Monday, April 30, 2012

Peg Lowering Kit on the way!

I had been fussing about whether to get this or not. I experimented with seat heights and such, but was concerned about the knee pain and some shin pain. The shin pain was probably caused by too much exercise and has abated over the last week because I took it easy on purpose. I was afraid of Shin Splints. Not just because of the pain, but because they take a long time to heal. The Big Trip across the country would not be a good healing therapy. Happily, I don't think I have any damage.

Yet, I do remember I had to have the Triumph's seat rebuilt to add height. For a short guy, this was a revelation. I figured lower was better, so as to get a firm footing at traffic lights. Yes, that is vital. But, when the feet are on the pegs, a low seat can cause the angle at the knee to be more than my legs favour. This was true back in the 1970s on the old Honda 350, but I usually only took short trips on it, and I was younger then too.

In any case, I decided to play it safe and ordered a lowering kit for the pegs from Suburban Machinery. They will be here in 2 to 5 days, I'm told. From Ohio. Via US Mail and Canada Post. I will not be holding my breath after the 2 days or even the 5 days. I will use the time to research circlips. How to remove and reinstall.

I am going looking on the web for circlip tools. Did a little bit today. Penknife bottle opener video from UK looked interesting. Adding a bit of tape to the clip (?) before removal so as to catch it when it pings away, never to be seen again (until after I bought a replacement-I have the time now to go buy a handful, yes, better do that...) was a hint from an Australian chap.

Maybe John B will have suggestions.

Should be easy. Lots of good reports from the BMW MOA forum. Folks say they are easy to install. Always bothers me, these folks with the mechanical skills to make these things easy. But, it's an adventure, isn't it?

More when I know more.


Cold but Good Ride Today

At 7:30 this morning, I checked the temp display on the bike. 4 degrees C. It got considerably warmer, all the way up to 6 degrees C!

Before engaging 1st gear, I plugged in the Gears Canada electric vest I bought last February but never used (plugged in) until today. It worked very well. At first, I had it on a lower setting. After about an hour, I realized I was getting cold, a bit of shivering even. Cranked it up a bit, and not all the way by any means. It took a while for me to warm up, but it sure works great.

Both the heated grips and seat also worked well.

I had the seat in the low position today and had taken a couple of acetaminophen before departing. Very little knee pain today, some shin pain. I think the pain was held down by the pills a bit and by the cold a lot more. Sort of like travelling with ice packs on, wearing just jeans.

But a nice ride.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Trial Roadcrafter Suit came Friday!

Well, I did not expect delivery of my 2-piece Aerostich Roadcrafter "protective suit" until Monday. FedEx earned their $60. 5PM Tuesday ex Duluth and Friday 2pm in Mississauga (just west of Toronto), including customs clearance. Since it is made in US, no duty applied, but did have to pay HST.

Opening the box, noticed a User Manual and a nice coat hanger. Suit itself was in a plastic bag.

This suit is heavy, Dianne said it was at least as heavy as my old Joe Rocket suit, and she is right (and wrong too...). Actually, I wanted a thinner-than-JR jacket and pants, and that is what I got. The material is denser and the high-tech armor is heavier. The armor is the kind that is soft until impact; then, it gets really hard and protects elbows and knees from sharp stuff like rocks and stuff.

The size 48 Short fits nicely. The jacket with electric vest and base layer long sleeve shirt is snug but not overly tight. I am not buying it to fit over a business suit, but that's what many people do. The pants fit nicely too, over the convertible leg cargo pants I intend to wear with the suit, so I know that the long moisture wicking underwear will be fine too. I did find, as expected, that the knee armor was two inches below where it should be. No problem, the trial suit was the wrong color and was intended to be returned anyway. $26 more to FedEX..., but it will be back to them by next Friday by ground not air.

The nice folks at Aerostich use last Tuesday's date as the order date and will ship the Gray w/ Hi-Viz Yellow Ballistic patches and altered suit to me no later than May 11, so it will be here before my June 1 departure for sure ... I'm sure. I'm sure I'm sure... Damn, I'll be sweating this until it's here, won't I?

Workmanship on the trial suit was impressive. Material is top notch. Suit is fully lined with smooth nylon so it slips right on and does not grab your street clothes, twisting them, tightening them around... well, you know. The zipper attaching the pants to the jacket is 7/8 or more of the circumference. I could use it or one of the other zippers as a temporary replacement gear in the transmission if I had to... .

I was warned that it would be a bit stiff and getting it on the first time would be a learning experience. It was, but the second time was a lot easier. You put on your boots before the pants! There is a bit of a trick getting the right boot through a hole at the top of the pant, but the rest of the right leg is completely unzipped and flat. Right arm in sleeve, left arm in other sleeve, pull pants up, zip right leg down, zip left leg, zip up jacket, good to go!

Gave the alteration details to Christine, who is a lovely, helpful person, and all is in order. Just have to wait!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Riding Suit: Light at the end of the tunnel

Last week I tried to get a riding jacket and pants set. I was willing to pay up to $1000 CAD. And, I failed. One suit had pants that located the armor too much below my knee. Yes, I know the manufacturer must make some compromises in sizes offered, but this suit was right up against my limits and I was not pleased. Other suits were tried, but they were out of the budget by a mile.

Who manufactures and alters to fit? Well, I don’t know the complete list of those who do, but one well known firm does – Aerostich. So, today, I have ordered a two-piece Roadcrafter suit.

As a run-up to this, I had my wife take measurements (good) and entered them into the Aerostitch Web site’s sizing tool (should have just called them.) Did this Saturday night, got the reply Tuesday am. I was a bit puzzled by the reply, so I ended up calling them. Talked to Christine, who was a joy to talk to.

But, the conversation was a bit different than I expected. Yes, I should have known it would be.

I expected: with the measurements I provided to the tool, they would be able to alter a stock suit and send it to me.

I got: the process they follow is to send a stock suit that is likely to fit. Christine suggested a size a few sizes smaller than the tool recommended after she asked me about a back protector (declined) and how much layering I was going to use (no need to go over a suit – I’m retired, but I will use a heated vest sometimes). Ordered that suit and it will ship today. When it comes, I must try it on, sit on the bike, make sure the third seam in the leg is at mid-kneecap or measure the difference, and advise them of my findings. Then, I ship the test suit back to them.

They will immediately start to make the suit I need, in the correct colors, with the correct measurements. The official order date is today, and they will accept a “must ship by” date. I need the suit before June 01, when I plan to leave to ride cross-US to BC and then cross-Canada back to Toronto.

I pay shipping three times, duty and taxes once.

If they ship the second suit before they get the first one back, they charge my card again. Then, they give me a credit when the test suit is received.

It’s all very fair. Costing more than my budget. But, at least it will fit. And, all I have to worry about is the timing.

More on this as it happens.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Updating Zumo 550 With New Maps - Ugh!

I have only done this twice now, and it has been a frustrating exercise. I have made a note and hopefully it will be easier next time. The memory space on the basic Zumo unit is limited by the hardware design. However, you can add an SDHC memory card and this is what I did.

I added a blank 4GB card today to replace the 2GB card that was there before. I'm not going to go into all the grimy details of why I upgraded, but since the new card was on sale at Staples for the huge price of $6.95 CA plus tax, who really cares. It was $2 more really, but they had the wrong price on the shelf and honoured that price.

Here is the procedure that seems to work: Use the Garmin Lifetime Updater program to download and install the new maps. Since the Zumo won't have enough memory in the basic unit, just install to the computer only. Download and install the latest version of Garmin's Mapinstall program. When you run it, it will eventually display a screen saying it has found your connected Zumo. This is the key point in the process. In that screen, there will be a drop-down arrow choice box. When you click on the arrow, it will give you the drive letter for the memory card you had already plugged into the Zumo. Mine is G:, but you better check for the correct item.

Go to the next screen and select all the map segments. I do that by putting the cursor in the top left corner of the map, holding down the left mouse button and dragging diagonally down to the lower right. Release. All the map segments should be selected in pink. Now just proceed. By the way, be sure you have lots of time. First, an index is built, then there is a slow transfer of the files to the GPS. I'm watching this part now, It says 13% complete, 53 minutes remaining... Anyway, this should be successful. When it is finished, a new file will be present on the memory card. The file will be found and used when the GPS is fired up.

A folder "Garmin" was created, with an image file inside. The GPS map info needed to be checked to ensure this file was used, but after that, all seems ok.

Now, if this old fellow can only remember the trick next update time ...

Friday, April 20, 2012

First Wrenching on R1200RT

Rodney wanted to go riding.

So, I had to do a few things. First, put on the coffee and have a cup. I went downstairs and turned on the compressor, which is plumbed to the garage. I drove over to the Canadian Tire store, and purchased a liter of Castrol 10W40 conventional oil. Open the garage door, look for a funnel, two grungy for words, will have to take that inside and clean it. On the way, better look at where that oil filler cap is located. Not on the left side, I wonder where it is...

Using a little soap and water, I cleaned up the funnel. Next I found the iPad, and went to the BMW MOA forum for technical information. Ahah, it’s on the clutch side. I wonder what side that is? Wel,l we know it can’t be the left side… After another coffee, back outside, now knowing which side is the clutch side.
Using the ignition key, I looked under the rear seat and extracted the toolkit. Gee, I wonder what’s in the toolkit? So I opened it up, looked inside, and started laughing. Pretty cheap little tool kit, Mr BMW.

Anyway, I found the special tool required to remove the oil filler cap.

When I remove the oil filter cap, the o-ring fell on the garage floor… So I cleaned it, and reinstalled it.
The sight glass was about 1/3 full. And, when riding, there was a “check oil level” indicator showing in the display. So, just how much oil should I add in order to get the sight glass level to be 2/3 full? So I inserted the funnel, opened the oil bottle, and poured out three glugs of oil into the funnel.

What is a glug you might ask? It’s a very scientific measurement of course. It is the amount you can pour without any spilling out of the funnel, which is being held at an angle. Add “Funnel”, “Oil”, and “Rag” to the packing list for the Big Trip too.Turns out, it wasn’t quite enough. The warning indicator would reappear, disappear when we stopped, but would reappear after about ½ hour of riding. Clearly, I needed more glugs of oil. At the end of the ride, I put the bike on the centrestand and added three more glugs. As of this morning, sight glass level is at 2/3, which is where I wanted it to be. So, 6 glugs of oil is about ¼ litre. Should be fine now. I’ll check it on the next ride.

Before the ride, I also had to add air to the tires, I found the tire valve on the rear wheel quite easily. It was sticking up vertically just as I expected it to be. Then I went to the front. I looked all around the rim for the valve, and didn’t see it at all. Had to be there didn’t it? Looking a little bit more closely, I finally found it! There it was sticking out of a spoke! Horizontally! Wow, what a fancy wheel.

So, all in all, my first attempt had wrenching on the new bike was quite successful, even if it was trivial.