30 December 2010 – See ya in ’11

I’ve been shuttling between Pensacola and Perdido Beach the past few weeks, helping to house sit for a friend. I don’t live in the best of neighborhoods. It’s kind of average for Pensacola, where zoning is a novel idea. Out at Perdido beach there are also shacks amid mansions, but coming out here you get a sense that a lot of people have a lot of money. The house I’m sitting isa mansion compared to my house. I was chatting with Brad about that. He has the same view I do. A nice house… is nice, but it’s just a house. You can’t ride it, and considering most of your time in a house is spent sleeping, it’s pointless to pay for a mansion unless that’s important to you. I’m your typical guy, so while a house is nice I’m more interested in the garage. The house I’m sitting for has 5 bedrooms and 4 baths, and is around 3200 sq ft.. But it has a tiny two car garage, and it would be impossible to get my bikes in and out of the living room. Therefore, it isn’t the kind of house I’d buy. If it had a 5 car garage and was on a piece of property big enough for a 40×60 steel building, it would be perfect. Actually, a 40×60 steel building with the entire space used for vehicles and a loft above for a living area is my idea of heaven. I’m sure I’ll attract a lot of women with my view of nirvana.

I’ve long been a fan of the British show “Top Gear”.  I appreciate British humor and the cinematography on the show is stunning. The creators decided to start a US version of the show this year. It’s 5 episodes into its first season, but it is hardly a satisfactory substitute for the British version. First, they test cooler cars on the British version. Second, the US version tries to imitate the British version too much. Third (and the coup de grace for me) is the fact that the personalities on the British version MAKE the show. I’m trying to give the show a chance, but I find myself fast-forwarding a lot. It’s a shame because I think a US version would make it given the right formula and personalities. It’s showing on the History Channel, so viewership isn’t as critical compared to the major networks. And while I find the show kind of lame, it’s nice to have a US version of any sort. We’ll see if it makes a 2nd season.

Below are the images from the 996 I’ve been working on. I’m awaiting a used intake cam.  Waiting on parts is a common theme. I can’t stock every engine part. Well, I could but I’d be out of business soon enough. Like I said, they’ll make great pics for the next desmoquattro book, whenever that is.

I have yet to see a high mileage Superbike with its original bottom end, but then again my list of data points isn’t comprehensive.

Reuse the base gasket and put in a new head gasket. Destroyed cam on the left with fried rockers above it.

 Shiny new one on the left. “Slightly” worn one on the right. Now you know why the cam needs replacing.

 

The book is at the printers getting the proof printed. I got my price quote on the first batch, and printing costs went up. Part of the problem is the book is 50 pages longer. I’m offering my old price if people pre-order. You’ve got all of Jan to get in line on that deal. I put it up on the website already. Also, the 2nd annual Spring Maintenance Seminar is on. There’s a link to that too.

That’s it for the year. Thanks to all for reading, and particularly those that have drummed up the occasional comment. A big thanks too for the 3 other editors this year.  Ken, Bill and Mark gave me the occasional break from posting, and kept things interesting with different views/topics. As the title says, this blog isn’t all about Ducatis.

That’s it for me for 2010. Have a Happy New Year’s Eve. See you New Year’s Day for the Roll Call.

TTYNY – LT

26 December 2010 – Rounding out the Year

I hope you all had a good Christmas.

I’m just back from a ride on the MV. It turned out to be an ill-advised ride. I bundled up and donned the electric gloves/jacket, but with wind chills well below freezing, I was too cold to enjoy the ride. The MV enjoyed the cool air though. Our Stagecoach ride is this Thursday, but the weather looks iffy.

Here’s a link to the Stagecoach Ride  http://thelastrideoftheyear.com/

I worked on Wade’s 996 for two full days last week. Puling the head is no joy on a desmoquattro. Even less fun is replacing closer rockers. It made for some good pictures for the next desmoquattro book though. The closer rockers were so worn that the ends had blued. What I don’t understand is why the other 6 valves were a little out of spec (an optimal spec that is), but weren’t far off the mark. Something just went wrong on the vertical intake. Either the valves were incorrectly adjusted too tight, or they were never adjusted at all. The odd thing is that Wade had a new bottom end installed the previous year, but said the valves weren’t checked. If you were a tech replacing a bottom end on a Ducati, don’t you think you’d check the valve clearances just for grins?  Or maybe the owner balked at the expense of having the valves checked. Hmmm. I’m putting the bike back to spec on all fronts. OEM fasteners, and correct brackets/wiring. I don’t know if the thing will hold together, but at least the next tech to work on it won’t be complaining about my wrenching. The 996 is my last bike to be worked on this year. I’m awaiting a used intake cam, then will reassemble and do the F/I work.

Okay, it’s recap time. Taking stock of 2010 yielded a roller-coaster of events. As the saying goes, that which does not kill you makes you stronger.  Feel free to give your highs and lows of the year. My annual New Year’s Roll call is a mere week away.

Highs:

  • Another successful year professionally
  • A successful first maintenance seminar
  • Finishing the book – FINALLY!!!
  • Trading in the Kia
  • My health/fitness
  • Marishka
  • Leaving SOCOM

The Lows

  • 4th Quarter sales
  • Leaving SOCOM
  • Events of May/June
  • Working on the book
  • Nagging workout injuries

22 December 2010 – Merry Ho-Ho

 

I had planned on taking the MV out last weekend for a ride, but I shorted something when I changed out the battery and it took me a full night of troubleshooting to find the offending fuse behind the starter solenoid. The MV will get the nod this weekend, which is good because it’s going down to 29 Saturday night and nothing warms a rider up like an MV cooling system.. or lack thereof. I wanted to ride Christmas day, but it’s calling for rain. That’s a bummer because I find riding on the holidays to be pure — no cars and no people. Last weekend I made it home in time from Tampa to join the boys for a Sunday ride. I got the billet sidestand back that I had loaned Jian, so I was able to mount that to the ST4S Sat night and rolled it out for the ride. It was the maiden voyage since I did my conversions after purchasing it from Mark last Winter. She ran great. The lightweight flywheel works well, but you really do need to rev it a bit. All was well until the we did the return route. I didn’t feel like leading, so I let Brad lead out. We went through a section of road that was full of stones. Brad’s ST1300 started spitting stones my way. I tried to open up the distance, but the rocks continued to pummel me. Finally I sped past to get into clean air. Upon returning to the Ark, I surveyed the damage. It looks like the side fairings on the ST have been shot at in an air duel. The 5 coats of clear obviously can’t withstand stones. There are about a dozen divets out of my fairings. Oh well, at least it’s battle-tested now.

I snapped the above picture of Brad just as he was about to use his jacket to cover up the “10 toppings for the price of one” sign in the background. Brad wants all the pizza for himself and doesn’t anybody else to know what a killer deal the pizza is at the Park & Rob we frequent in Blackwater.

I got Keith’s ST4S out of the shop yesterday and was able to make way for Wade’s 996.  The bike is ROUGH… Instead of seat hinge pins holding the tail section in there was a single bolt on one side. When frame/fairing bolts aren’t the original and it’s cobbed together, it usually is a sign of more onerous things. Sure enough, when I went to pull the front fairing I found a stripped screw holding in the left mirror. Removing stripped mirror screws on the 916-gen Superbikes is a MAJOR pain. I was able to use my dremel tool with an angle head to slot the head of the screw and remove it. Once the front fairing was out of the way I looked at the instrument cluster. It was held in place with 4 zip-ties. The usual rubber-mounted screws had disintegrated. I fired up the bike before starting my service. She only runs on one-cylinder, the neutral switch has had the wires cut off of it, the headlights don’t work and the clutch is SO loud I had to wear ear plugs and ear cups to deal with the cacophony. I’ll start the service on her later this week. The last time the bike was here, I had to replace two valves after a botched belt install by the owner. I called him to ask who was the last person to work on it, and he said the dealer in NO installed a whole new bottom end, complete with a bluprinted crank and upgraded rods (which is funny because I thought the 996 had carillo rods anyway).  The bike is a mess, and I hate working on cobbed together bikes, but maybe I’ll learn something.

The sale last week didn’t generate much. I think people are just spent-out with regards to their bikes until after the New Year. So, it’s time to fall back on my my main gig for sustenance. Remember though that while you can put off maintenance, you can’t eliminate it.

I got an email yesterday from Mike about him considering picking up an adventure tourer or a cruiser. Mike has bad knees and can’t stand the knee bend of a sportbike. I suggested he test ride cruisers. Even an adventure tourer has knee bend and bikes with highway pegs are nice ONLY when you’re on the highway. Forward controls are the ticket it you want to stretch out AND shift/relax. Emailing him reminded me how lucky I am to still be able to ride sportbikes. I’ll mount the torture-rack MV this weekend and won’t feel any pain. Let’s hope those days continue. My body is a temple, my body is a temple…

That does it for this week. Enjoy your Christmas and be safe. Next week I’ll open it up for feedback to get your “good things, bad things” list to recap 2010.

TTYL – LT

20 December 2010 – My Response (Ken)

Sometimes I cannot help myself from posting on blogs and news groups that are obviously “anti-government” and “anti-military” (among other “anti” positions that they espouse). I believe there might be a genetic connection here, as both my Brother, Bill, and my Father have been invited to no longer post to certain sites due to their past “sense-mongering” and whatnot.

Here is a post I found recently that was just too juicy to pass by:

The Iraqi people have faced a lot of abuse over the past few years. There is so much money and life being wasted there, all because people like this willingly join the US military. There is no way I will ever believe these soldiers are “defending America” from terrorists by engaging in foreign aggression and occupation. Yet they still force me to pay for their actions with my hard earned dollars.

I have no sympathy for soldiers who wind up in the kind of situation this young Perrysburg SEAL is in. I don’t even know if he or his Iraqi accuser is really telling the truth. Why should I believe someone just because they are American and wrongly claim to be defending me?

Nowhere is the crushing defeat of government failure seen than in this dreadful military occupation. Which is only possible because these young people voluntarily fight for a lie. It’s all the more puzzling that people who supposedly believe in Liberty and Freedom will lend themselves to such vicious militarism.

I think it was a mistake for the US army to have even be created. Anti-Federalist #10 does a decent job of explaining why. If humans ever finally get tired of too much government, maybe some day they will even manage to scrap State armies all together and rely on the private Production of Security.

As I’m coming to the issue a little late, by that I mean that the court martial was convened in May of 2010, I hope everyone will forgive me for poking the origial blogger in the eye with a stick so long after he’s moved on to more recent issues (his site hasn’t been updated lately, but he seems to have passing fancy with all things government): http://buckeye-lib.blogspot.com/

That said, this was my posted response:

An objective examination of this incident looks to point at one of several possible scenarios:

1. The SEALs beat up the man they detained.

2. The Iraqis at the detention center where the SEALs were directed to turn over the detainee beat up the man.

3. The detainee inflicted injuries upon himself to distract the legal process from the accusation that he planned / resourced / executed an attack on Americans that killed four.

A. In all likelihood, the SEALs would have been more likely to kill the man, if the situation presented itself, than to hit him or beat him severely. The logic being “why leave a living witness” and someone who could possibly escape conviction and return to the street? These Sailors are highly trained and especially proficient at killing, why do anything less?

B. Not detailed in any of the press releases I have been able to find has been an examination of Iraqi holding area / detention center to which the suspect was turned over. If he was a Sunni and the detention officers were Shia, as is the case with certain portions of the Iraqi Police, there is a good possibility that the Iraqi Police would beat the man themselves to address feuds from before the American occupation.

C. Another issue not examined in detail, or at least not released to the public, is the nature of the injuries and the possibility of them being self-inflicted. Most patrols will immediately photograph detainees upon capture, as will detention centers upon intake, giving the ability to compare the appearance of the detainee over a given amount of time. There has been some argument that the detainee would have received training to injure himself when taken into custody along with the explosives and tactical training that he allegedly put into use to kill the four Americans for which he was detained. As this type of self-injury has also been detailed by some criminals within justice systems around the world, it is not a stretch to imagine it also being used in this situation.

Of final note on this issue is that this incident was originally to be handled by “non-judicial punishment” meaning that it would have carried very minor, if any, real weight in the performance file of the accused if they had been found guilty. However, the SEALs in question all refused to proceed with this “Captain’s Mast” inquiry and demanded a trial by court martial, meaning that the punishment, if found guilty, was exponentially more severe.

What this demand for an actual trial seems to point toward is that none of those involved were willing to have their names / reputations / careers dirtied by some Navy Captain somewhere deciding to “just get this over with” and find them guilty, instead bringing this to the attention of Flag Officers (Admirals) and the entire Naval chain of command.

All things being equal, if they had been guilty, the safe bet would have been to take the “Captain’s Mast” punishment and just move on with their careers, as they could have survived the minor outcome of that much more likely than the jail time and dismissal from the Navy that a court martial conviction would have brought.

Besides the obvious “why do I bother” question, what might happen to these electrons I’ve cast into cyberspace? There’s always the “message in a bottle” chance that the words above might reach someone and start some thinking that otherwise might not have existed, but I’m flattering myself if I think that the blogger himself will be moved by my response. It seems that we have the ability to create within ourselves a space of “mental blindness” to those ideas that run contrary to our beliefs, even when we believe that we don’t believe in anything (take a minute to wrap your mind around that one).

For example, reading the background of the issue above revealed some rather alarming opinions on both sides. Between the “people in the military are war criminals” statements and the “they should be given medals for beating this Iraqi” quotes I was a bit stunned by what I consider the rather simplistic view of reality that citizens on both sides of the issue seem to have adopted. Perhaps in the face of such a complex issue our minds, especially when we haven’t applied ourselves to a through examination of the facts (you’ll notice I don’t use the word “truth” here), are reduced to one of three states:

1. Yes (or whatever the approximate “positive” position is)

2. No (the “opposition” position)

3. I don’t know (A.K.A. “what’s on TV tonight?” syndrome)

I suppose that Americans holding such extreme positions wouldn’t bother me so much if voting, much less actually running for office, was based on “supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States.” However, as fair as our democracy is, it seems that we play “constitution roulette” a bit more often than is really healthy for our long-term well being as a country due to those who either want to tear the country apart or believe that strict adherence to a certain moral code is the only permissible way of life.

Either of those two extremes doesn’t reflect my understanding of freedom.

17 December 2010 – Scattergram

Just some random thoughts to finish the week.

1. I enjoyed a quick visit at Scott’s place last weekend for a party he hosted for the original members of the Floribama Riders. Unfortunately I had to depart the party early for other obligations, but it was nice to see some of the old crew. I’m toying with the idea of a New Year’s Eve party. If I get enough feedback for interest, I’ll host it in the Ark. The office moves out of the Ark in the next few weeks so the Ark will be 100% back to just motorcycles. That means the 999s and 1098s can leave the house to play with their siblings

2. My shopping cart isn’t processing the discount for shipping, so I will manually apply it on my end when I fill the orders.

3. I’ve had time to do some professional reading this week and have caught up on my motorcycle reading as well. I read of Kawasaki’s woes with the ZX-10. They’ve had to recall all of them to address engine issues. The rumor is the piston rings are faulty. The good news is that not that many have gotten past dealers to customers, so they nipped the problem in the bud – hopefully. Kawasaki stepped up big time for the model year 2011. The new ZX-10 and the Ninja 1000 look to be awesome machines.

4. I had dinner last night with my roomie and war-buddy Frank. Frank is a vet of two wars and has a touch of PTSD, but is a gem of a guy. He’s planning on riding his Buell up to my place in a few weeks from Lakeland for the Stagecoach Run on the 30th. The last time he attempted to ride up for the event, he made it all the way to the offramp in Pensacola. The decreasing radius Davis highway exit bit him, he highsided and wadded his new Electra Glide. Fortunately, he landed on his head, so no damage was accrued to his body.

5. The book has placemarkers for 4 pictures that need to be taken. The text is complete and the 600 other pictures with captions are ready to be put to bed. That book took WAY too long.  Daryl, I need to borrow you after the ride on Sunday to help me with a few pictures. They involve measuring sag for setting the suspension, and I need a warm body to pose in the pics.

6.  If RRW is correct in their recap of specs for the Diavel, it has a Mitsubushi electronics system. That now makes 3 different ECU setups used on Ducatis – Marelli, Siemens and Mitsubushi. Ain’t that grand? I’m already plotting the next 4v book, and it won’t include the Diavel or the MTS1200 – not unless somebody gives me one for free to play with for a few years. I don’t see that happening.

7. This is my last day in Tampa and with SOCOM. I transfer back to a line CA unit effective 1 January. I’ll miss the restaurants and convenience of South Tampa and the friends I’ve made at SOCOM. It’s time to move onto new challenges.

8. I’m riding Sunday. If interested ping me.

TTYL – LT

14 December 2010 – Finishing Touches

Greetings from Tampastan. I’m holed up at SOCOM during the day and in my buddy’s house at night. I’m taking the opportunity to put the finishing touches on the 2V book. I have a few pictures to shoot when I get back, but the text will be complete by the end of the week. Kudos to Chris and Eric for their edits. 251 pages is the final page count. That’s minus the fluff at the end of previous editions. I deleted the end-of-book articles in the name of brevity. My books need to fit in flat rate mailers to save shipping and 250 pages is about all they’ll take.

The orders are trickling in to take advantage of the free domestic shipping this week. I’ll knock out the orders when I return this weekend. I hope this cold front blows through by then. I haven’t ridden in a few weekends and could use a ride to shake out the cobwebs.

TTYL – LT

11 December 2010 – ST4S leaks and an old 996

I’ve been frustrated this week by a pesky leak on Keith’s ST4S. The culprit was the new water pump cover I installed. First it leaked from the gasket. Then after 3 applications of gasket sealer, it leaked from the screw in billet outlet. After I fixed that leak, it leaked from the drain screw. Each time it leaked I have to drain the system and troubleshoot. So, what should have been a 15 minute install turned into several days of draining, sealing and putting back together. Talk about frustrating.

Another troubled bike showed up at the shop this week. It’s Wade Ramey’s Yeller 996. She has over 30K on her, and she’s been ridden hard. The bike did belong to Tony Noles. He babied the bike for years before trading it in. Wade purchased it from D&D several years ago. I did the FIM injector mod to the bike, and a valve service, but it’s been awhile since I worked on it. The last go-round in the shop I had to replace a blown head gasket and spent hours trying to get the oil out of the cooling system. What a mess. This time around she supposedly has some F/I issues. I wasn’t here when the bike was dropped off, but as soon as I hefted her off the sidestand I could tell there was very litle air in the tires. A check revealed 17 psi rear and 14 psi front. And Wade rode it about 40 miles to the shop like that. Man, talk about dangerous.

I rode to work three days this week. Each day it was around freezing when I set off. On Wed the thermometer on the Gran Canyon read 28 degrees. Thank God for electric jackets and gloves.

I have some other career business to attend to, so no shipping next week. I know some people are ordering parts as gifts, so to make amends for my leaving town before the holiday, I’m offering Free Domestic Shipping from Monday-Friday of next week. Customers have to put “marina” in the customer code box (not the customer comment box) during checkout of the shopping cart. This ONLY applies to domestic shipping.

2010 marks the first year in the last 8 years that I didn’t purchase a motorcycle. Gee, ain’t I disciplined?  I even managed to sell a bike. Maybe there’s hope for me yet.

Enjoy your weekend.

TTYL – LT

7 December 2010 – A Day To Remember (Ken)

While it might be a bit easy to let it slip by, today is the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Many people focus on this date as “when we entered the war’; however, FDR had already made a cold war hot by working (or trying to work) around neutrality treaties with both the French and the British as early as September of 1939.

So, why then does this day have such a special significance for Americans? To put it into perspective, imagine that the Battleships were in New York and standing on end (kind of like two towers). The thought that Americans would every be attacked on “home soil” was as unbelievable to those Americans in 1941 as it was in 2001, the difference only being that the news was much more readily available and presented in greater detail than 60 years earlier. Oh, and there were 15 Medals of Honor awarded for actions on this date on 1941; the highest award that I can find evidence of in 2001 is the Airman’s Medal, an award also issued in peacetime (the war was made retroactive to September 11th to permit valor awards and Purple Hearts).

Those similarities aside, what has been different? It could be argued that we, being our country, took the threat much more serious back in 1941 than we do today. Regardless of your opinion of our reasons for being in Afghanistan or Iraq, the path was clear very early on that going to war with “the Army you have” wasn’t the best solution, especially when fighting on two fronts. If a full occupation was needed to clear out Iraq, as a certain General testified to right before his retirement, and to ensure a secure exit, then an argument could have been made to start snatching people off the street to fill those roles. Henry Stimson, a Republican Secretary of War in the Democratic White House of FDR (sound familiar?) had radically different thoughts on fighting a war: 12 million soldiers (out of a country of 133 million, so let’s say 11% just as a nice number). If we even went close to a similar mobilization today, we’d be looking at a standing Army of around 30 million (people, not just men), not the 1.5 million that we sit at today (and most of those don’t really go anywhere – they’re dug into their spots and don’t move much), with another 1.5 million in the National Guard / Reserves (who do go, and often).

Looking at it another way, where has all the money gone? Instead of unemployment benefits and home foreclosures, we could be riding a wave of reinvigorated young people having served their country honorably for three years in the armed forces with new discipline, education benefits, and money to spend. What would be wrong with jump-starting the economy with some forced labor, it’s worked in the past? There are supposedly 4 million men and women (2 million each) who reach military age annually, this seems like a gold mine to me. All those parents who end up wasting money on kids who end up dropping out of college after one or two semesters to “find themselves” or “study abroad” could be serving in uniform instead and working on their college benefits packages so their parents aren’t on the hook for paying their way. Another way of looking at this would be to divide people up along the lines of intent: want to be a Medical Doctor? Okay, serve three years and then we’ll put you through medical school for free, as long as you pay us back by serving as a military Doctor. Same for people wanting to fly, or learn a particular trade. And for those who don’t want to serve in the armed forces, they can trade 2 for 1 in the new and improved Civilian Conservation Corps building bridges and nature parks, picking up the National Parks, and making themselves helpful for six years as the hired help of those agencies who don’t have a budget anymore (and they could have a job waiting for them when they’re done).

However, all this war mongering on my part must be tempered by a recent article written by a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who it seems has a different idea of what military service can and should be; I will do my best to withhold judgement on where he gained his experience, as while I support some of his conclusions, I believe that he has truly “missed the boat” as it comes to our current conflicts. While I am disappointed in the behavior of the “every Soldier / Marine a hero” flag wavers, I don’t think this gentleman understands how many men and women are running through minefields to save their friends, facing down enemy fire and continuing to move toward the danger, and have been mortared dozens if not hundreds of times as part of “just doing their job” without any recognition.

www.tomdispatch.com/post/175276/tomgram:_william_astore,_wars_don’t_make_heroes___/

For the best example of this, you need only look to Army Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, who recently received the Medal of Honor for his actions in Afghanistan in 2007. It’s not surprising that he received the Medal of Honor, what’s surprising is that he didn’t receive what’s called an “interim award” for his obvious valor during the engagement. However, his Squad Leader, who Staff Sergeant Giunta helped up from the ground while taking fire, was awarded a Silver Star for gallantry from the engagement (third highest behind the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross). That’s kind of interesting to me, as Staff Sergeant Giunta went almost three years on active duty without any recognition of his actions that night.

No promotion board saw a valor award on his chest and asked how he earned it (making it easier to be promoted), no medical personnel gave him extra attention because he had nothing in his file showing a deadly encounter that he had fought his way out of (he had a Purple Heart Medal, but the awarding of those can be so arbitrary that without a valor award, they don’t mean much), and so a man now being called “the Nation’s Greatest Hero” and several other titles that Staff Sergeant Giunta has himself expressed much dislike for, served without any recognition for several years.

As a former Combat Commander who was finally told, “don’t turn in any more valor awards, they won’t be approved by division,” I find it troubling that the “you’re just doing your job” attitude has become ingrained to such an extent that I believe that the Medal of Honor was awarded due to political pressure, as the lack of recognized valor has become so obvious that even those who say “it’s not a real war” grow concerned at the lack of decency shown to those who, after all, volunteered to go where they were told. Add to this insult the injury of a mandatory wipe of all hard drives and destruction of documents such as patrol logs and eyewitness accounts before departure from Iraq, and it’s basically impossible to turn over any evidence of valorous actions to lawmakers who might take an interest.

So, forward we all go, just doing our jobs. Don’t be surprised if most aren’t impressed by flag waving; they’ve seen how quickly that turns into “move along” upon return…

6 December 2010 – Backup Plans

My plans to ride the MV this past weekend were foiled by a 4 year old Yuasa battery. It died sometime in the last few months, and my battery tender happily kept it topped off. I don’t stock MV batteries, so it was a show stopper event. I prepped the 916 as a backup, and took that out for the jaunt to breakfast. When I ride the MV I’ll be sure to take some better shots for you MV fans out there.

It was chilly and foggy on the way there, and my visor kept getting obscured. I lead, but Mark and Hal blew by me on the way to breakfast to enjoy a few of the corners. I don’t know how they managed to see the roads at those speeds. I wicked it up on the return leg, but I was conscious of the fact that A – I hadn’t ridden the 916 in 5 months and B – my tires were 10 years old.  That’s right, when you have a collection, the tires age before they wear out. If you figure I put, at most, 500 miles on any one bike per year, my tires harden before the tread is gone. So sustained high speed stuff probably isn’t a good idea, not so because they can’t handle it, but rather the hard tires have little feel in the corners.

I did some troubleshooting on Keith’s ST4S. He reported an erratic idle. I’ll say. She was running on 1 cylinder and had fouled the vertical cylinder. There were no error coded in the ECU. TB synch and CO check looked fine, but I noticed the LED temp readout was fluctuating. Corrosion on the water temp sensor lead me to believe that was the culprit. A trip to NAPA and $40 later, two new water temp sensors, and a new spark plug have her purring like a kitten.

My 2000 ST2 is no longer at my abode. A tractor trailer from Haul-A-Bike showed up last night and loaded her up. They have a nice two tier setup in the trailer, and it was full of custom bikes. Nice!!! I was sorry to see her go, but I like having the added bit of space.

I’m slammed this week at the U. Enjoy your week.

TTYL  – LT

3 December 2010 – Rolling out “the beast”

The chilly early-morning air heralds it’s time to once again ride “the beast”. Starting and riding an MV is nothing like a Ducati. The sound is deafening, the torque snaps your neck at each shift, and the power just keeps building and building. It’s the first inline 4 I’ve ridden that has gobs of torque everywhere. The breakfast ride tomorrow should be fun. Of course, I’ll perform my stretching exercises before mounting the torture rack.