Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tail light disintegration


I'm sure smart buyers are well aware of the lesson I just learned for the millionth time. I'm willing to wager these smart buyers actually apply what they've learned when buying a used motorcycle and aim to bag a bone-stock machine. Why? A previous post comes to mind. Unfortunately, I'm still learning to learn from my mistakes, and my beloved ZX had it's share of customizations performed by the previous owner.

These customizations included an integrated tail light/turn signal. I guess it cleans up the bike and makes for a sleeker tail section. But it also decreases visibility (since the LED cluster in the aftermarket part is sub-par when compared with the LEDs from the factory unit) and it makes it harder to telegraph your intentions to the driver behind you. Right and left turn signals encased within a single, 5-inch light fixture - in the middle of the vehicle. This makes me less than confident that my turn signal is getting the point across to the half driving, half teleconferencing motorist to my aft.

Laziness kept me driving with this language barrier until it actually began to fail. First a handful of the brake-purposed LEDs fell silent, then a handful of the left turn signal-purposed LEDs. This pathetic excuse for a light had to be replaced.

So replace I did. Some soldering and some resurrection of factory parts (which the previous owner was kind enough to include) gave me clear-as-can-be tail lights and rear turn signals. Communication restored!


However, now there's a gaping void within the stock rear turn signals and the body work they come attached to. The previous owner fitted a Cobra aftermarket exhaust. The rear of the motorcycle looks pretty hideous right now, but I think I can live with it for a while knowing I'll be seen. Now to find a stock exhaust...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cold. Track. Gloves.

Gluttons for punishment! Or maybe it's just that everyone's always available the weekend before the official Giving of Thanks? Or maybe it's the dash - the *last* track day of the year. It's now or never (never == Spring). But we're rocking CMP once again this November for the 2-day weekend of high speed activity.

Why gluttons for punishment? Because for the past 2 (three?) years, it's been *freezing*. Racing around the track with all the layers you can fit under your leathers and then camping out in the paddock in less-than-freezing temperatures isn't exactly the most convenient way to do a track weekend. There's been talk of over-nighting in a hotel, but I dunno...I want the full experience. So we'll see :)

Back to the point - Mike made clear his disappointment that I considered it acceptable to ride the Smokies with this, and so I've been forced to deal with an expensive problem I've been pretending I didn't know about:


So confronted with another track day and the knowledge that it's time to replace my most track-appropriate gloves, I've been searching. Because of the yearly visit to CMP in the cold (and sometimes wet), I believe these are the best solution:

The Alpinestars Storm Rider. Not only does have good things to say about them, but there are comments sprinkled about the intertubes that claim this glove provides warmth without sacrificing protection (which seems to be rare). Gore-Tex FTW! Now to stare at the price for a few more days (weeks?)...

So speaking of the Smokies, I'll cover that in a different post. It's hard to sum up a week out there - and where the Dragon trips started out as get-as-many-miles-in-as-possible-on-the-awesome-roads trips, they've turned into a mix of seeing the sites/hikes as well as conquering some amazing roads. I like the change, but I always leave wishing I spent more time on the roads...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Good coffee near the Dragon!


Stucco House Coffee Roasters near downtown Murphy, NC.  They roast their own beans and bake their own pastries.

This is reason enough to stay in Andrews from now on!

-- Pixi says

Monday, September 6, 2010

En route to Andrews, NC

Some unexpected rides turned the Civic rescue weekend into a mini moto vacation!

Now it's off to the Smokies - another early morning...

-- Pixi says

Sunday, September 5, 2010

DIY Fail.

So our 1st stop on our road trip was Suffolk to rescue a rejected Honda Civic. My bro-in-law got reamed at inspection for both front lower control arms and a front motor mount (among other things), so we thought we have a repair party since the labor costs were going to be...high.


Step one: remove the sway bar links.
Anyone who's removed sway bar links on a car with more than 10 miles on it knows that you put your sockets back in the toolbox and grab a hacksaw. After expending way more energy than those little bastards are worth, the front suspension was free of the sway bar and it was time to start undoing the lower control arm mounting bolts. Oh yeah, add new sway bar links to the parts store list.

Step two: remove control arm bolts
Our longest breaker bar with the jack handle slid over it gave us enough leverage to turn the front mounting bolt on the control arm. Wonderful, progress! Yeah, not so much. The bolt had frozen to the metal sleeve of the bushing, so we were turning the whole bushing. I'll avoid the gory details and just say that I'm pretty sure we'd have needed a cutting torch of sorts to beat this one...

Step three: drive your broken sh*t to a mechanic.
So we reattached what we could, tied the sway bar into a fixed position, and drove it to the professionals (who said things like, "they're just not fun to work on anymore" and "that's the risk you run when you try it yourself").

Step four: saddle-up!
So there we were, feeling beaten. Adam's got a bike; we had a trailer with two motorcycles on it...


Chalk up one more Saturday in Suffolk.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Locked n' loaded...


The Suzaki duo is strapped-down.


Megan squeezed in a few hours of work before her telecon, which went quite well!


Just got the locomotive packed-up.


Closing this all with a short glass and some internet time. Tomorrow morn we just back the E to the coupler, hook up, and wave g'bye to the cats! Time to rock the Smokies! Well, after a preliminary waypoint...