CBR900RR Bits & Pieces

1997 Honda CBR900RR parts, but I’m buying too many online when I’d rather buy them locally.  For someone who would rather support local business, I’m frustrated at the lack of competent parts people.  Canadian Tire needs to do better.


Fram oil filters:

The oil filter for the CBR is a fairly common filter – but the big Canadian Tire in Guelph didn’t have one… or anything else I needed.  It’s things like this that force me online to purchase when I’d rather just purchase locally.


Strangely, the Walmart across the street, the only place I can find the Mobil 1 oil Triumph calls on for the Tiger, had an oil filter for the Honda.  Not a great weekend for Canadian Tire.  You can’t really brag on having 200,000 parts if your sales rep can’t find any of them.



Winter flushing oil:
This is what I’m going to put in the Honda over the winter as it gets sorted.  In the spring I’ll do a flush and go with Mobil 1 synthetic.


The only place I can find the Mobil 1 is at Walmart – it’s the only time I usually go there.  Since I’m already there for the Tiger, I’ll go for 7 litres and do the Tiger and CBR with the same super-oil.  Running the Mobil 1 in the Tiger has stopped any oil burning in it.  It’s good stuff.


K&N Filters for CBR900:
https://www.knfilters.ca/honda/cbr900rr/900/1997
The HA-9092-A air filter is a strange thing – I thought the filter element would pop out of the plastic, but it’s a single (expensive) manufactured piece.  Finding these is tricky.  You can find cheap, paper filters for about $40 a go, but I found the K&N on Amazon for $120CAD, so that’s going in and getting cleaned regularly.  That should pay for itself within three changes.


I’m not in a place where I’m going to put the front end back together again and pop in the replacement LED when it comes in this week.  With the replacement carb from NCK Salvage in hand, I’m going to try and rebuild as much of the Honda as I can over the long weekend (it’s Thanksgiving Weekend in Canada).


The Strange World of Dash Bulbs:


12v 1.7W wedge dash light is the warning light bulb needed for a ’97 Honda CBR900RR.  These are hard to find – Canadian Tire was no help and the girl at the parts desk in Guelph couldn’t remember the numbers for parts, so I gave up on trying to find them.  I want to buy locally, but with that kind of floor help, it just isn’t happening.


I found LED replacement lights that should last better and use less electricity in the process on Amazon.


This light search led to a crash course in bulb sizing.  The dash lights on the CBR900RR are T-5 Wedge 12v 1.7W bulbs.  T5 means it has a 5mm base.  In this case they’re 1.7cms long on that 5mm base.  The LED should be cooler, use less electricity and be brighter.

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Pannier Thoughts: Motorbike Repair Kit Gear

Having never had on-bike storage before, or a bike designed to cover big distances, I’m thinking about what I could leave in the bottom of the panniers to keep us on the road. 

Here’s the short list so far:




A bike specific multi-tool, this BikeMaster metric device covers a lot of bases in terms of general usefulness.

$16.18 from canadasmotorcycle.ca
300g







Puncture Repair Kit.  Many moons ago I used to do this at Canadian Tire, so plugging a tire is nothing new, and if I’ve got the bits I need on the road I’ll be able to get us going again in short order.

$~20 from Canadian Tire
200g






Yukon Steel Multitool.  I use a generic one at work all the time.  They work well and I don’t need a fancy brand to somehow validate my handiness.

$30 from Canadian Tire
325g



I’m also going to grab a lightweight nylon tarp.  You can get tough, camping ready ones that only weigh about 500 grams and fold up into the size of an envelope.  Along with a little roll of duct tape, small hand pump, some nylon string and a mini wd40 can, I’d have a very light and small collection of handy bits and pieces that would keep us moving if we ran into a problem.

Your 2017 Motorcycle Road Rally Schedule

 It’s on this year and this time it’s a four event season! If you’re anywhere near Ontario hop on your bike and come along for a great day of riding: Sunday June 11th, Saturday July 22nd, Saturday August 19th and Friday October 13th. Pick your day(s)!

 

Last summer my motorcycle buddy Jeff and I did our first long distance motorcycle scavenger hunt/rally, it was a blast! We spent an exhausting, hot, August day covering more miles than anyone else. Our lousy trip planning skills aside, we had a great day seeing all sorts of hidden spots we’d never seen before.  I just found out that Lobo Loco is back for 2017, and bigger than ever!

 
The idea of this kind of rally is that you begin from wherever you are at 8am with a gas receipt to set your starting place.  From there you find your way to gps points shared with you a week before.  Different places are worth different points depending on how hard they are to get to.  You can go after themed stops to try and get the highest points in a particular category or go for the rally win by planning out a route that collects you the most points quickly.  Or you can just take it easy and pootle about, enjoying the camaraderie that is infectious in an event like this.  You’ll be seeing a lot of other competitors on your travels.
 
Last year Jeff and I decided to ride out of the cities because neither of us really like riding in the urban pall.  We rode along miles of country roads through scenic little towns all the way to the shores of Huron before working our way back to Brantford, arriving with three whole minutes to spare.
 
We did it on our big adventure bikes, but the parking lot at the end of the race had everything from a 200cc Yamaha to massive Harley v-twins, and everything in between.  There is no ‘right’ bike to do this sort of thing on.  There is no ‘right’ way to plan your route (though we missed top score by thousands of points, so I don’t really know what I’m talking about).  We had a great time doing our high mileage country route.  Others had a blast cashing in on close together points locations in the Greater Toronto Area.
 
 
Whatever you like to ride, however you like to ride, you can customize the Lobo Loco Scavenger Hunt to how you want to do it.  We ended up being the only people to make it to the bee beard for huge points because it was in the middle of nowhere and was only happening for about half an hour (no one else was crazy or quick enough to try it!).  Our half assed approach got us the top bee keeping score and the longest ride iron butt award.
 
If you’re looking for a single day event that is both fun and will show you new places you’d never otherwise find in your own backyard, the Lobo Loco Rally is your ticket.  The first ride this year (the WTF Rally) happens on Sunday, June 11th.  Here are the specs from the website:
 
WTF Rally
“Weird Things Found”
… or something like that…
Sunday, June 11th, 2017
This is our first of 4 Events for 2017.  We’re going to start the season off with an easier and fun Scavenger Hunt Rally.  You’ll be rolling through the back roads of Southern Ontario stopping to take pictures of some of the most bizarre roadside items, signs, or places… things that will make you say, “WTF?!”
8 Hour Rally – Remote Start
​8:00am Start
Start ANYWHERE in Southern Ontario.
The Finish Line is in Woodstock, ON
Scoring begins at 3:00pm
Time Penalties begin to accrue at 4:00pm
DNF if not at the Finish Line by 5:00pm
​ALL YOU CAN EAT DINNER BUFFET and AWARDS BANQUET begins at 5:30pm
 
​$80 per Rider, or $100 for 1 Bike – 2 Up Team Riders
 
I’m aiming to be there.  Hope to see you at the buffet.  Sign up here.
 
The stop in Lucan had us wanting to return to get some garage art…

 

Over an hour on sand and sand covered pavement getting to a single stop on the shores of Lake Huron was our biggest navigational error (too much time for too little reward).  Even then, it helped get us the iron butt high mileage award and it was all part of the adventure.
 

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Winter Motorcycle Diaries

I’m waiting on an above freezing day to do the coolant flush on the Tiger (it needs to run to circulate coolant and doing that in a closed garage in freezing temperatures isn’t a good idea).  After that I’ll be able to put it all back together and aim it at the door for the first possible ride when the snow eventually clears.


In the meantime, Jeff’s airhead adventures continue.  The old BMW is in pieces and this week we took the biggest lump over to a local metal shop to get it bead blasted down to the metal.  I’m curious to see what this industrial process does for the BMW engine which looks like a piece of industrial art to begin with.  DK Custom Welding is run by former graduates of the high school we work at.  Their shop out in Salem is a magical place.

The air cooled lump prior to an industrial quality cleanup.

They have a full service metal shop at DK Custom Welding out in Salem.  

Lots of interesting lines and asymmetrical details on the old air head.

A wide variety of classics were getting restored in the shop – they’d done a lovely welding job on a new floor pan on one 60s muscle car.

In other motorcycle news, Triumph Canada had a fantastic sale on some of their clothing, so I jumped on it.  Sturgis Cycle delivered it wicked quick and it’s some really quality clothing.  At the price I feel like I stole it!


It’s the depths of winter, probably about as far from a ride as I get, but MotoGP is testing in Sepang and their winter programming is always interesting.  Last week I saw their video on Öhlins and how motorcycle suspensions work, which was very insightful.  The amount of punishment a motorcycle shock takes in a single lap when ridden in anger is astonishing.  I’d rather be punishing the new fork oil in my own shocks, but at this time of year I’ll take what I can get.

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Motorcycle Reading: Red Tape & White Knuckles by Lois Pryce

I read Lois on the Loose a couple of months back so I put Red Tape and White Knuckles on Kindle for a read over the Christmas holidays.  Lois’s ride through the Americas was a great read, so Red Tape had a lot to live up to.

If you enjoy well edited, lean writing that is almost pathological in its honesty you’ll love Lois’s writing style.  She holds nothing back as she describes her long and arduous route from England to Cape Town.  Her vulnerability riding a motorbike colours the entire trip, making this very much a motorcycle focused read.

Now that I’ve read both books I often find myself wondering how the people she ends up travelling with find her depictions of them.  She is relentless in her assessment of how people deal with the challenges of adventure travel, and it isn’t always (usually?) flattering.

Lois is equally honest with her own fears and abilities while navigating Africa’s byzantine politics and sometime apocalyptic landscape.  Her doubts creep in throughout this difficult ride, but she also explains how she recovers which is a wonderful insight into resiliency.

You’d think that the physical aspects of trying to cross Africa on a motorcycle would be what slows her down, but just when you think that the Sahara Desert will be the ultimate challenge you’re scared to death of what will happen next in the Congo.  People are, by far, the most dangerous thing Lois encounters, though they are also often the saving grace.

Like Lois on the Loose before it, Red Tape & White Knuckles has some can’t-put-it-down moments (especially awkward when you’re supposed to be getting off a plane).  And like her previous trip this one leaves you feeling like you’ve been on an epic journey where the beginning feels like a distant memory as you finish.  Like the best journeys, this one feels like it changes you.

It’s better if it’s a tiger…


Toward the end of the novel Lois has an interesting talk with her husband Austin.  Lois’s atheism comes up a number of times during her trip through religion soaked Africa, and her discussion at the end about Austin (also an atheist) praying for her safety was enlightening.  It got me thinking about what being an atheist means.

I’d also describe myself as an atheist, but that doesn’t mean I’m lacking in imagination or meaning in my life.  If Life of Pi teaches you anything, it’s that you shouldn’t miss the better story or the resiliency offered by an empowered emotional approach to challenging circumstances.

Lois contrasts the dead eyes and mercantile nature of the Congolese with the gentle kindness she finds elsewhere. There is such a thing as being too much of a realist, of allowing the world around you to dictate your reaction to it.  We’re powerful creatures able to create our own responses to the circumstances we find ourselves in.

On our recent trip south I found myself putting on my lucky socks before I loaded up my son and all our gear to go for a ride in the Superstition Mountains (I know, right?).  Do I really believe these socks are lucky?  No, not if I dwell on it, but I like these socks, they make me feel like I’ve got my best kit on, they put my mind at ease, make me feel like I’m ready to do a difficult thing well.  That confidence has real world value.  Same with that lucky hockey stick, or my lovely motorcycle.  Am I superstitious?  No, I wouldn’t say I am because I spent most of my young adult life learning that things like fate or luck don’t exist, but I recognize the value of empowering myself with positive thinking.

If Austin found some peace in fraught times worrying about Lois in Africa then this isn’t a repudiation of atheism and reason, it’s an acceptance of the power of hope.  These tentative forays into the psychology of adventure riding suggest an untapped opportunity.  Lois’s honesty allows her unpack the complex psychology around dealing with fear, nurturing resiliency and developing an effective mental approach to the challenges of travelling off the beaten path.  I get the sense that she shies away from this kind of philosophizing, but I hope she doesn’t in the future.  If her purpose is to get more people out and about, this would aid in that.

Unfortunately this brings me to the end of Lois’s current works.  Fortunately she’s working on another novel due out soon about her riding around Iran

Around Georgian Bay

Everyone’s busy this weekend so, and to quote Freddie Mercury, I’m going to take a long ride on my motorbike.  Time for my first circumnavigation of a Great Lake, I’ll start small with Georgian Bay.  From Elora I’ll strike north to Tobermory.  There is a 1:30 ferry to Manitoulin Island, that’s the only must get to (gotta get there an hour before departure, so 12:30pm in Tobermory).

I’m aiming for Little Current to overnight.  We stopped there last summer and it seems a lovely spot to spend the night, and The Hawberry Motel looks the part.   That’ll put me 340kms and a two hour ferry ride into an 873km circumnavigation.

Sunday morning I’m on the winding road up to Espanola and then over to Sudbury before the long ride south.  It might seem like a stretch but the ride south includes some time on the 400, so I’ll get to see how the Concours manages highway riding while making some time down the other side of the bay.  Once I get back south of the Bay I’ll cut over to the coast and follow it around before heading south out of Wasaga Beach for the final push home.

This ride is the longest I’ve yet done, and it also includes a ferry ride.  I’m pretty revved up about it!  Friday night will be the pre-flight checks then on the road Saturday morning.  My buddy Jeff has said he’ll do the first leg with me up to Tobermory, so I’ll also get to do some miles in formation.  Another box checked.

Here are the posts from the trip:
Part 1: To the North
Part 2: An informed ride
Part 3: Highway Miles
Part 4: The Kit
Part 5: Media from the Trip

The Concours is sorted and doing regular duty commuting me to work, time to stretch her legs…

LINKS

The Ferry

The Hawberry Motel

The Map

The Trip Itself

Turning Tedium Into Adventure

It was actually warmer this month than it was last as I headed over to Erin for a monthly meeting.  I thought I’d had my last ride then, but instead I’m still at it as November begins.

The commute in to work starts
before sunrise these days, it’s
often below zero.



Since we haven’t had daylight savings time yet it was already past sunset at 6:30 as I headed out.  Coming back late it was a starry sky that kept me company.  While riding through an inky black countryside full of skeletal trees, a bright flash suddenly lit everything up as a fireball burned across the Milky Way.  Never would have seen that in a car. Riding a bike is awesome.

I was asked why I’d keep riding as winter approaches.  The answer is simple.  Driving a car over to Erin and back is ninety minutes of tedious commuting.  Riding the bike over and back turns it into an adventure.  Just because something is easier doesn’t mean it’s better.  I’m going to miss the adventure when the snow flies.

Trying out some unusual angles with the 360Fly.

 

It has snowed the week before on River Road.
There are large patches of sand all along the road.
Not to mention the wet leaves… exciting!

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Kawartha Highlands Circumnavigation

A July ride in the Haliburton Highlands:  the plan is to take a few days in mid-July and head up to the in-law’s cottage.  It’s just outside Bobcaygeon, Ontario and makes a great base for riding into the Canadian Shield in Haliburton.

The way into the lake is a fire road. all gravel and twisty like a rally stage.  I’m actually looking forward to it now that I’ve done the SMART training; time to see if I can apply some of those off road skills so that the whole way in isn’t a nervous ride on a loose surface.

The next day I’ll take the Tiger out for a lap around the Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park.  I did the Haliburton Highlands last spring on a birthday ride.  Weaving through Canadian Shield lakes, woods and massive rock outcroppings is never a bad thing.  Because of all those geographical features, Haliburton is one of the few places in Ontario where the roads have some character; you spend very little time on the crown of your tire.

If I’m finding the ride going by quickly there are a lot of alternative routes built in.  The 504 looks like it would be fun to ride both ways.

10 North off the 648 up by Tory Hill also looks like it would be a good two way ride.  It’d be easy to add some additional pieces on the day if time permits.





One thing’s for sure, that night around the campfire at the cottage is going to feel good…



The short route – 261kms. The longer route (318kms below) also covers the twisty 10 north of Highland Grove…

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Fireblade Petcock

I think I’ve finally gotten the fuel system on the scuppered Fireblade sorted.  The last problem (and probably what caused all the other carb and engine issues) was a leaking petcock.  I tried to take apart the existing one, but I should have listened to the Chilton manual and just replaced it in the first place.  The new one (40 bucks on Amazon) seems a quality thing.


The petcock in the tank was pretty mucky, and was leaking even when turned off.  If it was pouring gas into the carbs all the time, even when parked for long periods, it must have filled up the carb bowls and spilled over into the intake manifold and eventually found its way into the engine oil, which would explain the seven litres of what looked like muddy water that came out of the oil drain plug.

The new petcock looks like a more finished thing than what was on it.  Based on the questionable mechanics on the rest of the bike, I’m guessing this was just something that fit rather than the right spec part.  The one on the top is the new one and the bottom one was what was on the bike.  It seems odd that Honda wouldn’t actually tell you what the petcock is doing by writing the position on the thing.  


The old one also was also lacking the fuel filter, and the new one with the filter on it wouldn’t fit throught a tube stuck up in the tank hole.  I removed the old o-ring and managed to free up the tube with some WD40 and slide it out.  Like everything else I’ve found in the fuel system, it was a pretty mucky thing.  With those weird bits now out and the tank cleaned, that’s the whole fuel system sorted, so hopefully it’ll run like it should when I finally get the tank back on.


The goal now is to wait for a break in the weather (we’ve been in the double digital negative temperatures with a fair bit of snow), and see if I can put the tank back on and fire it all up.  It’s supposed to be 6°C and raining on Monday, so that’ll clear it up and maybe give me a chance to test the tank/petcock on the bike.

As it is, the new petcock is leak free on the tank (I just held it up and tipped it over a basin, but no fuel leaked), so that’s a result!  The problems with this non-runner when I got it had me focusing on the fuel system to the exclusion of all else.  I’m hoping that after a carb rebuild and the various other fuel system nick nacks I’ve sorted, that’s all that’s needed, but you never know.


With any luck I’ll actually get to ride the thing up and down the driveway later this week and find out what else it might need.  If it’s sorted, I can focus on winter maintenance on the Tiger and do the LED turn signals I’ve got for both bikes next.  Come spring time I’ll ride it over to my local motorbike shop, Mostly Ironheads, and have them do a safety on it and then get it sorted for the road.

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Photos from the Winter Road

These are some video screen grabs from the long way home commute from work last week.  Windy and cool, but still up near ten degrees Celsius with bright, winter sunshine.  The roads were relatively sand and salt free thanks to days of rain and floods.  The Ricoh Theta 360 camera is wrapped around the mirror with a Gorilla Pod.  A 360 video clip to start off followed by some photoshop post production…


 


All the screen grabs with various modifications can be found in this album.


If you’re looking for a motorcycle friendly camera, the Theta 360 has push button controls that are easy to use (most others have finicky wireless connections through a smartphone).  You don’t have to aim it or focus it, it just grabs everything in an instant.  The screen grabs on here are from the 1080 video the Theta made while attached to the rear view mirror.

My last ride was November 28th, so this was a soul destroying thirteen weeks between rides.  I really need to find somewhere twelve months a year motorcycle friendly.  There’s another bucket list goal:  live somewhere where I can ride for an entire year without having to take three miserable months off.


On the upside, it won’t be 13 weeks until I’m riding again…

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