An alternate way to lift up your bike after you drop it …

Found this video on ‘The Biker Gene’ – an alternate way to lift up your motorcycle if the ‘backwards’ method doesn’t work for you. I’ve never tried this method so I’m not sure how effective it is, but if you’re in a jam and can’t get the bike up here’s another way to try!

http://www.thebikergene.com/how-to/video-how-to-pick-up-a-dropped-bike/

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How my first motorcycle died; or, how to walk your motorcycle across 5 lanes of highway traffic …

The other day I was driving down the 401 between Pickering and Scarborough and I started to tell the friend I was with the story of how my first motorcycle died. He thought it was a crazy story, and I guess it is, so I thought I’d share with you the ‘crazy’ story of how my first motorcycle died …

My girlfriend worked in Oshawa and I lived in Toronto. She had stayed over on the Saturday night but needed to get to work for 6 in the morning. And so that was how we found ourselves at 5 o’clock on a clear Sunday morning hopping on my 83 Kawasaki 440 LTD I had nicknamed ‘Six Shooter’ on account of its 6 gears. It was just over an hour ride to get her to work. 

Riding in to Oshawa there were no problems at all – except for her falling asleep on the back of the bike a couple times (honestly, she fell asleep not once, but twice)! After dropping her off and saying our farewells, I turned around and headed back in to the city. The riding was nice as there was little traffic and the weather was warm and clear.

As I started to cross the Rouge Valley on the 401, I started to notice a problem. The engine seemed to chug and lose power – a similar feeling as when the gas is running low. So I switched it over to ‘reserve’ but the engine continued to cut out. I was riding in the express lanes in the far left lane, so while coasting without power I did my best to get to the right side shoulder. I couldn’t quite make it but I ended up on the left shoulder of the lanes to switch to the collector lanes.

I inspected the bike as best I could but couldn’t figure out what was wrong – there was gas in the tank, the spark plugs were good, the electrical seemed fine. But in gear I couldn’t push it – my heart sank. I called my dad who rides and lived nearby, and he said he’d ride down and we’d try to figure something out. So there I was, stuck on a median between the express lanes and collectors lanes on one of the busiest highways in Canada. Luckily I had a ‘smoke’ in my jacket, so I layed down on the grass and relaxed while I waited for my help to arrive.

When he finally arrived (close to two hours later) he had accidentally come in the collectors lanes and was separated from me – but instead of exiting, backtracking, and returning in the express lanes, he decided to pull over on the shoulder of the collectors and run across the three lanes of traffic to reach me!

We quickly decided there wasn’t anything we could do and that we should get it off the highway and bring it to a shop. However, instead of calling a pickup truck, we decided to push the bike across the highway and up the closest exit. So, in the middle of the day on a Sunday, there I was with my dad pushing my first motorcycle across five lanes of the 401 highway and two lanes of an exit ramp, then up to the closest exit.

At the time I was concerned about my motorcycle more than myself, so crossing the highway didn’t seem like such a big deal. Afterwards, in recounting the story to family and friends, I received wide-eyed stares and accusations of lacking sanity. To me it was the first of many crazy motorcycle stories to come …

Poor Six Shooter though – not sure how it happened, but the engine was running near dry of oil! At this time I had all my oil changed at the shops so I’m not sure whether they drained it and forgot to fill it or if there was some sort of slow leak I was unaware of – I guess the cold at 5 am kept the piston from seizing until I dropped my girlfriend off at work! I still pause for a moment of silence when I drive past that spot on the 401 …

The weirdest, most unique motorcycles I’ve come across …

I am a fan of unique and eccentric designs, especially when it comes to motorcycles. I couldn’t help but make a post containing some of the most interesting designs I’ve come across. They follow in no particular order:

 

1. Suzuki RE-5 Rotary Engine (1974-1976)

Rotary engines produce high power figures from relatively small displacements. All four major Japanese manufacturers had prototypes or plans. The RE5 was touted as the future of motorcycling. The rotary engine produced a lot of heat which required a number of sub systems such as water and oil cooling and modifications to more typical engine components such as the exhaust pipes. There were three separate oil tanks (sump, gearbox and total loss tank) and two oil pumps (one for normal engine lubrication and cooling and one to supply oil specifically for tip seal lubrication). The RE5 was quite advanced in its steering and overall handling and motorcycle magazines of the day remarked on this.

 

2. 2009 Bimota Tesi 3D

Who would have thought of adding a swingarm both at the rear and at the front of a motorcycle? The Bimota Tesi 3D is the ultimate hub-steered motorcycle for the technologically and mechanically minded people out there. Tesi is Italian for Thesis, which is fitting as it was Engineer Pierluigi Marconi’s thesis at university that directly led to the Bimota Tesi 1D motorcycle in 1990. Some lucky test driver at Motorcycle.com explains it:

“Initially it feels very weird to turn on the road with the Bimota Tesi 3D. Your brain needs a little recalibration as the handlebars feel sluggish and unresponsive at first, but it’s really not the case. What happens on that front end is that the arms on bearings interact with each other and the pull-rod Extremetech mono shock at the front. That’s right, a mono shock at the front specially designed by Extremetech to Bimota’s specifications. So when I push the handlebars to steer left or right there’s a hydraulic or really tight steering damper feel to the movements. … Bimota’s own experience when they have let racing riders out on the Tesi 3D for the first time is that it takes some adjustments, but as soon as a rider gets used to the new feel they generally prefer the Tesi 3D to a more conventional Bimota DB5. One of the main reasons for this is the consistency, as you soon start getting some incredible feedback from that front end not possible on a conventional front end.”

 

3. 1974 Hercules W2000

In 1974 Hercules became the first company to offer a Wankel-engined motorcycle for sale to the general public. The W-2000 had a single-rotor air-cooled engine of 294cc that produced 25 bhp, later increased to 27 bhp (20 kW). Engine lubrication was by manually adding oil to the fuel in the tank.

 

4. (My personal favorite) Killinger and Freund Motorcycle

The Killinger and Freund Motorcycle was an attempt in 1935 by a group of five German engineers from Munich to design a more streamlined and modified version of the GermanMegola front-wheel drive motorcycle. The work took three years to complete but the result was impressive. The motorcycle featured a three cylinder two-stroke engine built right into the front wheel!

 

I’d be very excited to hear of any other unique motorcycles out there! Let us know what you’ve seen!

Toronto to New Orleans and Back – Route Planned!

After many changes and much Google Maps finnicking (is that a word?) we’ve locked in the planned route to New Orleans from Toronto.

On August 25th Brent and Pam will leave Toronto on ‘Nora’ (Brent’s Kawasaki Vulcan Classic) to meet Buck (recently returned from China for a short visit and monster trip through the U.S.A. before returning to China indefinitely) in New York City.

After tearing up the town for a couple days, the group will leave NYC en route to Roanoke, Virginia via Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park and Blue Ridge Parkway in George Washington National Forest for a total of 847 km’s (526 miles).

Day 2 takes us through Cherokee National Forest and the Great Smoky Mountains and Chattahoochee National Forest with potential stops at ‘Mountain City’ in Cherokee National Forest and ‘Hot Springs’ in the Great Smoky Mountains, with our final destination in Calhoun, Georgia, for a total of 742 kms (461 miles).

The third day of the trip has us arriving in New Orleans after crossing through Birmingham, Alabama, and De Soto National Forest and across Interstate 10 bridge in to New Orleans! A 842 km day (523 miles). We’ll be staying on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans for three days.

After a three day stay in New Orleans we’re heading up the Mississippi River in to Memphis, Tennessee, where the group will spend one last night together before parting ways – Buck to continue his trip around the U.S.A. and Brent and Pam back to Toronto, Canada, to prepare for their trip to the West Coast of Canada.

The entire time we will be posting on Twitter, Facebook and posting videos to our YouTube page. If you haven’t already, follow us on twitter, join the Facebook page, and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Finally named my Kawasaki Vulcan Classic …

Nora

after the fabulous silver screen star Myrna Loy in her roll “Nora Charles” from The Thin Man.

Myrna Loy

I see the similarities …

GoPro Hero Cam – North Oshawa Circuit

Yesterday I went for a cruise along my North Oshawa Circuit and thought I’d turn the goPro Hero Cam on. The following is a vid I cut together of the highlights of the route:

Music is DJ Shadow – “Building Steam with a Grain of Salt”

GoPro Hero Cam – Airport Rd at Dusk

Last year I bought a GoPro Hero Helmet Cam (standard definition, 3mp I believe) while shopping at an outdoor gear store. I never got much chance to use it … until now.

On April 5th Buck and I headed up to one of our favorite rides north of Toronto, dubbed the “Airport Road Ride” (see previous post here). Because of work we couldn’t get up there till dusk, so the light was fading. We pulled over quickly at the start of Hockley Road, turned the camera on, and started to ride.

Unfortunately, the video on Mono Centre Road – debatably the more interesting road to drive – didn’t turn out so well because the sun had set and we were facing east.

The goPro Hero Standard Definition Camera definitely works better with a lot of light – I mean, a lot of light. Like a clear sunny day, at noon. (Check out the first few test videos at the end of this post).

Then again, I am using a standard def model that is two years old and they don’t even make anymore – I’m sure the new high-def models are much better. I’ll have to wait to get my hands on one to test it out …