28 April 2010- Perspective and Passion (Mark)

Perspective. It’s all about how we look at things. Passion. Just can’t get enough of something. I recently returned from vacation during which Shelley and spent a few days down in the Keys and then a week cruising the Caribbean for a week being catered to for our every want and need. It was fantastic! When I mention a cruise for a vacation to many people I work with that were in the Navy, however, they want nothing to do with them. Their careers have tainted them on the very though of cruising and for many travel in the whole. I spent 20 years travelling the globe with the Air Force and still love to travel and just get away. I pitty their spouses. “What do you want to do for vacation dear?” “Oh, I thought I’d sit my ass around the house and do nothing but relax.” I have no idea how one stays married like that. I remember people being in awe that I flew fighter aircraft for a living and when asked how I like it I’d usually respond that it was “fun” or “okay”. I must have seemed like an ass at times but I was spoiled and tainted from constant exposure to the glamors of high performance aviation…but I’d still love to do it some more! Just like motorcycling. I haven’t been on my bike for 3 weeks and miss it. I must ride this weekend. The feeling of being “out there” on two wheels, exposed to the wind and feeling free with every twist of the wrist. I hope I never lose that feeling…for¬†any of the above. ūüėÄ

22 April 2010 – Vendor Problems

One of my pet peeves is vendors that lie to me… The old “it will ship tomorrow” bold-faced lie. The latest culprit is Speedymoto, who said they had a set of belt covers I needed in stock — lie #1 – it shipped a week later, followed by an order for several sets of frame sliders which would ship this past Monday – lie #2 they still haven’t shipped. This after they told me they were fully stocked for the coming riding season. Ya know, if you don’t have something in stock, and don’t know exactly when you will ship, don’t fucking lie to me. Why do they do it? Because they are vendors, and want to get an order. What I prefer to do is tell customers that I’m out of stock and try to be pessimistic about the expected ship date so as to not set unrealistic expectations. We just adopted a policy of notifying people if an order will be held up for more than 96 hours. 90% of orders go out the next day, and when stuff doesn’t, it’s because it is on¬†order and we’re waiting for it.¬† If it is a lengthy delay, I deactivate the order link on the website. That happens a lot, particularly with parts that come from overseas. It also happens when I get parts from the West Coast — it takes a full week to get parts UPS Ground from California. I often request 3-day to help speed things up.¬† Sometimes we’ll get orders for 30 items, and 1 will be out of stock. In that case, we usually ask if the customer wants to wait of have us split ship. Anyway, I think there is the mistaken impression that when we get an order, it just sits in the corner and we get to it when we feel like it. Believe me, lights start going off if an order sits in the bin for more than a few days. But we are subject to the whims of our suppliers, and predicting sales is next to impossible. We’re doing our very best to get stuff out.

Another photo shoot is lined up for the weekend. Blackwater ride on Sunday 0730 usual meet place. I’ll probably be Hyper mounted.

My red/white ST is up on the Custom Bikes for Sale page. A few more will be added in the coming weeks. I grow weary of looking at bikes that I don’t have time to ride.

Enjoy your weekend.

19 April 2010 – Just another ST


I enjoyed a nice ride this morning with Daryl through Blackwater. We got a late start but were home by 11:30. Lotsa snakes on the road today. There must have been a convention.

I had a night’s sleep to ponder the experience of the seminar, and am humbled that people actually signed up and came to the event. Since people left I’ve been chiding myself for things I forgot to mention at the seminar. I’ll probably be doing that for awhile.

The house is still all torn up for the¬†tile work.¬†I haven’t had time to post some new products for sale. I’ll try to do so this coming week. As usual, I’ll be swamped. I’m expecting the hose kits to ship to me by the 26th. I’ll post here if there are any further delays. Once I have them in my hands, it will take me a day to make up the kits. I already have the appropriate hose clamps. There aren’t really any instructions… um, drain the coolant, take off the old hoses, put on the new ones with new clamps¬†and refill with coolant. That pretty much covers it.

That’s all for now. Enjoy your work week.

18 April 2010 – Successful Seminar!

Eager Beaver Ducatisti ply their wares by checking valve clearances. Talk about a fun way to spend a Saturday.

I spent the week split between careers, and had a very successful maintenance seminar today with 10 Ducatisti. Many thanks to Daryl for helping out with picking up the food and the 10 attendees for trusting me to know what the hell I was talking about. The distance award goes to Bill Hastings from Lander Wyoming, and Nick Serio from Upstate New York. Others drove lesser distances. My timeline for events worked great, and I was able to provide some limited hands-on training. Still, the hand- on portion could have been a full day, and to do it right, many more bikes would have been needed as surrogates for conducting work on. I got positive feedback and think there was sufficient value added to have justified the event. The attendees were very nice people. I don’t think I’ll offer it more than once a year however. It takes a lot of setup and preparation. I covered the basics of maintenence in the morning and spent the afternoon on valve adjustment, belt replacement and fuel-injection setup. 10 attendees was the max I¬†could have¬†given¬†attention to, so I think the small size was perfect. ¬†I went out to dinner after event with Nick and Noel … at a nice Italian restaurant of course.

I unveiled the completed ST4S today as well. Most folks only recognize it as an ST4. If they only knew the costs involved in an all-carbon ST4S. Yikes. It’s definitely a stealth machine, and is different enough from what it looked like to not give Mark seller’s remorse, which was my intent.


If it ain’t carbon fiber or steel gray paint, it doesn’t belong on this ST.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

12 April 2010 – Busy Bee… redux

Top Image – My M1100s, Mark’s ZX14 and Hal’s K 1200s¬†

Bottom Image – This is what happens when I leave my camera out when going to the head. Very funny Mark.

Race spoilers below.

This weekend I accomplished a bunch of stuff. First, the house is getting new flooring so I had to move the bikes out and empty a few rooms. There are also a few less bushels of leaves on the property. Gee I love oak trees… not!¬† Today I enjoyed a very casual ride with Hal and Mark. It was my first jaunt out on the M1100s. I almost had a rearset malfunction 15 minutes into the ride when I noticed the shift lever rod unwinding. It was another case of me forgetting to loctite the rod nuts. Doh! Fortunately Mark had a 10mm wrench, which is good because Ducati toolkits are nonexistent.¬† The M1100s is¬†a great bike. The suspension is posh, it has plenty of grunt and is very flickable. My only gripes are the hard to start nature of the bike on cold mornings and the very tall gearing. 4K rpm at 77mph. With that gearing it is very diffifult to ride the bike at legal speeds.

I had Mark and Shelley over for dinner tonight and we chatted about the MotoGP race. Stoner is blazing fast, but you can’t win championships if you don’t finish. So the result was the same old – Rossi, Rossi, Rossi. It was nice to see Nicky and Ben do well. In WSB, FINALLY Ducati Corse got it dialed in for a race. Race 2 was more to my liking. Maybe they got some tips from the satellite team.

This week I have a ton to do – finish Mike’s 900ss, get ready for the maintenance seminar, prevent the tile guys from destroying the inside of my house, and finish my taxes. Looks like a bad week.¬† I hope yours is less stressful.

8 April 2010 – Racing ahead

I knocked out a few bikes in the shop during the last week. I still have a 900ss and a 999s to get busy on. With taxes looming next week, I’ll split duties between working on bikes and doing paperwork.

I approved the ST4S hose kit prototype so things are moving along on that front. No word on the sidestand prototype. My supplier already missed his deadline by 2 weeks. Ain’t life grand. I talked to Charlie from Procutting last night. He said he was in Vegas visiting some dealerships that used to stock his clutch stuff. One dealer complained that he almost crashed due to a failed slipper clutch in one of Charlie’s baskets. It turns out that Motowheels was purchasing Charlie’s baskets and putting in STM slipper clutch innards in. The STM baskets were more expensive, so motowheels substituted. The only problem was that Charlie didn’t design his baskets for slipper clutch setups. I’m guessing the back wall on the STM slipper clutch basket is different. Charlie kindly referred the gentleman to Motowheels for answers as to why they were selling the Pro-cutting clutch baskets in with their slipper clutches. I’m just reporting this stuff. God knows Charlie and I have fielded more clutch questions that any other over the years, but we’ve never had any issues with the baskets. I think Motowheels is selling Barnett baskets now that Charlie cut them off as a reseller. I don’t know what the deal is. I haven’t conversed with Martin at Motowheels in 6 or 7 years, so I don’t know what’s going on at his company.

The maintenance seminar is a mere week away. The class is full and I just pulled the registration link from the website.

Both WSB and MotoGP are this weekend. MotoGP starts off with the usual Fly and Ride to Qatar, then onto Japan. It should be a good weekend. I’m heading to Atlanta to see how a charity 5K/10K is setup. The organization I supported in last Nov’s run, The Wounded Warriors Foundation, is interested in my starting a Pensacola chapter of the race. I’m kind of busy, so if the event takes a lot of time, I’m not going to be able to go down that road.

That’s it for the end of the week. I hope you enjoy your weekend.

6 April 2010-Warmin’ up (Mark)

I stopped by to see LT after work yesterday afternoon.¬† It was a balmy 83 degrees F.¬†¬† I rode my ZX14 over as it hasn’t left the garage for a couple of weeks or more.¬† It felt good to get on the bike again.¬† I can’t imagine how you snow belt riders go months without riding.¬† I felt rusty.¬† I really need to get back to the track some time.¬† It really hones your skills.¬† Anyway,¬†LT was busy as usual surrounded by a flock of Ducs…and only one was his!¬†¬† Four customer bikes in various states of repair and his “new” ST4s all but complete.¬† His “prototype” silicone hoses looked great on the ST with the only surprise being that the prototype set was silicone black vice the red that all the production run will be.¬† We also thought about how cool it would look to have an all braided stainless hose kit with anodized connectors…now THAT would be uber tastey!

I’d love to have my own side business of some sort.¬† I flogg my mind with some regularity to come up with my own business as LT has done.¬† I invariably meet with no great ideas…at least to me.¬† I’ve got loads of hobbies worth of experience in various interests over the last 30 years but can never seem to come up with a good “plan” that seems worthy of my time and money.¬† I’ll keep thinking about it and only time will tell.

I’m definitely getting out for a ride or two this weekend.¬† I think Hal may be the only other local due to previous commitments by the rest of our group.¬† You hear this Hal???

Happy Tuesday.  Ride safe.

UPDATE: ¬†LT really needs to post up a pic and¬†explanation¬†of the milled “magnesium” case cover on the ST4s. ¬†Caught my eye for sure!

4 April 2010 – Spring has Sprung

Spring has landed on the Gulf Coast big time. I got in a ride with Daryl and Brad last night on the Monster and spent most of the weekend working in the shop. I only have 2 bikes left to finish in the next week or so and I’ll be all caught up. Easter was a wash for me. No Easter Bunny and no Easter eggs. Just nitrile gloves, grease and oil and the task of reassembling a 999 front end.

I got in the prototype for the ST coolant hoses on Friday and everything looks good to go. I’ll be giving the thumbs up on the first run to commence.

I’m eagerly anticipating the start of MotoGP. To me, Spring has really begun when MotoGP starts. Dan promised to watch MotoGP with me this year. Maybe I can have a few cookouts and catch some of the races this Summer on TV.

I’ve been getting a lot of special requests for OEM parts orders but Ducati’s inventory system doesn’t seem able to keep up. I can light a fire under many of my suppliers, but I can’t do a thing with Ducati. I won’t get to ride for a few weekends other than commuting to school. Oh well. I’m pleased with the amount of riding I did this past winter. With no touring trips planned this Summer other than my annual MCN fly-and-test, I’ll be sipping margaritas from the air conditioned confines of the Ark. Are my touring days over? Probably not, but lets just say I’ve burnt out on highway trawling for the foreseeable future.

The DT Maintenance Seminar is less than 2 weeks away. Based on attendees thus far, it looks like I’ll have a DS, 916 gen desmoquattro and Testa valvetrains cracked open to show valve adjust procedures. Sounds like fun.

Enjoy your workweek.