Saturday 27 May 2017. Some thoughts on avoiding further nerve damage

During the last week I visited my GP to receive good news and bad news. The good news is that the test conducted in the last month came in all perfect. The bad news is that by process of elimination, the problems I have had with my hands any feet, known as peripheral neuropathy, or sticking and glove neuropathy, is most likely from the vibration that comes with riding the motorcycles. So now I am faced with a few options:

1. Change nothing, keep riding and most likely continue to incur further nerve damage.

2. Mitigate the vibrations at every opportunity and easure the effect.

3. Give up riding altogether. The probable effects of option 1 are further nerge damage that may in turn, permanently affect the use of limbs, I don't want that.

It is also important to remember that once the cause of the nerve damage is identified and removed, the nerve endings can grow back at a rate of roughly 1 mm per month. As I also do not wish to give up riding altogether so how does mitigation sound? First, you must remember that my two current regular rides are a large air cooled single cylinder (the Suzuki DR800) and a air cooled V-Twin (the Yamaha V-Star). These two configurations are known to produce the most vibrations of any motocycle engine. Send, both bike are fairly old and their designs were not to be the smoothest bikes on the. A new, multi-cylinder parallel in line engine would significantly lower vibrations. Possible contenders include the BMW GS800, the mooted Yamaha advneture bike based on the MT07 engine and the Honda CRF1000. With Honda's reputation for smoothness and the fact that I know that Karen and I can fit on it fairly easily, at this stage the CRF1000 looks to be a contender. However, that will have to wait until I finish my studies and return to work full-time. In the meantime what can I do reduce the effects of the vibration? Here are a few things I plan to try:

1. Switch to gloves with impact absorbtion. For cold days, I have just switched to the Dririder Speed 2 gloves. You can find out more from this link.

2. Switch the handlebar grips to softer, more compliant grips. The Suzuki has been running Grip Puppies for some time and last weekend I changed the 14 year-old rubber grips with new Grip Puppies on the Yamaha as well. Early days but right now, that seems to help.

3. Put the Air Hawk air cushion back on. I did that last night and today's longer ride seems to have been comfortable for much longer. Certainly the literal "seat of the pants" test tends to indicate that the Air Hawk seat cushion does isolate vibrations. The Air Hawk is sandwiched between the stock seat and a the sheepskin seat cover on the Yamaha; again it is early days but my legs feel better than after more recent rides.

4. Purchase vibration isolation footpegs. I have not done this and am yet remain unconvinced that they work. Further study on this issue before I set to work on this.

Saturday 27 May 2017. A ride through the Lockyer Valley

Today a small group; Val, Trevor, Derek, Dorothy, Michael, Julie and I kicked off from MacDonalds at Yamanto and travelled some back roads. The route went through Peak Crossing, Harrisville, Warril View, Rosewood, Laidley, Lake Dyer, Forest Hill, Gatton and then lunch at Gatton. Some of us grabbed takeawy at the 'Floating Cafe', which was named after the Grantham Floods in 2011 and we all dined at Bugler Park, which is an excellent place to stop and refresh.

After lunch we stopped at Plainlands for a bit of a gourmet purchase. I grabbed several wursts and some imported Danish waffles, which Karen loves. Then up through Lowood, Esk, Grigor Creek Road, Kilcoy and then home. Dorothy lead us through Grigor Creek Road as I have never been on it; its quite a pleasant surprise, right up there with the Maidenwell-Upper Yamanto back road.

As usuall, these days I am enjoying the moment too much and forgot to take lots of photos. Here are two from Lake Dyer. Next time, we will go through Plainlands first, stop by Schulze's Meat Tavern and pick up some gourmet sausages to cook at Lake Dyer. Visiting this lake was another first time thing for me and it was quite spur of the moment but really worth it. Over the last ten years, the standard of public amenities all over south-east Queensland has really picked up and enjoying the great outdoors is better than ever.

Tuesday 24 May 2017. A few thoughts on mirrors and wind

As the three occasional readers of this blog may know, I have been experimenting for some time on ways to reduce the effects of wind on the helmet, especially noise and buffeting. Its just an interest to see how much I can learn about this without compromising on safety, protection from bugs and rear-view visibility.

On Monday whilst riding I noticed for the first time that the left-hand-side mirror on the Yamaha sits higher than the right-hand-side. This is due to the combined effects of the different stock Yamaha mounting points as well as blindly installing a matching riser to the thread adaptor when I installed aftermarket mirrors.

Basically, if I had measured the heights at the time, I would have realised that the left hand riser was not needed. The left hand mirror mounting point is different to the right-hand side and about three centimetres higher.

Anyhow, when I arrived home, I removed the left-hand-side riser and the mirrors are closer to level, although not perfectly matched. On this mornings ride, I could detect another lowering in buffeting, not a huge difference as it already is fairly low, but some. This seems to align well with the information from a few sources that indicate that the best way to reduce the effects of rear-view mirrors on air flow towards the body and helmet are:

1. Without compromising visibility, keep the mirrors low and out from the bike as possible.  and$18-mirrors-cure-buffeting.html .This does not reduce the buffeting and wind disruption, but places it away from the helmet and body as much as possible.

2. My own observation is to avoid, if possible, a sharp or 90 degree inside corner. Rather, look for mirrors that have a curved edge or even a straight edge from the mount as air flow over the top and inside planes flow a lot smoother. This was my experience with installing Yamaha Tenere mirrors on the Suzuki DR800 and then smaller circular mirrors. To date, the Tenere mirrors were the best ones I have used. To install them I used the Suzuki base mounts and Yamaha stalks.

3. This seems be be congruent with the designs from more expensive and faster bikes. They all have smoother top and inside edges as per the Aprilia ones below:

4. The smaller, the better. Without comprising rear-view visibility, it seems to make sense that the smaller the mirror, the less disruption to the air flow that can occur. I have yet to test this fully. Of course a smaller mirror may have to have a convex lens to provide the full coverage.

5. I suspect, but I am not sure, that if the body of the mirror casing has some shape that helps move the air in a more aerodynamic fashion, this would also help. The casings for the current old GSX-style mirrors are fairly flat, as are DR stock mirrors and it strikes me that these flat surfaces would be pushing the air in a range of uncontrolled directions.

Sunday 13 May 2017. Handgrip heater fix and replacement

Whilst driving from from morning tea with Karen, I had a bit of brainwave on how to fix the handgrip heater and also have some vibration reduction at very little cost. Went to work on repairing the heater and that came to zero cost. Replaced the actual handgrip on the throttle side also at zero cost but I will need to order a new set of Grip Puppies so as to ensure that the left side matches and that may come to about $35.00. Given that the original idea for a full repair would have been between $100.00 and $200.00, I am pleased with both the form and function of the final product: a set of grips with heat and improved vibration resistance. Should keep me riding for some more time to come. Click here for full write-up and photos.

Saturday 12 May 2017. New handguards for the V-Star

An afternoon set aside to move some furniture etc was cancelled, so I had a chance to finish a long delayed job. Taking the prototype DIY handguards as a guide, I built a new set using information gleaned from the recent windshield modification and the year or so of running the prototype guards. Here is the result:

The next job for this bike on the hand controls is to repair or replace the grip heaters. Due to a recent visit with my GP, I have become a bit concerned about the effects of the constant vibration on nerves in my hands and feet . Hopefully the tests that the GP sent me for reveal nothing more than a diet lacking in appropriate Vitamin B and the need to lose weight. Nonetheless I will be looking at aftermarket grips and footpegs that absorb a bit of vibration. We shall see where that journey takes me soon A bit about the science behind the design can be found at this link.

Wednesday 3 Mar 2017. Windshield modification

Reporting back on the windshield modification on the Yamaha V-Star. The upside down triangle duct really has helped improve the bike's rideability, especially with reduced wind noise and buffeting. Click here to jump to the full details within the page on the 'Rainmaker', although, it didn't rain at all last time.

Sunday 30 April 2017. Glen Innes - Inverell, Bingara, Inverell, Ashord - Stanthorpe

The second day of our annual KKK ride. We left Glen Innes early and took the sublime road to Inverell.

Shortly after leaving Glen Innes, we turned off to Pajero Point. Its actually properly called Sinclair Lookout but its has been renamed within our circles since Karen and I visited there some years ago in our Series Two Pajero to find a collection of Series Two and Series Three Pajeros there already. It really is a beautiful spot. We noticed that to the south-west that a wind farm has gone in. Here are some of the photos:

Breakfast at the Union Bar was terrific. I had smashed avacado, I hope that doesn't offend our current Federal treasurer. Then off to Copeton Dam, pictures below:

Through the back roads and into Bingara. A lovely small town. One of us had an embarrassing moment he he tried to dismount his bike before putting down the side stand. A right turn at Bingara and the off the main focus for the ride for me, The Myall Creek Massacre Memorial. There is too much to say and understand about this site that I have yet to comprehend and even if I did, I doubt that a blog is an effective vehicle for this. If you are interested in learning more, please take a read of this website:  I do ask that you ask yourself, how much of Australia's history have you not been taught. For now, here are my photos of the walk to the memorial:

After the Myall Creek Massacre memorial, it was back roads through Ashford and up to the Bruxner Highway, across to the New England and back to Nick and Mary-Jane's place. Dinner at Ballandean Tavern. At a roadside stop, may battery decided to give Nick's jumper leads a trial, they were found to be just fine. At this stage it looks like a short in the right-hand grip heaters, an easy fix for next week sometime. Once they were disconnected and the bike restarted, the battery charged over the next hour or so. The Bruxner Highway was pretty fantastic and is certainly worthy of another  ride sometime in the next year or so.

Sunday morning was a Mary-Jane cooked breakfast special, loading up the bikes and heading home via our separate ways. Plans are afoot for next year's ride but I can't help but wonder how the long weekend in October may pan out. We shall see.

Saturday 29 April 2017

OK, the annual KKK ride was on. Kuhl-Kleidon Klan, not the other mob. Peter, Kerri, Mark and myself were joined by Nick, who together with Mary-Jane, own the property at Stanthorpe that we regularly visit, Nick has a highly modified BMW R80, which is quite an engineering feat. A lovely bike indeed. He plans to take the bike to South America solo for one year, leaving in October this year. Mary-Jane has assured us that it will not be a day over one year.

Our first day's ride plan was simple. Peter, Mark, Kerri and I met at the Caltex Roadhouse just outside of Warwick and then picked up Nick on the way past Stanthorpe. A pleasant ride down the New England Highway to Glen Innes. Accommodation at Fossicker Caravan Park, dinner at the Glen Innes Services Club, which has a wonderful dining with a view to an early start the next day. Here we are at the caravan park