Sunday, October 31, 2010

Allstate TV Ad: Quarterback Mayhem

This commercial features my motorcycle getting hit by car and knocked down. Looks identical to my bike.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Putting things away for winter

Here's the CB400 without the Vetter
Well the endless parade of rain clouds stretching out into the horizon on the forecast convinced me it was time to put the bike up for winter. I'm planning to do a lot of work on it this winter so I knew I'd have to get it stored away and taken apart.

The first thing I did was removed the Vetter Windjammer fairing. It just doesn't seem to fit the bike right, and I don't think this model was ever meant for a 400cc bike. My guess is they took one off a CB750 and used the same mounts.

This rat's nest of wires makes no sense. Must Fix!
Anyway, getting Vetter off was a snap, but afterwards I had to look at the jumble of wires.

This poor bike has seen its share of ham-handed amature electricians over the years. It has wires that go nowhere, and some that have four or five joints in just a few inches. I've found a number of wires that don't go anywhere at all -- they were just taped together and folded under a panel.

One of my major tasks this winter is trying to return things to the original wiring diagram while replacing the front headlight and turn signals. Should be fun.
Here's how I drained the tank.

Next I drained off the gas out of the tank and removed the tank and seat, then put the bike down in the basement where it will be out of any flood waters and relatively climate controlled.

This winter, the bike will be a series of little restoration projects and if all goes well, it will run better next spring. The tank has a dent and a number of rust spots on the outside (no rust inside!). I'll try my hand a bondo and see about getting it painted up for next year. I have a bunch of ideas for colors, but Amy wants to keep it blue.
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Time to pack it in?

Well, the rain came down, down last week and it looks like winter is finally here. I've got the basement set up for motorcycle restoration work this winter and it's about time to get the bike out of the garage. Of course, one it goes in, it won't be coming back out for a while ... so I keep checking the weather forecast to make sure there's not one more sunny day in the week ahead.

When it goes into the basement, I'll be tearing the bike down to the frame for restoration, so it's not like I can just hop on it if we get another sunny fall day. So, I keep procrastinating. Maybe Friday ....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Took three days and went up to Olympia a few weeks ago to take a Motorcycle Safety Course. The course is attractive in that you get a reduced fee for your endorsement and don't have to take the test at the DMV if you pass the test at the end of the course. I took mine from Puget Sound Safety and was glad I did.

Twenty years ago, I taught myself to ride. With the Hondamatic it was as easy as riding a scooter. I learned about countersteer AFTER I was doing it. Basically a fellow rider pointed it out to me one day. I was cautious but I thought I was pretty skilled.

The MSF course gave me a wakeup call. Hidden under the veneer of caution was a whole bunch of bad habits and vast gaps in knowledge about the art of riding motorcycles. I had not idea that you shouldn't brake when in a turn for example. Zack, our instructor actually has a great line about this:

"There is no penalty for entering a turn too slow," Zack told us. "There is a huge penalty for entering a turn too fast - possibly the death penalty."

There were  a dozen other little things I didn't know that have changed the way I ride -- safer, and smarter.

The MSF course also had the advantage of learning in a controlled environment. We rode little Suzuki GZ250 microcruisers that had a low center of gravity. I learned to run the clutch -- something I had never done before and found it was much easier than I feared.  In all it was a great class. Passed my written with a 100 percent and my driving test with a 93.

Many states are looking to make these safety courses -- Washington's is state subsidized -- mandatory for endorsement. I think that's a great idea and could reduce motorcycle fatalities. Education is better than regulation I think, when it comes to the future of motorcycling.