Sunday, November 19, 2017

Farklefest: November 2017

With a living room full of parts, and a [nearly] stock R1200GSA in the driveway, it was time to take the new bike apart to find out why it worked. Midway through last week, the weather forecast was promising for Friday and Sunday, with showers predicted for Saturday. Temperatures were promised in the mid-50's...not too bad for November in Northern Virginia.

I got started mid-morning on Friday, as soon as it got warm enough to stand next to the bike for hours on end. I removed the body work and fuel tank. I watched ADVCityGuy's videos on the Denali SoundBomb and Clearwater Ericas to get an idea of how to best do those two installations, then watched Jim Von Baden's video on R1200GSA(W) body work and fuel tank removal.

I got all of the body work off, along with the fuel tank on Friday. I was prepared for Saturday to be rainy, and to finish up on Sunday. Saturday turned out to be pretty nice until about 1500; I was able to get the SoundBomb and Ericas wiring in and the body work and fuel tank re-installed before the rain started. I installed the Clearwater Billie Junior rear light, and its remote light (which I think I'm going to like quite a bit), as well.

Sunday turned out to be nice, as well, so I got everything wrapped up -- this kind of work always takes longer than it probably should, because I work very slowly. Haste can make expensive waste when doing these tasks for the first time. The fit is pretty tight on the R1200GSA to begin with, and to route that number of power and signal cables from the front to the back requires some careful thought and execution.

I'm thankful for all of those years of amateur radio "farkling" -- it ensured that I had every tool and spare part that I needed for the entire job.

Right before sundown today, I wrapped this job up and fired the bike up to do a little op-test. It's always such a relief to verify that everything works as expected. The Clearwater Ericas look great, and that Denali SoundBomb is deafening.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

First farkles

I rode with the new Sargent saddle yesterday, and installed the pillion saddle today.

I have a pile of farkles stacked up in the living room, waiting for time and weather to install.

In addition to installing the pillion saddle, I installed guards for the two stock fog lights. The Touratech guards were very easy to install, and look great.

I started the installation on the Altrider headlight guard, but ran out of weather. I'll get that finished as soon as weather permits.

Ginger cat Sonja

I was fostering / adopting an older cat from Fancy Cats, hoping to give Cinder a nice companion. Sonja turned out to be a bit high-strung, and a real hunter, so she didn't get along with Cinder. Cinder didn't appreciate being stalked, and spent all of her time upstairs, under a bed or under the desk. Not a good quality-of-life.

So, I had to return Sonja this morning. Though she'd only been in the house since 31 July 2017, she'd settled in nicely and was a lot of fun to watch. She was frequently stretched out on the floor in the "new" room, and liked to lay on the couch and knead the large pillow. She spent her days sequestered in the new room, sitting on the scratching post and watching the wildlife out the window. I'd let her into the remainder of the house in the evenings (and on the days I worked from home); she had built a small blanket nest on the chair near the dining room table, and was content to knead the blankets until she fell asleep.

It was really hard to return her, but Cinder's quality of life was taking a hit. I'm hoping that Sonja finds a nice home where she can get a lot of attention, but without the distractions of another cat.

Cinder has already been out during the day more than I've seen in months. I think she can definitely feel the difference already.

Friday, November 3, 2017

First [real] ride

The run-in period for BMW motorcycles is about 600 miles (100 km). It's +/- 50 miles to Bob's BMW, so I need to get about 500 miles under the saddle before the initial check. The weather for the weekend is predicted to be spotty, so it was important to get some riding in today, to get ready for the 10 November run-in check.

I laid out a quick 250 mile run, then added a few spots for geocaches (to sweeten the pot). The run-in needs to be done at varying speeds and loads, so I headed west. I ran out to Sperryville, VA to ride U.S. 211 over Shenandoah National Park, then headed to Harrisonburg, VA, with a brief lunch stop at Luray, VA.

From Harrisonburg, I headed east to Orange, VA then north on U.S. 29 to pick up I-66.

The ride was very good. Because I still don't have the side cases (BMW Motorrad stop-sale on the side cases for a reflector-positioning issue), I removed the top case as well. The GSA is remarkably nimble (at least at this weight), and the increased low-end torque is a noticeable difference from the 2010 R1200RT.

I have another short ride this weekend to finish off the run-in period.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

R1200GS Adventure "Triple Black"

With great sadness, I traded in my well-loved, and oft-ridden 2010 R1200RT today. I returned home with a 2017 R1200GS Adventure "Triple Black". I'll be farkling this new bike over the next few weeks, as I get ready for next year's rally and grand tour season.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

New bike

I have mixed feelings about getting a new motorcycle. The 2010 R1200RT has gotten me to some amazing places over the ~7.5 years I've had it. It's out of the extended warranty period, though, and has nearly 160,000 miles on it. 

The features on the newer bikes, such as water-cooling, tire pressure sensors, and better integration with the GPS receiver, make a compelling case for an upgrade.

So, I put a deposit on a 2017 R1200GS Adventure today. I'll have a new bike to farkle shortly.

I have one more longish ride on the RT this coming weekend, then it'll be time to retire that bike.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Bike maintenance

I took the R1200RT in for needed maintenance today. I've put about 18000 miles on since the last long-interval maintenance -- that included the 2017 IBR, the Void Rally, and a couple of long weekends.

The aft speed / rotation sensor was failing intermittently, so it was on the list.

It turns out that the breather on the final drive was allowing some moisture in -- perhaps during all of that rain on Leg 2 of the 2017 IBR. The final drive oil appeared to be somewhat emulsified. Ugh.
I took a few breaks during the day to look at the R1200GSA -- quite possibly my next bike. The 2018's have a few new feature, and will [hopefully] continue to work out some of the kinks that have turned up in the water-cooled bikes.

Monday, February 20, 2017

19 February 2017 Ride Report

I got a very late start on Sunday -- the weather was decent, the list of undone chores was manageable, and there was a [short] list of nearby Big Money Rally bonuses to knock out. The four local "stadiums" on the list -- Nationals Park, Verizon Center, FedEx Field, and the Prince George's Stadium were worth just over 12 points total -- plus several "campground" bonuses promised a good point total day.

Nationals Park
Verizon Center
Lincoln Park Kitchen & Wine, Lincoln Park, Washington, DC

FedEx Field, Landover, MD

Prince George's Stadium, Bowie, MD

With such a late start (almost 1400), I was up against the clock to get as many bonuses as I could before the light gave out. The need to have the motorcycle in the shot greatly limits my night bonus hunting ability. I shed a few western bonuses, but still managed a great afternoon (and early evening) of point gathering.

Tin Cup Products, Falls Church, VA

12 February 2017 Ride Report

The weather forecast promised much, so Donna and I headed out for a Sunday ride to Lynchburg and other points south. I'd been frustrated, on the 21 January 2017 ride, with missing both the Manassas train depot and the Lynchburg stadium bonuses. So, it was time to redeem myself and take Donna on a nice winter ride.

The temperature was in the mid-40 degrees F when we left -- the forecast for Lynchburg was in the upper-70's by mid-day. 

We headed west through Manassas (and got credit for that train depot), then south on U.S. 29, grabbing bonuses along the way. We successfully snagged the Lynchburg stadium bonus (where I've now been several times -- the Team Strange 30 ball park bonus set caused me to stop by there, as well as many other locations across the country). By the time we reached Lynchburg, the temperatures were above 80 -- 83 degrees F was the highest temperature I saw all day. Not bad for February!

We had a great time between Lynchburg and Richmond, then headed home when it got dark.

Great ride -- a nice test of heated gear, with a little early spring weather thrown in for good measure!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Team Strange Love & Merci Grand Tour

I've had a lot of fun doing Team Strange Grand Tours over the years. This year's involves a search for Merci Train boxcars and spelling the word LOVE (up to ten times) using the first letter of city/town names. Sounds like fun!