Episode 207 – Physics is everywhere, redux.

Episode 207 – Physics is everywhere, redux!
June 3rd, 2015

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Punchy and prickly, James and Chris bring you all the news… or some of the news… a little bit of news… something. Anyway, the guys talk about stuff like the new Z800 and lane splitting and why ABS rocks! James reviews his new helmet and then the guys read some feedback.

Oh, and Chris pops up a new contest – come up with a new theme song for us and win this great First Gear summer jacket donated by our friend Ed Day. Size Large, excellent condition and ready to go, just in time for summer.

Review

News:

Links:

 

Feedback:

  • Bobby (Austin, TX)
  • Dan Klapman (Chicago)
  • Tom McGoldrick
  • Brett Farrell

Thanks so much for the great iTunes reviews!

The wisdom of maintenance

Motorcycles are something of a modern miracle wrapped in a thin layer of insanity. Take a lump of metal with some holes in it, add fuel and oxygen and light it on fire, creating a series of rapid, controlled explosions, and somehow deliver all that energy to a rotating assembly bolted on to the back of this crazy contraption, spinning on a metal rod held in place with tiny little fasteners. This is all happening on something that can’t stand up on its own, mystifies riders and physics experts alike in how it does stay upright, and provides a rush of excitement and joy that relatively few people have ever felt.

The motorcycle. A visceral, crazy, fun, enjoyable, dangerous, beautiful piece of mechanical art made of metal, plastic and dreams. And at the center of all this exists a machine. Like all machines, motorcycles require certain maintenance and attention to keep performing safely and at their peak.

ID08L1HG27If you do all your own maintenance, there’s a good chance you’re very much in tune with your bike. When you put wrench to machine, you create a kind of intimacy and knowledge of that machine that no one else likely has. You’ll know if something has loosened up. You’ll feel if a wheel bearing you replaced three years ago feels a little odd. You’ll understand that vibration you’re feeling might indicate a tire has gone out of balance, or the chain has developed a tight spot. You know your bike better than anyone else ever could. Sure, mechanics get paid to know a lot about repairing and maintaining bikes… but only YOU know your bike like you do.

If you don’t do your own maintenance, consider getting involved in at least some of it. Even as a rider, you know your bike better than anyone, and doing even a small bit of the ongoing maintenance gives you opportunities to see things, to catch problems or to deepen your understanding of the machine that you might be missing if you take your bike to a shop for all of its maintenance. There are a number of tasks you can do on the maintenance list even without possessing a lot of mechanical aptitude or specialized tools.

Kette_einsprühen_u._einwirken_lassenIf your bike is chain drive, you’re probably already familiar with cleaning and lubricating your chain. If you’re not, get your owner’s manual out and get to work. A decent chain cleaning and oiling should only take you a few minutes once you’re familiar with the task, and can be invaluable in prolonging the life of the chain (and the bike!), and increasing safety. It also gives you a chance to visually inspect the chain, the sprockets, the wheels and tires, and while you’re at it, if your bike has rear disc brakes, you’re probably only one head tilt away from looking at the thickness of your brake pads. You could potentially identify trouble spots on 3 or 4 different systems on the bike just by oiling your chain!

If you’re able to make yourself a cup of coffee in a modern coffee maker, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say you’ve got all the mechanical knowledge you need to at least attempt to do a basic oil change. Let’s look at the steps necessary to do a full oil change on most motorcycles. Step 1 – warm up the engine. Step 2 – stop the engine, position the bike properly for the oil change (see your manual). Step 3 – slide a drain pan under the bike and take out the drain plug(s). Step 4 – remove the oil filter. Step 5 – replace the drain plug and install new filter. Step 6 – refill with oil. Step 7 – start bike, warm it up, shut it off, and check the oil level.

Motorcycle-Oil-changeSure, I’m simplifying things, but your owner’s manual – or better, buy a service manual – will have all the detail on those steps that you need to do the job. Some bikes will drain better on the side stand, also known as the kick stand. Others will drain better on the center stand, so do pay attention to your manual and do the work according to those guidelines. But all in all, it’s a pretty simple job that will save you money, will allow you to really get hands on with the bike, and isn’t that easy to get wrong. Once you’ve done it, you’ll wonder why you never did before. You’ll also be happy with the money you saved.

Other maintenance tasks that might be worth doing include changing your air filter, replacing brake pads, or cleaning, lubricating and adjusting brake levers, and clutch levers and cables. Doing a lot of the little tasks can add up to huge savings over time, not only in keeping your bike out of the shop more ($), but in catching potential problems early and turning a costly repair into preventative maintenance.

With any job you’re doing for the first time, it’s a good idea to have a little guidance. Always consult your owner’s manual. As mentioned, getting hold of a service manual for your bike will not only give you detailed information particular to your model of bike, but may also list specific tools and equipment you’ll need, and will walk you through the whole job, step by step.

DSCF4183If you’re a member of any online forums or local riders’ groups, you might be able to find and attend a local tech day. A tech day is a great opportunity to meet other enthusiasts, and work with people who may be considerably more experienced in repair and maintenance, and can lend you all the guidance you need. If you can’t find or host a tech day, you should still be able to make an online request for help and find someone local (enough) to lend a hand, or at least walk you through any trouble spots you may have.

It’s important to note that some maintenance is best left to those with more mechanical ability and experience if you’re not comfortable with engine design, etc. For instance, throttle synchronizations or engine valve clearance checks can be very involved, and if done incorrectly, could render your bike unable to run, running poorly, or perhaps even damaged. What this article is discussing are the smaller, more pedestrian tasks.

NickLabCoat2005Look for follow-up articles discussing the details of these and other home-based motorcycle maintenance tasks in the coming weeks. Who knows… we may even shoot some video! Keeping your bike running at its best doesn’t need to include trips to the dealer for mundane things, spending a whole day waiting around, or writing a big check.

Chris & James both have older bikes that require the occasional bit of attention, and the guys are hoping to start capturing more of that at-home maintenance with pictures and video… stay tuned.

Episode 163 – The 2013 holiday buying guide

Episode 163 – The 2013 holiday buying guide
November 27, 2013

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After announcing something so grandiose, I feel like I should pay homage to Stan Lee and yell EXCELSIOR! But I’m not going to do that. Instead, what I’m going to do is say that we had a good time compiling this list of suggestions from the listeners, with special thanks to Rick, Matt Murto and Kelly Mills. Thanks so much, folks! These are all great suggestions, and we hope everyone has a good time with it.

In addition to the guide, we want to announce that the raffle winner has been chosen for the Aeromoto Sport Air leather motorcycle jacket. And that winner is…

(insert dramatic pause here…)

James Enny. James, congratulations. Look for an email from us very soon and we’ll get the jacket right out to you. Thank you to all the entrants, and to all the listeners for the ongoing support. We’re a very lucky and fortunate couple of pod-gabbers.

raffle

James and I also want to announce that we’ve (re)opened The Pace Podcast online forums. The forums will include weekly show postings and feedback, discussion about other bike topics, a market place, and all sorts of chit-chat. Log in and create a forum account today at http://thepacepodcast.com/forums/.

And now… links. Links for you, links for me, links to click and links to see!

Digital tire pressure gauge
http://roadgear.com/digital-tire-gauge-p-40.html

Reflective wheel tape for safety
http://www.tapeworks.com/Rimstripes/RimstripesHome.html

Spork
http://www.lightmyfire.com/products/wild-kitchen-collection/spork/spork-original.aspx

Black 1″ wide reflective tape for the back of luggage bags
http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Marine/Home/Products/Catalog/?PC_Z7_RJH9U5230GE3E02LECIE20S4K7000000_nid=GSVN9HB7GSgs2875VTTP9SglGSS8PJ58BMbl

Scala g9 bluetooth headset
http://www.cardosystems.com/scala-rider/scala-rider-g9

Foggy Respro
http://respro.com/store/product/foggy-mask

Hyperlights
http://www.hyperlites.com/

Scarfs – silk scarf, tube scarf, Buff
http://www.zubwear.com/outdoors.html
http://www.buffwear.com/

Helmetlok & cable
http://www.helmetlok.com/all-products/1-helmetlok/26-helmetlok-with-cable

Anti-fog paste for glasses, spray for face shields
http://www.zooke.com/

Side stand plate for grass or hot pavement ( Add a string so you don’t have to bend down to pick it up )
http://kickstandplate.com/

Gift certificate to Revzilla, New Enough, etc.
http://www.revzilla.com/product/revzilla-gift-certificate
http://www.compacc.com/p/gift-certificates-gift-cards
http://www.motorcyclegear.com/browse/gift_certificate

Yellow safety vest from Cycle Gear – only if there’s interest
http://www.cyclegear.com/nav/cat3/street_protection_vests/0

Under layers – wicking t-shirts, socks, etc.
http://www.ldcomfort.com/
http://www.rei.com/product/844121/rei-tech-t-shirt-mens

Rain gear jacket and over pants – something inexpensive from Cycle Gear
http://www.revzilla.com/firstgear-rain-gear
http://www.revzilla.com/revit-rain-gear
http://www.cyclegear.com/CycleGear/Street/Suits/Two-Piece/Textile/brand/NELSON-RIGG/SR-6000-Stormrider-Rainsuit/p/28336_59409_2

Backpack designed for motorcyclist that can carry a helmet
http://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle-backpacks

Helmet bag – fleece lined to protect the helmet from bumps
http://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle-luggage#v2-facets%5B%5D=469&page=1&page_size=96&sort=featured&tab=all

Microfiber towels to clean bike, eyeglasses, face shields, windscreens, etc.
http://www.autogeek.net/mictow.html

Paper oil funnels to top off oil on the road
http://www.cyclenutz.com/Fast-Funnel-Disposable-Paper-Funnel_p_149.html

Heated grips – kit or get them installed
http://www.motorcycle-superstore.com/1314/mngr/heated-grips.aspx

RAM mount for GPS or smartphone
http://www.rammount.com/products/motorcycles.htm#/

Motorcycle travel books to area of interest
http://www.amazon.com

Subscription to a motorcycle magazine
http://www.mcnews.com/mcn/
http://www.roadrunner.travel/
http://www.sportrider.com/

Mad Map of your area
https://www.madmaps.com/

Copy of Proficient Motorcycling
http://www.amazon.com/Proficient-Motorcycling-Ultimate-Guide-Riding/dp/1889540536

First Aid kit to keep on the bike
http://www.rei.com/product/800904/rei-day-pack-first-aid-kit

Bungee nets
http://www.cyclegear.com/CycleGear/Accessories/Luggage/Other-Luggage/brand/TRACKSIDE/Cargo-Net/p/36521_59409

Bike cover
http://www.cyclegear.com/CycleGear/Accessories/Security/Covers/brand/BiLT/Deluxe-Motorcycle-Cover/p/33154_2
http://www.motorcyclegear.com/parts/accessories/covers_/dowco/guardian_weatherall_plus_ez_zip_motorcycle_cover.html

Case of oil
http://www.amazon.com/Royal-Purple-12130-API-Licensed-Performance/dp/B000BNYMWS

Flash 2 Pass garage door opener
http://www.amazon.com/Flash2Pass-103102-Complete-Access-Motorcycles/dp/B001AWDMQG

Amazon Prime subscription
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DBYBNEE?_encoding=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Pocket digital camera
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=pocket%20digital%20camera

 

Notes on dry sump engines

Listener Stuart Watson sent us this email discussing dry sump engines, and their benefits and design details. Stuart pointed us at this link for more information.

The majority of road bikes use wet sump lubrication, the ‘sump’ being a pan beneath the crankshaft where the oil is stored. A pump picks it up from here and forces it around the engine into the various bearings, spray jets and so on. After the oil has passed through the high pressure part of the system it drains back down into the sump purely under the influence of gravity.

It’s simple and inexpensive, but there are disadvantages. The first is the size of the sump. Usually this will have to hold around 4 litres, maybe more. This is quite large – look at a 5 litre oil can to get an idea – and clearly it has to be at the lowest point, so the engine has to sit higher than might be ideal. Under hard acceleration or braking, or when the going is very bumpy, the oil in the sump can slosh around. In extreme cases this can mean the oil pump’s pick up tube becomes open to the air, and air bubbles are passed around the lubrication system, causing a lot of wear and damage. But it also means the oil can wash up against the crankshaft, which usually spins just above the surface of the sump oil. This causes a lot of drag, reducing engine performance as well as causing the oil to become foamy, which degrades its lubrication abilities.

The alternative is dry sump lubrication. Instead of storing the oil beneath the engine it’s kept in a separate tank somewhere else on the bike – in the frame on the Aprilia RSV Mille for example, or in the swingarm on air-cooled Buells. This means the engine can be positioned lower in the fraSemi_dry_sump_1me (very useful with naturally tall engines such as the V-twins mentioned), and the problems associated with oil sloshing around are eliminated. It’s easier to increase the oil capacity this way too, which means extended service intervals. The penalty is increased complexity (and hence cost), as you now need a separate tank and two oil pumps. One pump scavenges the oil draining down to the bottom of the engine and feeds it up to the oil tank, while a second, more powerful pump takes oil from the tank and feeds it back into the lubrication system under pressure.

Some bikes though use a semi-dry sump system, including many off-road machines as well as the BMW. What this really means is that the system is to all intents and purposes a dry sump design, with two oil pumps, but the oil tank is still incorporated inside the engine cases. In the F800’s case it’s still stored beneath the engine, but not directly beneath the crankshaft.

It’s a little more complex but by doing it this way the designers have more scope for lowering the engine and making it more compact.