The Indoorsman's Motoring Blog

January 31, 2010

GS project update

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In class Saturday I drained the old fork oil and cleaned up the forks. They look fantastic. Those old Suzuki’s have Showa forks. I am toying with the idea of painting the lower part of the fork gold, to go with the gold GS and Suzuki logos I have. I could also accent a few other areas with gold such as the exhaust tip.

More Instant Art

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Mt. St. Michel, 1993. Dad and I stayed on the island. I spent several hours trying to get a good picture of the island at sundown. I was gone so long that dad thought the time might have gotten me and came looking for me.

Fun With Photoshop

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This totally non-bike related, but I found some old contact sheets and thought it would be fun to create some instant art with photoshop. I will post more from time to time.


January 29, 2010

Suzuki GS 550L project part I

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I’m excited for my first project on the GS project bike, which I am hoping to complete tomorrow in class. The project is simple: To inspect the front forks and repack with oil.

Tonight I took the forks off the bike. I’m a newbie when it comes to wrenching on the things and I was feeling pretty overwhelmed at first. It turned out to be no issue at all. I took the wheel off, which I’ve done before, removed the calipers, cable stays and fender. Where I was a bit confused was with getting the forks out of the triple tree. Once I realized the plastic sleeve on top of the lowest part of the tree stayed on the bike and wasn’t somehow removed with the forks I had no problem.

The forks weigh a ton. They are quite solid. Anyway, here’s a quick video. I’ll post in a bit about all the projects I want to do.

January 12, 2010

Hot Stove Report Tornado Ralley 2009

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Middle of May is traditionally the time for Kansas City’s biggest scooter rally, the Tornado Ralley, which is put on by the Mad Toto scooter club.

It was a great event, despite poor weather. Friday night was almost completely rained out, and the rain put a damper on some of the events Saturday.

I registered about 5 p.m. Friday, got my bag of goodies and high-tailed it home before the downpour came.

Saturday was a lot of fun. The scoots turned out in full force early and we rode in groups from the event’s base at Scooterworld in downtown Overland Park to the West Bottoms of Kansas City, Mo., where the organizers had arranged a scavenger hunt. I didn’t participate. I attend these events to look at the scooters, talk scooter with like-minded individuals and ride. Activities such as scavenger hunts seem like a waste of time to me, but people seemed to enjoy themselves.

There were three rides that left from there. I opted to return to Scooterworld, get some stuff done at home for a few hours then meet up at Chop Tops, a cool haircutting salon on Merriam Drive in Merriam. At Chop Tops they had drinks and dogs for all of us. I was able to get there in time to get some video of the riders returning from the Parkville ride.

The only thing I regret from the weekend was that I skipped the Gymkhana that night. I’m sure it was a great time judging by the video and pictures I’ve seen. I skipped it because I wasn’t into the scoot-in movie that night (The Wizard of Oz) and because I don’t think scooters/motorcycles and alcohol mix.

I’m not judging, but I’ve noticed scooter and motorcycle rides organized by clubs tend to involve stopping and having a beer or two. I never drink when I ride, and I certainly don’t want to be tempted. Still, I wish I had gone.

Sunday morning they put on a great breakfast for us at Scooterworld made by Chris Cakes. I was disappointed not to win the Red Stella that was being raffled off, despite buying about $50 in extra tickets. Oh, well.

I enjoy scooter rallies despite the fact that I abhor the kind of group politics that are rampant in small organizations like scooter clubs. I think people who gravitate toward the leadership of these groups tend to take themselves and the organization too seriously. It’s a scooter club for Christ’s sake, not the Red Cross.

Here are some pictures of the event. 

Here’s a video.

January 11, 2010

Photos from Ralph Wayne’s Vintage Backyard Nationals

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As promised, here’s my photo set from Ralph Wayne’s Vintage Backyard Nationals. This set of photos is from the 17th Annual event held in October 2009.

Ralph Wayne’s Vintage Backyard Nationals Hot Stove Report

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Now that I am getting back to blogging after taking some time off I want to post some stuff that happened last year.

The first weekend in October is Ralph Wayne’s Vintage Backyard Nationals. Ralph Wayne has been hosting this event in his backyard for 17 years. It is exactly as advertised. Ralph Wayne hosts thousands of bikers and vintage bikes older than 25 years in age make into his backyard.

Our experience started out early Saturday morning. My GS buddies met up at Coaches for a ride over to Lee’s Summit for breakfast. This required some highway riding. Now, I don’t mind going fast, but I mostly ride two-lane. My Interstate riding is limited, and the ride that morning happened to follow I-435 and I-470 through the infamous Grandview Triangle. This is a notorious piece of road and I can tell you I was nervous. That’s why I was hanging back probably riding about five miles under the speed limit. Traffic was light for the road and I did make it. I felt a great sense of accomplishment, I can tell you.

We ate that morning at Neighbor’s Cafe in downtown Lee’s Summit. I happened to re-connect with a high school friend in the mortgage business. The breakfast was fantastic. I did not opt of the “garbage truck,” and had enough of a problem finishing my three pancakes, which were huge.

After that I thought I had convinced the guys to take the scenic route back to Ralph Wayne’s, which is off Blue Ridge Parkway, but soon enough we found ourselves on the Interstate. The riding was a bit easier this time. Like anything, Interstate riding gets easier with practice. It’s actually safer on the Interstate (I-70) aside, because so many accident opportunities are eliminated due to the restricted access.

One thing I did have difficulty with was the cold. I was wearing my Fieldsheer Adventure Jacket for the first time. Without the liner I was still pretty toasty in the 45-degree weather, but I was wearing thin leather gloves. Ouch. My neck also got cold because I left the neck gaiter at home. I certainly appreciated my full face HJC helmet, but then again I always do.

Ralph Wayne’s was pretty cool, as the posted video shows. When we arrived about 11 a.m. there were probably 200 to 300 bikes lining the streets around his home. Ralph must have the nicest neighbors in the world. Everyone was well behaved, but I’ll tell you that’s a lot of noise and distraction to put up with on a sleepy Saturday morning.

The oldest bikes were in Ralph’s back yard. There was a notable Indian and lots of Italian and English Bikes. Next were the 70s Japanese bikes and after that German and I’m sure a few older Harley’s, though the H-D crowd tends to predominate in the afternoon, from what I’m told.

The whole morning was motorcycle overload. I loved it and I’ll be back in 2010 for the 18th Annual. In the meantime you’ll see me riding around proudly wearing my Ralph Wayne t-shirts. Enjoy the video. I’ll post images on Flikr later and I’ll let you know.

January 10, 2010

Honda and the joy of fourbangers

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This is a nice review of Honda’s VFR1200F, which is a sport touring bike. The video also has some great shots of the Honda Museum in Japan (and some shots of some Japanese youth culture, which is always good for a few laughs).

The looks of this bike are kind of funky. I’m not offended, but I don’t know if a lot of Americans will go for the styling. The front does kind of remind me of the Vetter Windjammer fairing. The bike is more sport than touring, so we’ll see how it sells. Personally, I think Honda has lost it’s way with its motorcycles and scooters. The company has kind of turned into the GM of the motorcycle world, meaning they don’t seem to take many risks with the products they sell in the states. Hondas are also too pricey in my opinion, but then again they are quality.

The reason I’m intrigued by this bike is that it is powered by the latest generation of four cylinder. My Suzuki has a four-banger and I have to say it’s the way to go. Fours are so smooth, especially when you are doing a long stint on the bike. The power delivery is consistent and, again, smooth – there’s just no other way to describe it. We’ve all pulled up next to a Harley and wondered if the engine was about to vibrate off the bike.

Interesting site

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Sooter Diva on Twitter posted a link to this site. There’s a cool scooter pizza delivery game. I’m not sure what the site is supposed to be, but it’s pretty cool. Check it out.

January 9, 2010

Guilty Pleasure

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I have to admit I’m really excited about this bike. I love the looks. I saw one at Ralph Wayne’s and I think it’s the best looking Harley out there. Granted, I’m not a huge Harley fan, but I do admire what the company does to market itself. We’ve all had good and bad experiences with Harley pilots, so I won’t get into that, but generally I think people know what I’m talking about when I say there is a lot to love/hate.

Sportsters have a bad reputation among some Harley riders as a girl’s bike. Of course the dirty secret is that the Sportsters are the fastest bikes Milwaukee produces. Well, now that Buell is gone, at least.

I have to admit, there is an appeal to Harley ownership. There’s always a ride to go on. You never lack for something to do. The Suzuki Owner’s Club is great, but our local Harley dealership has more rides in one week than the whole SOG has in a year. A bit of an exaggeration, but not much.

I’d have to say if I could only have two bikes…Er, if my wife would let me have too bikes, the would be and Iron 883 (eventually kitted out to 1200) and a Vespa 250 or 300.

Anyway, I’ve mentioned that I’m a big fan of Iron Horse Magazine and the Iron 883 has that back street chopper potential that I love. Good job HD!

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