Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cold weather riding.

Usually, I pack it up when it starts to get to 40°F and below. As I type this, it is hovering right around 40. This year, however, I didn't do as much riding as I would have liked. I rode my scooter quite a bit, but hardly rode a motorcycle at all until I traded the FJR for the KLR. Now, I'm enjoying riding more, but the KLR's wind & weather protection is lacking when compared to the FJR's.

So, I just placed an order at for a set of boots, cold weather gloves, and a windproof balaclava.

I've never had a proper set of cold weather riding gloves. In the past, I have made do with Gore-Tex ski gloves. They don't allow good enough finger & thumb articulation for motorcycle riding though. I'm hoping these are better, as they're motorcycle-specific. Here's to hoping!

I already have a set of Oxtar Matrix boots with the Gore-Tex liner. However, I bought them in size 42, which fits perfectly with thin socks. Unfortunately, cold weather riding is better done with warmer, slightly thicker socks. So these, I ordered in US Size 10 (Euro 43) and will hopefully have room for warmer socks. I also felt like it was overkill for the boots to go up so high. (these are only 3/4 height) If I'm wearing my riding pants, I'm not as worried about getting hit in the shins by rocks as I would otherwise. I think I will enjoy the better ankle flexibilty.

I'm hoping to get another month of riding in before the snow flies.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Finished 685cc project for Schnitz

The other day, I finished the installation of the Schnitz 685cc kit for my KLR650. After only 3,000 miles, it was burning oil. Unacceptable. I researched the issue at, and the word on the street is that Kawasaki would measure the oil loss, and if it is above a certain amount, they would re-hone the cylinder and install new rings. Pfft. Then what, it will probably start burning oil in another 3,000 miles. Also unacceptable.

The good folks at said that installing the 685cc piston kit stopped all oil-burning problems, leading me to believe that it is probably an issue with bad rings or a cylinder bored out-of round. In either case, I should be good to go. I hope so, as I really like this bike. It is quick enough to be fun, but not fast enough that I'm always speeding like crazy. (like I was on the FJR) It makes hardly any engine heat in the hot summer months. It's super-easy to work on too. The only problems so far have been the massive oil consumption and The Death Weave it exhibits if I try to take a sweeping turn at 80+ mph. I can deal with that. I've decided that if this doesn't fix the issues, I'm going to sell it as soon as it's paid-for, and get a Honda Deauville, which they're bringing to the USA next year. (it has been a hot seller in the UK for years; it is a shaft-driven, 700cc, V-twin with integrated hard bags and shaft drive)

I just finished the break-in on the new piston today, having clicked over 200 miles on the odometer. I'm supposed to change the oil & filter again now.

I'm also overdue for lubing the chain. God, I sure didn't miss this when I had a shaft-driven bike.

In other news, a fellow rider and I went riding today. He suggested we go offroad and see where a fire road led to. I told him that I didn't think it led anywhere, as we were near my place and the suburbs are too dense for it to lead anywhere. I figured what the hell, and let him lead me on his Triumph Tiger. He had street-biased tires, I had 50/50 tires (mostly bald in the rear). I went down in a rutted muddy trail, he didn't. I need to get more experience on this type of terrtain I guess. This is the first drop on the KLR. It took it like a champ; we were only going maybe 5 mph. But I wore the mud on my side and on the bike like a mark of shame for the rest of the day.