Saturday 21 February 2015

I have a project!

What is winter good for if not to provide us with free time to do ‘stuff’ to our motorcycles? I have been pretty busy in the shop doing various things but I was beginning to think I’d make it through to spring without a bike project.  Then I came across this post over at Richard’s where he described modifying his GoPro case to allow the camera to be run off bike power.

Brilliant! No more missed opportunities because of a dead battery, no more pulling off onto the shoulder to dig out a replacement battery, and, as a bonus, no more having to pull the camera from the case to upload videos. All I needed was a spare case and a power point of some sort.

It turns out the case was easy as they already make them with an open side for exactly this purpose, and my eBay friends in Thailand will send one to me no problem, free shipping, for the princely sum of $13 (Cdn). Done! 691-657_BShould be here in a few weeks.

Now all I have to do is decide what type of power point I want to install. There is no shortage of options so I can see myself spending more than a few minutes navigating my way through online catalogues looking for that perfect solution. But there’s no rush as it feels like this winter will be with us for quite a while yet.

Saturday 14 February 2015

How to spend a dreary winter day

Yesterday morning dawned bright and cold, –40 to be exact. At –40 it doesn’t matter whether you are using the Celsius or Fahrenheit scale – they cross over at –40 which, in anyone’s experience, is just damned cold. Today was milder (only –16C) but windy and snowing so not all that pleasant either. So what to do? Why, go to the motorcycle show, of course!
And so I slipped and slid my way (on 4 wheels) into Ottawa to attend the 2015 International Motorcycle Show. Truth be told I wasn’t really sure it would be worth the trip as I’d been pretty disappointed the last time I went. But I’m glad I did as the show had improved a lot and was much better than expected.
There seemed to be more dealers in attendance, and they all had lots of bikes on display, including some of their used inventory. The custom bike exhibits were more expansive and well laid out to afford good views of some of the artwork on display. And, for the SOA fans, there was even an autograph signing by Chibs and Bobby – for a fee, of course.
There weren’t many aftermarket vendors there, but in the past I’ve found their offerings to be mostly old stock that they were trying to finally get rid of, so they weren’t missed by me. But one group that I’ve always enjoyed seeing that wasn’t there this year is the vintage bike owners. Usually the CVMG (Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group)  could be counted on to have a dozen or so of their prime specimens on display, and I would usually meet a couple of people I know at their exhibit. Too bad. I hope they’ll be back.
As mentioned, the dealers were well represented and I (along with many others) got to try on various bikes for size. (Sorry to have to use internet photos, but crowds around these bikes made getting pictures difficult.) Having long lusted after a new Triumph Bonneville I had to give it a go. Immediate flashback to the sixties: uncomfortable slab seat, narrow tank and bars, and a sit-up-and-beg riding position. I think I’ve moved on.
MH6_MY14_Bonneville_MM_RHS(Photo: Internet)
Enough nostalgia, on to the BMWs. The adventure tourers and the sports bikes did nothing for me, but the K 1600 GTL felt like I was sitting in my La-Z-Boy at home. Beautifully balanced, perfect ergonomics (for me, at least), I could easily envision myself heading out to the wet coast in a series of 600 mile days. Very, very nice indeed, but what would I do with all my Harley tee-shirts?
normal_36(Photo: Internet)
The Ducatis were next. The last time I actually rode one was decades ago and it was a Desmo 450cc single. Well, we’ve come a long way since then baby and now the pride of the pack is the Ducati Monster 1200 S. With that almost-cafe racer positioning and some incredible Italian engineering between my knees I had visions of tearing up the twisties at an outrageous clip. Then I remembered how many birthdays I’ve experienced and disembarked, slowly, with a hint of regret.

And, of course, all the new Harley models, especially the Road King and Electra Glide – both on my when-I-win-the-lottery list. Maybe even this CVO model for a cool 46 grand, plus taxes. (Worth every penny ‘cause I really like the paint scheme.)

When I go to these shows I also like to see what I can’t see in the showrooms, so I’m always attracted to the custom bikes. While I’d never own one (Two thoughts always come to mind. First, that looks really uncomfortable to ride. And, second, how much would it cost to fix a stone chip in the paint?) I do admire the creativity and artistry involved.
Also got to check out some of the 3-wheeled offerings although I don’t think I’m quite there yet. But, to be fair, I’ve never ridden one either. Who knows, maybe it would be love at first sight ride.

So, I managed to escape this year’s seemingly endless winter for several hours, dream a little bit, immerse myself in all things motorcycle, and see Chibs and Bobby on the show floor (when I didn’t have my camera ready, of course). All that and I got in on a senior’s discount! Not a bad day.