Sunday, January 31, 2010

Perfect winter riding weather...

Perfect winter weather..., originally uploaded by achung_123.

It has been raining pretty hard for the past 2 weeks, and finally this weekend we have clear sky - may not be as clear as summer; but I am not complaining. Twisties are still a bit wet, especially in early morning hours. With my not-so-perfect chain situation, we decided doing a short local ride in Oakland hill area. It is all cool - the important part is all my riding buddies able to make it. My chain is still in one piece without falling apart, and we all had a wonderful lunch over Bo's BBQ at Lafayette. BTW, I highly recommend Bo's BBQ - weekday from time to time they have life music, and weekend lunch is always nice and quiet. It is the best BBQ place in the area IMO.

Friday, January 29, 2010

What's wrong of my chains? Gap at sprocket?

what's wrong of my chains?, originally uploaded by achung_123.

My chain has been a bit lose since I replace the rear tire 2 months back. My ride was fine, and I didn't bother it too much since I don't have right tools to deal with it anyway. So I finally got a new torque wrench and right size socket last night to work on it. It supposes to be a simple and straight forward process... but a 15 mins job turned into 1.5 hrs of nightmare...

Here is what I did: losing the axle nut a bit, and adjust the sliding shoes on both left and right and make sure the spindle align... check the chain tension - it looks good; and I re-torque the nut back....everything works as planned - simple, right? Things just start doing downhill when I spin the wheel. Normally when I spin the rear wheel I would feel a constant low resistance; but this time.... there is a spot where I feel something got caught! After close inspection, I found one small section of the chains is not 'fitting' well into the sprocket anymore. I can actually see through the gap!!! WTF?

So... after post my problem on both BARF and Ducati MS, fellow riders suggest that I need a new set of final drive - both front and rear sprockets, and new chain. I have to admit that it is about time anyway - look at how much the chain is stretched. This could be a good excuse to get a new set of nice Supersprox sprockets and RK GB525 gold color chain.

For many experience rider, replacing chain and sprockets is just part of the regular maintenance. This is new to me... and will see how this fix will go. I will post report and pictures once it is done. Stay tune.

1/2-inch Drive Torque Wrench & Breaker

Finally they arrived! Mountain 1/2" drive torque wrench and 25" breaker bar. I got them from Tooltopia through Amazon. Very good price, and much better build than the crap in Sears. The entire unit is made by metal - very well build and heavy duty. It also comes with a certificate of calibration stated when the calibration been done and how well it performed. I was impressed! The only draw back is it doesn't have N/m reading - it comes with ft/lb and K/m. Can't want to see them in action. Next time when I need a new set of tiers, I can finally take out the wheels in the comfort of my own garage =D

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dainese M-21 D-Dry glovers

Dainese M-21 D-Dry glovers, originally uploaded by achung_123.

I love my Dainese full-metal racer gloves - it is strong, fitting well, and with state-of-the-art protection. But no matter how nice and strong it is, there is no match with the cold and wet weather. I freeze my hand only after 30 mins of riding in a "good dry day" (typical good winter day in San Francisco area is about mid 40s to mid 50s - rain most of the time during windter). At the end of the freeway exit, my hand actions are always slow with horrible brake and clutch control. And yes, poor clutch control is the #1 reason of low speed bike tip over - don't ask how I know...

So... after few weeks or back and forth, I finally came to my senses and pulled the trigger - got a pair of Dainese D-dry M-21. I got a super deal from the local Dainese D-store (super helpful and freindly sales BTW - highly recommended!), and I believe it is a 2008 or earlier model. It doesn't bother me a bit... it is still a nice pair of gloves even after 2 yrs sitting on the shelf. I was originally eyeing on the more aggressive design like the Dainese M-25. But for close to 40% off... I picked M-21 without second thought. Just like any Dainese leather goods, it runs one size smaller. But what amazes me is the fitting. All of my fingers are fit well - not too long, not too short, even with D-dry interior and insulation - it feels just right. Compare with Full-Metal, it is a lot "beefier" due to the insulation; but it is still within a reasonable level without my fingers feeling like short bananas. The cuff is a lot bigger than Full-Metal - I can easily put my leather sleeve under it with room for nice hand movements. So... it is time to do field test!

After a short 30 miles local ride in low 50s... oh man... my fingers love it! It felt warm during the ride, and it stays warm even over 100mph. The fitting is super so there is no extra glove material flipping between my fingers and levers - which keeps my fingers actions quick and precise. Just like any other glove - it needs time to brake-in... even though Dainese has been well known of short break-in time; a well insulated size small gloves need some addition love... which I will gladly provide... Looking forward to the upcoming longer ride with this pair of nice glove!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Finally got a pair of gauge brackets installed!

Bracket installed along with steering damper by WASP Works

Before installation at stock position

After brackets installation - Gauge lowered!

Gauge bracket before & after, originally uploaded by achung_123.

Finally got a pair of gauge bracket after long search and wait. The parts are home made by one of the fellow member on Ducati MS. Unlike 99% of the parts available on the market; the brackets weren't intended to sale for profit - it is made by someone who truly loves his motorcycles. It is a very simple bracket - all it does is changing the viewing angle of the stock gauge. It improves the visibility of the gauge during aggressive riding position, and the best part is, the lower gauge cleans up the front and make the bike looks a lot cleaner and nicer.

Unfortunately, the quantity of this little mighty brackets are very limited. It wasn't meant to sale for profit, and it wasn't meant for mess production either. Currently it is no longer in production - hopefully someone able to pick it up from where it left off, and continuously contributes and benefits to all Sport Classic riders!

I will provide user review soon! Stay tune!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday solo ride

Sunday solo ride, originally uploaded by achung_123.

It has been relatively dry with over 90% humidity, and the outside temp is somewhere around 45F. With my heated gear I still able to do some short riding... The cold and wet weather keeps out a lot of younger riders off the road - which means more road surface for me :P

It was a very cold but nice ride. Without riding for 2 weeks, my Sport Classic 2 valve desmo engine couldn't be happier! Feels like a happy dog running around in my backyard :D

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cop on my ass again!

Cop on my a$$ again!, originally uploaded by achung_123.

This happened back in Nov 09 - and yes, the police was actually looking at my ass for the SECOND TIME. My custom tail light blocked my license plate (which located all the way under the seat), and the license number can only be seen at certain angles. Oh well, another 'fix-it' ticket; another $18...

I have been looking for a long term solution; but there isn't much offered out there with a reasonable price and design. Here is the list of after-market part I can think of...

- Ducati Sport Classic License Plate Bracket by Palatov Motorsport
- WASP's Tail Chop Kit by WASP WORKS in Australia
- FLEDA system by Pak Bikes

The plate bracket by Palotoy is the cheapest amount all the options since you need reuse the existing part (the lighting unit). But the license plate holder is getting too close to the rear tire, and I really don't think it is a good idea. WASP PUK1 has very nice finish; and it is a completed unit with plug&play. But as usual, nice thing never comes cheap - with shipping it is almost $450 USD.... It is really out of my budget rang. But I still highly recommend it if you can afford it. In face, FLEDA system shares the same 'problem' like WASP - it was really expensive when they first came out - at about $480 range. Just like WASP system, price was the major factor to stop me from purchasing it. The good news is recently they introduced the new "FLEDA-SR-Lite" system cut the cost down to acceptable level; and yet still keeps the same nice low profile design with plug & play. It sounds like a winner to me, and I am sure it will be the next upgrade item on my bike.