Sunday, September 30, 2012

Shoes were the last thing

on my mind. I can usually do without them. Saturday was just a normal Saturday. Nothing special, I ended up in Steveston for breakfast with the guys, just like normal. I parked next to the Waves coffee shop on Bayview Avenue and


noticed a nice self portrait of myself with my "new to me" "R". This was the first time I had a chance to attach all my cases and head on the highway to see how they handled at higher speeds, in the wind.

Imagine my surprise when my riding buddy JohnB showed up. He recently returned to Vancouver from his temporary job in Huntsville, Alabama where he worked for the past year. While he was there he purchased an SV650 and did a lot of riding and he posted his adventures HERE (his handle is brunstei) We had been to each other's places several times but we finally made contact a couple of weeks ago

John riding his Vstrom DL1000 "VEE"

He purchased his Vstrom new in 2009 the same week that I bought mine and I posted about it HERE It's nice to have him back in town

He wanted to go for a short ride but I asked if we could take some photos on the pier instead as I wanted some of my "new to me" "R"


Then I took a few more of just our bikes

Gulf of Georgia Historic Cannery

soon enough I am photo'd out and we get on our way

"nu2me" on the Pier, Steveston, BC

We went on a few backroads, down to Finn Slough and then back up to Westminster Highway. Sorry no photos as I am not yet set up with RAM mounts with "Nu2me" yet. John led for a while, then I led back to my place. It feels funny to be in the lead as I am usually in the rear. I took the scenic route via River Road in Richmond.

John was looking for a pair of new riding gloves and today the Beemer Dealer had a summer clearance sale so we headed there to see what we could find


I have no problem letting John try "Nu2me", so off he went . . .

I have spent the past couple of weeks riding "nu2me" getting used to the different characteristics of the boxer engine, the most excellent brakes but I didn't feel it was handling right. I can't explain it but on our imperfect roads it was twitchy (technical term) . Cornering didn't feel positive. I was intending to purchase new shoes in the Spring but I knew there was a huge tire sale at so I checked out the pricing and gave them a call to find out which tire may be best for me.

Michelin Pilot

Here is what my rear tire looked like. These are probably the original tires that were on the bike when it was delivered. It is flat in the middle and the sides are virtually untouched. So when I transition to make a turn, I go from the flat into the turn then back onto the flat again and it isn't a very smooth transition.


I make my way to Bayside. Kevin, the owner of Bayside said my tires were too old, dried out without much grip left, the rubber was hard. He suggested that I should try the Pilot Road 2's, instead of the Road 3's as they are more suited for my style of riding, and will last longer. The Road 3's would be better in the rain. So I decided to "bite the bullet" now instead of during the Spring as I was contemplating a short bike trip in 2 weeks if the weather co-operates.

Over the years, I have bought several sets of tires from Kevin, and he is the one where I bought my Michelin Anakee2's for my current V-strom


As these are standard sport bike tire sizes, he had them in stock and he said he could install them later in the day. It was now just after 2pm, and he told me to come back at 4pm.


Kevin, riding "nu2me" to the rear of the building to their service department. I know my bike is in good hands. Kevin is a racer & expert tuner. This is the 2nd time today that "nu2me" has been ridden by someone other than myself.

An hour goes by and my bike is ready to ride. Kevin warns me about the release compound and says to take it easy for the first little bit as the tires will be slippery. I do a short loop on the highway and finally return home.

You cannot tell from this photo, but it feels good


to have new shoes

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

My days are One & a Half hours long

I have been busy and daylight is not on my side. I do not have an indoor place to play with my tools. Everything I do is outside and generally with poor lighting. Except for the weekends, my daylight hours are spent at work. A couple of weeks ago I ordered and received my new sidecase/topcase combo rack from my BMW dealer. You can read about it HERE. I was anxious to install the rack but my bike was barracaded in my garage by construction material. Then we left for Oregon for a mini-vacation but installing my new rack was foremost on my mind when I got home from work last Tuesday.

This time of year, by the time I get home I have about 1-1/2 hours of daylight left so I have to work fast


I rush home by the fastest route, change into something more comfortable, grab my tools, push my bike from its hiding place and get to work removing the sidecase rails. My "new to me" R1200R came with factory sidecases but NO top case plate. I need a top case so this involved having to purchase a new sidecase rail which has the attachment for the topcase rack.

Left side

Notice that when the sidecases are removed, you can hardly tell where they attach

Right side

I was going to take lots of photos to show you how the new rails install but it was so simple that even I could do it. You just had to remove 4 bolts on each side as well as the rear cover

New combo sidecase rail, left side

The hardest part was holding the torx bits in place as they would slip out of the head. I managed to "round" one off by accident and wouldn't you know, it was the last one and I nearly didn't get it out. The new bolts came with loctite already on the threads

Right side

these new rails have higher grab bars which help when raising my "new to me" BMW onto its centre stand. Because I am working underneath a carport I am not getting much daylight, so now I am working nearly in the dark with a flashlight


The top case rack lined up nearly perfectly and 4 bolts later it was installed and the silver top plate cover goes on top to give it a more polished look

When I have something on my mind, or when something needs to be repaired I get impatient and things have to be done right now. So now that I have a top case rack I need to buy a top case


2nd Gear Motorsports has a great selection of Givi, Kappa, Shad and other makes at reasonable pricing. I also mentioned previously that they are also a Twisted Throttle dealer and if you talk nicely, they will also price match. I have bought many things there so I get the preferred treatment

The last Bike Night BBQ was Wednesday night so I visited 2nd Gear at lunch and bought my GIVI topcase, otherwise I would have had to wait until Thursday. I settled on the 47 litre GIVI Blade series

I like the idea that this topcase locks by just pushing the top lid DOWN until it clicks. Your key doesn't have to be in the lock, or it can be either in the locked or unlocked position. It will also hold two full face helmets with ease.

Since my other two BMW side cases are keyed to the ignition, I thought that having a topcase with a different lock would let me secure valuables without access if I left my "new to me" BMW somewhere for service. Plus I am sure that OEM top cases are more expensive. I can always get BMW decals later to stick on

Since Wednesday night was our last BBQ bike night I rushed home with the intent of installing my new top case before I headed to the BBQ, plus I still had some daylight left. With this topcase now I don't always have to ride around with my wide sidecases attached

R1200R with GIVI Blade 47L topcase

The topcase looks like it is mounted too high, but that's the way it is. I think it won't look too bad when the sidecases are attached, but now I am in lane-splitting mode, and I have a place to store my camera and helmet when I get to my destination

I now head down to EMS: Essential Motorcycle Services for my BCSB: Hamburger and hotdog

Since this is the Last bike night of this season, they have solicited lots of support from many vendors and there were lots of prizes to be given away


Here is the prize table. It is a random draw, you write your name on a piece of paper and put it into the box and then names are drawn. I will tell you now that I am not very lucky, but I am always hopeful

There are many prizes and many names are drawn, riders come up to claim their prizes and soon all the smaller items are gone and there are now only the 4 big prizes left.

I keep listening for my name and THEN, IMAGINE MY SURPRISE when I heard my name called out. I am already in front of the crowd as I was recording video


The crowd cheers and I receive my "envelope" from these beauties. I don't know what to say as I seldom win anything. I am not so sure that this prize went to the right person as I am not a fast rider, and I don't own a sport bike. Maybe I will give it away


It is a voucher from the West Coast Superbike School at Mission Raceway. I am getting nervous just thinking about this

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

We must have taken

a wrong turn on our way home from Oregon last Monday. We were looking for something and we exited the freeway and ended up in a small town where English is not the mother tongue


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Time Flies when you are

doing nothing and the only thing on your mind is stopping to take photos

Seal Rocks, Oregon coast

and enjoying the warmth of an early Fall day. It was a bit chilly this morning as we left Lincoln City and headed South

Heceta Head lighthouse (being renovated)

It was a perfect day for a drive along the scenic Oregon coast


unfortunately our time is up and we have to leave for home

Yachats Bay

it`s a shame we can`t stay longer but tomorrow it`s back to reality, and our long drive home to Vancouver

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Half of our weekend is over

and we've done nothing, hardly any driving. We are barricaded in our oceanfront suite at Lincoln City and we woke up to this


a nice day is forecast and we have to make it downstairs for our gratuitous complimentary breakfast of waffles and coffee. We have nowhere to go but places to see and we take our time getting ready as we are staying here another night. After breakfast I manage to make my way to the beach and get dirty in the mud


Ah, the freedom . . . until Mrs Skoot caught up to me and I had prepare myself for some beach photos


Soon there were lots of other shoeless people walking about and it started to get warm . We decided that today would be a topless day so we headed down to Newport


and posed ourselves by the Yaquina Bay Bridge


you notice that I stop a lot for photos. We drove down to Historic Cannery Row area and ended up on the pier to see the seals


that's the Yaquina Bay Bridge in the background, again. Tomorrow we get to drive over the bridge and head south to Yachats where we have lunch waiting

this was an absolutely lazy day and accomplished nothing, but isn't that what these short breaks from work are supposed to be ? A chance to relax and recharge.

Friday, September 21, 2012

We got a late start

The intention was to hop into our car bright and early. 7am turned into 7:30am, the the delay at the Massey Tunnel consumed another half hour delay due to heavy traffic. Soon we had crossed the US/Cdn border and found ourselves deep into Oregon


we stopped at a place with lots of retired jets. It is cold down here. What happened to the heat of summer ? My advisor told me to bring lots of warm clothes, but his email came too late. I didn't pack any shoes


I was told that this model was used in the film "Top Gun" . This is the Ram Air


intake for the engine. Thank goodness it's not running right now or I would be in a million pieces . We drove and drove until we reached the ocean and the road ended


Then we went for dinner

Sunset in Lincoln City, Oregon (D-river)

After we filled our stomachs we headed back to our suite overlooking the ocean

we checked in earlier before sunset

there's nothing so satisfying than sitting in the dark by the fire and listening to the sounds of the pounding waves


When travelling we like to find places with a pool and spa (Hot tub). This time we lucked out with a deal on a suite with a jacuzzi . . . no swim suits required

Thursday, September 20, 2012

So the BMW chapter begins

Jack Riepe warned me about drinking the Kool Aide. He recent posted a comment about writing a book using my check book starting with page one


Well, the farkling has begun. I don't know if you consider a necessity a farkle. I require a tank slapping top case. Somewhere to store my helmet, laptop and camera whilst touring. With the OEM BMW side cases you have to use Original OEM brackets. So last weekend I visited my local dealer and ordered the combo sidecase/topcase bracket. They arrived a few days later and I picked them up after work on my way home


You don't get much for $400.+ these days. Just two sidecase rails and a top case rack, and decorative cover with the embedded BMW roundel


I have sidecase rails installed on my "new to me" R1200R but you cannot attach a top case to it. You have to remove your rails and replace them with the Combo rail/bracket


The bodywork on the R12 is designed with no attachment points for securing an aftermarket bracket. If I bought an aftermarket bracket from Givi or Touratech I would have to purchase new side cases, so this was actually more cost effective as it allowed me to utilize my BMW cases, which came with my "new to me" bike


I am dying to install this bracket but I moved my bikes into my alarmed garage in anticipation of taking an extended weekend away. I thought it wiser to move them off the street

I've been doing so much riding lately that I have been ignoring Mrs Skoot. I can't remember the last time we have taken a short road trip. So the past couple of days I have been getting our Chariot ready. I moved the GPS and Sirius Satellite radio over, and tonight I have given our wheels a badly needed wash


The weather is forecast to be warm, during the daytime anyway and it just feels better to drive a clean car


It is going to feel nice to feel the wind in your hair without having to wear a helmet or riding gear. Plus I don't have to wear (riding) boots . I even washed the wheels


No shoes, no problem . . . The gas tank is full, the passport is ready and we're planning to hit the highway in the morning

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Learning to ride an "R" type Beemer

I am sure that most of you know that it is not easy to ride a bike you are planning on buying. Some dealers let you try a demo, and some not. Private sellers may let you ride their bike with cash in hand. When I bought my Suzuki SV650 a few years ago the seller rode the bike in a parking lot to show me that it worked, it shifted correctly and it stopped. When I bought my V-strom I bought it off the showroom floor. I did not have the chance to ride it before it was ready for delivery after it was insured and transferred.


On my recent acquisition of my "new to me" BMW R1200R, I did not ride it before I commited to buy it. The Prev owner rode it over to my home as it was more convenient for me. The paperwork was done and it was transferred into my name, all without even so much as a test ride. My confidante asked me if I tried it out to make sure that I liked the way it handled. I mean what is there to know. It has the usual controls with the clutch lever on the left and the front brake lever on the right. Is there something that I am missing ?

I didn't get to ride my "new to me" R1200 until the next day as I could not visit my insurance agent until the next day. When I got home I decided to attached the Cee Bailey windshield FIRST, then check the tire pressures which were very low (but I didn't know it at the time).


Now I knew that this particular bike was much too low for me, it has the low seat option. I also knew that with the boxer engine the centre of gravity was also very low, which makes it easy to push around.

The time of reckoning had arrived. I put on my gear, mounted the bike and started the engine. Ahh, the sweet sounds of the boxer engine. I turned a bit wide on my first left turn. Nothing dangerous but certainly, NOT in the groove. The engine is so smooth and nearly silent, it changes gears like butter into 2nd . There is sort of a torque steer as you twist the throttle.


My Suzuki V-strom is considered top-heavy but as you make a turn you only have to give a slight lean and the bike leans over by itself, then you add a bit of throttle and soon you find yourself in mid turn. Easy peezy . . .


The female type jugs on my "new to me" R1200 are low down. I found that you have to ride it like a cruiser, put lots of attitude by aggressively leaning into the direction you wish to turn, otherwise the bike likes to keep upright, so you have to work at it a bit more. I also did a few "S" slaloms down an empty road swooping back and forth to check out the lean angles, and the "R" like to remain upright. As my confidante says, you have to move your "cheeks" a bit to make it easier to facilitate the turn

This particular model also has a steering damper. I couldn't figure out why my arms are getting tired. I checked the Beemer forum and there are pros and cons about leaving it attached, or not. But for now I will leave it connected as a safety feature to minimize "tank slappers".


I have ridden this bike to work a few times and I think I am getting more accustomed to its different characteristics but the most difficult thing to master is the archaic German designed signal light system


On the left handlebar there is a switch on the underside of the handgrip which is not visible from your riding position. This turns ON the left blinker. THERE IS NO OFF button to cancel the blinking


On the right handlebar is the right turn switch, barely visible. And directly on top of that is the cancellation switch, which turns off BOTH left and right blinker lights. This is not the way it is done on any other bike I have owned and it does
take a bit of time to get used to. It is particularly hard to HIT the cancellation switch when you are also turning the throttle in mid-turn, when I like to cancel my signal lights. I am finding it just easier to not make any turns, nor change lanes, either that or just turn without signalling. What a S$%^%$$p system !

This model also has automatic signal cancelling. Signal lights are supposed to turn off after you accelerate to a "certain" speed, or in 10 seconds, and they do, except I think they remain on TOO LONG. It's not a deal breaker, but it's such an inconvenience to have to learn something new at my young age


I bought some white reflector tape to make my footprint more visible at night.