Archive for the ‘Suzuki motorcycles’ Category

The Test Of My Developing Dirt Bike Skills

Monday, August 29th, 2016
Dirt Bike On Beam

First one beam, then two, and then two separated by a few feet.

After we rode Mike’s maze up to the house I needed to catch my breath. It’s a lot of work whipping a motorcycle around in an extended series of tight, extreme turns. Mike was ready to keep going. “What do you want to do next?” he asked.

I was loath to call it a day. I don’t get this kind of opportunity often enough. But just to ride the trail back to the track and then ride it to the house again felt like not enough. But Mike had an idea. We took the trail back to the track, this time with me in the lead.

So once again, tight turns where you have to turn your head absolutely as far as it can go in order to see the exit of the turn. Multiple times where the only thing to do to keep from falling over was to goose the throttle. Getting to be fun.

And then back at the track Mike set up the beams I had ridden straight over before into a couple end-to-end balance beams. The idea was to get up on the first beam, ride the length of it, and continue on the second one. This looked interesting!

It also turned out not to be too hard. I had a lot of times to work at it, too. It didn’t take long before I had made my first run the length of both of them. Most of the time I went off before I got to the end but that was no big deal. It wasn’t as if going off meant falling over; the bike just kept going but now I was on the ground. And sometimes I was hardly aware when I went off.

But of course Mike wanted to challenge me. So he separated the two beams by about two or three feet. Now the idea was to ride the length of the first one, come off, and then get up on the second one. This was a lot harder. Although I took my shot at it quite a few times, there was only one time when I was able to get down off the first and then up on the second. The rest of the time I just couldn’t get off the first and redirect quickly enough to get up on the second. But it was fun trying.

Then it was time to ride the maze/trail back up to the house to drop the bike I was using at the garage. Once again, riding the tight twists and turns, standing as much as I could, sitting as much as I needed to. And I was getting better and better. Which set me up for the real test. My own bike, my 650cc V-Strom, was down at the track. Kathy drove me back down to it and Mike came on his bike. I had two choices: just ride straight back to the house or take my V-Strom on Mike’s trail. We’re talking here a much heavier and less agile bike than these little dirt bikes I’d been on all day.

No one who knows me will be surprised I chose to take the trail. I mean, the whole point of getting some dirt bike training is so I will be more comfortable and more skilled at riding the V-Strom off pavement.

I was really glad Mike had suggested earlier that I put the bike in one gear and leave it there, avoiding having to even think about the clutch or shifting gears. You can do that on these bikes that rev really low. So off I went, whipping my bike hard around these turns that had seemed tight on a much smaller bike. And doing it. Wahoo! And then there were the times when it became suddenly very evident that this was not a dirt bike, and–most importantly–didn’t have dirt bike tires on it. My V-Strom has tires that are a compromise between full dirt and full street. They lean more heavily toward dirt but they’re not all-out dirt tires.

I counted three times in that run where that rear tire just came totally loose and started spinning out. In each case I dabbed, putting my foot down to keep the lean angle from going too far, and at the same time I goosed the throttle to make it stand up more. Was I thinking this all through in my head? Of course not, it was all just instinct coupled with experience. At times I ran way wide of the trail but no big deal, just head back to it as quickly as possible.

And then we were back at the house. Mike, ever the serious instructor, took another 10 minutes to discuss dirt riding etiquette with me and then I was headed home. And you know, their gravel road was just as simple and non-challenging as it could possibly be. That’s my objective right there.

Biker Quote for Today

A bike makes you a motorcyclist. Attitude makes you a biker.

First Rides of 2016

Thursday, January 7th, 2016
Motorcycle with snow behind it.

Sure there's still snow on the ground but that's no reason not to ride.

OK, I was wrong about our street being clear enough to ride on Tuesday. So I went down the sidewalk again. I’ve got motorcycles that need to be ridden, you know.

I took the Kawi out first, then the Honda, then the Suzuki. There’s more snow predicted for Thursday night and you never know when you’re going to get trapped at home again, and bikes need to run. So I ran them.

It was a warm day but I bundled up and put on my electric gear. The Kawi has good wind protection so I never turned the vest on and while the heated gloves were only set on the lowest setting, I considered turning them off.

The Honda has a lot less protection, just a windshield. Now I was wishing the gloves were set warmer.

Finally, the Suzuki was just about right, enough protection and enough electric warmth.

I also had all the other gear on. While I agree with ATGATT for the most part, the fact is I rarely wear my chaps. But I had them on on Tuesday, along with helmet, gloves, jacket, and boots. ATG. At this time of year you never know when you’re going to hit a bit of ice or gravel or something that is going to put you down. And that was almost exactly what happened.

I was coming north on University Boulevard past DU and was amazed how much new construction is going on along that stretch. It seems every old building for several blocks on the east side of University, south of Evans, has been removed and new multi-story buildings are going up. So there is a good bit of mud on the street from the construction vehicles. No problem, though.

Then I went to turn east on Evans and ran across what I took to be just a wet spot on the street. Wrong. It was a thin layer of mud and my back end swung way, way out to the side. I’m sure the guy behind me was wondering if this guy on this bike was going to fall right in front of him. I was wondering, too.

But the tire caught dry pavement and found traction and then, as I knew it was going to do, it stood up straight and shook the way a bike will do when you high-side. But I was going slowly and did not give it any throttle so I was able to ride it out. That definitely gets your attention, though.

By the time I got back from the third ride more of the street was clear and I only needed the sidewalk for a short distance, but even on Wednesday when I went out again the sidewalk was necessarily part of my route. We’ll see what happens with snow on Thursday.

Biker Quote for Today

Motorcycles are like girls: It’s always better to have two.

A Good Bump In Miles Ridden In 2015

Monday, January 4th, 2016
motorcycles on a Utah highway

The OFMC in Utah.

The miles I covered on my bikes in 2015 totaled more than a 50 percent increase over 2014. That’s a really good thing. And the miles I put on the bikes far surpassed what I put on my car, too, which is another good thing. The only somewhat negative thing about last year is that I still didn’t come close to my best years on the bikes, where in some cases I just simply rode a lot more than I did in 2015, even though 2015 is an increase.

Every year at this time I check and record my mileage and see how the year went. This year’s numbers:

I only put 4,957 miles on my car, which is part of why the bike miles totaled more. That’s down from 7,558 in 2014. On the V-Strom I covered 3,849 miles, which is up from 2,596. For the CB750 it’s actually down, 531 in 2015 vs. 712 in 2014. I wouldn’t have thought that was the case but the numbers don’t lie. And for the Concours it’s 2,121 in 2015 vs. 1,037 in 2014. Total for the bikes: 6,501.

Just to put that in perspective, in 2012 I rode the Concours alone more than that: 6,785 miles. And in 2011 I rode the Concours alone 10,004 miles. Then add miles for the other bikes. But at least I’m back on an upward trend. And I expect those numbers to really surge in 2016. I mean, I have a lot more time to ride now. How could they not increase?

Right now, of course, the weather is the issue, blocking me from my first ride of the year. But the weather is in my favor now. Saturday was warm and sunny. Sunday was warm and sunny. Monday is warm and sunny. I went out on Saturday and inspected the streets around our house and concluded that by Tuesday the snow and ice would be melted sufficiently so I should be able to get out of the neighborhood. I’m really counting on it because the forecast is for more snow starting on Thursday. Let’s get this year started!

Biker Quote for Today

The engine charges the bike’s battery, and the ride recharges my own batteries. — Clement Salvadori

The Bike On Dirt, Dirt On The Bike

Monday, July 13th, 2015
Muddy Suzuki

The dirtiest this bike has ever been since I've owned it.

I was out 10 days on this last ride and on almost every single one of them there was at least some dirt to ride. I expected this and that was part of the reason I took the V-Strom.

Now, Kevin has tons of experience on dirt and gravel and Jeff, although he was on a Moto Guzzi Le Mans, “is not allergic to gravel.” Jeff could never be allergic to gravel because he lives up a small side canyon in Idaho where the road goes to gravel long before you get to his driveway and then his driveway itself is much worse gravel than the road. I’m not in a league with either of them, though I hope I’m getting better and it is experiences like this trip that are making me better.

The first time we got off the pavement was when we got a campsite between Alpine Junction and Jackson, up in Wyoming. This was alongside the Snake River in a narrow and steep canyon. It was loose gravel and, as I said, steep, so I was intimidated. But I was also determined and I took it very slowly and carefully and was relieved when we got parked. Then I worried about getting down the next morning.

Getting down, however, turned out to be no problem. Kevin had told me the first time we rode together to keep my hand off the front brake going downhill on loose gravel and I had learned the hard way riding once with Ron Coleman what can happen if you do touch that brake. So I just took things nice and slow while using the rear brake and it was far easier than going up.

Later, after we had been up on the Beartooth, we turned north out of Red Lodge, Montana, headed toward Helena. It was blazing hot so it was no surprise when Jeff, who was in the lead, braked suddenly and turned off down a fishing access road. He has one of these vests that soak up and hold water that evaporates as you ride to keep you cool. He wanted to soak it in the river. Kevin wanted to soak his t-shirt. And being on the V-Strom I just went right along, not the slightest issue at all. It would not have been that way on my Concours. The Connie hates gravel. And there were other pull-offs like this that were too small and numerous to mention.

A couple days later we arrived at Jeff’s so I got to ride up to his house and yes, I had a little apprehension, but made it fine. I also had some apprehension about leaving the next day but that went smoothly, too. I do think I am getting better.

Two days after that Kevin and I were heading back to Colorado and we camped up a side canyon in Utah. The road turned to gravel–no problem–and after we set up camp we wanted to run up the road to see more of this gorgeous canyon and where the road went. Where the road ended in a turnaround loop it was the roughest piece of dirt we encountered the whole trip. This was stuff that threw you around harshly and we also rode through some water and some mud. I’ve been through water before but never mud. So I didn’t know what to expect.

I just hit it with some speed and tried to keep the front straight and rode it through. No big deal. And I got the bike dirtier than it has ever been since I’ve owned it. In fact Kevin’s bike didn’t get anywhere near as dirty as mine did and we’re not quite sure why that was. But I’m a little proud of that mud and haven’t gotten around to washing it off yet.

Riding out of that canyon was our last run off the pavement. Out of my 3,053 miles on this trip it all added up to less than 53 miles but whatever it was it was more miles than the OFMC ever rides off pavement. I like having a chance to ride with other guys as well as with the OFMC. This was a good trip.

Biker Quote for Today

A bike in the dirt is worth two on the pavement.

Vintage Motorcycle Show Will Be June 7

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

by Matt Wessels

The Vintage movement is in full force and old motorcycles are finding their way back to daylight and backroads in record numbers. This year will mark the 5th annual Vintage Motorcycle Show in Golden, Colorado.

Heritage Square will host the event one last time before they close their doors at the end of 2015, and all of their facilities will be operational for the show. Those facilities include bathrooms, restaurants, and a bar.

Erico Motorsports, GrandPrix Motorsports Indian and Foothills Triumph/BMW will be there showcasing some of the factory retro motos. Last year they had a half-million dollar Vincent show up, by the name of the Black Prince. It might make a re-appearance at this year’s show.

The show (Sunday, June 7) is open to anybody with a vintage motorcycle following the structure of a controlled open floor. To enter, respond to the evite and drop a comment so that Bob can get an idea of how many bikes there will be. Being a part of the show is just as free as attending it. They are taking donations for Hospice care, so bring some stray bills to support a good cause!

Much like the show being a celebration of all that was good and right in the motorcycle world, the Hospice donations are a celebration of good people who make it their life’s work to increase the quality of life for those who can not completely provide it for themselves. The idea was started when a friend was immensely impressed with the Hospice workers who take care of his mom, and wanted to give back.

The VJMC is also giving back by footing the bill for the event and wants all motorcycles from all backgrounds, manufacturers, and styles to attend. This isn’t a profitable endeavor, this is simply two enthusiasts who want to bring like-minded people together and celebrate good bikes, good food, good talk, and good experiences.

If you missed the link up above, go HERE to register for attendance. IT’S FREE!

For any other questions or comments, please reach out to Bob @ superhawk65@gmail.com

Many of the same folks meet at the GB Fish and Chips on the first Thursday of every month for Old Bike Night. There are a few other Old Bike Night meetups around the front range area, but not all necessarily connected with this one.

One Less Colorado Motorcycle Rental Source

Monday, April 6th, 2015
V-Strom on Cinnamon Pass

Out on Cinammon Pass with Kevin back in 2010.

I was sorry to get the word from my friend Kevin Smith that he is shutting down Colorado Mountain Moto, his motorcycle rental business in Gunnison.

Said Kevin, “Seems I just can’t do enough volume here in Gunny. The good news is I can back to more riding and less working.” And yeah, we’ve already got some riding planned for the summer.

Kevin was the first one who ever got me out on the dirt on a V-Strom. He and I, with me on one of his V-Stroms, rode over Cinnamon Pass back in 2010 and to this day I swear that was one of the best days on a motorcycle I have ever had. It was the height of fall colors, a stunningly beautiful day, and what a total trip it was to be up in the mountains on this little dirt route having a blast.

Kevin is also the one responsible for me having my own V-Strom now. About two years ago he called me to say he had a line on a really good ’06 V-Strom that I could have very inexpensively if I wanted it. I said yes and a couple days later he showed up at my door with this bike on a trailer.

It’s too bad he needed to shut the business down, but I think I understand it. I did a post here awhile ago about the proliferation of motorcycle rental outfits in Colorado and at the time I quoted Ron Coleman, who runs Western Dual Sport Motorcycle Adventures, telling me that business is good and he just figures that the market is growing and there’s room for everyone, at least everyone who is out there now.

Presumably true, except that Kevin had one disadvantage: he was in Gunnison. Now you might think that would be an advantage because he’s right there in the midst of a lot of gorgeous riding. But in reality, most people who want to rent bikes to ride in Colorado fly into Denver and then pick up a bike from someone reasonably close by the airport. By the time they get to Gunnison they already are on two wheels.

So one note here: If you have an interest in a V-Strom or dirt bike, Kevin is now in the process of selling his. Drop me a line if you’re interested and I’ll put you in touch with him. I hoped to list here what he has for sale but he hasn’t replied to my query as of right now.

Update four hours later: Kevin just told me the only one has left now is “an 09 strom with 20k on it. it is orange and is lowered. Comes with tank bag engine guard ,skid plate, and soft panniers. Askin $4500 obo. ”

Biker Quote for Today

Dirt is for riding. Pavement is just to get you there.

Riding Numbers Looking Better In 2014

Thursday, January 1st, 2015
My three motorcycles

Having three bikes reduces the number of miles you put on any one bike.

My mileage numbers were up on all three bikes in 2014, so that’s the good news (at least as far as I’m concerned). And down on the car. I would have liked the numbers to go further in each direction but at least they moved in the right directions.

The Honda was up the most percentagewise, although it had the lowest base to start from. I rode it 712 miles last year, compared to a paltry 327 miles in 2013. That’s the thing with having three motorcycles: time spent on one is often time not spent on another.

The Concours numbers were still a tiny fraction of what they had been the four years I spent freelancing full-time, but at least I put in more than 1,000 miles on it, which I had not in 2013. Total miles for 2014 were 1,037, compared to a piddling 666 in 2013. Compare that to the 9,437 I put on the Connie in 2012. I’ll point out though that I took the Suzuki on the OFMC trips in 2013 and in 2014, so that reduced the Kawi numbers substantially. The Connie is the bike I normally like to take on that trip.

And how did the Suzuki do? It rang up 2,596 miles compared to 2,294 the previous year. So that was respectable.

Meanwhile, I only put 7,558 miles on my car, compared to 10,109 in 2013. Match that with the total of 4,345 for the three bikes versus 3,287 the year before and you get more than 1,000 more miles on the bikes and about 2,500 fewer car miles. I’ll take that.

The difference this year had an awful lot to do with the fact that I just simply rode to work more often in 2014 than I did in 2013. I also went to work less, having cut back from five days a week to four days a week in about June. And I still ride the light rail to work a couple days most weeks.

I’m looking for things to change seriously in 2015. My job at the National Park Service will be drawing to a close around the first of May and I just don’t see any way in the world that I’m not going to ride a heck of a lot more and drive my car a whole lot less. Plus, the OFMC is looking at taking several trips this summer instead of the usual one.

I have a strong expectation that 2015 is going to be one heck of a good motorcycling year. Bring it on!

Biker Quote for Today

I’d rather be a rider for a minute, than a spectator for a lifetime.

New Tire, Chain, Sprockets, Air Filter for the V-Strom

Monday, September 22nd, 2014
Putting a new chain on a V-Strom

Ron Coleman putting the new chain and sprockets on my V-Strom.

I consider myself very fortunate to know and deal with motorcycling people who are a lot more adept at some things than I am. Such is the case with Ron Coleman, who runs Western Dual Sport Motorcycle Adventures.

It’s not that I don’t have a mechanical bent, but I do not have the tools to even try doing some of the work it takes to keep a motorcycle running. Ron recently helped me get a new rear tire on the V-Strom as well as a new chain and sprockets. He also replaced the air filter. Out of all these tasks, the only one I could conceivably do myself is the air filter. Having seen it done twice now I’m actually thinking I could do it.

For the tire, forget it. I don’t have a tire changing machine and I know from experience how tough it is to change a tire without one. Ron does and he made short work of getting this new Shinko on. Now I have matching Shinkos front and rear and can’t wait to get out in the dirt and see how it feels. I was on the dirt a little when we went to the Black Hills in July and the bike was very unstable. When you figure that I had a nearly bald street tire on the rear it’s no surprise. Now I’ve got real rubber back there.

The one thing I did see from the tire change was how to take the wheel off the bike and put it back on. I might be able to do that, which could be a good thing if it ever came to needing to take the wheel and tire somewhere to have someone else do the tire replacement.

And there is no way I’d ever be able to replace the chain and sprockets myself. For one thing, getting the old chain off entailed using a grinder to cut away the heads of two pins in the chain, so as to open up the loop. Replacing the sprockets was pretty straightforward but even then the fact that Ron had the right tools made the job so much easier than it might have been. Putting the new chain on also required cutting away an extra link and then using a specific tool to pop in the connecting links and peen (as in ballpeen hammer, I presume) them to spread the ends so they don’t slip out.

I watch this all going on and I see exactly why I generally pay someone else to do it. I don’t mind getting dirty, and I’ve always enjoyed taking things apart and fixing them and putting them back together, but this is just out of my league.

To get to the air filter it is necessary on this bike to remove the gas tank. That stopped me once in the past when I was going to replace the spark plugs on my Concours. I had no idea how to remove the tank. I still don’t.

On the V-Strom it just takes removing a few screws and then raising the tank up on a hinge while disconnecting the fuel line. Best to do this when you do not have a full tank–all that gas is heavy. So you lift the tank off and then take four or five screws out to remove the housing and presto–there’s the air filter. Lift it off, put a new one in, replace the housing and drop the tank back on. Put the screws back in and voila!

It really is good to know people like Ron. I’m very indebted to him for everything he has helped me with on this V-Strom. Ron knows V-Stroms really well because he has several that he rents along with a bunch of other bikes, including his latest, a Yamaha Super Tenere. After the work was all done we went for a ride and I rode the Tenere. I’ll tell you about that shortly.

Biker Quote for Today

There is no physical training regimen so strict that it can’t be undermined by a rigorous program of deferred motorcycle maintenance.

Listing Motorcycle Rentals in Colorado

Thursday, August 21st, 2014
Kevin Smith of Colorado Mountain Moto

Kevin Smith of Colorado Mountain Moto was one of the first rental folks I ever went riding with.

I’ve been in touch recently with Ron Coleman, who runs Western Dual Sport Motorcycle Adventures, and I asked how business is doing in the motorcycle rental field here in Colorado considering that so many more companies have gotten started in the last few years. I said I hoped there was enough business that people don’t start folding left and right.

Ron’s reply was that business is good and he just figures that the market is growing and there’s room for everyone, at least everyone who is out there now.

That is so great. Before I ever bought my first bike my roommate and I decided one day to rent a bike just to see how much we might get into riding. We naively went to a nearby shop and found that there was nothing. No one rented bikes back then. What were we thinking?

Times have changed a little, haven’t they?

So I thought I’d do a run-down here of the rental places I know of here in Colorado. I’ll make note that I’m not going to go into the list of Harley dealerships because I think pretty nearly all of them do rentals. Just add them to the list of the others.

Of course there’s Ron with WDSMA. He used to run strictly Suzuki V-Stroms but now also has Suzuki DR 650s and a Yamaha Super Tenere. He used to have a BMW GS800 but I don’t see that mentioned on his site so maybe he got rid of that one.

Kevin Smith, with Colorado Mountain Moto, runs V-Stroms out of Gunnison and he also now has at least one Honda XR650L.

One of the newcomers is Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Adventures, owned by Paul and Marsha Minock. Unlike many of these folks, I don’t know them. Their website says they offer BMW F800GS and F700GS.

Colorado Motorcycle Adventures (do you start to see a theme in the names and the types of bikes rented?) is run by Scott Lee. I rode with him earlier this summer and had every intention of doing so again sometime soon but boy the summer is flying by in a hurry. Scott has a whole herd of bikes, from KTMs to BMWs to Triumphs and Kawasakis.

Ben Kriederman has been operating House of Motorrad for a few years now. He specializes in BMWs, as the name suggests, and recently opened a store in Boulder. I haven’t ridden with Ben but he did fix me up with some good gear for my V-Strom.

Colorado Sports Rent is run by Brad Pester. Brad rents a lot of recreation gear and dirt bikes are just a small part of his offering but they’re the only bikes he has. I spoke with one of his employees recently who told me they were considering getting a couple street bikes as well.

Another outfit that has a whole stable of different bikes is Colorado Tour Bike Rentals and Sales. They have a lot more road bikes than the others I’ve mentioned so far. I don’t know much else about these folks; I’ve never met or talked with them.

Of course along with all the Harley dealerships there is also EagleRider. EagleRider rents mostly Harleys but they do have other bikes as well. I’ve met the manager of the Denver location several times but can’t remember his name just now. I’ve also rented from EagleRider and was on a media tour with them once. Recently another EagleRider location opened Grand Junction.

Another one I really don’t know anything about is Extreme Rentals. They appear to have a number of Honda dirt bikes.

MountainADV.com is out in Durango and they rent KTM and BMW dual sport bikes.

The folks at San Juan Backcountry rent some dirt bikes plus ATVs and Jeeps.

And finally, there is ScooTours, a scooter rental outfit in Denver. This is run by David Howard. David and I went out scooting one day. I keep intending to touch in with him to see how business is going. Scooters are fun, you know. One of these days I’m going to buy one.

So those are the ones I know of. If you are aware of any rental outfits I haven’t listed please send me a note. It’s just amazing to me that all these companies have gotten going and they’re all staying in business. That’s just great.

Biker Quote for Today

A ride on a summer afternoon can border on the rapturous. The sheer volume and variety of stimuli is like a bath for my nervous system, an electrical massage for my brain, a systems check for my soul.

Resolving the V-Strom Handlebar Problem

Monday, May 19th, 2014
V-Strom handlebars

This diagram will help you understand this procedure.

When I went to work on it Saturday morning I was surprised how quickly and easily I resolved the various issues with replacing the handlebar end weight that got busted off when the bike fell over a couple weeks ago. Here’s how it went.

First I had to figure out how to put the whole assembly back in and have it stay. I had speculated that the nut on the very end (#9 in that diagram above) must screw into something inside the bar. Nope. I shone a flashlight up in there and there was nothing at all. Then it dawned on me: That rubber stopper (#8) is sandwiched between the nut and that washer (#7). Put the whole thing together but don’t tighten it down too much, slip the whole assembly inside the bar, and then tighten the screw such that it compresses the stopper, making it expand outward until it forms a seal with the inside of the bar. Presto! Solid and secure.

Then I turned to the other problem: how to get the broken bolt out of the damaged side.

Looking at the assembly from the undamaged side, I could see that flush with the broken end of the bolt was the rubber insert (#5). Maybe I could just grab that with some pliers and pull it out and that would make it easy to grasp the broken bolt.

I first used some needle-nose pliers to grip it and pull. It seemed to be coming but when I released it it drew back in almost completely. Almost. I worked at it on the other side and once again it came out and stayed out just the barest amount. Going back and forth I got it out enough that I was able to grab it with some regular pliers and then I really went to work on it. I got a bit more out on one side, then a bit more on the other, until the whole thing slipped out. Then it was easy to grip and twist the bolt and as soon as the pressure was reduced on the rubber stopper that whole assembly slid right out.

I then had an issue removing the broken bolt from that thin metal sleeve (#6). At the outside end it was right where the bolt broke, and it got damaged, too. Ideally I would have gotten a new sleeve, but I didn’t have one and wanted to get this resolved now, not later. I stuck the thing–with the bolt still in it–in the vise and did my best to bring it back close to round so the bolt could slide out. That worked.

Then putting the whole assembly back together with the new bolt was troublesome, too, because of the misshapen tube. I worked on it some more with the vise and got it reasonably OK, and then tapped the end of the bolt to get it to go through. Some more shaping in the vise and it seemed acceptably good. It went together and slipped into the bar.

The next issue was that the handguard had ripped off when all this happened, and the inside end of the guard that used to have a hole through the plastic/rubber/whatever now was an open notch. But the bottom side was designed as an open notch and the outer connector was, too. I figured that in all three cases if I could just get that bolt to cover and grip a piece of the guard it should hold sufficiently well. It did. More success.

Then finally, with the handguard in the position it naturally fell into, the little throttle lock I use no longer cleared the guard. I experimented with twisting it into less natural positions and found one where there was no interference. I tightened the bolts securely at that point.

And the job was done. Now all that remained was to take the bike out for a test ride. I know, this is one of those “it’s a dirty job but someone has to do it” kind of things, but hey, I’m up to the task. And I’m not one to leave a job uncompleted. So yeah, if you saw someone out of a blue V-Strom Saturday it might have been me.

Biker Quote for Today

My favorite ride is the one I’m about to start!