Archives

All posts for the month April, 2015

Last year, I wrote about getting my lean back. This year, it is about how it gets better.

It’s spring, and from the looks of things, it’s the first, second, third, and many other seasons for riders. It’s the first few seasons that I’m thinking of. Bikes are approached with wonderment, desire, and maybe a bit of fear or concern. Am I going to be able to ride well? So many long-term riders seem to be able to start and stop riding with such ease, will I ever be one of them? Will riding ever come naturally (after a break)?

My first season was short – a month and a half. Then winter break for a month or so. Getting back on was a bit touchy. I had to basically teach myself to ride again. My head got it, but my body didn’t, and that resulted in a lot of confusing signals. It was work.

My next season was my first full one, and it was good. Coming back after winter break was easier, but I still needed some time to equilibrate. My third season was similar – I needed time to get back on my horse, and then my horse decided to die, which caused all sorts of other issues. Namely, the need for a spare horse. Which I then had to acclimate to. The next winter brought a two-and-a-half-month break and a move back to the US. Different land, different rules, different roads. Oof, it was really a challenge to come back. I had lost my lean. I had lost a lot of things. But slowly, it all came back.

This winter’s break was different for some reason. It was longer – three months. I changed my horse up again by swapping out the suspension for some better-fitting kit. I didn’t take a BRC this year. I’d spent the three months dealing with a back injury. I still faced a few jitters about getting back on. Was it going to be iffy again this year?

That’s what I’m here to tell you. It got better. Not just a bit better, but way better. This year, when I hopped on my bike, my body responded without my brain needing to tell it what to do. I had my lean back from the get-go. The onset of riding is better this year, because finally, my body completely gets it. It gets it well enough not to forget it. I was surprised, I admit. My brain needs to do a little catching up, but doggone, my body… So good. So many things that I notice myself doing right, without even considering the situation consciously. Trusting myself is good. Knowing that I finally have the muscle memory down pat is really good.

So if it’s your first or second spring back from break and you’re not 100% sure of yourself, don’t worry. It gets better every time.

This damned 11mm Brembo brake cylinder…..

It seized up again. This time, I knew what was happening, so I was able to address it before it totally went nuts. I was able to recover the white sleeve and do the repair to the main bore without burning through one of my precious and rare rebuild kits.

The critical element is a PTFE sleeve that is 18mm long, 2.5mm wall thickness, 16mm outer diameter, and 11mm inner bore.

Given an endless supply of white sleeves, one could conceivably simply continue to clean out the poorly-designed master cylinder bore quite a few times before it was completely beyond salvage.

I have read many complaints about how difficult it is to remove the carb from the Super Sherpa. Let me help you with that.

To begin with, lift or remove the fuel tank so that you have some room to work. Then remove the rear throttle cable, the front throttle cable, and then the choke cable. Remove most of the hoses from the carb. This will make it easier to remove.

IMG_2181.JPG

Loosen the two hose clamps that hold the intake boots in place and push the rear one to the back of the boot near the airbox.

IMG_2182.JPG

Procure a large flat-bladed screwdriver and insert it into the rear boot, prying it backwards and off of the carb funnel. Push the boot to the middle of the carb funnel.

IMG_2183.JPG

IMG_2184.JPG

Remove the screwdriver and reinsert it from the rear. Lever the boot over the far side of the carb funnel and push the carb toward you.

IMG_2186.JPG

IMG_2187.JPG

The carb will free itself neatly and pop out of the front boot.

IMG_2188.JPG

Pull the carb out of the bike and you are home free. Installation is the reverse of removal.

Every summer, some rider crashes without gear and gets shredded. Pictures get posted. Stories get told. Wounds begin to heal.

I cannot imagine not wearing all of my gear when I get on one of my bikes. I mean, who wouldn’t want to look this cute?

IMG_2134.JPG

I admit, wearing leathers to work is fun(ny). What few other riders there are see me and some shake their heads, others ooooh and aaaaah and tweak me for it, knowing that they would do the same if they actually rode to work. Of course, they probably wouldn’t look like a giant pink and white Peep. The non-riders pretty much scatter, which I don’t get, because I’m hardly intimidating. But maybe it’s not me. Maybe it’s the aggression that leathers in general signify in American culture. Really, though. Pink and white leathers are not aggressive. I promise. It’s only a motorcycle. It’s not going to hurt you as long as it’s off.

Truth is, I have lots of nice, well-fitting, decent-looking gear. The suit above is my riding-while-beautiful suit. It’s not the heaviest-duty suit I own, but it’s a tonne more protection than jeans and a tshirt. It also helps to have nice big side boxes to pack work clothes and shoes into and so on. If you’re a new rider on a little CBR with only a backpack, your options are more limited. And the looks I get when I roll into work in leathers. You’d think aliens had landed. Imagine being a new rider, showing up looking like Bibendum or SpiderMan, and having to answer for it. I’m old enough to just look down my nose over my glasses and say “I like looking this good” and mean it. But I’d hate to go through my first year of riding again and have to answer all those questions again. Especially as a teenager.

No one should ever be ashamed of gearing up or how they look with gear on. It’s a badge, kind of like a scar that you can take off. A reminder to yourself that you want to always be able to take your scars off at will, that none will be permanent. At least, none of the riding scars.

So don’t you want to look cute, too? Go ATTGATT. Wear your leathers. Ride while beautiful.