Defecting to Italy: My life with a Stelvio

Discussion in 'Moto Bellissima: All Other Dualsports' started by aftCG, Nov 25, 2016.

  1. aftCG

    aftCG Been here awhile

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    I've probably posted most of these before. Sorry for the repeats
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  2. aftCG

    aftCG Been here awhile

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    [​IMG]

    I just broke through 29,000 miles on the way home tonight, which means I've ridden the bike for a bit over 5,000 miles. I can say that I not only have no complaints, but that I can finally understand what people mean when they say "it just keeps getting better".

    My exhaust Y pipe gaskets are toast. I emailed an order in to MI for a pair of them. I also need tires, which I'd be dumb not to procure before going to an off road clinic. I still need to check my sync but I'll do the pipe gaskets first. Trying to think if there's anything else on my list of things to complain about. Mm, nope.

    Today was the first day that I ever took my fully loaded side bags off and commuted on it. I've been getting a super consistent 33-34 mpg getting to work and back over many tanks full of gas over the past months. So this morning I decided I would take them off and ride through a few tanks and get a decent idea of what the difference was.

    The difference isn't shocking, but it is very noticeable.

    What are the odds?

    Today I saw an orange Stelvio on the freeway as I merged on to I-5. I've never even seen another Guzzi away from the MI parking lot since I bought mine, and here was not only a Stelvio, but it was being ridden in the same direction I was going.

    The rider gestured me in front of him and I saw him pointing at the emblem on his tank to make sure I noticed the improbability. You always wonder how other people who own these bikes ride them. I don't abuse machinery but I do give it a good workout. I was happy to see this guy getting full value out of his purchase as well. We shared a lane on and off for maybe 20 miles until I had to peel off onto a different freeway. Good times.
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  3. Hoak

    Hoak Been here awhile

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    Yes there's nothing like a great cloud-scape and wet streets and the landscape to do incredible things with light -- it's better to be there, but it's one thing that also translates nicely in photographs; and there's plenty of proof right here:

    Nope, those are all new here, and they're great! Your effort is most welcome and appreciated! More please, any time you have the time!

    As the rack attachments are really simple and straightforward I was thinking of just trying it out with the whole rig removed; and maybe re-mounting it quick-release ratcheting bolts if I like it with everything off and it's not too much hassle -- which would advantage the heavy simple mount.

    As you live in rain country, it will be very interesting to follow your tire selection, how it fares, and your reactions. My experience is that more dirt oriented tires perform better on the road, than road tires do in the dirt, but every dirt pattern tire I've ridden was a greasy feeling nightmare on wet pavement with really unpredictable and unforgiving behavior.

    Also if you tend to push things (and it sounds like you do) -- at speed some more off-road oriented patterns, especially chevron like patterns may introduce front wheel oscillation; in come cases where this is a problem putting the front tire on backwards will completely eliminate it; some directional dirt tires also handle better both in the dirt and on the pavement mounted backwards.

    Generally none of this is a serious problem as it's not prudent to be pushing AT tire limits in terms of speed and traction on pavement unless you're in a hurry to wear them down or discover their limits.
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  4. HarveyMushman

    HarveyMushman Tire Squarerer

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    Which program do you use for video editing?
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  5. aftCG

    aftCG Been here awhile

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    Got a call that my parts were done, so I picked them up on my way to work today.
    [​IMG]
    I have to make up a flat pattern drawing and bring along my cardboard doll to the next operation (brake form). Then a welder.

    I sent my oldest son the rail models so he could 3D print them for me. I'm imagining an iteration or two of the rails, plus I just want to be able to say I had some parts printed. They won't be strong enough to drive around with, or at least not expose to any abuse.
    Once the configuration of the rail proves out I'll have them water jet some bar stock with undersize holes and I'll finish them on my drill press and install Keen-serts in the bolt holes that attach the pan to the rails.

    Sticker shock so far: These flat patterns cost me $265 for three units, so $88.33 each. A long ways to go obviously but prototypes are the most expensive parts you ever produce.

    I figure it's still cheaper than cable TV and a better use of my time.
  6. aftCG

    aftCG Been here awhile

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    And even more importantly, did you do any bike prep before exposing your bike to the class? I'm thinking of removing my aux lights when I get there and taking the luggage off, but other than that "it's on".
  7. Hoak

    Hoak Been here awhile

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    Don't know what they're gonna run you through and over, or where your off-road experience and comfort level is at -- but I'd recommend:

    · taking off the aux lights per your plans
    · bringing a wrench to take off your mirrors when you get there too
    · loosen up the clutch and brake mounts
    · bring the tools to adjust your preload and damping
    · check your spokes (before you leave, when you get there, and before you go home)
    · remove the rubber pads from your foot pegs if you haven't already
    · check your spokes a few more times, then do it again

    For your own comfort level you may want to practice laying the bike down on the grass (gently with an extra pair of helping hands to make sure it's not a drop) and trying different methods of getting it up solo. Being an Aviator you may also want to plan your fuel payload on your last leg before the course so you're wrestling with less top-end weight.

    Depending on how aggressive this is you may want to plan for broken hand guards; I've smacked mine really hard and they didn't break, but it was 109°F and from the look of things was pure luck. While OEM guards are fair weather protection, and definitely saved me from an injured hand, they're apparently as fragile as they look with lots of stories here of their failing from just being sneezed on, and they're expensive to replace for the marginal hand protection they offer.

    While you might want to wait till you see how much fun you have, considering the weight, inertia, and leverage of the Stelvio vs your hands -- consider the case for investing in some BarkBusters or the SW Motech version pictured in the big thread if you're going anywhere with more adventurous intent -- they're both a lot less expensive then hands and have spared many a rider even on the road from what could have been horrific hand injuries.

    Oh, and action cam; if it's not on video apparently it never happened... Honestly I'd much rather read your account, with a picture or two for punctuation -- then watch an Oob Oob video...
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  8. geoduch

    geoduch Adventurer

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    When they're ready, I'd like one of the bash plates....

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
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  9. Lupin 3rd

    Lupin 3rd Raygun Gothic

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    QuickTime on my MacBook just to trim the video. No other editing.


    QuickTime on my MacBook to trim the video, no other editing done. Shot with a Contour Roam3.
  10. Lupin 3rd

    Lupin 3rd Raygun Gothic

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    I agree with Hoak's advice above, especially fuel: carry as little as needed for the training route.

    I'll also add a few: new knobby tires (TKC80 - Kenda BigBlocks - Shinko 804/805) at proper off-road pressure (15-20 psi).

    Replace the stock foot pegs with larger ones, I got the SW motech and removed the rubber. Also get some good off road steel enforced boots.

    Part of our riding was on public roads so we kept the mirrors on but loosened so they could rotate.

    Stock hand guards work fine for wind and insects. Mine broke at the first drop and were replaced by Cycras.

    I replaced my panniers and racks with giant loop soft bags, so on or off doesn't make much difference.

    Replaced the stock fog lights with LEDs and didn't bother taking them off. What I would really like to do is relocate the auxiliaries somewhere better and get rid of their protruding mounts. They're a liability and can catch on stuff.

    Finally: take it slow and have fun!
    aftCG, Big_O and Hoak like this.
  11. HarveyMushman

    HarveyMushman Tire Squarerer

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    Cool, thanks. That's all I'm trying to do, but iMovie is smarter than me, or something.
  12. gusable

    gusable Been here awhile

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    Off topic but are your head pipes corroded? Are they stainless? I guess the GS has the same issue?
  13. Hoak

    Hoak Been here awhile

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    The answer is: both. The Stelvio exhaust is stainless, and all stainless steel exhausts from the considerable heat and exposure to just ambient humidity will oxidize and turn a sort of gold color. If you're talking about aftCG's picture above there also appears to be some mud on the headers.

    You can with elbow grease and compound made for the chore buff them back into their shiny sliver original appearance, but it's a lot of work and they'll oxidize again. As the oxide is only a few atoms thick and nicely bonds with stainless it prevents really deep corrosion or rust, and works sort of like self healing paint, so most don't bother unless they're doing some kind of overhaul, and want to pretty things up for a few pictures to showcase their efforts.
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  14. aftCG

    aftCG Been here awhile

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    I haven't done any free writing for a while. Let's go for a ride.

    There was a topic of discussion in the long running Stelvio thread last week and I gruffly opined my distaste for modern conveniences and then I left for the weekend. I expected and appreciate the inmates who defend ABS and traction control as an ass saver during those times when we are tired or distracted. If it helps, I share that opinion for many conditions. Not quite 10 years ago I had a BMW 3 series coupe (an M46) and it featured BMW's version of traction control called DSC (Dynamic Stability Control if memory serves). I loathed it. Anytime I felt like putting the tail out going around a corner it would shut me down in a very abrupt way, like some geezer when their pacemaker kicks in. It cut the throttle and stabbed specific brakes in order to prevent the tail going wide and it was very jerky.

    I thought it was frigging annoying (nearly as annoying as the ABS in a Subaru I owned for a while). It can be disabled by pushing a button on the dash but then you get a big red triangle with exclamation point in the middle of the display. So anytime I wanted to be a horse's ass I would deselect DSC and do the deed, then turn it back on. You see, somewhere along the way I was in fact fatigued and a bit behind the conditions and the DSC definitely improved the outcome.

    Very early in this thread I was riding on a frozen surface just down the hill from my house and got a stiff cross wind. The front end was sliding out from underneath me and I did my best to roll straight until I hit dry pavement. At the time I didn't know if my stability control had kicked in or not (not, as it turns out. It does the pacemaker routine), but while the adrenaline was still fresh in my veins I thought "You know, if it did kick in and I didn't have to bust some plastic and get the wind knocked out of me I might just be okay with traction control".

    As to rain mode being handy on a 200hp bike, I'm still where I was before. WTF are you doing riding a 200hp freak in the rain? And if you lack judgement I pray you have a steady hand. R1. Fireblade. Speed Triple R. These things are machine guns with a license plate. That some parent would buy their 18 year old such a weapon? I read inmate Hoak's post where he was okay with Darwinism working out in this case. I probably would have typed the same words myself but realize even a complete douche nozzle has a mom and she may think that jumpy stallion over there killed her baby.

    Truth is, jumpy bikes that will kill you sell. That's why the kid is there! The thrill, excitement and CDI factor. It goes way, way back. Kawasaki H1 triples. Kz900. Then GSXRs, Ninjas and Hurricanes. Death traps. RD400. I had a real tweaker. Pretty sleepy up to exactly 5500 rpm where it would yank your arms out of their sockets until the needle buried into the red. Each gear after that was already solid into the power band. I remember the foam hand grips that squeezed out from between my fingers as I rode for the first 2-3 months on that thing. Vmax. Now there's a practical bike. Probably the only thing with less range than a V-Rod. And yet, if I had the space and desire for a collection I would have one. And probably a V-Rod too for that matter.

    And then the topic floated to the use of automation in landing an aircraft. It's been a few years since I've given a crap about the minutia, but in short commercial aircraft can operate aircraft in category 3c where the plane lands hands off at many airports. Dash 8 turbo props, 737, lots of options. These are true zero/zero conditions and the plane can put it down without you touching the controls. In a conversation I had with a first officer I asked what it was like doing those approaches (he was just telling me how they have to do them in order to remain current). He said he favored the ones where you really can't see to the ones where you suddenly see pavement ahead of you because you have to fight the tendency to lunge for the controls.

    The words that, I don't know maybe "sting" is the right word, were in the declaration that computers can absolutely outperform a human in landing an aircraft in every case. I have no doubt it is true. But that misses the point for me. I drove out to the airport today to do touch and goes. I did five and lived. And more importantly I loved the shit out of it because I was manipulating the controls of a simple, honest aircraft.

    I go to places where it is challenging to land. Where the approach is tight and your ass cheeks grip the seat cushion. I won't even know what to say when the first guy pulls up to me and brags how his autopilot nailed it for him. Pretty sure I'm just going to look down and scratch the top of my head for a few seconds.

    I don't know why I'd want to be that pilot. Automation. Spring loaded controls. Like putting on nine condoms and a blindfold.

    I guess I'm just a geezer whining for the good old days when you bit it hard if you went hot into a corner and didn't understand how all that physics crap applies.

    I had some time to ponder the merits of automation vs anachronism this weekend.
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    That is Mt Stuart in the distance. (That wave in the wing strut is an optical distortion in the window)
    I flew a much straighter line across the state than I can ride or drive on the way to visit my uncle. My plane has a single NAV radio which is still a legit way of getting unlost, it just takes a bit of knob twisting and a map. However in this case I was traveling lower than the height needed to assure signal over the entire course. I have a tablet with a moving map GPS app on it that I brought along. The best thing it does is allow me to skirt special use airspace. It has some features which you would expect to be pretty handy in the air. Then the battery died because running the GPS takes more power and it stays on all the time. What the world needs is some mickey mouse suction cup mounts and some cords stringing all over the place to a new 12v receptacle. And I'll still have to carry a paper map and AF/D because I'll be damned if I'm going to worry about issues like that.

    And then I stepped back even further in time
    IMG_20170520_131255-01.jpeg

    To something that requires everything I know in order to operate it. And not because it's super complicated (as planes go it really isn't). It doesn't currently have a NAV radio at all. I'll say the tablet came in damn handy at pointing me across the scab lands of eastern Washington and finding a specific town and landing there. Small town airports don't typically have any radio nav aids to direct you, and honestly my workload is high enough driving this museum relic around that having my position and vector shown on a screen to cross check what I was seeing out the windows was a welcome assist.

    Of course the tablet was dead by the afternoon when it was time to get back in my own plane and fly home. So I pulled it back to 90 mph and hung my elbow out the window and followed the freeway to where I-90 crosses the Cascade mountains and across. Old School.

    So how much is too much?
    I've had to acknowledge that some level of 21st century technology is desirable. But a lot of it is really, really dumb. Example? Brake sensors. All four corners now (each pad on my car, for a total of 8) In the olden days brake pads had these little metal tabs riveted on. When the pads wore down enough the edge of the metal tab rubbed on the rusty unused portion of the brake rotor and it sounded like you had a serious problem. No light on the dashboard for you to ignore. Everyone at every stop light could hear your dumb ass pulling up, and you didn't have to know a thing about cars to know that it needed attention - STAT.

    Now we have these dumb little sensors which are really just a sacrificial wire jammed into a hole in the side of the brake pad. When the pad wears enough it cuts the wire and a light comes on on your dashboard. What was the improvement? I'm as likely to have a crap sensor, crusty wire connection or faulty ground causing the issue.

    Here's where I spike the football.

    I've got a heinous example of automation in the driveway right now. A German SUV, pick any of them really, are a fantastic automotive experience when they're new. Or at least I assume. I've never even ridden in a new one. Instead of paying $65-70k I wait until they've aged a few years. With a few exceptions they are not particularly hard to work on. The more expensive components pop up used on ebay, there is forum support for the specific breed, etc. It has for the most part allowed me to drive cars that outshine my paygrade.

    But the evil trend has rendered vehicles with so many systems which will all eventually (if not habitually in some cases) fail, and in complicated ways that are not outlined in the manuals. It's ass cancer. The car in question is a twin turbo diesel. Air ride. It has a Webasto hydronic heater hiding in the left front fender that heats the coolant in cold weather, and it has another circuit that heats the fuel. It has a chiller for the fuel too. It also heats it's transmission fluid, but it does that with an electric element. It has ceramic filters in the exhaust system called DPFs and they plug up from time to time. I've removed them and cleaned them with oven cleaner, but eventually they need to be replaced.
    The woman who loves me doesn't like to have me in angst over her car, so we took it to the dealer to see if they would put new DPFs in (they're about $1600 each so you can see why I learned the oven cleaner trick). The dealer told me the engine has to come out to do the job and they want to replace turbos, etc.

    Long, not very interesting story made a bit shorter, we asked the dealer about the value of the car. They won't make an offer. Zip. In fact in discussions since then even if we did all the work they would like to bill me for and I drove it around to the front door to trade it in the offer would be the same.

    So a car that sold for $70k new, is 10 model years old and still looks new inside and out, rides and drives like a frigging Bentley (on a good day) is worth nothing to the dealer that sold it. I contend that at the price point that I could sell the car for on craigslist it would be unethical to do so, because the next guy would be truly and royally screwed. That's where I get off the bus. A ten year throw away car. Why on earth would I ever darken the doorstep and consider continuing what has been damn near 35 years of brand loyalty?

    So I ride a Stelvio instead of a Caponord.
    River Rat, gbtw, Hoak and 2 others like this.
  15. aftCG

    aftCG Been here awhile

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    Another glimpse of life with the Stelvio.

    I appear to be getting significantly better gas mileage without the hard bags. With the current tank I'm on I should be a bit more than half empty. Instead I'm down only two bars on the gas gauge. I know most gas gauges don't read in a linear fashion so until I fuel up again I'll just shut up.

    My right side hard bag leaks. That was a real pisser for me. During my commuting I typically use the left side bag for carrying daily junk, since that is the side I'm standing on when mounting up. That side has never had a drop in it.

    On Friday when I was leaving town I opened the right side pannier to grab my sleeping bag and discovered it fully wet and moldy. I'm talking down bag, tent, pad, the whole thing. I didn't have time to deal with it then, so I just pulled everything out and hung it around the garage to begin drying. Today I washed my sleeping bag and liner and used a bleach solution to wash out the pannier and then got everything else de-molded and dried.

    This is one of the reasons I use my gear daily and not on special occasions. I'm glad I discovered this at my house instead of 800 miles away.

    The new plan

    I will never trust my sleeping bag to the fate of luggage again. I whipped out some dry bags that I use for kayaking.
    IMG_20170521_132633[1].jpg
    As of tonight the red one contains my tarptent, sleeping bag liner and tarp while the smaller yellow one has my sleeping bag only. The big yellow one is currently unemployed. These are jammed into the pannier with some room for things I can accept being splashed upon.

    The upside is I finally got to pitch my Tarptent!
    IMG_20170521_122501[1].jpg
    I have to say it is a super impressive piece of engineering. I have coughed up heavier objects. One pole, two stakes. Once it is up you tension the thin lines at each end and it turns into a shelter that would shrug off quite a bit of wind without flapping around. The other pole visible is used if you can't drive stakes in the ground for some reasons. It goes lengthwise over the top and further increases the ability to take a snow load.
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  16. gbtw

    gbtw Been here awhile

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    Re bags
    I think the real issue with the panniers is you can actually close and lock them without the lid centered (theres enough play in the hinges) and thus there is room for water to come in. Was sad too see it on expensive bag like this. Last cheapo bags i had could only close properly or not at all.
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  17. aftCG

    aftCG Been here awhile

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    Well my first tank with no luggage (filled with all my crap) came out to 35.2 mpg

    Not quite 2mpg or about 6%.

    I don't see anything so far to warrant cutting the handle off my toothbrush.
  18. Lee R

    Lee R Shelter Monkey

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    That was me. I totally understand where you're coming from and wouldn't wish the job I do to anyone. People compare it to "video games" but it's just babysitting a flying computer network. The only cool thing about it is hellfire missiles and deleting nefarious people. I am fortunate to also have the opportunity to fly real planes with analog everything and honestly with an Ipad and foreflight that's all I care to have. Forelight/Garmin Pilot or whatever honestly is good automation, it carries what used to take up a rolling luggage and cuts that hour of preflight planning to a few moments. I just bring a phone with the same app as backup and a 10,000mah battery pack for if anything gets low battery, covered. I even use a thing called a boogie board sync for taking notes for guys paper flight records (army keeps both). It lets me handwrite then saves it to PDF where it's easier to store.

    When I learned to fly it was on a G1000 equipped Cessna. Due to being decent at computer interface I was flipping switches and totally figured it out shortly. It scared the crap out of my older flight instructor that I was fearlessly diving into everything. He didn't realize I'd downloaded the G1000 software trainer and went though it thoroughly prior to the flight. I did hold back on the ipad due to every pilot I encountered saying learn analog first. It's harder, it's more mentally engaging and you do get a better understanding of navigation so I still would recommend people use the E6B, the plotter and a paper map to start. Later on I did my instrument rating with an older plane and just the ipad and that's all I'd want today, although the Cirrus has air conditioning and damn that's nice!

    I think certain tech is great but I also don't like the trend toward inevitable failure of complicated systems in vehicles that you don't truly need. I'm sure car companies love the fact that you'll run into super expensive bills and likely come running for something "new" and reliable for a time. I highly doubt we'll have classic cars from today in 50 years. Maybe with small scale manufacturing they'll retain the blueprints and make parts to keep them going but I have my doubts.

    I think the best tech is what mixes what worked in the past with modern speed of computers. Something like the Fuji X system camera's. They take analog dials that still work best as an interface (who likes menu diving) and the benefits of digital. That's good tech. You don't have to look at the menu if you don't want to and use it like a camera 20 years ago. I think Motorcycles should have the systems as options and they shouldn't be something that disables a bike when it eventually fails.

    Instead of flying something cool like your plane above, I spent last week staring at an older map with an aircraft icon. I had to fly arc's for 8 hours a day using just a heading dial and clicking furiously to maintain a certain roll angle. It's sort of a pilots version of virtual ass cancer. On the flip side I'd hate to have to orbit some target for 12 hours daily for a year in a manned plane so it has it's place.

    This also happened to me on a cross country trip except it was a camera bag with lots of expensive gear in it. Fortunately it's all waterproof on it's own so was ok. I use dry bags like you have above as well.
    aftCG likes this.
  19. Hoak

    Hoak Been here awhile

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    Well I hope I don't come across as some sort of obdurate, crass, callous grouch that wants to kill the kids that are walking on his lawn, or let them run like lemmings off a cliff because they got psyched up for exactly that trip by a good marketing video; though I do think C. M. Kornbluth's short "The Marching Morons" is no longer science fiction...

    I can accept technology in the context of saving other people from your or my stupidity; but when marketing and legislation make it clear it's intended to save me from my own stupidity, and it not only doesn't do that, it can't -- and I'm forced by statutory mandate to deal with something that is expensive, making enormous amounts of money for politicians and manufacturers, is more dangerous, difficult or impossible for me to maintain, is opaque in terms of its operating envelope, and self-obsolescing: I object, it's a scam...

    I personally like that not just any idiot can get on a motorcycle and ride it or get in an airplane and fly one -- they don't stand up and ride or fly themselves, yet (well they do but not in the mass-produced mainstream); a level of competence is required over and above walking and chewing gum, or even driving a car that I believe engages even the slow-witted in a larger context of accountability (even if just for a short time).

    If just a small fraction of the 'public money' taken from you and me that's spent on making motorcycles 'safer' and 'more accessible' and padding politicians bank accounts were spent on teaching and training, we'd all have more of what everyone wants and there'd be a lot less worry, waste, and lot fewer dead and crippled kids that made a naive mistake.

    I am a curmudgeon with respect to any kind of technology I strap myself to, strap on my person, ride, shoot, drive or fly: if it doesn't fail safely, if I can't take it apart understand all its operating principles and put it back together -- I can't convince myself I'm able to operate in an envelope of self-accountable awareness in having a context for understanding 'mastery' as far as operating skill.

    To me any other approach is some degree akin to jumping out of an airplane with a parachute 'for fun ', where: I had no training, it's a parachute I did not pack myself, did not understand the operating principles of, only had the vaguest awareness of how to operate correctly, and had no knowledge of recovery and fall-back features, principles and technique.

    For me, being in over your head and out of your depth on commitments of blind faith with your cheeks in the breeze -- obviates all the real fun of learning, understating, and the sense of knowledge, competence and autonomy that come with making that effort; it's the difference of being scared or exhilarated.
    aftCG, Lupin 3rd and triumphsidehack like this.
  20. aftCG

    aftCG Been here awhile

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    Inmate Hoak answered the material portion already and I can positively add "yes, they're are corroded". It is just surface corrosion at this point.

    I ride my bike daily and when I get home I park it until the next day. I wash my bike twice per year whether it needs it or not so the exhaust system takes a beating. My uncle shakes his head and tells me I need to get some polish.

    I probably should.
    airheadbruce likes this.