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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Two ways of looking at things

Some people save money for a "Rainy Day Fund". Waiting for the inevitable disaster to strike they put money aside to be ready to ride out the storm. I prefer to think of it as an "Opportunity Account". When opportunity knocks I'm ready for action.

Case at point: Last summer I met a guy who had a KZ750 in very good condition. It had been sitting for a few years and had the usual sticky brakes and dirty carbs but it was complete down to the tool kit and was cosmetically beautiful. A KZ is a mild mannered street/road bike as opposed to a GPz which is the sportier model of that time. It has plenty of power but the ride and handling are more relaxed.

He was interested in getting it running so he could sell it and by a new Sportster. I tried to tell him that the Kawi was a better bike than the Sportster would ever be but that was what he wanted. I suggested that he bring it over and I'd help him get it running. Nice as it was I wasn't interested in buying it and made a low-ball offer to that end.

Yesterday I'm sitting in my living-room reading a book when the doorbell rings. There he is with his wife. They were out walking and stopped by to see if I was still interested in buying the bike. At the price I had offered I couldn't say no. If I decided to resell it in the spring I could make some money. Or I could make another attempt at riding cross country on the CB1100F and have Beth ride the KZ750. Or some friend will want a bike and I can let them have it for a bargain price.

All this because opportunity had knocked (rung the doorbell actually) and I was prepared to act. Even after all the Christmas presents and expenses I had enough set aside to be able to jump on the deal that came my way.

Now they only question is: Where am I going to put it?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

More Manuals

Eric in Reno sent me the Honda Common Service Manual and the Honda Common Tool Manual here. I have posted them here. A nice compliment to the electrical and fuel manuals I posted earlier.

The service manual has much information relative to many Honda models and other brands. It also has some especially good sections on trouble shooting in each section. For instance, if you've ever wondered how to perform a leak down test you'll find it in section 3-3.

The tool manual shows the factory tools for special jobs. Although some of these tools are rare and hard to find, seeing a picture of the tool and how it is used can help in making your own tool to get the job done. I'm certainly a testament to how using a wrong tool can mess things up. Usually at great expense!

Warning - The service manual is HUGE and will take a while to download. I suggest starting it and then going off to set the valves you've been putting off.

Thanks to Eric for this.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Couldn't have said it better

Gift cards are the ultimate in lazy shopping. Either put some effort into it or skip it altogether!

Except for Victoria's Secret of course.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What Dreams Are Made Of

This why the Italians have Sophia Loren and we have Sarah Jessica Parker. What would you rather have, a Ferrari or a Ford Taurus?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Honda Carburetion and Ignition Manuals

I've scanned in the 1975 and 1986 Honda Carburetion and Ignition Manuals. You will find them here. This is one of the best ways to get acquainted with the basics for all motorcycles. Just in time for Christmas presents.

Warning: These are BIG files and may take a couple of minutes to download depending on your internet speed.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


It's not hard to be amused by this one. And I think we'd all agree that the world is a better place with these two morons locked in a steel cage. Look closely and you'll notice that the second rider is already heading for the lake even before the "map" hits him square in the face. Photoshop and an over eager stunt rider?

Still, points to South African VW for having a sense of humor (or is that humour?).

Monday, November 28, 2011

World's Smallest V-12 Engine

From Herman, himself a Master Machinist:

Facinating to watch this engine transpire from raw material to working engine.

I am in total awe at the skill and craftsmanship, not to mention the patience. To know that people capable of such things still exist in our world of instant crap truly inspires me.

I'd like to have dinner with him to discuss the project and some of his design choices. How marvelous that would be.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Name This Car - NY Times Edition

Back in April I found a sad little car, posted a couple of pictures, and asked what it was. Peter commented that it was a Subaru 360.

Now the NY Times has an article on the little machine that disparages it from every angle. Perhaps the best comment is the quote from the Consumers Reports article, “It was a pleasure to squirm out of the Subaru, slam the door and walk away.”

Here's some of the original TV ads for the car where they extol it's virtues as "cheap and ugly." At least the girl is cute if the car isn't.

However, Subaru may have the last laugh. 66 mpg is better than any Prius and gas isn't getting any cheaper.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

True Love

Ledermann Racing Team - "It takes two" from True Biker Spirit on Vimeo.

If you love someone, set her free; if she comes backs she's yours, if not, it was never meant to be.

However, if you're on a sidehack rig, go back and get her!

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bring Back The Transalp - Again ...

Another attempt to petition Honda to bring the Transalp back to the U.S. is here.

I like my TA and intend to keep it. However, I don't see myself ever buying another one. Or anything like it. I think movements to bring the TA back are dead on arrival. Possibly 1 out of every 20 people who sign the petition will actually buy one. Probably more like 1:100.

The new ones are even more street oriented than the '89 and hence less interesting. Suzuki sells a few V-Stroms, Triumph and BMW are doing well with the Tiger and GS 800, but not on any scale that would interest Honda. I think they are smart enough to realize that the market is too limited for another entry. Considering the costs of EPA and DOT certification, plus parts and training, I don't see it ever happening.

Call me a cynic but doesn't the website seem a little too glossy for a grassroots effort? Is it all about the Transalp? Or just about the advertising?

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Size Matters

Owning a pickup means that everything you own is either wet or stolen. I loved my Buick Roadmaster Custom Cruiser station wagon but the price for good ones is going up by leaps and bounds.

So now a 1976 Chevy Suburban will soon be in the driveway for towing duty. With a 454 big block engine it will tow anything on wheels. Stopping at the gas station should be a thrilling experience.

The RED plaid upholstery is a real bonus. And the faux wood-grain dash is pure Detroit.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gas Can

The new gas cans you buy at Auto Zone or WalMart all have the new safety cutoff valve that is impossible to use by anyone with only two hands. In a word, they suck. Another hit from the Nanny State who wants to make sure we don't hurt ourselves. How long before we find only Play School plastic hammers at Home Depot?

However, there is help from VP Racing Fuels. Their racing fuel jugs are even easier to use than the old red containers. The big hose can bend into the tank for no-spill fills. And the separate breather port allows air intake so you're not standing around waiting for the gas to gurgle out.

But wait, there's more! Street Side Auto is selling them for only $20.99 plus $7.99 for the Deluxe Tube. That's about $15 cheaper (jug+hose) than I've seen them for sale locally. I ordered two of each and got FREE FedEx shipping that arrived two days after my order. Too bad these guys don't sell motorcycle parts, the service is great.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Touring Europe in 1953

Here is a great remembrance of a motorcycle tour of Europe in 1953. I won't even try to comment as the story is much better than my poor words.

Read all the way to the end. The bit about the father in his '70's and the red bike doing the ton is priceless!

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Monday, October 10, 2011

When too much is just right

Visiting the barber museum is an exercise in futility. No way can you see at all or appreciate it all. Certainly not in the limited time we had to enjoy it. We'll be back!!

It should be on everybody's list of things to do.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Racing Problems

Getting to the track is the hard part sometimes. These guys are not having a good time!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Think you're having a bad day?

I have to admit I've never seen a bike break in half like this on a race course. It seemed like a pretty straight forward sliding fall until the bike started doing pirouettes in the air.

At least the rider was safe and ready to ride another day, on another bike.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Another free magazine from Roadgear

I don't know how they do it but here is a free subscription to Sport Rider courtesy of our friends at Roadgear.

Click here for the form.

On the ill fated trip across country last month that was aborted by the flood my gear was Roadgear and for once I didn't have a wet crotch!

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

On the road again

No data links while I was in Yosemite. Finally back to civilization. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Flood Pictures

US 6 Flooded
The pictures from the trip are here. Keep in mind that I was more interested in escaping the flood than taking pictures of it. Luckily I had a waterproof camera (Pentax W-30) that could take pictures in the rain.
Brake calipers and the crud that washed out from them
Here is a picture of the brake calipers that had to be taken apart and rebuilt. The water and mud had taken a toll and I've ordered new parts to make them safe.

I'm flying to San Francisco this afternoon to complete the trip. It's clear and sunny. I have high hopes this time. While I'm out there I'm going to write up an account of the trip as the explorers of old once did. I'll post it here in the days to come.

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Monday, September 12, 2011


I'm home, safe and dry. The bike took a beating with the mud and water crossings in the flood. I made it to Jay's and then Beth came and got me with the pickup.

I'm gathering the pictures I took and will put them up tomorrow with a complete story. 

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Flood Party

The river is supposed to crash tonight at about 1130. After that it'll take at least a day to come down to levels were we can pass on the road. So it looks like I'm stuck here until saturday. In the meantime there's no food. The water has run out. I made a beer run in the morning on the motorcycle but that's running out too. The red cross is it won't be able to get here with supplies until tomorrow so it looks like lean times.
In the meantime we're bored to death, party as we can, and hope for the best.

No rain Lots of water

I'm stuck on an island in the middle of a lake. The Susquehanna river is supposed to crest at 8pm tonite. No way home today.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Route 6 was flooded out so I tried to go around it I taking some back roads ran into nothing but flooding and roads that were rivers because the ground can't hold a water anymore. To top it off Jay loaned me his tent and mattress and I lost them somewhere trying to find a passage to move west.

Now they're predicting more flooding and flash floods so I'm thinking of turning around. Weather map is showing rain all the way through Illinois. Enough is enough. Besides I like the 1100 so much I think I wanna keep it.

Tomorrow morning I'll look at the weather map again but right now I think it's over. Its supposed to be fun and I've got nothing to prove.

Day 2 More rain

Jay's cabin, a refuge for the night. The rain was so hard on the metal roof over night that I thought I was back in Hurricane Irene.
It looks good at the moment but I can see on the weather map that there are thunder storms a head.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rain rain and more rain

It started off as a clear day and I had high hopes that I would miss the rain. The first hour wasn't bad and then the proverbial poop hit the fan. At the new york border it started to rain and then it started to pour, then it tapered off, then it rained some more. And some more. I thought I would get a break by stopping at my favorite diner but they were closed. Back into the rain I went. Now it was just a death march to get to Jay's house and a warm shower. That's when disaster struck, The driver in another car gestured to me that I was losing the pack on the back of the bike. I pulled over to find my tent in my sleeping pad for history. I went back about 5 miles in retraced my steps thinking thatI the missing pieces couldn't have fallen off too much before the guy told me. They have either fallen off long before or they were off in the bushes were I couldn't find them. Back to the road in onward to Jay's. Chili and cornbread will make you forget a lot of things Is certainly improve my spirits immensely. Now for a good night sleep and back into the rain predicted for tomorrow.

Sent via DroidX2 on Verizon Wireless™

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cross Country Trip 2011

The Bike - 1983 CB1100F

The Plan - US Route 6 - CT to CA

I was going to fly out to Calif to see my parents when I suddenly became unemployed. Too good an opportunity to pass up I thought. Jet Blue said that I could change my reservations for a small fee ($100) but that it would be cheaper to just not show up for the flight west and then use the eastbound half of the ticket. You have to love airline thinking.

My first choice was my NX650 but then my friend Paul called me and told me about this cool bike that I had to go see. I went, I saw, I bought! The CB1100F is an old school UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle). Inline 4 cylinder engine, long wheelbase, upright seating. It has power everywhere, not hot rod power but smooth, effortless power everywhere in the rev range. At 586 pounds it's not "flickable" but it is rock solid once you set it up for a curve and is agile enough for spirited riding in the twisties. Add a comfy seat and a tiny wind screen and it just begs to eat the miles.

US Route 6 runs from Provincetown MA to Los Angeles CA. This was the main way to get from New England to the west coast before there were interstates. Unlike Rt 66 most of it still exists and is a trip back into an earlier America. I've ridden parts of it but never the entire length. This time I will.

I've got a couple of friends to see along the way but I have no reservations or time schedule other than being in Yosemite by the 16th. Some days may be fast, others may be short. I'll be camping whenever I can but I've always been a sucker for a '50's style motel.

I'll keep posting progress here each day. Stay tuned for more adventure.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


I knew I had made a good choice 20 years ago when she suggested a better cleaner instead of having a hizzyfit about the MX boots in the kitchen sink.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Test 3

Yet another test

Test 2

This is a test from my phone with a picture of the nx650

test post

This the first test post with a picture of the trip bike.

J. Braun
Amston CT USA
xl600v <at> gmail <dot> com

Speed is not a four letter word!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Free Magazine

Roadgear is having another promotion with Motorcyclist magazine. Free subscription for the first 10,000 people to sign up.

Here is the link

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

New Bike

1982 CB1100F

586 pounds of motor! Doesn't matter what gear you're in, when you twist the grip it takes off like a jet fighter. In the twisties it's not exactly flickable but it's solid and stable which inspires confidence.

On 6 Sept I'll be leaving for San Francisco on this. I'll be taking the old US Route 6 across country. I'll be posting pictures and stories along the way. Stay tuned.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

All Grown Up

My brother's daughter got married this weekend. How time passes. It's a cliche but it seems like only yesterday that she and her friends were piling into the back of my pickup so we could sneak down to the lake for ice cream. I don't think we really fooled her mother but it was great fun pretending.
Now she's married to Michael and I'm a fond memory in the rear view mirror.

Congratulations to them and Bon Voyage.
Life is a wild ride!

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

What are you doing on the 21st? - City Version

If you can't or don't want to come out to the country and ride in the Tiddler Tour there is the Velocity show in Brooklyn.

Details are here. I've attended this in the past and always had a good time. There are plenty of interesting bikes, great people watching, and good food and drink. Unfortunately, I can't be at this and the TT both. Darn!

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ugly bikes

When punk music first came out it was a revolt against disco and the over-produced housewife rock of the times. However, it was soon a genre of me-too mediocrity.

The bobbers, cafe bikes, and rat rods are following the same path. There is certainly a lot of great workmanship going into some of these bikes but, to me, it's all looking the same and getting pretty boring. Check out a few of them here and make up your own mind which are the ones that really stand out.

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

What are you doing on the 21st?

3rd Annual New England Fall Tiddler Tour 
21 August 2011 - 10am side stands up
150 Kinney Rd Amston CT 06231

Dale Hoyt has created a ride through the CT countryside that promises to be interesting. Bring a tank bag or route sheet holder. Or just follow the rider in front of you and get lost together. 

This year's TT coincides with the Annual Brit Jam meet. There will be special display parking for the Tiddler riders. Every year the Brit Jam club gives away a restored bike. This year it's a 1970 BSA 650. Can you shift with your right toe?

BBQ Chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers and drinks back at the start after the ride.

Be There, or Be Square!

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

What are you doing on the 20th

Nothing here about motorcycles unless you're riding your Henderson Super to the event.


It looks like a lot of fun


Here's pictures and videos of previous years.

Here's another act that will be there

We can bring our croquette set.

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Road Runner Cartoon

Nothing is more fun than a Road Runner cartoon unless it's a Road Runner cartoon with motorcycles. Watch it here.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It’s Official: MS Internet Explorer Users Have a Lower IQ!

This has nothing to do with motorcycles, but as a web developer for many years this confirms my suspicions and pleases me no end.

A recent survey by AptiQuant, a psychometric consulting company based in Canada, has concluded that Internet Explorer users have a lower Intelligence Quotient than users of other browsers. Those with IE6 scored little over 80. Firefox, Chrome and Safari users fared better at 110. The most intelligent people — with an average IQ of 125 — use Opera (that’ll please their marketing department!)

The 2011 assessment sampled 101,326 individuals over the age of 16 from the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. The company offered a free IQ test which most participants found via organic search results or PPC advertising campaigns. Subjects were not aware their browser preference was being monitored.
The researchers observed:
  • IE users had a significantly lower IQ.
  • There was little difference in the IQ for Firefox, Chrome and Safari users.
  • Individuals using Opera, Camino, and IE with Chrome Frame had the highest average IQ.
You can read the rest of the article at SitePoint:
Craig Buckler It's Official: IE Users Have a Lower IQ!

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