30 April 2008 – Bits and Bytes

I split duties yesterday between ordering stuff for DT and running a chain saw. I lopped off the last Hurricane Ivan leaning oak tree, cut it up and built a nice bonfire to burn up the branches. It took hours to shuttle all the limbs to the fire pit.

The orings for Kim’s ST2 arrived yesterday. Unfortunately I only got one set. I’ll be pulling the horizontal head this afternoon to see if any of the orings shifted.

It’s time to start to collect info on the bikes we’ll test for the WSB run — The KTM 950 Adventure, the Suzuki Vstrom 1000, the BMW R1200GS, and the Triumph Tiger. I’ve ridden every bike before, but they’ve been updated since then. A few of the bikes may change out between now and the end of May, but I figure 2 of the 4 will be the ones we get. I was hoping to ride the 800cc version of the GS. It’s far lighter and I wanted to check out the twin. The Triumph Tiger has been completely revised, so that should be cool as well. I got a good start on checking the boxes to each item on my packing list. I’m not please with my tail pack, so I ordered a different variety from Tucker Rocky yesterday.

That’s about it. I’m off to the office for the last time until the middle June. The weather is spectacular in Pcola today. Time to ride a Duc.

Enjoy your Wed.  

29 April 2008 – The Packing List

Today I have to box up the stuff I’ll ship to CA ahead of our WSB ride from LA to Utah. Packing for such a trip is difficult because of the temperature extremes we see. Usually, I see temps from 40 degrees to 100 degrees during our July MotoGP runs up to Monterey, but never having done a run to Utah this time of the year, I’m scratching my head. I started by looking at elevations along the route. We’ll be going over the Sierras as the high point, but I can’t exactly look up weather channel estimates for the end of May. I just pack my usual stuff and hope for the best. The fact that we switch bikes every fillup means an electric vest is out. That sucks, because that piece of equipment really reduces the amount of gear you have to haul. Here’s my living packing list:

  • OGK FF4 Helmet with chin curtain and helmet sack
  • Shield Sak with clear lens 
  • Balaclava
  • Ear Plugs (5 pairs)
  • Head “doo” rag x 2
  • 3 small bottles of plexus
  • small water bottle for cleaning windscreen
  • 2 microfiber towels
  • Joe Rocket Alter Ego jacket
  • lightweight and midweight SPEAR suit top liners (Spec Ops issue thermal gear)
  • Spec Ops thermal beanie
  • lightweight SPEAR suit long johns
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Lightweight shortie gloves and mid-weight winter gloves (waterproof)
  • Crampbuster x 2
  • Bates riding boots
  • Spandex biker shorts x 2
  • Black poly socks x 2
  • Wick dry washable thirt x 1
  • Fieldsheer mesh pants with rain liner
  • Glacier Hydrapack with 100 oz bladder
  • fanny pack
  • jeans – 1 pr
  • running shoes
  • compact digital camera with charger
  • cell phone charger
  • quick dry running socks – 1 pr
  • quick dry running shorts – 2 pr
  • Monkey Butt powder
  • Tail bag for all of the above
  • Toiletry/Shave kit
  • First Aid pouch with BC Powders
  • Suspension tape for setting sag on test bikes
  • 10x 8″ zip ties.
  • 10x 16″ zip ties
  • tire plug kit with CO cartridges
  • disc lock with electrical tape to put over ignition key hole
  • DT sidestand pads x 3
  • phase plasma rifle in the 40 watt range 

I don’t like tank bags and I never know if a given bike will have saddlebags, so everything I take has to compress into a small tail pack that I have.  Dave does the navigating, so I don’t worry about a GPS. I also don’t have to worry about gas/lodging/food. Just play money. And since I don’t have any room to haul anything, I don’t buy anything. I’ll probably purchase a WSB t-shirt, but that’s about it. I don’t pack an emergency strobe because there will be 4 of us. Dave takes a big first aid pouch, so I just take a small one.  

Enjoy your Tue.

28 April 2008 – Ducs everywhere

WSB results spoiler below.

We had a good ride today. 6 Ducs and a busa. The new front end I put on the S2R rocks. Super stable and unfazed by bumps, unlike Mark’s ST4S, whose ass end was wallowing like a pig in crap whenever he hit any mid-corner bumps. The only downnote for me was a distracting vibration at high speeds in the S2R. I mean so distracting as to make my vision go completely blurry above a set speed. I’ll check the engine mounting bolts and the drivechain/sprockets, but I can’t imagine the vibration coming from anything other than an imbalance in the engine. I only ride at such speeds in Blackwater, but not being able to see anything sure makes the ride more challenging. Maybe it’s a innate speed limited – keep going faster until you can’t see anything.

Brad was on fire on the ride today. He was aboard his ST2, and I haven’t seen him go that fast in years. It was great, although faster speeds means a shorter ride. I had to hustle the S2R on the straights to keep up with him, although in the corners the S2R can handle an ST2. I think for the next Blackwater ride, I’ll set a low top speed and make people use the Pace method to enjoy the corners more. Hmmm, I’ve said that before. Such discussions are moot until June, but I would like to slow it down in Bwater. I never scare myself in any turn out there, but my comfort zone keeps increasing.

In the afternoon I headed to Mark’s for a cookout. We watched the first WSB race. Bayliss was awesome – another double for him. I hope my prediction isn’t a jinx, but I consider the WSB season to be a lock. Barring injury, Bayliss is a cinch for the title. There are plenty of good competitors, but none are consistent. Forget Haga, and any of the other perrenial favorites.  He’s walking away from everybody in the points. Ducati will start taking deposits on the limited #1 plate Bayliss Edition 1098Rs this fall. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to make that prediction.

Mark had a good little turnout of Duc nuts at his cookout. We ate some good food and ogled his bikes> Mark dragged the sides of the belly pan on his 999 on the track yesterday, and scraped off the Desmo Times sticker. Not only are they not waterproof, but they also fail the scrape test. I suggest a titanium belly pan. Now that would look cool, throwing off sparks all the while. Mark, I don’t know if raising it one line front and back will be enough.

Final exams are this week at the U. I’ll hand off another 100 students to the ages. Good luck to them. May they get jobs, be prosperous, and purchase Italian sportbikes.

I already have my summer syllabus all set up and am ready to start teaching again the end of June. The time between now and then will fly. This week I’ll split time between the property, finishing up the semester, and putting my military game face on.  

27 April 2007 – A Yawn, a Nod, A Ride and a Cookout

Keith came over and grabbed lift #2 yesterday morning. It’s the first time in awhile that I was actually able to sell something instead of just collecting more crap.

I spent the afternoon yesterday with a chain saw in my hand. It takes me about a solid week of chain sawings/pruning and trimming just to get the properly looking decent each year. Living in a swamp makes everything grow like weeds. The Stihl chain saws worked flawlessly, although my blades are in need of sharpening.  The same can be said for my brain.

The John Deer tractor has a fresh service and sharp blades. Keith pulled up just as I had a blade in my hand to check out my grinding skills.  I slipped into my best Billy Bob Thornton impression as I walked up to him and said in a Texas drawl — “I’m here to keel you”.

I use nothing but the finest shop equipment. Here, the custom DT 2x4s and 2x6s are used to support the rear wheels of the tractor for blade removal.  

I was looking at SOUP yesterday and saw the results of the AMA races. Yawn….  I was  more interested to see how Ducati did at Assen WSB. Our man Troy’s on top of the time sheets, with the rest of the Ducs close behind. I hope our boys do well. As always, I give my nod of approval to anybody riding a Duc, even if it’s Biaggi.

I’m off in a bit for my last ride of the Spring through Blackwater. Suzi’s S2R will get properly flogged. Gotta check out how the Superbike front end works.

After our ride, we’re heading over to Mark’s for the cookout. Suzi will pretend to be interested in motorcycle topics. She burnt out on motorcycle discussions years ago, and tolerates my obsession(s).

Enjoy your Sunday.

26 April 2008 – The Good, Bad and the Ugly Redux

Blondie ………..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The good – I found the cause of the slipping clutch on Richie’s 848 — the damn CRGs. They work fine on a 1098 but won’t work on the 848. I think the master cylinder or clutch slave cylinder piston diamater must be different because the CRG’s hang up for a split second at full release, causing the clutch to hang. I don’t like the engagement point of the 848. With it being with the lever almost all the way out, there is no margin for error with the lever pin. Hmm, now I have a set of shorty CRGs in black for radial masters on the 749/999/1098 with nothing to put them on. Damn… Richie, come get your damn bike.

 Richie’s 848 gets the service check indicator reset… again.

Also on the good side – The Proboard owners installed a backup of my entire board. Disaster averted. Whew! I didn’t lose sleep over it, but it sure is nice not to have all that info gone.

Mr. Tubby takes a snooze… again.  

And still another – My good friend dropped by while in town from NC. We shot the shit for a bit, but, as usual, he didn’t linger and was out of here quickly… only to return.. see the ugly below.

The Bad – Kim Cannon rode his ST2 in. He called earlier in the week to say the oil sight window looked milky. Not good — condensation? I’m not that lucky. A cylinder head oring let go? Probably. By the time he got to my place the window was milky goo. He shouldn’t have ridden it over. I drained the goo out of the engine and took a peak in the radiator – bone dry… Super. Which cylinder? Probably not the one I decide to pull first. My luck runs that way with that bike. All new head gaskets are on the way from BCM. Thanks Miles….

Kim Cannon’s ST is back… again.  

More on the bad side, that is if you need parts quickly in May. I’ve got a full May between Army duty and covering WSB for MCN in Utah. Dave, Donnie and I are itching for the ride over from LA. I’ll be comin’ and goin’ in May. Often enough to ship parts every week or so.

The Ugly – Dan decided the brand new DT mail box was placed too close to the driveway, and ran it smack over with his Ford F-150. He snapped the 4×4 off like it was a toothpick. Like a champ, he brought back a new 4×4 and dug me a new hole. I’ll take it from there. I may upgrade to an 8×8. If the next person wants to run it over, I want to cause some damage to the offending vehicle. I may even dig trenches around it and place pungee sticks in the bottom. I can’t see the DT mailbox from the house, but I can from the second story of the Ark. A M240 in the window there would be able to cover it just fine… but I digress.

Also on the ugly side of the house — Me.

Keith is coming by to pick up the second lift in the morning. I’ve already got it outside ready to go. I’m digging the new-found space in the workshop. It’s cavernous. Even Mr. Tubby, one of our outside cats likes it. He slept upside down in the middle of the floor while I worked on Richie’s 848.

Ride on Sunday. Meet at Bagelheads at 0800. It’s my last chance for a local ride until the end of May, so I plan on making it a good one. Cookout at Mark’s at 1300. Mark is sleeping tonight under the stars at Jennings. I don’t do the weekend track days there due to the throngs. My intent was to leave Sunday for a Monday event, but I don’t feel inspired. Jennings is just far enough away to be a PITA, particularly with the one hour lost due to the time change.

Enjoy your Sat.

25 April 2008 – The 18

Well, I was wrong. 18 of you chimed in that you’re reading. Leonidas had his 300, I have my 18. I don’t know of any pass I can defend with 18 guys, but that’s enough for a mini-platoon, so I’ll take it.

Thanks to those of that emailed with condolances about the message board. I’d fret about it, but there are worst things in life. A bigger thanks to those that are redoing their member information on the message board.

I picked Suzi up at the airport last night, so my bachelorhood is over. It’s nice to have her home. I relax more when she’s home.

Some bikes don’t want to leave the confines of my shop. Richie’s 848 is back over. His service light came back on. That sometimes happens after I reset it and I have to do it again. He also complained that when punching it, the bike slips in higher rpms, sort of like the clutch slipping. The only things I did were the CRG levers and the full syn oil. I’ll flog it today down my test strip and see if I can replicate it. I doubt the oil is the culprit so I’ll check out the CRG adjustment.

While I awaited Bryan Jones to get his 748 yesterday, I started going through my bins of spare parts, organizing them and getting rid of things I’ve decided to ditch. The workshop is fairly organized now, at least more than it’s been in the past few years. The workshop is so organized that I have room to park the Prius in there now.

With only final exams left at the University, I’ll relax a bit today by picking up the chain saws and trimming around the property. I got the sprinkler system up and running again yesterday. I only had to replace 3 heads this year. Not bad on an 8 year old 55 head system.

Off to have breakfast with Suzi. Then to NAS Pensacola to get a DOD sticker for the Prius and contact the J1 at Macdill for my orders for my annual training.

Enjoy your Fr.

24 April 2007 – Tidbits

A few tidbits for today. First, the last bike left the lift on Tuesday. I finished Bryan Jones’ 748. The culprit was a leaky head gasket. The gasket cost $110. No, I’m not kidding. Richie picked up his 848 yesterday, and the 748 will leave this weekend. The I had time yesterday to completely reorganize the workshop, and will finish that today.

I’ve penned a few MCN pieces in the past few days, but time was drained by problems with the message board. All the messages disappeared in the last week, and the host company won’t respond to my posts for help. 4 year’s worth of information lost. A damn shame. The message board was never attended well, but I rely on it to deflect questions from me.  It’s still up and running, but all the posts are gone. At least the shell of the board structure is still there. I rebuilt the front end of the Member section, but you’ll all have to input your member information again. Sorry. I’ll be fixing the rest of the broken links next week. Army duty is impending, so I’ll be scarce in May/June.

Enjoy your whatever day this is.

21.75 April 2998 – MCN writing time

I’m not seeing much interests in posts on the DD, so I’m switching my attention to some articles for MCN. Suzi is away on business for a few days and I have the time to knock out some writing. Mark, feel free to entertain the 100 with your rapier wit if you wish.

21.5 April 2008-Ride to eat…eat to ride?

(by Mark) Considering a cookout at my place next Sunday the 27th following our usual ride.  Any “secret” local riders that read the Daily Desmo and aren’t on my mailing list email LT@desmotimes.com with your email address if interested.  I’m gaging interest before committing.  Still riding though!

Mark

21 April 2008 – a Sport Classic and an 848

Yesterday Mark and I did a local ride. I haven’t ridden the SC1000 in quite a few months and remember how screwed up the suspension was the last time I rode it. Even though we set up the suspension on Saturday, I really needed to test ride a bike to see what’s up. Suspension pros can judge a setup just by pushing on a bike, but I’m not that good. Well, after riding it to breakfast, I determined that the settings weren’t going to cut it. I felt every single bump. So, Mark and I headed back to my place after breakfast so that I could get a 3mm allen key to adjust the forks. I took out 4 clicks of compression and off we went. 10 miles later, I pulled over and took out another 4 clicks of compression. Another 10 miles, another 4 clicks. Finally, at our half-way point, I took out the rest of compression in the forks and dialed in a little more rebound. The front end isn’t perfect, but it’s much better. I started to fiddle with the back end, but the ride was over before I could fix that. The Ohlins in the race kit was way oversprung up front and undersprung in the back. Everybody loves the bling of Ohlins and expects them to be better, but I don’t find their damping any better than the Showas. Neither push enough fluid with the stock valving. If I was so inclined, the forks would go off to Traxxion, but I’ve got other fish to fry.

After I got back from our ride, I hopped on Richie’s 848 and took it for a spin. The shift pedal on the Satos was way too high, so I pulled over twice to adjust it with some spanners. The bike is good. It really doesn’t feel that much different than my 1098, although the acceleration isn’t nearly as violent. The wet clutch has a very narrow band of friction, all of it in the last inch of travel. Clutches like that take some getting used to. There is also a bit of a flat spot between 3 and 4K. With the 02 sensor in there, it isn’t something I can dial out. The TBs are synched and the air bleeds are properly set. Richie mentioned that the bike died a few times at red lights, but with the idle already at 1500, I didn’t want to raise it. Maybe it was break in teething problems. The early 1098s had the same problem, but that turned out to be ECU-related. Have I mentioned that I hate closed loop F/I on Ducatis? Yeah, I guess I have. All in all, I liked the 848. The power is much more sensible for around-town riding, but anything above 3rd gear and you’ll be seeing flashing lights and hearing sirens. The 848 powerband is good riding at 2K and up. It doesn’t lug that much, but there is a vibration in the powerband above 3.5K. At anything above 55 mph, the mirrors are useless from the vibration. My 1098 has the same issue.  The bike runs around the same temps as the 1098. The cooling system on the 1098/848 is hands-down better than the last 3 gens. That’s good, because as they up the ponies on the 1098/848 the heat will build. I have to figure a way of cooling future iterations, but right now they don’t need a fan/switch mod. With the CAN setup a fan switch is problematic anyway. Oh, one final thing. Remember when I said the front calipers are different. Well, the monoblocks on the 1098 retail for $1100 more than the ones on the 848. I guess the cost savings have to come somewhere, especially since the motor and frame cost the same to produce as the 1098.

Richie now has a very attractive looking 848, with tasty mods. If I were him, I’d ditch the stock exhaust/ecu and let that thing breathe. It’s a shame that Ducati has a stranglehold on the ECU thing. Or do they? I’ve contacted an ECU manufacturer in the UK that makes a system called the Nemesis. It’s a Plug-n-play Ecu that remains closed loop, but allows you to tune around the CO meter. The only problem is the price is about the same as the DP/Termi unit… so why would somebody want to go with an ecu that would void the warranty when they can install a termi ecu and keep their warranty? The Nemesis is much more tuneable, but the average rider doesn’t need a tuneable ECU. 

I finished the day by going for a run and then cleaning up in the workshop. I put Bryan Jones’ 748 on my main lift, cleaned up lift #2 and disassembled it. Keith Forehand is picking it up next Sat. My workshop looks MUCH bigger now. I may even have enough room to park the Prius in there after I rearrange things.  I really wanted to finish the insulation in the workshop before the heat got here, but that ain’t gonna happen. It needs another full layer of the closed cell foam I have for the Mr. Slim A/C unit to work properly.  We’re only 6 weeks away from the heat of June. Soon I’ll be melting……………….

Enjoy your Mon.