Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Maiden Voyage 2014

 Sunday night I decided it was time to slap the sportster back together enough to enjoy it a bit during this warm weather. It was really just a matter of finishing up some wiring and putting exhaust, fuel tank and a few other pieces back on. A quick look in the oil tank revealed it was empty. I have no idea where the oil went. I suspect gremlins.
 Monday morning I decided it was time to take it for a quick shake down run. I ran up the street and topped off the fuel tank. I then went around the "block",  about a five mile ride. I don't wear a helmet for these type of rides just so I can listen to things and get a feel for any potential problems. Part of this ride is slow, part is open and fast and part is bumpy. When I got to the bumpy part I heard something that didn't sound right from the front end. As I glanced down I saw this:

 Hmmm...the top caliper bolt is loose and the bottom bolt is missing. Not good. I nursed the bike home and started looking in the shop for the bolt. Obviously I never tightened them but I didn't know if I had even installed the bottom one or if it was on the road somewhere. The whole time I was thinking what a dumbass I was for heading out without checking the bike over better. My head was all wrapped around the big bore kit install and not the rest of the bike.
 The bolt isn't in the shop where I would have expected it to be. Its a special shoulder bolt so no sportster bike ride today if I can't find it. I hopped on the Rat Turd and retraced my path. About three quarters of the way around the "block" I saw something that wasn't a stick, car dropping or part of a squashed squirrel. I pulled over and sure enough there was my bolt!

 When I got home I reinstalled the bolt and took another test ride. The front brake works now. For a motorcycle they suck in comparison to any other bike. I've been on skateboards that scrubbed off speed faster. Oh well, brakes are still on the to-do list.
  A ride later that day revealed a few more loose bolts. I think I got em all tight now. I'm riding the bike to work today. It feels good to be back into a pattern that involves riding every day.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Top Ten List-Yesterdays Ride

Top Ten things that tickled my senses on yesterdays ride.

10- The warm air blowing up my pants legs.
09- The sharp sting of a large bug or whatever hitting me in the shoulder.
08- The sound of my carb pods roaring when the engine was wrung out.
07- The mild butt burn you get from sitting in the saddle for a whole tank of fuel.
06- The cool sensation from driving through an irrigation sprinkler system thats
       spraying on the road.
05- Skunk!
04- The pinching from a beard thats caught in a chin strap.
03- The way every hair on my arms tingles when I stop and get off the bike.
02- The heightened awareness and concentration when traveling through deer
       country at night.
01- The way the cool damp night air finds it way through every seam or opening in
       my riding gear.

 The last two weeks of work have been spraying lawns. That means I'm wearing long sleeves and rubber boots and gloves as I watch others ride by on bikes. It felt good to get out on a nice day. It didn't matter what I was riding, just that I was out there.
 I'm gonna ride the bike in to work today. Ya it's sunday but I want to get caught up. Enjoy the rest of your Memorial Day weekend and don't forget why we're celebrating it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Warm and Dry

 Spring has finally arrived. We are in a pattern of warm mornings in the 50's with day time highs in the 70's. Niiiiice! Too bad I don't have a bike that is actually road worthy.

 The sportster is still not put together from this winters tear down. I'm thinking I'll just slap it back together and finish it up next winter.

 The rat turd is getting new steering neck bearings. I actually had new ones here that I purchased when I bought the bike. I figured a 30 year old bike would probably need them. I had also bought and replaced the wheel bearings but somehow this project was forgotten. I'm hoping to finish it up tonight and ride to work tomorrow.

 The poor old BSA is still out in the shed with the snow blowers. I really need to do something about that. Hey, maybe this is the year I get it back on the street!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Been Busy

 I'm typing this in a hurry because I have to go to work. I'll be close to thirty hours overtime this week and that means I haven't spent much time fixin bikes. The Sportster is still in my shop being put together from this winters tear down. I did manage to wire in the voltage regulator but thats about it. The Rat Turd has a bad case of sticky neck bearings. The BSA still doesn't run but this is the year I get it...oh nevermind. I doubt I'll get around to fixin it this year.

 So I'm at work spraying lawns. You know, getting rid of those unsightly dandelions. I knock on this door to ask the owner about the property line. She comes to the door wearing a motorcycle type vest with a pin of a bike on it. She is also holding a motorcycle helmet. We talk about he lawn and bash on the Trugreen fella that she fired. I finally ask her what she rides. She replies "a john deere 318".
 A lot of things went through my head in a short period of time. Maybe she wears the helmet when she's cutting grass? Hey I don't know, I just met the old gal. Obviously her lawn is important to her to have answered the question that way while holding a helmet.
 Ya ya, JD 318.Nice little mower. No I meant what do you ride when you are wearing the helmet? (please don't say the lawn mower. please don't say the lawn mower.please don't say the lawn mower.) She replies "honda silverwing".
 I was relieved to hear that. We talked for a minute and as it turns out she was heading to a benefit and the helmet was a donation. They were raising money for a friend with cancer. They had nice weather for it and I wish her friend well.
 Gotta go, burning daylight.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Workshop Wednesday-Stud Removal

 It was raining monday and that means I was working in the shop. We have a lot of customer repair work so I spent the day fixin stuff.  Greg handles the small engine repair so I always ask him where he needs help. The first card he gave me was for a chainsaw. The customer complaint was "runs ok at full speed but not low speed and won't idle".
 I don't know how other mechanics sort things out in their head and approach problems like this. What I do is make an initial guess, look at that and if I'm right I fix it. If I'm wrong I start from the beginning and kinda follow a flow chart in my head till I come up with an answer. This system has worked pretty well. When I'm right it saves a lot of time and money. When I'm wrong I only lose the couple of minutes it took to check out my initial guess. Either way I'm always looking out for other potential problems with the equipment as I'm handling it.
 My guess on this saw was a loose carb or damaged intake boot. When I pulled the top cover I discovered the carb was in fact loose. No carb boot on this one. Hey, I don't know the inside of every piece of crap chainsaw ever made.

 The top right intake bolt is broken. The stud is in the cylinder and won't back out with a pick. I was thinking about drilling the stud and using an easy-out. That can be a pain so Al suggested just welding a nut to the stud and wrenching it out.

 A little prep work is in order. The rag is soaked with water to protect the fuel tank and carb from welding sparks.

 I just kept kinda spot welding on top of the broken stud until I had built up a sort of extension of the stud.

 I then welded a nut on to the built up stud. I let it cool for a minute and backed the stud out.
Success! This sure beats some high pressure desk job or assembly line work.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Top Ten List-Painting

Top Ten reasons I suck at painting.

#10...My idea of prep work is making sure I have a cool beverage at the ready.
#9...I have no clean, dust free area for painting.
#8...I hate sanding.
#7...I have artistic ideas but no skills to back them up.
#6...I don't like waiting for stuff to dry.
#5...Prep work sucks
#4...I got nothin for number four.
#3...Wet sanding? I just painted it now I'm gonna scratch it all up?
#2...Why apply two thins coats when you can lay down one thick coat in half the time?

And the #1 reason I suck at painting...Even if I do a good job, I can't resist touching it to see of its dry yet! (and it never is)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Random Rat

 If you know me or follow this blog then you know I like the bikes that have been highly modified by their owners. The kind of modification I'm talking about isn't about bolting on mail order parts. Its making it functional with whatever you got or is available at the time of the mod. Throw in some imagination, black paint and a bit of Mad Max and you've got a rat.

 This one was spotted May 4th in Leland, Wi at the Slimey Crud Run. Because my memory sucks, we'll refer to the owner as Dude from Baraboo. The bike is an '81 Yamaha XS850.

 I like the tractor exhaust with rain flapper valves on the ends of the pipes. For me, this more than anything else on the bike says the owner was committed to making this thing his own. It inspires me to do something with the exhaust on the rat turd.

 If I remember the story correctly the lights were purchased at Fleet Farm when the main headlight went out one day.

I like the fuel level sight tube and actually saw three bikes that day with something similar. If you lose the gas cap, one is available at every hardware store in the country.

 I didn't zoom in on it but if you look close at the seat you will see that its just a plastic pan with ribs. This totally makes my tractor seat look like a La Z Boy recliner.
 I like this bike. I guess it would be characterized as a survival rat. I think he said he has $500 into the bike plus the parts he added and claims it runs great.
 Good job Dude from Baraboo.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Ride Day

 Its sunny and 42 degrees outside with clear weather in the forecast. You know what that means...I'm going for a ride! So far this spring I've been able to do a couple little runs but those weren't much. Today is the Slimey Crud Run so at least I know I'll have 80-100 miles each way depending on how I end up getting there plus get to see a bunch of bikes. A sunny day like this will probably draw a few thousand mounts.

I'm all packed. I have a bottle of ibuprofen and a mountain dew. Can't think of anything else I need.
 Now get off your internet device and go for a ride!