Monday, 28 November 2011

Sunday, 27 November 2011

"el Lobo" hunches up the knees...

So far my Bandit, "el Lobo" is a dream to ride and own. For me the ride position is just about perfect. The seat can be a bit hard. That has been fixed with my Airhawk blow up seat cushion.

For the pillion (for you Yanks that's passenger) it is another story. The pillion part of the seat slopes forward and the pegs are very high.

This kinda sours the bike a bit. To make the pillion perch flat we have added a small Airhawk and a sheepskin.

This helps Jan from sliding into my back when I brake or de-accelerate. Some how I would like to mod the pillion peg hangers so her legs are not so bent at the knees. I spent all of yesterday trying to rig up the spare BMW pegs I have. I had them is a great position too. The mounts I made were way too weak to take the weight of a person swinging up an onto the bike. Back to the drawing board.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Sofie was officially retired yesterday.

Yesterday I made Sofie's retirement official.  I took the number plate into the RTA and handed it back in. Filled in the form. Plate was thrown into a box of other plates without a care in the world. I just stood there and watched the lady behind the counter do this. My heart sunk. Sofie had lost her name plate. I was told I would get a cheque in the mail for the whole sum of $10.00.

She sits out the back all covered up. I have started to make a list of what needs to be done. It is getting longer everytime I sit down and do this.

Maybe I should cafe racer her or bobber her.  One day in the future I shall decide.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

El Lobo has arrived...

I have bought a low mileage 2002 Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit. It has only got 37k on the clock. Very well looked after by the previous owner. Full service history. A rare find I would say.

Monday, 14 November 2011

El Lobo is coming...

Sneek peek of El Lobo.

All going to plan I pick the bike up tomorrow.

I am keeping the BMW and will one day restore her.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Sophie retired???

No spark what so ever. 

2 days ago she cut out on me while riding home from work. No sooner had she cut out that she fired back up. Then cut out and then straight away fired back up. 

I checked the Omega system and found that the plastic screws that hold the Printed Circuit Board had come loose. I replaced these with small metal bolts. Set the gap between the Printed Circuit Board and the magnet carrier as per the fitting instructions. Took her for a run and she just did not feel right. The plastic screws have stripped their threads too. 

Started her up this morning and as she is warming up then she cuts out. Pull the plugs, ground them to the cylinders with plug leads attached and see if I have any spark. Nothing on either side. 

New coil, plug leads and caps were fitted March this year around 6000 kms ago. This was when the Omega was fitted too. I don't believe its the coil. 

I had fitted the coil and Omega as the bike had cut out and I had no spark. This fixed this. 

I am a complete ludite when it comes to electrics. I have no idea how to test the Electronic ignition control unit. Which I have taken out of the bike. Found that all the heat sink paste had dried up between this and its mounting bracket. It may not of had any paste put on it at all it was that dry. 

How do I test the bean can? It is still fitted just not connected due to the Omega. 

Further investigation today and I think the Omega has gone. The integrated LED light in the printed circuit board stays on no matter where the timing "S" mark is. I undo this printed circuit board and have it moved away from the magnet carrier and the LED still stays on no matter where the timing "S" mark is as well. 

When I can get it started the bike runs for no more than a minute or so. Then cuts out.

A few others I know who have fitted an Omega have had theirs fail. The unit only has a warranty of 3 months. I am well out of that. 

I will decide what to do with her over the next few weeks. 

I bought it for $6490.

I have put a further $5k into it. This does not include tyres, rego etc. 

At this point I am over throwing money at it.

It has a long list of things that need fixing. Besides this current problem. 

So this is her now...

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Ben buys a Slash 5 Fly and rides it home...

Ben Carufel from the ADV forums has allowed me to share his ride report. He went and bought a truly lovely old lady of a R60/5. Then rode her home. I would trade my R100 for an R60 in a flash. Even more so aftering see this one that Ben bought. So over to Ben.....

I got to thinkin' a few weeks ago when Jo-Nathan posted his thread that, dammit, summer is ending and I didn't do any sort of multi-day ride this summer. In fact, my last multi day trip was in April for the ADV WARPED VII event. A 5 hour ride each way with two nights of camping between.

So of course I started looking for a nice airhead which I could pick up not too far away and ride back to San Diego. Something which will give me an airhead to putt around town on while I really dig into my R65. After the R65, I reasoned, I could pull the newer (to me) airhead apart and do a nice restore on it, too.

Thinking about things, I thought I'd like a little older bike than an R65. I dig my R65, but I have always admired the lines of the older bikes. I'm not ready for a /2 yet, and I really like that gauge-in-headlight sleekness of the /5, so maybe one of those...

After a few weeks of searching I heard about a /5 for sale up in the Bay Area. A '73 with just under 50,000 on it. California bike. Completely stock except for a Staintune stainless exhaust in the pea-shooter style (one of my favorite exhausts). Talked to the seller today and worked out a deal, so I'll fly up Monday and pick the bike up.

The plan is to stay a night in Tiburon with a rich aunt and uncle (they're great to have...), then hit the road Tuesday morning. Planning on an easy day Tuesday, just about 90 miles along the coast on Highway 1 down to Santa Cruz. I want to drop in on Ted Porter's Beemer Shop in the afternoon, and I'll find a place to stay in SC that evening. Wednesday I'll hit the road for Santa Barbara, about 250 miles down Highway 1, still sticking to the coast. I'll overnight with friends in Santa Barbara and get back on the road Thursday morning to do the last 200 or so miles to San Diego. I'll probably do that last leg from SB to SD on the 101/405/5...superslabs. Not my favorite, but I think I'll want to be home by that time. I can always elect to stay on Highway 1 through LA, though I haven't yet figured out if it's worth it (anyone?)...

So there ya have it. Thanks a lot, Jo-Nathan. Now you've got me bringing home my own /5 and doing the fly-and-ride thing.

First the detailed photos of the bike I took this afternoon. I've put notes between the pictures...

Front shot. Notice torn fork boots from being stored on the centerstand for years. Brand new fork boots came with the bike. Also note "Euro" handlebars.

Rear shot. It has those two little auxiliary bullet lights (they don't currently work) and the taillight seems to be the "Euro" type. The mudflap is kinda neat. I put the Airheads sticker on there within a few miles of riding away from the seller's house. Also, there's a bracket bolted to the left side turn signal arm which looks like it might have once held a badge or marker (or registration sticker?) of some sort. Whatever it held is broken off and gone...

Left side. Here you can see the Staintune pea shooter style pipes and the Koni shocks. If you look closely you'll see that the side stand is bent outwards and is touching the exhaust. I need to replace that. Also, the center stand is missing the deployment tang and the right side of the center stand seems to be bent in. Probably will just source a replacement center stand.

Right side. Nothing special to note. My F800S is behind the /5.

And lastly, a fun shot of the reflection of my F800S in the gas tank of the /5. You can see the built up wax around the screws and the Roundel. Both enameled Roundels are in great shape. Also note the cracked wiring harness cover up near the fork...

I'm definitely happy with her. Zero buyers remorse, which is a first for me!

I just wrote up a bit about the trip with pictures I snapped during the journey. Here it is...

The photos are from my iPhone. I'm too lazy to process the shots I took on the Canon G10, and iPhone HDR does some wacky stuff, which I kinda like. They're in order...

The first fillup, after stopping in Berkeley at AAA on University to register the bike in my name. I got gas and a young guy in a BMW E32 pulled up to ask about the bike. He knew his stuff about Airheads, even though he was probably 21 at most. Adjusted the tire pressure after filling up and hit the road for the 15-20 miles to Tiburon, my first overnight stop.

Here's the bike in front of my aunt's house in Tiburon. She married into money a few years back and has an incredible house. I took the right side exhaust and shock off so that I could take the shock down to the shop to have its lower bushing pressed back in (was wiggling its way out) and hit the hardware store for a couple of washers to keep it from coming out again.

The view from her patio. Not too shabby. This was taken late afternoon, just before sunset...

Tuesday morning I stopped by my uncle's office to chat with one of his employees (a cool guy with a BMW Z4 M Roadster) before hitting the road. Ended up staying later and having lunch with my uncle, so didn't leave Tiburon until 2PM. This is just before shoving off.

About 15 minutes later I was riding towards the Golden Gate bridge when I realized that I've always seen people take pictures of cars and bikes with the bridge in the background, but I had never tried to find out where. Moments later I spotted a sign for the Golden Gate bridge overlook park, so I followed the signs. Snapped this picture (it was windy as hell and I was afraid the bike might tip over with the big luggage catching all the wind) and jumped back on to keep going.

A few minutes after crossing the Golden Gate, I hopped on Highway 1 and followed it down through Pacifica and along the coast. The scenery was beautiful but I didn't stop for too many pictures...nothing too stunning yet, and I was anxious to get to Santa Cruz. I wanted to be there by 6, as a famous Beemer shop (Ted Porters) is there and I wanted to pick up new handgrips (the ones on the bike were hard as a rock) and chat with the guys there.

I ended up making it to Santa Cruz about 4:30 and the guys at the shop were nice enough to throw the new grips on at no charge, which was awesome. They suggested I head down to Watsonville for the night (another half hour south), so I kept on riding. I stopped in Watsonville for my first gas stop of the actual journey and snapped the following shot.

There was enough light out that I decided I would keep pushing, maybe even all the way to Monterey. I figured there would be plenty of good hotel pickings in Monterey and it'd be safe enough to leave the bike outside overnight there. I ended up staying in Cannery Row, a few blocks from the Monterey Aquarium, at a Holiday Inn. Underground parking and free breakfast the next morning! Can't beat that. The guy behind the front desk had a soft spot for the bike and gave me a great deal on the room, which was superb (for a Holiday Inn Express). Had a nice dinner at El Torito down the street and called it an early night...the plan was to leave by 8:30 Wednesday morning.

As it turns out, I woke up early Wednesday morning due to going to bed so early the night before. I took advantage of the free breakfast in the lobby (Holiday Inn Express does a halfway decent free hot breakfast, if I do say so myself...and following the "you get what you pay for" rule) and was on the bike by 8AM heading out. I stopped for a minute at a parking lot near the hotel for a quick "Bye Monterey!" shot, and an older guy came up to ask me about the bike. We talked for about 10 minutes, then I shoved off for Santa Barbara. This was going to be a full day of riding at Highway 1 speeds -- about 250 miles to do!

About 15 minutes after leaving the hotel I came across a sign that made me double back for a picture. I was giddy! I love me some curves, although I had to remind myself that the idea today was to go nice and slow and enjoy the sights, take plenty of pictures, etc...even so, the sign was worth doubling back for!

Shortly afterwards I entered Big Sur. This is where the beauty of California hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized two things...first, that California is truly the most varied and beautiful state in the country, and second that I was not going to be able to capture the true beauty of Big Sur with my point-and-shoot Canon and my goal of getting to Santa Barbara before sunset. Thus, I decided that I would soak in the scenery for myself and not worry about taking beautiful pictures to show friends and family. Instead, I just took pictures of my motorbike with the scenery as a backdrop. The point is that I want my pictures to be both a tease and a challenge. A tease since they're just giving the viewer a taste of what there is to see in Big Sur. A challenge because the intent is to show you that YES, you too can get out from behind that desk you're chained to and see these types of places for yourself. All it takes is a few days, a few dollars, and a will to explore.

My favorite photo from Big Sur was at Point Sur. As I rode south towards the Point, there was a fog hanging over the spit of land connecting it to the mainland. It looked mysterious and beautiful. I knew there was no chance of capturing the fog the way I saw it, so I rode on until I came to a plateau where the angle of the sun, the point, and the road all made the photo I wanted to take.

An hour or two later, after several 15 minute plus waits at construction sites (they're building new bridges here and there to replace areas where landslides happened, so traffic is down to one lane with flagmen on either side alternating the flow), I found a lookout point with an incredible bridge in the background. It's hard to see at this magnification, but it's beautiful back there...

After a few more stops here and there for snapshots, I decided to get back on the road for the ride into Santa Barbara. It should only be another hour or two, but I'd be veering inland for a while to go past Vandenberg AFB and other sights. One of the places I passed was Lompoc, and in driving through Lompoc I found an abandoned drive in movie theater. The parking lot was overgrown with head-high weeds and there was now a metal recycling facility on the side of the lot. I thought the faded drive in advertisement on the back of the screen was a great backdrop...

At this point it was a quick last hour into Santa Barbara, although I stopped one last time at El Capitan State Beach. I had to use the facilities, and besides I had done a photoshoot here about 8 months ago and remembered the cool trestle bridge on the way towards the parking lot. My client didn't want to shoot under the bridge at the time (fashion catalog, and it didn't really fit the theme we were shooting for) so I thought this would be a great time to use the bridge for one of my shots. Turns out the light on the bridge was excellent...

As I pulled in to Santa Barbara my good buddy Andy, whose place I was staying at that night, came out to greet me with a cold Mason jar of water and a snack. He's a vintage kind of guy, with a house that is comfortable and eclectic to the hilt. It's like stepping into the most tasteful mid century and before curio shop you've ever seen. He's got a vintage Ford sedan outside, a mid 70's Vespa that he runs into town on, and a Shasta travel trailer in the front yard that doubles as guest quarters. He's also got a guest room downstairs with a Mies van der Rohe vintage daybed worth many times what my Airhead cost me. He offered my choice of where I wanted to stay, and I thought it would be fitting to stay in the trailer for the night, so that was that. I snapped a quick picture of my Airhead next to his Vespa and the Shasta trailer before the sun went down...

I went out with friends and clients that evening for dinner and drinks in Santa Barbara, then called it a night early at 11PM. One of my clients who had seen the bike on Facebook and saw it in person in Santa Barbara said she wants to use it in one of our upcoming fashion shoots. She got back to me later after I had returned home and said we'd likely use it in the Fall 2012 shoot (we'll shoot that book in Spring 2012), so that's great. It'll be neat to have an Airhead featured in a fashion catalog.

Before I shoved off for San Diego on Thursday morning, Andy got out his vintage Polaroid Land camera and had me set up in the driveway for a picture. He framed it perfectly, with the nose of his old Ford in the street behind my Airhead and me looking as much as I'll ever look like an older, overweight James Dean. The only thing that throw off the picture from being a perfect copy of what we would have shot in the 70's are the lack of black plate on his Ford, the modern Alpinestars jacket I'm wearing, and the modern REI cinch straps around the luggage on the bike!

Thursday was another long day, about 250 more miles to San Diego, and I was determined to stay on Highway 1 as long as I could. Andy and I had talked work over a late breakfast and I didn't shove off from Santa Barbara until 11AM. I had stopped to see the home of a friend in Ventura for about a half hour, so I knew it would be tough getting home to San Diego by dusk. Because of that I slipped right through Oxnard and Point Hueneme, Malibu, etc., without stopping for pictures. The worst was going through was just terrible riding. Everything after and including Lomita was hell on earth until I got down to Long Beach. I saw more people run red lights, even truck drivers running orange lights in semi trucks (!!!), and generally just ugliness. It was at this point that I decided LA is in the top three ugliest cities I've ever seen. The other two are Rio de Janiero and Lima, in case you're curious. Several times I would have people purposefully squeeze over in their lanes coming up to stop lights so that I couldn't filter through to the front of the line.

I finally made it down to Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, etc., and things started to clear up. Traffic wasn't too bad and I was cruising along. Finally I got to San Clemente and just before I hit San Onofre I was forced to jump on I-5. At that point I was tired and there only looked to be about an hour of sunlight left, so I didn't argue. I could have got back off I-5 to take Highway 1 through Oceanside, Cardiff, Solana Beach, Del Mar, etc., but I've driven that route a thousand times in my life and I just wanted to get home! I stopped one last time at the view area just south of San Onofre for a final photo before the last sprint home...

Sure enough, just a few minutes after the sun set I pulled into my driveway at 6:15. I opened the bike side of the garage and moved one of the other bikes forward to make room for the new girl, then took a quick photo of her before I pulled her into the spot and unloaded the luggage...

So, final thoughts from the was incredible. Gorgeous. The weather was PERFECT. Not a spot of fog on my route, not a drop of rain. Sunny and warm the entire time. I rode in kevlar jeans with long underwear and wool socks. I had on my Chippewa Rally leather boots, which are just below the knee. I like to wear athletic shirts to wick away sweat, and I left the Alpinestars liner in the jacket. There were a few times I contemplated putting on my balaclava to keep my neck warm, but I never did get it out. I wore my usual Olympia Race Kevlar 305 gloves, which are gauntlet style (gauntlets over the jacket cuffs on cool days for warmth, under the jacket cuffs on warm days for ventilation).

I had a blast, slept like a baby every night, and saw some good friends and family. I got to make my own rules, and the only thing on my "to do" list every morning was "Ride Motorcycle." How much more could I ask for?

The old girl performed perfectly all 625 miles. I knew of a starvation issue at about 70mph, so that kept me honest (speedometer being broken and all) on the higher speed stuff. There's a leaking seal inside the final drive that's slinging a bit of gear oil onto the rear rim, but it wasn't leaking more than 15-20 drops in a full day's ride, so no big concern on the trip. The only issue she developed was the high beam indicator lamp burned out about halfway through the trip. Since the gauge needs to go to a specialist for new needles and a rebuild anyways, that'll get taken care of just fine...

I can't wait to get out there again for another adventure.

Ripper of a report Ben and again a truly stunning R60. Thank you for eltting me share this here. Be sure to see Ben's blog

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