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Week of 7 November 2011

The last week has had many motorcycling episodes, so I’ll break them up into snippets. Enjoy.

1. A customer emailed me saying that his Duc wasn’t running right after getting a service at the local Ducati dealer. I thought it strange that a customer would take his bike to the local dealer and then ask me to troubleshoot it, so I got Dink (local Ducati dealer) in on the discussion. Laughingly, the customer said he meant HIS local dealer, not the one here in Pcola. His bike was exhibiting all the symptoms of leanness, so I chimed in with my recommendation – richening the fuel map on the FIM chip and checking the air bleeds.

2. Speaking of leanness, Garry’s 996 was still having a hanging idle after I serviced it. I couldn’t get the bike to display the symptoms he described, so he rode it over. I put it on the o2 sniffer and it looked good. For grins, I took off the fairings and verified the position of the air bleeds. The horizontal air bleed was 1-3/4 turns out…. WAY too much. I screwed it in 3/4 of a turn and the problem disappeared. I know I balanced the CO using the air bleeds, so I don’t know how I messed up that setting. I was embarrassed, but at least I found it. He motored off and all seems well now.

Above: Our Saturday crew – Left to Right, Aprilia Tuono-R, Buell Firebolt, MV Agusta F4-1000R, Ducati 748, Kawi ZX14R, Kawi Ninja 1000, Honda ST1300.

3. I had a nice ride on Sat with the boys. We did a Blackwater run. I experimented on not leading this time. Big mistake. I had enough rocks thrown at me on the return leg to leapfrog ahead. Mark kept far enough ahead of me to protect my front end.  The weather for the ride was perfect – sunny and cool. The MV loved the temps. The ride aboard the F4 was okay, but the bike needs a better suspension setup and some new shoes. The 5 year old Pirellis are hard and the resulting ride is bone-jarring. Why not dial it out with a suspension setup? Because it will be fine with new tires. Tires are part of a bike’s suspension and offer cushioning… well they do if you have good tires on it. Mark came over Sat aft and we chatted about tires. I need to put the stickiest tires on my bikes because they tires harden before I can wear them out. At most, each bike gets about 300 miles per year. That’s not bad considering the number of bikes in the Ark. but it is bad for tires. Maybe I should wrap every wheel with plastic wrap to keep the tires from hardening… or I could just ride more.

Brutale 910S Video

4. I was outside raking up leaves Friday afternoon when I saw a white truck heading down the street. Lo and behold my MV from Portland was on board. The driver was lucky I was around, because I never got a heads up that he was inbound. The driver mistakenly wrote down the phone # of the dealership where the bike was picked up, and he phoned updates to them rather than me. Brilliant ! The driver was a nice guy… too nice in fact. 30 minutes later he was still in full conversion mode to get me on the righteous path when I cut him short and told him I just wanted to start tearing into the Brutale. I started it up, winced at its depiction of a Hoover vacuum cleaner, and 15 minutes later had the awful stock exhaust torn off. I didn’t have any more time Friday, so I installed the rest of the exhaust Saturday while Mark was paying me a visit. The nice thing about MVs is that you don’t need to do much to make them look nice. I installed a hugger, rearsets, frame sliders and the exhaust. That’s about it. There were sticky Michelins already on her, so after topping off the tires with air, I did a quick spin around the block. I suppose I’ll ride her this Sunday for our local ride.

5. The maintenance seminar is this Saturday. I’ll be sending out an email to the participants tomorrow with specific details, but each attendee has already been here for the Level I seminar. Next year I will ONLY have Level I seminars, the first of which while be in early April – date TBA next Spring.

6. I did quite a bit of writing on the next Desmoquattro book while in Tampa, but it still needs a LOT of work. My promise was to have it ready by the end of the year, but I may miss it by a few weeks. It will go to print the first or second week of Jan. I can’t wait to put it to bed. I have other projects pending and I’m over having the book sitting on my t0-do list.

7. I finished Papa Smurf’s valve adjust in a single day and it left the shop on Saturday. His S2R has 33000 miles on the clock, and purrs like a kitten. For longevity, the 2-valve motor beats the 4-valve motor any day. Well, at least as far as I’ve seen in the shop. The day I see a 4-valve with 50K+ miles on the original bottom end, I’ll let you know.

8. The open house was a non-event. I didn’t talk to a single person. There was only 1 show. Somebody showed up during the 10 minutes I decided to leave to take a shower. Other than my maintenance seminars, the days of the open house are offically dead. Of course, that’s like killing a still-born idea.

9. Due to the maintenance seminar, I’ll be riding locally on Sunday. Time TBA, but planning a breakfast after our normal loop in Escambia/Baldwin counties. I’ll coordinate with Mark/Brad for time and meet place.