Sunday, April 26, 2015

"First Ride of the Season"

Today was the "official" first ride of the year for those on the Fairbanks BMW Google group. I usually forget to send out an announcement but this year I actually remembered. It is a very informal group but mostly made up of BMW owners or riders. This year, the other brands were represented by George on his V-Rod and my Ural. George suggested that I may need a 30 minute head start for the 40 mile ride. Temperatures were around 55°F and pretty sunny though it looked like it may rain later this evening. As is the "tradition", we rode out to the Monderosa Bar & Grill just north of the village/town of Nenana.

I'm not sure of the exact number but I'm guessing that we had at least a dozen bikes ranging from an R60 through a brand new R1200RT with only a few hundred miles. Of course, the Ural was at the back of the group as it took nearly full throttle to maintain 55 mph for most of the trip. Maybe the 122 main jet is a bit on the small side plus the CHT were 400°F and higher while climbing the hills. A too high for comfort.

GeneK sent this picture that he took this afternoon before heading back to town. The other gentleman is JedR, another future Ural owner. His 2015 Patrol is supposed to hit town around the end of this week after being shipped from New England. Can't wait to see it in person. Video below...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Too Long?

Even less moto content than usual in this post.

I skipped the longevity awards ceremony at the university system office that was held yesterday afternoon. It was a choice between that and a board meeting. The board meeting won. Anyway, they dropped off my awards this afternoon. The first was this engraved plastic thing that is required somehow by the IRS and the second was a painting that I was allowed to choose. The painting is called "Wild Lake - Looking South" by Lynn Larson. Wild Lake is on the south side of the Brooks Range just outside of the boundary of Gates of the Arctic National Park. I've never been there but have always wanted to go hiking in the area.

I do wonder how thirty years could have gone by without being laid off, asked to leave or fired...

BTW, from the FrogzSkin installation on the air cleaner housing, the CHT are back down to left-350°F right-325°F right about where they should be. These are OAT corrected temperatures. Still waiting for rain or snow...

Monday, April 20, 2015


All winter I have been having an issue with the Ural whenever it was raining or snowing. Not snow on the road but actually while it was falling and the engine was running. Moisture would get ingested into the air cleaner intake and the water would clog the air cleaner causing the engine to run really rich. By really rich I mean won't idle, has a really rich smell in the exhaust especially after shutting down the engine.

This was one possible solution suggested by others on SovietSteeds, a Ural forum. FrogzSkin is a fine mesh that is designed to keep snow and water out of the intake on snow machines and four wheelers. The Ural seemed like a natural fit and if this works, then I won't need to go through the trouble of making a new air cleaner housing.

The first step is to thoroughly clean the air cleaner housing where the FrogzSkin will be attached. I used the solvent tank to remove the oil, grease and grime then rubbing alcohol on the surface where the FrogzSkin attaches. It hasn't been this clean in a long time.

The mounting area isn't a perfectly smooth surface as there are two welds where the air cleaner element top bolts on but I think it is good enough. I wasn't looking to keep out fine dust or other small particles just snow flakes and droplets of water. I installed this fine mesh screen on the bottom of the air cleaner housing. There is a baffle that covers most of the screen surface though I'm not really sure what Ural was thinking it would keep out. It does protect the mesh.

This is the view from the inside of the housing after the baffle was reinstalled. The mesh is about ⅛" larger than the air cleaner opening but being a fine mesh, I suspect that it may inhibit the air flow of air into the air cleaner housing. This could richenen the air mixture. Since I had changed the main jet from 130 to the original 122, the CHT has risen about 50°F indicating leaner burning. This mod may richen the mixture just enough to bring the CHT down a little. I'll see tomorrow. The instructions of the FrogzSkin says to let the adhesive cure overnight.

Now I need some rain or snow...

Just to add some riding content, here is a short double speed video showing our wonderful Spring weather.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

No Longer Winter and Summer Plans

I returned from Barrow this afternoon to 50°F temperatures. Quite a change from -9°F this morning. It seemed like time to remove the studs from the tires. I was originally thinking of just keeping these tires for winter use, I changed my mind when I saw the condition of the studs. They were pretty worn out. So would need to be replaced anyway. I had expected that the studs in the pusher would be the most worn but it turned out that the sidecar studs were the most worn.

The same tool used to install the studs is used to remove them though in some cases, the notches were almost completely worn away making it difficult to seat the tool. This is a picture of the pusher. i.e. the rear tire, showing the fairly minimal wear. These tires have about 4200km on them or 2600 miles. Not a lot of miles for having ridden through most of the winter. The front and the sidecar tire have even less wear. I'm thinking of just leaving these tires on for the summer. Heidenau has released the K28 sidecar specific tire but availability is kind of limited at this time.

I have a couple of trips to Anchorage in May and planning on going to the non-rally in Dawson City known as D2D (Dust 2 Dawson) on the Top of the World Hwy just before the Summer Solstice. I am thinking about just continuing to make my way slowly down towards Montana. We have a family reunion in Oregon in the middle of July and a wedding in northern California near the beginning of August. Other than that, no plans.

I had asked Chris from Everyday Riding and Dom from Redleg's Rides about my sanity in taking the Ural on a road trip. Chris' answer was
"I think it may be asking for trouble
and Dom's was
"do you want the rig to break down in the wilds of BC where there's not much for miles?"
Both are excellent (confidence inspiring) statements and provoked a lot of thought over the last few months.

My original plan was to take the Beemer sans sidecar down and leave it in Oregon to be used on future road trips. But after the Ural lifter failure last January, I like the idea of having a spare sidecar rig in Fairbanks. Plus, there is only about four months left on the extended warranty and I'm thinking that I may want to put on as many miles as possible during that time. Plus, I don't have many time constraints on this trip.

I'll see how it goes on the trips in May. The second trip is down to Talkeetna over Memorial Day weekend for the United Sidecar Association campout.