On any Sunday was a great film. Steve McQueen, Mert Lawwill, and Malcolm Smith showed us several versions of great motorcycling Sundays. Here I offer one humble interpretation of a perfect, to me, motorcycle Sunday.
First, you need to have a nice motorcycle. The Triumph Tiger 800XC will do that very nicely. Then you take it out on a nice and spirited ride on the country roads around town, in the morning hours, before things get too hot. Yes, the morning temperature was great traffic was low, the sky was blue, the landscape and the roads invited to some good throttle action.
To make things more interesting I was testing a new “accessory” on the bike, if you can call that an accessory. I was testing a revised windshield on my Tiger 800XC. One of the major problems with this bike, for me at least, is the wind turbulence I get at the helmet level. I tried adding a Touratech extension to the windshield but it did not work for me, it actually gave me the impression buffeting increased and after one single ride it was gone.
For motorcycle windshields, I’ve been learning, smaller is better. You usually have two options: keep the airflow as clean as possible going through your helmet or have a large windscreen to eliminate the airflow. I prefer the clean airflow. On my Multistrada I exclusively use the carbon fiber shorty version; it has worked very well for me and I do ride this bike on long distances and at some, well… good speeds, I would say without problems. Besides working well for me I think the carbon fiber piece looks great as well.
Then I realized I had somewhere on my garage a windshield (from Madstad Engineering) I had installed on my BMW Dakar several years ago. Let’s see how using only the base of that set up will work on the Tiger. Maybe it will do the job like in the Multistrada, with only the base mounted without the large 18-inch plexiglass windshield that came with it.
I installed the base by attaching it to four of the Tiger’s six OEM windscreen attachment points (the two front ones and the two behind the headlights). For the two screws behind the headlights I used two bicycle rear rack adjustable brackets that fit just about right to keep the “windshield” in what seems to be the right position. The front ones were even easier, installation worked really well, no need for new holes on the windscreen base (it already has plenty of holes that were either pre-drilled by Madstad or were drilled by me when I used this base to install two RAM bases for two GPS’s for the BMW).
So… how does it work? you ask on the very edge of your seat, I don’t doubt. Well, after 75 miles of riding at various speeds and various wind directions… I fear reporting that the results are inconclusive at this point. It seems better overall, still some buffeting remained but it seems better while there is more air pushing me back at the shoulders. And then there are the looks, it will require some getting used to. The best conclusion I can offer at this time is that I’ll keep it for now. That is, the rigging is already doing better than the Touratech fancy-looking laminar plexiglass addition, it seems.
Yes, but those looks, uh? At least satin black is a good match with the rest of the bike. Maybe it needs a white number sticker and that will make a difference, 68 could be the number, as in the number of the bike when I raced my first (the only, mind you) enduro race.
But there is more motorcycling fun for this Sunday. What about some light maintenance (chain cleaning) on the CB500X and throwing some water on the bike while at it?
When you keep the motorcycle clean, as a general rule, it offers a great baseline to make it look really clean with minimum effort at any time you want to spend more time cleaning. In this case, it was water only and a partial wipe. Five minutes of that and it was looking good.
Since we are on the subject of cleaning motorcycles, I used to ride with a guy who thought my bikes were not clean and I should not start a new ride with yesterday’s mud on it let alone last month’s or last year’s mud caked on the bike. Yes, I used to keep my bikes a bit on the un-kept side of things, stored them wet and all. One time, one of them spent the entire winter covered in slowly drying mud from a last ride in the fall. What a shame and how hard it was to clean it in the spring if I bothered. I used to wash it once a year and thought that was good.
That habit lasted until I started doing my own maintenance on my bikes. I apologize to all mechanics that took care of my bikes when they accumulated months of dirt riding on them and they had to clean it before they worked on it. Now I acquired more of a taste to keep my motorcycles clean – it has become part of the fun of riding and owning a motorcycle.
Since we are having this much fun, let’s talk some more about touchy subjects: what about chain lube? Yes, chain lube can generate extensive and colorful debates on motorcycle forums, so here goes a disclaimer: I’m not and expert on chain lubes, actually I’m not an expert on anything, and I’m not trying to convince you to follow my experience. And I do think all chain lubes, which are designed or recommended for O-ring chains, should work reasonably well on your motorcycle chains, one way or another.
That said, I know the “white stuff” I’ve been using until recently has been really good at keeping everything that comes in contact with the grease to stay attached to the chain. It’s like if it were a magnet. It sticks to chain, so does the dirt. Yes, dirt accumulates on the chain as abundantly as the amount of lube the manufacturers recommend you spray on your motorcycle’s chain.
This grease protects the chain and sprockets, but chain maintenance has become a chore on chains with these types of lube. I want to try a different approach for now and see how it goes. And WD40 has become my choice. For now. Only time will tell whether I will keep using WD40 to clean and then lube the chains.
The Multistrada and the Tiger have received the treatment as well. I would say it has been a half-done clean job on the Multistrada, the other side needs work, but it is a start.
But there is yet more fun to be had on this Sunday! After cleaning the chain of the CB500X I lit the grill to barbecue some steaks, while listening to soccer on the radio, having a cold beer for good measure, and then I started the last motorcycle project of the day: trying to see if it is possible to remove the heavy oxidation on the spokes of the Tiger.
Instead of windows cleaner as the general fix-all tool on the Fat Greek Wedding movies, in my garage the wonder product has become WD40, as of today. It worked on cleaning most of the oxidation on the spokes of the Tiger. Can you imagine if the motorcycle chains will really do better with WD40? I may need to find the generic brand for the kerosene and what ever else is in that can.
Well, that was it folks.
Yes, I know, I should be writing the riding reports on the Ducati XDiavel ride, and the awesome adventure with the Honda CB500X in the Death Valley, or the most recent ride on the BMW R nineT (while projecting riding the Scrambler version of the R NineT) and instead I’m here, babbling about a perfect Sunday that involved some simple riding and motorcycle maintenance.
Well, that’s why it was a perfect Sunday: because the motorcycles kept me away from the computer. And it was only “almost” perfect, as the title of the poster called, because my home town soccer team failed to win the easiest match of the season and with that it failed to reach the top of the charts. So close…
But the soccer championship is only half way gone, and so is the summer, there is a lot more to come. Thank you for reading.