Sunday, September 15, 2013

"Last Ride of the Season"

The day started out clear and cold at 28°F but by the time we left from College Coffeehouse at 1 pm, it had warmed up to the mid-40s. This ride was dubbed as the "last ride of the season" though many plan on riding next Sundays last ride as well. Six bikes left one was two up and one person turned around at about 43 mile Chena Hot Springs Road do to another commitment. This picture shows the wonderful yellow color of the leaves looking down the gravel runway that separates the resort buildings from the RV campground. The place was pretty full with a lot of foreign tourists walking around.

We stopped at the Granite Tors trailhead on the way out since is is a good place to regroup and more wonderful views. I thought it was interesting that 3 of the bikes were early 80s R100RTs just like mine though the others were in mint condition. The white one is immaculate with really well done mods such as powder coated wheels. Right in front of my bike is one of the new water cooled R1200GS models. Very little traffic on the road so it was a wonderful ride out an back. We had lunch at the resort but no food pics. Sorry.

I found that I was able to easily cruise in fifth gear most of the way out so I don't think long trips is out of the question for my rig. Steering still takes quite a bit of muscle since I have not done any steering modifications to reduce trail and I think this qualifies as strength training. When comparing my bike to the other airhead RTs, we noticed that my front suspension is sagging quite a bit. Sag is measured by jacking up the front end of the bike and measuring the length of the telescoping forks. I measured from the bottom of the triple tree clamp to the bottom of the fork lowers. Then the bike is lowered and with me sitting on the seat, the measurement is repeated. The sag was 3½ inches. It is supposed to be 1" to 2" with the airhead gurus preferring 2".

On the way back, I stopped at the Bob's (second from the right in the photo) home since he had extra spacer material (¾" schedule 40 ABS pipe) and offered to show me how it's done. He had done the procedure on his airhead RT earlier. We used 1½" lengths of tubing on top of the spring. It was quite the task to push the new spacer into the fork tube compressing the fork spring and trying to get the threads started on the fork caps to hold everything together. But we got it done and now the front end of the bike is about 1½" higher than before. More suspension travel on compression would be good as I remember it bottoming out on my trip last year. I did learn that the fork springs are aftermarket made by Progressive and the upper fork cross brace is aftermarket machined aluminum. And the springs are the correct length according to the specs. What was missing were factory spacers to compensate for the weight of the fairing on the RT and RS models. The previous owner probably couldn't get the spacer put in when he installed the aftermarket springs as it took three of us to get them in. Now I probably need to realign the sidecar since it is no longer level front to back.

The only other issue that showed up was an odd engine speed related vibration. It felt like unbalanced carbs or an ignition problem. One of those things to work on when it's too cold to ride. Several of the others mentioned that the rig seems pretty visible with the addition of the fog lights. The light pattern looks odd which may help them to take a second look (assuming they see me at all).

16 comments:

SonjaM said...

Oh, I remember those fall colors from Alberta. Yellow leaved trees, crisp blue skies. You get quite nippy mornings already, but I guess you are well protected by the windshield. I am really curious when your last last (last?) ride might be, since I believe that the hack should be compatible with snow ;-)

Martha said...

If you keep this up you are going to be so, so fit...

Erik R said...

It's nice to see the fall color. Unfortunately winter is probably not too far away for you!

RichardM said...

I like the Fall colors though a little more variety (reds!) would be nice. Especially on days like yesterday with the clear, blue skies.

As far as last ride, I think that I will skip the first real snow as that is when many of the new arrivals to Fairbanks learn how to drive again. But I'm thinking that by mid-November we will get -30°F days. I will pass on them as well... maybe.

RichardM said...

After getting home from this last ride of 130 miles or so, I was pretty sore from steering the rig. It takes quite a bit of effort on twisty roads. I need to start going to the gym again...

Reducing trail within the steering geometry will reduce the effort but make it so the bike can't safely be ridden without the sidecar.

RichardM said...

Not for you yet? Or do you actually have normal seasons? The calendar claims Summer but we are pretty close to our first snowfall...

Unknown said...

Richard:

We don't get fall colours here. Just a dull dreary green trees. Even farther north into the Chilcotins we only get some yellow. For Reds we have to go to Leavenworth, WA to see the fall colours.

glad you are getting your hack sorted out. You just need some sort of power assist . . .

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

Trobairitz said...

The yellow leaves against the blue sky makes for beautiful pictures.

A chilly 28 doesn't sound like fun but it is coming.....

RichardM said...

I thought you may have run into some changing leaves at higher elevations on your last trip. For "real" Fall colors, you may have to return to New England. If you left now, you'd be there at about the right time...

I think the more strength training is far cheaper than any steering modifications.

RichardM said...

This morning, I dug out the heated gear to make sure it still works. And it does. Feels pretty nice on a cool morning...

Lucky said...

Beautiful photos.

And heated gear sounds fantastic. I might have to look into this futuristic technology and see if I can fit it into my budget.

The temps here on the Middle Coast haven't gotten down to freezing yet, but we're on our way. It might be time for me to invest in a box of chemical handwarmers...

RichardM said...

I didn't get any heated gear before riding down to Anchorage in a May snowstorm a few years back. After that, I was sold on it. Initially, just the heated liner but during last Winter's riding, heated gloves were added to the mix. So far, that combination has been working good but then again, I'm hiding behind that huge RT windshield and fairing. I also added foam hand gaurds to keep the wind off of my hands.

On this mornings ride in, it was 25°F and I was toasty warm and comfortable. Next weekend, I need to start working on the studded tires.

Erik R said...

We had our first frost warning a couple days ago, but it only got down to 39. I think that's the lowest so far this late summer/fall. I know it's coming, I just want to enjoy a few weeks of daytime highs in the 50's...

redlegsrides said...

A quick check of your alignment is definitely in order....I was dreading the amount of sag you mentioned but glad that the fix was so readily available, I can imagine it was a bugger to get those spacers in though.....you didn't dirty Bob's immaculate garage did you?

:)

ps: as to "the last ride of the season", you should have put in tiny letters: "For you Two Wheeled guys, not me!"

RichardM said...

It was the other Bob's garage and, yes, it took quite a bit of pushing to get the spacer in. I haven't remeasured the sag though Bob thinks that it may even need another half inch to an inch. Maybe the Progressive front springs are softer at first then stiffen up as they are compressed.

RichardM said...

We are getting more than a little frost these days. Wait 'til the next post...