Monday, September 24, 2012

Random pics of mirrors

For someone interested in seeing Tuono mirrors on a 2013 VStrom 650.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fork spring swap

The back fender bolts go into a plate which sits in that plastic channel.  Reaching up there with the wheel on is impossible.  Reaching up with the wheel off is a PITA

Frustration + the fact that this will never be seen = I wasn't very careful.  I jammed a flat bladed screwdriver up there to hold the plate and turn off the bolt.  What I thought at first was rust I now think - based on how hard these came off - was red loctite.  Loctite here makes sense, I guess - they ARE hard to get at.

Front lift = jam a piece of 2x4 under the crash bars.   The forks are now naked.

...but the first one didn't want to come off.  The inspection sticker was on the fork tube between the upper and lower triple clamp.  This pic will now constitute my proof of inspection if I'm pulled over.

I don't know what the stock oil was supposed to look like, but here's what came out with 4200mi on the bike.  The aftermarket oil I got from Cycle Gear is nearly clear.

What came out:  The cap, the spacer, a washer, the spring.

The longer, progressively-wound springs on the top are the L2 DL650 stockers.  
The shorter straight-rate springs on the bottom are Sonic 1.1kg.

The length difference between the the stock and Sonic springs.

Left pair: Sonics with gray PVC pipe to cut for spacers.  Right pair:  the stockers, one with stock spacer.  Note the line on the gray tube where it will be cut to make the new assembly the same length as stock.

UPDATE:  I should have read the instructions - setting the overall length of spring+spacer the same as stock seems logical, but is not correct.  I don't remember the actual spacer length (hello, internet?) but it's shorter than stock.  I think this is to compensate for the new springs being stiffer.

A slight issue:  the wall thickness of the PVC spacer will not fit over the cotter pin, as the stock configuration does.

The fork cap, upside-down (pre-load adjuster all the way out at the bottom, showing all 5 lines.)  The post thru which that cotter pin passes is the other end of the pre-load adjuster.  The cotter pin/ washer arrangement prevents the pre-load adjuster from being backed all the way off/ out of the cap.

I'm not sure that backing the adjuster all the way out/ off would be as dramatic as it might at first seem:  it would impossible to do it to BOTH forks at the same time (front end wouldn't collapse), and the spring and spacer would still be in there keeping the fork from collapsing - there's nothing to really come shooting up out the hole... well, except air and oil - but that would required a collapse to occur and the other fork would prevent that.

Hopefully the logic of not needing the cotter pin is sound, because I left it out to enable a flush fit with the PVC spacer.  The cap on top is complete; the cap on the bottom has had the cotter pin removed and the washer lifted off.  When re-assembled, the fit in the tube is tight enough that the preload adjuster can't NOT find that hole, and of course the spring pressure holds it all together.

UPDATE:  When I took it apart to change the spacer length, I also cut away a little section of the end of the spacer to fit the cotter pin.  ... or I used a different cotter pin and bent it to fit - I don't remember.

Home-brew contraption to set oil level:  a notched stick, carefully measured, with the end of the mighty-vac hose zip-tied to the appropriate level.  In use, slide the stick down the tube until the notch catches the top of the it, pump until the hose stops sucking (fork tube held in a vise and plumbed with a level).

I set 150mm headspace with forks collapsed and spring and spacer/ washer out.  I used 15 wt oil to slow down the damping to better match the higher-rate spring.

Verdict:  I've only been around the block, but brake dive is noticeably less.  I'll have to get some miles on it before I'll know if it did anything to handling.

UPDATE:  I waited too long to update this post - it's been a year and I don't remember the handling prior to the spring swap other than that it was mushier, which is to be expected.  I have no complaints about the current set-up, but I don't 'push the envelope' with lean angles and agressive breaking, either.

Some days you're the bug...

Monday, July 09, 2012

12V dash install

Ubiquitous 12V marine outlet, wires soldered and shrink-wrapped to terminals

The candidate area masking taped.


Drill holes around periphery

Connect the dots

File (right center of pic) to line, check fit often.

 Drop it in, thread the nut on the back

 The money shot.

One way to terminate at the battery.


Boulder field, Hickory Run State Park.

I was thwarted on a prior Boulder Field attempt by a closed road; and I was GPS-crewed on Hell Hollow Rd on Super Adv day 1.  One via the other on a morning weekend ride.
A pile of rocks doesn't seem like a very big deal, but it was pretty impressive standing there.
Long stretches of dirt/ gravel lead to and from the field from the paved road.  Hell Hollow was ruttier than I expected - I think I bottomed the rear a time or two.
Camelbak prevents dehydration, if tasting a little rubbery in the process.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

S-ADV 6/24/12, day 3

An early start towards cell phone service and in search of a "real" cup of coffee, I parked across the the street from this landmark:

At McBreakfast (I have to do better at morning camp food) I plot my course home.  The GM route I'd planned was the longest of the thee days, and the western portions of it the least interesting to me.  I resolve to just see what the day brings.
The Pine Creek valley - rt 414 to 44 - is filled with beautiful scenery, no traffic, and fun roads.  Every now and then a dirt road shoots off 414, taunting me.  I think I want to come back and base camp in the area, doing several day loops.  There are just too many spots that beckon you to stop and look around - which you can't, if you need to make time.

A random sample, somewhere along rt 414:

One excuse of this route is "checking out" the rail trail that follows Pine Creek from Wellsboro-ish to Jersey Shore-ish.  Melissa and I would someday like to bicycle - camp this 60-ish miles.   It looks to be an amazing ride, but a ways from "civilization" on a bike.  The trail can be seen hugging the stream looking almost straight down from the road:

Approaching McConnel's Country Store in Waterville, PA, I spotted a parked VStrom with hard bags: all the excuse I needed to stop.  The rider turned out to be a retired gentleman named "Steve," who has logged a LOT of miles on two wheels and has done some amazing rides: Copper Canyon Mexico; flying the bike out west and riding back; 30+ day trips, etc.  I'm on a "super" 2-night weekend, and Steve's up from Delaware doing day loops for (I think) a week.  I hope to look Steve up sometime for a guided tour of West Virginia.

Slipping around in my tent and O-C internet research disorder has me wanting some wool blankets.  I like the idea of a tent carpet which I could roll into if it gets cold... and in my mind a sheet and wool blanket would pack smaller than a sleeping bag (at least MY sleeping bag).  Real wool has amazing qualities, blah, blah, blah... I stop at the home of the "Pennsylvania Tuxedo." 

... and leave empty-handed.  Their wares are way out of my price range.

My originally-plotted course was a very direct line from Woolrich to 322.  The need to save time/ miles is just a rationalization to ride more dirt/ gravel.   Bald Eagle State Forest is nothing but roads like this - seemingly miles and miles of them.  Garmin is clueless, trying to route me on non-existent roads into the trees, and once sending me down a lonely stretch of gravel road which turned out to be a long private driveway.   It would be fun to get lost for a day here, but you hit that point where you know you have to get moving if you're going to get home before dark.  At that point, being lost for another hour with a useless GPS, no landmarks, and a flashing gas icon on the dash starts losing its charm.

Emerging from the woods, I'm again up against the clock.  I have to make some time so it's rt.80 to Bloomsburg, then 42 to Ashland, then 61 to Schukill Haven where I take a break and check in with HQ.  I've been on the bike (except for the photo op above) since Woolrich.  It's 3:30PM Sunday and I know SADV weekend is winding up.  Rather than fight it, I slab 61 to 78 and home by 4:30.

A dirty, water-spotted, Strom belching gear in the HQ driveway.  The bike and all my gear worked flawlessly, the weather held, I stayed on, and I rode some great rodes - it's hard to imagine a better trip.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

S-ADV, 6/23/12, Day 2

I was anxious for cell phone coverage (and breakfast);  GPS found both in Liberty, NY.  Getting there via Parksville, NY involves this brand new interchange which has been carved from the bedrock.  It seems like a whole lot of rock to move just to make getting on and off 17 a little easier.  Google hasn't even street-viewed this spot yet - this is a brand new section of highway.

Backtracking to the Willowemoc Creek campsite on Pole Rd and beyond, I passed this spot.  Luckily it was early in the day and I reasoned that stopping at this sort of thing is a big part of the reason I'm riding.

GPS tracks claim N41 55.607, W74 37.524.  A big field with nothing but a standing hearth and chimney.  How do you not stop to check that out?  A sign leaning against the back of chimney simply proclaims, "Tommy's Land."  If I were a stealth camper, this is would be a great spot.  Can't help but wonder at the personal history of this site.
From the road:

Side opposite the road.

Looking back from the chimney to the bike at the edge of the road.

On Pole Rd to Frost Valley Rd/47 (a fantastic road following a stream), another GPS screw-up/ detour/ backtrack, and I eventually come out to 28/ 30, stopping for gas, water, and coffee at Arkville.
I remember 30 being a fantastic road from last year's Catskills trip which I couldn't enjoy due to lots of rain, wet leaves and sketchy tires.  Having another crack at this road is a big reason I re-visited the Catskills.
The dirt roads and Frost Valley Rd will probably pull me back again.

At some point I texted Mark about possibly meeting in Wellsboro to camp the PA Grand Canyon that night.  Plans to drop the PA tag at the extreme northeast corner of PA were also laid:  and not even requiring a big detour, the drop is made.

With arrangements made to contact Mark at 3pm, I need to put a lot of miles behind me.  17 across NY is a slab/ slog.  I pop back down into Sayre, PA, at 2:50 and find a Burger King with cell service to contact Mark, who has already texted me he won't be meeting me.  I plot a course to Wellsboro.

  Having stopped at "Tommy's Land," taken an accidental GPS detour (again), and diverted to drop the ADV tag, daylight is dwindling.
An annoying number of miles behind slow Florida plates:  I did 6 miles of rolling farmland dotted with gas wells standing on the pegs (rt 4014 to rt 6).  A caravan of truck, RV, and a few cars takes a few miles to overtake out of Wellsboro, and finally I'm on 660.  It's the third longest day of the year, so there's plenty of light left as I'm climbing the few miles of Forest Road which peak at Colton Point, where I'll be camping for the night.

I register and set up, meet my camp neighbor Howard, who has pedaled his bicycle from OHIO to the PA Grand Canyon.  A native Californian, he's happy to get PA touring advice from a "local."  He tells me there's cell service at the lookout.

And you just don't go to this spot without taking the obligatory pics.  This is a VERY photographed spot (google "PA Grand Canyon" / images) but photos just can't communicate the scale and awe of vistas like this, IMO.  Very similar to Hyner View, and worth a few minutes' stroll from camp. 

Looking South: 


I contemplated that view for 15 minutes or so, enjoying complete solitude, listening to nature, and just digging the trip and yet another day of riding in front of me when the inevitable roar of Harleys closed in on me.  Soon I was sharing the lookout with a group of people who were very loud, crude, and thought themselves far more interesting than they were.  That's not a rant against "Harley people," it's a rant against these PARTICULAR "Harley people."

To my dismay, Colton Point had posted signs warning that the water is contaminated and should be boiled.  Earlier in Arkville, when I was checking out with my coffee, I told the register woman that I'd also taken some water, and joked whether it was free.  She was quick to ask which faucet I'd used, as only one is filtered/ potable.  On my way home on the last trip, I stopped in Lawrenceville for gas/ water only to find out they didn't have potable tap water, either.  Putting aside all the questions this trio of experiences raises, I've decided to get one of those hi-tech hiker water filter jobbies.  I'm sick of dehydrating.  My initial research has uncovered the chilling (but unverified) statement that, "there is no source of open water in the Eastern US that is safe to drink."  No matter how remote/ secluded, acid rain and farm runoff has made it everywhere.  In fairness, that claim is made by people trying to sell water filters; sadly, it's probably true.

A quick walk back to camp, and I make some supper, have a coffee, clean up, and make a fire.  I've never managed a "moto fire" before - either because of rain, or lack of wood, energy, time, and/or desire... whatever.  My first solo moto fire, and the beautiful, secluded campsite at Colton Point:

My trip odo is at 500- something miles.  The drone of the highway and drudgery of being stuck behind a slow vehicle for miles is fresh in my mind, but I remind myself that I woke up and spent a good chunk of day jerking around in the Catskills, and I was going to bed in the PA Grand Canyon.
A great sleep ensues, to be followed by another day of crossing "must rides" off my moto bucket list.  

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Super ADV 6/22/12 - Day 1

Packed for 3 days, 2 nights.  The extra day and night is what makes it "super."  ;)
Kickstand up at 10:30.

Indian Trail and fresh oil and chips take me over the Blue Ridge where GPS guides me to marker 1, "Koch Rd."
This is my first time "playing back" a pre-planned trip on GPS points (Garmin 205 doesn't support routes, so I've saved a bunch of "favorites" imported from work done on  Forgetting the defaults of "shortest distance" and "fastest time" for routing makes me miss the road between the reservoirs and Hell Hollow Rd, which I was really looking forward to.

View adv we 1 in a larger map

To point 5 without incident, I'm trying to explore a network of dirt roads around Camelback/ game lands found via GM.  Sure enough, there's gravel, and GPS is routing on non-existent roads and is missing others.  Nav forces me to backtrack Hypsie Gap Rd to point 5, skipping 7-11.  A light rain starts and weather is going downhill.  Rt 423 thru to Rt 191 is a nice ride.  Stop at "Spanky's Breakfast and Lunch" near pt 17 in Newfoundland, PA for lunch:

 ...and ambiance.

While there I check in on the PA ADV tag game and discover the TAG has been dropped minutes ago, and only 16 minutes from where I'm sitting.  Stoked about incorporating a tag in ADV weekend, I re-route to Mountainhome, PA, via 447 and backtrack to Newfoundland with possession of the tag:

"Dangerous storm" clouds are gathering south of me, and needing to make up time, I skip Towpath Rd (point 19/A) and take 84 for an exit or two, then let GPS take me to the Roebling Bridge, pt 20.  This was one of the first tags I dropped.


View Pennsylvania Tag-o-Rama in a larger map


The aquaduct from NY at nearly 3PM.  There is violent lightening to the south of me.  It's clear I'm either going to have to move north fast or I'm getting wet. 

From Roebling, it's 97 N - a famous mc road, but I don't really see why.  I'm getting ahead of the weather and hugging the Delaware, so I start thinking about dumping the tag at the extreme NE corner of PA - I divert.  15 min into the diversion I check how much time this is costing and abandon the idea, heading back towards 17.  It's really, really, dark and windy, but somehow I missed the rain.  The roads descending into Roscoe, NY are steaming, and it's foggy and WET.  There's a sense of it having just stormed here violently only minutes before.
In Roscoe I get gas, meet some NYers, and put on the rain gear.  A "GPS assumption" sends me the wrong way on 17; another GPS issue (routing preferences, still) has me climbing a fairly steep, muddy Cox Rd.  Fearing the downhill side in mud, and now being rained on, I backtrack to 17 and navigate religiously point-to-point.  I think this is when I finally checked the routing preferences.
Dodged a weather bullet and pulled into Willowemoc Campgrounds around 5 or 6pm.

DB NYer's across the pond seem to think "camping" = "make noise."  An ill-fated trip to Liberty, NY looking for non-existent grocery store;  a visit to the camp store for noodles and sauce; and about 275 miles from 10:30AM, I quit.

View adv we 1 in a larger map
Knowing there's another whole day, night, and day of riding feels like a dream.