Monday, August 23, 2010


Took the ex out to the test facility yesterday.  No definitive proof that what I'd done to the electronics  since the last race weekend had solved the problem, so with hope in my heart I headed South with the bike on the trailer.  I'd know if I'd fixed the issues within about 10 seconds of running the bike in.  Up and down the runway once to warm it up.  Come around for the first WFO run and.... whoa! (relatively speaking) -- she goes!  The aggravating thing about this little-used runway is the layer of gravel on the tarmac.  It got to the point where on the third accelleration test, the rear wheel was spinning up.  And no FI light coming on and reverting the bike into "limp" mode.  It runs as it shoud.

I also did my best to bed in the new brake pads, and suffice to say, it also stops quite well.  I did a panic stop, locking up the front and compressing the forks fully in order to ensure the front fairing did not hit the front fender on full compression.  I even found a relatively clean stretch of pavement to practice a few starts... hmm... getting a bit ahead of myself here!

So, aside from installing the Muzzy (on its way according to an email I got today), the tires, and the bellypan, the bike is race ready.  All that's left is adjusting and tweaking some of the details, and perhaps fine-tuning the suspension at the back end.

This guy's coming for a visit in a few days...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Consolidation (sic?)

For simplicity's sake, I've decided to combine all of my blogs back into this one.  The supermono one is the most often visited, although lately, the least often updated.  So, if you're here for ex650 news, great; if its RC51 info your after, well, look elsewhere.

New Bike:  this is the 3rd bike in a year for me.  From a 119 hp Italian exotic, to a rarer 130hp Japanese Superbike homologation special to.... wait for it.... a 20 hp supermoto.  What the heck???  The reality is, both the RC51 and the 999 were ridden very little.  I took meticulous care of them, putting in blood, sweat, tears and money, and loving life with them only when I was on a deserted highway breaking the speed limit... as in go to jail breaking the speed limit.  I never put anyone other than myself at risk, and that would only be from an unforseen circumstance like a stoopid deer coming in for a close-up or something.  I was at the point where I could likely calculate the cost per ride on the honda based on how little I was actually riding it.  No big deal if we had bike insurance like the Brits or the Yanks... based on the information I've read, I could plate several bikes for less than what I am paying for one in Canada -- I'm nearly 40, no accidents, no tickets, no claims, etc, etc.  Not the case here -- $1500 a year (for a maybe 5 month season) for the Honda.  Yikes!  It was not a bike to hop on and pop down to the shops for errands.  It was not happy tootling along at 30 mph in traffic.  Again, only at home doing extra-legal speeds, and even our highways leave a lot to be desired in terms of curves and surface integrity.
Enter the supermoto... Transcanada had a 2009 KLX250SF languishing on the floor for over a year.  Gathering dust, the battery was even dead.  Took it out for a spin in town and breifly on the highway, and had a smile on my face the whole time.  60mph feels like 100, and it is so light and fun, that even respecting the under 4000 rpm break in limit, it was a riot.  Within 5 minutes the chicken strips on the tires on the Honda were gone on the Kawi.  It also gets 70 mpg, and costs $500/year less to insure.  Still far too expensive, but at least I can actually ride it regularly -- getting on a 1000 sportbike is an "event" -- getting on this is a quick turn of the key (after pulling the choke) let it get warm, and then whoo hoo!!!  20hp has never been so fun.  A few of my riding buddies think I'm nuts, but I can't wait until it gets some mileage under its belt so I can really let it rip and unleash the ponies!!!  250cc... that's a small chocolate milk, kiddies!

The 650: 

Magura radial master and 1.4 turn throttle.
Race fuel cap -- key will stay in the ingnition where it belongs!

Finally getting there -- after waiting 3 weeks in vain for EBC pads, Scotty ordered me SBS pads and they were here in 2 days.  The zx10R master cylinder felt like crap, so I gambled and swapped the magura 16x18 from the mono (radial brake caliper needed for the brake lines I got) -- bled it and it finally has brakes the way it should.  I put the stock er6 master on the mono, and while the 5/8 bore is a bit big, should work OK.  Also got the proper front fairing mounted and painted.  1/4 turn throttle installed, so it should be good to go.  Just need to get out to the airstrip and give both bikes a try -- to see if the 16T on the front of the mono is workable, and to make sure the idiot light (the FI light) does not come on on the 650 -- installed and checked all the tweaks I'd done, and found a few possible suspects, but also cleared the trouble codes from the computer.  Just waiting on the Muzzy so I can install the bellypan and the bike will truly be "finished".  You all have heard that before!
Bellypan -- brackets are in and installed, but this won't fit with my home-made pipe system...
On a personal note, I start back at work on the 23rd, getting ready for the first day of school.  An ongoing project for me has been trying to get fitter for racing.  Over the years since I last raced (dating back to 2007), my weight has creeped up to around 200 lbs. Not good when you are 5'8" or so. My muscular strength is as high as its ever been, but has been accompanied by some extra insulation.    I described my physique as "oversquare" -- only engine builders got the joke -- everyone else thought I was just porky.  Anyway, this summer has seen me do some diligent exercizing.  Running every second day (between 4.2 and 4.9 miles, depending on the route I take), and hitting the bow-flex on the other days.  I've also cut down on the brewskis, reduced my bread intake, and am taking the huge step of.... wait for it.... NOT eating peanut butter!  This is huge as with most people, their body is 70% water... mine was about 68%, with 2% being PB.  To date, after around 2 months or so, I'm "down" to 187, with 165-170 being the "ultimate" goal.  Considering every 7lbs of static weight (as in my lardy butt on the bike) is equivalent to 1 hp, I could gain as much as 4-5 hp just by getting fit.  A big deal when you are riding a supermono or small twin.  When the cold winter comes, I intend to keep running, being sure to get the proper gear so I don't DIE in the -30 degrees celcius weather -- you imperial chaps look that up -- that' freaking cold, it is.... no idea what it is in Fahrenheit or Kelvin or whatever.  This fitness craze has been inspired by my buddy Mike who cycled across Canada in 2008, and my other friend Greg, who is a week away from an Ironman -- as in the full monty... check out his blog here:

And for your entertainment, Brit supermono racer Mike Edwards travels 1500 miles or so to race a brand new, untested mono in the wet. Qualifies it in 4th or so, leads in the wet, and then crashes. No biggie, until another rider hits the downed machine and destroys it. Remember that when you see the acres of carbon fibre, and the amount of evident effort put into the bike. At least all the riders were OK!