Sunday, 30 November 2008

Winter Is Here

Has been bit of a rush around lately, loads of deadlines and the like BUT while that was going on winter arrived with a vengeance. Getting up in the mornings in the dark and everything covered with frost, coming home in the evening and it is dark and the frost is returning.

So for those who are wondering what it takes to be a winter warrior and keep that bike on the road all year round here are two links to get you started:

Moto Today: Winter Riding Tips
MCN: Top 10 Textile Suits

They will give you a taste at what you should be looking for. Keep in mind that if the air-temp is 5C or less and you are riding in it at 80km/h+ then you are in danger of hypothermia if you are not wearing the right gear. Rule of thumb is that you keep something close to the body that wicks away sweat, a nice breathable fleece, a windproof top then my motorcycle jacket. My hands are lucky since I have the hand-guards now and the heated grips, while the warmth from the engine keeps my legs snug.

End of the day, if you feel the cold you are wearing the wrong stuff!

Keep the rubber side down

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Wireless Computing

The 'Mugen Power' 9-cell battery pack arrived for my Advent 4211 (MSI Wind 'clone') just over a week ago. I had to wait until the weekend before getting to try it out since I wanted to put her though at least 3-4 charge/discharge cycles...which I did!

Over the week I have been using daily and on average I seem to be getting 6.5 hours out of the fully charged battery. Most of this will be with either wireless turned on or my USB modem plugged in. So far, so good as it is performing as expected.

The battery is substantial and is of excellent build quality. In fact they have even added some rubber 'bungs' to the base of the battery since the original development photos (see previous post) to make sure it is a non-slip as it can be. The battery fits into the original battery slot perfectly...frankly I have yet to find anything wrong with it.

The extra angle it adds has really aided in in using the Advent, while the extra airflow under the Netbook can only be beneficial.

So I highly recommend this add-on for anyone looking for a respectable amount of freedom when out and about. For me in university all day in and out of lectures and then when out on the motorcycle, being able to just use the Netbook whenever I want without worrying too much about conserving the battery life has just meant a whole new lease of life!

Head over to Lion Battery to find out more.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Buell is Back

My Buell XB12XT Ulysses is back! For the earlier part of this story Click Here!

What did Dublin Harley-Davidson do? A new wiring loom, new fuel pump & they replaced anything damaged in the off. All under warranty, so they did not charge me a cent. One of the dealers had been riding the bike for two day's to see if all is ok and they were happy to call me in to collect her.

What was the fault? They found a shorted wire in the fuel pump, though they believe that this was a symptom and not the cause. They were not allowed to touch the wiring loom. H-D UK told them to box up and send it to them to be examined from top-to-bottom. All they could say was that the ends looked fine.

So I collected, took home and a week later I came back in for the 2nd service (8,000 km) and to update them about the bike. Said all was fine and that she felt like when I first picked her up. Hopefully the problem will not return. While in for the service they also carried out some recall work on the screen. They wanted €286 for the service, but I managed to haggle a discount after telling them they had given me the wrong top-box with the bike (i.e. mine was at home!). In hindsight I was probably better off putting the top-box on ebay and that could have paid for two services...but I am a honest man.

They also found a nasty cut in my tyre, I am surprised I had not seen it. They said €270 for a new rear (Pirelli Diablo Strada, 180/55), I asked if that included fitting but they wanted the hourly rate on top of that...I said I would get back to them. So tomorrow I am calling into Megabikes for the tyre & fitting for €240! Not cheap, but better. I am also having them throw in some Philips Motovision bulbs, which they are not charging me for doing. I used the motovision on my last bike and they make a significant difference. The lights on the 08 XT are a let down, but the 09 model has had the lights improved.

So for the time being everything seems to be back on track. The Buell is back herself and as long as the electrical issues do not return then all should be fine. Though the exhaust is already showing some major signs of rust. This seems to be a norm on all Buell's, shame Erik does not realise that the 'trilogy of tech' can apply to a nice stainless steel exhaust, 1 - No rust 2 - No painting 3 - Looks good!

Just to note, after 8,000km the bike feels much more 'settled'. The gearbox is much slicker and finding neutral happens first time now. The engine is much smoother and the oil consumption is now very predictable, as is the fuel range. There are a few quality issues, like the electrical problems I had, the rusting exhaust and the odd nut that works itself free. Many owners say this is part of the character and the bike gets better with the more miles you get under her. This is my first time owning a 'non-Japanese' motorcycle and so expected a change, but now I feel like I have been spoilt the last 10 years!

As always, keep the rubber side down!

Monday, 10 November 2008

Pilgrimage 2008

Flights Booked...CHECK!
Show Ticket...CHECK!

Everything is in place for the 2008 NEC Motorcycle & Scooter Show being held in Birmingham, UK. Last year they changed the layout and squeezed more in and it was GREAT, but we did not have enough time to get around and get as many photos as we wanted...or deals...or see the shows...or (you get the point).

Yamaha Racing MotoGP (003)
So close yet so far, the 2007 machine, see the MotoGP winner at this years show

So this year we are heading over for 2 day, I know, living on the wild side as the credit crunch takes hold. Then again, I am not a drinker or smoker or...lets just say that I REALLY like motorcycles. So this year will be a very special treat.

I do promote this and do bang on about it every year, but it is an great experience with a great atmosphere with such a wide demographic. Add to that the chance of running into some of your two wheel heroes then the excuses not to make some time to do a few shows go out the window.

Yamaha YZF-R6 (001)
What bikes??

Of course if you can not make it then as always expect me to be posting a 'few' photos on my Flickr page, 2006 there were 79, 2007 that jumped to 223 so this year may be even better!!!

Keep the rubber side down

Friday, 7 November 2008

If I Didn't Have Bad Luck...

Well, there has been a drought of blog posts lately, mainly due to me hoping that things would improve or sort themselves out, but alas they have not. So what is the story? Well here is the long version:

Tuesday 21st October I left the house as per normal in the early hours of the morning, not 2km from the house the engine starting stuttering and losing power BUT the engine management light did not come on, the 'high beam' light came on (& no high beam light). Then the bike lost all power and coasted to the side of the road.

Switching the ignition to 'off' then turned 'on' all the dash lights! Turning on the ignition turned off all the dash lights except for the high beam light on the dash. The bike would not turn on, nothing was responding.

After about 5mins I tried to turn her on again, this time she started but the alarm had gone into 'garage mode', as if the battery had been disconnected. I disarmed and turned around to go home, I wanted the Buell assistance to come out to me. Problem is, the bike lost power in a bend and we went down...DOH!

So after pushing the rest of the way home called Buell and the bike was recovered. Having spoken to the dealer and talking them through all the electrical problems that we have gone through they seem to think the wiring loom needs replacing and after having a look they have also ordered a new fuel pump.The guys are saying they will repair all the damage under warranty.

The only downside is that they still are not 100% what the cause is and HD have a guy over from the UK today (7th November) to look at my bike and to sign off on the work. They had promised me a demo XT to keep me on the road but they sold it leaving me stuck with lifts/buses/trains. Why on earth anyone would endure suffering on public transport with the smells, drunks and noise is beyond me!? Now I know why they resent motorcycles so much, with us rubbing freedom in their faces ;-)

Well hopefully things will change soon because the current situation is bordering on ridiculous. Brand new & very expensive bike breaking like this. Then again I have just seen photos/specs of the new KTM 990 SMT...if only they could do something about the seat height!

As always, keep the rubber side down.