Saturday 21 May 2016. Another Crows Nest dual-sport ride

This ride involved exploring the area just north and east of Crows Nest. We basically followed 'Drive F', a route that has been laid out by the Hampton Visitor Centre. I will try to upload the route notes in the next post. The photos below are (Top) after we just finished lunch at Pioneer Park at Crows Nest and (bottom) on the way to Hampton we turned off at Beutals Lookout at Ravensbourne:

Saturday 14 May 2016. Handguards for the Rainmaker

On the most recent family ride during the ANZAC Day weekend, the switch for the heated grips failed. Basically I had used one that was not rated high enough for the amperage required and melted the insides. So replacing the switch with one rated at 20 amps should resolve that.

That exercise gave me pause to reflect on the effect of handguards on deflecting wind. Kerri never used his heated grips on the trip and I have ridden for several years without grip heaters on the Suzuki, which has excellent handguards. I had a look at what is commercially available and basically anything decent starts at AUS$160.00 and goes up pretty fast from there.

So this is my prototype. Cost to dated has been about $8.00, although I want to experiment with different washers. These will not protect the hands from a crash, just wind, road grime and bugs but that is all the retail solutions do too. We have a four day trip in the middle of Winter planned, going to Stanthorpe and that will be a good test.

Thursday 12 May 2016. Some aftermarket tool tubes for the V Star

Any ride of long distance requires the rider to consider all the little bits and pieces that add up to making the ride more enjoyable. That includes the weight and placement of luggage, including tools.
I carry a lot of tools and am always looking to refine the total number and types of tools, for the overall weight of the tools and where they fit. Over the last ten years there has been a growing awareness of the idea of mass centralization; making the weight as lower and as centered as possible. There has also been a plethora of different ideas on how to make carrying tools convenient. One example of this is the PVC down-pipe tool tube option, which I have done on the Suzuki and it works very well. That option cost me about $35.00 whereas other options of pre-manufactured tubes and boxes start at about $70.00 for one tube and go to about $200.00. In keeping with the utilitarian theme but also wanting to have some element of style, I looked at the document holder/tool tube option.

These document holders are readily available in the United States from most agricultural supply retail stores but I had been unable to find any on the shelves in Australia. Then one day after reading about someone else being ablt to source them from several stores about 40 minutes drive from home, I simply asked if they can be ordered in at the local John Deere tractor dealership. Yes, of course, no problem. $16.00 each plus any delivery charge. By the way, that's JPM Machinery in Caboolture (07 5495 1533).

The brackets I already had in my steel pile that I keep in the back of the shed and I did purchase new stainless steel bolts, washers and nuts, which came to about $8.00. In the name of looks, I did paint the tubes metallic charcoal with two coats of clear to finish it all off. This is the final product. Each of the two tubes fit the inner bags that hold the tools perfectly. Those bags I scored as leftovers from our business, so they are re-purposed and represent zero cost.

I guess they may act as some form of wind, rain and mud protection when riding in adverse conditions but I am not sure on that, we shall see. In terms of looks, being able to contain all the tools, keep them out of the saddlebags, mass centralization and nice, easy access to the tools, I think they will work well. If not, well then I have plenty of room to keep the thermos full of hot coffee.

Monday 2 May 2016. Suzuki rear suspension maintenance

No photos today, just a little bit about some maintenance on the DR800 today.

Pulled off the rear swingarm and cleaned, checked and regreased the bearings that join the swingarm to the main frame and the various suspension components. Only one bearing was a bit tight. The needle rollers were aok but the inner collar/spacer was a bit tight. An hour with sandpaper brought this together aok. Within a year I hope to take the swing arm off again, sand blast it, repaint and change out the bearing and spacer.

The frame design on these old bikes is really utilitarian, good and strong, with easy access for maintenance. That comes at a cost of weight and being wider than a more modern bike. At this stage its a fair compromise but I can see the day when a lighter bike will be very tempting, even at the cost of increased maintenance expenses.