Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Just About Ready

The end is near and this is the last update before I will be back out on the road. As I was pushing Petunia around the garage last week I noticed a rubbing sound and started to get worried.  Investigated that this morning and found it is only the thin flap on the belt guard.  But, that also led to noticing the belt is adjusted way to tight, so I will readjust that with all my final tightening and final checks. 

I am taking the opportunity to complete the triple tree update to the entire 2010 Tri-Glide setup. When I did this upgrade I chose to keep the stock front forks, knowing I would eventually upgrade to Tri-Glide forks.  Stock ones are the first and third from the left, the new two inch longer ones are from a Tri-Glide and were purchased new from an on line dealer.



The longer legs led to the brake lines needing to be extended as well.  Back to my favorite online dealer and a week wait that ends tomorrow. 





The longer legs also required realigning the pig pen, again.  This time I had to disconnect every mount, clean, lube, and spread the pinch points to get them to easily move.  This really wasn’t that bad of a project and made the final adjustments easily accomplished.  Doing this also allowed me to close the wheel lead on the pig pen to the recommended 15% of Petunia’s wheel to wheel center lines.  It moved the pig pen almost two inches rearward and I will have to ride her to see what that does.  


In my searching I found two sidecar manufacturers who agree on the correct starting points to align a sidecar.  Besides closing the wheel lead, I set the toe-in to the minimum 1/2” and set Petunia level with no lean out and no weight on her.  When I sit on her she leans out about 3/16” and, again, I have to ride her to make any necessary final adjustments.  I chose these starting measurements because it is the minimum suggested for getting good tire wear.  Makes sense to me because this whole operation started to get better tire wear. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Any Moron...

...can work on a motorcycle, but when you pay someone to work on one you wouldn’t expect them to be the idiot. Or, maybe I just expect to much and am being unreasonable.

I decided to put one of the new Avon Trike Tires on the front of Petunia and while checking thought why not put one on the playpen too.  The reviews on the tire are great on trikes and on the two I found used on a hack.  If it works on the bike it should be perfect on the sidecar.

That is where I found the stupidity. The playpen tire has been on for around 7 years and was showing some cracks on the sidewall.  Tires were ordered and are on the truck for delivery today, so why not be ready when they are delivered.  I removed the tire, broke it down, and found it a real bear to get off the rim.  Finally got the first side off and getting the tube out was about impossible as the valve stem didn’t want to come out of the rim.  I forced the rim out of the tire and found this:




While the rim is for an offset stem tube the shop used a tube with a center stem, the rim strip was a center stem strip, and the tube was just twisted to make it fit.  That boys and girls is why you shouldn’t let just anyone work on your bike.


Rant is over….I think I hear the UPS truck and I need to get back to work.

Update;  These new tires have a really stiff sidewall and I have pinched, ruined, both of the tubes I bought.  I will hit up my local indy shop to see if they can mount the thing for me.   

Any Moron...

...can work on a motorcycle, but when you pay someone to work on one you wouldn’t expect them to be the idiot. Or, maybe I just expect to much and am being unreasonable.

I decided to put one of the new Avon Trike Tires on the front of Petunia and while checking thought why not put one on the playpen too.  The reviews on the tire are great on trikes and on the two I found used on a hack.  If it works on the bike it should be perfect on the sidecar.

That is where I found the stupidity. The playpen tire has been on for around 7 years and was showing some cracks on the sidewall.  Tires were ordered and are on the truck for delivery today, so why not be ready when they are delivered.  I removed the tire, broke it down, and found it a real bear to get off the rim.  Finally got the first side off and getting the tube out was about impossible as the valve stem didn’t want to come out of the rim.  I forced the rim out of the tire and found this:




While the rim is for an offset stem tube the shop used a tube with a center stem, the rim strip was a center stem strip, and the tube was just twisted to make it fit.  That boys and girls is why you shouldn’t let just anyone work on your bike.


Rant is over….I think I hear the UPS truck and I need to get back to work.


Monday, July 4, 2016

Anatomy of My Tire Wear

I purchased Petunia in February 2007 with only 3,748 miles on her. She is a 2003 100 year anniversary bike that was first titled July 6, 2004 by an old guy in Minnesota. He had her trucked to Arizona and claimed he only rode her twice, having to go into full lock up both times because of inattentive drivers. Her original Dunlop tire lasted 9,953 miles and was replaced when I stopped my the local Stealership to schedule her 5,000 mile service.  Came out to leave and the tire was flat.

They installed another Dunlop, because that is what came on her and was what they had.  This tire lasted 8,787 miles in eight months, that included many miles dragging Piggy, a trailer, behind Petunia carrying all my camping gear.  I was OK with that mileage and put another Dunlop on.  This one was replaced with 6,840 miles on it in June ’08, as I prepared to depart for Alaska. Loaded down, dragging Piggy, and traveling the AlCan Highway I was sweating making it to Anchorage with the tread wearing dangerously thin.  It was replaced with only 4,747 miles and 12 days since the last new tire. Asked the Anchorage Harley Dealer if they had a better tire and they claimed the Dunlop was the best tire made for a Harley and the only one they would put on it. So, eight days later after 4,572 miles of the Cassier highway I put an Avon rear tire on because I was looking for a better wearing tire.

Ninety nine percent of the above mileage was done solo, but with the trailer.  When I put the Avon tires on I also started doing a lot of 2 up riding and less of trailering. That Avon lasted for a year and 8,226 miles and I was so impressed I got another one.  The second Avon lasted 7,328 and as I was sitting at a camp ground in Arkansas I noticed the cords showing.  Dropped the trailer and limped 65 miles to the closest Dealer to get a replacement.  Again they would only install a Dunlop. That quality tire only lasted 5,904 miles of 2 up, trailering riding and was replaced with an Avon again. This is when I quit pulling the trailer, but was still riding 2 up part time and went for 9,453 miles before another Avon went on for an additional 9,402 miles.  

Always searching for better tire wear I started hearing and reading about the Michelin Commander II tire.  The claim was double the mileage of any other tire, so I had to give it a try and installed a matched set.  That rear tire lasted 11,780 miles with the last 1,332 miles with the sidecar attached to Petunia.  The tire, in my mind, was wearing quite well, but with the sidecar it accelerated the wear dramatically.  

This was when I got serious about looking into a car tire on Petunia.  In the mean time I picked up a cheap, imported, no-name, E-Bay special and had it mounted.  That wonderful POS was toasted in 1,532 miles.


So, now she sits on an Avon 165R16 Taxi tire from England. Have no idea what to expect out of this tire, but it is rated for a load of 1,235 pounds @36 psi and a H speed rating good for 130 mph.  Fully loaded she should be well below the load rating and will never see anything much over 70 mph.  If I can get 15,000 miles out of it I think I would be happy and if it will go 20,000 or more I will really be happy.  We will be back on the road August 1st!