Sunday 23 February 2020

February 23rd: First Ride of 2020

The Weather Network suggested that we might get a break in the never ending snow and ice, and on the weekend of all times!

After a couple of days of near zero sun, Sunday hit the target with a 6°C high and lots of blue sky.  The last time on two wheels was November 26, 2019, so that's 89 days of misery.  That should be the longest break as I'm likely to steal some more rides in the coming weeks.

Here are some photos from the ride using the Ricoh Theta V wrapped around the rear-view mirror.  Here's the how-to on doing on-bike 360 photos.  I stopped to look at the bison since they were right by the fence...

Back home again I washed the salt and sand off and hibernated the Tiger again.  The new LED indicators work a treat.  The old Triumph fired up at the first touch of the button after a nearly three month hiatus.  The new front brakes were a little vague until they bedded in, then they felt as sharp as ever.  The chance to ride has me dreaming about making miles again soon.

Wednesday 19 February 2020

Mid-Winter Motorcycle Maintenance: Triumph Tiger Front Brakes

It was a busy long weekend in the winter maintenance garage.  In addition to going over all the electrical connectors on the Tiger, I also did the front brake pads, which weren't making any noise, but after last year's noisy rear brakes forcing a change during the too-short Canadian riding season, I figured some preventative maintenance was in order, and good thing too!  You can see the metal noise strips just becoming visible in the photo.

The brake change was pretty straightforward with the caliper pin cover coming off with a bit of heat and the rest of the pieces coming apart with no problems.  After cleaning up the metal spring pads with a wire brush and thoroughly cleaning the calipers, everything went back together with minimum fuss.  The caliper action was nice and smooth and they willingly got pushed to full open to accept the new pads.  After a couple of pumps of the lever everything was tight and grippy again.  I managed to find the types of caliper I was looking for on Fortnine, and they happened to be orange and look good on the Lucifer Orange Tiger.

The only real pain were the brake master cylinder cover bolts.  The first one came out easily enough, but the second didn't want to come no matter what I did.  Eventually a hammered in Phillip's head screwdriver and some heat cracked the bolt's grip and out it came, but it's pretty mangled.

I was able to find that the bolt is a countersunk M5x16mm bolt.  It's a pretty common thing so I'm hoping I don't have to order it online and can pick one up locally.  It's probably too much to ask to find one that's got a nice coloured, metallic finish.

That covers what I wanted to get done as far as winter maintenance goes with the Tiger.  Other than the brakes and a clean and grease, it was all about the LED indicator upgrade.  Next year it'll be a swing arm removal and chassis grease and it'll have been several seasons since I last did the brake fluid and coolant, so that's on the future list too.  Now it's just the long wait for spring and a chance to get out and ride again.

In the meantime the Honda Fireblade Project is also in pretty good shape.  The carbs are sorted, as is the petcock.  I'm only waiting on a break in the weather to test everything.  In the meantime I've got another set of the LED indicators waiting to go on, but I'm tempted to wait on that as long as the stock ones work.

Saturday 15 February 2020

If you had £70k to spend on a car, which would you choose? Much more than a car!

£70k?  Yikes, that's $121,026 Canadian!  If I can opt out of the dick swinging options above, here's how I'd spend my hundred-and-twenty-K on things with four wheels, and two:

Mazda 2019 MX-5 RF GT
$44,870 CAD
That's a GT model with bells and whistles.  Put me on a twisty mountain road in this and your typical knuckle dragger in one of Top Gear's choices and I bet I'm the first one to the end... and I won't be sending it in for service and repairs every five minutes - and it looks spectacular!

RAM ProMaster Van
$44,625 + $15,375 upfit = $60,000
If you've read this blog before you know I've got a Guy Martin/van obsession that often coincides with a mid-Canadian-winter psychotic episode (I'm getting close now) involving escaping south with a bike in the back for a chance to get on two wheels again.  The Ram's a funky van.  I'd keep back another $15,000 to upfit it into a long distance camper/bike hauler/multi-use vehicle.

That puts me at about $105,000 Canadian with two new, very different vehicles.  What to do with the other sixteen thousand?

Suzuki DR650SE
$6000 (!)
They're on sale at the moment and a rock solid piece of off the tarmac ready kit.  It'll keep up with traffic on the road (unlike the KLX250 didn't) and take me anywhere - including expanding the short Canadian riding season by tackling the odd bit of snow.  I might look into some enduro competition with it too.  It's be a rough and ready option in situations where I'd be worried about a more road ready bike.

I've still got ten grand to play with and I've already had more fun than any of the try-hard Top Gear choices.  Time for something really frivolous that'll be as fast or faster than any of Porsche/Renault/Lamborghini nonsense that kicked this off.

'08 Suzuki Hayabusa
The first thing I stumble across on Kijiji is a $7000 '08 Suzuki Hayabusa.  Odd that Suzuki is the only Japanese manufacturer I've never owned and I've got two on the list this afternoon.

I've got a thing for orange bikes, and this one looks a peach - older rider, low mileage for the year and well looked after.

I'd hold back the other three grand just to make sure this is faster than anything on Top Gear's list because I like to be Tom... Petty.

If I had £70k to spend on a car?  I'd buy a nice car, a useful van and two awesome and very different motorcycles!  Why be dull?