Friday, August 21, 2009


Due to the horrible weather at the last round, I was unable to get the bike out on track. The rain ended up delaying a number of events, and so priority fell with the riders and racers who had signed up for the weekend. Rain fell on both days, with lightning in the morning on Saturday, and rain and ice pellets falling so hard on Sunday afternoon that I ended up cancelling the last 2 feature races. These will have to be run on Saturday of the September round. I'll leave it up to the MRA exec to figure out that scheduling nightmare. I'll haul it out again to the next round... I'll need a combination of good weather and some luck to get out.
The last of the 900ss is on eBay right now -- from the bottom end to the frame. A real "fire sale". The bike, like all the bikes I had, was a learning experience. This machine was also memorable in that it proved to be an excellent racebike as well. I'll miss it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

exhaust and forks

Back at work today, so the past few days have seen me prep both bikes with some new items acquired... first off, the supermono now has a new front end. A set of marzocchi adjustable forks straight from Italy. These are essentially identical on the outside to the stock forks, so they bolted right in to the triple clamps, and the wheel and caliper slid right on. However these forks are adjustable for compression and rebound -- one in each fork leg. No preload, but they seem pretty good as is, with the adjustments 2 clicks out from max.

I'm a bit heavier than most (all) 125 pilots, so perhaps some heavier weight fork oil will help get my settings somewhere in the middle of the adjustment range. Going to leave as is, as there is a race this weekend and I hope to get out in one of the sessions to really test it out!

As for the 999, when I got back from the Black Hills I realized that more comfort and more noise were required of the bike. Well, the noise was there, just the wrong kind -- the dry clutch makes a real racket with the stock exhaust. To the point at which some teeny bopper girlie working at one of the parks informed me that, "there's something wrong with your bike". When I told her it was supposed to sound that way, she said it sounded like "crap".

Normally I wouldn't put much stock in the opinion of a 19 year old girl, but Mike and Don even mentioned that when I pulled up behind their cruisers, they heard the rattle of the clutch and not the exhaust. Something had to be done.

Turns out that a fellow DOCC member from la Belle Province was selling his Termi 1/2 system, including link pipe, for a fair price. So I bought it. The next step is to get a power commander installed to make sure the thing is fuelling properly. No going up 2 jet sizes for me! Compare the size of the exhaust outlets with the pic of the stock system below. The system eliminates the two separate catalytic convertors in the stock system, which should do wonders for cooling the whole thing down (as in not cooking my backside). The muffler is essentially a straight through affair -- straight baffles to the other side. It is still decently quiet, but sounds a lot better.

Finally, I was able to score some Heli bars. They are used, but the pics showed them to be in great shape. These are in transit and as soon as they arrive, I'll install them and see if there is any improvement in the comfort department. Apparently they raise the bars up 1" or so. Even a bit would help. Here is a pic of my smoked double bubble windscreen. Used it to "commute" for the first time today. Makes getting up to go to work much more exciting!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Testing again...

Took the 'mono out to my top-secret test facility last week. Was able to run it through the gears quite aggressively with no problems. A few adjustments will need to be made to the shift lever, as it is not quite in the ideal location. Bike ran pretty well with the jetting described at Thumpertalk for the CVK40 carb conversion -- 145 main, I think. I did discover though that the seat is a bit too high, with the C of G throwing me too far forward... I also can't seem to tuck behind the screen with a helmet on -- and finally, it could be contributing to the slightly nervous handling. So, I spent Friday afternoon moving the subframe down. I did allow on the lower mount brackets room for it to lowered -- new holed just needed to be drilled -- however, that contributed to... the length of the rear brake reseviour needing to be shortened; a new muffler bracket needing to be built; and a few of the electrical components mounted on the rear subframe to be moved. By yesterday PM I had the bracket completed -- I thought about making one out of aluminum, but it was too flexy, based on the material I had at hand. Some 3/4 mild steel tubing and the oxy torch created a more sturdy bracket, with some flex still inherent in the design. Today I will finish off the adjustments, and then remove and paint the bracket. While I am at it, I'll use the opportunity to put some dialectric grease in all of the electrical fittings when I put them back together.

Monday, August 3, 2009

2 posts in 1 day!

Summer holidays! Just a few pics -- the fancy-shmancy vented belt covers from Shift-Tech were mounted the day before we left on the trip. With the sidepanels off for cleaning and an oil change, this gave me a chance to take a snap. Real carbon-fibre!

As well, I got my hands on a rear brake light that also had integrated turn signals. Cleans up the back end of the bike greatly. Inspired by a few expensive licence plate relocator kits on ebay (to the tune of 109 bucks), I made my own out of some aluminum angle I had lying around. Does double duty as a shock guard to supplement the shorty hugger.

Finally, I got my hands on a muy cool Fabbri double bubble smoked windshield for 25 bones. It was shipped to FF, so I didn't get it until this past weekend. Will get a shot of that soon. More developments to come, as a new exhaust (Termi) has been sourced from Quebec for a great price, and the remainder of project comfort -- bars and seat -- seem to be in the works.

Back from the Trip

Had a great time riding with Mike and Don down to the Black Hills last week. We went the week before Sturgis, in order to miss the huge crowds and Harley Tomfoolery that usually accompanies that time of year. Despite this, traffic at times was a bit of a pain, but at other times and locations we had the (great) roads to ourselves. As well, we had no interaction with the local constabulary. Mike's idea was that it was so that the police could take the week off before Sturgis, and then EVERYONE would be on duty the following 2 weeks. Makes sense.

One of these bikes is not like the others'... we stopped the first night in Bowman, North Dakota. We had excellent results hotel-wise -- $55 divided by 3 is a pretty good deal. The restaurant next door opened at 5 am as well... on a Sunday!

One of the neat places to stop was "Cheyenne Crossing", at the end of the Spearfish Canyon run. Our first day we got to the canyon at around 11 am, so it was crowded. We went the next route the following day with less traffic, and it was a real blast. At the end, when you decide to go west to Wyoming or East to Sturgis, is a little Cafe and gift shop. It wasn't uncommon to see 20-40 bikes parked out front depending on the time of day.

Our second day we ventured into Sturgis. It seemed "busy" to me, but a lot of parts vendors weren't open yet -- so I can only imagine how many more people congregate here during bike week. We walked around and bought some souvenirs and gifts, and then had lunch at the famous Knuckle Saloon. Good food, and there is a radio station in the restaurant giving attendees information about events, and regular reminders to take it easy. Played some good music as well. On the way in, 2 vintage dirt track bikes greeted you -- a BSA and a Yamaha...
We also stopped by Mount Rushmore -- me, camera-less, will have to wait for pics from Mike and Don. We did stop on 2 occassions at Grizzly's Bar and Grill. Good food, and a great outdoor vantage point to watch the bikes go by. It's in Keystone, SD -- just 5 mins from the monument. After wearing leathers all Day, the bear is pointing to me, and saying how bad I smell. At the start of the trip, that shirt was actually white...

Our tip home was pretty epic -- we went from Belle Fourche, SD to Brandon in one day -- about 1100 km, I think. A long day in the saddle, with primarily less than inspiring roads. We were able to use the posted speed limits as just a suggestion, and our liberal interpretation and mathematical error in coverting the speed to km/h meant we made great time. We had thought of stopping in Minot, but the town was still reeling from the euphoria of the Taylor Swift concert during the state fair, so we pressed on. Along the way, there were some chances to see some great scenery.

Once home, I began the slow process of cleaning the bike. Any trip like this really does a number on a clean vehicle of any sort. Once again I am reminded how silly it is to have wheels any color than black on a long-distance bike. I'll be breaking out the WD-40 and the rags to get the brake dust off of these. The back wheel was even worse, as after day 2, I lubed the rear chain in the dark -- both the chain and the rim were liberally coated...

I also brought home some wildlife on the front of the bike, and in the intake screens. Part of the tidy-up process is not only cleaning, but making sure the air filters aren't clogged with this crap as well. Overall, I was really happy with how the Duc ran. It doesn't start as well as it should, but that I think can be adjusted out at a competent dealer. It's not yet time for a valve check and adjustment, but I think I'll do it over the winter months. It did get a bit warm trolling through traffic (104 C), but quickly cooled down when we got underway. Often, bombing along the highway, it was reading 68 degrees -- nice and cool. Just about everyone thought I was riding a bag of nails, as the dry clutch is so loud with the vented cover... time for some exhaust tweaking. As well, some heli bars are in order, as after about 3 hours, it became a bit of a tourture rack. That being said, it's fate, because I know there was no way I would have been able to ride the other Ducati down there, with the postage stamp seat, lack of instrumentation, and no windscreen. Everything happens for a reason...