Sunday, November 2, 2014


Is there anything else :)

Well as most of you have guessed, I'm at my little old home in Glendale AZ.  Getting here is not near as convenient as living in Alberta and driving south, or catching a last minute cheap flight that had me leaving Calgary at 6 am and riding my scooter back from the grocery store by noon!
My bikes here include the Chinese Chaun L, Adventure 150 scooter that I bought new as a 2 year old non current.  Then there is my exploring bike, the 1998 Yamaha XT 350, and late last year I picked up a partial basket case Honda Ascot '82 FT500.

My workhorse/mule!

The Yamaha has taken a lot of patience and work to get it to its present state.  I now feel it is reliable, running well enough and perhaps able to handle a Baja trip (4000km from here to the beach and back)  For the most part it was in good shape and little mileage but in the interest of passing then required emissions tests, the previous owner had altered the mixture with several modifications that caused the bike to run too lean.  In addition I have been playing with various gearing combinations to make the bike more useful. 

I've enriched the low speed mixture and changed the main jet as well as altered the needle position.  The bike now starts with little or no choke, and runs well enough that I can count on it 98% of the time that it won't spit back and stall at a red light, something it was entirely prone to doing regularly.  That can be embarrassing and awkward given the lack of an electric leg, and my leg as the only means of firing it.  Now once warm, I can pretty much just ride it normally.  It also pulls much cleaner and really hasn't affected the fuel mileage, mostly because I have geared the sprocket ratio higher for better cruising speed.  The gearing he had on it was suitable for riding straight up 89 degree hills!  Not so good for riding it primarily on the street and certainly not freeway capable.

Lots of time and effort went into this bike.

The ratio I have run the past 2 years (a 19/51 combination) gave me 55 mph cruising at 5000 revs.  Sixty mph was truly only a short distance speed.  First was pretty much useless, I'd be in third by the time I reached the other side of the intersection!  Sixth was an in town gear.

I've just come back from a test ride with 19/44 gearing.  What a difference!  First is now normal, needing clutch slipping only for trials like riding, 4th is good for surface streets and 60 mph has the engine far less frenetic and yields a tachometer reading of 4750 rpm.  I should be able to ride the bike at 65 now for those required freeway sections (this is the USA after all) when traffic is typically traveling at 80mph, increasing the chance of my not ending up as a hood ornament on some fast mover !

Not ready yet, but a long way from last season.

My fuel mileage will likely improve slightly (last tank was 85 mpg Imperial) but that wasn't the incentive, I just needed to have more confidence that I wasn't going to get run over by traffic coming up fast from behind.

As for the Honda, it's now ride-able, but needs a few more things to make it legal.  Because there is no money grabbing "safety" inspection, and with the change to the law, (after a 17 year fight) turfing the emission requirement in motorcycles (Phx was the only urban center in the USA that required the emission test) I should be able to have the Ascot on the sreet by the end of the coming week.  My Bike Bandit parts including a complete headlight assembly should be at my door Tuesday or Wednesday.

With Holly and Kevin her boyfriend, here for the week, it will be the following week before I can deal with the legal requirements.  Title change, insurance and plate... we should be good to go!

Well, missing my CFL games, it's back to the NY Jets (10) and Kansas City Chiefs (24).

BTW, saw gas at $2.49 the other day for a gallon of regular!

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