Selasa, 11 September 2012

Biker to English Translation For New Motorcycle Riders

As a general rule, a low side is better than a high side. And if you do either, you'll end up in better shape if you're an ATGATT kind of guy. Not so much road rash, you know? Now, what did he just say?

Actually, if you've been riding motorcycles for long at all you know exactly what I just said. If you haven't, it's time for a little education. As with any special interest, there is a unique and very specific vocabulary that has built up around motorcycling. An exhaustive listing of these terms would go on for hundreds of entries. We'll just look at a dozen or so of the more common and colorful ones.

So what is a high side, and a low side? They are the ways you can fall off a motorcycle. In a low side, you might be coming around a curve, leaned way over, and hit some gravel that causes your tire to lose traction. You're already leaned over and that back wheel just slides free and all of a sudden you're sliding yourself. On a high side it's likely that you've locked up your rear brake and the tail end of the bike has started sliding. If you release that brake your tire can regain traction, but at that point you're not pointed in the direction you're actually moving. As the tire grabs the bike stands up abruptly and momentum carries you right on over the other side, flinging you off through the air. In general, it's better to drop just a few extra inches and slide than to be thrown through the air.

If you could know in advance when you're going to crash then you could be sure to wear all your riding gear that day and leave it at home on the other days. We can't know that, however, so we wear protective gear just in case. Some folks are really serious about it, wearing all the gear all the time (ATGATT) while others are less cautious. Because most rides end safely, the non-ATGATT folks are comfortable with their choices most of the time.

And many of them, even if they don't wear any other gear, will wear their brain buckets. That is to say, skid lids. You know what I mean: helmets. They may end up with some road rash (abrasions) that could have been avoided if they'd worn their leathers (protective leather pants, jackets, and gloves), but with luck they've avoided serious brain injury.

But enough with the nasty stuff. You didn't buy that hot little Suzuki GSX-R600 to spend all your time contemplating disaster. You bought it to ride! And if you really want to ride it, you're not about to make a trailer queen out of it. Leave that to those guys who go to rallies pulling their bike on a trailer. You're the kind of guy with the patch that reads "I rode mine," aren't you?

Of course, if you're serious about riding you do your best to avoid the super slab (interstate highway). Two lanes are the way to go. But if you have no choice but to do the slab, lane-splitting can get you through it faster. Legal only in California (in the U.S.), lane-splitting is the practice of riding your bike between the lines of cars, along the lane divider strip. Do it only when traffic is slow or stopped and be very careful.

Once you're free of that mess again, it's time to kick up the speed. Canyon carving is always fun, whipping along the twisty roads that follow the terrain, and if you're on a cruiser, like maybe a Suzuki Boulevard C109RT, you might even scrape some hard parts. You know you're moving when those floor boards touch the road surface. You'll never do that on that GSX, however, because it's got way more ground clearance than the Boulevard. Whatever you do, just don't be a squid. Those guys go way too fast for their skill level and are an accident waiting to happen.

Whatever you're riding, and whatever kind of riding you do, the best ride is always the one that leaves you and the bike in one piece and rarin' to head out again.

3 Ways to Sell Your Motorcycle

Selling a motorcycle or any type of vehicle carries with it a risk. To make sure that the selling of your motorcycle goes well and smooth you need to follow certain guidelines in order to minimize possible risks involved.

First to consider is pricing. Before going through any negotiations, you must have the knowledge about the fair market value of the bike. Make your own research, the price which you anticipate selling your motorcycle is possibly the key to selling your bike. The pricing cost must be accurate and reasonable, or you will have a hard time selling your bike. Getting the price right on your ads can make a big difference to whether you get any interested buyers or not. Check out different price list guide as that of Nashville motorcycles for sales. There are thousands of bikes listed with the latest market value online. You must search to see what people are asking for the same bike.

Next step is preparing the bike for sale. Check the bike visually from one end to the other - it's easier not to miss anything that way. At the very least you should check the oil, tires, coolant, electrics and chain to make sure they are all in working order. But the more effort you put in the less a buyer will have to haggle about. Properly prepare your bike, pay special attention to details, your motorcycle must shine. Potential buyers tend to look closely so it is wise to do a thorough cleaning of your bike. Old accessories that you have replaced with upgrades must be clean, that way you can offer it as part of the deal. Repair minor scratches or dents this increases the value of the bike. Tune up the bike it should start quickly and easily, inspect and fix any mechanical defects that could exist. Make sure that it is in good condition in terms of performance.

Lastly advertise. A good and effective advertisement can greatly help in selling your motorcycle quickly. As soon as you're ready to sell the bike, use different ways or techniques to advertise as much as u can. There are a lot of mediums to use in order to advertise, you can post it online, or in magazines, newspapers, you may also distribute flyers or send the advertisement through emails. You can use all these methods to deliver the information. On your advertisement be sure to include the price, mileage, specific details or description of the item, you may also include brand names of any and all upgrades or replacement pieces. And of course the pictures make sure to include pictures from different angles. Word your ad truthfully, but sensibly and always put a price. No price puts loads of buyers off. Don't forget your phone number and area.

Trouble With My Motorcycle, Or Is It?

Kawasakis have a reputation for being bullet-proof, meaning you just don't have a lot of mechanical issues with them. You can confidently buy a new Concours 14 and ride it for years with routine maintenance your only expense.

I've had the same kind of excellent experience with my 1999 Concours and so it was very disturbing in May when I was headed southeast of Flagstaff on my way to the Overland Expo and my Connie started acting up. I bought that bike new in 1999 and have about 50,000 miles on it. To this point, the only issue I've had was when an O-ring failed and it started leaking coolant. That put my annual non-routine maintenance expense at about $7.

I had somehow missed my turn coming out of Cortez, CO, and instead of passing by the Four Corners monument I found myself headed due south to Shiprock, NM, and Gallup. That added about 50 miles to my day's ride but by the time I figured it out it wouldn't have saved me anything to go back, so I pressed on. Made a quick stop in Gallup for gas and then jumped on I-40 headed west.

About 100 miles later I reached Holbrook and was ready to stop for lunch. I coasted down the long off-ramp and slowed at the bottom for the sharp right-hander that would put me on the town's main street and the bike died. Now why in the world would it do that?

Worse, it didn't want to start again. I was about 450 miles from home and still 100 miles from my destination and the Arizona sun was blazing down on me. This did not give me a good feeling.

I finally got it started again but the only way it would keep running was if I revved the engine a lot. There was a fast food joint just about 150 yards away so I limped over there and figured I'd eat and see if it ran better after lunch. When I tried it the bike did fire right up, but again it did not want to continue running.

I had inquired as to a motorcycle shop in town and so I headed in that direction. I found Frank's Route 66 Garage right where I had been told and Frank was super helpful. First he suggested I go to a gas station and top off because he felt the problem was probably bad gas and putting good gas in would solve everything. My Connie holds 7.5 gallons, however, and I had only burned 2 gallons since I filled it. Topping it off didn't help.

Next Frank tried spraying carb cleaner down the intakes while I revved the motor. After several minutes that seemed to fix things, I thanked Frank profusely and asked what I owed him and he refused to take a cent. I put the bodywork back on the bike, loaded it up again, and put on my gear. When I started the bike up again, it was the same problem as before. So I took off and hoped I wouldn't be standing broiling in the sun alongside the highway just 30 miles or so down the road.

In Flagstaff I found another shop and the guy there told me he was confident he could solve the problem but be was swamped and would not be able to get to it until Saturday. This was Thursday. Since that wasn't going to work for me, he just twisted the idle dial all the way up and though it ran rough, the engine did not die. I pushed on.

I reached the Overland Expo, down by Mormon Lake, and for the next three days left the bike parked while I hung out with all these adventure-riding folks who have or are planning to do amazing things like riding their motorcycles around the world. It was a good time but in the back of my mind the whole three days was the dread of what would happen when I pushed the starter button again.

Sunday arrived and it was time to leave. I gave the bike full choke and pushed the starter button and it fired to life, though continuing to run rough. I kept on the throttle a long time, letting it warm up, and then took off. Back in Flagstaff I shouldn't have needed gas as it was only 160 miles since I had last filled it, but the needle was pushing empty. And an amazing thing happened as I pulled into the station and stopped: My engine started racing! I had to crank the idle dial way down again.

Bottom line, I figure I must have gotten some bad gas in Gallup, as Frank had suspected, or else there was something clogging my fuel line that had now been cleared away. Either way it ran fine all the way home and continues to run fine. Kawasaki really does make great motorcycles. My annual maintenance expense is still $7.

Drive Shafts Versus Drive Chains In Motorcycles

In the beginning, motorcycles had drive chains to transfer the power from the engine to the wheels, just like the chain on a bicycle. No surprise there, considering that at first motorcycles were essentially motorized bicycles. Cars, on the other hand, handled that transfer of power using a drive shaft. It was probably inevitable that eventually some motorcycles would be driven by a drive shaft and today that is the case.

So, is one better than the other? And if so, why don't all motorcycles use one or the other? If not, how are they different and why do some bikes use a chain while others use a drive shaft?

The answer, which you may have suspected already, is that each is better in some ways than the other, and the manufacturer's decision to use one or the other is based on several factors.

My first bike was, in its day, a big (750cc) touring machine, and it has a chain. I say "has" because I still have it and I still ride it, even though it is more than 30 years old. When this was my principal (read: only) bike I knew when we took off on our summer road trips that every one or two days I would need to lubricate and adjust the chain. It was a pain but it was just part of what riding a motorcycle entailed. And then, every couple years or so I had to replace the chain and sprockets because they wore out. That was not a welcome expense but, again, it came with the territory.

My next bike, a 1999 Kawasaki Concours, has a drive shaft, and also a lot more power. This is the ride-all-day-at-high-speed bike my first bike never could be. And I never give the shaft a moment's thought, any more than I think about the pistons or the oil pan. It's there, it does its job.

So why don't all bikes just use drive shafts? There are several answers.

First off, drive shafts are a lot more expensive than chains. Second, they're a lot heavier and bulkier. That translates into them being badly matched to really small bikes. No one wants to pay big bike prices for a small bike. And the extra weight would just rob power from what is already a small engine.

Dirt bikes are a perfect example. Take the Yamaha YZ450F for example. This is a bike weighing 245 pounds with a full gas tank. It holds 1.6 gallons of gas. With a tank that size you don't want extra weight. Plus, with a chain you can change the sprocket size, which changes the gear ratio, to affect power delivery. In other words, you can tune the bike to your own riding style and preferences.

Then there is that issue of the smaller engine. Chain drive actually delivers more of the power to the wheels. Shaft drive robs power and with a small engine you want to use as much of the engine's power as you can. If you're on a big cruiser, such as the Yamaha FJR1300A, you've got a 1298cc engine. That's power to spare and you can afford to sacrifice a little of it in exchange for the shaft drive.

Now, sport bikes have a lot of the same considerations as off-road bikes. They're small but powerful. Generally sport bikes, such as the Yamaha FZ8, use chains. Power is a big thing for sport bike riders, so low weight and full utilization of all the horsepower the engine can produce is important. And again, especially if the sport bike riders want to hit the track and do some racing, the ability to adjust the gear ratio is especially important.

The bottom line here is that this is not a decision you are generally going to have to make. You get to decide what kind of bike you want, and then you take that bike with whatever gear the manufacturer has put on it. And considering that they probably know a lot more about the trade-offs than you do, that's probably just fine.

Honda Ruckus Front Fork Options

The first thing that most Ruckus enthusiasts want to do is get that front end as low as possible. It is a great thing to look at but many go about the wrong way of doing it. The most common thing to do for the first time home builder is to modify the OEM shocks. This lets them get a lowered bike without having to change over to a disc brake. The first thing that gets done is cutting the OEM Honda Spring. While inexpensive, cutting a spring not only lowers the bike but will also change the front spring rate. This is bad because usually it makes the front end too soft and easy to bottom out. Once you bottom out, you have no control and will probably have better luck riding a pedal bike on ice. If the spring can't control the wheel travel, it is useless and with that train of thought the other thing done is to completely remove the springs, which is just as dumb an idea as it sounds. Look, I understand the want of stance, but you have to have control of the bike even at just 40 MPH. Lower springs do exist outside of Honda, but you do have to do some research.

So, you want to spend the right money and buy aftermarket forks. Well, the market is full of great products and very bad ones, too. I won't name names or product lines, but I will tell you what to try to look out for. The biggest thing about forks is how they are dampened. What I mean is what controls the spring from springing back and forth, you that law of "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." It is not uncommon to see scooter forks with no dampening control at all. At the speeds most scooters see, especially an unmodified Ruckus GET engine, dampening control isn't important. However, as you modify and start to go faster on any scooter dampening becomes more and more important. The next most common dampening control on scooters is air. Air is easy to come by, free in most places, and is something that can be adjusted on the fly. Need stiffer forks, add more air. Need something softer, take out some air. You can't get any easier than that. Just be sure that the air you use is dry or try using nitrogen.

The least common, and very expensive to boot, is fluid dampened forks. There aren't many on the market for scooters. Again, the speeds that most scooters see do not require extreme types of dampening. However, if you are running yours at very high highway speeds or plan on going off road at high speeds, you may want to try and find a set. Control at these speeds and conditions are crucial and if your forks are not damped or under-dampened, you could be setting yourself up for loss of control. Remember, when you hit a bump with just the spring, it will continue to bound and unbound until all energy is lost. Just like a basketball, your tire will also bound and unbound and will not contact the surface as it is supposed to. That means you don't have complete control and, again, is not a good thing to be in.

Interphone GPS / Phone Holders - Easy Waterproof Solution For Use On Your Motorcycle Handle Bars

(To be clear, "waterproof" in the title means weatherproof... not 2 meters under water)

Interphone is a division of Cellular Line, the biggest cell phone accessories maker in Europe. Interphone products are designed for the motorcycle and power sport enthusiast and include waterproof Bluetooth motorcycle intercoms and accessories. Naturally if you are riding with a waterproof motorcycle headset there is a good chance that circumstances will arise where your audio source, a GPS or phone, may need to be exposed to the elements as well. So Interphone came up with their motorcycle GPS and iPhone holders with handle mounting kits.

The Interphone SM43 is designed for GPS and electronics with a 4.3" screen (also available is a SM35 for 3.5" screen devices). The holder / case is made up of thick but flexible plastic, a water resistant zipper and clear screen cover which is just thin enough that you can use an electrostatic touch screen through it (with effort and sometimes multiple attempts). It has a pass through port for the device power cord and a D-link for connecting the included tether to the handle bars. Three different thicknesses of spacers are also included to put behind the device and keep it tight against the clear protector window.

The Interphone iPhone 4 / 4S case with motorcycle mount is a hard plastic clam shell that splits the depth of the phone with a hinge at the top, rubber cushion and water sealing around the edges and a latching clamp on each side which hold pressure on the sealing surface. It has provisions for both of the iPhone cameras, a charging port and the headphone jack. Because the top hinge is outside the shell and the charging connector area is inside the case (it seals around the cable) the total length of the Interphone case extends the iPhone length by about an inch. For this reason you would not want to use the Interphone iPhone case as a normal every day case but the design allows for easy entry and removal of the phone when you do want to use the iPhone on your motorcycle.

All of the Interphone holders slide on to the motorcycle handle bar mounts and lock in with a plastic tab. Prying down the tab with one finger allows the holder to slide off the mount and quickly be removed while the mount stays on the bike. When you buy the device holders, you can choose either a round bar mount clamp or a non-round mounting system. Both are made entirely of plastic and are not particularly robust but do their job fine. The round handle bar clamp is quite simple. It includes 3 positions for different handle bar diameters from 3/4" up to 1 1/8". A simple thumb screw is used for tightening it on to the motorcycle handle bar. There is a ball and socket that allows the device connecting point to be swiveled 360 degrees and angled about 15 degrees in any direction. This 15 degree angle is NOT enough to allow it to be mounted to the riser part of the handle bars. It must be installed on the horizontal area of the handle bar. We would have preferred to have a more flexible or adjustable design but so long as you have a free horizontal area on your bars it will work great. The 2nd mounting option, for non-tubular motorcycle bars, is less elegant. It is essentially a giant ¾" wide zip tie that can be released and reused or re-adjusted. It does however have 2 ball / socket hinge points about 3" apart and allows for more mounting options than the simple tubular mounting hardware.

If you need a quick simple solution for mounting your GPS or iPhone on your motorcycle handle bars and are worried about the weather, the Interphone cell phone holders may fill your needs perfectly. If you are looking for a robust design that can handle adventure touring, light or heavy off road use consider the RAM Mount line up instead.

Scooter Racing

The more I look into scooters, the more amazed I become with what can be done with them. From the different Honda Ruckus Parts available to the GY6 Swaps to the fuel injection technology in the Zuma 125, it is quite a different world than I am used to coming from an automotive background. One of the things that have really caught my eye has been the racing I have seen that European and Asian guys are doing!

Drag Racing is probably the biggest one I have seen. Lengths range from a Thirty-Second Mile (roughly Fifty Meters) to full on Quarter Mile. Just like in big bike and car racing, a Thirty-Second Mile drag scooter is set up differently than a Quarter Mile drag scooter. Variator, clutch and CVT belt setups are all different to achieve maximum velocity at their given drags. However, just like their big bike cousins, these scooters are seeing things like custom built, rigid frames with no rear suspension, wheelie bars, and long stretches. To me, this is where a Honda Ruckus would really start to come into play.

The Ruckus is practically built to be the near perfect drag racer from the factory. Its lightweight and the gas tank and engine are already in the perfect position being right there in the center of the frame and low. Getting lowered forks, a lowered seat frame, a chinbone, a set of DROWSports Foot Pegs, and the GY6 with a good stretch and you have the recipe for a perfect dragger! Get the GY6 to 232cc and you can really make it haul. Converting to a rigid frame with wheelie bars wouldn't be too difficult, but you can forget making it your daily ridden bike after that. It will become a pure race bike.

Road Racing is the next biggest racing I have seen these scooters do. I'd expect it to exist, but just not at the level these guys take it. There are full on race series from Stock-Spec. classes to run what you got races with Maxi-Scooters (basically large scooters with 250cc and up engines) and custom suspension scooters. These scooters also aren't just riding along in a single file line and leaning just a little bit; they are dragging knees and sliding the rear of these bikes to keep the engine in its power band range. It's pretty exciting stuff to watch. The perfect bike for this would probably be the Zuma 50.

The Zuma 50 2-Stroke is probably one of the lightest bikes you can buy. It also uses the Minarelli Two-Stroke engine. This engine has been used in many two-stroke scooters in Europe for many, many years. This makes aftermarket Zuma Parts easy to find and use. It is also the scooter of use in many Road Racing Series in Europe and Asia, so finding good handling parts and racing tires is very easy to source. However, since 2002 Motori Minarelli is now a part of the Yamaha Group. The Zuma 50F is also starting to launch here in the US to take over the two-stroke Zuma 50, but it has a lack of aftermarket support for now. Two-Strokes are still produced and popular in Europe and Asia due to a more lax environment towards emissions on small displacement scooters, but look for that to change just like it has here in the US.