30 April 2007 – Another day of wrenching

Today I’ll split time between the Gran Canyon and the ST4. I also rolled my 748 into the shop for some new skins/rims. Those 5 spoke March rims with Conti Sport Attacks have been sitting on the tire rack for ages, so I’m mounting them for the track day in 2 weeks. This will probably be the last track day for the old stock-motored 748. By the fall I hope to have an 853 kit in it with a lightweight flywheel. 

My ride this week will be the Mh900e. I haven’t ridden it in about 6 months, so it’s long overdue. I shined it up yesterday and it fired right up. What a cool strange bike. I haven’t made any more mods to it since I did the original set of changes when I got the bike. About the only other thing it could use is a carbon hugger.

29.5 April – WSB Results

WSB Results below.

I just got back from a 150 mile trip with the boys. Three Ducks, a VFR and a CBR. No crashes, no tickets, just clean fun. It was nice to get out and ride a bit. Suzi’s S2R passed the flogging test. It’s a great bike, albeit a bit underpowered. Still, it will outpull my old M900, so it isn’t too shabby. I really enjoy riding in Blackwater. It’s relaxing. It was getting steamy by the time we returned. It’s almost time to start riding earlier.

Well, it was a successful day for Ducati. Bayliss’ 4rd and 1st was a good result, and Xaus 3rd in the first race ensured Ducati was represented on the podium both races. I’ll DVR the races on Tuesday and watch them.  I tried to download them from racing underground, but the download speed is very slow.  Bayliss is almost 70 points behind Toseland. It’s still early, but it would be a minor miracle if Bayliss could come back to win it. I’d rather see Toseland win it though than Biaggi.

This afternoon I stripped all the wallpaper from the master bath in preparation of the renovation. That should free me up to work on the wall this week. Monday I’ll be wrenching, and Tue I start the wall. What fun.  I may have some new product news to report later this week. :-)

29 April 2007 – Happy Birthday to the DD

The Daily Desmo is 1 year old last week. I missed the actual birthday – 22 April. I guess the idea has stuck in my head, so the DD now has some longevity behind it. I’m going to celebrate by enjoying a 150 mile ride this morning. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate anything. :-)  More later after WSB finishes up.

28.5 April 2007 – Mushroomed Valve Stems

While Suzi was catching some rays this afternoon, I did some work on Scott’s Gran Canyon. The first valve I opened up had HUGE gaps — .011″ on the opener and .009″ on the closer. That’s triple the optimum opener clearance and 4x the optimal closer clearance. The keepers weren’t broken, but the end of the valve was mushroomed so bad that emery paper wasn’t going to fix it. God Bless my dremel tool.  I got off the bulk of the mushrooming with that and then smoothed the valve stem with emery paper. The next valve had the same clearances. So, it’s taking me an hour per valve. I’ve got 2 down and have 2 to go. I’m dreading the vertical exhaust. The only way I’ll be able to fix a mushroomed head there is to yank the rear shock.

Local ride tomorrow. Meeting time is 0800 at the Bagelheads in the Blockbuster mini-mall in front of the Target shopping center on 9 mile rd at University.  We’ll be riding in the Blackwater Forest. I’ll be aboard the S2R, which will be making it’s first outing since the crash. 

I’ll be doing my last track day of the spring in 2 weeks at Jennings GP… Monday 14 May  :-) Anyone else planning on attending?

27 April 2007 – Splendor in the workshop

I had a good day of wrenching yesterday. I watched 3 movies, drank 2 liters of iced tea, and wrenched on 2 bikes. I spent the morning and early afternoon doing a full service on the Monster 620. All went well until I looked at the left fork tube. I don’t know how long it’s been weeping fork oil, but the entire fork leg and slider were coated black. When I cleaned off the congealed oil with brake cleaner, I found a toasted slider… way too pitted and rusted to salvage. Steve and my dealer are searching for a suitable replacement. So, until then the M620 is using my hoist. I’ll probably swap it over to use a pitbull stand so that I can use the hoist on Scott’s Gran Canyon.

Above: Steve’s M620 is hoisted in the corner awaiting a new fork leg 

Above: If you’re fork leg ever looks like this, the odds are that there is something wrong. The fork slider is so pitted that it is a goner. Now you know why I advocate my Seal Savers.

After I finished the M620 I worked an hour or so on the Gran Canyon. I repaired one of the frame rail covers with my plastic welder and then removed the rest of the stuff interfering with the valves. I’ll have to hoist the rear of the bike and pull the rear shock to get to the rear exhaust valve. I’ll finish the rest of the Gran Canyon services on Monday or Tuesday and then start on the ST4.

Above: Bryan Jones’ ST4 and Scott Wibel’s GC  all set to go. Notice the thin-framed Gran Canyon.  Other than access to the vertical exhaust valve, the entire design is well thought out and is way cool. I love the Gran Canyon.  

I got a call yesterday from my builder. The new building is scheduled to start in 2 weeks. I’m nowhere close to being ready for it, so I need to kick it up a notch in terms of productivity. I absolutely have to start on the retention wall this week. As always, there’s too much to do and not enough time.  I’m living large. :-) WSB and AMA this weekend.  Cheer on Troy in WSB. Who cares about AMA….  Ducati is 2nd and third on the front row. Looks like Lanzi ate his Wheaties to qualify that good. :-)

27 April 2007 – Back in the Shop

Today I’ll be pulling double duty working on Steve Rome’s M620 and Scott Wibel’s Gran Canyon. Obviously the M620 is easier to work on, but that’s because of the Gran Canyon’s bodywork and perimeter frame, which makes servicing it a pain.  I was figuring the preliminary bill for Steve’s M620. I guess I’m so used to the high cost of Ducati maintenance that I take it for granted. The M620 is the most cost-effective Duck to own. Still, but by the time I added up all the basic stuff for a full service, threw in a chain and sprocket, a case saver and some axle plates, his bill is what most non-Ducatisti would call prices. It’s all relative though. Compared to servicing an ST4, his bill is cheap. We were chatting about this Wed. night at our local Ducati get-together. Ducati parts are just darn expensive. I’ve probably got about 40K worth of inventory on the shelves, and am so used to seeing the cost of Testastretta belts, my clutch combo, and other expensive stuff that I’m used to it.  But it’s still a lot of money to spend for what is essentially a toy. I suppose there are worst vices to have, but few would be as expensive as outfitting a Ducati with functional and bling stuff. From the blue-collar background I came from, I see it as expensive. I pretend my customers are as cost-conscious. Still, I’m sometimes embarrassed at the bills I dole out. I know I’m cheaper than a Ducati dealer, but I wonder if my customer’s appreciate the savings or focus on the amount of $$ leaving their bank accounts.  If it were me, I’d probably focus on the sucking sound from my bank account.

26.5 April 2007 – New Stuff

I rolled out a few new items this afternoon. Different colors for the dzus fasteners and billet red STM oil breathers. I also now have the head nut removal tools for the other variant of head nut — the 12 pt-15mm design. My next two products will be cam wheel holders for the 749/999 and the ST4/ST4S.  I just made a soggy run to the post office and am busy cleaning up around the shop. Everything is pretty much stocked up.  I’m all set to work in the shop tomorrow. The only decision left to make is what movies to watch. :-)

26 April 2007 – Errand Day

Today is the last of my oral exams at the U. I’ll finish giving them this morning and then run some errands. Another box of stuff ships today. After I mail that, there are only  a few orders sitting in my inbox. Here is their status:

  • Norton – Awaiting Black slave cylinder
  • Mantz – Awaiting LED Tail light
  • Exner – Awaiting CRG Levers
  • Hewes – Awaiting spare stand parts
  • Leseur – Awaiting master cylinder

All other orders prior to 25 April have shipped.

25 April 2007 – All Caught up

I’ve spent about 20 hours this week catching up on the orders. After tomorrow, everything will have shipped. That will be a good feeling. After I finish up at the office tomorrow, I’ll have a few days that I can work in the shop. That also will be a good feeling.

Last night while I was making up some voltmeter kits, I watched Nova and Frontline on PBS. Both shows were about global warming. The shows leave a viewer very depressed. It’s a shame that we don’t have a collective will as human beings to fix our envionmental problems. Fossil fuels suck, solar arrays aren’t efficient as yet, and other alternatives are not ready for prime time. I guess I should just buy some more sun screen and enjoy the increased temperatures, violent storms, increased sea levels, and airborne contaminants. If I was really cynical, I could just say that in another 30 years I’ll be dead and the next generation can fix it. I’m not that cynical. I hope I can one day be truly environmentally friendly. Right now, my carbon footprint is about as severe as anyone’s, and knowing the Chinese and Indians are more screwed up than we are is of little consolation.  So, I’m planting trees, riding my motorcycle when I can, and trying little things to save energy. I have a higher level of discomfort than Suzi does however, so when she says it’s hot, I’d better have my finger on the A/C button. :-)

No Ducati news. By the end of the week I should have some pics of the 3 bikes I’ll be working on during the next 2 weeks — a Gran Canyon, a M620 and an ST4. I’ll be living large in my workshop….. Enjoy what’s left of your hump day.

24 April – Help, I’m still packing

You guys are killing me. It must be annual “Ducati maintenance week” because I can’t keep up with the orders for tools and general maintenance stuff. My sale kicked things off, and I haven’t been able to keep up. I’m keeping on top of the orders, but am about 4 days behind. I stocked out of Voltmeter kits, so if you ordered one, it will take me a few days to make more kits. Everything else is shipping as fast as I can get to it.

After all the work I did on my Cyclecat web pages, it may have been all for nil. Cyclecat has been unable to provide any of the items I need. To put it simply – they have no inventory of Ducati stuff. I’ll probably be pulling the ads this weekend. Bummer. Their stuff is choice, but if I can’t get it, customers get frustrated. I’m calling them later this week to cancel my outstanding orders for a refund and issueing refunds for those that pre-ordered. I hate wasting my time and my customer’s time.  Grrrrr…..

I’ve been busy at school conducting the end-of-semester verbal exams. I’m 2/3 complete and will finish up thursday morning. That will give me a full day of wrenching on Friday. It’s been 3 weeks since I turned a wrench. I’m looking forward to it. We’ll see if I’m whistling a different tune come Friday afternoon.

Nothing new on the product front. It’s all I can do to replenish existing inventory. I’m out of 851/888 axle plates and ST2/3/4 Axle plates — and my favorite machinist is AWOL. Jeremy, if you’re out there, I’ve left messages and emails… I need more axle plates….

That’s about it for today. Hey Duckrider, I got bittorrent and got the GP races. Great idea. Now I can watch them on my large computer screen. Pretty cool stuff.  Look under the message board – DD comments – a new way to watch MotoGP.  I downloaded bit torrent and then the files from racing underground. :-)  Seeing the pre and post race stuff was great.  Lots of other great races on there as well.