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

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Concours14 Farkles & Mapping the Most Complex Bike I've Yet Owned


As the proud new owner of a C14 Kawasaki Concours, here's my attempt at getting my information and data in order so I can work on it:









1400GTR C14 Datasheet:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YKkFc5Hy8Ltze3bAQw16NszdoNsS7UkC/view?usp=sharing 








Shop Manual (though this is for the previous gen-C14, but evolutionarily it should help):

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1OWdFnRCF9bYb3rW3_U2RNRbSTL2jqfb6/view?usp=sharing





Owner's Manual:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/13P9lxVAX_ksfnklncqZVbd7Hk6JMBPGo/view?usp=sharing (2013)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/17e1cmQ2Xr8qLOjYUo3p3jYbzIhxY433T/view?usp=sharing (2010)




Concours C14 Parts Diagrams (I find these handy for disassembly as it shows part blowouts):

https://www.bikebandit.com/oem-parts/2010-kawasaki-concours-14-abs-zg1400c/o/m148769

Concours Owner's Group (COG) C14 Resources & Information:

http://forum.concours.org/index.php?topic=77289.0

•Using the center stand on asphalt during very hot days is not recommended as it may sink causing a tipover.  Don't let this happen to you!  http://forum.concours.org/index.php?topic=75073.0

•KIPASS and no starting issues http://forum.concours.org/index.php?topic=77015.0

•Shifting into first gear from neutral whilst stopped can illicit a 'clunk'.  This is normal, but check your idle speed.  It may have been set too high from the factory.  Mine was set to 1800rpm.

•Do not overtighten the oil filter.  You'll regret it when you try to remove it.  Hand tight is fine.

•The 08-10 US models do NOT have oxygen sensors.

•When it's warm outside, bike on the side stand, tank nearly full or full, expansion may force gas/oily mixture out near the stand. Nothing to be concerned with.

•Check your battery installation.  Some have been installed incorrectly.  The + terminal should be on the outside.

•California bike information http://forum.concours.org/index.php?topic=77512.0

•Periodically check the tightness of the battery terminals.  They have a tendency to work loose.

•Headlight aim may be maladjusted.  Mine were pointed straight down.

•The right hand mirror assembly may not be correctly mounted on the fairing.  The mirror mounts within a recess in the right fairing.  There have been reports of the mirror assembly being tightened down while not correctly seated causing cracks in the fairing (dealer issue if so).

•Flash to Pass (FTP) switch will cause the highbeams to come on during rain events.  Dielectric grease slathered on the switch solder blobs will prevent this from happening.

•Check your exhaust header to manifold nuts.  They have a tendency to loosen up over time.  They may require tightening a few times before they stay tight. 13ft/lbs torque

•Check all your fasteners for tightness.  Unless you have an exceptional dealer, this is typically overlooked.

•Check your oil level before accepting the bike from the dealer.  The oil is checked with a sight gauge on the right side.  If there isn't any oil showing in the glass with the bike level it needs to be topped off.  Check your tire air pressures as well (42/42)

•Do not over-tighten the rear drive oil plug drain bolt. It strips out easily.  It doesn't take a lot of force.  Do not over tighten the fill plug either.  You'll regret it.

•Steering stem fairing brace can work loose.  Two bolts hold it.  Several occurrences of these coming loose.  http://forum.concours.org/index.php?topic=66729.0

•Steering stem top center bolt (the one covered by the black plastic cap) can work loose http://forum.concours.org/index.php?topic=84261.0

•If you disconnect the battery, tire pressure indicator on screen will be blank until you ride it again

•If you are lucky enough to get your second FOB in a plastic baggy, you need to either write down the number on it or keep the baggy somewhere safe for reference purposes in case you lose it.  Applies to the 08-09 models.  Not sure if it applies to the '10s.

•Check for rust on the gas tank under the seat.

•Suspension settings document. http://forum.concours.org/index.php?topic=68962.0

•There are bungee hooks within the side cases http://forum.concours.org/index.php?topic=71049.0

•Front and rear accessory leads.  http://forum.concours.org/index.php?topic=69830.0

•Bike on center stand and rotating rear wheel.  If you hear clicking, get it to the dealer to check it.  We've been finding several issues:  front spline dry; missing cir-clip on a joint: loose caps.  http://forum.concours.org/index.php?topic=71444.0

•2010 Glove box fix/modification - http://forum.concours.org/index.php?topic=70804.0  http://forum.concours.org/index.php?topic=75933.0

•Good discussion on replacing stem bearings with tapered bearings. http://forum.concours.org/index.php?topic=76699.0 and this one http://forum.concours.org/index.php?topic=71221.60

•Gas tank removal 2010 but should work for the others as well http://forum.concours.org/index.php?topic=73537.0


Kawasaki web site for checking VIN number (warranty status, recalls)

http://kawasaki.com/DefaultFrame.aspx?strContentURL=/SITE/VIVEHICLEINFORMATION/VICHOOSEVEHICLE.ASP

Kawasaki customer service number (949)-770-0400 then 1, then 5


2011 C14 Product Specs - http://forum.concours.org/MGalleryItem.php?id=20

2010 C14: Product Specs ABS http://www.kawasaki.com/Products/Product-Specifications.aspx?scid=25&id=442

Kawasaki Canada 2010 ABS Information (Good stuff) http://www.kawasaki.ca/model/concours-14-abs/technology:1191

2010 Feature Changes - http://forum.concours.org/index.php?topic=78874.0

2010 Brochure - http://forum.concours.org/MGalleryItem.php?id=21

Color - Candy Neptune Blue/Flat Super Black

All bikes: Date of Manufacture - on the left side of the steering neck

On board Diagnostic codes http://forum.concours.org/index.php?topic=81027.0

READ THIS FIRST!!  Interesting facts for the C14 part 2

http://forum.concours.org/index.php?topic=77332.0

Part numbers for the C14  http://forum.concours.org/index.php?topic=67677.0[/list]

WINDSHIELDS:

https://www.aeroflowscreens.com/Kawasaki/Kawasaki_AeroScreen_and_Accessories.htm

https://advrider.com/aeroflow-windscreens/

christine@aeroflowscreens.com for an accurate shipping quote and ordering assistance

http://www.zggtr.org/index.php?topic=18400 suggests the Aeroflow is exceptional, but they don't ship easily to Canada (add $50US to the price) and cost $220US for the average size one.  $331 for a windshield is steep.  It's hinted that you can get small and tall screens but I don't want a sail on the front of the bike, just a smart windshield that doesn't overly stress the mechanism, provides reasonable protection and looks good doing it.  That Aeroflow's webpage isn't secure and looks very amateur isn't convincing me to move in that direction.   No pic because they don't have one on their site.

https://motorcycleinfo.calsci.com/Concoursprod.html


California Scientific seem to have it together.  They give details on how to select the right size screen and their site is both informative and works.  It's also HTTPS secure.  The CalSci screen is nicely shape and comes in regular or super wide.  It also has a back pressure relief hole in it.  They're at $200US per screen.  I'm in between a large and an XL on their chart but I think I'd go with the large as I don't want a sail in front of me, nor do I want it stressing the mechanics.


https://www.amazon.ca/National-Cycle-V-Stream-Windshield-N20102/dp/B001KNYQ9W

The National Cycle V-Stream seems quite common.  FortNine has them too:  https://fortnine.ca/en/national-cycle-vstream-windshield   The details on it seem to suggest it's a quality thing.  From FortNine I avoid all the trying-to-buy-from-a-small-US-business headaches and shipping is included.  At $247CAD and with no customs or shipping surprises, it's also significantly cheaper than the other two.  No venting for back pressure but it's a pretty thing that claims much improved wind protection without being a sail.

If you like watching someone hit things, this'll do it for you:


MRA X-creen:
An MRA screen came with the Tiger and I'm a fan.  They aren't cheap but they work well while keeping a low profile that wouldn't stress the motor.  Good back pressure management too.

Twisted Throttle used to do Canadian orders without and faff, but now they're in USD and I'm worried about surprise costs for shipping and customs.  They're already at $325CAD before any other surprises come into play.

http://www.zggtr.org/index.php?topic=21318.0

Think the German designed MRA is expensive?  The Cooper Dawg is five hundred US ($614CAD)!
http://www.copperdawg.com/c14sportscreen.html  It's pretty, and transforms the look of the bike, but I don't know that it's much good at deflecting wind.



https://ultimatemotorcycling.com/2020/05/24/2020-kawasaki-concours-14-abs-buyers-guide-specs-price/


C-14 Physical measures and capacities

Weight incl. oil, gas, etc: 313.0 kg (690.0 pounds)
Seat height: 815 mm (32.1 inches) If adjustable, lowest setting.
Overall height: 1290 mm (50.8 inches) 4 ft 2.8 inches
Overall length: 2230 mm (87.8 inches) 7ft 3.8 inches
Overall width: 1001 mm (39.4 inches)
Wheelbase: 1519 mm (59.8 inches)
Fuel capacity: 21.95 litres (5.80 gallons)

Uhaul Van Dimensions (https://tkmotorcyclediaries.blogspot.com/2021/04/motorcycle-pick-up-on-budget.html)

Inside Dimensions: 9'6" x 5'7" x 4'8" (LxWxH) (will fit C14 easily)
Back Door Opening: 5'1-1/2" x 4'1-1/2" (WxH) Bike might be a touch too tall (windshield removal?, angle it?)
Deck Height from Ground: 2'5"


Wednesday, 30 December 2015

The Perils of Riding Someone Else's Bike





It was a cold and windy ride through the Superstition Mountains yesterday.  The route we took after taking Gaylen's advice at azride.com gets you out of the city and into the desert quickly and lets you bypass most of the urban sprawl east of Phoenix.

Our trusty mount was a Kawasaki Concours 14.  I thought it would be interesting to compare my 20 year old Concours to a younger one.

After I got myself turned around and rode ten minutes the wrong way into Phoenix, we got moving in the right direction and soon found ourselves on the Bush Highway, a twisty, bumpy highway that doesn't go anywhere - I guess that's why they named it that.


It took me some time to get used to this unfamiliar bike.  The gear shift was very close to and felt lower than the foot peg which made for awkward shifts, and the brakes felt very (dare I say over?) assisted unlike the old-school hydraulic brakes on my classic Concours.  When you applied the front brake you stopped in a hurry causing my pillion to plough into the back of me a number of times until I got really ginger with brake application.  The other off-putting part was that each time I used the front brake it was accompanied by a loud electrical whining noise like a cicada chirping.  Sometimes it would stop when I let go of the brake, sometimes it would keep whining afterwards.

I was unsure if this was a Concours 14 thing (doubtful) or an azride.com maintenance thing.  CoG didn't suggest any known brake electrical noise problems so I suspect this is a maintenance issue.  The azride.com website didn't mention what year the Concours was (unlike other rental sites which tell you it's a 2015 but show you a five year old bike), but based on the body the bike we had was a pre-2011 model.  Maybe it's starting to get cranky in its old age.


Taking a water break on the Bush Highway.  It was about 15°C, comfortable riding weather.
Up in the mountains it was 5°C when we stopped for lunch.
After owning three Kawasakis I have to say, man do they know engines.  Every one I've owned or ridden has had a jewel of an engine and this Concours was no different.  Passing through the tunnel leading out of Superior, the engine sounds echoing off the walls were spine tingling - it sounded like something straight out of MotoGP.

With that big wobbly wind screen up
high you're in a big air bubble, but it
looks ungainly.  Fortunately you can
lower the screen in town to restore
a sportier look.
The engine didn't disappoint in power either.  My Connie does the business with carburators and 300 less ccs, but what this bike does with the monsterous ZX14 1300cc lump is truly ominous.  I've ridden fast bikes before and this is one of the fastest.

On mountain roads this newer Concours felt smaller than my bike though they weigh the same.  The newer bike is much narrower and quite wasp wasted compared to the chunky older model.  That monumental engine that produces sixty more horsepower than my bike probably helps with that feeling of lightness too.

Wind-wise, I was able to ride in jeans all day into single digit Celsius temperatures without a problem.  The heat that pours off my Concours was absent on this one, though it was a cold day so it wasn't something I'd notice anyway.

The windscreen is electrically adjustable and at the top it stopped all but the top of my head getting hit by wind (I'm 6'3" and I had given up on windshields doing anything for me).  My bike gets me squarely in the shoulders and up all the time.  I didn't like how much the windscreen wobbled at speed, it looked flimsy, not to mention goofy in its highest position.  Once I was back in town I lowered it back to a less Jurassic Park look.  Goofy or not though, it made a cold ride through the mountains much more bearable.  A transformable windshield is a piece of magic, though a more solid feeling one with manual adjustment would do the job better.  I'd rather not have the added weight and complexity of the electrical one.
You can see just how ridiculously high the risers
are in this view of the Concours back in the lot.
The big googly-eyed headlights don't do
much for me either.

I've got a 32" leg and find my bike a bit cramped.  The ZG1400 was a bit more relaxed in the legs.  After a couple of hours in the saddle I had no problems.

The ergonomic problems began where azride.com made changes.  The huge risers they installed on this Concours looked like comedy units off a 1970s banana seat bike - huge bull horn things that put the grips right under my nipples, or so it felt.  They pushed me so far back that I was riding more on my tailbone - cruiser style - than I otherwise would have.  The narrow Concours 14 seat wasn't build for this contortion and it became quite uncomfortable.  It makes me wonder how the stock handle bars would have worked.  I have low risers on my old Concours and have a slight forward lean, which I prefer to a bolt upright or reclined stance.




No fancy paint, electrical wind screens or whining
electronics, but it's a solid old thing that does the
business with gusto.  I'm still wishing for the
bike bag to magically whisk my bike along.
All of the electrical noise from the brakes and fuel injection made me cross.  I don't mind electronics (I teach computer engineering), and my Ninja had EFI that was bullet proof, silent and efficient, but when the electronics are whirring away it is intrusive and just reminds you of another expensive thing that will break on you.  I don't feel that this Concours 14 gave me a fair idea of what the breed is capable of.  I'd especially like to try a newer one to get a better sense of the machine.  Maybe Kawasaki will be doing a riding tour again next year and I can try a 2016 model.

That whacky old-guy handle bar riser (and accompanying sore ass) conspired to make me long for my own bike.  It might not have the heat management, or easier reach to the ground (which I don't need anyway), or fancy moving windshield, but my old Concours feels solid, is usually the fastest thing on the road when you twist the throttle and offers a satisfying mechanical simplicity that I missed on this electronically whinny newer machine.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Naked Connie

I put the Concours up for sale for a very reasonable $1200 and immediately got a bunch of low ball offers.  After a week of talking to cheap idiots I pulled it back off Kijiji, this bike deserves better than that.  I sympathize with people who can't afford the hobby, but I never agreed to support that charity.

Jeff's recent adventures with getting an old bike to modify into a cafe racer got me thinking about what a naked Concours might look like.  The ZG1000 is based on the Ninja sport bike (one of the reasons it's so agile), so as a donor bike it has a lot going for it.  I wasn't the first to wonder...


It shows how clean  you can make the engine and wiring without all the plastic covers, not radical enough though.

That's more like it!  The logo is a bit heavy handed though.  The rear seat frame is a bolt on piece.  Shortening the bike doesn't even require cutting.  The front end on this is also what I'm aiming for.


Love the paint on the gas tank.  It makes me look forward to stripping mine.  No airbox and exposed air filters are sweet.
Stripped down but looks half finished.


Front and rear fenders are sweet.  Suspended seat and tail look a bit awkward though.
I'm interested in a single seat saddle, not so much for a bobber look, but for a historical connection.

I stripped off the front fairings, mirrors and windshield.  That has to be about twenty pounds right there.  At the back I removed the pannier frames and the rear tail light assembly.  That'll be another easy ten pounds worth of odds and ends.  By the time I'm done, this bike will be an easy 100lbs lighter.

The entire rear frame that holds the panniers, seat and rear light assembly is bolted on under the seat.  Removing it seems pretty straightforward.  With the rear frame gone, the Concours starts to look more like a streetfighter than a sport tourer.  With the back end gone it was easy to remove the rear tire and get into the shaft drive which has been leaking.


While I was stripping things down I removed the bar risers, which lowered the controls a couple of inches and further lightened the bike.  With all the plastic and back end metal work off, the bike has already undergone a dramatic diet.  People tend to pick smaller, lighter bikes to cafe, but as I'm neither small nor light, the Concours makes for a big, muscly and quiet unique power cafe racer project.


With everything in the process of a strip down, I was easily able to get the back wheel off and uncover the shaft drive axle.  It's been leaking, but some research on CoG (the Concours Owners Group, which I just re-upped my membership on) suggested that a leaking shaft drive can be the result of over filling, which it was.  I'm going to clean it all up, fill it to spec and then keep an eye on it before I go all crazy tearing it down (which looks like a hassle because you've got to heat parts to get them apart).


I'm hanging on to the Concours because of some magic moments on it.  The sound of that engine at full song is exceptional.  The thought of giving it away after all the work done grates on my nerves as well, especially to some tool who is just looking for a handout (one guy, after trying to talk it down $500 then complained about the state of the fairing - screw him).  Had I sold the Connie I'd have gone looking for a bike I could strip down and customize.  Hanging on to the Concours means I'm doing that with a low mileage bike full of new parts.  One that I'm already really familiar with.

Since I'm not depending on the Concours to be my everything bike any more it can become a blank canvas, which is what I was looking for in the first place.  A stripped down, restyled Concours isn't going to be a Concours any more, but it is going to exploit that big Ninja engine and nimble handling it already had.  Best of all, I get to hang on to those fantastic gold rims, and build up a custom around them.  Much better that than my resurrected ZG1000 going to motorcycle welfare.


Even the instrument cowl is a big, heavy old thing.  I'm aiming for an analogue speedometer and then a
microprocessor controlled LCD screen.


Don't know if I'll keep the Ironman theme, but I might, it's eye catching.



Someone somewhere might be looking for just this thing!

All that weight hanging behind the rear wheel will be gone.  The Concours always felt frisky for a big
bike, I can't imagine what it'll feel like with all that weight gone.  A custom LED tail light in in the planning.

I'm going to take a note from Jeff and see if I can sell off parts others might need for their complete
Concours in order to help pay for the bits I need for mine.


Bar riser still on to the left, the one on the right is a couple of inches lower.
With the mystical, multi-talented Tiger on hand, the Concours can take its time becoming a specialist.
It seems happier with that prospect.  So am I.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Evolution of Motorcycle Ownership and a Triumphant Return

Back in August of 2014 I wanted to take a more active role in my motorcycle maintenance.  At that point I'd been riding for just over a year on my first bike, a very dependable 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 650r.  I learned a lot on that bike, but it was a turn-key experience, the bike needed very little in the way of maintenance.   

The Ninja went from flat black to metallic blue and orange.  It was the last bike I rode that people commented on (I'd often get a thumbs up or have someone stop and chat in a parking lot about how nice the bike looked, which was satisfying as I'd been instrumental in restoring it from angry-young-man flat black).  The Ninja was, without a doubt, a good introduction to motorcycling, and was the king of the roost for my first two seasons.


As a first bike, the Ninja led the way both on the road and at the top of the blog.

I wanted my next bike to be one that ran because of my mechanical skills rather than one that didn't need them.  I found a 1994 Kawasaki Concours sitting in some long grass about twenty minutes away.  I quickly discovered that sense of satisfaction I was looking for.  The Concours was an eager patient who rewarded a winter of mechanical work with a rock solid five thousand miles of riding the next summer.

The Concours has offered some memorable rides, especially looping Georgian Bay and riding on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  For a bike that looked like it was being permanently parked with only 25k on it, suddenly it was back in the game, going places other bikes only dream of.

That busy season of long rides took its toll on the Concours though.  It isn't a spring chicken and after having spent the better part of two years parked before I got to it many of the soft parts on the bike were getting brittle.  I parked the Concours early and began winter maintenance knowing that the bearings and brakes both needed attention only to miss out on a late season warm spell at the end of November and into December.  I took that one on the nose figuring that's what happens when you ride an old bike as your daily rider.


The header on this blog for the past eighteen months, but running a twenty-two year old bike as your daily rider
makes for frustrations.  Time to be less sentimental and more rational in how I manage my stable.

That summer we were touring on the Concours I picked up a KLX250 to experience off road riding, but doubling insurance costs for a bike that I only managed to get out on a handful of times didn't feel very efficient.  That I struggled to keep up with traffic on it didn't support the way I like to ride.  Motorcycles are open and unprotected, but they are also agile and powerful enough to get out of a tight squeeze - except when they aren't.  The Concours was always there and the preferred ride, owning the road when I was on it.  When I went out with my co-rider he also loved the big red Connie, not so much the rock hard, under-powered KLX (he only ever rode on it once for less than five minutes).

Over the winter I put some money into the Concours, doing up the rims and getting new tires.  With the rims off I also did the bearings and brakes.  As everything came back together again, suddenly the carburetors weren't cooperating.  They're since being rebuilt and the bike should be back together again this weekend, but instead of always being there, suddenly the Concours wasn't.  As winter receded I could hear other bikes growling down the road, but I was grounded (again), even though I was paying insurance on two machines and longing to get back out on the road after an always too long Canadian winter.

The KLX was the first to go.  I'd never really bonded with it and, even though I always figured I'd run this blog with my most recent bike in the graphic at the top, the KLX never made it there; it never felt like the main focus of my motorcycling.  In the same week my son's never-ridden PW-80 got sold, and suddenly I had some money aside.


Ready to go with a new header, but it never took.

As days of potential riding keep ticking by and the carburetor work drags on, the Concours started to feel like an expensive anchor rather than the wings of freedom.  I had a long talk with my wife about it.  She asked why I don't unload it and get something dependable.  Keep the old XS1100 for that sense of mechanical satisfaction, but have a bike that's ready to ride.  I think sentiment was paralyzing me.  Hearing a rational point of view with some perspective really helped.
Many moons ago,
a pre-digital Triumph

With cash in an envelope I began looking around.  Before Easter we weathered an ice storm, but only two days later it was suddenly in the teens Celsius and bikes could be heard thundering down the road.  Meanwhile I was waiting for yet more parts for the Concours.  Online I was looking at sensible all purpose bikes that would fit a big guy.  Vstroms and Versys (Versi?) came and went, but they felt like a generic (they are quite common) compromise, I wasn't excited about buying one.

Since I started riding I've been on Triumph Canada's email list even though I've never come close to owning one (out of my league price-wise, no one else I know had one, no local dealer... pick your reason).  As a misguided teenager I purchased an utterly useless Triumph Spitfire, and in spite of that misery I've always had a soft spot for the brand (your adolescent brain makes your teenage experiences sparkle with emotion even when you're older, that's why we all still listen to the music from our teens).


A Tiger?  On Kijiji?  Must have
escaped from a zoo!
While trawling around on Kijiji looking at hordes of generic, look-a-like adventure bikes I came across an actual Tiger.  It was (as are all Triumphs I've mooned over) too expensive for me, but that Lucifer Orange (!) paint haunted me.

Another rare warm afternoon wafted by with the sounds of motorcycles on the road so I thought, what the hell, and emailed the owner.  He'd been sitting on the bike for the better part of two months with no calls.  He was going down to the Triumph dealer on Thursday to trade it in on a new Street Triple and knew he was going to get caned by them on the trade in price.  He emailed me back and said if I had three quarters of what he'd been asking, he'd rather sell it to me than give the dealer the satisfaction.  Suddenly this fantastic looking machine was plausible.


The garage is 100% more functional than it was last week,
100% more glamorous too!
A trip up to Ontario's West Coast and I got to meet a nice young man who was a recent UK immigrant and a nuclear operator at the Bruce Plant.  The bike was as advertised (well looked after, second owner, some minor cosmetic imperfections), and suddenly I owned a freaking 2003 Triumph Tiger 955i!

Most used bikes offer up some surprises when you first get them, and they usually aren't nice surprises.  The Ninja arrived with wonky handlebars the previous owner told me nothing about.  The XS1100 arrived with no valid ownership, something the previous owner failed to mention during the sale.  So far the Tiger has had nice surprises.  It arrived with a Triumph branded tank bag specific to the bike.  Oh, by the way, the previous owner said, the first owner put a Powercommander on it, and then he handed me the USB cable and software for it.  It had also been safetied in October, less than two hundred kilometres ago (paperwork included), so while I didn't buy it safetied, it shouldn't be difficult to do.  The bike has fifty thousand kilometres on it, but I then discovered that the first owner did two extended trips to Calgary and back (10k+ kms each time) - so even though it's got some miles on it, many of them are from long trips that produce minimal engine wear.  After giving it a clean the bike has no wonky bits under the seats or anywhere else.  I cannot wait to get riding it.



So, here I am at the beginning of a new era with my first European bike.  I've finally picked up a Triumph from the other side of the family tree (the bike and automobile manufacturing components of Triumph split in 1936), and I've got a bike I'm emotionally engaged with.  It might even be love!  Like the BMW I rented in Victoria, the controls seem to fit my hands and feet without feeling cramped and the riding position is wonderfully neutral.  When I'm in the saddle my feet are flat on the ground - just. Best of all, I don't look like a circus bear on a tricycle on it.


With the Concours officially decommissioned and awaiting (what are hopefully) the last parts it needs before being road worthy again, it's time to update the blog header:



What's next?  The Concours will be sold with only a modicum of sentiment, the Tiger will be safetied and on the road (it cost $90 a year more than the Concours to insure), and I'll enjoy having an operational, trustworthy machine made in the same place I was with lots of life left in it.  The fact that it was getting me thumbs up and one guy stopping to say what a nice bike it was when it was on the trailer on the way home doesn't hurt either.  Riding a tiger has a certain magic to it.

When I want to turn a wrench I'll work on the XS, getting it rolling again for the first time in years.  I'll get the ownership sorted on it (affidavits are required!) and eventually sell it without losing a penny, and then I'll go looking for my next project bike.  Maybe a scrambler Versys, maybe an old Interceptor, maybe something I haven't thought of yet.


Time for some unbridled Tiger enthusiasm!


Tyger Tyger, burning bright, 
In the forests of the night; 
What immortal hand or eye, 
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies. 
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain, 
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp, 
Dare its deadly terrors clasp! 

When the stars threw down their spears 
And water'd heaven with their tears: 
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright, 
In the forests of the night: 
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?





Wednesday, 15 July 2015

As Different As Different Can Be

The wall-o-carbs that blast
the Concours to warp speeds.
I'm looking to expand my riding experience so a second bike had to be as different from the Concours ZG1000 that I have as possible.  The Connie is a 999cc, sport touring heavy weight with shaft drive, full fairings and an inline four cylinder with a row of carburetors that create astonishing power.  It's a blast to ride on the road.

The KLX I rode home today is a rev-happy 250cc single cylinder bike that weighs an astonishing 370lbs less than the Concours.  Everything the Concours does well the KLX doesn't and vice-versa, which was kinda the point.

Having never ridden a fairingless bike before I was surprised at the wind blast from the very naked KLX.  It could get to 100km/hr with some judicious gearing and a willing throttle hand.  If I squeezed the Concours that hard I'd be travelling well over 100mph while vaulting over the horizon.


A very different riding experience, and I haven't even taken
it off road yet!
What else is different about the KLX?  Knobby tires offer some weird feed back.  The KLX comes with some fairly serious off-road tires which make a kind of slapping sensation on pavement.  They almost feel like whiskers, picking up seams and other details in the pavement with surprising detail.  It makes me wonder how nuanced the feel is on dirt. Once I got used to the change in feel it wasn't a problem to make full use of the 250ccs.  The KLX pulls away from traffic lights in town with aplomb.

The tallness of the KLX makes cornering nothing like the Concours.  Where the Concours (and the Ninja before it), tuck in and conquer corners in a buttoned down way the KLX feels like you're on a ladder.  Tall rims and seat, long suspension and a clear view ahead conspire to give you an unobstructed view of the road.  Again, once I developed some confidence in the bike's strange geometry managing corners, I had no trouble rolling on throttle through turns and getting things more settled on the floaty suspension.


A two Kawi garage

The skinniness of the KLX is also a shock after straddling the wide and heavy Concours.  You feel like there is nothing around you and virtually nothing under you.

Looking down, the wasp waisted KLX is barely there.  Strangely, it has a less cramped riding position in spite of it being a skinny, 370lb (!) lighter bike.  With more relaxed knees and taller bars it feels like a good fit; it's funny how such a small bike can feel so big.

I'm hoping to have the paperwork in order by the weekend then it'll be time to see how the KLX handles what it was build for.  Taking it out on some trails is imminent!