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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Motorcycles' LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, June 7th, 2016
9:09 am
Sunday, March 20th, 2016
2:34 am
The First Cross-Country Motorcycle Ride
Retracing the First, Forgotten Motorcycle Ride Across America | Atlas Obscura -- [George Wyman took 50 days to get from San Francisco to New York in 1903.]
Tuesday, December 15th, 2015
8:28 am
Thursday, November 19th, 2015
6:36 pm
Knowing how it's supposed to work, is half the battle
We got a call from a relative whose son is using a 49cc Chinese scooter at college. It has issues. Will we work on it? We said "no", so he rented a U-Haul and showed up here when neither of us were home, and now it's in our garage.

The scooter is labeled "Ice Bear" and has around 900 miles. Problems:

1. It drives funny.
2. It won't start.

They have been kick starting it since new; the electric start worked at the dealer but hasn't worked since. And now it won't even kick start.

The first reason we found that it drives funny is because the nut that holds the rear wheel to the axle is missing. We were able to source an appropriate nut at the local hardware. Later, we discovered that the nut that holds the swing arm bolt in place was also missing. Once again, hardware store to rescue.

The reason the electric start doesn't work is because there is an interlock. It won't fire unless you have the brake on. With the brake on, the starter runs just fine. We discovered this by studying the wiring diagram; the starter circuit runs through a switch labeled "stop light".

But even with the starter cranking, it had no spark.

The owner's father suggested that he could buy a new carburetor. But if there's no spark, that's not a carb issue.

According to google, the common cause of no spark in these generic Chinese scooters is a bad CDI unit. A replacement CDI is $5.12 on Amazon, with free shipping as an add-on item with Prime. I had other things to order with it, so we got it in two days.

Still no spark.

But guess what? If you turn the engine stop switch to "OFF", it fires right up. I don't know if this is poor English language skills or poor assembly, but it's true. It runs pretty well now.

We considered drilling the bolts and adding a cotter pin to keep those two nuts from falling off again, but in the end we just lock-tited them.

I found this constellation of problems comical so I decided to share them here. :-)

I have heard many tales of these things being terrible POS. I wonder how many of the failures are this simple, but so far beyond the comprehension of the owners, that they don't get fixed? Instead they just get made worse by the owners doing things like attempting to install a carb they don't need, and botching the job. I wonder how much of the Chinese-scooter=POS reputation, is just the demographic that buys them, and the fact that it doesn't take many hours doing diagnostics at shop rate, to spend more than a new one would cost. If the scooter was identical yet cost twice as much, would that move it out of the POS category by making it worth the cost to fix it?
Thursday, October 22nd, 2015
12:35 pm
For anyone who needs a dose of something positive today...


You can fast forward to 0:38- before that, she's just sitting at the light.

EDIT: There's an update on how he's doing.
Saturday, May 30th, 2015
12:21 am
Is this thing on? Tire advice.
So it's been a solid 5 years since I've posted on here...I've grown up (somewhat) and now ride a metric cruiser that I am ready for its first new rear tire. The Yamaha dealer that I bought it from and had a decades long relationship with went out of business, leaving me to seek out a new place to get my tires from.

I tried the nearest Yamaha dealer via phone and in person visit and no one could give me a solid idea on what tire they had, price and cost of installation. I talked to 3 people and got three answers ranging from great price to horrible price to "I don't know." Between the scathing yelp reviews and being left on hold/to wait in person way too long and my impressions of these hacks I'd say it's safe to say I won't be getting my tire there.

I have google and yelp, but I'd prefer to hear from some real folks where I can go to get a tire mounted where they won't ruin my bike or my wallet. I'd be fine with traveling to most places in MA/NH and would love to find a place that will mount a tire you didn't buy from them for a 60% markup without much feet dragging. The tire I need is listed at some dealers for 260 (plus install) and can be found online for 170.00

Could any of you surviving Boston/metrowest/NH motorcyclists refer me to a shop that won't burn me?

Thursday, May 28th, 2015
6:19 pm
New Bike - Good Deal or Not???
Hello everyone,

I'm new to the community and wanted to get your opinion on a bike I just bought. Here is a picture:

I found it on http://motorcycletradingpost.com I paid the guy 8 grand for it. A little about the bike. Memphis Shade windshield (removable), Willie and Max saddle bags, passenger backrest with luggage rack, and some chrome pieces that complement the bike. Bike has custom Vance and Hines exhaust and comes with stock exhaust as well. 12,000 miles.

A good deal or did I get ripped off???
Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015
8:40 am
Bad week to be a motorcycle rider...

Had the worst week, Motorcycle Near misses, getting cut off, near rear ended, caught a road rage, Told a dangerous trucker to pull his head in, had a motorcycle death on my road, bike started cutting out A LOT. I labeled a lot of road users Dicks in this vid
Also lost a very special pet at the beginning of the week RIP lil man x :(

SO this is how I tried to turn a bad week into a happy week. So Suck my ball-less balls bad week cause -I'm going to bring the goooood times & memories with my new ride who I've named Finn!

Current Mood: rejuvenated
Tuesday, January 20th, 2015
10:47 pm
Beat drums! Beat drums!
Okay, that's pretty good.

Although Animal yelling "WIPEOUT! WIPEOUT!" shouldn't be the first thing that comes to mind.
Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014
10:56 pm
300hp Kawa Ninja H2R
Kawasaki’s Insane 300-HP Superbike Is Not for the Weak or Stupid | Wired.com -- [No one needs a 300-horsepower motorcycle. And we doubt anyone was asking for one. But that doesn’t mean we’re unhappy Kawasaki took on the challenge of creating one, giving us the Ninja H2R.]

Friday, November 28th, 2014
5:52 pm
Welcome to Chernobyl Motorworks- our deals are HOT!
Okay, this pretty much cements my decision to get a dual-sport as a second bike next year. This looks like way too much fun. I'm actually impressed at his choice of machine, there- the R1200GS is *not* a small bike.


Desolation from Danny Kush on Vimeo.

Or if you'd rather avoid dirt altogether- you know, like those wussy run-off areas on the sides of racetracks, and whatnot, there's the Macau race circuit.


ETA: Click the links, not the embedded video- there's been some weirdness getting the videos to display properly.
Tuesday, November 11th, 2014
7:27 pm


Pair'a wrecking balls on that guy, for damn sure.

Current Mood: impressed
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
12:03 pm
Messing about on dirt bikes
Here is a little silly video I made of a recent trip to the infamous CREB tack in Northern Queensland Australia.

Monday, October 20th, 2014
3:55 pm
Female and Motorcycle
What do you think about girls on a motorcycles?
There are many anecdotes about the woman driving car. But about them on motorcycles I've not heard ;)
Monday, October 6th, 2014
7:12 am
Question for the female riders-

My girlfriend is looking at getting her own bike, and has started the process of gear shopping. She has super-narrow feet, so finding a pair of boots that will fit properly is something she's currently looking at. Do any of y'all have recommendations on boots that have a good fit for narrow feet?

Friday, October 3rd, 2014
6:37 pm
How much horsepower does it make on the "dino?"
I have seen dozens of high-speed motorcycling videos- on tracks, on the street, and sometimes running from the cops, but NONE have ever had the rider doing this.

That needs to change.

Monday, September 22nd, 2014
12:01 pm
Aerostich - taking another shot
Yesterday we attended All Clubs Day up in Stockbridge and got caught in a colossal downpour on the way home. As the cold water trickled down my crotch I was reminded of my old Aerostich. Which worked great in so many ways, and I always blamed the 'stich crotch problems on the terrible fit of the suit that I bought back in the days when they only had men's sizing.

When they announced women's sizes, two years ago, I came *this* close to getting another one. They did not have women's tall sizes. But they sent me a suit in a standard women's size, and it fit well enough that a truly good fit seemed to be within striking distance, with their supposedly-available alterations. I ordered a suit in a women's size 12 with two inches added to the arms and legs, a back ellipse, and forward rotated arms. They accepted the order. But when the time came to make the suit, they called me back and said that forward rotated arms were not available. Yet. In the end I decided to cancel my order and wait for forward rotated arms. I checked back last year and they still didn't have the forward rotated arms for the women's size suits, but they were still optimistic that they might get it. Someday. So I waited.

Fast forward to yesterday. I went to their site to take another look, and discovered that for 2014 they have released an updated version of the Roadcrafter, the R3. And this new suit comes in women's long sizes! It also claims to be truly waterproof. Interestingly, it is unlined. It's made of a gore-tex coated 500 denier cordura, and all the seams are taped. They are using some new tech waterproof zippers. The armor is held in with velcro instead of going into pockets. I hunted up a few reviews on the forums and they are favorable. They say the suit slides on easily even with the velcroed armor, and that the armor is more adjustable this way, making the suit more comfortable. I never liked that black lining material in my old suit; just the slightest bit of sweat glued it to my skin. One reviewer mentioned having the same problem with the old suit lining, and that they liked this new unlined suit better. Apparently Aerostich got slammed with orders for this new suit and had immense backlogs earlier in the season, so there were a lot of complaints about that. But the people who have gotten it seem to like it.

And if it's a size 12 Long, maybe it will just fit without fooling around with $300 worth of customizations. Maybe I won't need the forward rotated sleeves.

So today I ordered a suit in a standard 12 Long, to try on. It'll be a couple months, but I'll report back when it gets here.
Sunday, September 14th, 2014
11:57 am
Bolts, boots, and bits
Gotta love that reaction when you walk into the office and immediately drop your pants...

Because they're your motorcycle pants, and your jeans are on underneath. Hey, my Fridays aren't *that* casual.

Backstory: Last February, I got the first motorcycle I fell in love with, a 2001 Speed Triple at an estate sale in non-running condition. I changed/added fluids, put in a new battery, mirrors, and blinkers, removed the PCIII the previous owner had installed, and got it running. At almost 39K miles, she's still running strong. My work schedule is starting to free up, so it looks like she'll be getting some overdue maintenance in the upcoming months.

Next weekend: New rear tire (Michelin Pilot Road 3)- the existing Shinko is pretty squared off and getting close to the wear bars (it had a lot of miles on it when I got the bike.

Mid-October: EFI adjustment/dyno tune. There's a local shop recommended by some of the local riders on TriumphRat.net for this purpose. Unfortunately, the adjustments the P.O made to the EFI when he hooked up the PCIII were not undone when it was removed- it's running WAY rich- like, 28MPG highway rich, and you can smell the gas when I'm on the throttle.

Early November:
* Front suspension rebuild. The fork seals aren't blatantly leaking, but the dust covers are falling apart, and this is the sort of problem I'd like to preempt.
* Front brake & master cylinder replacement. A neighbor of mine gave me a set of front calipers from a 1050, and I'd like to replace the master cylinder as well to improve the wooden feeling of the stock brakes. Between the hills, traffic, and cold/wet weather, that's something I'd like to improve.
*The local shop has the stock windscreens still available. Parts for this generation of bike are getting hard to find, so that's pretty nice.
*Replace front tire (Shinko) with Pilot Road 3 to match new rear.

In addition, it looks like my boots are starting to lose their battle with entropy. Does anyone have any recommendations for replacements? I'm not looking to break the bank on a $500 set of Dainese, I'm just looking for a good sport riding boot. I'd been looking at the Sidi Cobras or the Cortech Latigos. Suggestions or experience?

Washington has some beautiful roads, so I'll have video up of some local riding soon. And if there's been an added bonus to motorcycle commuting to work, it's that I can use the HOV lane and cut down on my travel time. I hope everyone else is having fun.

Current Mood: productive
Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
12:21 pm
Fun stuff
Just some pictures of a 2 day outback Australia ride I did this last weekend.

more hereCollapse )
Sunday, August 24th, 2014
6:24 pm
Pressure measuring tire valve caps
Last year I had a tire pop off the rear wheel on a turn, and since the tire checked out fine afterwards, I blamed low pressure and the fact that I did not check it before the ride.
As a result I started checking tire pressure regularly, on my hands a knees before the morning ride into work or a pleasant weekend ride. But I am getting a bit tired of black greasy fingers on regular basis.
On my car I had pressure-measuring valve caps for years now without any problems. But it appears that all the auto stores in my area stopped carrying these some time in the last few years.

Online I found a USA manufacturer that makes these in a variety of pressure monitoring rangers:
Has anyone used these (or ones like these) on bikes to monitor pressure? Any feedback?
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