Monday, May 30, 2011

Bonneville Bimble

I took the Bonneville out for what the Brits would call a bimble, a short leisurely ride to nowhere, just to make sure it would be reliable.
I stopped to take this bucolic picture.

The cows were curious so they started walking over to check me out. It reminded me of a story in Chuck Yeager's biography, when he was shot down behind enemy lines in Europe during WWII.
He learned that sometimes German snipers would hang out in the trees near a pasture, but that the cows would invariably come over to check them out, and thus give away their position. It pays to grow up on a farm...

Anyway about a minute after I took the pic, the Bonneville started acting up just as it had last year. I guess I didn't get all the rust out of the tank.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Yes, Thursday was a decent motorcycle day, and it's about time! I've been slowly getting the Bonneville back together after putting it away last year. The last time I rode it, it left me stranded at St. Mikes and had to be loaded in the truck for an ignominious ride home. At that point I was pretty well tired of working on it and parked it in the corner of the shop. Later, when it was time to drain the fuel out of the tank for winter storage I found that the left petcock wouldn't flow any fuel. Note to self; check tank for rust, check/replace petcock.

I etched the tank last week with some acid I'd used on a couple previous gas tanks, and got a gratifying amount of rust out of it. Re-mounted with new petcocks, added some fresh gas, put the battery in and two kicks later was rewarded with the welcome sound of a happy British vertical twin.

A quick test ride and it seemed to have all the power from both cylinders, brakes still worked but I didn't have a functioning brake light. A new(ish) bulb, saved from one of many old Volvo taillight sockets in the junk drawer, cured that problem. I still didn't have a brake light from the front lever though, just the rear, so I stopped in to Classic Bike to get some advise from them, and learned how to fix the front light switch. Spent some time on that, didn't resolve it, but I know what I need to do now. In any case it passed a Vermont State Inspection, so I'm legal.

On to the TNT (Thursday Night Trailride) which was the first of the season, held at Kelly O's in East Orange. This is a favored loop on the Montshire circuit, with some great hill climbs and stream crossings. Unfortunatly most of the exciting parts were still too wet to ride, but we were able to ride the main loop which is about 2.5 miles. That was enough for me since I haven't done much woods riding, and I managed to get in 5 laps with a couple rest stops in between.

Here's the parking area, Kelly's house is on the hill, we head up after the ride for barbeque, beer and bench racin'.

I truck-pooled with Neil, but I couldn't keep up with him on the trail.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Scott at OVRP

Well I just had to post this pic, lifted off of facebook, of my son Scott in action at Oakland Valley last weekend. He had a pretty good day, won his heat race and the 12 lap Vintage feature over some fast competition.

And here's one from Victory Lane

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Okinawa R&R

I got this email from Hale Irwin (not the golf pro on the Senior Tour), a customer and friend of mine. He "beat the air into submission" flying helo's during his time in the US Marine Corps.

We brought these Yamaha's in from Japan to Okinawa in the back of CH-46 Helicopters after the birds were overhauled in Tokyo:

Looks to me like he's wearing his flight helmet. Which is appropriate, 'cause he's flyin'!

Check Hale's blog out;


Thursday, May 19, 2011

YZ134....Version 3.1?

Actually, it's hard to figure which version we're looking at right now. It started out as a motocross bike. Then it was lowered and raced as a flattracker, with a 19" spool wheel on the front. We bought it in that phase, with the original 21" front wheel and brake as spare parts.

As Scott grew, we raised the suspension a little, but he still grew out of the bike, and it became a little obsolete as a flattracker, so we thought we'd try some Super Motard racing with it. I pieced together some 17" rims and hubs, sent them off to get laced up and reinstalled the front brake. It became a fun little supermoto bike. I guess you could call that phase/version 3. We raced it successfully in both supermoto and some indoor shorttrack events.

But that only lasted for a little while before we realized that we wanted to use the bike for some woods/moto riding. On went the 21" spare wheel and a proper pair of dirtbike tires, the suspension was returned to full length. Back to phase 1, but with some mods.

After that I got interested in ice riding/racing, so a spare set of wheels was obtained through ebay, and ice tires built. I tried a few different tires, and in fact I'm still working on that set-up. The engine was due for a top end, and I decided to go with an overbore kit from Eric Gorr's Forward Motion. We'll call it phase/version 4.

As you may see from previous posts, this has been the most difficult phase in terms of jetting and performance. I've managed to blow the top end several times, whereas previously the bike didn't seem to care too much about what it was doing. Riding/racing in cold temps requires much more attention to jetting, and I'm afraid I wasn't attending to the finer points as much as I should have been. Live and learn.
Anyway, after the last episode, Eric Gorr very kindly honed the cylinder for me, and sent it back with a fresh piston and gasket set, and some sage advise about proper jetting. I put it back together and decided I'd mount the S/M wheels for now, since we may want to race it in June with that set-up.