27 August 2007 – Semi-Annual Non-Rant

Last week was a good one. The highlight was finishing the renovation of the guest bathroom and picking up the wood for the inside of the new building. On Wed I hooked up my trailer and did 10 back-and-forths to get the wood. In all, I moved 1500 pieces of 1″x6″x10′ from the lumber yard to the inside of the building. It was another record heat day and I was amazed to drink 2.5 gallons of water and sweating every drop out. I’ve never had a heat injury, but I had the warning signs…. a headache and decreasing sweat volume. By the time I went to our Ducati meet, I was too tired to talk. Blah……. With the A/C now installed in the new building I should be able to put in some time in the building insulating it…. if I can find the time that is.

 

Above: I hope installing the wood is a bit easier than loading/offloading was. If not, I’m in for a long fall.

I didn’t turn a single wrench last week. Greg’s fork seals didn’t come in until Friday, so I’ll tackle them this week. My scheduled service customer didn’t show up over the weekend, so Greg’s bike is it for the week. I’m fixing to shut down the shop altogether so that I can concentrate on finishing out the new building and driveway.

I had an interesting end of the week. I sold a set of slip-ons to a customer last Sunday. I was out of stock, so I had the slip-ons drop-shipped to the customer by my new rep at LP. So I’m checking my business credit card statement Friday online and notice I was double-charged for the set of slip-ons. I call up my rep and he tells me that the part # I ordered was for a single canister. I lose my mind. Ducati doesn’t make a freakin’ single, and a SET of slip-ons means just that… a set and not a single canister. He tells me he’ll call me back. The call comes minutes later and he’s very apologetic. I was right and the part # was for a set of slip-ons…. but he made a mistake and shipped my customer 2 sets. It all had a happy ending. One of the set of slip-ons was scratched, so my customer was able to install the unscratched set and the scratched set goes back to LP. Welcome to my world.

I rolled out 2 new products last week. The first is fuel pump orings for 749/999 models. The second is a rear shock sock to protect the piston area. The front axle tools are on order and will be here the end of September, and I expect the DS1000 case savers about the same time. The only thing I’ll be adding over the next few weeks is a tool for making your own hose clamps out of safety wire. No more hose clamps. This is particularly useful on the MTS and 749/999 models that don’t have reusable hose clamps. I’ve been using the tool since I reviewed the product for MCN. I ordered a batch last week for resale.  

I’ve been getting a lot of emails on the message board that have no easy solution. Some are as vague as “the bike isn’t running well”. It’s hard enough to troubleshoot online, let alone with insufficient information. Owners seeking council via the internet won’t have much luck unless they provide good descriptions and the steps already taken to eliminate the problem. Its like telling the doctor you don’t feel good without telling him your symptoms, how long you’ve had it and what you’ve done to make things better. Even with good information, it’s a shot in the dark when troubleshooting online. There are just too many weird variables.

Mark forwarded me a link to one of the forums, where an online lynching was in full swing against Barnett clutches. I penned a nice long diatribe against the Barnett-bashers, and then deleted most of it. After all, if you read the DD the odds are you weren’t one of the people that bashed Barnett. Also, I couldn’t find a way of defending Barnett in a way that didn’t sound self-serving. After a bunch of cutting and pasting, I left what follows. Besides, I haven’t ranted in awhile, so this is as good a time as any. It’s more or less me talking to the masses of mis-informed. The rant targets 2 things – online forums and clutch problems.

I have a pretty clear business model and keep DT on a set path. One thing I insist on is staying out of conflicts of interest. A simple definition of a conflict of interest is “A situation occurring when an official’s private interests may benefit from his or her public actions”. This brings up online forums. I make no pretense that my OWN message board is both for dissemination of information and is my chance to plug my own products. I may point members to other vendors if I don’t have such a product, but in the mission statement of the message board it states “I believe in the products that I sell for Ducatis, and will occasionally refer to them.” Once I became a vendor though, I pulled away from all other online forums. Why? Because I’m no longer one of you. I sell products, and it is a conflict of interest to refer to my products on websites that are designed to be open forums. I’m also not your average enthusiast. Average enthusiast don’t design products and carry a shit-load of inventory. I’m not exactly holier than thou, but I try to have some semblance of ethics. I have the money to sponsor online forums just like a lot of the other resellers. The reason I choose not to do so is my own decision.

I understand the views of online forums, but I think they are bargaining with the devil. Online forums cost money to operate (unless you use a forum like mine, which is free to the public). Bandwidth costs, software costs, and the time to operate them costs. The people that host such forums used to count on donations to run, but soon found that by accepting advertising, they could not only keep the forums viable, but make a few bucks on the side. Advertising on such forums is a win-win for the advertiser and the forum hoster. The hoster gets needed money to make the effort of hosting worthwhile and the advertiser gets a captive audience. Look at most of the online forums and you’ll see a flock of advertisers that support them. If you do the math on what it costs to sponsor a forum, a calculation may reveal that there is a LOT of money being paid out. But not everyone wins under such an arrangement. The current situation isn’t a win-win for the membership. Why? Because you CANNOT sponsor an open forum AND post messages hawking your own products. It’s a conflict of interest and violates the tenets of what an “open forum” is. I won’t refer to specific forums or advertisers, but I will provide an example.

Recently, somebody posted to a forum the notion that Barnett clutch packs suck. I’ve been selling Barnett clutch packs for years, have a conduit to troubleshoot with Barnett and have used their product successfully on the street and track for years. I sell on average 100-200 clutches each year, have written magazine articles and book chapters on Ducati clutches, and presume myself to be a clutch expert. I’ve yet to tackle a single Ducati clutch that I couldn’t sort out, and 99% of my customers don’t email me with problems (meaning they’re satisfied). So when somebody posted that Barnett clutches suck, what did I do? Nothing…… It’s a lose-lose situation for me to respond to such posts. I’m not an unbiased observer, and have a vested interest. If I had posted, I’d just get jumped on by the 0ne-percenters who need to have the final say. While I didn’t respond, one of the forum sponsors did, plugging his clutch setup. I don’t blame him. He’s allowed to. He paid for the right to do so. Regardless of the fact that I work on more clutches in a week than this vendor has in his lifetime, he is the presumed expert because he posted to the message board. With the hundreds of successful barnett and pro-cutting clutch combos installed over the years, I was hoping for a few more people to chime, mentioning that they were pleased with Barnett or the Pro-Cutting setup…. To their credit, a few people chimed in, but they were drowned out by the Barnett’s bashers. I found the information in the back-and-forth of pages of emails on the topic to be mis-information, but I’ve been a member of such forums long enough to know that it’s impossible to put the fact straight. The longer any email, the more chances for somebody to miscontrue a word, and I’m too old to tear back the walls of ignorance on a topic that’s been discussed ad nauseum.

In the last few months, Barnett has taken an image beating on these forums. Most of it is underserved. I’ve had problems with every clutch made for Ducatis, and find that most problems are related to things other than the clutch pack. Show me 10 people who can attribute their clutch problems to a Barnett clutch pack’s friction material and I’ll think otherwise. Unfortunately, that single post will end up in google search for Barnett, and many people will read it an think that Barnett sucks. The bottom line is that I give online forums about as much credence as the National Enquirer, and am more apt to believe stories about Martians landing in Pensacola than I am to gripes/praises about a particular product. If you want expert clutch advice, you won’t find it on a message board. I can’t remember the last time I saw a Barnett technican or a Ducati Corse Transmission/Clutch technican share their views on clutches. Why? Because they probably realize what I do; that posting on message boards is about as fruitful as pissing in the wind. A few folks, like Brad Black, Doug Lofgren, and Shazaam to name a few, try their best to help out on forums, but their voices get lost in the melee of emails.

Now about Ducati dry clutches. The problem with MOST ducati owners trying to troubleshoot their dry clutches is that they either don’t know enough to fiddle with things, or they know enough to be dangerous. When DIYers install a clutch pack and have problems, their first reaction is to blame the clutch pack manufacturer, rather than think of the many other things that could be causing the problem – ie: improperly installed pressure plate, improperly seated pressure plate bearing or pushrod bushing, clutch springs of different length or strength, slave cylinder leaks, master cylinder fatigue, lever travel, etc, etc, etc. Additionally, many owners tag-team a clutch pack install with other items, such as a new low-effort slave cylinder. If you want to chase your tail, try changing more than 1 variable in an equation.

In short, trying to help somebody troubleshoot a clutch over an email or the phone is like trying to beat off wearing a car wash mitt. It may get the job done eventually, but there are better ways to accomplish the task.  While troublehooting a clutch isn’t rocket science, I’ve found you’re better off having somebody else look at it once you reach max brainlock. I’d rather do that than play the “lets guess what your problem is” game show. If a person can’t solve their delemma after reading my book/article, it’s time to let somebody else do it.  Of course, such discussions over email or phone often end with the person saying “but my stock clutch worked just fine”, to which I respond, “then why the hell did you fuck with it!”. There’s a reason why Ducati has been converting most of their bikes over to a wet clutch — they get fewer complaints. Just think of all the vendors that would be out of business if there were no more dry clutches. eBay Ducati listings would half. I wouldn’t blink an eye. I’d save enough inventory for my own bikes and liquidate the rest. Troubleshooting Ducati clutches sucks. I have almost 200 products on the market, and the few interactions I have with customers are dominated by clutch system issues. They confound most people and frustrate vendors. I look forward to the day when I never have to answer another dry-clutch question, but so long as I have this business it will be the flavor of the day. (Note: Before I made this DD live on Monday morning, I had to reply to a customer who is having problems with their stock clutch…)  

Now here’s the behind the scenes tech briefing on Barnett clutch packs. Barnett used to use a material on their friction plates called dry-flex. It worked great and held up amazingly well. Unfortunately, the ONLY vendor of the friction material went out of business about the same time that US manufacturing started to take a hit from foreign competition. Barnett had to choose a new friction material. What they decided on works well. I’ve yet to wear out the friction material on one of their clutches. Perhaps the new material doesn’t have the same FEEL the dry-flex material, but good enough that all but a 1%ers would be satisfied. We’ve had Ferracci-engined 165 hp ducatis race on the new Red friction material, so I hazard a guess that it’s good enough for your ducati. Barnett has been using the newer red friction material for the past 18 months or so. At the start of this year, Barnett added a quiet clutch component to their packs. The component consists of a cutout friction plate with 2 inner steel plates (one being curved). The curved plate takes up the slop in axial plate movement and quiets up the clutch. The same design is used in most Jap wet clutch bikes. Unfortunately, while the design works great in japanese bikes, it requires more pressure plate movement than an OEM clutch pack to achieve separation. We’re talking .5mm, which isn’t a hell of a lot. Unfortunately, on older Ducatis with non-adjustable levers or tired master cylinders, the extra pressure plate movement required to achieve separation is problematic. As a result, SOME customers had issues with hard-to-find neutral and shifting issues – particularly on bikes with older non-adjustable clutch levers. Barnett’s answer was to reduce the overall pack thickness .5mm. Unfortunately, this didn’t effect the required amount of pressure plate travel to achieve separation, it merely moved the pressure plate in .5mm, which means the slave piston merely shifted .5mm as well.  Barnett’s new solution? They gave up on the quiet clutch, and are going back to their older design with a curved driven plate and double inner steel plate setup (ALA the OEM clutch). I find this unfortunate, because the real answer is to optimize one’s master cylinder/slave/clutch lever setup to accomodate the improved 2-piece separator plate. For the average customer, who merely wants a plug-n-play clutch, the older design is better. So, if anyone purchased one of my barnett quiet clutch packs has separation issues, I’ll merely send them one of the new (which is the old design) separator plates, but I’ll continue to sell the quiet clutch until they’re gone. When they’re gone, they’re gone, and it’s a shame. The quiet clutch setup rocks, is quieter, and reduces wear.

Barnett is committed to their clutches and is designing better recipes. I’ve discussed switching to sureflex/OEM brand plates in our clutch combo. In the end, we’ve decided to stick with Barnett due to closer tolerances, somebody we can deal with on the telephone and a vendor committed to their product. Charlie (Pro-Cutting) ordered a test batch of 5 sureflex packs and had to play mix and match to find a set that had consistent machining. Like I said, money is no object. If there was a better clutch setup, we’d use it. 

While I prefer to deal with an American manufacturer who stands behind their product, this doesn’t forgive design problems. Barnett screwed the pooch with their new quiet clutch, not thinking that MOST owners simply want a plug-n-play changeout. If their design ever effects my ability to run my bikes, I’ll switch to another vendor. I just don’t have any problems and hear few problems with Barnett clutches. In the meantime, Barnett stands behind their product, and has been warranteeing any premature failures on a case-by-case basis.

Note 1:  If you don’t understand any of the above technical discussion, just get your answers from an online forum, but beware of the answer you get. Every forum has a few bonafide experts, and a bunch of poseurs.

Nore 2: If you’ve been frustrated by your clutch, don’t feel bad. I’ve been troubleshooting them for over 10 years, and still find eye-opening things.  

Note 2: Like most of my other editorials, and particularly my rants, I’m not looking for a back-and-forth defending or blaming particular products. I just wanted my chance to vent on my own forum. It’s good to be king.
 

21 August 2007 – Weekly Duck Meet

Hey guys! Meeting at 1830 on Wed at Beef O’Brady’s located at 9 mile and pine forest…south east corner of intersection.- Mark

20 August 2007 – Hot enough for ya?

Weekend race spoilers below….

I didn’t do any wrenching this past week, choosing instead to turn into Mr Handyman. First, I built the interior walls on the 2nd floor of the new building for the bathroom, then tiled the floor ahead of the plumber. Then I got to clean up after the electricians finished making a mess. The building now has power. I’ve been working upstairs, starting at 0600 and working until it gets too hot. By noon, the temp on the 2nd floor hits 115 degrees. Maybe I should have went with that ridge vent after all. Hmmm.. It’s up to me now to finish out the inside — walls, insulation and flooring. I can’t do that until I get A/C in there though. I sweated off 5 pounds on Wed installing the ceramic tile in the bathroom. I made a call the A/C guy to put me on the list for an install. I wasn’t going to install that until AFTER it was insulated, but there’s a point to how much misery I’ll put up with.

A few new products are in the works. First, I got tired of using an old socket to pound out front axles, so I came up with a tool for both removal and installation. Charlie is building it, and the prototype works like a champ. One end of te tool fits inside the bore of hollow 25mm axles. A few taps with a mallet and the axle will come out. The other end of the tool fits inside the larger diameter right hand side of the axle. It even has a piece that locks into the cutouts on the right side of the axle for aligning the axle in the correct position. It needs to be in an exact position to allow pass-through of a screwdriver to set compression damping on the underside of the fork legs.

 Above: Now that’s a common-sense tool – a front axle remover and installer. 

The second product to pass prototype is my case saver for DS1000 motors. It fits perfectly. I’ll be ordering the first batch this week and should have them by mid-Sept. Like my other case saver model, they’ll be sealed against corrosion.  I don’t know if the case saver will work on the DS1100, but I don’t see why not. I think the cases are identical.

 Above: Finally! The prototype for DS1000 motors fits perfectly. Success!! 

I got Greg Ames’ 999 off the lift this week and was all set to take it for a test spin when I saw a puddle underneath the left fork leg …. a blown fork seal. Shit… Now the whole front end needs to come off. I HATE doing fork seals. I’ve never worked so hard to replace a $20 part. Other than that the bike is about ready. I still have some tweaks to do to the F/I. The flywheel is SO light that the idle wants to hang up a bit. The key is doing a good synch, zeroing of the TPS and setting up the air bleeds just right. That takes time and patience.

I got a nastygram from a law firm in Eastern Florida earlier this week. It seems that Deltrans, maker of Battery Tenders, owns the Battery Tender name. I always thought a battery tender described the product, like a kleenex or a xerox copy. Not so. I had to delete the words “battery tender” from my description of the Battery Minder that I sell. I think Deltrans is pissed that I don’t like their product. If theirs would have held up on my bikes, I’d be selling them. Oh, by the way, one of my battery minders was on the tailgate of my Avalanche when I pulled out of the driveway this past week. It left the tailgate when I was doing about 25 mph up the street. It tumbled and bounced a good ways….. and still works. I wonder if Deltrans knows how many battery tenders I’ve ever sold. I think I average 1 a month. Not exactly high volume.

I looked over Editor Dave’s changes to my Dual-Sport Comparison article. He made my mediocre article look professional. He’s good a doing that. He and Franke do a great job at MCN. It’s probably the best technical piece I’ve ever written. It’s a shame it isn’t in color, and that MCN doesn’t have a bigger readership, but oh well.   

It was nice to see Ducati take 2nd and 3rd in AMA FX over the weekend. I haven’t seen the race yet, but it was supposed to be good. There was a good article on Cragill’s 749 stroked bike in Roadracing World. In MotoGP there has been some interesting news. First, I was hoping Ducati would find something for Capirex to do, but I understand him wanting to get a factory ride. The Suzook is a good bike now, so maybe he’ll be competitive. I don’t think Ducati is gaining much with Melandri, but he is a lot younger and seems better suited to the small 800cc bikes. Stoner is the man though. With a commanding 60 point lead, I don’t see anybody catching him. I can already see the limited edition Stoner Desmosedici’s in the showrooms. It was a good showing for the Hondas yesterday, and I’m glad to see Nicky doing well again. He’ll get to wear that #1 plate for 6 more races. If all goes well, Ducati will lock up the championship by the time the tour hits Philip Island on 14 Oct.

I expect Ducati to announce their 2nd gen Monster in Nov for an ’08 release. With successful launches of the 1098 and Hypermotard in the past 12 months, the new Monster should put Ducati on a firm footing for 2008. I give Ducati a hard time often in my DD, but if I wasn’t a passionate Ducati fan, I wouldn’t put so much time and money into them. I wish Ducati success with the new Monster. Others are hoping for a redesign of the MTS and a new ST4 with a testa engine. I’d be surprised to see either happen for next year

 Above: MCN’s rendition is probably about an 80% solution of what the new Monster will look like.  

My touring buddy Brad came down with a case of pleurisy this week, and is a no-go for a mountain trip. That’s okay, because Suzi sprung the idea on me to redo our spare bathroom and I’m up to my armpits in projects on the property. I’m cowering in the guest bathroom redoing it instead of working in the new shed. This week the wood should come in for the interior of the building and A/C should go in on Tues. After the A/C is in, I’ll look forward to working inside of it. I purchased a new table saw and replaced the blades in my miter and circular saws in anticipation of doing a lot of slicing. It will take me all of Sept and Oct to finish out the inside of the building.

The only wrenching I’ll do this coming week is on Greg’s 999 – replacing the fork seals/fluid and doing the F/I work. According to my schedule, it’s supposed to be a vacation week, but I rarely relax. I schedule in downtime for my own sake. It’s nice not having to look at my watch or a calendar when working on a bike.

Sorry the DD isn’t more interesting this week, but like I said, I’ve been swinging a hammer most of the week instead of turning wrenches. Truth be told, I get into less trouble when I’m swinging a hammer.

14 August 2007 – Weekly Duck Meet

Meeting Wed night from 6:30-8:00 at Gino’s restaurant near the corner of Copter Rd and Davis Hwy.

13 August 2007 – The week that was

Welcome to the first weekly installment of the DD. It’s been an action packed week at DT. Last week I finished the services on my 999s, Greg Ames’ 999, and James Corrington’s 1098. I had a few problems with my own 999s. It took me several flushes to eliminate all the rust from my cooling system. Then I had to play my favorite game – “seat the oring in the 999 tank”. Seating the fuel pump assembly in the 999 tank is more of a pain than any other Ducati. My first attempt was botched and the tank started leaking all over the back of the cylinder head about an hour after it was installed. Super. The next try I learned my lesson and put some fuel in the tank and propped it up to check for leaks overnight. I need to go over the procedure in more detail in that part of my books.

Above: The key to a successful service of the fuel filter is propping the tank after seating the oring. Fill the tank with 1/2 gallon of gas and let it sit for an hour or so. You can’t tell if the oring seats properly by shining a flashlight into the tank like you can on the 748-998 tanks.

Good news for 749/999 owners. I sourced some aftermarket orings for the fuel tanks for 749/999 models. Same price as the other fuel pump orings I sell, which is less than 1/2 what you’d pay for an oem oring. I think at last check, the OEM orings are $13.50. Mine are $5.50. :)

Above: Greg Ames wanted a lightweight flywheel on his 999, so I installed my first Nichols flywheel in a LONG time. The OEM flywheel (right) is 4 lbs. The Nichols flywheel (left) is 6 ounces. Now that’s a weight saving. The bike starts instantly thanks to the reduction in rotating mass.  I’m probably going to start stocking their flywheels for customers.

I worked a full 3 days on Greg Ames’ 999 this week. In addition to a full service, he got CRG levers, new tires, and a Nichols flywheel. The heat cost me some efficiency. With heat indexes of around 110 degrees every day, my A/C unit was hard-pressed to keep the temps within reason. My shed definitely needs better insulating. The worst part of recent services is the test ride. I’ve been riding bikes at 0500 to beat the heat. It’s just wrong to be putting on a helmet at 0500 and be sweating from the effort.

Above: There’s no way of knowing whether red loctite was used on a flywheel nut, so heating it to loosen any loctite is a good medicine. If you try to remove the nut with an air impact without breaking loose the loctite, you’ll tear the threads off the crank. Been there, done that.

Replacing Greg’s flywheel killed an entire morning. First, it takes longer to do any service when I’m staging pictures. I took a lot of shots that will make their way into my next manual. Second, I take my time when I’m doing a flywheel install. All it takes is a careless mistake and bad things can happen to the motor or the side cover. The Nichols flywheel install instructions would have come in handy… I found them AFTER I did the install. Their instructions were okay, but not enough for a newbie to do it.

Above: This tub of rust is from the insides of my 999s. I could just shoot the original owner. Fortunately, after 5 flushes, the water was again clear so that I could put in coolant to prevent this from happening again.

In between working on Greg’s 999, I finished the last few things on my own 999s. I found the cause of the mushy clutch lever and it wasn’t the master cylinder. It was the slave. It wasn’t leaking, but it wasn’t functioning either. That’s the first time I’ve seen the latest generation of slave cylinder fail. Typically when they fail there will be fluid leakage. Nope, I didn’t get that either. I love OEM parts. I guess the newer slaves are a little better than their predecessors, but thank God I stock Evo slaves. I installed one and all is well. While I was at it, CRG’s also went on my 999, and I installed a speedymoto water pump cover. They claim that the cover acts as a heat sink and will lower temps. I’m skeptical, but I’ll give it a try. The silicon hose set looks great, and should last for as long as I own the bike. I’m just glad to finally finish a service on my 999. I’ve been saying I would do so for the past 6 months.

Above: Bling, bling, my 999s sings.

I added two more DIY tools to the lineup, both from Mike at EMS – A closer rocker depressor and a rocker pin puller. Both are purpose-built and designed specifically for Ducatis. Nice work Mike. I’m getting back to the roots of DT with these tools.

Above: 2 new tools enter the DT lineup… A more purpose-built rocker pin extractor for non-testa 4V motors and a rocker arm depressor for checking valve clearances. Both tools are from Mike at EMS and are great additions for the DIY Ducati owner.

Last week I also finished my Dual-Sport comparo article for MCN and emailed that in. I haven’t heard back, so either it’s acceptable, or they’re pissed at me because writing sucks. Hmmm. I’m just glad to be done with it. I had a lot of time invested in that article.

The 748 forks came back from Traxxion on Friday, and I installed them over the weekend. That’s another bike back up and ready for duty.  

Finally, this past week I also had to prep the new building for the plumber. I purchased the corner shower, vanity, bathroom sink, utility sink, shitter, all the faucets and fixtures, and a hot water heater. I could have purchased a nice set of aftermarket rims with that cost. The plumber worked on Thursday, and the electrician starts tomorrow. When he’s done, the A/C guy can come in. Then it’s up to me to insulate, wall and tile/wood floor the inside, then the driveway gets done. There’s a ton of work to do, but I’ve got for 4 months to do it all.

I was down and out for most of last week due to my cold, which is another reason my work was SLOW. I had the same crud I did this past spring – – a sore throat that wouldn’t go away. Damn thing. I got to it early with antibiotics, and have it just about licked. I need to take better care of myself.

It’s been hotter than hell the past week. We’re talking miserable. You have to be a glutton for punishment to ride in this crap. It will be a chore just to load up a bike to head up to the mountains. I was going to ride up there, but I’d have to ride through 6 hours of boring hotter-than-hell freeways. I’ll pass on that and load a duck in the back of the Avalanche.

I finished up teaching this past week, and will be at the office today grading stuff and turning in my grades. The rest of the week will be spent riding herd over the contractors while sipping a margarita. It’s good to be king. Actually, I have a bunch of stuff to do to keep the contractors decisively engaged. I’ve got the next two weeks off to take care of business before teaching resumes. I’m hoping Greg Ames will come and pick up his bike next weekend. That will free up the shop for a short while.

Have a great week.

12 August 2007 – Ride Cancelled

Due to low expected turnout because of the heat, Mark cancelled the ride scheduled for today.

10 August 2007 – Local Ride Sunday

Local ride on Sunday.  0700 at bagel heads on 9 mile rd.  0730 departure to beat the heat.  Mark will be leading the ride.

7 August 2007 – Weekly Duck Meet

Our weekly Duck meet is tomorrow, Wednesday, at 6:45 PM at the Times Grill on 9 mile rd across the street from Applebees near the Chemstrand and 9 Mile Rd intersections.

6 August 2007 – I’m a veg

WSB spoiler results below.  

I was a veg all yesterday. The marathon in the workshop on Sat. wiped me out. I must be getting old. After changing the oil in the truck I did a few more things on the 999 yesterday, but ran into an impasse. I seem to be out of fuel filters and can’t do anything else until I get more. I’ll be picking more filters today. The highlight of my day was sitting in my easy chair, doing some writing and watching the Saints/Steelers game. We had record heat yesterday, and it’s supposed to continue into this week. Staying cool is a priority.

I have my last day teaching today, then give finals on wed and friday. I’ll have my grades all wrapped up in a week or so and will be free to take a break. I’m planning a solo mountain getaway next week. I need some alone time with myself to ponder the mysteries of the universe.

I awoke at 0200 this morning with a raging sore throat and a headache. I’d prefer to wake up with a raging hard on, but I suppose the headache and sore throat will have to do.  I popped a few analgesics and filled the orders that came in over the weekend. There isn’t a whole lot on the TV this early in the morning.

My second piece on eBay in MCN hit the mailbox on sat. I think I did a better job on the first article. Oh well. Fellow MCNer Glynn Kerr wrote a scathing article on H-D and Buell, essentially saying they are missing the bus on the impending shift in riding preferences towards sportier bikes. If riders shift more towards sport bikes, H-D is screwed. Of course, I’m a little skeptical. With the prices of bikes, and the disposable income needed to accord a new bike, I think cruisers will hang around for awhile. I don’t see many middle-aged men riding sportbikes. You guys are the exception of course. One stat I’d track is obesity levels. The fatter  you are the less likely you are to ride a sportbike. I see occasionally see horsepower sucking bodies sitting on sportbikes, but it’s rare.

This week I have a lot to do in the workshop — finish both 999s, do a 600 mile service on a 1098, and prep my Gran Canyon for some riding. I’m still waiting on the forks for the track 748 as well. I want to get that buttoned up and prepped for the next trackday. I’ll start doing them again in Oct.

Well, call me a quitter, but after the results of Brands Hatch WSB yesterday, Ducati is toast. Time to regroup and focus on next year. What an awful day. Toseland is the man this year, and he deserves it.

The only new products to report are the billet fuel sender nuts I now stock. The stock plastic nuts can crack and result in leaks. When that happens you have to replace the whole $150+ fuel sender units. The billet nuts are $39.71 each.  I also have to call to see what the heck happened to my prototype for the DS1000 case savers. Damn machinists.

Since announcing that the DD is going to a weekly, I’m already seeing a further drop-off in readership – from about 100 per day to about 50. It’s a self-fulfilling prophesy I suppose. If you’re still reading, you must be a one-percent of  the one-percenters, and are as weird as I am. Thanks for reading.  

That’s about it for the upcoming week. Ya’ll try to stay cool, or enjoy riding if you live in a colder climate than we do in Fl. Our riding season starts in less than 2 months. I can’t wait. :-)

6 August 2007 – Marathon in the workshop

It’s 0100 and I just finished a 12 hour stretch in the workshop. As soon as Suzi headed out with the girls to go to the Chris Daughtry concert, I bolted for the workshop to start the service on my 999s. I had some difficulty fitting the silicon hoses I’ve had on the shelf. The damn kit is missing the top right hose. (^(*&^*().  Then I mis-read one of the valve clearances and chased my tail for an hour tracking down the cause of the cam bind. I had to change out every single closer shim, and no openers. Weird. I also fitted the magnesium headlight bucket and support arms and the Puig Screen. I finished the valves at mid-night and had the cam belts and belt covers and radiator one a few minutes ago. I’m exhausted. It seems the original owner drained all the coolant and put in tap water. There is rust everywhere in the lines. Not good. I’m going to have to flush the radiator several times before I put in coolant and water wetter. Damn.

Ducati got 5th and 6th in AMA FX today. Not too bad for non-factory team. Way to go Pegram and Cragill.

After I grab some shuteye I’ll be working on my article today and relaxing in the living room. Bayliss is on pole, so I’m hoping good things for Ducati. Tomorrow’s DD is the last truly daily desmo. I’ll be starting weekly updates for awhile and will outline what’s coming up for the week and then recapping what happened the following week. Monday morning will be my new habit for posting. There will be the occasional weekday post to announce our club meet locations and on weekends for any rides.

Enjoy your Sunday.