Friday, February 27, 2015

Sugru + LED pen lights + LEGO's = Removeable Sidecase Lights

I've come up with a solution for trying to find something in your black BMW side cases, or any motorcycle saddlebag for that matter, in low light conditions.  Usually when I'm digging for something in my bags in a low light situation I'm either holding a light in my teeth or holding my phone with the flash illuminated in one hand.  This has frustrated me far too long and I've taken action.

First LED lights have come a long way.  They are now bright, cheap, and really light.  These two pen lights were purchased at ACE hardware for less than $5 each.

Next I bought Sugru at Radio Shack for about $12.  What is Sugru?  Sugru is the world's first mouldable glue that turns into rubber.  You can learn many ways to use it at or  You can order it online or buy it at Radio Shack, Micheals, or Lowe's. You mold it into a shape you want, and then let it cure for 24 hours.

Last LEGO's.  I could've just attached the lights to the inside of the bags.  But that would make them not useable for other situations in which I need light.  Like, dare I say it, but a breakdown on the side of the road, or maybe just setting up camp a little too late in the day.
 So here are my side cases and a 3 pack of Sugru next to it.
 This is where I want my lights.  Seems to be ideal for a light to shine down and won't interfere with anything else.  I then mocked up everything with magic tape first to make sure.
 This is where I set my first 2x8 LEGO stick.
 Close up of other side case with LEGO 2x8 stick in place with Sugru.

 Next the pen lights with LEGO 2x8 sticks.

I let everything cure for 24 hours before setting everything together.  And here is the final product with the LED light snapped in place and on.  You can see how much this light helps see what is inside the case.  The 2x8 LEGO sticks keep it in place while the bike is in motion, but allows me to remove the light when needed to illuminate other things.  I used 2 packs of the 3 pack of Sugru.  One piece of advice is to buy more Sugru packs than you think you need.  There really isn't a lot in one pack, and you find other things in your life you'll want to fix or hack with this stuff once you start using it.  The last pack of the 3 pack, I used to replace a broken zipper pull on a messenger bag that I use all the time.  Lastly, if I want to remove any of this you just use an Exacto knife to separate carefully, and then the remaining residue you can rub off with your fingers. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A BMW R1200GS that Talks to you?!

The next version I hear will be called Hal 9000!

"Just what do you think you are doing, Dave."

2014 BMW F800GS Adventure Test, by Ultimatemotorcycling

 Image result for 2014 bmw f800gs adventureImage result for 2014 bmw f800gs adventure

2014 BMW F 800 GS Adventure Test
Based on the existing BMW F 800 GS platform, the new 2014 Adventure edition turns the pavement-oriented base model into a true Gelände/Stra├če.
Key changes include a larger under-seat gas tank (now over six gallons), a strengthened sub-frame to accommodate the weight of additional fuel, a wider bench-style seat, engine guards, robust hand protectors, larger footpegs, a tall windscreen, and aluminum pannier frames that double as fuel tank guards.
Options include Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA) and Automatic Stability Control (ASC), and Enduro mode for the motor—all of which I availed myself.
Staging out of the Sorrell River Ranch, a luxury resort and spa in Utah on the Colorado River outside of Moab, I have quick access to adventure motorcycle riding and other off-road demands. The area hosts a mix of dirt and paved roads in different maintenance conditions, giving me plenty of opportunities to challenge the new 800.
As I had some tougher off-roading and adventure in mind, I also had the F 800 GS Adventure equipped with an aluminum skid plate (highly recommended for off-road) and BMW’s Navigator GPS system, which conveniently mounts just below eye level on the windscreen.
In the morning, the fuel-injected engine easily fires up, and the various status symbols indicate that ABS and ASC are active, as well as alerting me to the suspension setting. Utah State High- way 128 is at the end of the Sorrel River Ranch driveway, so I have the suspension set in the Comfort mode.
Heading north on well-maintained pavement, the F 800 quickly and effortlessly accelerates to highway speeds, and the tall windscreen protects well. My first turn, Onion Creek Road — a wide hard-pack dirt road that rolls through the valley floor with numerous creek  crossings — comes up in just three miles. This prompts me to toggle the ride setting from Road to Enduro mode, which calibrates the ASC and ABS to work in the dirt.
Due to the 800 Adventure’s seemingly light weight – it actually hits the scales at a hair over 500 pound with a full tank of fuel — I feel like I am riding my 200-plus pound dirt bike, happily cruising through the shallow stream crossings without any concern about the bike’s suspension ability to handle the challenges. After the stretch of hard-packed surface and creek crossings, I encounter rather deep, powdered soil that was more difficult than I anticipated. In this condition, the 800’s weight distribution helped but the lack of low-end torque from the parallel twin had me working the clutch like I was riding a two-stroke.
Once free of the powder, my route takes me on a mix of hard pack dirt and pavement roads that will lead me across the Utah-Colorado border via Gateway Road. There, I find the bike’s cornering ability to be severely limited on the non-paved surfaces; the front-end wants to push through a corner when I attempt to carry a moderate amount of speed into a turn.
This reluctance to turn causes further problems on the hard pack road that winds down into Gateway Canyon, a treacherous route due to the near-concrete surface having a thin overlay of sand. Fortunately, my cautious riding helps me negotiate the downhill road. Happily, I make it to Colorado State Highway 141 without incident.
After lunch at Gateway Canyons, a luxurious resort and spa, I continue my ride in a southerly direction on a fun, curve-filled section of Highway 141. In this stretch, even with Continental tires that are oriented towards off-pavement use, the F 800 GS Adventure feels more like a sport-tourer than the large dual-sport motorcycle it is.
A fast 35 miles fly by and I turn off the highway again, this time onto a dirt road paralleling Dolores Creek. It’s a fairly straight, maintained hard pack road used primarily by Jeeps and pickup trucks. In this stretch the bike’s suspension, tuned to Comfort level, easily absorbs expanses of washboard surfaces.
The road takes me to Colorado State Highway 90, where I head west, and rapidly open the throttle up and shift up to sixth gear. Even though there is a bit of a crosswind, the well-designed windshield never buffets or induces excessive movement. Highway 90 throws some fairly intense uphill switchback curves at me, yet the F 800 GS Adventure’s handling never feels compromised in the corners.
After about 25 miles, I turn off Highway 90 and back onto dirt for a ride to Geyser Pass (elevation: 10,528 feet). As the elevation increases, I notice the engine’s power flagging a bit, as the EFI adapts to the thinning oxygen. Still, the DOHC 798cc motor maintains adequate pull all the way to the top.
On the descent, I find myself on a broad, gravel road with sweeping turns. Again, I have to deal with the bike’s lack of non-pavement cornering ability that limits my efforts to quickly traverse unpaved roads. As before, I am able to keep it on two-wheels, though it requires more skill and attention than it should.
Back on the pavement — a mix of shredded and newly paved sections — I am impressed by the 800’s ability to manage these variations at speed. I continue northwest to connect with La Sal Mountain Loop, and then turn north on to Utah State Highway 128 back to Sorrell River Ranch for a well-deserved shower, dinner, and sleep. My first introduction to BMW’s latest Adventure is a success.
The 2014 BMW F 800 GS Adventure has the capability to go anywhere an adventure motorcyclist wants to go. Although optional, features such as ESA and ASC feel mandatory. BMW has taken the standard 800 GS and turned it into a bike that, with its range extended 100 miles, is a bit more of a competitor for its 1200cc brother. One-up adventurers will especially take note, I anticipate.

A BMW R69S with a bit on the side, by Wesley Reyneke

A BMW R69S with a bit on the side

South African BMW experts Cytech have paired a BMW R69S with a 50s-model Steib sidecar.
Few things in the world of motorcycling are as cool as sidecars. And the allure is magnified when the rig in question is both vintage and ultra-rare.
This very classy setup was put together by South African BMW experts Cytech, and pairs a 1964 BMW R69S with a 50s-model Steib sidecar. “The client had been in touch with us for two years looking for this particular sidecar combination,” says Cytech owner Donovan Muller. “Eventually we made the match.”
South African BMW experts Cytech have paired a BMW R69S with a 50s-model Steib sidecar.
And what a match it is. Steib was the sidecar of choice for BMW Motorrad in the 50s; replicas are still available, but finding an original is a tad more difficult. This one was bought from a deceased estate, as part of a bigger lot—but it was completely dismantled, and riddled with rust and amateur repair work.
Cytech’s restoration on the sidecar would rival many complete motorcycle rebuilds. The main shell was stripped, sandblasted and repaired, and the wheel fender was rebuilt with sheet metal before being painted and rubberised inside.
South African BMW experts Cytech have paired a BMW R69S with a 50s-model Steib sidecar.
The sidecar’s wheel received new spokes and nipples, the hub was powdercoated, and every nut and bolt was cadmium plated. Cytech has also fitted a new aluminum bead to the fender and body, and refurbished the original tail light and Steib badge. The seat was recovered in black leather with gold pin studs.
The BMW itself was also in need of a serious restoration, and was even missing a few parts—such as the seat and exhausts. So Donovan and his team tore into it with vigour, completely overhauling the engine, gearbox and original 26mm Bing carbs.
South African BMW experts Cytech have paired a BMW R69S with a 50s-model Steib sidecar.
The electrical system received a serious refresh, with a new wiring harness and ignition system, and the suspension was rebuilt. Every little detail was attended to—such as fitting tapered steering head bearings and replacing the air filter housing.
A rare long range Hoske tank was fitted, with a Karcoma fuel tap and a set of US-spec R50 handlebars to accommodate its width. Other top-shelf parts include a Denfeld bench seat and Bumm bar-end mirrors.
Then a full stainless steel exhaust system was installed, and a set of wide-lipped aluminum rims built up with stainless spokes and nipples. Metzeler rubber was fitted to the bike and sidecar’s wheels.
South African BMW experts Cytech have paired a BMW R69S with a 50s-model Steib sidecar.
By default, the sidecar mounts were all placed on the right from the factory. “But for the road rules in South Africa, the sidecar must be mounted on the left,” explains Donovan. Cytech moved the mountings to to the opposite side of the bike, and finished everything in a timeless BMW livery: black with white pinstriping.
Both the R69S and the Steib are immaculate in their own right. But combined, they’re unbeatable.
It’s the perfect rig for ambling around on a Sunday afternoon, in style.
South African BMW experts Cytech have paired a BMW R69S with a 50s-model Steib sidecar.

How To Ride A Big, Heavy Motorcycle Off-Road, by Wes Siler

How To Ride A Big, Heavy Motorcycle Off-Road

How To Ride A Big, Heavy Motorcycle Off-Road
There's no better way to see the world than from two wheels. But, the Adventure Motorcycles made to do just that are so big and heavy, riding them off the road becomes its own, separate and difficult-to-master skill. Here's how to do it.
I've learned all this the hard way. Growing up in England, my core competence was always the sports bikes that are most popular there. The key with those is to maximize grip, not encourage slides so, the American predilection for dirt flummoxed me for many years. On my first big ADV ride (across Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Labrador and Quebec), I ate shit in a pretty major way, giving myself a huge concussion that meant I don't remember the next few days of the trip. Sadly that means I can't tell you how to ride a BMW with a busted frame but, because I've learned so much since then, I can tell you how to avoid that entire situation.
I've had to work at this, and so will you. That crash in Labrador was way back in 2009 but now, five years later, I just completed a trip through British Columbia. I was on the heaviest bike there and one of only two on road tires, but I was the only person to avoid crashing the entire time. If I can manage some semblance of competence on these things, you should be able to figure it out pretty easily.
Let's assume here that you already know how to generally ride a motorcycle, either on the street or the road, and concentrate instead only on the specific skills necessary for riding a big ADV machine, as exemplified by the BMW R 1200 GS and its ilk.
Optimize Ergonomics: Before riding one off road, you'll need to make it so you can stand comfortably and securely for hours at a time, while having complete control. First, put the motorcycle on its center stand or have a friend hold it upright for you. Then, while standing upright on the pegs, examine your reach to the bars. Can you reach them and move them lock-to-lock without bending your back, slumping your shoulders or otherwise contorting your body? If not, you can try and find more height by rotating the bars forwards; if that's not enough, you'll need to start buying new bars until you find ones that fit you. You also need to be able to operate the clutch, brakes and shift lever while standing, adjust them so that you can do so.
Also consider the foot pegs. During an experimental ride close to home, try and stand on them for 15 or 20 minutes straight in your usual riding boots. How does that make your feet feel? Are there pressure points or is anything uncomfortable? Most ADV bikes have foot pegs that are too small for long term standing comfort and will need to be replaced with larger, "bear trap" items from the aftermarket.
Standing effectively lowers the motorcycle's center of gravity by putting your weight through its pegs rather than the higher seat. It also turns you into the world's least elegant cheetah tail. Yes, by awkwardly hovering over the bike as it jumps around and slides, your beer belly will actually help it stay upright and in motion. Always keep your knees somewhat bent, your legs are your shock absorbers.
Once you have a bike you can comfortably control over longer periods of time while standing, you can move on to the rest of these skills.
Drop Your Pressures And Fit Good Tires: Typical road tire pressures are 36psi (front) and 42psi (rear). Off-road, you'll want to go much lower. 20psi is a good compromise pressure at both ends if you need to hit both tarmac and dirt in the same day, but for off-road use only, I'll go as low as 12psi. Consider what type of wheels you have before doing this. Cast aluminum wheels as found on the cheaper, more road-oriented bikes are weaker, meaning you need to protect them from impacts and keep the tires at 20psi. Spoked wheels are stronger and better resist deformation and allow you to "true" them back into shape if you do ding them, so they facilitate those lower pressures. A lower pressure tire will be less able to cushion the wheel from impacts, such as hitting a large rock.
Look closely at any ADV bike you see in an ad, magazine or video where it's jumping, sliding or doing anything ambitious on dirt. See those large tread blocks? Those are Continental TKC80s, by far the most capable ADV tire. But, they're expensive and don't last much over 2,500 miles. Rawhyde sells a knock off that's both cheaper and longer lasting. We've heard good things.

Stay Off The Clutch: The advantage of carrying such large, 800 or 1,200cc motors is that these bikes have massive torque delivered low down in the rev range. Basically form idle. That means you can walk them over or around walking speed obstacles without using the clutch. Doing so gives you better control of the motorcycle and is less fatiguing. But, you'll need to practice to achieve smoothness, do that.
Except For Wheelies: To clear obstacles like large rocks, logs, the lips of desert washes and the climbs out of streams, you'll need to be able to hoist the front wheel on-demand. With your pink and ring finger wrapped around the bar, use your middle and pointer finger to quickly whip in the clutch lever, roll on the throttle with the other hand and quickly, with with control, release the clutch. That should get your front end up on one of these beasts without a problem.

Got a slide about to go way wrong? Stomp on the peg on the side the bike is sliding towards to bring it back into line. Stomp hard. It's the same principal as counter-steering and it works.
How To Ride A Big, Heavy Motorcycle Off-Road
Master The Front Brake: While standing, bend at the hip like you're doing a squat, forcing your but as far rearwards and as low as possible. If it feels like you're about to sit on the luggage rack behind the passenger seat, you're doing it right. This should allow you to transfer your weight through your arms, into the bars and down to the front tire to give it its maximum possible chance at finding traction while braking hard. As on the road, squeeze softly initially to load its contact patch, before progressively moving your way up to full braking power.
Find an empty area and practice maintaining control while locking the front brake. It's dangerous, but one way to do this is to stay on the throttle, pushing the locked front wheel around while you try to keep the bike upright. If you choose to practice that way, please be aware that you will at some point crash, hopefully both you and the bike are prepared for that.
How To Ride A Big, Heavy Motorcycle Off-Road
Leave The Electronics On: These are some big, heavy bikes. Ready-to-ride, but before fitting luggage, that SuperTenere I rode through Canada weighs 636lbs! That's heavy for the class, but even the lightest ADV bikes typically remain 500lbs plus. That means we're talking about a ton of momentum which means things can go wrong very quickly and quite irrevocably. Fortunately, most of these bikes now come with ABS and Traction Control optimized to work off-road. Practice with yours in a safe environment, learning which settings work best in which conditions and under what circumstances you may want to turn them off.
ABS is a wonderful safety aid on an ADV bike, allowing you to get on the brakes hard if a cow suddenly jumps into the road while you're head is off in the clouds. But, it's going to work against you on steep downhills in loose sand or dirt. So learn where it works, consider the terrain you're riding through and switch it on and off as you ride accordingly.
TC is the same, reigning in slides before they require too much intervention from us humans. But, try and climb a steep hill through loose sand or dirt or mud and, well, you're not going anywhere. Again, learn its function and use it accordingly.
Don't think you're too manly to use these electronic rider aids. ADV riding often involves very long days in very bad weather through very dangerous terrain. And that spells fatigue. Take it from me, crashing five days from the nearest hospital or mechanic is a bad idea and take advantage of any help you can get in not doing that.
Want to learn more? Schools dedicated to these skills are operated by both Rawhyde (in California) and Jimmy Lewis (in Nevada). Go to them, they work.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Annual Meeting coming up!

Autobahn Annual Meeting/Winter Party
Saturday, February 14, 2015
Cherry Creek Bar & Grill
Downstairs Party Room
3104 E 26th St, Sioux Falls, SD
(use outside door on N. side of building)
5:00 Registration 6:00 Banquet Dinner - $15 (Cash Bar Available) Meeting Following Dinner includes Election of Officers, Business Discussion, Door Prizes and Awards
The club has decided to spend part of their club treasury to offset member’s costs this year. The cost will be a very affordable $15 per person including tip & tax.
Reservation deadline is February 7, 2015 Contact: