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Friday, January 23, 2015

Riding the River

This past Thursday, Fred and I took our XR100's out on the Browns River. I should preface that by mentioning that we had done some prep work last week. There had been a couple big willow trees that had fallen across the river, and we had to wait for it to freeze enough so that we could stand in/on the river and cut away the branches. At that time there were still some patches of snow on the ice, it was rideable with the XR100's but we ran out of time.

So with that work done we were prepared to try it as soon as we had the right conditions. Well, Sunday we had a thaw coupled with some rain, and the river rose about 6 or so inches and refroze. It was perfect. We didn't want to take the big bikes out yet, so we ventured out on the 100's and had a blast.

We headed north, and stopped just short of a small rocky section with open water. The river is only knee deep here.




This is a VAST snowmobile trail intersection near the river, I wanted to see how far north we were. 2 miles north of the Essex town line.



The white spots are big ice crystals, really cool effect when you put your foot down and slide through 'em.



This is as far south as we got, I've skied in these farm fields from my house. Total straight line distance was roughly 3 or so miles, but river riding distance was probably more like 5.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

2004 Honda CRF 450 R

Well now! The sale of the XL600 streettracker made it possible for me to buy this beast. And I love it. Bought it for flattrack racing and ice riding. I just had it out on the ice at Arrowhead Lake today. Super fun. I rode it for the first time last Sunday, but the rear tire went flat pretty quickly and I never really got a good feel for the tires or the bike. Today we had an oval and a road course set up, so I got to spend a lot more time on it.

I'll get some detail photos soon and post 'em up. It's staying at Fred's right now, tucked into his new/used trailer that you see behind it.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Streettracker goes south

It's out of my hands now, again. I was able to put it back together last week. I wound up painting the subframe and swing-arm with Colorrite touch up spray paint. The lights went back on with no fuss, but I need to get a new flasher for the turn signals to work. It started up after just a few kicks, and I was able to get it to idle with a half turn of the idle air screw.

On Tuesday I got to deliver it down to Scott in Brooklyn. He'll do some fine tuning and ride it around a little, and eventually put it up for sale.






On the Ferry to New York.

Monday, June 9, 2014

XL/XR600 'Tracker

I'm currently recovering from an injury sustained while riding in the woods last week. I fell, hurt my arm. Now I don't have the arm strength required to ride in the woods, so this Sunday instead of riding, I wanted to make some progress on the streettracker project.

The carbs have been cleaned and await re-installation. The exhaust has been sanded and painted. The engine has been detailed a little. The frame was giving me pause. I wanted to paint it, but I really didn't want to pull the engine to do that, even though it's really only a few more nuts and bolts to deal with. It could be a lot of work and potential trouble for not much gain. I decided to put that decision off while I mount some new rubber and clean the wheels.

Having pulled the rear wheel, it was no great amount of work to also pull the swingarm, which would give me better access to the rear of the engine and frame for cleaning.

I got the old Carlisle DT tire off the rear wheel easily enough, then proceeded to pinch two tubes trying to mount the new Maxxis DT tire. I chose the Maxxis because the tread pattern is more suitable for the street than the Dunlop/Goodyear DT tire. The Dunlop/Goodyear tread pattern is symmetrical, but it has a center line void created by the tread blocks that makes it wander over paved road. The Maxxis tread pattern covers the center of the tire. The Maxxis tire is a little tougher to mount, the carcass of the tire is considerably stiffer than the Dunlop, so I was leaning on the tire irons a little more, and I pinched the tubes.




I think I've decided to paint the lower sub-frame and swingarm. I don't want to get into a full restoration, but I think that touching up the worn paint will make the bike presentable without losing some of the racing cred that this bike has.

Monday, June 2, 2014

1976 Triumph T140 Bonneville

Well now. This Spring I decided to get the Bonneville back on the road. I've been meaning to do this for a couple years, but lacked the inspiration and enthusiasm to actually lift a finger to the job. I'd done a lot of tinkering with it in the past, but failed to end up with a reliable bike, and I just ran out of patience with it and moved (with some nagging pangs of guilt) on.

Due to a recent influx of cash on my Volvo Awards Visa card, I decided it was time to release the guilt with the help of the guys down the road at Classic Bike Exchange. Actually, I started the releasing process by having Charlie spend an hour or so trying to figure out the wiring. He got it to the point that we had spark, and in fact got it running, which was very encouraging. Only problem was, the next time I tried to start it, it wouldn't stay running long enough to get down the driveway. We had identified a problem with the positive ground, but didn't know what the solution was.

It was at this point that Charlie encouraged (begged?) me to borrow his trailer and get the beast down to CBE to have them replace the wiring harness, which clearly needed to be done. I dropped it off, got some evaluation and mental therapy time with one of their councilors, and left it in their care for a week. The guys at CBE are willing to work on bikes at their hourly rate, but they also have a policy of allowing customers to use their shop and work on their bikes at a very reasonable shop rate, with some expert consultation when needed. So once they had the harness installed, they were pretty confident that the bike would be reliable and that I could take over. So I went down there and spent some quality time installing turn signals and learning the British way with electrical connections.

The total operation was a success, and I was able to ride it out of the shop with a current State Inspection sticker.




I've done a couple rides on it now, and I'm optimistic that it will in fact be a reliable daily ride!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

What a great F*ing Day!

Holy shit whata great fucking day.
Matt plowed a nice sized oval and road course on Arrowhead Lake, ostensibly to test his new tire, but he didn't mind sharing it with us. I picked up Fred and we met up with Rees, Aaron, Charlie and Randy and proceeded to tear around both the tracks to our hearts content. The ice was great, 'cause it was still freakishly cold out, but it was also pretty rough because we were crossing over some old car tracks that Matt's plow couldn't clean. So it was pretty hard work to go fast and be smooth, but it was still so much fun to be riding on another crystal clear winter/spring day.
There were lot's of great little episodes of epic slides and tank slappers and near crashes going on. At one point we were joined by a snowmobiler on the road course, who thought he'd be able to keep up with the bikes. He couldn't.

Fred and Aaron chatting. Charlie never took his helmet off.

L to  R, Charlie, Rees, some kinda weird Miltonian that just wanted to hang with us, and Randy.
Anyway, after riding for a few hours, Fred suggested that we go back to his place and ride the Browns River, which happens to be in his back yard. He had walked down to it yesterday and deemed it to be rideable. For many years now, he and Rees have been telling me tales of how epic that ride is,  and now seemed to be the time to see if it was all true. Well, OMf*ingG were they right. This was one of the coolest things I've ever experienced on a motorcycle. This is a rather small and narrow river, as rivers go, with high banks that often conceal what's around the bend, so flying along on the motorcycles, you get the full range of pucker factor from entering a turn in 5th gear or 2nd gear and not knowing exactly what's coming. One of the most exhilarating things I've ever done.
We ran a few sections near Fred's farm several times in both directions, then we went as far south as we could go until we ran into some open pools, turned around and went north for several miles until we didn't dare go much further, turned around and ripped at high speed back to Fred's. Everyone was so amped up, we had to go inside and watch the GoPro footage immediately, augmented with some beers.

Aaron, Rees, Fred and Randy....and my KTM.

Same crew, with Charlie joining.

There were many bridges to duck under.

Group photo.

Group photo 2


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Black Hole Sun


This is the shorter road course that we plowed last weekend. Rees is leading with the GoPro set-up.


video