Saturday, May 29, 2010

Get on the Bike

"Get on the bike ! Get on the bike, Mike !" (hear a loud Beastie Boys tune ?)

Remember 2 years ago when you could put your name on a MotoGP ? You just had to fill a form and your name was then printed on Kenny Roberts Jr's KR212V. That was cool, but now it seems so 2008 ... The idea was great for the fans who could have their name on what was the last appearance of the KR MotoGP team.

For the upcoming Laguna Seca MotoGP round, Yamaha is trying a revival of the concept with a similar plan named "get on the bike". As is was 2 years ago, the idea is still simple, but this time implies you send a picture of your face. You read well, you get the opportunity to put a picture of yourself on either Valentoni Rossi's or Jorge Lorenzo's M1. To apply, just click here. Try to smile at least if you do so.

Mocking up

In a rather Jekyll and Hyde style, here's how the german project looks like tonight.

As you can see, I'm in the process of putting it together in a road configuration. Plans have had to adjust to parts taking to long to arrive and big personal changes I'm facing these recent days. There's still a lot of work on the bike and it's going to a BMW dealer next week for administrative purposes.

The good news is that, with recent decisions I made, I'm going to have more time to throw in this project for the next 2 months or so. But that's theory ...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Electric coverage

Asphalt and Rubber is currently featuring a full coverage (story + pictures + practice and race videos) of the first ever TTX GP round at Infineon raceway. To be honest, I thought I would never ever talk about electric bikes and give them that much credit. And let's face it, I'm still not totally convinced they're what's future has to offer as the next generation of motorcycle races.

You know when you plan to barbecue, you know there will be the heat, the smoke and eventually the smell and that's where 80% of the fun comes from (the remaining 20% coming from the drink you're having while starting it up). The same goes for motorcycles to me. Both electric barbecues and motorcycles didn't look half fun as their charcoal and petrol alter egos.

But that was until I watched one of these videos. I have to admit that I've been blown away by these bikes and have to start to get used to them. The races still look a bit odd, but I didn't think some of the bikes could be that fast.

Check out by yourself. Get there and be sure to watch at least the 11 laps race video. This is ... interesting (see ? there's still a long road 'til I'm confortable with electric powered motorcycles)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

ABS removal : epilogue (hopefully)

Update : This post draws a lot of attention. Everyone reading this post to discover how to dump the I-ABS unit on his beloved BMW should also read this one about potential issues and how to solve them.

After having searched for days for a valuable solution to get rid of the ABS system on the R1100S, I remember being resigned to give up the idea. This bike's equipped with the I-ABS (stands for Integral-ABS, a version coupling front and rear brakes actions) version of the system and although there seems to have proper solutions to remove previous version of ABS on older R1100S, my searches and requests for help on both american and german forums did not give any result I was pleased with.

But that was until I sent an email to a Pelican Parts board member that seem to have done the job a couple of years ago, but did not describe how to do it. With little hopes of being replied to, I gave it a try. The guy (Jan) replied in less than a day and told me how he did it and how long his bike was running this way. Rather reassuring. Long story short, the way to go is to keep the electronic part of the ABS system and discard the hydrolic one.

Before showing what I did, a couple of words on why not just remove the whole ABS system. Well all the brake hoses have been changed to shorter and more direct routed ones, but that's really not enough. If you simply disconnect the I-ABS unit, the speedometer and brake light will immediately stop working. This is because the I-ABS unit is not just a pump that adds or removes a bit of brake pressure in the system. As with other features, it also computes the ABS sensor signal as a speed signal that is then sent back to the dashboard. Last thing to mention, do not try to bypass the I-ABS module plug : this does not work even if the wire diagram lets you think it will.

Now for the pictures. Here's what to do.

- This is what I started with this morning. Drill the 4 one-way screws retaining the electronic part of the module.
- Gently open and to discover what needs to be unpluged.
- Unplug the wires
- This is what you want to keep

- This is what you want to discard (rather keep it in a safe place as it doesn't come cheap even as a second hand part). And guess what, it apperas to be the heaviest part !

- This is what I ended up with. I cut a piece of metal to close and insulate the electronics.
Now this tiny and light box can be plugged back on to the bike. You now have working speedo and brake lights again. The only problem left is the "brake failure" light flashing on your dashboard. Simply remove the corresponding relay and off it goes (the other warning light is still flashing though, and I don't have a quick trick for that but to unplug a wire directly on the dashboard).

Pirelli ad

As a great Troy Bayliss fan, I could not resit to post this nice Pirelli Diablo Rosso ad spoted today in a motorcycle magazine. It's amazing that even after 2 years of retirement, his reputation of a rock-solid racer is still making its magic when it comes to selling motorcycle goods.

There are a lot of rumors these days because of Ducati's bad results in the Superbike championship (WSBK, that is). He is said to come back soon on a 1098R as third official rider to back up Frabrizio and Haga's efforts. At first as a one-race-only wildcard, his name was even cited to replace Fabrizio (mind the latter is ahead of Haga in the championship) prior to his recent win in South Africa. Now rumors are predicting Bayliss could be a full time rider for the rest of the season as well.

Even at 41, there's very little doubt his back to back will be spectacular.

Monday, May 10, 2010

6 cylinders

A couple of 6 cylinders motorcyles have popped out from all around the bike community these days. In a 2 weeks time, several stories about on 6 cylinders engines have been published and this gives me another occasion to mention some of the sites and blogs I usually wander on.

The question is : why are all these 6 cylinders project bikes popping at the same time ? Is spring making all the winter projects out ? Has BMW's 6 concept brought that much interest to the community ? In any case, I can't blame anyone for this as it brings light back to a glorious part of motorcycle history and gives life to exiting project bikes.

For you lazy readers, here are 4 of these projects with a nice picture and direct link to the full story.

From motorcyclepictureoftheday :

From Pipeburn :

From Bikeexif :

And another one from motorcyclepictureoftheday :

Finally, if you're lucky enough to put your hand on the May issue of the Visordown magazine, you'll read a nice story about inline, V and flat 6 cylinder engine applications in the motorcycle industry.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Weird appearance

As I was heading back home yesterday, trying to find the best way from a friend's house to mine, I had to stop alongside the road to figure out where I was going. Finding the best way (ya know the one that doesn't mean having to ride 40km on A roads) to get somewhere by just using your flair sometimes isn't just so simple, even more when the sky's so cloudy you can't even spot the sun.
So there I am, standing still on the side of the road waiting for my phone to get a clear GPS signal. After several minutes spent waiting for maps to download at Edge network speed (you can tell I was lost in the middle of nowhere ... not even a proper network coverage) and finding out which way to go, I felt like kind of observed. So I raised up my head from the phone I was staring at, and turned it quickly left to discover I was parked just in front of this statue.

It made a strange apperance. I must admit this weird encounter surprised me. It was like it said : "you made a wrong turn back there somewhere, Jerome", with a deep tone voice.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Brake faith

With this kind of rusty brake assembly, one got to have the faith when applying a bit of brake.

Spotted on BubbleVisor (go check it out, it's actually a great blog).

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Oil filter gone bad

What you're looking at is what's left of an oil filter removed from the R1100S. It's not supposed to end that bad, but it was stuck on the engine. The bike had not run for at least a year and a half and I suspect the salvage company to store the rather-difficult-to-sell bikes outside.

As you can see, I had to drill several holes in the filter, first (the central hole) to empty the remaing oil that was trying to flee through its surface damaged by unsuccessful attempts to remove it, secondly (peripheral holes) to provide more grip to a claw oil filter wrench. I had a moment with that filter, it was a nightmare that even forced me to put the bike on its side ... and yes I do mean on the right cylinder head ... Ouch !