27 June 2011 – RC51 Photo (John)

By popular demand, here is a photo of my 2004, Nicky Hayden edition, Honda RC51. Enjoy.

Heavy rider on a heavy bike.

25 June 2011 – Odds and Ends

Business was very slow this week for no reason. Maye it was the phase of the moon or the fact that the stock market is pulling back again and economic uncertainty is rising again. Who knows?

I caught up on some business stuff, and did some work in the shop in between teaching duties at the U. The ST4 is all but done. I finished the injection tune this week. The only thing left is to refinish the saddlebags, and I’m already working on them. I’m hoping that I’ll have her on the market by the end of July.  The only things that I’m not doing to the ST are the comfort fairing, DD headlight and aftermarket wheels. It doesn’t matter how much money I’d spend on it, it still wouldn’t be as extreme as my ST4S.  I thought I’d be able to sell her for $4500, and am shooting for that, but some of the paint was rough and several body panels need to be repainted. I can’t help it. I just can’t sell something unless it’s close to perfect. One thing I like about the ST4 is the computer. I just love the 16m ECU with the 916 motor. The 916 motor has such primary balance compared to the 996.

When I went to put new tires on the ST, I decided to pull the suspension ride height rod and lift the back end a bit to improve steering. As I was expecting, the fittings on the rod had seized to the rod. I had to soak each end in solvent to free up the threads. Those rods aren’t available on the aftermarket, so I had to be careful not to bugger the threads.

MotoGP is this weekend. WIth Sic on pole and Spies 2nd I’m hoping it won’t turn into a Stoner/Lorenzo race. The Ducatis didn’t qualify well.

Carrozzeria finally came out with Tri-R wheels for older Ducatis and I sold a set to Steve Dunn for his SS. Unfortunately, they won’t make the Tri-R for single-swingarmed bikes, which most of mine are. I need to pop up an ad for them though for people with older Ducs. The bike left out in the breeze for wheel upgrades is the MTS 1000/1100. Ducati chose a weird wheel/rotor setup on the MTS that is unique. The aftermarket won’t touch it. You could use different forks, but you’d have to have long ones with the added suspension travel of the MTS. I wonder if the Hyper’s wheels/forks would work on the MTS?  Speaking of the Hyper, it is in the shop half torn apart for bar risers, a highcap starter wire cable set and an F/I module.  Getting the tank off is less than fun, to say the least.

That’s it for this week. Enjoy your weekend.

TTYL – LT evo

21 June 2011-Too much talkin’…we need pics! (Mark)

Throwing up a few pictures (click  on pic for larger view) of my ’08 ZX14 with her mods so far which include:

-Galfer braided stainless brake/clutch lines.

-Puig double bubble windscreen

-factory passenger grab handle

-Sargent seat

-TechSpec tank grip pads

-powder coated heal guards black

-rear fender eliminated and LED plate light added

-carbon fiber air intake covers and hugger from Bestem USA

-Throttle Meister bar ends

-Cox radiator guard

-Zumo550 GPS & mount

-Akrapovic Evolution full titanium exhaust system with PC3

-Carrozzeria Tri-R forged aluminum wheels (as light as magnesium!)

-Carrozzeria works 320mm front rotors

-EBC rear rotor

-Traxxion Dynamics “Axxion” valved/sprung/rebuilt front forks

-Ohlins KA544 rear shock fully remote adjustable for everything plus ride height

…yes, I know I could have bought an additional bike for the cost of the mods.  😉

In the words of LT Evo v1.12…TTYL  :)

20 June, 2011—Carbon Fiber Addiction–(John)

I just bought a set of BST carbon fiber wheels for a ten year old Honda RC51.

Am I crazy?

Discuss.

17 June 2011 – Early Adopters Beware.

I came across an online post this week from a new MTS1200 owner. He was lamenting the stalling problems he’s had with his MTS and the inability of the his dealer to fix it. He also complainted that the on-the-fly suspension adjustment was suddenly changing settings randomly, resulting in scary cornering performance. I don’t know anything about the new MTS, but stalling issues have plagued Ducatis for the past 6 or 7 years. Most of the cause of such problems is the leanness of the fuel maps. The other cause is improper setup at the dealership. Either way, it comes with the territory of being an early adopter. There are several recalls on the new MTS related to the fuel injection, throttle cable, and centerstand bolts. Considering it was a brand new design, that isn’t many recalls. As far as the adjustable suspension, I’ve only used the ESA on BMWs and found it to be very good. Perhaps Ducati’s system is too complicated, or just too new. One of the problems in reading such stories is generalizing the findings. I’m sure I can find MTS1200 owners who have had no issues. Likewise, I’m sure there are those who are at their wits end with problems. I sympathize, but as an early adopter you shouldn’t expect to get a flawless bike. When you consider that Ducatis are exotic bikes, the situation is more precarious.  Low volume bikes usually imply more problems (although this isn’t a hard and fast rule).  This definitely applies to cars. I’ve found that the more exotic the car, the more problems it is likely to have. Check out the forums for Lamborghini, Mercedes-Benz (not exotic but shop-queens), Aston-Martin or Ferrari and you’ll feel good about owning your Toyota. It takes mass production and a stable platform to iron out problems.

Have a good weekend.

LT in 3D

13 June 2011 – If it’s wet, you should be on the podium.

racing spoiler below.

I haven’t posted in awhile because I’ve had no updates. Daryl has been doing a great job in getting the orders out. I used to have to do a lot more behind the scenes, but if I tell Daryl something once it gets done. That kind of dependability is hard to find. I’ve been ordering restocking supplies behind the scenes and I send Daryl an email every other day with a rollup of order notes to help with things.

I couldn’t watch the racing this weekend, but I did read the writeup of the races. It’s Checa’s title to win in WSB. The season is only half over, but he’s got a nice lead and is consistent. I’m looking forward to watching the MotoGP race. I love watching wet races. I saw the results before I read it was a wet race, but I surmised as much when I saw Edwards third and Nicky fourth. That wouldn’t happen in a dry race. Edward’s performance a mere week after shattering his collerbone was incredible. He should have had a podium in the last wet race. Stoner is in a league of his own this year so it would take a lot for him to spoil it for myself. He does have a history of crashing though, so we’ll see.

I’m disconnected from things down here. My cell phone is left in the truck during the day and I do my work in isolation from the rest of the world… well at least the world I’m used to when out of uniform. It’s a nice change of pace. A week from today I’ll be back in Pcola in the classroom to start Summer school. Talk about flip-flopping careers.

More bad new on the supplier front. I called my hose manufacturer to check on the order I placed for another run of ST4/4S hoses. After a 5 minute wait on the phone I was informed my run that I scheduled back in April (due the end of this month) was never scheduled and it would be 9 weeks before they could get to it. I just hung up the phone in disgust. No wonder we’ve lost our edge in manufacturing.

Enjoy your week. I’ll chat with you from Pcola this weekend.

– LT

7 June 2011 – Out of stock and stupid

Having Daryl to fill orders has freed me up to catch up on new products. The problem has been the same old problem- potential suppliers not having what I need. Case in point- a potential supplier of levers sends me their price list. I put together a stocking order only to be told that one of the levers is out of stock for 6 weeks. Since I can’t sell a part of a lever, I cancelled my stocking order. My question is, why send me a price list when you’re out of stock of some items. The same thing happened for a potential supplier of head scarves/balaclavas in California. I placed my stocking order, was told it would ship the end of May and haven’t heard anything since. Maybe I should start a company offering products for sale and not stock anything. Initial stockouts are an instant turn off to me, because they hint that stockouts are a reality for the company. I need dependable sources for items, not frequent stockouts. So I don’t mind if you’re a supplier that is out of stock on a part, but don’t offer it to me for sale only to tell me about a delay after I order. That’s not only bad business, but stupid as well. And like stupid people in general, I stay away from stupid suppliers.

TTYL – LT

3 June 2011 – Outta here…

I watched the WSB races this week. So let me get this straight. Ducati pulls out of WSB because they say that they want to focus on the next generation of Superbike and field a competitive bike… and their factory team didn’t seem able to win the title after Troy retired. I blame that on Haga more than Ducati. Anyway, so Ducati provides support to privateer teams this year… and the Ducati is VERY competitive, with Checa leading the title chase.  I have to throw the bullshit flag folks. The reason Ducati pulled from WSB is because of the great sucking sound coming from MotoGP and Rossi. The 5 generation superbike will be revealed at Milan this Fall, but rumors are that Ducati still won’t field a WSB team next year. So this begs the question of what provides the most bang for the buck… WSB or MotoGP. I think WSB does. The bike has to be homologated and fans can buy a similar version (minus $150K in upgrades) from their dealer. I think Ducati has a much better chance at competing on the world stage in WSB. They won a title in MotoGP thx to Stoner and a good bike, but the field is so competitive in MotoGP that winning another title anytime soon will be difficult. Rossi may be able to pull it off, but it’s SO expensive. Ducati has tried to market their Duck-in-a-box bikes to privateer teams, but they’re also rans in the field. Who wants to run a privateer team on a bike that only gets to see the front runners on the starting grid?  I love MotoGP, but my hope is that Ducati runs it’s course with Rossi, backs out of MotoGP and focuses on WSB again. The economics of MotoGP don’t add up in my estimation.

Bonehead of the week goes to Xaus. What was he thinking with that attempt to pass on the inside? Way to ruin somebody else’s day.

I finished the motor work on the ST4 and tore apart the steering head. As soon as I loosened the steering stem nut, water poured out of the bottom  race. I see that a lot on STs. That top seal is NOT waterproof. When I pulled the triples I instantly saw the culprit to the dodgy steering. The bottom race was buggered and the bearing was totally shot. Pieces of the bearing fell out. The culprit? The bottom race seal wasn’t installed upside down, which caused it to foul both the race and the bearing. I’ve had that up on my website under the product description for several years. Who did the install? Me! I did the roller bearing conversion on this ST years ago when the kits first became available and before I discovered the tendency for the bottom seal to foul things unless it was installed upside down. Anyway, it’s sorted now and the front end should be like butter. New tires get spooned on when I get back. The only other thing left will be to restore the faded plastics on the saddlebags and the faded CF on the rear hugger. She should be up for sale by the end of July. I wonder how many other STs are out there with the tapered bearing upgrade installed incorrectly. Anyone purchasing them from Speedymoto or Allballs is out in the cold on the proper installation. Rotsa ruck.

I rolled out a few new products this week, and I’m using twitter to announce things as they become available. I now resell Bazzaz F/I boxes. Both Techlusion and Bazzaz have cracked the code on richening the bottom end of the fuel map. I’m not a whiz-bang on the electronic stuff, so I defer to their wisdom. My thoughts were that it didn’t do any good to richen below 1/4 throttle openings because the O2 sensor would just pull the fuel back out. Evidently, the 02 sensor can be tricked at the ECU. I’ll be testing a techlusion box on my M1100s and HMs when I get back. If it perks things up on the bottom end, I’ll resell it. I’ve heard enough good stuff about Bazzaz to resell their stuff. Besides, Bazzaz focuses on the water-cooled bikes, and none of mine are in need of fixing.

Daryl is pretty good on the order front, so I feel pretty good about taking off for two weeks of Army stuff this weekend. My LTC packet is in, the biz is squared away and I’m caught up on most things… except the next Desmoquattro book. I might do some writing in Tampa.

I’ll miss MotoGP this weekend, but will catch things when I return.

TTYL – LT