Showing posts sorted by relevance for query pw80. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query pw80. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday 20 May 2015

PW80 is Rolling!

A fully functional stable!
After banging my head against a non-starting PW80 for the better part of two weeks I went back to basic troubleshooting.

The one thing I changed prior to it dying entirely was the spark plug.  The only NGK I could find was a BPR6HS, the bike is supposed to take a BP6HS.  The difference is a resistor which prevents feedback to electronic equipment in the system (important if you've got a machine that uses computers and other finicky components - the PW80 is nothing like that complicated).

I'd read that the resistor doesn't matter, but after swapping back to the old plug the bike fired up immediately.  I've got to look further into resistor effects on simple two stroke machines like the PW80, but the troubleshooting still stands: when you change something and it suddenly stops working, change it back even if you think it's supposed to be an improvement!

I'm going to regap and try the newer plug again, but if it kills it again I'll have to accept that the PW80 doesn't like (and doesn't need) a plug with a resistor in it.

After it was up and running we had a throttle lesson, walking next to the bike while my son got a feel for rolling on the throttle gently.  I then tore around in circles on it - it's a zippy little machine!

Friday 1 May 2015

Yamaha PW80

After doing a partial dismantling of my son's new (to us) '04 Yamaha PW80, I put it back together again and learned a valuable lesson in dirt bike ownership:  always turn off the fuel tap.  Other than carb pressure and gravity, there is nothing else stopping your garage from smelling like gas and a puddle forming.

The second dismantling came when it wouldn't start after the flood.  The spark plug was always dodgy, so I've gotten a pair of new ones (no problem finding them at Canadian Tire).

Good advice, straight from Yamaha
A tiny amount of Googling found me the Yamaha shop/operating manual, that covers everything from not carrying dogs on the bike with you to how to tear down the engine.

This is such a simple machine that it's a great way to get a handle on the basic motorbike system.  If you want to get handy with bike maintenance, start with a dirt bike (I started with a Concours...).

The next strip down has been more comprehensive, though to remove the tank, fairings and seat takes all of seven bolts.  The air filter was pretty bad with chunks of mud in the air box.  It's a shame that people treat a bike like that then just chuck in storage.  Why not clean it first?  In any case it's clean now.

The metal shop at school
sorted out the broken muffler.
I've got a busy hands afternoon after work checking the new plugs for spark (it's definitely getting gas) and putting it back together again knowing that I've taken it right down to the engine.  With how it took off last weekend (I impromtu wheelied down the driveway thinking it would barely be able to move me on it), I'm looking forward to seeing how spunky it is with a complete tune up.

With a new plug in it has strong spark - the carb is stinking of gas and it still won't start.  Time to pull the carburetor and sort it out before giving it another go.  Leaving it open overnight doesn't appear to have done it any favours.

The unhappy carburator
A Yamaha PW80 down to the mechanicals

I've got to get my mits on a me-sized dirt bike so we can go into the woods together up at the inlaw's cottage.  That DR600 Dakar is still for sale, I wonder if he'd take a grand for it.  It's a bit more than a mid-sized dirt bike, but it would do the business and also eventually adventure bike for me too.

It'd make a good Swiss army knife bike.

Sunday 26 April 2015

Brand Loyalty & Bilingualism

Brand loyalty seems to affect motorcyclists more than most.  Even when they don't work, motorcycle riders are partial to their rides in a way that owners of other modes of transport aren't.  With that in mind I just completely ignored my Kawasaki only motorcycle history to this point and just picked up a bike for my son: a Yamaha PW80.  I guess we're now officially bilingual.

It needs a cleanup and some TLC, but the bike is straight and solid.  Once I've got it sorted we'll be practising circles on the dead end road out front of our place.

They were asking $800, but rather than start there I asked what they were asking.  Since the Mom had put it up for sale and she wasn't talking to me, it was suddenly $700.  I suggested $600, they went with $675.  For a seldom used, nicely stored 2004 Yamaha PW80, I think I came out ahead.  I could sell it tomorrow for a couple of hundred more than I got it.

I'm still looking for something off-road for me to head out on with Max.  If I had a mint to throw at it I'd go pick up a late model DRZ-400 or a KLX-250, but I don't.  I'm hoping for a an older enduro bike, but sub 500cc; they don't come up often.  This is going to be a primarily off-road machine, so lugging a 600+cc 'adventure' bike on the trails isn't a thrilling prospect.  A big enough for me but light off-road machine is the goal.

I'm going to take Max out to the Junior Red Riders course early this summer, then I'm going to make as many trips to Bobcageon as I can manage to get us some time on two wheels together.

Getting into the PW80 was an easy prospect.  The seat pops off with a couple of nuts under the fender and the tank with a couple of bolts.  I'm not sure if two stroke oil can go off so I left it as is, but I emptied the gas tank and put in new gas (the former owner guessed the gas was at least a couple of years old).

I got it started and running smoothly and took it for a run around the circle we live on.  It took off like a scalded rabbit!  I could barely hang on.  The only issue is a broken exhaust.  I'm hoping our metal shop genius at school can sort it out tomorrow.  With a tight exhaust we'll be off to the trails!

Brand loyalty did play a part in this.  Another bike we went to go see was a Baja 90cc dirt bike.  It looked pretty cobbled together and the fact that it was a Chinese bike gave me the willies.  I might not be a Kawasaki or nothing guy, but I know better than to buy a dodgy, Chinese knockoff.

Wednesday 24 June 2015

Reading The Trails

We loaded up our wee mini-van and spent 48 hours out in the woods near Bobcaygeon.  Into the back I packed some helmets and the tiny Yamaha.

The cottage we were at is an ideal base for off-roading.  It's at the end of a long gravel fire road deep in the woods, and it's surrounded by off road snowmobile trails.  You couldn't ask for a better place to practice the art of riding off road on two wheels.

I really need to get my mits on an off road bike so I can go on those trails with my boy on his bike.

While I was lamenting my lack of a dual sport I went out on one of the ATVs and rode some trails with an eye for how a bike might make its way through three foot deep puddles and up rocky washed out trails.  The ATV is like a tank, bashing its way through with brute force and massive wheels.  You've got no chance of falling off and you pretty much knock your way through on a hugely over-square, balanced machine.  A bike would be like a scalpel after using a butcher's cleaver.

The inherent lack of balance on a bike means pounding through those massive puddles would be a tricky proposition.  I can't wait to try it.  Since I started riding I've realized how many different ways there are to learn motorcycle dynamics, and off-roading will push those boundaries far more cheaply than track racing might.

I'm hoping to nail down an off road focused dual sport and some kit in the next couple of weeks and then I intend to spend a lot of time up on the trails around the cottage, falling off a lot and learning things I'd never get to learn on the road.

A lovely little Yamaha came up in Orangeville for sale.  I'm hoping it's still available.  It's a light weight, air cooled XT350, the grandchild of the venerable XT500.  It'd also look good with with my son's PW80.  Just two guys out on their Yamahas.

Here's hoping it's still waiting for me.

Sunday 18 April 2021

Motorcycle Pick Up on a Budget

I've been calling around trying to find a rental van to arrange a pick up of a Kawasaki Concours C14 in Toronto.  Every rental place in my county tells me they have no vans because they are being rented out by delivery companies during the pandemic.

Last week I took my wife down for a doctor visit and noticed a number of vans at the big U-Haul centre on Speedvale in Guelph.  Using U-Haul's online booking system, I was able to reserve a van for last week and arrange the pickup.

The Speedvale U-Haul centre is a full service depot with many vehicles on site as well as storage.  The staff was spectacularly helpful in making sure I had the right vehicle (the website said I'd be getting a Ford Transit van but they GMCs on site so the guy at the counter went out and measured the openings to make sure it would still fit the bike.  They were also excellent with mask, social distancing and ensuring we had a cleaned and ready to use rental during COVID.

If you default mileage on an 'in-town' van rental the extra mileage'll get you in the end, but if you pre-state your mileage they give you a discount.  All in at the end of the day including insurance and mileage, the bill came out to $138CAD, which is impressive.  I had to put $30 in gas back into it, so the rental piece ended up being just under $170 all in.  Check out was quick and efficient with minimal contact and the return was completely contact free and effortless.

I've been thinking about getting the gear to do pickups myself, but the initial cost is heavy and then the operating costs (poor mileage, heavy vehicle, etc) pile on the costs even more.  If I purchased a tow-capable vehicle and a trailer I'm looking at $40-50k - that would be over 200 bike pickups in the rental van.  I seem to find I need a bike pickup every 1-2 years at the moment.  If I keep doing that until I'm 80 years old, I'll ring up a rental van bill of about $3800, so the I-gotta-get-a-bike-tow-ready-vehicle thing isn't really on my radar any more after this positive U-Haul experience.

I do need a couple of things for next time though.  If you want a U-Haul with the built in ramp you're looking at doubling rental costs and you don't need that space or the headache of navigating traffic with a much bigger vehicle (the van was very easy to thread through Toronto traffic).  I brought the two plastic car ramps I had along with some wood planks to load the bike, but that's not ideal as the van's deck height is pretty up there.  So, here's the list of things-to-get so that a rental van does the trick without any headaches:

Parts For Making Rental Van Motorcycle Moves Easier:

A pair of fold-up ramps would make loading the bike much easier.  These fold up and would hang on the wall in the garage, not taking up any valuable space and are capable of holding even a big bike like the Concours without any issues.

I got lucky this time as the guy I purchased the Concours off had a ramp that did the trick, but next time I'll have my own ready to go.

Cost:  $140

Ratchet Tie Downs:  I tied down the Concours once we got it into the van with nylon rope but there are relatively inexpensive options that would make the tie-down process both more secure and less time consuming.  The Connie was rock solid the way we tied it down (there are ground hoops and wood bolted to the side of the van that you can tie off too, and didn't move a muscle in transport, but for relatively little outlay I could have a set of ratcheting tie-down straps that are both more secure and very easy to set up and break down.

The web of rope got cut when we got home (and we used the bike lift to get the bike out), but with ramps and ratcheting tie-downs the transport would be been a lot easier and secure.

Cost:  $29

A mobile wheel chock: This is a bit of a luxury. The bike stand in the garage has a home-made wooden one but it's heavy and awkward. A lightweight, ride in wheel chock would make tying the bike down secure and easy, and it's easy to transport.

With this one you ride into the chock and it see-saws into position, holding the bike steady while you tie it down.

Cost:  $70

For about $250 I can get the bits and pieces that would make a bike pickup in a rental van a quick, easy and secure process.  This was a good beta-test and I now know what I need to make the next one even smoother.


In the meantime, I'm once again a Kawasaki owner, pushing my Team-Green ownership count even higher:

Kawasakis Owned:  4 (Ninja 650, KLX250, Concours ZG1000, Concours14)
Yamahas Owned:  2 (PW80 mini-bike, Eleven Mid-Night Special)
Hondas Owned:  1 (CBR-900RR Fireblade)
Triumphs Owned: 1 (Triumph Tiger 955i)

I've been a fan of Suzuki for years yet never seem to find one that suits what I'm looking for.  Kawasakis always seem to pop out just when I need one that meets my needs, and I enjoy their engineering and working on them.  Their engines especially are something very special.