Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bold New Graphics!

Actually installed these graphics myself.  Some alcohol spray to clean and prep the panels, as well as a decal applying solution that allowed me to lay them on "wet" before squeegie-ing out the liquid.  A bit of help from Kate's hairdryer and it's done.  As you can tell I'm a total MotoGP fanboy... I really don't even drink Red Bull that much, but I'm pretty excited about the new Moto2 and MotoGP bikes from KTM.  Last race weekend at Gimli coming up this weekend...

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Nice Pipes!

Not the best pic, but you can see I've added an Akrapovic full system to the 'duke.  This was the full tilt titanium system that was sold as an aftermarket accessory and used on the EJC racing bikes.  A huge weight saving over the stock system, and there is less heat transferred to the bellypan by the removal of the catalytic converter, which like all catalytic converters, got very hot.

The exhaust note is great, low and rumbly, louder, but not offensively so.  As I already had the Power Commander, loaded with the "stock" map for the old system, I just downloaded a full system map once the exhaust was installed.  It runs well as is.  Likely more power could be found with a custom map, but a quote from the local/only dyno shop was $500.  Yikes.  Will have to save my pennies or simply make do as is.

I also installed a manual cam chain tensioner.  Others claimed it quieted the engine (the LC4 lump is noisier than most), whereas I didn't notice a difference.  On other bikes I've done (DOHC engines), it is quite obvious when the CCT  is running loose.  The single cam design of this engine meant I couldn't get it to "whine" noticeably (indicative of a too-tight camchain tensioner), nor could I get it to make the classic "loose camchain rattle".... it was just as loud as it always was.  I turned in the adjuster till it just made contact with the guide, and turned another 1/2 turn.  At least it won't fail like an automatic oil-driven one could.  With 3000 kms on the clock, it is less than 1/3 towards the first valve inspection interval -- at that time it is suggested that the rockers are checked, as well as the valve lash.  Others on forums simply say the LC4 is a noisy engine, wear ear plugs, and inspect the valves and rockers when you can, and ride the damn thing.  I'll try...

Hopefully some more street riding weather remains before the snow flies, along with one more track weekend in later Sept.  If I change out the coolant for water and safety-wire the bolt, the bike is race-prepped, not just safe for trackdays.  Should I take it out in a few Cdn Thunder races...?

Friday, August 19, 2016

Trackday Fun

It's been some time since I posted anything on this blog.... I'm having a blast on the KTM, and recently took it the 12 hours south to Hastings for a Trackaddix track day.  Wilson and I made the trip together.
Bike selfie?  I really shouldn't be using my phone while I drive, but Hwy 10 south in the morning is pretty barren.  Can you tell I'm excited?  The cereal killer van didn't skip a beat.

In short order we had Marmaduke and the Ducati loaded in the Hemi and we were on our way.  The forecast for Nebraska wasn't great, but for once we didn't experience any rain or torrential headwinds on the way down.

Saturday was rain-free, despite the dire warnings of the locals and the forecasts.  Overcast and about 23 degrees, which is perfect for a ginger like me.

To use the kids' vernacular these days, Saturday was epic!  84 laps of a 2.2 mile circuit.  Rode until I was exhausted and tired, and the bike didn't skip a beat.  Very fun to ride, and passed a number of "bigger" bikes.  Got into the low 1:46s, which is a way off from the really fast dudes, but approaching my quickest times when I was on more powerful bikes.  In the longer corners, I was leaning over so far for so long I couldn't tuck my boots in any more, and I was grinding my toes past the sliders.

The Dunlop tires worked quite well.  They are the "Unbeaten" tires, in a 110/150 fitment -- slightly narrower than standard, but gripped fine for my purposes.  A few moments when there was movement, but no real slides or anything.
Sunday it rained a bit in the morning, but that was a good thing... still tired!  Under the metal canopy I oogled some of the bikes that were there.  When you are tired with your Aprilia V4 (background), take your MV triple out for a spin...

In the end, did another 30 laps on Sunday, but at least went a second quicker -- 1:45:3 -- quicker than I went on the zx7r when I was there last, and less than a second off of the ex650 I spent a lot of time and money on.  I am confident that I can go faster.  I was starting to get to the limits of the rear shock, but the forks held up fine.  In all, one of the best trackday trips, if not the best, I've done.  A great facility, a good organization, and a great trip.  Even a 70km tailwind on the way home saved some gas money.  Hooray!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sunday, June 26, 2016

More fettling

 Cold and crappy day meant I played in the garage, doing some wiring on the Duke.  Front brake banjo.
 Rearsets -- some of these bolts loosened from the vibes at the track.
 Oil filter cover.
A wipe down with Plexus, and installed the front rad guard.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

What a riot

Took the Duke out for the June trackday.  Saturday was forecast to be warm, and for once no gale force winds were expected.  While it still was blustery, the breezes weren't too bad for the Prairies.  What can I say -- the bike was a hoot to ride around Gimli!  The softly-damped bike soaked up the track's bumps really well, and very quickly I was able to have fun and drag knees and toes everywhere!  I kept bottoming out the rear shock -- but I still had some more spring preload I could have used, so I am resisting buying a new performance shock just yet.  Lap times steadily dropped until I got into the 1:08s.  Not bad on a supermoto with a 58hp engine.
I've got some ideas about how to go faster as well.  The cool thing was track prep comprised flipping on some new tires, removing 4 bolts to get rid of the licence plate and tail light, and swapping the rear seat for the white cover.  I've got a matching setup for the front in the works, so I won't have to tape over any lights.  There is more time to be had on this bike, which has got me thinking about racing it.  Is this the elusive machine that can actually do everything "good enough"?

As you can see I'm pretty smitten right now.  That's a good thing!  Next trackday is in mid-July, and I'll have a few more things to try out.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Sunday, May 8, 2016

New Bike

So as you can probably guess I've got myself a new bike.  Lusted after KTMs for years, wanting an RC8 == but realizing it would be track only, as my local roads are shit, and you really couldn't do much with a machine like that other than risk your licence and yell into your helmet on the daily commute.  Next best thing was that the local KTM dealer had a new old stock Duke 690 sitting on the floor for a year.  A pre-season price drop and I pulled the trigger.  It is obvious its such a niche machine as when I took it out for a test drive it had 1 km on it.  Now that it's mine I've put every km on it myself.

Going to be doing some modding, to make the bike more comfortable and to attempt the impossible -- create a bike that I can ride on the track and then the street without pounding my kidneys into dust.  First impressions is that the suspension is set up soft, so it's at least comfortable on 90% of the roads I ride.  The bars were swapped out, as I didn't like the bend -- they hiked my elbows up like I was a supercrosser.  The engine is pretty sweet, still gently breaking it it, but it seems pretty peppy, can easily go on the highway, and returned 58mpg.  There are lots of cool bolt-ons for these bikes, so stay tuned.  Goal is to have it broken in (as in 2000km) by the June trackday, so I can take it out with a clear conscience.  750km in and a month to go -- better get on it!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Saturday, April 30, 2016