30 June 2008 – How does it feel… to be on your own

MotoGP results spoiler below…..

Holy Cow!… What a blowout. Stoner is a man possessed. He’s found his mojo, his bait and tackle, his yin and yang, his Siskel and Ebert, his Romeo and Juliet…. you get the picture.  With an 11 second victory, Stoner cemented his third place ranking in the standings and closed the gap on Rossi, who finished a distant 46 seconds behind. Melandri was a full minute behind… oh waiter, check please! Edwards stormed to a third place finish, with Nicky right behind him. Great race.. if you’re a Ducati or American rider fan. 

29 June 2008 – Product updates

Good news on the product front. I added a few new ones this week – the Proficat laser chain alignment tool and S100 Wax. I also now have the minimalist STM clutch covers for those with frame sliders. Also, Charlie is semi up and running in Missouri and got a bunch of tools out to me – Clutch tools, Cam wheel holder tools, and ST axle nut wrenches. Next week I’ll get in a batch of Footleg lowering kits for the STs, and my batch of Gunson Gastesters. Let the wrenching begin. :-) 


My spare 955 motor is coming together. I bolted on the old Surflex slipper that I had a tough time with on the MTS, and put on one of the STM pressure plates. Ain’t much protection, but it sure looks cool.

27.5 June 2008-Here comes the groom….

(by Mark) Man, I sure wish I had my ST up here in western Pennsylvania. Twisty roads with good elevation changes to boot. What a waste in the winter on snow, pot holes and blind corners. Right now the weather is perfect for summer riding with humidity a Florida low 50% and temps around 80 in the heat of the day. Bring me a bike!!!

Saturday Shelley and I will be married at 1030 Pensacola time up here. We have about 120 people showing up for the event. I guarantee it’s to see the pretty bride and not me. I can live with that. 😉 I’ll be back to Pensacola in no time and LT can stop pouting. He gets depressed when I’m gone and loses the urge to write anything interesting without my inspirations. I’m sure that’s why readership of the DD is down…that, or maybe that I usually log in daily from 94 separate computers. Just not sure. Hmmm….

I got a call today from my powder coater. I’m having a spare set of wheels powdered gloss black from their factory silver for my 999 so I don’t have to play the “I can’t ride because I have track tires installed” game. He said he was having a tough time bead blasting the robust factory Marchesini paint from the rims. Maybe they’ll end up lighter!? Sweet! It seems the factory paint is extremely thick when applied. Oh well…not my problem.  :)  That’s why he gets paid while I vacation.

LT, nice work on Patrick’s sliders. They look great in the picture. Patrick, lay it on it’s side to see how nice they work. Post pictures afterwards…or don’t, up to you.


Oh, have I mentioned lately that I WANT A FRIGGIN’ TUONO!!!!!!!!?????? Okay. Now I have. It just feels good to shout it sometimes. Now go buy your damn Brutalle LT…bitch.


27 June 2008 – Suzi’s S2R Redux

No DD today, but I offer some eye candy instead. The lastest incarnation of the DT S2R800.


26 June 2008 – DD on Hiatus

Readership is way down on the DD, so I’m guessing I’m boring folks. I’m going to go back to a weekly(ish) DD for awhile and see how that works.

Enjoy your weekend.

25 June 2008 – 996-1, LT-0

I finally had a chance to fit the Speedymoto frame sliders to Patrick’s 996. They came out perfect, but it took half a day. Part of the problem is the swap over to a smaller maintenance free battery and rerouting of the battery cables. I had to drill out the eyelets to several cable ends, and one of them spun while I was drilling. It cut a gash across the top of my right thumb. A time-honored trip to the house to do the old peroxide, triple-antibiotic ointment and bandaid fix seems to have stemmed the flow. Suzi thinks I need to put a butterfly on it, but we’ll see how it heals up.

The result and the by-product. It’s merely a flesh wound.

I managed to update the Closeout webpage over the weekend, and already sold the adjustable showas I had. I thought I had some more bits laying around, but the pickings are pretty slim.

Suzi and I put watching Long Way Down on hold and instead started watching Race to Dakar. Now I know why I never got involved with dirt racing. In the first episode Charlie broke his shoulder on the train up for the event. It’s a great watch, and is as entertaining as Long Way Down. It also feature the same production people, so there are familiar faces from the Long Way Round series. 

Enjoy your Wed.

24 June 2008 – Projects

I’m sure you all have your motorcycle projects. Some will always remain projects in our mind because we can’t find the time, inclination or money to start them. Other projects get underway but get mired in technical difficulties. I’ve had the good fortune to complete most of my projects, but some fall under the category of “someday”. Here’s my mental long list

1. The Gran Canyon has needed a paint job since I got the bike. The original owner took an offroad excursion through some brush and scratched up the front fairing. I wheeled the GC into the shop on Friday and stripped off all the pieces to get painted. The bike came satin black and red. I’m redoing it all in satin black.  

2. The last time I did a ground up restoration on my ’96 M900 I had the frame powder-coated. Unfortunately, the clear coat cracked in a million places due to improper curing. Of course, this happened AFTER I had the bike assembled. To correct it, the bike has to be completely torn down and the frame redone. Ouch. I’ve been putting this project off for 5 years.

3. 916 frame off restoration. I’ve never liked the flat gold frame on the 916. I’d like to have it powdercoated with a gloss gold or red, but, like the M900 project, this requires a full tear down. The good news is that the bike needs nothing else… I think.

4. 748 conversion. I purchased a solo rear subframe off ebay last year to ditch the heavy biposto rear that came with the bike. Unfortunately, the solo 748 has a different rear wiring harness because the ECU sits further back. Any harnesses you find on ebay fails to mention if it came off a mono or biposto. Also, removing the wiring harness is next to impossible without dropping or pivoting the motor.

5. 748 MotoGP project – I’ve also toyed with the idea of retiring the 748 from track duties to convert it to the QB carbon motoGP replica bike. Until I truly retire the 748 from the track, this project is DOA. It also ranks last in terms of the other projects.

6. Big Bore kit for the wimpy ST2. Of course, to do it right, the bottom end should be spruced up and lightened.

The above is enough to keep me busy for the forseeable future — say 5 years or so. If only there was the time to start knocking out these projects in a timely manner. It’s taken me 4 years to get the bottom end of Dan S’s 955 rebuilt. At the rate I’m going I’ll be too old to ride when my projects are complete.

Enjoy your Tue.

23 June 2008 – Rolling Stoner

MotoGP spoiler below….

For the past decade I’ve watched Rossi stalk his victims, waiting for the inevitable end of race dash to victory. He’s performed this act to perfection for years, including this one. So, when the race started and Casey made a breakaway, I had every expectation for him to start closing the gap midway through the race. It never happened. The race reminded me of last year, when Casey was a dominant force. Evidently, he found a setting last week that suited him. The bad news is that he didn’t gain much on Pedrosa or Rossi. The good news is that if he keeps performing like that, he’ll finish the season in the top 3. As fas as Melandri goes, he’s toast. He hates the bike and can’t get a feel fo it at all. Even spies finished ahead of him. Ducati has signed him to a 2 year deal, so he’ll be a backmarker again last year. Not that he’s alone. The satellite members of the Alice team aren’t doing much better. In fact, if it wasn’t for Stoner, Ducati wouldn’t have much to cheer for in MotoGP. The same can be said for the Bayliss effect in WSB, but at least Biaggi, Xaus and Fabrizio are finishing in the top half of the pack.

Suzi and I watched the first episode of Long Way Down today. It was very entertaining, even more so that the first episode of the Long Way Round series. I also got the videos of Charlie Boorman’s Dakar rally experience, so we’ll watch that next.

It’s back the office with me this week. I have to make a run to the painter’s to drop off the Gran Canyon bodywork and finish Patrick’s 996, but other than that I’ll be sitting in air-conditioning all week. That ain’t all bad. Mark’s off to get married in Pennsylvania, so I’ll be fending for myself for a local ride next weekend.

Enjoy your Mon.

22 June 2008 – An auspicious start

I did a Blackwater run with Mark and Brad today. Mark was a no-show at my house. As I warmed up the ST2, the phone rang with Mark telling me he had a nail in his tire. I rode to the breakfast stop and Brad showed up. Problem solved. Mark filled up his tire and met us at Brad’s shop. One plug later, and we were blasting off towards Blackwater. I know, at least one of  you reading this is about to reply “I heard running with a plug in a motorcycle tire is about as dangerous as crashing with frame sliders”.  We enjoyed a cool run through Blackwater. The early start and the clouds made it enjoyable. Looks like early runs for the rest of the summer.

We got back from Blackwater in the nick of time.  A huge downpour hit the house minutes after I got back. I spent the rest of the day working on the Adventure Tourer article and another article for MCN, then had dinner with Mark and Shelley. Poof, another day is complete.

This weekend is off to an auspicous start for Ducati and American racer fans. Casey is on pole and Ben Spies had a great qualifying session in his first MotoGP. It was a wet affair, so it will be interesting to see how the rankings hold up if it’s a dry race.

Enjoy your Sun.

21 June 2008 – Sliders

I’ve read a lot of debate on the internet concerning the worth of frame sliders. Detractors say that sliders can cause the bike to catch during a slide, thus making the bike flip or cartwheel. I’ve heard instances of this happening, but have never seen one. What I have seen are ground frame sliders that have sacrificed themselves to protect a bike. I believe in their worth. Frame sliders are of most value for the average street rider in protecting expensive bodywork and parts. Your average tipover will destroy bar ends, scratch/crack plastic and perhaps dent the tank. The cost of those repairs can be minimized by frame sliders. Bar ends and other protruding tidbits always take a hit, regardless of sliders. After all, a bike needs several points of contact when it falls. Sliders also protect the foot controls on bikes, so no more bent brake and shift levers.

Another criticism of frame sliders is that they can result in a cracked frame. Again, I have never witnessed this, but I assume that it can happen. There are many styles of mounts of frame sliders, so anything is possible. I only mount stressed-member frame sliders, meaning sliders that replace an engine bolt and go completely through the frame. When such frame sliders are installed, the bike can literally be picked up by the sliders. In a tipover, the force of impact is transferred to the slider, which absorbs the impact and passes it through the solid rod that goes through the motor. If the bike lowsides at speed, this force is much greater. Can it result in a bent frame? Sure it can, but there’s also a very good chance that you’re frame will be tweaked by any low side. What a slider can do is improve the chance that you’ll be able to ride away.  Can the slider result in a broken engine mount. Sure it can, but that can happen without frame sliders. My salvage project ST2 had a cracked motor mount from a healthy lowside, a lowside that also bent the frame.

There are many shapes of sliders. I used to like the blunt Cyclecat design because they looked cool. Later, I began to appreciate the larger mushrom cap design of Speedymoto because I think the larger contact area further minimizes the chance of it catching during a slide.

Speedymoto also makes “under the bodywork” sliders. These sliders are intended to shield the motor and frame from impact, but not protect bodywork. If I was a racer, I’d probably install these because I’d be less concerned about protecting the bodywork. However, these sliders are considerable shorter and usually don’t shield the foot controls.

Mounting sliders on some Ducati superbikes also necessitates changing the battery type and mount due to the location of the battery box. On the 748-998 series, the battery must be considerably smaller and mounted in such a way as to clear the slider boss. It’s no big deal compared to having to drill a hole in the bodywork. I find drilling bodywork stressful, particularly on expensive OEM plastic.

In the end, I decided to put my money where my mouth is. On my street superbikes, I don’t have sliders mounted. I prefer not to drill holes through the bodywork, and other variants that bolt onto the frame and allow mounting without drilling are in my estimation not very strong.  I have sliders on the following: M900, 900SS (half-fairing), MTS1000, 748 (track only), S2R and a Sport Classic. I’ve only tested the ones on the 900SS when the bike fell off the rear stand when I rolled it out of line to go for a ride. The sliders prevented any damage to the bike. It rested on the bar end and the sliders. Whew!

Enjoy your sat.