Saturday, September 23, 2017

Fall Has Arrived

On the first day of Fall Stella was back on the road. The rotor arrived late Thursday and was installed Friday morning. Front brakes now work just like they are supposed to, rear felt a little spongy, but they always have.

Stella is a touch taller with the Mitas E-07 tires, but she seems to be better balanced with them and that is a win in my book. I used two ounces of Counter Act balancing beads in the front tire this time and not sure how much that does to make the bike feel more balanced, but I like that feeling it has now. These tires do have a bit of a hum at highway speed, but not annoying and in short order I wasn't noticing it. Headed out for quick scrubbing them in and first impression is great! The Stelvio has a noticeable vibration through the handlebars that shake the mirrors making them nearly useless. This vibration was almost completely gone, even with the tire having a knobby type tread.

Having read the reports of these tires being squirrelly when first installed I rode off gingerly  not knowing what to expect. Any apprehension was quickly erased and in a very short distance I was trying to push the limits to see if I could induce a pucker moment, but it didn't happen. These babies stuck like glue to the road and I was quickly riding at my normal brisk pace.

On this first day of fall the weather was pleasant with a bit of overcast skies. The morning temperatures have been in the mid seventies and the highs only in the mid nineties. Pretty much perfect riding weather.

Morning with clouds

I made an eighty mile quick loop to scrub the tires in and returned to the Condo. Breakfast, clean up the garage, and let the tires cool down and checked the pressures. All was good. I have a very favorable opinion of these tires.

Fast forward six hours and I headed out again on the same route. If a little scrubbing was good, a lot of scrubbing would be better. The change was about 20 degrees, a lot more wind, and riding in a different lane. About eight miles from the Condo the front end started feeling funny. Almost like getting a flat. I slowed down and it still felt weird, so I pulled over to check the tire. Everything was normal and I slowly continued. Once I was headed into the wind the front end settled down and it was soon forgotten. Riding up into the 80s and all was good.

Same road some six hours later in the sunshine.

First impressions are important and I like these tires! The grip is outstanding even when cornering. So much so that I leaned Stella over so far my foot hit the pavement for the first time since I've owned her. 

I made another change to Stella while waiting for the rotor. A set of Pivot Pegz. The stock foot rests were just to narrow. Now there is a better base under foot to make off-road riding more stable.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

When Will I Learn... leave well enough alone. As usual I was trying to be helpful while waiting to take the new tires to be mounted. I decided to beak them down to see how hard it would be on the side of a trail somewhere and remove the balancing beads that I run to prevent them from making a mess in the installers shop.

Broke them down no problem. Took the front tire off, almost no problem. Balancing beads went everywhere. First half of rear tire came off with minimal problem and balancing beads everywhere. Second half was turning into a royal PITA, so loaded up and waited until time to go and let the experts do it.

Slowly drove the twenty five miles to the shop and arrived just before they opened. First customer there and they went to work before their starting time. Less than ten minutes later I was headed home!

Install went according to plan and it was still early, so I geared up to go test them out. 

This is where my helpfulness bit me in the butt. No front brakes! Pumping them up would make them work for one stop, then nothing again. Back to garage to bleed the brakes. Success, I had a firm brake lever. Gear up and start backing down the incline out of the garage and NO brakes again. Pumping would bring them up for a stop and then nothing again. Quick to the computer and ask the Guzzi experts on the Guzzi Forum for their take on what could be wrong. 

Second response suggested that during the tire swap the rotor may have been bent and that was a known cause of the symptoms I was having. Quick check of the rotors seem to show that may be the case. I'm guessing I wasn't as careful as I thought I was when dismounting that front tire and in my flopping around the wheel taking the tire off I tweaked the rotor. Now I'll have to wait for a new rotor to be delivered before I can test out the new shoes on Stella.

Life lesson #whatever......leave it to the experts you are going to pay to do the job right and save the expense of purchasing new rotors.

Update....Just how bad can a guy screwup a rotor when removing a tire you may be wondering. Thinking I may just be able to use a BFH to straighten it I found this...

Brakes are to important to mess with. I am ordering a new one and not taking any chances.

Friday, September 15, 2017

98 Is LessThan 100....

....So it is time to get into the garage and get some things done. First order of business is new shoes for Stella. I was leaning toward Heidenau K60s, but the reviews were so good on the Mitas E07, I went that way and saved a little money too. The E07s come in regular and Dakar which has a stronger sidewall and are said to more puncture proof. These tires are rated as a 50/50 highway/offroad tire and I am looking forward to getting in some dirt/gravel time in the very near future.

I opted for the Dakar version and because of the stiff sidewalls I am taking them down to be installed on a machine tomorrow morning. At $15 a wheel it is more than worth it. Of Course I took them off in my small garage and used up just about all the room I had available.

Shoeless Stella on the center stand, strapped to the bike jack, missing her feet.

Ready to load up

The original Scorpion tires still had some life in them, but it was time for the change because some miles are in my future. I used Counter Act Balance beads in the Scorpions and liked how they worked, so they will also be in the Dakars. They are fairly easy to install and are said to adhere to the inside the tire and not fall to the bottom every time you stop.

Hopefully Sunday will be spent seating the new tires in and seeing how they work on Stella. Wednesday will be the first opportunity to get her out in the dirt and I will review them after that.

New shoes always feel good and I am looking forward to feeling the results.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Finally.....An Adventure

Well, it has been forever since I have embarked on an adventure. But, that is changing as I have a need to take care of some business in Louisiana. The date was settled, Stella got her fluids changed, new tires were installed, but the route was ever changing as is my  preferred method of operation.

My usual just get me there route usually takes me across Interstate 10 and through Dallas. I have made that drive many times in as little as 18 hours one way, but this time I wanted to expand the road time. I decided to make a swing through Houston just to shake things up a bit. Adding in a few states to Stella's history seemed a great idea also. This and tempting Tornado Alley seemed like a worthy adventure after not traveling in such a long time.

But, then I began to think slab riding is kind of boring. So, on Google maps I clicked the button to avoid those truck infested miles of mostly nothing between home and there. A new, never explored before route using secondary roads was instantly presented to me for consideration.

Adding a mere 221 miles should add ten fold to the adventure. I am taking the Southern route going and the Northern loop on the return.

AND THEN THERE WAS A HURRICANE! Oops, a fly in the ointment. Reevaluation time.