Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Long Term Road Trip?

Brian over at Ribbon of Highway penned a post He Wants to Escape... As If That Were a Bad Thing. This post brought me back to February 2011.  I had been searching for something on the internet and come across a story written by Scooter Tramp Scotty about something called being a Motorcycle Gypsy.  As I read the article I was intrigued.

As some may recall this was also four months prior to the nuptials that I was to embark on.  I shared the story with Linda and after going silent for a short time she surmised, “You are thinking about doing this aren’t you?”

Well, it did speak to me.  But, in reality I was a conformist to society’s expectations of family, job, responsibilities, and keeping one’s word.  So, while continuing to follow Scotty’s stories, I buried the Gypsy idea somewhere in the back of my mind.  

When the marriage didn’t work out I began to flirt with the idea again.  A few weeks ago I was all set to hit the road for a few weeks to give it a try, but circumstances prevented that.  Luckily for me, it turned out, because the weather on my intended route took a nasty turn and hasn’t gotten much better. 

On the bright side this gives me about five months before spring to make a few decisions about what I really have the guts to do.  Daughters and grandwonderfuls are a huge part of the decision.  The dog is a priority and I am thinking of making him my riding buddy.  My lease is up in July and I have to make a decision about where I want to live before that.  It seems the less responsibilities I have the harder the decisions become.  

If you want to know a little bit about Scotty and the Gypsy life here are some links for the former husband, roofing contractor, American Dream chaser….he ditched it all to live for the past 20+ years from the seat of his Harley, Betsy. Wait, maybe he is living the American Dream! You can also find him of Facebook.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Invisible Helmet?

So, you don't want to have helmet hair, but you wish there was something to keep you safe.  

An Invisible Helmet might be the answer, if there was such a thing.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Harley's Biggest New News

Several Bloggers have posted about Harley coming out with two new smaller displacement bikes. I am surprised that nobody has mentioned the New 2014 Touring Limited. This marvel of Harley development is water cooled, or as Harley calls it Twin Cooled.

Last week I had a need to visit the local dealership and got a peek at this new machine. What a beautiful machine it is. From newly designed, lower profile, tour pack and saddle bags, redesigned fairing with an integral vent, to larger, white faced gauges it screamed, "Take me home!!!" I left thinking I really would like to make my next trip on one of these beauties.

The radiators are located in the lower fairings and seem to run through the frame. at just over a quart of water for the system I will wonder just effective it can really be.

Today in my mindlessness I began to think. $27,164 bike + $2,716 tax + $500 License + $680 dealer fees = $31,060. Petunia has a 5 gallon tank @ 3.03 per gallon = $15.15 per fill-up. $31,060 divided by $15.15 = 2050.17 tanks of fuel X 180 mile average between fuel stops = 369,029 miles I could ride for the same money.

I really wanted that new bike, but Petunia has a way of convincing me, again, that she is my Hog and she ain't going anywhere.  But, hey some of you might want to go have a peek-see at what a gorgeous bike this really is.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Newest Update to Petunia

Well, the rebuild went according to plan and she runs like the Hog she was meant to be. She was scary fast. Now scary fast would be subjective because throttle control was all that should be required. So, if I was light on the right hand how could Petunia be scary fast? Because once she began to run she almost refused to slow back down. Putting on new brake pads and bleeding the system didn't gain much. So, it appeared that an update to Brembo 4 piston brakes was in order.

There are plenty of people who are buying brand new motorcycles and replacing perfectly good components because they are black instead of chrome. The secret is to hunt Craig's List and E-bay, while waiting patiently for the right combination to show up.  

First I got a smoking deal on a set of new rotors from Craig's List. Went to pick them up and found the guy was a friend of a friend and left with an additional $50 discount. After about six weeks I secured a set of Brembo Calipers off an '08 Street Glide with the pads from the chrome replacement calipers. Something about the pads he had were better than factory pads. 

Today was the day to tackle the change over.

Going to all this effort I may as well change the wheel bearings also. Now, Petunia is a 2003 and there are some who believe that parts from 2005 up won't work on her, but that just isn't the case. Besides my old rotors being just about past tense at 84,000 miles the Brembos require a 1/4" larger rotor. Everything was a perfect match and fit with no issues at all.

My only worry was Petunia used DOT 5 brake fluid and the Brembo Calipers use DOT 4. These two fluids are not interchangeable and mixing them, it is said, will cause a jelly like substance to form in the caliper, lines, and reservoir. I used an air pump to drain all the old fluid and filled the reservoir with brake cleaner and sucked that through the system. Next, I blew air through the lines until I felt there was nothing left in the lines. Bolted it all together, filled her up with DOT 4, and vacuumed her down until there was no air bubbles on either caliper.  Finally, I vacuumed each caliper down again until I exchanged the fluid from two full reservoirs each. Hopefully this will prevent any chance of making brake jelly.   

The completed new look of Petunia with Brembo brakes. Put everything away and took her for a spin. Damn, these bad boys have some kind of stopping power!!! For the first few lever pulls it felt like nothing was happening, but with every stop they felt better and better. I'm guessing seating the pads into the new rotors will take a few stops, but the first reaction is there is a HUGE difference between these Brembos and the stock 03 brakes. 

I'm not in any hurry to test them under duress, but I feel confident this was the smartest update/accessory that I have added to Petunia.