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Sunday, January 31, 2010

World's Fastest Honda

You're one with your Honda, you feel like you're flying, it's going like a jet. 
OMG, It Is A Jet!
Faster than the lies you tell when you stay out too late. Higher than the high school kid down the street. Mightier than than the you-know-what after that burrito dinner! There really is a Honda Jet.
The official site is here. Yes, the engines are above the wings. What does Boeing know about how to build an airplane? They're so old school.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Gretjen Does Cuba

You might remember that I featured Gretjen's photos of Burning Man last October. The girl just won't sit still!

She is just back from a trip to Cuba and has posted some mighty fine pictures she took on her trip. I can only say WOW! The photos are on display at the Joan Weill Adirondack Library in Paul Smith's College, Paul Smiths, NY (up near Lake Placid) from Feb. 3 to May 5

A couple of years ago she rode a Honda CB550 from Boston to Anchorage to San Francisco. The bike was a year older than she was! I'll have to get her to dig out those pictures for me to post. Check out her web  site for more pictures.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Riding Posture

From Kevin and

U kunt vanaf nu ook thuis de verschillende soorten motoren uitproberen qua zithouding. Dit is vanaf nu mogelijk door onderstaand standjespatroon. En Mike wat hebben we nog meer...

(You can now also home to try out different types of engines in terms of seating. It is now possible rebuke by the following pattern. And Mike what we have more ... )


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Maxi Snow Blower

My buddy Steven sent me this. Good stuff as the snow falls outside my window and I consider the puny 9hp snow blower in my basement.

Just in case you’re having any trouble removing snow from your driveway this baby will blow snow back to where it came from!

454 cubic inch big block Chevrolet V8 produces 412 horsepower

If you're tired of anemic, one-lung snowblowers with their slipping drive belts, you might consider Kai Grundt's V8 snow blower which raises the bar on the traditional snow blower in every respect. With electric start, electric block heater, antifreeze heater and eight cylinders, it has no drive belts to freeze up and you'll never get bored with the job as the 454 cubic inch big block Chevrolet V8 produces 412 horsepower, 430 foot pounds of torque and can throw snow 50 feet at just 3500 rpm.

Nor will you get cold as the machine has been ingeniously designed to route the engine coolant through the handle bars, with the rear mounted, enclosed radiator keeping the operator nice and cozy.

Maneuvering the massive beast (it has a total wet weight of 912 lbs) is a breeze thanks to the hydraulic-drive 4WD skid steer on independent walking beams which offers a zero turning radius. It's also as fast as you like, with an infinitely adjustable speed range on the drive wheels via dash mounted flow control. At the opposite end of the scale, it has more than enough torque to pull your car out of the ditch before the hydraulic motors stall!

Adding to the well-balanced feel of the unit, just 15 pounds of down force on the handlebars will lift the auger blade off the ground in order to climb stairs/walkways for ease of snow removal. Safety has and continues to be paramount with spring return to centre "fail safe" type directional controls with emergency stop and tether cords.

Safety is one of the key theme, with a flashing blue light (as required by law in many areas) being the least of the safety features. No one will fail to hear you with those twin throaty exhausts, which come standard with 92 decibels at the controls, though if the rumble of a V8 exhaust is music to your ears, you can obviously go much louder. Even at the standard baffling, hearing protection is strongly suggested.

The powerful yard machine lights and a dashboard with backlit gauges complete the package to ease the burden of this normally reviled task. The custom 42 inch, two stage auger has a Chevrolet 10 bolt truck differential with spool and a centrifugal auger clutch with shear pin protection, further adding to the image of this "automotive theme blower."  As each unit is custom-built, optional extras for the snow blower are both diverse and outrageous as the base unit - there is unlimited auger choices from single to multi stage designs and various motor combinations to suit the religious preferences of the customer (Chevy, Dodge Hemi, Ford) and such exotica as a V-10 or a diesel engine or remote starting can be accommodated. And if, after a while, you feel you've outgrown the 400 horses, this particular engine is well catered for in the performance modification area, with Lunati camshaft, Milodon Gear drive, Holley and Edelbrock components to name a few, and there's always the fuel injection option too, if you feel you need to throw the snow out of the county or ensure your seat in the "neighborhood blower blingster hall of fame."


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

York Report

I had to skip the NYC motorcycle show at the last moment. NYCVinMoto had a great booth that had a lot of visitors and generated over 200 new subscribers to the email list. Good Job!

I did make it to the York Swap Meet held by the Potomac Vintage Riders. What a great event! This is going on my Must Attend list from now on. It was about 40% vintage, 40% dirt bike, and the rest miscellaneous bikes and parts.

 I saw a beautiful TZ250, an unrestored flathead Harley that had gathered quite a crowd, and uncountable Bultacos, Maicos, and DT-era Yamahas, There was a vendor who had nothing but Ossa NOS parts and reproductions. Another one specialized in NOS Penton parts. Lots of British bikes to drool over. And on, and on ...

It was like a mini-VMD! Just like VMD some of the best action (and deals) were in the parking lot. In spite of the bone chilling rain it was worth the walk to see bevel-drive Ducati twins going for very reasonable money. I bought lots of parts but next year I'll have to bring more money.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Goodbye to a good friend

Keeping to my New Year's Resolution I sold my '65 BMW /2. I first bought it in Calif and rode it up the coast before shipping it back to New England. Then I rode it quite a bit before switching to other bikes, most usually my Transalp.
This bike was a mongrel. It had an R50 frame, an R60 bottom end, and an R69S top end and carbs. It had quite a few special parts like a deep oil pan and factory tachometer. There have been many friends on modern sport bikes who were surprised that they couldn't lose me on this bike. On the straights they could pull away but in the curves I would reel them in and paste myself on their rear view mirrors. It was all a matter of knowing what the bike was capable of and planning ahead.
The odd thing about this bike is that I have never owned another bike that was nearly as good as a chick magnet. Something about the classic looks and stately manner seemed to appeal to women of all types. They would just come over and start talking to me. I know it was the bike and not me!
I always meant to do a full restoration on it but I never got around to it. When my friend Guzzi Doug saw a picture of it he said, "I've got to have that bike!" Last Sunday we made the transfer. It will soon be on it's way around the world on yet another one of Doug's adventures. He has already made two circa-terra trips; one on a '42 Indian and another on a '48 Harley. The bike is going to where it belongs.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Water Drop Bounce

In case you missed me, I've been away to the York PA motorcycle swap meet. More on that tomorrow.

This is an amazing video of a water drop bouncing on the surface of still water. Best of all, a really smart guy explains how it works.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Mr Softy - who would have guessed?

From Progressive Insurance:
MAYFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio — March 18, 2009 — Women: just picture a confident, artistic man who's charitable and embraces the romantic side of relationships. Hard to imagine? He's closer than you might think: just check out your local biker hangout.
A recent survey explored the "softer side" of male bikers and non-bikers and looked at their online habits, what they like to read, charities they may be involved with, what brings them to tears, and more. The result? The stereotype of the "tough, burly, hard-core biker" is just that.
For example, bikers are more likely to say "I'm a hopeless romantic" (40 percent versus 34 percent) when asked to describe their romantic side. And when it comes to what moves them to tears, most riders say it's having their heart broken, while non-riders say it's watching a dramatic scene play out on TV or in a movie.
But, the hearts of riders and non-riders alike are filled with the need to give.
Guys who ride motorcycles are only slightly more likely than non-bikers to be involved in a charity or cause (43 percent versus 39 percent). How they like to help, though, does differ: non-bikers prefer charities involving community and social services, while bikers are most passionate about those involving children.
"We know riders are passionate about their bikes, after all we've been providing motorcycle insurance for more than 40 years and many of our own employees are riders too," said Marcy Gray, Progressive's motorcycle product manager and a long-time rider herself. "But what's interesting about this survey is that it dispels some stereotypes about bikers, and shows they're more than willing to get in touch with their 'softer side.'"
There is one stereotype that did bear out: tattoos. Riders are nearly three times more likely than non-riders to have a tattoo (32 percent versus 12 percent).
But the types of tattoos they have might surprise you. Bikers are nearly twice as likely as those who don't ride to have a tattoo of their significant other's name (18 percent versus 10 percent). They're also more likely to have slightly "softer" tattoos such as hearts and flowers and some motorcyclists even admit to having unicorn and cookie monster tattoos!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

NYC Motorcycle Show

Tomorrow is the start of the NYC motorcycle show. Big news (for me) is the North American debut of the 2010 Honda VFR1200F with dual clutch transmission

I'm thinking that it's going to be too big to have fun with but that it should be a nice sport touring bike. For once Honda is coming out with bags on from the beginning rather than waiting for years like they did with the VFR800. 

If the NYC show is anything like the Washington DC show it will be a very small and quiet event. One report from DC said that a couple of the manufacturers didn't even have an exhibit and just let their dealers represent them. Harley only had 5 bikes to show.

However, VinMotoNYC will be there larger than ever. They have their own booth this year and are going all out to make a good showing of it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Buell Factory Liquidation News

This is from the Canadian Motorcycle Guide:
They've had to shut down their motorcycle production line, but the Buell factory will be abuzz with people and money come Jan. 28.
An auction firm will start selling everything inside the factory at 2815 Buell Drive in East Troy, Wisconsin, and will continue for a month, according to a press release by Liquid Asset Partners.
"This factory was a state of the art, small scale factory. It's the type of facility that many tools and items will be of great interest to the home mechanic and motorcycle fanatic," says Bill Melvin Jr., CEO of Liquid Asset Partners, in the press release. "To make the sale successful we are prepared to deeply discount the inventory and sell everything in one month! It's stacked high and we're selling it cheap. The public won't want to miss these deals."
Included in the sale are the '99 BMW1100RT pictured here, a '98 Dakar KTM, a 2008 KTM SuperDuke, and a 2007 Triumph Speed Triple. Tools, trucks, lifts, trailers, tool boxes, a VIN stamper, paint guns, cabinets, welding equipment, a shovel, and a whole sh*tload of other things used to make and move Buell motorcycles will be sold.
Here are the details of the sale with pictures and inventory list.

I still have to wonder about the wisdom of not selling the Buell brand to a 3rd party. Polaris was rumored to be interested in buying the company and there must have been others. I'd have to bet that the H-D board of directors turned them down because they didn't want to look stupid when another company made a success out of Buell! Considering the immense cost of shutting down the company and laying off the employees it would show just how stupid they really are.
"Hey those are only loyal employees whose lives we're throwing into the Dumpster. Screw them, let's go collect our bonuses."

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hi-res screen magnifier

If you have a Droid (or an iPhone or iTouch) you know that it can be a pain in the eyes to watch a video for more than a few minutes. The Droid has really high resolution so a magnifier doesn't totally pixelate the image. This video will show you how to make an easy to use magnifier out of common materials. Under $10 and 10 minutes.

The best part just might be his comments about open source eggs!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

LSR Perspective

I was talking to Kevin Cameron last night at the USCRA banquet about our LSR plans. He gave me a lot of insight into what to expect when we get there. For instance:
  • They call it the Salt Flats for a reason. It's all salt. Salt, of course, hates all things electrical. Therefore I should expect gremlins of every sort to creep into the wiring of our racer. His suggestions:
    • Use individual wires instead of a wiring harness.
    • Do not use plug type connectors, use screw type junction blocks.
    • Label everything.
  • The altitude is 4000 feet, plan on raising the compression to compensate. Jetting will also need to be adjusted to conditions.
  • The cars leave ruts that can trap a motorcycle's tires, stay out of them.
  • Have a person designated as "Den Mother" to keep an eye out for people getting dehydrated, overheated, sunburned, etc.
  • Wear big hats.
And the list went on. I asked if he would mind if I called or emailed with more questions. "Sure, here's my number." was his reply.

Here is a generous person freely sharing his experience. Our team will much better for it. Thanks!

    Saturday, January 16, 2010

    Officially a Geezer!

    Turned 65 this morning. Didn't seem much different from yesterday. I won't bore you with memories of days gone by, looking at life in the rear view mirror has never been my style. 

    I have no bucket list. The very idea seems absurd. If you did what you wanted to do every day then you don't need a list to tell you what to do tomorrow.

    This evening I'm getting together with the rest of the LSR group to make plans for our effort next August. Can't think of a better way to celebrate.

    As Herb Caen said, "Too old for adolescence, too young for maturity."

    Friday, January 15, 2010

    The A-Team has returned

    This is probably going to end up as yet another horrible, rip-off, warmed over, retro stinker. But I don't care, I'm going to go see it! When was it ever better than the A-Team? (At least before they got family values and nobody ever got wounded?)

    Don't you love it when a plan comes together!?

    Thursday, January 14, 2010

    What engineers do when they retire

    This just in from Geoff:

    This video is proof positive that some people have WAY too much time on their hands. On the other hand, how much time did you spend watching it more than once?

    I thought the Slinky was a nice touch. Dr Seuss and Rube Goldberg would be proud!

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    Time Machine

    Vintage Ad Browser is a time machine showing (and selling) ads from as far back as 1850 up to the present. It has everything from Airlines to Xmas. Transportation is obviously my favorite. The site has a very good search engine to help find specific categories. Check out the Gender category from the '20's It is absolutely hysterical!

    There are all types of ads for all of the makes.

    More Gals Per Mile!? Betty Friedan must be spinning in her grave! Not that Suzuki didn't know exactly what they were talking about.

    Curiously they only have two of the Norton Girl ads. I guess the rest sold quickly.

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    Electrical (preventive) maintenance

    The electrical system on a motorcycle is generally not a high priority UNTIL it doesn't work. When all those mysterious electrons and quarks stop playing we are left on the side of the road pondering the humors of the gods.
    It's odd that riders who are otherwise anal compulsive about preventive maintenance never give a thought to the electrical system beyond changing spark plugs at tune-up time. Here are some thoughts from my friend Eddy who is a really smart engineer in California:
    I was able to fix or at least very much improve the battery overcharging problem. I found that bad contacts in connectors were causing the regulator to sense a lower system voltage so it was regulating the voltage on the battery too high and it would boil off fluid. Cleaning connectors around the battery and regulator and filling them with lithium grease solved the high system voltage problem. I remember being surprised about the difference when I measured the battery voltage before and after the cleaning effort (with engine rev'ing at about 3000 rpm).

    I understand that the part of the battery plates that becomes dry will be useless when it is exposed too long to air. It oxidizes or something and this prevents the usual lead-acid interaction. So keep an eye on those plates and keep 'm submerged!
    CRC 05105 Technician Grade Di-Electric Grease Compound - 3.3 Wt Oz.
    I am a big fan of CRC Di-Electric Grease for this purpose. Take the connectors apart, clean off the corrosion, coat everything with goo, and put it back together. SOS or Brillo pads are good for this and less aggressive than sand paper. The CRC can has a snout that makes it especially good for shooting grease into the female side of the bullet connectors. Do it now unless you really have the urge to study the stars at night on some lonely road in the middle of nowhere. You know the one, it's unencumbered with cel phone coverage. BTW, this also makes a great points cam lubricant for vintage bikes.
    CRC 05006 16oz Power Lube Aerosol Spray

    Speaking of things CRC, let me also recommend CRC Power Lube. It's everything WD-40 wishes it was. It is a real lubricant. It used to be called CRC 5-56 but I guess they thought the name was too geeky. Whatever... I buy the stuff by the case to use for everything that needs light lubrication. Great for freeing sticky cables, levers, and parts too.

    Monday, January 11, 2010

    Racing is Racing

    Derbi 50cc racer

    I was talking to some friends about racing and they were all in until I said that I was talking about 50cc bikes. Suddenly the room went quiet. "Manly men don't race tiddlers", was the unspoken message. 

    Watch this race video and tell me that 50cc is not racing. Notice how many times the lead changes. Real men have their egos in control and go racing. The others just talk and order another beer.

    Jawa 50cc racer

    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    Modern Technology

    The new Google TiSP internet system promises free and easy access to the internet for everyone. While it promises to flush your problems away it could give new meaning to having a shi!!y connection.

    The new Google Nexus One phone is out. However it still trails behind the Pomegranate phone in so many important ways.


    Saturday, January 9, 2010

    Friday, January 8, 2010

    Motorcycle Blueprints has 1784 blueprints and pictures of motorcycles. Not to mention a few thousand others of cars, planes, and Starship Battle Cruisers. It looks like an excellent source for restoration details or just surfing around on a slow afternoon.


    Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    More Polaroid Fun

    Following up yesterday's post, here is a way to have fun making Polaroid style instant prints on your computer. 

    • Download the Poladroid app. (It's free)
    • Start it up and drop an image on it. 
    • Watch it develop.

     First there's the very cool motor sound as the image ejects from the camera. Then the slow fade-in as the image develops. Finally the image is deposited in the pictures folder on your hard drive. It's so good that it even mimics the darkening around the edges like a real Polaroid print.

    Download the app, make prints, send them to all your friends. It just might be the most fun you'll have all day.

    Tuesday, January 5, 2010

    Polaroid is not dead

    Polaroid, the company, is dead and gone, a poster child for poor corporate planning,  executive greed, and, in the end, a vicious Ponzi scheme.

    However, instant photography made popular by Polaroid lives on at the site Polanoid. Here the love of photography continues unabated. People from all over the world upload pictures they have taken to be shared by all the world.

    Some are amateurish, some are very professional. Some are frivolous, some are serious. Some are very good and some are very bad. But the one underlying theme is that all of them are fun. An Artsy-Phartsy theme is predominant.

    Polaroid used to have a vast program supporting artists with grants of money and material. This site seems to be paying back that investement.

    Fuji is still making instant film with their Instax cameras.
    Fujiilm Instax MINI 7s White Instant Film CameraFuji Instax 200 Instant Film Camera

    To be honest, the Fuji pictures are far superior to the old Polaroid film. If you look closely the Mini 7s is the same as the Polaroid Mio in a different case. Fuji made them for Polaroid in a cross license deal. You can pick these up on eBay or at yard sales for $5-10.

    Polaroid CZA-10011B PoGo Instant Mobile Printer (Black)

    The Zink brand digital media used by printers made by several companies is an interesting twist on instant photography. The PoGo printer will connect with a cel phone and print instantly using Bluetooth and battery power. You get a credit card sized picture to hand to a friend immediately. Great for traveling and making instant friends.

    One word of caution: You might see Polaroid digital cameras and be tempted to think they are a good deal because of the name. Don't! They are generally poor quality cameras with the Polaroid name pasted on. As one reviewer put it,
    "You might think that since it is so cheap it might make a good camera for a kid. Don't do it! It is so bad that it will forever kill the kid's interest in photography!"

    Also, Polaroid TVs and electronics are of generally low quality, as is the identical Element brand. You have been warned.