31 January 2009 “I-E-D: Improvised Explosive Diaper” (BillG)

Now I’m not one for being a hard ass on rules, but there are certain things that “we” as a people tend to have to accept in order to co-exist. In the lovely state of Florida you have to use the plastic bag your newspaper came in to police up any presents your pets leave on the ground. In the state of California, you have to contend with a plethora of legislation just to have a smoke.

Last week on my quest to purchase a relay switch from the friendly folks at Auto Zone, I roll up on the ST3 and low and behold in the empty parking spot next to me… AN IED (Improvised Explosive Diaper). It was just lying there. Waiting. Armed. All it would take to set it off is to accidentally trigger it by stepping on it. Then BLAMO. And what kind of people are these that leave “live ordinance” in parking lots? They take the time to change the baby. Powder his or her bumm to prevent rash but then turn a blind eye to the world at large. And not ten feet away is a trash can. Do they dispose of their biowaste? No, they do the trademark “under car toss”, where said diaper is hidden from sight until they pull out. If you don’t catch them tossing it under the car, they can blindly claim, “Not mine, it was here when I pulled up”.

I just want to catch someone doing this so I can rip them a new one in my best R Lee Ermey tirade impersonation. “It’s your diaper numbnuts, you eat it” These are the same people who empty soft drinks, milk shakes, dump ash trays etc all in the name of the evolution of mankind. And if you’re like many riders, you tend to ride in the tire tread of the lane to stay out of the oil and antifreeze. Ripe pickens to plant your feet on any one of these little presents.

Thread Jack: R Lee at his best… click here.

I was brought up during the decade of the crying Indian. Public service messages drilled the public about how everyones’ trash soon becomes someones else’s eye sore. It made sense. And now it is even more pertinent with those of us who chose to ride. We endure loose paper flying out of truck beds at sixty miles per hour. We dodge lost rakes from land scape trailers and not to mention the untold discarded cardboard boxes in every shape and size, but the IED is probably the most disgusting thing someone can do to those of us on two wheels.

Luckily I did not take a picture to post, I know how some really like to see LT’s pictures, but I sorta thought in this case we could make an exception to withhold that from this post :) I do want to make this a “Call to Arms” so that if you see someone doing this, call them on it. Be loud so witnesses will point them out. Shame them mercilessly. Put an end to the IED. We have suffered long enough!

The penalty phase of such an infraction would include the attachment of a bumper sticker that states, “This Diaper Dumper was tagged by a Ducati rider, courtesy of DesmoTimes who reminds you Give A Hoot, Don’t Dump the Poop”

30 January 2008 – Product Updates

It’s been awhile since I mentioned any product news, so here are a few updates.

  • Prices on Westco batteries dropped $5. I also dropped the price of the battery conversion kits $5.
  • Prices on Seal Savers went down to $19.95.
  • SealSavers finally made longer ones that are more suited to the longer suspension travel on the Gran Canyon and MTS. The longer ones are $26.95. I only stock these variants in black.
  • I put galfer rotors up on the website for those wanting to ditch their warped rotors. They ain’t cheap, but they look and work great. I’d add braketech rotors, but I haven’t had good luck with getting them and don’t trust their ability to supply rotors.

On the wrenching front, the SS1000 heads arrived and look spiffy. I’ll install them next week and try to get the SS out the door. I already have the piston crowns nice and clean and have inspected the valves and valve lash on the heads. Once the hoist is freed up, the 999s gets hoisted to send the Ohlins forks off for new seals and valves. What’s the deal with the Ohlins forks seals on the 999 giving way after a few years? Weird. Next week I’ll also prep the 748 for a full service. I may even take off the heads to clean up the combustion chamber and have a look at the ports.

Dirty, dirty, the SS pistons are caked in carbon from a rich condition

Ah, that’s much better. A razor blade and some contact cleaner freshens things up.

Nice shiny valves in fresh valve guides.

I rallied late this week to complete the Introductory Chapter to the new book. Page count went from 20 to 22 pages. Approximately 50% of the text and pictures changed.

I’ve decided to make the bike show date a no-reschedule event. If it rains, I’ll cancel the local ride and put the bikes under the covered parking area. That way, anybody considering coming from out of town won’t have to worry about rain ruining their plans. Also, although it’s still way early for the event in mid-April, I’m watching the calendar. Nobody has registered a bike to show as yet. Events like these usually take a few years to spool up, so I’ll try it at least this year, but if April 1 hits and I have very few registrations, I don’t know what I’ll do. I’ve got $500 invested in trophies, and I’m not egotistical enough to enter my own bikes in each class. Hey, wait a minute…….

That’s it for now. Enjoy your weekend.

28 January 2009 – Another Trackday Complete

Bryan and I made an uneventful trip to JenningsGP for a trackday on Monday. I got in 5 sessions on the old 748. I didn’t notice that the bike was any quicker with the lightweight flywheel. Short of race fuel and a lightened/balanced crank with an 853 kit, the bike is as fast as I can make it. The handling is phenomenal, and the conti race attacks stick like glue. But I’m getting out-pulled by 600cc inline 4s coming out of corners, and, while track days aren’t races, it’s frustrating to have to sit behind somebody because you don’t have the horses to get around them (and no, I’m not putting one of my garage-queen liter-class desmos on the track). I’m becoming a late-braking king to get by slower folks going into corners. I’m sure my cornering techniques need some tweaking and my lines aren’t perfect, but you know when lack of horses is holding you up.  One last option before diving into the bottom/top end is to add a few teeth to the rear sprocket, but I’m using 6 gear on the back straight and pulling 9K when I hit the stoppers entering the kink at the end of the straight, so adding a few teeth would result in me bouncing the rev-limiter in 6th — not good.

There’s nothing like a track day to hone cornering skills. It’s too bad that the skills quickly deteriorate after a few weeks of street riding. All in all, I had a blast for the 1 hour and 15 minutes I was on the track, but when you consider all the time vested in the event, I don’t know if it’s worth it. I haven’t looked forward to a trackday in a few years, Mark is the only other person with a track bike, and the 8 hour round trip drive blows. I’m not attending another one until I wake up and feel the urge to attend. The last few I’ve attended I did to just to say I went to a track day — like a ticket punching exercise. If there was a crop of friends who attended, it would be much more fun. Of course, finding friends that ride tha track at the same pace is tough to find. I’m a slow to mid-pace intermediate rider right now (depending on who is at the track that day of course), and Mark is a knee-dragging racer-class hero. Frankly, I had a better time with the guys riding Blackwater 24 hours prior to the trackday, and the roads in Blackwater were wet! Maybe going to Barber’s in April will change my mind on trackdays. Otherwise, my options are to:

  1. Keep the 11 year old 748 track bike as it is to go to track days when the mood strikes me. Maybe once a year.
  2. Save my pennies for a used 848, which has 40 more ponies and 30 pounds less weight than my 748. If I did that, it might peak my interest to attend more… or not.
  3. Convert the 748 to a street concept bike.
  4. Ditch trackdays unless they build a track within a few hours of Pcola
  5. Chop off my nuts, because I’m already sounding like a panty-waste

Attendance at the trackday was sparce, which is bad for the track and good for those of us that showed up. There were about 8-10 riders for each of the 3 groups. I had the fortune of hooking up with an instructor with a helmet cam for a 3-lap stint. He filmed me from the front and the back and then played the video back to me in the classroom to show me several new lines. There’s nothing like whaling down the back straight doing 130+ mph only to have an instructor blast by you looking casually over his shoulder at you.

There were a few other Ducs at the trackday – a 1098 tri-colore with lots of road rash, a WERA-racer on his 848 (See pic below), and a ’95 900ss. My 748 was flawless except for one incident. As had happened several years ago (this time when I hit the rev limiter on the back straight after passing somebody) the bike suddenly died. I suspected the pickup coil, as it was the culprit the last time. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get it started again. By the time I pulled off the track and did a quick diagnosis, the meat-wagon was already there to pick me up. I was hauled back to the pits, and had it fixed 30 seconds later — it was the same fuel pump fuse that went out a few days ago. So, something is shorting in the fuel pump, or the ignition is sending a spike when the bike hits the rev limiter. I did 2 more sessions, short-shifting my way to happiness, but I have to fix the problem. The 748 hasn’t had a service in 4.5 years, so up on the lift it goes.

The new and the old – a WERA race-ready 848 in the foreground with my 748 in the background.

My hero at the trackday was a gentleman on a Honda MT 125 two-stroke racer from 1978. Duane was 75 years young, and had all the energy of a little kid. I had a heck of a time out-cornering him on the back section of the track. Unfortunately, he grenaded the botton end of the Honda shortly into his 2nd session. He pirates parts off CR250 dirtbikes to keep his MT running. I’m going to try to track him down to go see him race. Oh, he races ARMHA vintage-class events. What a guy.

Only 1 comment on my nice post a few days ago with all the pics of the valve/head redo? I’m hurt. I think I’ll save future workshop pics for the book.

There was no sign of Bob’s heads upon my return. It’s Just as well, as the rest of the week is shot for me.

Enjoy your Wed.

26.5 January 2009 – Ride on Sunday

The sat ride was cancelled due to inclement weather. Reschedule is on Sunday. Meet is 0730 at my house or 0800 at the Whataburger on Woodbine Rd at Chumukla hwy.

26 January 2009 – More Wrenching Fun

Once again, the 748 sits ready to assault another track day (minus the tank and tail section of course).


I spent all day Friday in the workshop. It took me much longer to get Gregg’s ST completed – 4 more hours. The extra time was due to prepping the head, lapping the valve, and reshimming the valve from scratch. Once I verified the valve had a good seal, the head went back on and the rest of the crap got bolted on. The bike fired right up and I completed the job by mid-afternoon. Next, it was time to wheel the 748 into the shop to check it over for the trackday. Uh oh, no fuel pump action. I swapped ignition and fuel pump relays and still got no wake up from the fuel pump. A check of the main fuse box still left me scratching my head. Next I checked the two fuses adjacent the relays under the seat. Bingo – one was blown. I’m guessing condensation got to it. One fuse later and the 748 purred to life. I checked things over, inspected the intakes, the rest of the electrical connections, the drivetrain wheels and brakes and let it rest to await the loadout for the trackday.

Dirty, dirty. Carbon buildup tarnishes an otherwise fine ST4S head

15 minutes later the head looks like new, thanks to some elbow grease, contact cleaner and a razor blade.

With the help of some lapping compound and a suction cup on a wooden stick, the new valve is lapped on to make a tight seal with the valve seat.

To verify the veracity of the mating surfaces, paint thinner is used to check for leaks.

With Gregg’s bike out of the way, the only project left in the shop is the SS1000. I need to turn the motor over to get each piston to TDC so that I can scrape the carbon off the piston crowns. Other than that, I’m dead in the water until the heads arrive. With a busy week of teaching and Army prep (yup, that time again), the SS will have to wait another week or so.

I received another flyer from Ducati this past week – this time announcing the Monster 1100. Sorry, but I don’t think the new Monster is nearly as nice looking as the MV Brutale, which, I had hoped, the new Monster would surpass in looks. Besides, I’m tired of purchasing bikes only to have Ducati to send me a flyer a year later asking me to purchase another bike. How about tapping a new well. Or sending me a flyer with some trinket to show your appreciation. Instead I’m shown appreciation by not good faith warranteeing your design defects – like POS valve guides. Oops, touchy touchy, I ain’t I?

Enjoy your Weekend. No more posts from me until Wed due to the trackday.

23.5 January 2009 – Ride this Weekend

Breakfast ride to the Oasis on Sat. 0800 meet at my place. Taking County rd 87 on the way out and back to lengthen things a bit. I’ll be prepping sunday AM for my trackday departure so no ride on Sun. Possibility of rain on sat, but looks like later in the day.

22 January 2009 – Timing is everything

I’ve been busy the past few days juggling University duties with DT duties. Today I spent a few hours in the shop working on Gregg’s ST4S. I also have the S2R800 in the shop to adjust a few things. The oil pressure sensor electrical lead came off, the Sargent seat I installed last summer hasn’t wanted to latch down, and the right footpeg needed threadlock. I performed those repairs in-between working on Gregg’s bike. I also decided to clean the carbon from the pistons on Bob’s 1000SS. I gave Kyle a call to see if he had any issues replacing the valve guides. It turned out that both the exhaust AND the intake guides were bad. Evidently, on many 1000SS motors, both the intake and exhaust valve guides had the POS ferrous guides, so both the intake and exhaust guides need replacing. This condition is also present on many Paul Smart replicas and 1000 Monsters. The MTS and Sport Classic tend to have only the exhaust valve guides that are bad. Wonderful news.

While I was staring at Bob’s SS, I walked over to the box of aftermarket parts he dropped off with the bike. He said he had purchased a set of aftermarket wheels off eBay, and wanted to know if I could swap over his new tires to the aftermarket rims and install them. I haven’t looked at them until now because the bike is suspended to await the heads. Well, the rims he bought sure are perty – red inner magnesium spokes bolted to carbon fiber rims. Unfortunately, they were the wrong wheels for his application. He purchased rims for a single-sided swingarmed Ducati. He purchased them months ago, so he was unable to return them to the seller. Besides, he said he couldn’t remember if they were advertised as being able to fit his SS1000. When I told him that switching to a single-sided swingarm on his SS1000 wasn’t really cost-effective, he asked if I knew anybody that needed a set of aftermarket rims… I had to think a minute about that. I have aftermarket rims on most of my bikes, and had to think what bike was left out of the mix — the S2R. The only problem was that the rear rim he bought was a 6″ rim, and the S2R took a 5.5″ rim. When he told me what he wanted for the rims, I instantly told him I thought we could work a deal. I’ll leave the price out of the discussion, but by selling the stock rims on the S2R, I should be able to break even on the deal. The upside is that the dymags I purchased from him are way cooler and lighter. I fitted them tonight. The rear went on fine, except I had to cut a slot in one spot on the inner portion of the CF hugger where the rim is closest to the swingarm. I didn’t do before and after weighing, but the Dymags are WAY lighter than the 5 spoke aluminum Marchesinis. Still, the 5 spoke marchesinis are way lighter than the older 3 spoke brembos. It’s all a relative thing.

Today I’ll finish Gregg’s bike, and roll the 748 into the workshop to get her ready for trackday. With warmer weather arriving today, I don’t think I’ll have to wear my long-johns beneath my race leathers. We’ll see.

Enjoy your Fr.

21 January 2009 – I want mine too

I read on dealernews that Harley-Davidson is going to petition the US Govt for a bailout. Like the Big-3, my question is “where is all the money you made over the last decade of record profits”. If indeed H-D asks for a bailout, I’ll lose any semblence of respect I have for the brand. Using the mentality of “if they can do it, why can’t we” is the same thinking that got us into this mess.

The only Ducati tidbit for the day is that Ducati is no longer a publicly traded company. Ducati SPA purchased shares at @ $23/share, which was FAR higher than they traded at any point since the stock was issued. I think it was a smart idea. Now they won’t have to answer to a board, and can always go public again at some point in the future if they need cash. Of course, where they got the money for the buyback is beyond me.

The long-awaited valve for Gregg’s ST came in today. I’m planning a Friday session to get the bike on the road again. Once the ST is completed, only Bob’s SS will remain. With 2 more Army weekends coming at me within the next 5 weekends, plus a drive to Indy for the dealer show, my cup is full. Oh yeah, and I forgot about the upcoming track day… my cup runneth over.

Enjoy your Wed.

20 January 2009- Who me? (by Mark)

Mark’s ST and LT’s 888. Brad’s ST1300 didn’t make the pic because he was using it as a coat rack.

LT, Brad and I had another nice local ride Monday morning.  We met up at 0800 at Whataburger.  Brad and I got there about the same time and waited inside for LT.  He pulled up a few minutes later, to which Brad said something to the effect of “oh great, he’s on the ’93 888 race replica in pull-me-over red”.  Yep, complete with the #1 plate on the tail.  Anyway, we departed there around 0900 and got back home around 1300.  A nice, leisurely breakfast and mid-ride break contributed to our longer than usual duration.  160 miles shouldn’t take more than 2 hours or so…if you keep moving, right?  Anyway, the weather was a nice, balmy 50-60 degrees and the roads were dry and, for the most part, clear of any debris.  Nice.  LT and I did have a bonus experience after Brad split off for home.  We were following last behind a string of cars and quite honestly I wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention to our speed.  All I knew was that we were just keeping up with the normal traffic flow on the two lane road and that the speed limit varied from 25 to 55 mph.  We saw a deputy pass us going the opposite direction as we followed the string of cars.  I also noticed his radar unit.  Sure enough, a few minutes later I saw him approach quickly from the rear, take time to run LT’s tag as I was leading, and then blue light us.  Great.  I always pull my helmet off as I’m sure the deputy thought he had a couple of kids on superbikes despite the fact that we were riding responsibly and literally just following traffic.  He said he had us at 51 and 56 in the 35.  Keep in mind that LT was the “56” despite being right behind me.  Is red really faster?  He ran our tags and licenses and then told us to ride slower and have a nice day.  Speeding?  Who me?  Damn red bike.

19 Jan 2009 – A study in contrasts

Two takes on a fresh chopper design. Top – The production release of the Honda Fury and Below – The Victory Core. Which one looks more exciting to you?

I’ve always been a fan of concept motorcycles. Concept bikes are usually revealed during important bike shows, or other significatn events, and are a manufacturer’s way of stunning the motorcycle community with their design prowess. Rarely will any concept motorcycle see the light of day, but there are exceptions. Honda has produced several of their radical cruiser designs. Their latest concept-to-production bike is the Fury. It is supposedly a revolutionary new Chopper. I don’t know about you, but the design looks dull and boring. I appreciate all bikes, so I’m not just bashing cruisers. In fact, another concept bike, just revealed, is one I’d much rather see in production – the Victory Core. Although it isn’t fitted with lights or turn signals, it looks relatively complete. The motor is already in production, and, other than the frame and some other bits, the bike looks ready to roll. More importantly it sports USD WP forks and monoblock calipers. Victory is one of the few success stories of the last few years, so maybe they’ll make a production run. I’m all for cruisers/choppers with modern running gear.

Enjoy your Mon.