Archive | June, 2014

T-Clock inspection & maintenance

19 Jun

At 145,670km it seems like a good time to do some serious preventative maintenance, as well as an overall check before my next tour. T ires, C ontrols, L ights, O il, C hassis, K ickstand.
Time to wash and oil my air filter.
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Changing the spark plugs is a challenge, these bikes seems to be designed and built around the spark plugs. The fuel tank must be removed and the radiator moved aside for access and a very deep socket is needed. I used a rubber hose as a way of threading the plugs in carefully so as not to get one cross threaded.
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It’s the first time that I’ve changed the plugs, normally the mechanic does it when the valves are checked. It was frustrating but now that I figured out how, I could do it in half the time. A variety of sockets and extensions are needed to work behind the radiator.
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Serious Hi Viz underwear

11 Jun

Two pairs of sweat wicking underwear at Mark’s for serious hi viz riders only.

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This 60% cotton, 35% polyester, 5% spandex should be just the right blend for long hot summer days in the saddle. Wow, it’s going to look great under my RoadCrafter suit when it’s too hot for pants.

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Hamilton – homebound weather sucks

11 Jun

Yesterday we left Chatham in the late afternoon and enjoyed the backroads to Hamilton. Staying over and visiting with family here for the next two days seems like a better plan than riding in the rain. Leaving in the rain, knowing that we will have a wet ride all day homebound to Kingston just seems like a lousy way to complete a trip.

We saw lots of bikers going to Port Dover and we arrived back in Kingston in time for a later dinner on Friday the 13th. We rode well north of Toronto and got a chance to ride the short twisted Forks of the Credit road. We had perfect weather and it was a great ride home.

Our trip lasted 22 days and we rode 5,497 km by the odometer or 5,287 km by the gps. The error is largely attributed to my custom gearing; front 17 tooth and rear 43 tooth sprockets. It was Sam’s longest ride to date. It will take some time to sort everything out and I’ve yet to figure out how many pictures we have or how many lighthouse we saw.

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World’s smallest jump starter

10 Jun

We purchased one of these XP-3 personal power supply kits from the bike shop to have as an emergency unit. It can boost a large truck engine or charge most common electronic devices. It will be handy to have later this summer for our trip to Vancouver Island.
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Check out antigravitybatteries.com The pack with all the attachments is smaller and lighter than a set of conventional booster cables so it will pack easily on bike trips with all the rest of our gear.

Obviously I have motel fever and too much time on my hands while waiting for the repairs. I’ve organized my rock collection, complete with nail polish coloured labels. Some are just rocks that will always provide great memories of the exact location, while others are minerals, chunks of natural copper, raw and polished agates and a few gemstones.
http://www.copperconnection.com/greenstone-facts-ezp-5.html
Thanks to Paul I even have a couple of tiny polished greenstone cabachons from his old collection taken many years ago from Isle Royale in Lake Superior, long before it became a national park with preservations restrictions.
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The shop called me report the repairs are complete. WooHoo
We left Chatham, enjoyed a nice cross country mostly back road ride and arrived in Hamilton to join some family for dinner.

Bike runs great. In fact the bike really does run better than new. Since it was new the engine had a vibration at 3600 to 3800 rpm that was best avoided by selecting another gear and either getting the revs up or reduce them if I was just putzing along. I had discussed the issue with mechanics and forum members and it seemed to be a normal vibration considering the quirks of any large displacement V twin engine. I lived with it. Now I know that it could have been solved and probably should have been; but the old stator did last 144,000 km so obviously it was a good one. My trusty Vee ran 144,000 km and this was the first and only time that it developed a mechanical problem that affected my trip. With a battery boost it started and got me to a good Suzuki repair shop for repairs; I can’t complain, fortunately it didn’t strand me in the middle of nowhere.

I’m thrilled because the new stator apparently has a different balance and the engine no longer vibrates in the same way. No matter what gear I select or rpm I cannot duplicate the old dreaded vibration. It appears that the new stator just over all balances out all the other engine parts and my engine performs much smoother.

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Customer Service

9 Jun

Anyone who isn’t sure what good customer service is should visit Bobs Motorsport and see his family members at work.
We’ve taken apart my Vee on the mechanic’s lift and have confirmed the problem and ordered all the necessary parts for the charging system as well as a couple small preventative maintenance things. They might even arrive tomorrow. My stator is burnt and it smells like an electrical fire. The magnets are all secure and the wiring plug connections all look clean and proper.
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I guess the stator just gave up after all the mileage, so I can’t complain. The coolant leak plaguing us for our trip turns out to be a small “O” ring that had completely deteriorated. Hmmm that gives me concern about others. See #9 in the fiche picture.
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Not much left of either “O” ring
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Meanwhile we have been given their brand new 2014 Vstrom 1000 to demo and use as a loaner. So I’m pretty thrilled about Sammy and I being able to test ride and see some local sights.

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We had a beautiful afternoon for a demo ride and stopped to take some pictures of the bike. I’ve not ridden such a clean motorcycle since mine was brand new.
My opinion of it’s characteristics is of course biased because I am used to riding my 2007 trusty beast fully loaded with gear. Sam missed our top case/backrest. Suzuki recommends a break in period of under 4000rpm for new bikes, so I didn’t have a chance to crack the throttle to see if Sam would slide off.

The overall handling is precise and solid; the brakes and front suspension are perfect for my riding style. Overall the bike just feels considerably more nimble. Seating is firm yet comfortable. I love the sound, a mix of my old Vstrom with a muffled much deeper rumble. The gearing and torque is superior to mine and it is very much easier to handle at slow speeds. On the open highway both bikes have lots of power, but the newly redesigned engine is smooth without any vibration and pulls much stronger at lower rpm. I do question why Suzuki designed it with a plastic covering in the fuel tank preventing most of us from using magnetic tank bags. Duh, what we they thinking. Hopefully they will tweak a few flaws in future productions. I think that the guts of this bike are perfectly suited to me. With some luggage modifications I’d ride this bike as it is on a long distance trip.
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Thank you Bob for allowing us such a unique opportunity to test ride a new Vstrom. Considering the reliabilty of our bike and all the fun it’s given me, I expect our next bike could be a new 2015 Vstrom 1000.

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What’s in Chatham?

8 Jun

We’ve never been in Chatam and waiting for repairs gives us a chance check out the highlights. This plant closeby is one of only three similar alcohol/ethanol producing plants in North America http://www.gfsa.com
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Recently we switched our home internet service provider to Teksavvy and their office is within a km of our motel.

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Their bumper sticker boldly proclaims why we switched ISP.
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One of the largest auto resoration companies, Rob Meyers auctions, is about 15km from here; this afternoon we made a short visit.

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Suzuki stator is kaput

7 Jun

We rode to Chatham and the motorcycle failed to start at the gas station where we filled up. We gladly accepted a battery boost from a friendly young woman and were able to get underway. A word of caution here to bikers to remember when boosting a MC battey with a car; do not run the car engine. Use only it’s battery, or the car’s high output alternater will damage the smaller MC battery. Any way we found our way to Bobs Motorsport Ltd, a Suzuki dealer. We needed to solve the problem knowing that we wouldn’t likely be able to ride much further. I know that we were lucky to get as far as we did this morning.

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All the wonderful staff are family members.

http://www.bobsmotorsports.com
While waiting we found this 2014 model for us to sit on.
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Meanwhile our 2007 was in the shop.
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The diagnosis is that our Suzuki stator (alternator/magneto kind of thingy) is dead. It is my first Vstrom breakdown in 144,400 km that has stopped it; so stranding us in Chatham. Although we left the shop running on a borrowed battey and with ours charged and in the sidecase as a backup spare. So we are ok to ride some short distances in town while waiting for repairs. Maybe we will do some laundry. Oh, whoppee!

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Nice of our trusty bike to get us back into Canada, after almost two weeks of touring, through yesterdays major highway detours in Detroit and the hot delay and line-ups at customs. What a great machine it is. I’ve never owned a car that has gone so far without some sort of breakdown or flat tire.
In the line-up for customs to get from Detroit to Windsor the engine was certaily hot. Even with the coolant leak problems of the past weeks the engine never temperatures were controlled, at speed it was always the normal two bars, and only a couple times three bars for a short time. But the engine sure felt hot in between my legs in the line-up. My wife got off and walked beside. It prompted the customs officer to say “So he made you walk?” My research on the Stromtrooper forum leads me to believing that the heat probably contributed to the failure of my stator; but it is the original part. When Darrell gets it apart I might know for certain.

Obviously I do think very highly of the reliability of my Suzuki Vstrom.
With luck we can order the right parts on Monday morning and possibly even be on our way as soon as late Tuesday afternoon. Darrell the mechanic should also be able to fix the coolant leak. He suspects that the problem is just a simple “O” ring (#9 in microfiche) that leaks and that all the hoses should be fine.
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Adventure Riding for me is all about the nice people that I meet along the way. Everyone that we have dealt with today, including Marjorie at the Comfort Inn, is so helpful that it reminds me of everyone that I met last summer in Newfoundland.

Here’s me doing a washinabucket of my favourite sweat wicking Horizons Unlimited T-shirt.
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