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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Used Tools

Reminder: MMM Tiddler ride on 24 Oct

Next time you change a tire or fix a flat there are two things you should do. Check that the rim is not bent and balance the wheel with the tire on it. Both of these are easily accomplished with the Harbor Freight Wheel Stand.

I'm usually not a fan of anything from HF that involves ball bearings. The cheap drill press that I bought is just that, cheap. However, this wheel stand has stood the test of time and the bearings are still functioning perfectly.

To balance the wheel you just mount it on the stand with the included adapter and let it spin until one side settles to the bottom. Add weights (5g or 2.5g) to the other side until it settles in random spots when you spin it. I was surprised at how out of balance a new tire is even when I matched the mark on the side with the tire stem. Balancing the tire was quick, painless, and had a noticeable effect.

Bikemaster WHEEL WEIGHTS ADHESIVE 5G BM 02-0850Bikemaster WHEEL WEIGHTS ADHESIVE 2.5G BM 02-0825

The stand is great for more than just wheel balancing. Used with a dial guage and a magnetic base it is also perfect for truing spoke wheels or checking alloy wheels for trueness. The dial guage points out exactly which spokes need to be tightened or loosened.

The stand normally retails for $59.99 but as with everything from HF there are deals and sales if you watch the ads or get on their mailing list. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Christmas Already?

It's not even Halloween yet and already I got the first Christmas catalog in the mail today. It's really a bit much!
However, here is what is forecast to be the #1 RC action toy, the Air Hogs Moto Frenzy from Spin Master. Buy them now and resell them on eBay for twice the price in December.

I just have one question; if motorcycle toys are so popular why do we riders of the real thing have such a hard time getting an respect? I almost had the answer but some POS cruiser went by with pipes so loud they shattered my thoughts.

If you need other toy suggestions you can see the whole list of what will be hot here. Paper Jamz looks extremely cool.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

NY Times on Procrastination. This is Johnny Kelly's animated short on the evil that besets us all. Believe me, sitting down at the computer every morning is a challenge to get something done rather than just surf the time away.

AFTER you watch Johnny Kelly's video check out Ellen DeGeneres discussing procrastination in a much more amusing way than I ever could. Every sentence is one that I could say, "I can relate to that!"

Procrastinate for a couple of minutes and check them out. Maybe they will focus your day better and give you time to go out for a ride. Don't stop to make a cup of tea!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Can't Save Them All

I tried to sell all these for a fair price, then a cheap price, then free to anyone who would come get them. In the end I got $66.40 from the scrap metal dealer.

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

Sunday, September 26, 2010

RS125 Sets Land Speed Record

I can't take any credit for this article in Hell For Leather. I just wanted to pass on the story and images of a racer in the same class that we raced in that is only 25cc larger than the limit for our engine. Read the article about how they managed to squeeze 146.77mph out of an RS125 engine. The real trick is their aggressive application of streamlining. Using a center hub steering mechanism allowed them to get a height only a couple of inches greater than the wheel. It's certainly an inspiration for our attempt next year. I intend to borrow several of their concepts!

When you read the article check out the pictures in the strip at the bottom. When I first clicked on the strip it only showed a very small picture. Click on that to get full sized images. They will show how truly tiny this bike is.

Good Job and My Congratulations To Them.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Easy Rider On Hulu

Dave sent me this link to watch Easy Rider on Hulu.

Check this link to watch the original movie trailer.

The two things people always remember: the first time they had sex, and the first time they saw Easy Rider. Both are timeless.

Friday, September 24, 2010


This is such a great spoof of all those comparisons / shoot-outs / best of the ... articles. As the owner of a 7D (which I absolutely love!) I was very amused. Try it out in HD if your computer can handle it.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

How To Read NGK Spark Plug Numbers

It's really quite simple as you can see. Click on the image to get the full size chart, print it out, and pin it to your shop wall for future reference.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Got Norton?

Dave sent this link for an auction of British iron. Check out the slide show. If it weren't so far I'd go to bid on the lot of K-70's which is my all time favorite all-around tire.

How many of the bikes can you identify?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Destination - New Hampshire

I call it the Giant Tuna. The USS Albacore is a former US Navy test submarine. It is on display in Portsmouth NH just off I-95 at exit 7 or off Rt 1 a few blocks from downtown. It is in dry dock which is interesting because they had to close the highway, dig a canal to the current location, and then float it in from the Piscataqua River.

The Albacore was never a fighting boat, it was used to test experimental designs for the new class of fast attack boats that would be nuclear powered. It has two diesel engines that I'm told were quite troublesome. 

I met Norm Bower while I was taking these pictures. He served aboard the Albacore for 21 years and ended up as Chief of Boat when it was retired. He told me about how the boat was refitted five times with different configurations for the sail and tail. Our modern fleet owes much to Norm and the rest of the crew. It was most interesting to talk to someone who actually had first hand knowledge. A virtuall tour and the whole history can be found at the Albacore web site.

While you're in the area, you should go across the river to Chauncey Creek for lobster. It's one of my favorites. Casual elegance with moderate prices. Many people even bring their own tablecloth, silverware, and bottles of wine to highlight the experience. Make sure you visit but hurry before they close for the winter.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

More From THe Berkshires

It's hard to ride and take pictures but here are a few from the weekend ride. Don, Russ, Ben and I had a great time!
Waking up to a beautiful day
View from lookout point
Always nice to have people like you
It says there's a trail around here someplace
Ben and Russ make it over the hill
Sunset as we eat dinner on the terrace
Balancing rock
I know we're here. But where is here?

Live From The Berkshires

Two days of dirt bike riding with friends is a great way to spend a weekend. The XR400 is running perfectly with new valves and piston. And I only fell twice!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Found On The Road

Rt 123 in Norton MA. Excellent hot dogs cooked just right. "Cash Only Please"!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bear Hug?

This is just so manipulative that it's a slap in the face to everyone who has hasn't drank the green Kool-ade. And what is the bear going to do next? Kill everyone who bought a Nissan Armada and Titan? Those vehicles put the Chevy Suburban to shame and rival the Ford F-150.

Nissan wins the hypocrisy award of the year!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Isetta For 2025

This is a really interesting concept from Nissan for an urban vehicle. I'm thinking of a fleet of these for ZipCars. The robot is pretty cool and the rotating wheels are amazing. I'm disappointed that it didn't show the vehicle pivoting 360 degrees to turn a tight corner or park sideways. Maybe the robot will drive while the driver texts and talks on the cel phone. We'd all be safer for that!

This is another Nissan commercial that will assuradly never be shown in the US. We're still a nation of prudes and reactionaries.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Granite State Race Pictures

I finally got all the pictures from the USCRA Granite State Races at Loudon posted. All 1100 of them! They are here and here. I had to break them into two parts to get them all uploaded.

The first group are mostly in the pits and are the work of Jennifer Ditacchio of NYC fame and fortune. Check out her website for more of her work. The rest are point and shoot with a long lens and a fast motor drive. I didn't try to edit out any but the worst ones because I think there are many that are not great photos but which show lines, positions, and lean angles that may be of interest to riders who would like to analyze and improve their skills. There are several videos at the end of the second group.

As usual you are free to download any pictures that you want to pin up on your wall. The high resolution images are available for about the price of a shot of Irish whiskey.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Vintage Honda Parts For Sale

Steve sent me this item about his new vintage parts web site. A quick look showed parts I haven't been able to find anywhere else. The prices seem reasonable, especially since he's willing to listen to offers. An interesting concept.

Don't forget to check out his Vintage Honda Restoration site also.

Make Me an Offer I Can't Refuse I've had pictures taken of three hundred of my vintage Honda parts that were headed for Ebay, but I decided to give you a shot at them first.
I was trying to figure out the best way to display the parts and wound up building a new website.
Just like at a swap meet, the most important feature on is *"Make an Offer".

*Click on a part. When the detail photos show up, click the "Make an offer on this item" link.

You're not committed to anything until you send the money so make an offer and see how low I'll go.

But items could easily be sold out from under you so don't dilly-dally.

If the price is $500, that means I don't have a clue. Tell me what you think it's worth.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Other Side Of Racing

Yesterday I talked about how racing that was up close and personal was the best thing you could do with your clothes on. There is also a dark side of racing. The video above shows what can happen when it gets too up close and personal. The camera was on my friend Rich's motorcycle as he center punched a rider who went down in front of him and then was catapulted high side.

The race was at Mosport Raceway in Ontario. Rich is well and was racing at Loudon last Monday. I'm not sure of the rider he hit but I don't remember it being serious. There is a reason for the leather suits with armor and the helmets. Racing is lots of fun but occasionally you get your ticket punched.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Racing For 7th Place

One of the greatest races of my life was at Shannonville Race Track. Another racer and I were fighting it out for 7th place. Back and forth, the effort was heroic. I was pressing it so hard through every turn that I was sure it would be my last. Two gladiators never fought so hard!

I think I pulled it out at the last moment but it was the close racing I remember, not who won or lost. When we were back in the pits the other racer rushed over and gave me a big bear hug. "That was the best racing of my life!", he exclaimed. I was in total agreement.

Racing is about a lot more than just winning. Nothing is more boring than being in first (or any) place by half a lap. Round and round you go, unchallenged and uninspired. That's just going fast. Racing is when it's up close and personal.

So it was with Beth and Jack in the last race yesterday. It was fast, it was close, and it was personal. Back and forth they battled, passing and repassing, pushing harder than they knew they could. In the end Beth prevailed but you wouldn't know it by the smiles on their faces as they pulled into the pits. They just sat on their bikes, reluctant to let the moment end, and savored the moment.

Racing just doesn't get any better than this.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Racing At Loudon Today

The real thrill is seeing the original Honda CR110 and CR93 race bikes that George brought from his collection. I'd be jealous if George wasn't such a great Guy!

Beth is doing well today. I'm helping by adjusting the carbs on her competitor's bike.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

1st Annual MondayMotoMadness Tiddler Tour

Correction: This has been moved to Sunday, 24 Oct. so it won't conflict with the Barber races.

No poster yet but the date has been set for 24 Oct. The rules are Old and Small. It's up to you to determine how that applies to you. Think CB350 era and older, slower, and/or smaller from there.

However, nobody will be turned away. If you show up on a new CBR1000RR we'll just assume that your tiddler is in an indeterminate state and that you'll motor in the spirit of the ride.

Departure is at 9am from MMM HQ (150 Kinney Rd, Amston 06231) and will proceed about 60 miles through the countryside until lunch at Harry's in Colchester. Not a bad trick considering that it's only 7 miles from the house as the Super Hawk flies.

After lunch, another 60 mile ride to return to the homestead where a chicken BBQ will await. Amy has offered to bring materials for s'mores but holding hands and singing Kumbayah around the fire is optional.

This is a self-guided tour and route sheets will be provided. You must have a route sheet holder (or stupendous photographic memory)! Hopefully my choices will live up to the high standard set by Doug Roper in the spring. Lots of back country roads and no freeways.

Doug and Amy have graciously offered camping at their home for those who need it.

Prizes of Tom's Genuine CT Maple Syrup will be offered for:
  • Most creative route sheet holder
  • Oldest bike to complete both courses
  • Smallest bike to complete both courses
(In case of a tie the contestants will play Stone Scissors Paper until a winner is determined)


You ride tall when you ride small !!


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Finally, All The Bonneville Pictures

All my pictures (plus Joe Tordiff's) are here:

They were taken by a couple of different cameras so they are a little out of order in a couple of places but I think you'll like them.

Beth's pictures are here:

Enjoy while we count down to next year!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Some Adventures Are Better Than Others

Here's Doug riding across Georgia on an ancient Harley this summer.

And here's some pictures of Herman in the '70's treking across North Africa ,Turkey, Greece, Iraq (Baghdad )...... (click on the pictures to see them full size)

And you were planning what for the Labor Day weekend?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Used Gear - Camera Bag

Canon Deluxe Photo Backpack 200EG for Canon EOS SLR Cameras (Black with Green Accent)

I have had dozens of camera bags in my life. Cheap ones, expensive ones, Pro ones and they have all left me cold. Mainly they were all shoulder bags with various harnesses to keep them close to the body and not flop around. Every one of them still flopped, fell off my shoulder, or twisted around. The ones that protected my gear were too heavy, the ones that were light left my gear vulnerable. And then a friend showed me his Canon Deluxe Photo Backpack 200EG .  This what I used on the Bonneville trip and I was very pleased. The backpack design meant no flopping, no twisting, and left my hands free. I held my DSLR, 4 lenses (including a very large 100-400mm zoom), and all the other filters, chargers, and gear that I need for an extended trip.

It's well padded and shrugged off all the abuse of the trip while protecting the equipment inside. $42 with free shipping from Amazon made it a real steal. Highly recommended!

Tamrac 5273 Expedition 3 Photo Backpack (Rust)

If you need something a little smaller, this month's issue of Pop Photo suggests the Tamrac Expedition 3 Photo Backpack . The Canon backpack is only book bag size but could be overkill if you only have a body and a couple of lenses.