29.5 July, 2011-BST on RC51 pic-(John)

Here she is:

29 July, 2011–Carbon Fiber Wheels (John)

BST carbon fiber wheels on Honda RC51Update:

OMG!!! LOL!!!! Wow!!!

The RC51 turns like an R6 now, feels like 80 pounds have been dropped off the bike.

Not the least bit twichy, did not have to crank up steering damper.

Wow, if you get a chance to put BST carbon fiber wheels on your bike–DO IT!!!

Also added a 1/6th turn HRC throttle, love it!

Bike goes, stops, and turns faster.

Cheers, Ducatisti!

My Monster is gonna sit for awhile.

25.5 July 2011 – Out out damn flat spot

I’ve been wrestling with the fuel-injection of Gary’s 996 for the past week. There was a huge flat spot between 4 and 5K rpm. The problem was two-fold. First the FIM 222 chip in the bike probably only has a base map installed. The 22 chip is the single-injector mod chip, meaning it gets rid of the unneeded second injector per cylinder. But the base map really needs to be tweaked in order to make the bike run well. The second problem is ethanol gas. It has 10% less energy on average compared to non-ethanol gas. That means more fuel is needed to create the same power.  I don’t have the FIM software, and FIM went out of business several years ago, making it tough for me to get the software. I found a company in the UK  (Protwins) that sells it and have an inquiry in. Fortunately, my friend Eric (formerly of BCM) has the Ultimap software. As a last resort, I tried tricking the injection by turning up the TPS, which in essence creates a richer map. You have to be careful doing that though as the ignition advance can get screwed up. I set base Millivolts from 150 to 200. That took out about half of the flat spot. I then tried using the trim to richen up things. If your powering right through it, it is barely noticable, but at steady cruise, the stumble is there and it just ain’t right. I yanked out the ECU, boxed it up and it’s heading to New Hampshire to get flashed. Eric will add fuel to zone 5 on the map – steady cruise from 4000 to 5500 rpm. I forget the tps angle approximate for that, but that’s the correct zone. I’m hoping that once fuel is added there I can back the trim back down to a 3 percent CO at the end cans and still have no loss in power. The bike came to me blowing 5.5% CO, which is too rich. The air bleeds can be used to lean out the idle mixture to make the response crisp off the bottom. Anyway, the bike is dead in the water until the ECU gets back, but once back it should only take me an hour for a final tune before she’s out the door. Yeah, right…..

If any of the above sounds confusing, don’t worry about it. It’s just me thinking out loud.

At long last, the +1″ sidestands for the ST and Sport Classics are in. I have a limited stock on hand. No more leaning touring bikes. The ad goes up on the website Wednesday of this week.

A No-ethanol gas station opened up a mere 8 miles from the house. Joy, joy. I’m probably going to put in a 55 gallon drum with a hand pump and use that to keep the bikes full of good old petrol sans ethanol. At the very least, the plastic tanked Ducatis will get that treatment.

I’ve labeled MotoGP as an official yawner this season. Most would probably think otherwise, but unless an American or Ducati is vying for a podium, I’m just not interested.  I am what I am, and I’m bored with the munchkin trio on the podium.

Hopper is still in 2nd in BSB, but his DNF didn’t help things. I’m watching that series closer than any other, followed by WSB.

The combo of almost daily pics/posts on Facebook and a weekly rollup of things here is a good idea. It’s too cumbersome posting pics here though, so if you want the full effect, FB will have to part of your repetoire.

See you next week.




22 July 2011 – My next Ducati (Ken)

posted on Facebook earlier this week…

In light of recent model changes, the move to water cooling seems to be just about guaranteed for anything that might be under the heading of “sport touring” in the next few years.

This is of critical importance to me as someone who maintains most everything mechanical in and around the home (I only leave a few specialty items or those still under warranty to the shop guys). My initial feelings about the new Multistrada haven’t really changed: it does everything okay, but that’s not what I’m looking for. Oh, and I really don’t like the way it looks (some do, and that’s great). While I could buy an older Multistrada and get out the grinder and welder to make it into what I want (the fuel tank would need to be addressed first off, and I don’t suppose the effort in chopping one would equal what I’m really looking for in a sporting bike that I can ride for long distances.

This leaves a product gap that I’m hopeful that Ducati will fill. The news of chain-driven cams in their next super bike makes it possible that valve adjustments will be more “long distance” friendly, while also giving Desmo love as we want it. However, at least for me, the need for a 1200cc motorcycle to push around what I hope will be a rather sporty motorcycle with saddle bags is overstated. Truth be told, anything over 100 HP in a motorcycle that weighs around 400 pounds is a bit much for anyone wanting to cover long distances without having to stop for fuel on a regular basis.

My views on this are somewhat related to Army logic: more protection > more armor > bigger engine > more weight > more fuel > and the cycles continues to spiral out of control. Every time you have to make room for an additional gallon of fuel, think about placing a gallon of milk in your lap and riding around. Kind of changes your perceptions a bit, eh? So, if Ducati were to take a motorcycle like their current 848 (which seems to be bumping out about 140 HP in current trim), and then design an engine that’s made for balance above all else, the savings for every other design criteria will follow from there.

Let me paint a picture with words: getting back to 100 HP, let us get the engine down to 600cc with piston speed not set in the “crazy” category, lots of torque to actually be able to move the bike off the line, and good fuel economy to enable to motorcycle to be able to return 50 MPG in mixed riding. To enable a theoretical 250-mile range, the bike would hold a total of five gallons (this could be fudged down to four gallons; however, the market might demand five or even six gallons to keep the bike going on those long stretches of highway).

Weight is the enemy of efficiency, so we need to keep the bike light, sleek, and low. An exhaust that collects and exits under the engine wouldn’t hurt and would keep heat away from riders on those long trips. It would also allow the mass to be centralized and perhaps not us so much steel in the pipes. Likewise, the bags should be fitted to the motorcycle as standard and if you have to get BMW to make them for you, just do it so they’re worth having (I have no experience with factory Ducati bags beyond the showroom, that was enough for me). Cruise control and an electrically adjustable windshield should be standard. If anyone wants a stereo, they probably don’t understand why they’re buying a Ducati (offer it as an expensive dealer option).

What else? Heated seats and heated grips that work well. A fuel gauge that doesn’t go from full to empty between mile markers on the highway. Oh, and it should still be a Ducati.

Which means that it should handle well, break even better, and make the guy on the BMW R1200RT wonder why he’s carrying an extra 200 pounds for no reason (and I don’t mean his passenger). Sport-touring bikes have gotten bigger and bigger in the desire to be smoother, faster, more comfortable, whatever. What seems to have been lost (I used to own an RT) is a real connection with the road.

I want a motorcycle that encourages me to NOT take the freeway because it will be more fun on the back roads. Ducati should understand this if other manufacturers don’t. The joy of the riding isn’t in the destination, it’s in the journey. That journey is more fun when you’re in mountains and valleys, not when you’re counting mile markers between exits…

18 July 2011

A 996 rolled into the shop late last week so I’ve started spending some time out there to do the service. Thank God for air-conditioning. It rained all day yesterday, so I did the complete valve adjust. Every shim needed to be changed, but the clearances weren’t that far off except on the horizontal exhaust. Gaps there were a little bigger, so it didn’t come as a surprise that a bad opener rocker arm was present. I’m glad I keep replacements on the shelf.  I buttoned everything back up and will do the F/I tuning this week.  I should finish her up this week and will shut the shop down again until Fall… probably. I paid off the bill for the new furniture so I’m a little motivated to make some $$$.

Stick a fork in Ducati’s MotoGP effort this year. Finishing 5th or 6th is about as good as can be realistically accomplished. It will be interesting to see what happens next year. If the Ducati isn’t competitive next year, I think they’ll be reconsidering maintaining a presence in MotoGP.

I’ve been posting updates on the Facebook page and twitter, but will post here weekly.  There isn’t much else to report. The business is treading water and I’m busy teaching 4 days a week. On the weekends I’m playing a little. I went dancing Saturday night. After that experience it’s evident that my talents lay elsewhere.

Enjoy your week.

12 July 2011 – FB vs Blog

I’ve read all the comments on here about FB. John had the best comment and mirrors my opinion. Blog software is antiquated and cumbersome. I’ve spent countless hours writing posts and cropping and uploading pictures. As a middle-ground there will still be some blog posts, but I’ll be using twitter and facebook for more daily blurbs about Ducatis and Desmo Times. I’ll also be running some promotions and will use the other venues to announce them. The blog is better suited for longer editorials, but comments are easier and more interactive on FB, pictures are easier to upload, it has threaded discussion capabilities and polling is possible. I couldn’t even have a poll using my blog software, which, by the way needs to be updated, meaning more hours. Something will eventually usurp Facebook, but it is the defacto social network engine. Those who don’t embrace the future will get run over by it. I’m not going to get into the security thing, but I’m on FB even though I’m still likely to a draw a bead on any trespasser on my property.

A discussion thread was set up on FB on the Level II seminar to be held in Oct.

A 996 rolls into the shop this week. I sold all my old house furniture so I’m motivated to make some green to pay off the new furniture. Before the 996 gets in there, the F4 gets hoisted and the forks yanked for seals. Once that is complete all my bikes will be 100% ready… to sit. 3 more months until my riding season.

In the meantime, I’m eyeing what my next project will be. I may strip the 853 completely down and have the frame repainted and install the ally subframe and the wiring harness that’s required for the light subframe. I never set the squish on the 853 either because I was in a hurry. I’m probably losing some HP due to that. At last ride, it didn’t feel as strong as my 916, and it should with the piston kit and the flywheel I installed.

Enjoy your workweek


9 July 2011 – Migrate to Facebook?

I’ve had a Facebook page up for some time but haven’t used it at all. Likewise with twitter. I’m burnt out on editorializing on the blog, and think Facebook a better place to share photos and post short blurbs. I’m going to be posting there for the next few weeks. I’m open to a debate on which is preferable. I don’t have the dedication/time to be posting in multiple locations, so it has to be one or the other.  I posted a poll on the issue on Facebook. Just do a search for Desmo Times and you’ll find the spot.

Have a good weekend.


6 July 2011 – Pump a la corrode

The ST4 failed its check ride. The culprit is the damn new clutch. The thickness must be off .5mm or so. The master cylinder is sloppy and there’s too much mush to disengage it fully. Evenwith the lever all the way out, the base screw all the way in and a fresh bleed there is minimal pressure plate movement. Damn. I’ll try swapping plates with other used packs I have to reduce thickness and see how that goes.

The MH900e went up on the lift after I finished the mods on the Hyper last weekend. The verdict on the Motolectric starter wire kit — do it!  Those wires are the bomb. The Hyper now ticks over much quicker. I can’t tell about the new F/I controller but I’m optimistic. I can’t wait to get her in Blackwater for a test.

The Mh900 has been silent since the winter because of a fuel issue. The culprit was again a corroded fuel pump. One of these days I’ll learn to leave the tank full. the MH has a more modern fuel system layout and the teflon lines take 11.3mm oetiker clamps that I don’t have. They’re on the way. Once I fix the MH, the F4 gets new fork seals. Yup, they’re shot after 1000 miles. Marzocchi must get theirs from the same supplier as Ohlins. Jeez.

I still haven’t watched the MotoGP race, but the results look interesting. The review of the race by Ryder on SOUP dinged Ducati, saying the brass must be disappointed with the results of the bike this year. I think he’s off the mark. Everyone knows Ducati doesn’t have the development clout of Honda or Yamaha. Why put a ton of money into the 800 when the 1000 bike is needed for next year. Ducati always said that this year was a prep for next year. If any other brand said that I’d throw the BS flag, but I believe Ducati. I still don’t know if Rossi is 100%, but I think it’s pretty good that he and Nicky are 4th and 5th in the points. Now if they can just qualify better.

Most of you guys haven’t been following it, but I’ve been watching the British Superbike races this year. Americans John Hopkins and Jake Zemke are competing. Also in the series is Kiyonari, Walker, Byrne, Laverty, Walker, and Ellison. It’s a much better field than US Superbike IMHO. Hopper is in 2nd place in the standings mid-way through the season.

Sales still suck (but I appreciate the orders from you guys), the Fed and Congress suck more, and corroded fuel pumps suck the most.

That’s it for this week.


1 July 2011 – Half the Year Gone By


Above: My Yellow/Black ST4 – The Super Bee

MotoGP is in action again this weekend. If you’ve been following it, Simoncelli is off to the most jinxed seasons of all time for any racer. He’s becoming a master a qualifying on the first row and then not placing in the points in the race. I thought Gibernau was snake-bitten after Rossi stuffed him a few times, but Sic is in a whole other league when it comes to being mentally unprepared. Weird. But I like the guy. Like Rossi, he needs to keep the hair. Rossi looks like a Tolkien character without his hair. No offense.

The ST4 is finished!!! I have yet to take her for her maiden voyage, but she’s all back together and looking great. More pictures are up under Bike of the Quarter on the website. Only the Hyper remains in the shop. I haven’t touched her since last week. Teaching and other activities have occupied me. What hasn’t occupied me very much is the business. Business has slowed to the point were Daryl is focusing on his own business. I just can’t give him the hours he needs to remain with me. I want to keep him active enough at least to run things when I go away, but it needs to be worth his while. If I added ordering and inventory management it would add a few hours a week but still not enough to put food on his table – well food on the table at his own place rather than living with his parents. We’ll see. I’ve been rolling out new products, but they’re small potatoes in terms of growing the business. There isn’t much more I can add to the maintenance side of things.

I haven’t ridden in a month and am probably as rusty as I’ve ever been, which is typical in the Summer. I really don’t miss it much when I’m busy, and weekends have been full. I should be Jonesing by September to ride again.

The Canadian postal strike is over and I was able to get out the backlogged orders that have piled up for the last few weeks. International orders are important. One thing I don’t do is play the customs form lie game.  About 25% of my international customers ask me to write “gift” on the customs form to save them from paying import duties. I doubt the US customs office is scrutinizing my business in particular, but it’s against the law to lie on customs forms. Also, the US uses customs forms to help estimate our exports, and I’m kind of proud of exporting US made goods overseas. So I don’t lie on customs forms. I may round a little, but the value is accurate to what’s inside the package. Usually the people asking me to lie on the customs forms try to select shipping options that I can’t deal do. For instance, one of my international shipping options is “Flat Rate Envelope – for BOOK ORDERS ONLY”. You’d be surprised how many people select that option when buying parts in order to try to save on shipping. As Ron White says, “you can’t fix stupid”. My follow on though is “yes, but if you drink enough they get smarter”.

Enjoy your 4th of July weekend and the annual commemoration of the Battle of Gettysburg. 

TTYL – LT evo