Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bike update

The good news is that I figured out what the problem was. Bad news is that I have to gain more information but I have a feeling the shop did it.

The rear brake switch wires got ripped off. Its appears to have some solder so I need to find out if this is factory solder or not.

Is there a problem here, wtf?

I'm having issues once again with my bike. 07 Kawi VN900 Classic. I took the bike to the shop to get serviced and once home noticed electrical issues. I really hate shop just as I do on cages. First it was noticing I have no back lighting for my speedo and after market tac. Then start looking at the fuses. Come to find out my horn fuse is blow (aftermaker air horn) and my tail light fuse as well. I replaced the fuses and didn't think anything of it. This morning right before I left I noticed the lights weren't working again. I pull the fuses and my tail light fuse blew again. So I go thru 3 more fuses. The fuse blows as soon as I turn the key on, without ever touching the brakes. Now I have to troubleshoot this. I'm not very good at electrical, tho I am getting better. I really do not want to bring it in the shop for this because as I said I don't trust shops, even more so with electrical. I'm also thinking they are going to try to say its because of something after market it damaged such and such and not covered by the warranty. So frustrating.

Monday, July 20, 2009

1987 Suzuki Savage LS650 project

This was the very first bike I owned, bought used about 8years ago. This is basically what a new one would used to look like.

Now imagine it much older, faded maroon paint, and a 5'11" tall guy with pretty long legs riding it. Not the most comfortable bike. I really dispise pull back bars. Originally I was going to put some drag bars on it which I had already purhased, but those will no longer be of any use. I do have 4" risers I'm using but I am going to add some apes. Most likely 12" apes. I'm not going to go into my image of what I want the bike to be, I'll just take you thru my path of doing what I think would look best. So far I have replaced the head gasket since the old was leaking a bit. I thought this was part of my backfire problem when I shut the bike off. After some research I found this was untrue and the bike is known for doing this. Since changing the head gasket this bike has been sitting for 2 years. I have it all in parts right now. Both seats removed will not get put back on. I have a better idea in mind. I bought a used Harley pipe known to fit on the end of the existing exhaust. Front fender was taken off to be painted, however I decided its never going back on either. Air shroud gone, and instead I'm putting in a cone shaped K & N type filter. Also the sissy bar is never going back on either. After some searching I'm going to have to rejet now. After some careful searching for parts I found a old school looking chopper type tail light.

I'm trying to make the bike very bare bones. Like an old school bobber. Recently deciding to remove the front fender completely I thought doing some work on the rear fender would be a great idea. I've looked all over the place for old school bobbers so I could figure out what I want mine to look like. Finally with an idea, I drew the pattern on the fender.

This is the very back of the rear fender. As you can see I'm cutting quite a bit off (about 8 inches on the top and much more on the sides. Its looks much to square from the picture, but seeing it in person with the curves looked pretty damn good. I wanted to make sure I cut the holes that are in there, completely out. Those were for the sissy bar I believe.

Threw around ideas in my head about how to cut this and with what. I visioned what would happen with each and the potential issues. Next I knew I had to cut the sides first up to where it starts the cross cut on the middle and then stop. From there cut straight up to remove the triangle scrap and cut it straight across the center.

Once the left side had the triangle scrap gone, it was time to do the same thing on the right side.

Once that was done, cutting the center would be a piece of cake.

Next was to remove that awful looking bar that you see in the picture above. I believe this is what the rear seat attached too. Its been so long since dismantling the bike so stuff is still a little fuzzy. This was spot welded, and done very well. I knew it would be difficult to not damage the fender if I was not very careful. I decided to use an electric grinder.

Finally was able to remove the bar itself with only the base pieces still attached.

I used the grinder to get them smooth. The tail light is going to be covering this area, so I was not completely worried if it was not perfect. I knew I would have to use some fill in. I can do so before I'm ready to paint.

I finished by filing every that was cut. Remove all sharp edges. Then painted all raw metal so it wouldn't rust. I'm far from ready to paint. I figured out where I wanted the tail light placement based not only by where the fender would sit on the bike but using the wiring hole. There is a grommet that actually goes into the hole that I will replace once the fender is all painted. Once placement was good, I drilled the holes for the tail light.

So far so good. Everything came out perfect and exactly how I envisioned it would look. I think the next step the foot pegs. There is only 1 set of forward controls I have seen for this bike and it is well over the $600 range. That is a bit insane for me. I do not like the standard ugly pegs. I really need something that will fit the look of the bike. Going to do some more research.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Why are the photographs not showing up

Well it appears that because I have moved the blog, it got all screwed up. I apologize, but I'm not going to try and figure it out. It would take time that I don't have.

A weekend out of the heat

I had been thinking about this all last week. The heat is really starting to get to me. I know, I know. We've had a mild summer this year. Temps have been nearly perfect until it decided to warm up. Hell we never had good weather all the way to June. The heat gets to me every year, so this year was no different. I also happens about this same time even tho we've barely had a taste of summer this year. Must be because I'm getting older.

Ok no pictures this time. I was out of cell range most of the time and turned the phone off to conserve power. I also did not take the camera. I really wanted the enjoy the weekend with some good "me" time.

The trip from here to Payson was hot and boring as expected. Although it was much better at nite, so I did not have to look at the desert. I know it has it's moments, but when you live and breath it every day it starts to become white noise. But during this time I was rained on 4 times. Rain drops were quite big and hit pretty hard, although the rain itself was not pouring down on me. I was really hoping for some kind of downpour. However as quickly as the rain had started eat time, it quickly ended. I did not arrive in Payson until just before Midnite on Friday nite. Time to gas back up @ the Safeway station and then get back on the road.

The trip from Payson to the area I camp in Happy Jack is about 60 miles or so. The temp already dropped quite a bit when the rain started as well as the final climb into Payson. Shortly after leaving tho, the temp dropped even more. About 10 miles short of Lake Mary Road it was starting to get extremely cold. I was looking for a place to pull over, but there really were none. I could have easily pulled over at the Camp Verde exit, but decided against it. So when I did get to Lake Mary Road I pulled right over to put a jacket on. Right when I get the bike to the side I see a family of deer. Thinking to myself I was luck at this point not to have seen any on the road up. I knew it was all about to change tho. Once the jacket was on I rolled down the road. I was being extremely cautious going exactly the speed limit of 50 and some times even slower since visibility is low. I had 3 deer encounters on the way to my turn off. First time the deer took right off without a hesitation. Thank goodness I have an airhorn. The entire road is pretty populated with campers. I tried to respect them as much as possible, being as late as it was. I still hit the horn every so often so it could be heard at a distance. Once I passed Happy Jack Lodge and the Happy Jack ranger station I started to look for an opening on the right side. I knew no matter what it would be a dirt road. By this time time I'm exhausted and just really wanted to go to sleep. Remember the picture of the elk I took? Well just so happens that right after the straight away I turned on the road there. I had no idea at the time since it was very dark. I didn't drive far at all, maybe 1/4 in. Found a turn off for a camping area several firepits already built. PERFECT! I quickly setting my bike, set up the tent and got everything situated. It was about 1:15 when I hit the sack. Glad I had no real issues on the road while driving at nite. I will surely not make a habit of it.

Next morning the sun beating on the tent woke me up. If you've ever camped in a tent you understand what I mean. I got dressed and cleaned up for the day ahead. I headed to Payson since I know there was a farmer's market. Boy what a disappointment. More of a flee market than anything. So headed to Walmart to pick up some fruit, more fuel and then headed back. Nice ride. On both trips (same route) the forestry department was going some managed fires so it was quite smokey. I did enjoy it tho since I got to smell the wood without having to sit in front of a hot fire.

I spent some time gathering wood for the nite, and then all day laying around and napping. It was wonderful not doing anything or thinking about anything. Just smelling the trees and hearing nature. I really wish I brought my camping chair up with me tho. Its not like the normal ones you sit up straight in. Its scooped so you lay back a bit and has a foot rest attached. Oh boy I would have been in seventh heaven if it was with me. Although I just laid the sleeping bag on the ground out of the sun and enjoyed it just the same. Forecast said it was to have scattered thunderstorms all day Saturday and Sunday, but I had no luck. I was really looking forward to it pouring so I could go inside the tent and keep even cooling while napping. Towards to evening about 5:30 I was getting hungry and out of food. I decided to head to Mormon Lake. Wanted to get back before it was dark. As soon as I made the turn off towards the town I just about ran into some stupid cows/bulls. The loud pipes or horns didn't seem to affect them at all. Finally I rode right up near them and rev'd really loud and they finally cleared the way. A bit further saw some more. This time there were a few dozen of em. They seemed to clear the road for me as I was coming close...although 1 stubborn bull decided to turn back around the way he was heading in the first place and attempt to cross the road. I was a little cocky at this point and didn't want to wait or screw with them so I gunned it and went thru the opening they left me. I had a lanes worth of space, but still made me a bit nervous not knowing how they would react. And holy hell, there were tons of ppl there. I have never seen the area so packed. Even the restaurant was busy. I wanted a steak and boy did I get one. I ordered the filet on special. Started with salad (choice of this or soup) and small loaf of dark bread). The salad was heaping and couldn't believe my eyes at how much they gave me. Next came the meal, and oh my what a meal. Bacon wrapped filet that was about an inch and a half may 2 inches thick topped with sauteed mushrooms and tomatoes (I think in butter), cowboy beans and rice. As much of a pig as I am, I could not finish all of my food but I did make a good dent in it. Wow what a meal. It was pricey @ $30, but was fully worth it. Once done I went to the general store and bought some beer. After back to camp I started a fire and enjoyed the frosty beers then some Jack. There is something to be said about camping and a camp fire. So very relaxing.

Next morning I was up just as early. Started getting cleaned up and ready to pack when all of a sudden it started to rain. Thinking to myself, why did this not happen yesterday. I climb in the tent and just like that it stopped. Oh goodness. Make up your mind! LOL So back out of the tent I come with more stuff. Packed up in a very short time and rode out. Once again forestry service having managed fires. Payson was much warmer, but still cooler than Phoenix. Of course once near Phoenix (even at 9 in the morning) it was blazing hot already. YUCK! Back to the grind.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Kawasaki Voyager sneak peak

Yesterday while I was getting my rear tire replaced, I had the pleasure of seeing a Kawasaki Voyager in person. The pictures on Kawi's site do not do this bike any justice. This is a full dress bike that Kawi had never done before. There are 2 models available 1 without ABS and 1 with. The one with ABS functions beautifully. If you use the hand brake or the foot brake both brakes are applied. There is about an $1100 difference between the 2 models, but if you are spending that kind of money, why not just get the one with ABS? MSRP $16,799/$17,899 (ABS). The model I saw did not have ABS. These bikes are very hard to come by as it is. Each dealership was only to get 1. My dealership happen to just pick this one up from a California dealer, so this is their 2nd one. Their first one flew off the showroom floor.

Liquid cooled V-Twin just as most of their Vulcan's and all the Nomad's. 1700cc, 6 speed transmission with overdrive (which is an recent upgrade and most bikes, even the 900cc) fuel injection. Instead of shaft drive it is belt drive.

Fairing, stereo, cruise control, dual adjustable rear shocks, 9-spoke cast wheels, a nice looking front fender, 5.3 gallon gas tank (typical), small glove compartments on both sides, hard bags and trunk w/ light bar. Very heavy at 895 lbs. It also sits very high, much more than I like. I'm 5'11" tall with a 34" inseam. I was barely able to stand flat footed while on the bike. My VN900 sits pretty low, which is one of the features I have really liked about it. I like having my knee's bent while sitting at a stop light. The stereo also does not have a CD player, although most do not last very long. The speakers are good size, and have heard from the staff that as high speeds of 75+ it still sounds really good. The seats (both rider and passenger) are well padded and and extremely comfortable.

The instrument panel & stereo is very retro looking, which I really liked.

Right and left sides have a multitude of controls including the stereo.

It has a lower fairing as well which is just behind the crash bars. There is an adjustable slide to either block from air/rain or allow air to come thru.

Also has both front and rear floorboards, which have a spring cushioning.

If you look at the exhaust side, it appears to be a 2 to 1. After taking a closer look this is very deceiving. The heat sheild is big enough to disguise the rear pipe to go back to left side and come out the rear.

Over all this is a very well engineered bike. I have not ridden one to see how well it is balanced. But I like everything I see except for some minor changes, and for a reasonable price.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Northern Arizona pine country - Part 6

I know I have a long day ahead of me so I'm in no hurry at all. I woke up talked with Sandy and Lisa. They didn't take long to pack up and leave, but I had no plan on leaving just yet. Today is my big trip to the Tonto Natural Bridge. I get packed up (which was mainly just my camera) and head on out. The bridge isn't very far from Payson so I had a very short ride. I was well rested and had a great day yesterday so I really enjoyed the ride there.

Now after the turn off its about a 3 mile ride down to the bridge area. Looks much like a high desert landscape with little pines.

Once you get most of the way down the road, you drive the side of a cliff all the way down.

Because it was very steep with many switchbacks I did not take any more photos of the road. My safety was much more important and I really should be paying attention to riding.

Here is a map of the area.

This used to be private owned, and I did go when it was such. Since the state took this over and are keeping it well preserved, although it was never in bad condition. I walked most of this and was completely exhausted in doing so. Its not just walking, there is quite a bit of hiking. I was surprised my knees held up so well. I was a little irritated the whole day tho, my camera did not seem to be functioning all day. It wouldn't auto focus. It always has and thought that this was the only option. I found out after I got home there is a setting to set to manual. There were many more photos which I thought were going to be fine and looked like crap so I deleted them.

This is a hole in the top of the bridge that they put a mesh cover over so you could look down but not fall. Its much further than it looks.

This is right on the edge of the bridge looking down. As you can see from the ant size ppl that it is very far up. To the left is where the old pathway used to be before it was bought by the state (although you can't see it). That path is made of steps (made out of rocks if I remember correctly) and a chain which is attached to the cliff to hold on too. That's it. Not really easy to get up or down. On the right the dark area is water that is falling.

These next shots are of the water running down the bridge area. This is the same area that was on the right side in the last photo. From the first I am panning from left to right (where the actual bridge is).

I headed to the start of the old trail down. I figured they would have a way down there, but no closed.

Yes I know, if you click on on the picture it is blurry. Again I blame this on my lack of experience and ignorance. I headed back the way I came, across the top of the bridge and down Gowan Trail. I didn't take a ton of photos down the trail. There were many ppl and it is uninteresting.

As I am walking down the trail I keep looking back up at the bridge to see if I can get a good shot of the water that is flowing off of it.

Finally I get down to the path you saw in the early photo and I look like I'm ant size to them I'm sure.

Once I really got to the meat and potatoes I wanted to get some shots directly below the water. Its so beautiful to watch and relaxing to hear. I know I'm a bit insane taking my camera to close to the water. Don't get me wrong I was nervous but very careful where I walked.

Right in front of me the water is falling, however this time I'm under the bridge. There was quite a bit of wind so the water kept blowing in and had to be careful not to get the camera soaked.

The formations on the ceiling were really amazing.

What is even more amazing is what you can't see in this next photo. There wasn't a better spot for me to get in. I used to be able to climb to an area you could see it. There are Indian ruins up there at the top.

At this point I'm far from done. I'm not close to getting out of the bridge let alone being complete done with my hike.

It is complete impossible to walk under the bridge and not get even a little wet. I tuck my camera under my shirt and proceed.

Before the state owned this, ppl used to swim in here.

Still much more hiking to get out from underneath the bridge.

After getting thru all that I wanted to continue hiking. There are some cool looking caves (small tho).

Here is what might have been my money shots. I saw a squirrel that did not seemed to be too bothered by me. I walked very slowly and was just trying to get some good close up photos. I was talking to him and he looked like he was actually listening, it was quite humorous. Finally when I began to take the photos a lady and her boy ran up and scared the little guy away. The first shot you can see him, but the 2nd is only of his tail.

I refused to take the easy path, but rather the path that looked the coolest.

Nearing the end of the path I could see part of the Waterfall Trail and water coming right down the mountain. This looks like it was right out of Hawaii. So beautiful. I have never seen this area before so it was quite refreshing. Arizona never ceases to amaze me.

Tho almost all the way back up, one last shot of the area.

I get to the stop and there is still quite a walk back to the next area, the Waterfall Trail.

The path is very long and almost straight down, tons of steps. It was almost disappointing to walk all the way down for what little scene was about to come, but I still enjoyed it and got some great exercise. The kicker here was that just as I started down the path there was a couple I was about to pass. The guy stop and looks at me strange. He asked, "Don't I know you?" Honestly I don't recognize him and let him know that I wasn't sure. "You went to Peoria High School, didn't you?". Oh man, are you kidding? Neither of us really knew each other, but he knew my face and I knew is name. What a small world! We had a short conversation before I headed on down the path.

I get to the bottom and the trail cuts left on a metal platform. It was amazing. The water flowing down was awesome! I tried not to get to close with the camera, but was difficult not to.

This is the end of the trail. It did not have any loop in it, so I had to hike back the way I came. Quite a hike if you ask me. After I get to the top I proceed back to my bike, pack up and head out. What a day! Oh but its not over just yet. Another surprise was in store for me. I'm riding back up the same road I came from. Keep in mind it is a small 2 lane road. As I'm nearing the top I see what looks like a rubber speed bump that was put in my lane. Not the kind that are in parking lots but the kind that are just to detour you from going to fast. From the center 3/4 the way over to the right (not the full length). I'm cruising pretty slow both due to the curves and I am headed up this very steep road. At this time I'm thinking to myself why wouldn't they put the speed bump across the whole lane? Any why on did they put this on the uphill and not on the downhill? Didn't think to much into it, however I did slow down a bunch and pulled to the far right as to miss the speed bump. As I am almost right up on it, the speed bump moves. The far right side comes straight up. At this point I'm thinking what the hell is going on. Just as I am about to pass it, its a freakin SNAKE!!! And a huge one at that. I'm already pulled all the way over to the right but by reaction I pulled up my left foot off the floorboard and pass it. Nothing happened, no noise, he didn't try and strike me. But damn, scared the crap out of me. My adrenaline is going pretty fast right now, and enjoy the rest of my ride back to my parents place before heading home.