I wanted to place one more reminder that this blog has moved here (http://nwroadrat.blogspot.com/). I’m going to start migrating content over soon. It will take some time, but when the migration is complete. I’ll probably delete this blog. I’m doing that to avoid the search conflict with one live blog competing with a dead one.

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Loud Pipes and Irony

I changed out the stock pipes on my bike for another set. The new set is much louder. I’ve had a post partially written about it, but it’s not finished. I want to rush this out because an incident again happened today.

My new pipes

I’ve since moved. Where I’m living now the traffic is thicker and more intense. It’s almost unforgiving during the morning commute and the trip home. Sudden lane changes by vehicles right into you, without warning or signal, can happen faster than a speeding bullet.

I’ve often ignored some advice from rider training clinics. It’s like having someone tell you all about how to do something, while the teacher has done little of it themselves. “Loud pipes save lives!” was one of the early tenants preached.

It’s hard to say how many lives have been saved by having a louder motorcycle. The problem is tracking the successes. I don’t know how you do it, but we can track the failures.

I added the new pipes to due to my present living location and the intensely thicker traffic. Personally, I do think they help but the conditions have to be right. What I mean is, if I’m not in the right spot for them to hear my bike, or their stereo is blasting (…boom, boom boom), or they’re distracted in some other way, they transport their car right into you. I’m talkin lane changes with no signal no warning. I try to keep my position staggered, but it’s hard when there’s little room.

You do what you must, which is be mentally prepped when the traffic is this thick. It happened yet again today. Another lane change right into me with no signal or warning. About two minutes later I rolled up behind the offending vehicle at an intersection. Another rider, if you can believe it, rolls up on a quiet Harley-Davidson. He saw the whole thing. We both open our helmets and the conversation goes like this…

Laughing he says: “a-Hahaha, I saw that! Man, people just don’t look.”

Me: “Well, fortunately I was awake and ready.”

Him: “I saw, they didn’t look, didn’t even turn his head!”

Me: “I couldn’t believe that. I hit my horn and he just kept going.”

Him: <he’s still cracking up>

Me: “Watch out for that one!”

The light turned green, waving we went our separate ways.

I think during rush hour traffic when people are making quick ill informed decisions, keeping up with the flow and staying out of the way has been a good strategy. Putting your trust in other things to do the job has mixed results. Now, if we want to talk about how louder pipes open your bike up for more power, now we’re talkin’. :twisted:

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I’ve decided to record and keep track of my training. It’s not to rave, but more to help me remember. I like looking back and it might be useful and a resume of sorts.

One day when I’m older and my work isn’t so consuming, I may consider being a rider coach. I say older because I want years of experience riding. Not just a “few” years. I also want additional experience on different types of bikes.

I think being a rider coach would be fun. For most, managing the controls on a motorcycle can be learned. The harder aspects are controlling fear and understanding blind spots. Training has made me a better rider and driver!

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My New Tachometer

I decided to purchase a tachometer for my bike. Its hard when you can’t hear on the freeway to remember if you’re in 4th or 5th gear. Now being able to view the rpm will help.

That silver piece if off my tank and will hold the tach. I’m wrapping it so it has a tighter fit in the hole. And yes, that’s an adult beverage in the background. No, I didn’t ride after consuming it.

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Hit 20K

I just hit the 20K mark on my Triumph America.

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Those dastardly Triumph fuel taps

I currently ride a 2006 Triumph America. While I rode a few bikes before purchase, it’s the first bike that’s my very own. It’s not fuel injected, but old fashion carburetor.

As with any piece of machinery that uses carburetors, they normally have what’s called a petcock or another term, a fuel tap. In short it’s to release and close off fuel from the holding tank. If you don’t turn it off and your bike sets for a long time, you can end up with gasoline mixed in with your oil. For mechanical novices, that’s bad.

Triumph America Fuel Tap or Petcock

I suffered with a very sticky and troublesome fuel tap. Sometimes turning would be difficult to downright stuck frozen. Doing what is most often recommended, spraying it with WD-40, wasn’t cutting it. Sometimes I felt WD-40 made it worse when the weather warmed.

I was starting to long for a fuel injected bike. Seeing new fuel taps were $100 USD and reading the problem just comes back, I was weighing options of trading my bike in for something newer and fuel injected. It was that irritating.

I solved my problem or at least learned how to manage it. My fuel tap works well with the right kind of lubricant. One theory for stickiness is the E-10 fuel sold in the USA. That could be true, but my bike also sat unused for a few years until I adopted it. A combination of E-10 fuel and storage are a recipe for problems for sure!

Holding screw to remove innards.

I’m not a trained mechanic. What I’m about to write I’ve tried but the long term affects are untested.

Some internet forum posts recommend loosening the screw at the bottom of the fuel tap to release pressure. This screw holds the innards in place so I passed on doing that. When the screw loosens and falls out, there’s a spring behind the lever and the innards will come out.

For starters on solving my problem I turned the fuel tap to OFF.  I removed the small screw below the fuel tap and held the on/off lever in. There’s a spring behind the lever and it will all come flying out if your not prepared. I found out the hard way and thank God and found that little spring.

I cleaned the inside of the tap, cleaned the turn lever, cleaned the spring and took out the rubber O ring and cleaned it also. There’s another piece for fuel shut off that was blue, but I didn’t take it out. I sprayed a petroleum based spray inside the open tap (Blaster). I then put it all back together and it’s been working like it just came off the show room floor.

I don’t think you have to take the fuel tap apart a lot, but maybe a once a year cleaning, like in the spring could be a good idea. Most times you can spray a lubricant into the fuel tap and not take it apart. There’s a lot of back and forth on the internet about WD-40 and what’s best to use. Here’s what I think…

  • WD-40. It’s good at breaking things loose, but I find it’s not a long lasting lubricant. Others have had excellent results in making their problems go away. Seems to turn sticky in hot temperatures.
  • Teflon Chain Saver. Yeah, call me stupid, but I was desperate and tried chain lubricant. I got mixed results and still its sticky sometimes.
  • Blaster Penetrating Catalyst. I’ve had good results with this.
  • Blaster Garage Door Lube…mixed results but more to the positive. Seems to turn sticky in hot temperatures.
  • Seafoam Deep Creep. Really good results.

YMMV. There you have it!

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Robbers got my stuff!

I was robbed today at work. They got into my saddle bags. It wasn’t too bad in a way because it appears my Triumph wasn’t vandalized.

They weren’t locking bags but they tore and cut both my saddle bag rain covers. They could have just pulled them off. They come off easily but instead they had to ruin them.

A fellow employee saw them in the act but couldn’t get out of the building in time. They were on bicycles. I called the police and did a quick search of the area. I had a good description but they were long gone, with my stuff.

I’ve used this bike for some pretty long trips. I mostly pack a few cheap tools in case I get stalled or have a flat tire. This changes things up. It looks like I’m going to have to switch to some hard case locking bags.

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