A bit of light farkling

wG8QI mentioned in a previous post that the beautiful paint job of the VFR’s tank was a bit delicate. I have solved that problem with some new tank protectors.

If you look at the full, high-res pic, you’ll see that the rear Rascal Grafik tank protector, while beautifully color-matched to the Honda paint scheme, is color-matched to the CBR-RR paint scheme, not the VFR one, but it’s close enough for government work.

Another CBR item that I’ve re-purposed for the VFR are the Stomp grip pads. I’ve put the clear knee pads on the sides of the tank, where they’re supposed to go, but I’ve additionally re-purposed the black ones to protect the front of the tank, in the cutouts where the handlebars go when turning the wheel sharply.

You can also see the Crampbuster at the end of the throttle—the little dealie that allows you to use your palm to twist the throttle–which is an additional little comfort thing I like. It allows you to manipulate the throttle without having to grip it tightly, for a more relaxed hand.

All of these items were purchased this past weekend, when I finally took the bike in for my rain-delayed 600 mile service.

Yes, she’s out of the break-in period, with 1160 miles on her now, which brings me to the most disappointing thing about the VFR1200.  It BEGS you to…do things. Awful, illegal things. Adrenaline-surging, V-4 growling things. Things you absolutely, positively, cannot do. It is a minute-by-minute struggle not to lay my palm heavily on the Crampbuster, feel and hear that growly V-4 and take off like a rocket. 100MPH on the VFR 1200 is nothing. It’ll do that in third, with plenty of top end to spare before redline. It is positively painful to obey traffic laws on the VFR in a way the FJR never was.

And I live with that pain every day.

Finally! Harley-Davidson audio for non-baggers

Harley-Davidson Boom Audio System
Harley-Davidson Boom Audio System, available for late-model Sportys, Softies, RKs, and the Wide Glide

I sure wish this had been available when I owned a Sportster.  Harley-Davidson announced today that a new Boom! audio system is now available for the 2004-later XL Sportster, 2010-later Dyna Wide Glide, 2000-later Softail, and 1999-later Road King models.

From the H-D press release:

The new Boom! Audio Cruiser Amp and Speaker Kit (P/N 76262-08 Chrome, 76320-08 Black; $399.95) from Harley-Davidson Genuine Motor Accessories provides amplified music through two 3.5-inch speakers. The individual speaker pods clamp to either a 1-inch or 1.25-inch handlebar and can be adjusted to direct the sound toward the rider. The waterproof speaker elements are protected behind black-and-chrome grilles that are finished with a center-mounted Bar & Shield medallion. The compact two-channel stereo amplifier mounts on the frame downtubes. A stereo auxiliary input connects to most portable audio players, some of which can be easily housed in a convenient BOOM! Audio Tank Pouch (sold separately). The integrated hand control features volume up/down buttons and a backlit on/off button, and is designed for easy operation with the rider’s right thumb, even while wearing gloves.

It’s now available from Harley-Davidson dealers.

Ram Mounts Arrive

Last week, I ordered some Ram-Mount devices to mount my GPS and iPod/XM Inno devices to my FJR.  Previously, I used the cheap, jury-rig method of zip-tying some mounts to the handlebars.  But, the Ram-Mount stuff arrived this afternoon, so now I’m stylin’.  Click on the photos for hi-res (15 Megapixel) images.

Devices set up on the Ram-Mounts
Devices set up on the Ram-Mounts

The nice thing about the Ram-Mount mountings is that they are really adjustable, so you can move things around so that you get a clear view of everything.  The mount and device holders have rubber-coated aluminum balls, conected to a 4″ armature that tightens on both balls with a large wing nut.  When you tighten the nut, it locks the mount and device in solidly.

Ram Mount for TomTom One XL-S
Ram Mount for TomTom One XL-S

This mount affixes to the top of the brake reservoir, with the ball in the center of the mount.  They also have a reservoir mount with the ball sticking off to the side, if you prefer that.  The mount comes with three different sets of torx screws of varying lengths, so they can fit pretty much any bike’s reservoir screws.  There are 6 screw holes, so you can mount them on either two-hole reservoirs like the FJR, of a four-hole reservoir on other bikes.

Universal Ram-Mount for devices
Universal Ram-Mount for devices

I got a universal device holder because I switch out my iPod and my XM Inno unit.  This is a handlebar mount which fits–barely–on the AE model of the FJR.  The shift unit hogs up a lot of space that is empty on the A-model FJR’s.  Despite that, I managed to get the handlebar mount properly seated.

You may notice that my Inno is all banged up.  That’s because I didn’t properly secure on the old jury-rigged mount I replaced this evening.  On my way home, I zommed off from a light–and left the Inno behind.  It got pretty scratched and banged up, but, miraculously, no one drove over it and crushed it, and it still works fine.  I think.  I won’t really know until I try to listen to live programming with it tomorrow.  But the recorded stuff I had on it played fine all the way home.

Wiring runs through the handlebar cable harness
Wiring runs through the handlebar cable harness

The glove box on the FJR is just big enough to hold the 12-volt power plugs.  I got the Radio Shack car plug that splits the power cord into two 12-volt car plugs, and the YomTom and Inno are plugged into those and stored in the glove box.  The power cables run out of the glove box, through the cable harnesses on the triple tree, then up to the devices.  The power cords are small enough so that I can close and lock the glove box…which is full to the brim now with car plugs and extra cable.

Fortunately, when you turn the FJR off, it cuts power to the 12-volt car plug on the glove box, so I don’t have to open it, drag out 12 feet of cord and unplug it.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll get to test the mounts out on the road.  So far, though, they seem about 1,000% better than zip-tying universal car accessory mounts to the handlebars.

Aerostich Branches Out

Aerostich has long been known as a purveyor of fine riding apparel.  But now it appears they’ve moved into other areas.  Areas that don’t seem closely related to their core competencies.

Aerostich Flip
Aerostich Flip

This new product is something called the “Flip”.  It’s a replacement for a regular license plate holder, and at the touch of a button, it flips the license plate down to display a custom message.

One of those messages is the “Lane Share Test” sign shown here.  I guess, if you live outside of California, and you want to split lanes at a traffic light, you could order this plate, and display it as you sneak between the lanes.  It looks all official and stuff.

I suspect it won’t look official enough for the local mounties to pull you over and ask you what the hell you think you’re doing, however.  And asking you exactly what you think you’re doing with a device that’s designed to hide your license plate at will.

I mean, if you have big, brass ones, and you’re willing to risk the ire of the local peaceforcers, go ahead.

But it seems like a high-risk thing to install on your bike.

Still, they have other messages you can buy which are a bit less…controversial.  Or, you can create your own custom message.

You’ve still got to get over the problem of a license-plate hiding device, but, if you’re willing to risk it…

Bad Farkles

Some motorcycles are inherently uncomfortable.  Some of them get uncomfortable as you age.  Sometimes, if you really like a bike, you try to modify it to make it fit you better.   The thing is, there is a right way to do this, and a wrong way.  Case in point:

Well, at least it has good lumbar support.
Well, at least it has good lumbar support.

I’m sure that getting this thing up to 80MPH + on the freeway is an…interesting experience.

All is right with the world

Last night, my final replacement racing stripes came in from Premier Cycle.  I put them on, so this morning I finally got to ride my fully restored FJR to work.  Actually, I’ve been riding it every day since my last post, but without all the stripes.  Now they’re all back on.

Back to 100%+
Back to 100%+

And, I even added a farkle, for good measure,  You can’t really see it in the cell phone pic here, but I went all out and got the heavy-weight, matte black and decoratively milled silver Throttlemeister, and installed that, too.

So, the FJR is now better than it ever was.

I’m almost back to 100% physically, too.  I’m still having a little problem with tendon synovitis–whatever that is–in my right wrist, which is still causing me a little pain.  So, I’m still in physical therapy once a week for that.  Happily, the orthopedist gave me a prescription for a patch that uses a medicine called Flector, and that seems to be fixing things up, too.  So, I should be given a clean bill of health in the next few weeks.

All that remains after that is settling up with the insurance company for my personal injury claim.  I don’t know what the claim will actually end up being, but I have missed a couple of days work over this, and ended up with a bit less than $1,000 in out of pocket medical bills over and above my insurance.  What with all the time spent once or twice a week in physical therapy, MRIs, nerve conduction tests, and what-not, I bet it’s not going to be cheap, though.

I suspect I’ll probably end up being able to pay off a number of bills for other things.

I’m also hoping to get a corbin seat, and replace the rear seat and backreast with a Corbin Smuggler trunk.

I’m comfortable with riding again, although I notice that I really take a long hard look at all cross traffic now.

Stock Windshield Back On

I think the Cal-Sci windshield is gonna be a wintertime shield only.

Today it was about 90 degrees. Hot. I rode to Office Depot this afternoon for some compressed air bottles for the job I posted about below. And, as I mentioned previously, the Cal Sci shield cocooned me in a quiet, perfect cocoon of still air. Not even the hint of a breeze reached me through my armored mesh jacket.

Perfectly still, breezeless, 100-degree air. It’s great. If you’re baked frickin’ potato.

So, the stocker went back on, and the Cal-Sci went back into its pretty purple sock, and its shipping box. I’ll see it again in October, I think. For now, that extra air-flow is necessary in the desert summer that’s coming.

Farkles Arrived!

All of my remaining bike mods arrived today. As soon as I got home, I put them on the bike. In fact, the picture to the left is my bike. I took it right after I got everything installed.

They aren’t much, as far as mods are concerned. A passenger backrest, my Cal-Sci windshield, the black reflective racing stripes, and the G2 Ergo Throttle Cam.

They don’t change the looks of the bike much–although I really like the racing stripes–and I think I’m pretty much finished with farkling.

Chris helped me with the stripes, and I think they came out nice. Th really nice thing, as far as she’s concerned, is the passenger backrest. when i first got the bike, she got on the back, and the lack of a backrest really bothered her. she didn’t feel comfortable at all, even though we were just sitting in the driveway. But, once I got the backrest on, and she got on the bike, she felt a lot better. She likes the seat, and, since the backrest comes up just to the bottom of her shoulder blades, she says it’s very comfy.

She wants to take a ride on Sunday. I’m ready to roll.

First Farkle Arrives

Well, the first farkle (second, if you don’t count sliders) arrived this afternoon from California Scientific. I got the +3.5 inch windshield.

First, good on Cal-Sci for sending along real, live, stainless steel machine screws to mount it. Good thing, too, because one of the OEM plastic screwheads just snapped off

The screen itself works first-rate. At the lowest setting, I get a smooth flow of air on the helmet and shoulders. At the highest setting, I am sitting is a cocoon of almost perfectly still, noiseless air. It really is a first-rate screen for being buffet-free, even at speeds approaching–but not crossing, because that would be wrong–100 MPH.

There’s no back pressure at all, and the weather protection is really excellent. I’m very impressed, especially coming from the windshield on my Sporty, which was a buffeting monster. The stock FJR screen is better than the Sporty’s but the Cal-Sci windshield seems just about perfect.

I’m very happy with it.

OK. So Maybe One More Farkle

I ordered the black racing stripes for the Fairing and bags. The picture here is from the PCA web site, not mine, which is a bit surprising, since they are a business web site. You’d think they’d use better pictures.

In any event, they are the reflective black 3M product that looks black in daylight, but works as a reflector when car lights shine on them at night. So it isn’t the looks that are important. I mean, who needs cool-looking racing stripes on heir FJR?

But this is a safety issue, which is, like, totally different.

I also ordered the reflective black panels that cover the rear of the saddlebags, too.

I’m all about the safety.

Oh, by the way, I got her up to 115 from a dead stop at a light, in about 11 seconds or so, this morning.

Why I Don’t Wrench

I decided to put my frame sliders on today. The FJR is pretty simple in this respect, because the two frame bolts are right out in the open, so no cutting or anything is required.

The thing is, I didn’t have a torque wrench, a 1omm hex driver, or a 17mm long bolt driver.

So, I whipped on over to Home Depot to pick up a torque wrench. Unfortunately, all they had were three foot long torque wrenches that put 1200 ft/lbs of torque on a bolt. That was a bit too much, and, since i was on the bike, I couldn’t see how I’d get the wrench home. The nice home Depot guy sent me across the parking lot to Auto Zone.

I went into Auto Zone, found $20 torque wrench, and a 10mm allen head driver, and, mistakenly picked out a 12mm instead of a 17mm driver for the slider bolt. I didn’t realize that quite yet, though.

Thinking I had everything I needed, I went out to the parking lot, pulled the left side engine bolt off, then tried to install the slider. Of course, the driver was the wrong size, so I had to go back inside, and exchange it for a 17mm.

So, it was back out to the bike, where I grabbed the new 17mm driver, and tried to attach it to the wrench. This didn’t work, because the wrench had a 3/8″ drive, and the socket was for a 1/2″ drive.

Back into the store I went, to get a 3/8 C 1/2 adapter for the torque wrench.

I then went out to the bike, got the torque wrench all put together, then picked up the slider for the left side. Naturally, the socket, while it fit the bolt perfectly, was too large to fit inside the bolt hole for the slider.

Now it’s back inside, to see if they have a smaller socket. As it happens, they do. It’s a 3/8″ drive socket, so now I get to exchange the adapter and big 17mm socket for the new one. Finally, I have the tools I need.

So, it’s back out to the bike. Once agin, I assemble the torque wrench and socket. Now I have to set the torque to manufacturer’s specs, with is 35 ft/lbs for the bolt. Naturally, the wrench itself is calibrated in inch/pounds.

So, now I have to try and do the math in my head to multiply 35 x 12 to figure out the number of in/lbs.

At last, after 25 minutes of buying, returning, and exchanging tools, I could install the sliders, which is literally 80 seconds of wrench turning.

And people wonder why I go to the dealership to have work done.

Give me a couple of pieces of wood, and I’ll build you something real nice. I’ve got my table saw, and my miter saw, my planer, my sander. No problem.

But cars and motorcycles? Forget it.

Other Farkles

For the most part, the FJR1300 is pretty darn good right out of the box. But, like any motorcycle, it isn’t perfect. I need to add some farkles, to make it “just right”. I don’t want to change the look of the bike, and there’s no need at all for performance modifications. So, this is probably going to be the one big farkling that my FJR gets. But, today, I ordered those things I think I need to get it set up right for me.

Sliders: The FJR is a fully-faired bike, of course, so it needs some tip-over protection. There’s a company here that makes frame sliders. It’s located in Vista. I gave them a call today, and they said if I wanted to come pick them up, they’d give them to me for 50 bucks. So, I dropped by after work to pick up the set.

Windscreen: The stock screen is OK, but California Scientific makes a highly-rated windscreen for the FJR that’s about 4″ taller, and has a more aerodynamic shape. Everyone that has one says that it really cuts the wind noise, and provides excellent weather protection at the highest setting.

Passenger Backrest: This is not really something I want, but Chris let me know that she’s uncomfortable riding without one. Must be a psychological thing, but if I want her ride, I have to buy it. So, I got the stand-alone backrest from Premier Cycle Accessories.

G2 Throttle Cam: This is not a visible mod at all, but it is kind of an important one. It’s a grip tube and throttle cam to reverse the throttle cam that Yamaha put on the ’06 and ’07 models to provide more sport-like throttle response. The stock cam comes on strong at first, then gets more linear with a further twist. That strong come-on isn’t very helpful on the AE model though, so G2 Ergo makes a throttle cam and tube called the FJR1300 Fix. This reverses the stock cam, and returns the throttle to a linear response.

By way of an update, the throttle boss I put on yesterday really did fix the throttle stiffness and hand pain problem. I’m very happy with it, and rode for about 80 miles total today in perfect comfort.

And…that’s it. I can’t think of anything else I want to do to the bike. It’s really great in stock form, and I intend to keep it that way.