Tag Archives: motorcycle

What I Like About Indian Motorcycles

Modified Indian Scout motorcycle.
Modified Indian Scout

I really like the new Indian motorcycles and I’m noticing that parts are coming available to modify them. The exhaust on this one sounded incredible. The retro styling works pretty well with the modern motorcycle.

I ran into this one at The Angry Bull in Zanesville, Ohio while on a poker run for a fallen biker who worked at Jugz in nearby Newark. It was a cold day, but the owner was nothing but smiles. No fairing and 50 degrees usually does not produce the smile he had. There might be something to this Indian than it just being cool.

What I do find odd is the advertising. They’re trying to rely to much on the brand name that really doesn’t have much to do with the motorcycle that is being sold today. They don’t speak of company practices from the old days that are used or anything of that nature. Other than a few styling queues, there’s nothing much to do with the motorcycle of days gone by.

I’m considering one. Just not sure if I want to pay for the showpiece factor and the nostalgia or if I should just by a Victory. I have more to learn about this company’s motorcycles.

Day 71 365 Project

Honda NC700X
My Honda NC700X ready for 2015. Can’t wait.

Today was the second day of 2015 that I had my Honda NC700X out for a ride.

After a winter’s rest, the first ride reminds me of why I like this bike so much. It fired right up without a problem. The power and speed was a nice change from the minivan. It’s an economical bike that’s still visceral enough. It’s just a great all-around motorcycle.

Motorcycling and photography are 2 of my favorite things to do. You’d think combining them would  be easy. I find myself just wanting to ride without stopping for photos though. This year, I’ve got a photography project in mind that should balance things out though. It’s going to be a fun year.

The Flat Tire That Changed My Way Of Thinking About Motorcycle Repair.

I ride motorcycles because I enjoy them and it’s easy to excuse their expensive as coming back in the way of saving gas. They do save gas, but not really enough to cover the repairs, maintenance, and insurance. It’s hard to give you an exact calculation but tires, high labor costs, and insurance eat into those gas savings. With that in mind, they’re not much more than a toy – unless you do the work yourself.

Here is a photo of a tire tube that came out of my motorcycle that changed everything.

Leaking valve stem on a motorcycle tire tube.
Leaking and corroded valve stem on a motorcycle tire tube.

This tire had a nagging leak for a long time. It confounded me because I told the shop to put in a new tube. The slow leak started soon after the new tire was put on, so the shop probably installed the old tube.

I took the bike back and asked them to check it and I was informed that they would not mount and dismount a new tire. Not only had they ripped me off a $10 tube, they wanted another $250 sale for a new tire! Outrageous.

A knee-jerk reaction to this would be to write a scathing review about the motorcycle shop and hope to get them back with a loss of customers. Fact is though, they have a long line of customers waiting every time I go there. It wouldn’t work and even if it did, revenge doesn’t get my money back or right anything. I decided to do myself a favor and avoid them in the future. I decided to fix the tire myself.  It’s led me down a different path of thinking.

The Tire Breakdown

For whatever reason, I had it in my head that a tire change on a motorcycle was probably hard. Maybe it’s something I read that said to “leave it to the professionals”. Maybe it’s the long, long list of services charged for on the receipt when you get the bill for a tire change. Maybe watching the mechanic use a tire changing machine made me think I needed special equipment. I don’t know, but I do know it’s bullshit now. It’s not much harder than changing a bicycle tire.  A 14 year old could do this with a little instruction.

I bought a manual tire changing machine, a hydraulic motorcycle lift, some tire spoons, a wrench for the axle nut(supposed to be in the tool kit, but the dealer didn’t include one with the bike. Said they don’t come with them), and a new tube.  It turned out I didn’t need the manual tire changer, but the lift was a game changer.

It took me a couple of hours to figure it all out, but with the tools, it was easy. Once I seen the problem with the corrorded valve stem, the gears in my mind started churning. What else had they ripped me off on over the years? Did really adjust the valves? Did they really use synthetic oil when I paid for it? All sorts of things come to mind. My trust in them or any other shop was broken because you really have no way of knowing.

Applying This To Everything Else

For me, the Internet tends to cause us to gravitate towards the useless. There’s gossip, impotent political banter, gadget pandering, and all sorts of distractions that takes us away from what the Internet was intended for, useful communication.  I bring this up because I found answers to all of my motorcycle repair questions on forums and YouTube. Expertise that I would have no access to was a click away.

Not only was the information there, but access to every part I needed at a lower price than what retailers sell them for was there. I don’t even have to run and pick them up as they’ll come right to my door. All-in-all, changing a tire is actually less of a hassle to do myself than it is to run the bike to dealer and wait, then wait some more, for it to actually be repaired.

I’ll be looking up everything that needs repaired from now on, especially on vehicles.

$21 Mistake On The Honda Shadow Final Drive Plug

If there’s one thing that I’m very slowly learning about motorcycle repair, it’s that there are torque specifications for every bolt on the motorcycle and if you don’t follow them, it’s expensive. I’m starting to lose track of all of the bolts I’ve broke on my shadow, but my last stunt was the valve cover bolts. They were pricey and I had to work like a surgeon to remove the broken bolts.

This time, I round the final drive plug and the damage was $21 for this little plug and O-ring with shipping and that was from a place called “Cheap Cycle Parts”. Nothing cheap about it.

O-ring for a Honda Shadow final drive.
A $21 final drive plug and O-ring for a Honda Shadow.

The manual states 12 Newton meters of torque, but it was leaking a little at that torque. I new O-ring probably stops that, but I thought that making it just a little tighter would help. The plug has the consistency of cold butter and it rounded right off. Lesson learned.

 

2013 Ural Patrol Spotted

I finally got a chance to get a picture of a decent Ural. This one was a 2013 Ural Patrol. The owner showed up while I was taking a photo and talked to me about it for a while. He loves the bike and had good things to say about it.

Ural Patrol Sidecar Motorcycle
2013 Ural Patrol Sidecar Motorcycle

 

2013 Ural Patrol with sidecar.
2013 Ural Patrol 2WD motorcycle with a sidecar.

After reading so much about these motorcycles, I’ve come to love them. Although the owner of this one was happy, many other are not. All of the things that they site as being problematic make this bike sound like a better hobby than a Harley-Davidson.

These bikes are Russian made wonders. They have a reputation for breaking often and being unreliable. I wouldn’t want one for my only motorcycle, but for one that’s not mission critical(i.e. getting to work or taking long trips), I wouldn’t mind working on one. The trade-off would be that when you can get this motorcycle to go, it can go anywhere.