- Au Revoir

" And in today already walks tomorrow."  Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

First Day of Summer

Today is the Summer Solstice in our hemisphere and the sun actually came out to play.

In celebration, I thought I'd take the opportunity to wander about the yard this evening and take a few pictures of some of the items in bloom. All pictures were taken with my little Canon Elph 300HS.

(Portuguese Laurel)

(Looking up through Sambucus Black Lace blossoms)

(Peony bloom - notice the ant silhouette on the top right area of the bloom)

(Geranium showing some color)

(Tree Peony bloom)

(Spirea 'Magic Carpet')

(Lonicera, aka Honeysuckle)

(Generic rose - here when we moved in)

(Sunshine through a Cotinus Coggygria, aka Smoke Tree)

(Wisteria blooming over the back pergola & swing)
I then took a few pictures of some garden art that Troubadour refinished for me last week. They were looking a little sad and faded so he brought out several cans of spray paint and went to work.

(A snail - of course - I love snail art)

(A dragonfly - he gets new paint every year)
And Basil was lazing around on the back porch steps so I couldn't resist taking his picture.

(Basil chillin' out)

(So cute, but watch out for the fangs)
- Au Revoir

"Flowers whisper "Beauty!" to the world, even as they fade, wilt, and fall." - Dr. SunWolf

Monday, June 18, 2012

2012 International Ride to Work Day

Today is International Ride to Work Day.  The one day a year I am guaranteed to ride Max to work rain or shine.  

It rained in the night but the roads were pretty dry by the time I rode to work.  And now that my butt is firmly parked in my office chair the sun is out.

(Max at work - the office door is just to the right)
Usually I see one or two bikes heading towards campus on my way to work.  This morning, not one.  Maybe they were OSU students who graduated yesterday.

I'm guessing a lot of others rode to work too, and it is probably an everyday occurrence for you, unlike my annual ride to work day.

- Au Revoir

"Work to ride and ride to work." - Author Unknown

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Ford GT and a '77 Honda Gold Wing

This would be the answer to the question:  

What do people ride/drive to Saturday morning coffee?

This morning when we arrived at coffee we noticed David (owner of the blue Norvin) had driven his new to him Ford GT.  Oohing and awing ensued.  

Troubadour even got to sit in it.  He asked for the keys, but apparently test rides were forbidden.  I can understand why - it cost more than our house.

A little later Tom and his wife Bertie arrived; Bertie on her Honda Shadow and Tom on his new to him 1977 Honda Gold Wing.  I managed to get a few pictures when they were gearing up to leave.

(Bertie & Tom getting ready to leave - Derek on the left looking on)

A gentleman in La Grande, Oregon restores them and sells them for cost.  It had been a dream of Tom's to own one and I am happy he was able to find one.  Just look at that grin.  You know he is a happy camper.

(A happy Tom and his Gold Wing)

After coffee, we rode downtown for lunch and then home to do a little yard work.  Traffic was a nightmare because of the farmers market and the fact that Oregon State University's commencement is tomorrow.  The guest speaker for the commencement address is First Lady Michelle Obama.  Her brother is the OSU Beavers Basketball Coach.  Craziness abounds.

Just after 2 o'clock we took the car for a few errands, stopped by Starbucks for an iced yummy coffee and visited with SpartanBabe for a bit.  It was 82˚F (27.7˚C) in the shade when we left home.

We are thinking of maybe riding to the coast tomorrow to give my allergies a break. The cottonwood trees and grass seed is really coming into bloom and the pollen is killing me. Yesterday's grass pollen count was 277 and 200 is considered high.  Cue sneezing and itchy watery eyes, not to mention the sore throat.  Sneezing in a full face helmet is not recommended.  Ask me how I know.

We have the GSXR shock set back to stock settings, set the SAG for my weight and also tightened the front forks down one turn.  We are thinking that the twisties on the way to the coast will give me a good idea of how it feels now.  We have two multi-day trips coming up in July so it needs to be race ready in three weeks.

- Au Revoir

"Ah Summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it." - Russel Baker

Friday, June 15, 2012

Caption this....

I saw this on the internet the other day, I think it was on facebook.  I don't know where it ever originated or even how old it is, but it made me laugh.  (edit: Thanks Richard and Andrew for identifying it for me) 

I think it needs a better caption though.

Caption this......

Still photo from Top Gear, not sure who made it into a poster

I've heard Michael row your boat ashore, but never Michael rev your boat ashore......

- Au Revoir

"If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you've got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience." - Robert Fulghum

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Challenge: Your Ride.....

Martha over at Living Among Tourists threw down a challenge this week.  And I quote:

"Today I offer a challenge for you to photograph your usual ride, the one that most illustrates the path most taken - the drudge, the glory, whatever it is that you see all the time on your way to work or play.  What's the view?"

Challenge accepted.

This morning, even though I was in the cage (standard operating procedure for my commute) I had the camera out and ready to take photos of my whopping three mile drive. The drive consists of a right turn, followed by three left turns and one more right turn into the parking lot.  If I stop at the post office first I can extend it by two more rights and two more lefts.

My favorite part of the drive is along West Hills Road.  A short section with a 25 mph twisty in it followed by a little hill.

This picture is heading west on West Hills - single twisty up ahead.....

(Heading East on West Hills)

Around the twisty and up the hill.

(further East on West Hills)
There you have it, my daily drudgery Monday through Friday.  I won't bore you with the rest of it.  You know, all two stop signs and four stop lights of it. It only takes me ten minutes maximum to get to work and that is through the OSU campus so it isn't too bad really.

The road I really wanted to get a picture of is the route we always take to go to Eugene, but I can't get down there until at least the weekend.  At some point I'll put a photo up of the view.  It is beautiful as we ride through the rolling foothills of Christmas Tree farms.

If you are up to the challenge and want to post up your road most traveled please do so and remember to visit Martha and leave a link in her comments section so that she knows who has participated.

- Au Revoir

"Clearly, then, the city is not a concrete jungle, it is a human zoo." - Desmond Morris, The Human Zoo

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bonneville T-100, 110th Anniversary Edition

Last Saturday we had plans to take the Bonneville down to the Triumph shop in Eugene to put it on consignment.  Troubadour was teaching a Team Oregon class and was out of the house early.  About 8:30 am I started suiting up to ride to coffee.  I was the first one there and managed to get premium parking right out front.

(Beau at Coffee Culture Annex)
It wasn't raining on the way to coffee but by the time I left it was sprinkling.  I rode downtown to fuel up and also buy some tofu spring rolls from Vietnamese Baguette for lunch.  It was really raining by the time I entered the restaurant to pick up the to-go order.

One customer asked me: "Aren't you hot in all that gear?"  I just chuckled and told her it was keeping me dry so I didn't mind.  

Lunch purchased, I rode towards Albany to meet Troubadour.  Luckily it stopped raining just a bit out of town.

We shared lunch and headed down to Eugene.  The easiest route from our starting point was Highway 99E; straight and boring.  Oh well.

We arrived with no issues but Rod and Erica were busy so we amused ourselves by wandering around.

I was distracted by the shiny 110th Anniversary Edition of the Bonneville T-100. Previously I'd only seen it in pictures.  This was the first time seeing it in person.

2012 Triumph Bonneville T-100, 110th Anniversary Edition)
I really thought it was sharp with the Silver and Brooklands Green color combination.

(Striking green and silver combination with a touch of gold pin striping)

(Triumph - 1902 - 2012)

(Reflection for Bobskoot)

(The T-100's backside)

(The brake lever reflection caught my eye)

We were at the shop for a few hours and Troubadour, which you've probably seen by his post last week, was ogling the 2012 Triumph Explorer 1200 and also took a Stella two-stroke scooter for a ride.  If you missed his post you can check it out by clicking on this ----> link.

(Troubadour looking stylish on the Explorer)

(Just back from his Stella test ride)
We rode home two-up on Lucy that night.  Brad didn't have the top case on it, so I had no back rest.  It meant that I had a bit more wiggle room back there, but because of the riding position (high passenger pegs) my butt and knees were killing me by the time we got home.  That bike sure isn't great for a long legged pillion rider, although it tries to lull me to sleep so it must be a smooth ride.

- Au Revoir

"It is good to be without vices, but it is not good to be without temptations." - Walter Bagehot 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Shocking, I know

So, according to the Gladius forum, one of the best upgrades one can do to the suspension is to replace the stock shock with one from a '06-'07 GSXR.

Troubadour found one on eBay and ordered it.  $24.50 delivered to our door.  The spring on the GSXR shock comes bright yellow.  I didn't think this would fit with Max's overall paint scheme.

(stock photo from Motorcycleparts from the Gixxer forum)

Troubadour to the rescue.   He took the shock apart and then we found some Krylon paint for plastic that would match Max's frame and cover the yellow.

(GSXR shock with spring painted blue)

The hard part was the removal and reinstall. On Sunday night of our long Memorial Day weekend he decided at 8:00 pm that we could install the shock.  According to the forum it was about a 2 hour job.

I took a picture of the stock shock while still installed.

(Max's stock shock prior to removal)
We then brought the iPad out to the garage to follow the step by step instructions provided.  We needed to raise the rear of the bike to get the tire off the ground.  When one has an unfinished garage one can use ratchet straps strung through the rafters to accomplish such.  The following photo was taken on a closed course by trained professionals.  Please do not try this at home.  :-)

(Yellow ratchet straps lifting the rear off the ground)
While removing the old shock I managed to get a bloody knuckle, but Troubadour bore the worst of it by pulling a chest muscle while trying to undo one of the dog-bone bolts. The same chest muscle he pulled back in January while working on the new closet in our room.  Doh!  The darn thing had just healed too.

The forum suggested that we remove the entire exhaust system.  Some members stated that if your hands were small enough you would not need to do that.  We were in luck. My hands are slender and my fingers long.  We finally removed the stock shock.  Here is a picture of the two side by side.

(Max's stock shock on left - new GSXR shock on right)

Next was installing the GSXR shock.  It was pretty easy to place, but we had to tuck the rubber boot from the bottom of the battery box up onto the frame.  It is a tight fit, but it fits.  Adjustments might be a little hard to make, but supposedly doable.

The new shock installed in Max.

(New shock installed in Max)

(Again, new shock installed, photo by Troubadour)
We finished the job by 10:00 pm (sure enough it took two hours).  I don't think my hands have been so dirty working on a bike since cleaning the chain on my TU250 with a toothbrush.  And even then I don't think they were this dirty.

(dirty, dirty hands)
On Monday afternoon we took the bike out for a test run.  We have no idea what the GSXR shock is set to at this point, so we need to do a little research on factory setting and adjusting the shock.  The shock install thread on the forum has some pretty in depth instructions, but I need to search through the 43 pages again to figure out what page it is on.  Geoff from Confessions of an Ageing Motorcylist fame also graciously emailed us a few articles on setting suspension.  We'll need to peruse those as well. Thanks Geoff.

The bike seemed to be a little smoother over small bumps and it felt a little better in corners.  Of course this was done prior to Chris riding it and he felt it was still pretty wonky.  Imagine if he had of ridden it before.

I have 4800 miles on the stock tires so it may be time for a new set as well.  We'll see. Will let you know how the adjustments go.

Oh, and Monday I caught a quick picture of Basil sleeping in the bed (bottom half of a dog carrier) we made for him on the back patio step.  He loves to sleep in it because when the porch light is on a heating pad under the blanket comes on too.

(Are you comfy Basil?)
- Au Revoir

A bend in the road is not the end of the road.... unless you fail to make the turn." - Author Unknown