Philosophy and Motorcycles

Philosophy and motorcycles are two of my favorite things in life. This blog will be bits of wisdom gleaned from a misspent youth and an adventurous dotage. People who like/love wisdom or motorcycles, classic or modern versions of either, are welcome to visit and comment.

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Location: Wisconsin, United States

I have been married to the same lovely woman for decades. We have one son, two cats, and live in rural Wisconsin, USA. I ride and rebuild motorcycles, and I am semi-retired. Favorite bikes are Yamaha XS650, FJ1200 and Ducati 900SS. My wife is a home care nurse. I am a Myers-Briggs INTP. She is ESFJ. Our son works at the Apple store in downtown SF and is teaching English as a second language in San Francisco, no grandchildren.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Three Friday 13ths

July 2012, the third Friday the 13th of the year. Could this be a year of ill omens? For me it has been a year of illumines. I actually learned a thing or three. As I get issues solved on my T3 I am coming to appreciate this machine more every time I drive it. It has a feel of torque similar to the Yamaha 920R, right in the friendly range where most of my driving actually happens. The T3 is very smooth and has a wonderful sound through the SuperTrap mufflers. The fish tails look good on the long and low Guzzi. One of the "lunchbox" hard bags has been repaired but the patch isn't very noticeable. They look appropriate on the chassis. Both tires and suspension need upgrades. The tires are old and hard as the heart of a jilted lover. The shocks remind me of my old Ducati track bike more than touring units. I'm reading articles to see what shocks other Guzzi fans recommend. I have read of people installing other forks on the T and T3 machines but I have yet to find an article that really explains what needs to be done and how to do it. Like other favorite motorcycles the Guzzi remains a work in progress. On a different note I have ordered a single carb manifold for my Honda GL1000. I plan to use a VW carb and will take photos and make notes of how the change works. I hope it will end my constant carb problems with the old Honda. That Wing is designated to be the engine for my Velorex sidecar. The Yamaha XS650 currently in use just doesn't have the power for American style travel. In a small country or an area where it was just a few miles between destinations it would be fine. In America, where we often travel 50 miles for lunch, it is too slow and quirky. The GL should be a far superior road machine. I hope I didn't shoot myself in the foot on this one. Time will tell. Meanwhile it is time to get out for a ride before the predicted 100 degree temperature makes it too uncomfortable to move. LN

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

I am finally back. Unlike some people who find time to write daily I am generally to busy to write more than occasionally. My only news is that I am currently selling a BSA for a friend and selling my wonderful 1971 Yamaha XS1B, a 650 also. The differences in the machines are very apparent. The BSA is a 1966. It has the usual BSA pushrod operated valves. Both are two valve per cylinder 650cc engines. There the similarities stop. The BSA has a tiny front brake while the XS1B has a large leading shoe brake. Gordon Jennings wrote of the early Japanese motorcycles that the only reason they put oil in the shocks was to keep the seals from squeaking. I concur. For this machine I have new Mike's XS shocks patterned after the originals but with a bit better action. Still not good but better. I haven't ridden this BSA nor any other for a number of years. I do remember them quite well. My BSA of the same vintage had a far better ride than the Yamaha. The frame and fork stayed composed where the Yamaha frame and fork seem almost at odds with each other. The Yamaha fork feels flexible by comparison. As for style I find them both to be quite attractive machines. If I could find a brand new example of each I would opt for the British machine. At their current ages I will go for the Yamaha for its reliability and ease of parts availability. I would not relish the thought of taking either on a cross country trip because since owning my BSA my body has aged beyond enjoying either of these except for local trips. Having said that they are both wonderful machines for use locally. A hundred miles passes quite pleasantly. When I compare either of them to my Moto Guzzi from that era I am amazed at how much I prefer the Guzzi. There is a machine on which I can rack up distance. To each his own. I hope both 650s sell. I am selling about 2/3 of my collection to concentrate on some more original projects like my baby Ducati and an XV920R cafe project. It is too hot to do much today but that will end soon enough. Living in the north as I do the heat does not last more than a few days. Still at 96+ today I am moving slowly. I just completed a rebuild of a Honda CB500T and have that for sale also. As a commuter machine it is great and a very pretty machine in candy red. Be well. LN