There’s always a first time

…for running out of fuel!

Yes, it happened. First time I ever ran out of fuel while riding. Luckily it was the lightweight LML and the nearest fuel station was only 800m away!

Proof of the walk of shame:

OutOfFuel (Copy)

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First World Problems

So, I’ve sold the Fireblade, from all the bikes I’ve had this was the one I least liked and for a series of reasons that I’ll not go into right now I ended up owning it for only a couple of months before deciding to sell it.
I’m now faced with the decision of staying put or…buying another bike! (Did anyone mention first world problems?…indeed)

At the top of the list is one of the bikes I initially pondered on buying before getting the Fireblade: a “pointy” Suzuki SV650.

SV650S

It’s sporty, light, agile and just about powerful enough (about 70hp) to be fun on track. The fact it’s easy to service and lacks fairings to get damage also helps. Only problem is they seem to hold their value well and so most are a bit above what I want to spend.
They are for sale for around 3000-4000€, with 2500€ being the cheapest I saw. Given that I will still need to throw some money at it for: tires, crash protectors, new oil, filters, etc. It’s not looking good..

The older carburetor equipped version of the SV650 is more within reach – financially speaking – but I really dislike the looks…
They are announced at around 1900€, with the cheapest ones coming at around 1250€, so I could probably get one and still have some money left for maintenance and tires.

sv650_01

Right next in the list is another 1000cc Honda but not a Fireblade. A VTR1000 Firestorm!
To be honest I hated it’s looks back in 1997 when it was launched, but what did 14 year old me know of bikes? I actually quite like it now, the soft curves and nice proportions mean it’s aged well.
They are also cheaper than the pointy SV, at around 1900-2800€ and have a bigger engine. On the flip-side they are also heavier and with suspension as basic as the SVs, the weight prove to be a handicap.
Yes the suspension can eventually be sorted but right now that is outside the budget.

honda-vtr-1000-f-firestorm-1161315

On to the second to last option and the bike that was actually the strongest candidate a few months ago before I bought the Blade: the Yamaha R6.
Sporty engine, decent suspension (especially compared to the bikes above), good brakes and chassis and plenty of them for sale. The prices go from about 1900€ to 3000€ for the 1998-2003. The downside is many of them have probably been abused.

1999-Yamaha-R6-YZFR6b

This leads me to the last bike on the list. The one I definitely don’t have a budget for but that would be the one I’d buy in a heart beat if I had the cash to spare: a 1st gen Triumph Daytona 675!
At bout 4800-5500€ it ticks just about every box…except for the essential one: price!

Daytona 675

Keep an eye on the blog, I should have some developments soon. I’m keen on getting back on the race track this summer, I just need to decide how!

Feel free to comment and subscribe. I’d love to hear your take on this.

[Video] GS Trophy – Thailand

Yes it’s another video in French, but having recently returned from Thailand where I had the opportunity to ride some awesome roads (coming soon on The Rider’s Digest #192), this hit a soft spot.

Kudos to BMW for setting up such a massive event, looks like serious fun. I wish they made a full TV coverage of the event, I would watch that!

For more info check BMW GS TROPHY 2016

Greasy Saturday – LML 125 4t Valve Clearance Adjustment

The weather is fantastic this weekend, so obviously I choose to stay indoors and go trough the valve clearance check (and oil change) on the LML.

Yes…I make questionable decisions sometimes, but the fact is the poor little bike was in need of some love and I’d been delaying this for the last 3 months.

It was my first time doing a valve clearance check (and adjustment) and I’m not going to write up any kind of tutorial as I’m far from an expert on it. I can however share a couple of things I discovered and that might be useful to you given the relative lack of online info on this bike. (and the very synthetic workshop manual).

First of all, if you are indecisive on whether or not to do it yourself, go for it! You’ll have a hard time finding a more basic engine to work on. It’s 2 valves only and the adjustment is done with locknut&screw (no shim under bucket shenanigans here). Check the video I linked to previously, read a bit about valve checking/adjusting to understand what is what, have a look at the LML workshop manual and go for it.

Secondly get a set of proper metric feeler gauges, mine is in inches/metric making things unnecessarily more complicated (Valve clearances are Inlet: 0,06+-0,01mm | Exaust: 0,08 +-0,01mm |I only had 0,063 0,076 0,102 so had to work with that)

Third: ignore the valve clearance adjustment tool, they are usually only sold in sets and cost around 35€. With only two valves to work on, it’s easy enough to just use a small needle nose plier do make the adjustment.

Fourth: You shouldn’t need any type of liquid gasket for the valve inspection ports as they have a rubber o-ring seal that shouldn’t need replacement nor additional seals. I was afraid they used liquid seal and therefore would need new sealant to be applied but no.

08-0073

And final piece of advice: good luck finding the TDC mark on the flywheel/magneto cover! Ended up removing the cover and to make life easier to anyone trying it I would recommend you do the same. Remove the spark-plug, remove the flywheel cover and then turn the engine by hand until you see the inlet valve dip and return (open & close) then align the mark with the one on the cover (by aligning the cover back in place). Check there is some play in the rocker arms and then check clearances.

TDC mark on the magneto cover
TDC mark on the magneto cover

My bike’s intake valve was a bit loose, so adjusted it to 0,063mm, the exhaust was somewhere between 0,076 and 0,102 but closer to the smaller so probably within spec: 0,08+-1 mm.

Inlet Valve Cover
Inlet Valve Cover

Checking clearance on Inlet side (the exhaust is a tiny bit trickier)
Checking clearance on Inlet side (the exhaust is a tiny bit trickier)

After checking valves, it was time to warm up the engine and change oil.

Quite dirty oil (although it hasn't covered a big distance, the change is overdue by a few months...)
Quite dirty oil (although it hasn’t covered a big distance, the change is overdue by a few months…)

And new oil in! Using Castrol Power RS 10W40 full synth which is definitely overkill for a low tech engine with a small yearly mileage but it’s what I had around because I use it on the Ducati.

P1150186 (Copy)

Hope this was useful! I must admit I was a bit nervous about doing this myself but the fact is it all took about 2h30 and was quite straightforward.

Youtube selection for a boring Sunday

Stuck at home with shit weather and a cold? No? Then you’re luckier than some of us!

If you are ate home, and half as bored as I am. Here’s a selection of videos from the Youtubes: from me, to you. Enjoy!

First, let’s keep with the Multistrada theme and have a look at the comparison the guys at Motorcyclist magazine made against the BMW S1000XR.

Or, the French alternative…

And away from Ducati onto KTM, superb riding and great videography by ARieman

Have a great week!

LML 125 4t – Oil Change and Valve Adjustment video

I have to check the valve clearances on the LML sometime soon and have just found this very useful video for anyone thinking on doing their own maintenance work on a LML 125 4 stroke.

It’s not super detailed and the part about valve adjustment especially, is missing quite a few steps (he doesn’t show how to work on both valves nor does he even check the clearances before and after adjusting). Still quite handy vide to learn where the elusive oil filter hides or the trick to removing the air filter.

Feel free to Comment and Subscribe!

Quick Update

Hi Guys

Things have been slow around here, busy with work and not a lot of bike related stuff going around in rainy Amsterdam.

This winter has been mostly about the occasional commute to work when I’m too lazy to take the bicycle and washing/cleaning/spraying the bikes with ACF50 to try and keep them safe from road salt corrosion.

We just had our first sunny weekend of the year so the Saturday was spent on a ride out with a friend who just bought his first bike (exciting stuff!) a very nice ’04 Yamaha FZ6S. We had a nice time, but this being the Netherlands the riding was nothing to write about. Don’t not even have decent photos…

Hopefully the next few weeks will have more interesting updates as I am probably going to sell the CBR929 (yes I know I just bought it…) and getting a different bike and if the weather gets better (it seems the rain is back for the coming 2 weeks) a few more ride outs.

In the meantime, have fun and ride safe.