30 April 2011

Farkelitis Again ...

Again I'm in deep stress at work and it shows. The urge to burn through some of the PayPal money, that I collected from selling accessories from the last bike is hot again. It's weird - when I have enough time to ride the bike a lot, I'm not getting parts for it. When I don't have the time, I'm ordering the small bits and pieces here and there to make it "more mine".

Still haven't ordered panniers yet as Micatech is looking into top loading boxes that will fit the Pilot mounts. If I plan a trip I'll get the side loaders without hesitation, but as I'm not pressed right now, I can take my time.

But there were other things I had on my to do list:

Foot Pegs

Switching back to Fastway F3 foot pegs. The Pivot Pegz worked absolutely great, but overall I like the Fastway better, mainly because they were still a bit lower than the Pivot Pegz plus I can add rubber inserts to dampen the slight vibrations from the big boxer engine. Therefore, I sold the Pivot Pegz and ordered Fastways. The good thing is I lost only $15 with trying the Pivot Pegz as I got them for a really good deal at the time and could sell them for the same as I now get the Fastways for. Works for me. The $15 were worth testing it and knowing that the Fastways are the right ones for me.

Therefore, soon my bike will look like this again:

Tank Bag

I was going back and forth and forth and back around that topic. I actually like the BMW small bag for the GS:

It's a good sized back with a very nice mounting system. The one thing I don't like so much is that it's still a struggle to get it on / off due to the zipper mount at the seat. It's a bit fiddly. Also it sits right on the tank, which means on dusty trips it will scratch the paint. It's not an if just a when.

Therefore, I now decided to go ahead with the original plan and use my existing Cortech Super Mini like this with the SW Motech Quicklock mounts:

Ordered the mounts and a base for mounting the tank bag on. That'll give me quick and easy  on and off and will not scratch the paint. Win Win.


Next on the list are some "30 Years GS" decals. I absolutely loved the look of them on the 30 year edition, but really wasn't going to pay $800 for the special edition that had less accessories than mine.

Handle Bar Cross Brace

Also, as I'm planning to get a Spot tracker sooner or later, I added a handle bar cross brace to the list where I can mount the GPS and the Spot. Might or might not work, but I'll give it a try. It was also said by some people that it further reduces high frequency vibration in the handle bar which would be a positive side effect.

It'll be fun when the stuff arrives but I guess it'll take a few days as most of the stuff wasn't in stock.  We'll see - and of course, photos and reviews to come!

21 April 2011

Day Trippin ...

Last weekend we decided it was about time for a good motorcycle ride again. We were pretty busy in the last few weeks and haven't been riding that much, so the new F650GS is still "fresh" for Andrea and there is still some getting used to it.

Nevertheless, we decided to do some more fun roads and do the loop Page Mill Road up to Skyline, over to Alice's Restaurant, West 84 and back to Skyline over Alpine Road.

That image is not "lightboxed" so you can see it full size if you click on it.
Page Mill Road is incredible - lots and lots of nice, twisty road. 84 is lots of fun and Alpine Road is a bit more challenging - tight corners, narrow lanes, dark in the woods, sometimes dusty and dirty.

It was a really nice ride. We had lots of fun - did the whole trip pretty much without stopping and have taken no pictures. We were late in the day and wanted to be back home before it got dark. The picture above is the GPS track log put on a map - you can't really see how twisty the roads are, but believe me, Page Mill and Highway 84 are two of my all time favorite roads on a motorcycle.

15 April 2011

DynDNS / Google Mail Trouble

Some of you might have noticed that my "normal" blog doesn't work at the moment.

That's what you get using Google's oh-so-intelligent mail service. They filtered the mail from DynDNS (which I receive for two years now) to renew my free account into the spam folder.

As I am not receiving my email from Google but have it forwarded to my "normal" email provider (Fastmail), this mail reached me 5 days too late when I checked Google Mail via Web because my domain stopped working.

I'm really kind of pissed now as I lost my old forwarding service, lost my old domain (event-s.homeunix.net) and had to set up everything again. I'll explore a little bit more when get it all working again.

Until then - stay tuned, my normal Website / Blog will come back online soon. I'm so looking forward getting rid of Google Mail sooner or later. Not having some advertiser read my mail every time I look at it might give me a better feeling ...

14 April 2011

The Long Way to Luggage

After thinking for way to long which luggage option might be the right thing for me, I decided months ago it will be the Micatech cases with Pilot mounts.

Then the search began. Do I want the huge Pilot cases (52L per case)? No, rather not - they look like sewing machine cases. The V2 cases? No, rather not - the SW-Motech rack is soft and the unbalanced assembly looks like sh... While I was waiting the V-Pilots came along. Just about perfect for me, but one annoyance: you have to lower the exhaust to fit them. Again, looks like crap.

So, I started a hunt for a really, really narrow and small exhaust. Checked out the Metal Mule exhaust (didn't test but I think slightly too wide), tried to get info on the Keihan exhaust - never heard back from them. Settled on the Hattech Double Exhaust. Ordered one. Loooooong time ago.

It arrived last week, we were in Washington, DC, at the time. Picked it up at the Post Office on Tuesday, installed it on Wednesday. Here's what it looks like:

Hattech Double Exhaust - Side View

As mentioned above, I bought it because it is so incredibly narrow:

Rear View

As you can see, even the left signal sticks out further. This was what I wanted. This now enables me to install Micatech V-Pilot cases that won't stick out far (32.5" width overall for 8" 35L cases). Those cases should give me enough room and are still narrow enough to not worry at all whether they are on the bike or not.

I haven't ordered them just yet as I want to test the exhaust a little bit first. I want to make sure I like it and everything works properly and the bike rides as expected.

One Big Surprise

I did some comparisons when I installed the new exhaust:
  • The stock exhaust is 1.2kg lighter. That surprised me a little bit this is normally not the case. I guess BMW did a not too bad job with the stock exhaust. The Hattech is 6.3kg, the stock exhaust 5.1kg. Doesn't matter to me. 
  • The stock exhaust is louder. That really surprised me. Before I installed the new one I did some low-tech measurement with my iPhone 4 and the Faber Acoustics iOS app to find out the noise level for the stock exhaust at 1m distance at idle and 3m distance at ~ 3500rpm. When the new one was installed I repeated the measurement and found the Hattech to be 3db(A) qieter at idle and 5db(A) quieter at 3500rpm. So the weight really seems to go into some noise reduction. Very, very nice. I like quiet bikes. I hope it doesn't cost too much power, but I can live with a bit less easily. The R1200GS has more than enough power to ignore a small loss.
  • The sounds is pretty much the same as before, just less intrusive. Love it.

Here are the glitches I found:
  • The Hattech is not completely tight. There is some air coming out at the connection between the original part and the end can. Not much and I don't think it's a problem.
  • The connection between the end can and the pipe doesn't have as much overlap as with the original can. Again, I don't think it's a problem.
  • The mounting bolt that came with the exhaust is a little bit too short and therefore the locking nut doesn't actually lock properly. I'll replace the bolt with a slightly longer one next time I get to a hardware store.
  • There were no mounting instructions. No biggie, I just installed it the way it fitted best. No rocket science.

So, after it took forever to arrive here, I think I made the right decision. The exhaust looks really good, is quiet, sounds good, is narrow. It took about 6 weeks to arrive here, mainly due to Hattech being on motorcycle shows in Germany, first building (but fortunately not sending) one for the older 2009 model, then the slow shipping with DHL and USPS. But I think it was worth the wait.

I'll report more how it rides when I have some miles on it.