Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pipestone: First Dirt, 2010

Sunday morning came for me at 10:00am, foggy from the previous nights festivities, with a phone call. Its Lincoln.
"Want to go do some moto today?".
I ran through the checklist of things to do, and realized that a possible moto ride trumped the IRS, work, and a chance for clean clothes. But what about his moto? Last time I saw it, it had some very important parts laying on his workbench.

"Yea! ... But isn't your bike in pieces?".
"Nope, I put it all back together".

I realized then that he'd been up since the wee hours of the morning, wrenching on his bike to ride. He had already eaten, showered, and done something productive with his day. I hadn't even made coffee yet.

In the time it took me to drink a pot of coffee, I managed to wrangle up all my gear packed away from the long winter, and do some quick checks on the moto to make sure that nothing was going to explode. As if on cue, as soon as I had the truck loaded up, Lincoln pulled in. Motos on truck, people in truck, truck on the road. Arriving at Pipestone, it was pretty busy. Quads and bikes loitered around the parking lot, and we got a pretty impressive wheelie show while putting on all our gear. Bikes warmed up and ready to ride, we hit the trails.

A good majority of the section is closed off this time of the year, due to the snow still melting. The south facing, more open and fast section was open, and I was suprised at how dry it was. Once we moved into the foothills, things got a little soggy in places. On a few trails we simply turned around. Mud is one thing, but adding snow and ice is the slippery-condition trifecta.

We explored some new trails in the area that we previously just roosted right past. I've learned now to trust Lincoln's gut on trails that look challenging. I'm usually game for anything, but I end up with lots of stories that are funny in hindsight, but usually suck pretty bad in the moment. Lincoln has an uncanny ability to detect right at the start if things are going to go pear-shaped.

One of the new trails we rode, took us up to the top of a hill, with a spectacular view, and we had to stop for a photo op.

This was easily the earliest off-road riding I've ever done of any motorcycle season. The trails we're in great shape, and the weather was spectacular. 58 degrees! The ride was an absolute success. No mechanical break downs, no crashes, and no flat tires. 2010 is shaping up to be a pretty good year already!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Acerbis Gas Tank Repair

This is the situation. Two brass in-molded inserts ripped totally out of a 6 gallon Acerbis Xr600R gas tank. This happened in a stupid fall on a double track where my wheels found themselves in different ruts. I lowsided and the bike slid about 15 feet on it's side. I am not sure, but I think the handlebars pushed into the front lobe and leveraged it away and ripped the inserts out.

Step One

Order G/Flex epoxy from Hamilton Marine from near home in Maine

Step Two

Take down tank from where it's been hanging in the garage since last fall when I fell down on the XR600R and the inserts ripped completely out of the plastic tank on one side.

Step Three

With a knife, carefully cut off the in-molded ridge around the insert hole that previously held insert in place.

Step Four

Thread a 2" long bolt into the insert for a handle. With pliers, try and dry-fit the insert back into the hole to see if you removed enough material.

Step Five

When Step Four is a failure, repeat Step Three and Four about twenty times until the insert finally goes in.

Step Six

Clean out inside of insert holes with q-tips and rubbing alcohol.

Step Seven

Sand the brass inserts with 240 grit sandpaper

Step Eight

Mix up G/Flex epoxy in a little plastic cup

Step Nine

Using an old knife from the surplus silverware box in the basement, scoop the epoxy into the first hole, filling about half full.

Step Ten

Using pliers, grab the bolt with the insert on the end and press the insert into the epoxy-filled hole. Watch the epoxy spooge out around the sides. Wipe away excess with paper towel.

Step Eleven

Repeat Nine and Ten for second hole.

Step Twelve

Set tank in a position so that the inserts are flat and upright and allow to cure for a few hours.

Summary: I have been waiting to do this procedure for around 6 months. Finally ordered the epoxy last week. I wasn't about to spend 250 bucks on a new tank, so this had to work. I think it did, but I won't know till I swap the big tank back on to the bike.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pre Season Maintenance

So what we have here is a bike in the middle of rear shock removal. This past weekend I finally began work on the bikes. The XR600R here needs a rear shock spring of the correct spring rate for my weight so off came the wheel, the muffler, the airbox, and soon the rear linkage. Up here in the high country, a few 45 degree days do a lot for the melting of snow in the yard and for the itch to ride motorcycles. I invited fellow MTDS author Alex over for this inaugural event, and we had a few PBRs, changed a tire, and got the XR to the state above. Being a noob motorcycle mechanic, I am proceeding slowly and carefully every time I do something I have never done before, which is just about anything beyond an oil change.

I have an extensive list of items to take care of on the XR including:
rear tire change - done
rear shock spring change - 1/2 done
oil change
rear linkage check and lube
valve check and adjust
fork spring replacement
super duper general clean and inspect and lube
tighten steering head assembly. I installed new bearings last year and they loosened up quite a bit right away.
replace choke plate in the carb with solid plate

In addition to the XR I have the SV and the KLR to check over, and the Ninja 250 to get running for the lady...she wants to learn to ride, so I better get to it...