Your Sport Touring Motorbike Fix

Nov 19, 2023TranscriptCommentShare

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Mount Airy to Maggie Valley

Brian and Robin drop the cam walk hammer while mapping a route to Maggie Valley. Music by Otis McDonald. Download our feed here.


As legible as we are intelligible ...


Brian: are you good? It's um, 40s, I think 46 degrees and raining here. And, uh,

Robin: I think it's like that everywhere. Cause that's, what's coming in right now for us in Texas. Okay.

Brian: Wow. I thought you were going to say, Oh, it's like 80 degrees and sunny. And I was going to say, you know, piss on you, but, you know,

Robin: It was 80 degrees and sunny today. And we knew about, there was a cold front coming for the past few, and it's going to be like the next four days high of like 45, 50, and that's the high. And then we're supposed to get good again. So I'll, I'll give you a full volley for serve to give me hell about it.

Brian: Yeah. I mean, well, you know, that's why you're there. That's why you got wheels on

Robin: your shit. You would think that well, okay. So Maggie's bikes seems to be intermittently starting. So I'm taking small rides. But the beamer, the beamer is, it's a project bike right now. It is in pieces everywhere. And some of those pieces are getting very, very annoying. I got a, uh, tail tidy for it. And you have the option for sure of using their screws when you put the bikes pieces back together. So whichever component would hold on the tail section, there are going to be some different connection points now in Europe, they provide screws for it. Well, one of them, they're like, use the original washer. That's a plastic washer and the screw is too small for it. It just falls right off. The other is that like. Those are shouldered. They did not include shouldered screws. I have to mind how much torque I'm going to be using with these things. So I'm really kind of thinking about how I want to go about this. I'm happy. I could not have done this without Maggie. She has been on the instructions and helping me sort everything. And back to the matter is I'm. Reassembling right now. And I'm finding, well, this bulk Torx head has a five millimeter shoulder. Why is there only one of them? The whole thing is a mirror image process. What the hell happened? It's starting to come back to me. Well, I was starting to lose it before I came in here to record the podcast. So that's my idle chit chat for this round, Brian, your turn. How are you doing? What's

Brian: good. I'm good. I'm good. You know, I, I, I can offer no help other than encouragement. Uh, thank you. Persevere. You will get there because yeah, I, I, I was. I just basically, I was in a similar situation this morning, and I worked through it today. So, got the, got the GS 850 back together. Um, basically I've been chasing this noise, and, um, the last step in, Making sure I was able to, to find it was what I thought it was, was to redo all the sealing in the exhaust system. And, you know, you've got 40 year old gaskets and, you know, so there's a lot of stuff you have to dig up replacements for. There's some guy in Norway that makes exhaust seals. There's anyway. Anyway, got that in and also there was, there were, uh, as usual, there were issues with the fasteners holding on the exhaust onto the cylinder head, 40 years of whatever. Um, and really nothing was stuck. It was just that I had a couple of threads that were worn out. And so I had to helicoil a few. Of those on the, on the cylinder head. And I ended up installing studs and in the studs I bought were too short. So I had to buy some others that I could only get in one place. They were expensive. You know, you know, you've been there, you know how that is. I am there. You're yeah, you're in, you're in the thick of that, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Um, Anyway, got the bike back together. Um, fired it up. And so all the exhaust leaks are gone, so I'm not making any weird noises from the exhaust. It's not pooting. It's not ticking. It's not doing anything. So you confirmed that that was the source? No. So the source of the noise, what I've confirmed, and I have video I can play for you, uh, that is astonishing. Anyway, you know, you can hear what's going on. There's nothing to see in the video. I just needed to record the sound. Anyway, uh, on these old GS eight fifties and everybody's going to be really bored, but I'll to cut to the chase, there's a noise that happens when the cam shaft kind of bangs back and forth, um, on some of the early GS eight 50 engines, my bike's an 83, but it's wearing an engine from an 80 or 81. I don't know which, I don't know where it came from. Um, I didn't know that about your bike. Some of the original engines under the bench. So anyway, it's a long story and I won't go there. So anyway, what happened, what's happening is the exhaust camshaft can bang back and forth. And it happens that like, as the bike warms up, it changes character and so forth. And, and once it's fully warmed up, it really doesn't do it much. But if you put the bike on the kickstand, the camshaft can fall to the left. And so as it rotates, the cam chain kind of realigns it with a bang. Every time I saw it mixes, it sounds like there's a tiny man inside the engine wrapping on it. It's the craziest thing.

Robin: but this doesn't give it that diesel effect, right? I remember my bandit used to have this, but by the time I sold it with 60, 000 miles on it, I, it just sounded like that cam chain was underneath the bike and drag it on the

Brian: ground. Yeah. Let me, can I, can I play the video for you? Yeah, this is the bike on this kick. It's fully warmed up. I'll just on the kickstand which is the way to make this happen

Robin: Bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger. That is constant I mean, I'm hearing like, you know a knock but then I don't know I don't know better. You know what I

Brian: mean? Little man with a hammer in there, isn't it? So, yeah, so basically I've narrowed everything down. All's all other sources of untoward noises. And this is, you know, these are old noisy bikes anyway, but, uh, all, uh, all that's eliminated finally. And now I'm not, okay, now I know what this is. Now the thing about cam, it's called cam walk. It's shafts are kind of banging back and forth.

Robin: I was going to say, it doesn't sound good, but go

Brian: on. It's, it's absolutely harmless. So basically what that that's cam walk and, and it's a, basically it's a camshaft banging left to right. And the reason it's happening at every revolution on is because the bike is on the kickstand. So the camshaft is, is, you know, falling to the left every time at every revolution.

Robin: If you want to subdue that, what are you going to do? Are you, are you at the point now you're like, no, I want to tell people how harmless that

Brian: is. Yeah, and if the, if the bike is fully warmed up and it's upright, you don't hear anything and you also don't hear anything above idle. Okay. Um, so, and it's also pretty much been proven that it's completely harmless. Like, I just had the valve cover off and there's everything's absolutely fine. That's great. So it, it's, it's disturbing, but it's harmless. Now there is a fix for it that involves removing the cylinder head and machining slots and installing and machining spacers. So basically it's some pretty advanced machine work and all, and all it is, is putting a spacer in there to keep the camshaft from moving left to right. So the camshaft and its journals can, can move back and forth just a little bit. And it only happens on the sidestand. Yeah. And in my case, it only happens on the sidestand. Very weird. That is also crazy. It's it's crazy. And it's kind of like, well, do I want to, do I have a machine shop? No, you know, I don't have the ability really to. Do much about this, uh, unless I, you know, I find a machine shop and all that stuff. And yeah, I don't feel like dealing with that.

Robin: Well, you could take it to our mutual friend down here in Texas, but the problem is no matter what you do, if there's a problem to be solved, he's going to look at it and say, like, you know what else I'm going to do to it. And what you get back is going to be a hellacious Frankenbike. I think what you need to do is come up with a lot of rhetorical, quick witted responses for people who are going to question that and just be like, Oh no, it's doing that again. Everybody run. Yeah. It's

Brian: gonna blow. And I'll, you know, and I'll post on the GS forum, of course, a little later on. This is again, this was just today. Uh, I finally eliminated just pretty much everything. And, and, uh, you know, it's idling wonderfully. Carb sync is just bang on. Um, bike runs great. Blah, blah, blah, um, ignition, you know, everything's working, everything's been eliminated, you know, this is what it is, um, and, and, yeah, I, I actually have, you know, we've got a site of resources and there's a, there's a fix for it. The guy documented all his machine shop work and the dimensions and I'm no way in hell. I'm going there. I did have an idea. Yeah, first you need a 20 foot lathe. First you need to whittle a lathe out of wood. Um, so one of my ideas for actually dealing with this crap is, uh, one idea was you can see how there's, uh, there's those round covers over the ends of the camshafts. They're just cosmetic.

Robin: I see those on the vintage

Brian: GS series a lot. So what my idea is essentially basically a threaded, uh, threaded stutter or bolt on there that you could adjust where it will contact the end of the camshaft and keep it from. Moving too far. So basically it would constrain the movement of the camshaft from the end. And so I could put one of those on the left and then screw it in until the ticking, until the banging stops. Who

Robin: says that there's no use for wood screws on motorcycles?

Brian: That yeah, there you go. Yeah. I'll run over to home Depot, get some, get some Robertson screws, bang one in there until it shuts up. That's how it all do. Now you'd have to do something special with like brass and I don't know. I'm not gonna, I'm, I'm gonna, I may get bored like in January or February and start. Pondering this kind of craziness, but anyway, I get it. I also, I also put a brake pads on my Yamaha and, uh, EBC HH pads, you know, always a solid choice, uh, two things. Why the hell are brake pads? These were brake pads have gone up a little bit like everything else, but, uh, 90 for two sets of brake pads, you know, for the right and left. Really? 90 bucks. Yeah. 88, 88 something in my, in my,

Robin: let me look through my bookmarks here. I want to, I want to confirm what I've got going on here. Some parts are 1200 RS brake pads, one pair. E, B, C, F, A, are you doing F, A, 630, double H?

Brian: Well, yeah, mine are a different number, but F, A, something, A, double H, yes.

Robin: All right, yeah, I've got mine at... 41 a pair. That's ridiculous. That doesn't make sense. Yeah, no, I

Brian: agree. And they don't, you know, I got, I didn't, I didn't keep track of when I put them on, uh, replaced the originals were still on the bike up to around 24, 25, 000 miles. And they had lots of meat on them, but they're also, you get a much, you get much better feel with the EBCHH. Uh, but the, the stock ones work, but they're pretty. You know, they're, they're biased toward long life, uh, the original equipment on Yamaha. So I can

Robin: get a pair for 7351, but I'm not used to seeing that either. So, um, yeah,

Brian: there's, there's a place that is like, I forget what it was, you know, Joe Bozo's motorcycle addiction or something that could get them for motorcycle

Robin: closeout last sale. Yeah. Super

Brian: discount. Awesome. Yeah. Not sketchy at all. com. Yeah. And, and so I, they're about five bucks less and everybody else had the same price. So I just, I just got them from, uh, I don't know, Rocky mountain or Rebs. I don't even remember anymore. I probably got them from RevZilla just to get the

Robin: Zilla bucks. There's somebody sitting on their throne. They're seeing how little we're paying for the, uh, road smart three tires. And they're like, well. We're going to have to do something about that to balance out the economy of motorcycling. You're going to have to pay three times your normal price on brake pads. Yeah.

Brian: For brake pads that last like 15, 000 miles, if that, you know, so that's kind of like, did you go organic synthetic? No, just HH, the, the centered. Oh, that's what's on it. Okay. Yeah. Gotcha. Yeah. The centered, that's what, that's what's on it from the factory is centered pads. And these are good. The second thing is, um, I have tried a lot of cheap. Motorcycle brake pads and they suck. I've tried them. I've tried, I've tried, um, bike master, you know, that, that are supposedly that that's sometimes a good brand and tools and stuff. Uh, I've tried, um, goes never, it's always kind of cheesy, but yeah, I've tried and I've tried other ones and never really had any luck. I had a pair that seemed okay. I'm like, huh, these might be worth having. And then it rained and. They were not worth having. They were not worth having, because cheap brake pads, they were cheap brake pads, they seemed to work okay, but, uh, up until it rained and then they were slicker than snot. I just about pooped myself in Missouri. Okay, brake pad rant, over.

Robin: What's next? I see you had some anecdotal chit chat that we could probably rant on for a long minute about the discussion of goals. Yeah. You had to have a think on that one.

Brian: Had to have a think on that one. I

Robin: have goals for this episode, but at the same time, it's such an interesting topic.

Brian: I'll be very brief. Um, One of, one of the goals I've talked about here in public and, and, and you and Dale and others have really called me out on is I haven't been to a track day. And so that is a very specific goal. I'm going to make that happen next year. Yeah, we need to figure that out.

Robin: It needs to happen through Motovid. I would like to be there for this event. Anyway,

Brian: the, the reason for that, and the reason I want to do that, um, is, is, I mean, yeah, I've been, I've been called names, but no, one of the reasons I want to do that is I, I was thinking about writing goals. What skills do I want to get better at? And. I was really kind of coming up blank because I don't know what I don't know. Still working on that article. And that's from the perspective, that's from the perspective of someone who's had, you know, a fair bit of training and a lot of experience on the street. And I like to think I have pretty good skills in most areas. Can confirm. So I'm at the point where I kind of feel like. I mean, you know, I know it's an infinite pool, and I kind of feel like I need help figuring out what I don't know, um, an analog, an analogous situation to that was when I started dual sport riding, because when you start riding off pavement, you start over. If you think you're a pretty good rider on the street, you suck off road, you have to change everything, you have to do everything differently and it was absolutely amazing. It was wonderful. You know, I've learned so much. That also applies to riding on uncertain surfaces, things like that. Um. On the street. And so I want that experience. I want that kind of experience where I'm almost starting over. And I feel like a track day would be a good way to be like, Oh, okay. It kind of open up the world again. If that makes any sense. I don't know if it does. It absolutely

Robin: does. So first and foremost, you've never done one. So you're going to have that beginner's mind because you're a great writer, a great student. You've had more training than I have. And when you arrive in that environment. You'll learn some boundaries. You'll learn to understand what this is really going to be. You will have the opportunity to approach your own limits, though. That's not necessarily a promoted thing. It's more just like, yeah, you will have a chance to see, well, what am I really made of? So long as you follow the rules and keep everybody else safe. And you may find yourself in a situation where somebody else isn't really following the rules and they'll do something that bothers you, but don't worry, a control rider will then pass you and have a little chat with them about where their car is in the parking lot, the article I'm writing. Which is still, uh, it's almost like a curse. I just really want to get it out my way. It isn't actually aimed at

Brian: you. Oh yeah. That one. Yes.

Robin: That article, which has not been released yet. It doesn't target somebody who is comfortable dropping their guard. It's intended to let people who are very aware that they are guarded and wish they could find some way around that. It's trying to tap into a language they can read and say like, uh huh, uh huh, uh huh. Nobody knows I'm reading this article. Nobody knows that I'm identifying with it. It's coming from me. I'm a guarded person. I work very hard to try to be like, they're just joking. They're just joking. You know, calm down. There are a lot of people out there where it's just like, well, I need to hear the sound of my own voice. So I'll go ahead and let you know that I'm the instructor's favorite. Cause I already know all this, you know, it's that kind of thing. That you don't have to be like that. That it's okay to just be there and be an introvert, voluntarily introvert yourself for the sake of getting something out of it and understanding how you don't have to be defensive. That's what this article is trying to do is say, hi there. I'm defensive. I'm nervous. I'm working on it. And here's how I'm going about it. Maybe you might get something out of this read in your case, you're talking about completely different articles that yes, they need the Brian ringer touch. Cause it's from a perspective, right? So the trick to writing for TRO and writing for TRO well, is either write about a product and sell the hell out of it so we have money in our commissions or. Right from a perspective where you see a problem and then you outline a solution that best suits your answer to yourself in a way that's success, uh, that's to anybody else who's reading the article. You know what I mean? Because you've engineered it out of what is only for you to be, for everyone to take on and become better by way of, does that work?

Brian: Yeah, I think I'm, I think I'm smelling what you're, uh, what you're, what you're putting out here. I

Robin: can't write for TRO if I don't do that. Because I'm grandstanding every time I write an article. So I gotta make sure it's for me, so I can engineer it for everybody

Brian: else. One last thing about is the best articles are one that, uh, are ones that you're the only person on earth who could have written that and that that's when things are the that's when things are the best when, when there's something about what you're doing and so forth and that. That is unique to what you're doing. And those are, those are the best, you know, no matter what kind of writing you're doing. If you're the only one you're, when you get to the point where that you're the only one who could have written that thing, that's, that's when it's, that's when you know, you've got some gold there. So

Robin: I hate maptastic mayhem yet. I love maptastic mayhem. Are we going to try to do some maptastic mayhem today?

Brian: Let's do some maptastic mayhem. Let's let's see what happens if anything.

Robin: I'm gonna try to share my screen. We'll see what happens I'll share one tab specifically because even I'm confused about what I'm looking at I'm trying to figure out do we actually end up on the Blue Ridge Parkway? And I'm seeing 6. 69, some nice stuff that goes through Rich Patch Mines and 6. 16. I know I'm jumping

Brian: around a lot here. No, no, no. I'm liking it. Yeah.

Robin: 6. 55. And I remember where we're going. We're going to Mayberry, either North Carolina or West Virginia. I think we dip into North Carolina for a split second. And then we, uh, come back up, back into Virginia. There's a nice little. Hotel there that likes us. They're good to us. Okay. It's curvy. It's good. There's a lull here and there if I remember right It's a shorter day and that's fine. We end up in Salem.

Brian: Oh outside of Roanoke. Yeah, okay

Robin: I don't know if I'm on the BRP here for our listeners. We are running a seven day tour. We're trying to perfect it It looks to me like we don't actually do the Blue Ridge Parkway from Warm Springs

Brian: I saw it up there. Oh,

Robin: yeah. Oh, there it is. There it is. Okay So the br boy right outside of meadows of dan Is where we pick up the brp if I look at the mileage on that

Brian: Well, and then you leave it again early pretty quickly. So

Robin: It's Miles 7 52. You were right all the way to seven, six, so it's like 10 miles. Yeah. That's almost kinda worth it. That's almost just a pretty little,

Brian: yeah, that it's a pretty little sweepers. And then you, yeah. The roads leading up and down from the BRP are.

Robin: Anything that stitches the Blue Ridge Parkway together is an absolute blast. So if you're doing the, the Northwest to Southeast to Northwest to Southeast along the Blue Ridge Parkway, you're in the good stuff. But the BRP itself, I don't have any problem with the BRP until I want to do some real riding. It's beautiful and it's a pleasure. It's a great

Brian: cruise. I feel

Robin: you. Yeah. But like when I went, I really get on the throttle and do what I, that's not why I ride.

Brian: So where did, where does this day start? I'm I'm lost. Does the day start in warm Springs, Virginia?

Robin: It does not. I don't think we need to change any of that. That was the only instance of the Blue Ridge Parkway you saw, right? Like none of this right here is right. This is all 40. Uh, this is all quite

Brian: good. Yeah. And, and, uh, and the BRP in Virginia is especially. Um, scenic, shall we say? Oh,

Robin: I'm falling asleep already. And I can't wait to do it while riding the bike. The truth of the matter is I kept on telling you that we needed to work on the section that comes from Warm Springs Inn all the way down to Maggie Valley. But that's an impossible haul. That's not even part of the tour. We go from Warm Springs down to Mount Airy. And we stay at a nice little hotel there, the Mayberry Motor Inn. They're always good to us. They're always kind to us. And that is

Brian: the day that's in Mount Airy where, okay. I'm looking for Mount Airy.

Robin: Yeah. Mount Airy, North Carolina.

Brian: Oh, there. Okay. Got it. So you

Robin: look up. Mayberry motor in nice, which is great. And honestly, I've just confirmed that we don't need to make any changes to that day. Okay. Might be a shorter day. It's this day that is just like, how do we solve the problem? Here's the problem. We don't often look at a destination as a reason to do anything. We look at the writing as a reason to do something and the destinations tend to fall into place, but Maggie Valley. North Carolina is unbelievably wonderful to stop in. It is. It's a great town. Have you been

Brian: there many times? So, you

Robin: know what I mean? It's just creek side rooms and lovely people who, if I don't get on it, I'm not going to have a place to stay there. And that wouldn't be good. We have to get all the way from Mount Airy to. Maggie valley by way of anything that is awesome. Start to finish within 250 miles, if possible, preferably, and as little BRP as possible. So I've got this set up so that we immediately had a Mount Airy go up and jump on some really good stuff. Actually, six 60 something over to six 60, something else. Through the loves and then eventually we're parallel to 608 and there it is the blue ridge parkway And it just doesn't stop because I didn't know what else to

Brian: do Yeah, you know and the thing about the brp is you have to exit if you need gas or if you need food um and Okay, I'm, I'm looking at, and what's interesting is if you go the most direct route possible, you're still looking at 194 miles. Yeah. Uh, 100, 187 miles. Yeah. Yeah. So, fart around time is a, is a little. Lacking and you were talking about, yeah, and, and part of the VRP and so forth. Got it.

Robin: You've already got me thinking about some solutions that involve, why don't we just have the hoorah day we want for a good 200 miles and then spend the last, however long it takes doing whatever's easiest to get to the lodge.

Brian: Yeah. Slogging into, well, you know, and even then there's no such thing. Now, one thing I will. Tell you right now, you simply must now, I don't know if on your route, um, go, go to the Maggie Valley end and, and, uh, and, and let me see something.

Robin: You want me to go right to 21? Can I write to 21? I'll write to

Brian: 21. No. Are you writing 209 or are you lame?

Robin: Oh, I think we need to know what 209 is. Okay. So you want me to go to Maggie Valley part? I'm doing that right now.

Brian: Yeah, just slide over there. So there's Maggie Valley. And what you're going to need to do is, uh, look just to the north and the, uh, east and basically just straight north from Lake Generaliska. So basically Maggie Valley 441. Um, and. Yeah, so you can, you can get out of town on 19, just kind of slab it for five miles or so, and then get on 209 at Lake Junaluska or Luska or however they say it. And I don't know if you're doing that. You could also, yeah, you can take the BRP, I guess. Well, that's

Robin: where you only take the BRP for a second on that day. Yeah, that's a short stint. And it's actually a reasonably good section. Yeah, don't do that. You want me to skip out on that? Yeah. Well, hold on now, Brian Ringer. You're south. Yeah, right. I see what you're saying. The same time, we got to focus on getting to Maggie Valley. Right. I know we do 226, 276, which is a ball. Nice. Yes. And I guess we could try to do like 80 and some of this other

Brian: stuff. So I guess the decision is, do you go north, do you go high or low? Do you go north or south and your approach to Maggie valley? Cause you are coming from the north.

Robin: We're coming from the northeast. Yeah. And let's scan it hard here. So Mount Airy goes up to the BRP Snoresville snores. Well, that that's not it, but here's the six 60, whatever. And sorry, I would give you nausea while I'm zooming in and out here. We're on the BRP and. I mean, even 18 looks like it could be a lot of fun, but we're trying to get to Megavalley. So I dipped down and it's all, yeah, that's BRP. Okay. Hold on. Where do I deviate first?

Brian: All right. What you're going to, uh, first, uh, switch over to the topographic view. I know you like the hybrid view, but the terrain, Google terrain, yeah,

Robin: it's, it's a habit. That's all Google terrain, Google terrain. All right. That makes it easier to see

Brian: too. Look at that. So this is, I'm not sure this is making a riveting, uh, audio for the, so the part, so there's Mount Airy. And so what you do is, yeah, it looks like you're going up to the guy that Ridge there. But yeah, you're on the BRP that whole time. And

Robin: let's do it this way. Let's just say that whenever we do these map testing mayhems, when we're trying to solve a boring problem and just putting our listeners to sleep, I'm setting you up with the problem and then next week we'll go over whatever solution you came up with.

Brian: That's true. We could do, yeah, that'd probably be easier. Um, yeah, cause I see 18 and 221 up there and I also see, yeah, so basically getting on the other side of that ridge. 1 94. Yeah. No, 2 21 is a US highway. It's, those are usually packed with

Robin: traffic. Yeah. No, but 1 94 looks freaking stellar. Yeah. So let me drag the guy onto this and stutter my way through the process. Watch this binging. Nice 25 out the gates. Yeah. Woodsy curves by the farmlands. I think we may have found like, so we just need to shift everything and make sure it's actually, yeah. So

Brian: basically sh Yeah. Shift everything a little bit further North.

Robin: Three 20 one's a us. But 184 looks like it's constant. 143.

Brian: Yeah, 261. There's some, yeah, there's some good stuff going on there. Okay.

Robin: So this is just going to require, let's have a contest comparative discussion points and see if we come up with the same stuff for next week.

Brian: Let's do that. Yeah, let's do that. So basically mount airy

Robin: to. Mount Airy, North Carolina to Maggie Valley, North Carolina.

Brian: Maggie Valley NC. All right. 250 miles.

Robin: The day after that is insane with routes. So we do the, we do the chair holla. We dip into Kentucky and it's just, it's an onslaught. So where,

Brian: where is, uh, where's Maggie Valley on this? I'm sorry. Oh, there it is. Okay. No, wait, no, I see Cherokee. Well,

Robin: Maggie Valley is. In North Carolina. Got

Brian: it. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So you're, you're pretty happy with the next day because yeah, you do the classics. Got

Robin: it. Yeah. Yeah. The option for the dragon, which I don't even do anymore. They can have that, you know, until my ankle's hurting. But the real groove to this is that, well, let's both have a go and just know that one thing about this is that getting to Maggot Valley is one of the few things where it's like, this is a chance mid tour to have a deep breath and sit by a creek side and chill. Okay.

Brian: I like it. Yeah. And one thing also to keep in mind is, uh, you're, I believe the next day is in Middlesboro. Like right on the border with Kentucky. Yes. So that's the next night right there. And we've, we've already, you know, we've come up with a completely different route for that.

Robin: Yes, we have. It's already saved under the Brian category and will be integrated into the new fully perfected 2024 rendering of trip sevens. Cool. Completely built by Robin Dean with no help from anybody.

Brian: Excellent. Yeah. The, uh, totally the, um, excellent sounds good. Cause yeah, I was just thinking, boy, that's kind of a, that needs improvement. It's like, oh, we already did that. That's a, that's a better idea. You know, we've explained the problem. You'll cut out all some flaff, some faffing around there. I'm sure in the words

Robin: of Dave Rocco, this looks great. You know, what sucks? Okay. So then that brings us, Oh, now we're gonna have some real fun. It's finally time for a Robin article for reheated rehash. Reheated rehash. Tasty leftovers served hot and crusty. In this segment, we'll read an excerpt from one of Brian or my own past TRO blog articles on sport touring motorcycles and discuss does it hold up? Do Brian and Robin disagree? Fight, fight, fight! What would they say differently or add? And the article we're going to get into is at the core of everything our website stands for. And that is... Sport touring defined a motorcycle genre.

Brian: Got it right here. Got the link, got it right in front of me.

Robin: Very good. So it, this all started out when basically sport touring has been a thing for a good minute. But if you run into anybody who doesn't really have a handle on what the heck you're talking about, even after they've heard what you're talking about, they'll be like, I mean, what is sport touring really? And I've got an answer in this article, which is well. Guess we're not really so sure after all, and here's how it goes. I led this article up with an opening, improvised definition type deal where it says, Sport Touring Motorcycle ist ing. It's a distance friendly, luggage equipped motorbike that's designed for more responsive handling and performance, ridden by a skilled enthusiast along twisty roads, trails, and tracks, paved or otherwise, in a spirited, comma, sporting manner. Should I just read the first sentence? Section, and then we'll just discuss an intro to this and start arguing it on, about it from week to week for a little bit.

Brian: Let's start with the first section. And basically this first section defines the problem. So you basically, you are going to talk about what we're going to talk about. So if you do want to read it or do you want me to,

Robin: or, Oh, you got to read last time, I'm going to read this time. All

Brian: right. I will sit back and wait. When

Robin: Joe Conrarty wrote it, sorry, how do I sound so far? Pretty good. Yeah, perfect. When Joe Conrary wrote his exploratory history on sport touring motorcycles, he included both his own extensive familiarity with the topic, as well as a study into why the classification remains somewhat vague. Balancing what I learned from Joe's article with a bit of online data mining, I found myself caught in a unique spiral between inspiration and frustration, one that I'd need some time to think on. Having spent many years doing just that, I'm confident I can provide a more exacting definition based on relatable terms. Defining the Sport Touring Motorcycle Platform, one that I'm sometimes made fun of for having so much dedication to, it's sort of like deciding which decimal point to round pi to every time you calculate your restaurant service tip. It's a bike to bike instance whereby certain subliminal ingredients tell you whether or not a specific ride quality qualifies or not. Focusing on those ingredients more directly, however, makes the yay nay score account pretty clear. The reason sport touring has vague overtones is because the term is derived from a combination of bike and or rider, two very different things. Citing one without the other kind of corrupts the concept. So we want to break that down. And that's what I wanted to get to about this. Uh, you know, when I first got into this, it was all about sport bikes with luggage. And I would fight tooth and nail. It's like the VFR, the FJR, eventually the KTM Super Duke GT, angry looking sport bikes with comfortable ergonomics that have luggage and can get you a destination to destination. Got one

Brian: of those in my garage. Then I met

Robin: you guys and like, you know, I, I mean, I had this theory in my head with a sake of 400 and 19, a 1982 Yamaha sake of 400 XS 400 RJ, whatever. And I'd already had predisposed. I know what I want to eventually own. And that, that was the defining moment. Brian, what is your take on this? What do you think?

Brian: Okay, um, and as you're about to get into in the article, I think there is, is this, is this worth defining? Sure. Let's, let's define, let's talk about it because it, it, it's, it's almost kind of a mindset. Can you, can you tour on any motorcycle? Sure. Can you. Can you ride sportily on any motorcycle? Sure. But when you talk about machines made for it and people made for it, that's when you're really talking about a synergy. You know, there's a certain, there's a certain completeness to it. You know, man, woman. Machine all, you know, all in one doing, doing the same thing, uh, and, and, and a machine idealized for this. Um, so, yeah, I think it's worth talking about, and it's worth, worth defining somewhat, and there are a lot of things on either side of it too. Like, you can talk about what motorcycles come from the factory that way, what motorcycles can be modified into a sport tour. Things like that. I miss my

Robin: bandit. Yeah. You can talk about the modifications. I mean, my bandit was, I did everything to my bandit that can be done to a bandit. Nothing left to do.

Brian: Did you, did you have hard luggage on it

Robin: with detachable hardware for it? Quick detach hardware

Brian: for hard luggage. Yeah, not to get ahead of ourselves here, but yeah, kind of the hard luggage is almost a part of the defining part of what defines a sport tour, whether you add those or comes from the factory, because, I mean, I've had, I've got soft luggage for my other bikes. It sucks. I just. You know, and I know hard, I know trunks look awful, but you know, there's a certain amount of function there. And besides, you don't have to look at it anyway, it's behind you.

Robin: There was a point in my early career where I was like, I was, I was trying to be a sport tour. I was pretend sport touring and that stupid bike, you know, I had the soft luggage on it and it was just like, I'll make it look like hard luggage and it'll look sturdy and great. They'll strap it as tight as I could until rub the paint off the plastics. And it always just faded and turned to junk. I just wasn't

Brian: there yet. Yeah. And I, and I think it's also important. I mean, nobody's looking to gatekeep anybody, you know, if you're, if you're writing, if you're writing somewhere with your crap with you and you're writing and you're enjoying yourself, your sport touring, that's great. You do you, um, I think there are good reasons that the machines and the ethos and the people and the. It's kind of like things get kind of well defined and things get refined over time, I think is more of it. Um, and you've got, you know, you get machines, for example, uh, if you look at, I have a first year FJ 09, Yamaha FJ 09, uh, hard luggage was optional. Uh, you could get Yamaha hard luggage or like what I did is I added it from Jivi or Givi or however the hell Italians say it. Jivivi. Yeah, we'll go with that one. We'll add some syllables. Um, And it's, you know, it's a, it's a sporty bike. It's it's fast. It's got great handling. Um, and it's also got friendly ergonomics. That's part of it too. So you can stay in the saddle for all day if you need to, or if you want to. Um, and then later evolutions of that turned into the tracer and now the tracer GT. Pretty much is a, is almost the definition of a factory sport tour, the sporty bike. It comes with hard luggage standard. It comes with, you know, ABS and all the electronics you need. Uh, standard comes with heated grips, standard stuff like that. And so it's, it's interesting over time that model has. Kept the same engine, but evolved into even more of a sport tour. It's been kind of interesting.

Robin: This is where I begin to argue. Oh, cool. This is where I begin to argue. Oh, let's argue. I look at the profile of the bike. And the lights are raised. It's got a lot more suspension travel than anything. I would feel happy est cornering on. If I were doing a paved thing, there was that term for a short minute adventure sport or whatever they were calling it. Whereas dual 17 inch tires on an adventure bike.

Brian: Oh, like, yeah, like a V Strom almost. Well, yeah. Yeah.

Robin: Although maybe not as choppy. I don't know. You know, I know what you can do on a bike. I know what you can do on any bike. And I know that when I think sport touring, yeah, Brian Ringer comes to mind. But the bike by itself, when the bike, I'm looking at just the machine. When I think sport touring, I do not think tracer nine or, you know, I don't think about the tracer GT. When I think of a tracer nine GT, I think of powerful bike that has a tall rainbow may not corner as well, but it has a lot of suspension that's intended to absorb everything underneath on batter on worse roads, maybe do some gravel as well. I want to see something sleeker, lower, angrier, more squiddish, but minus the. The full on squid, you know what I'm talking about?

Brian: Yeah. And excellent. And I, and, and you're wrong. So I'll, I'll tell you, you're wrong. I'll tell you why. No, I, what I, what I will say about the, the, the FG09 tracer. And again, not to pick on that one, but there are like KTMs and they've got some others. Uh, the first thing to bear in mind is this thing has no business off pavement. Agree. It's got full, it's got, you know, 180, 55, 17 standard sport bike tires. Stuff like that. It's got low ground clearance. It actually, like I've added a skid plate to mine, not because it's some sort of off road or off pavement machine, but because the oil pan on these things is known to be pretty vulnerable. Well, what year is yours? Uh, 2015.

Robin: Okay. See, that's a different profile. I'm looking at that now. I'm like, that's the same gen as the 2020, right?

Brian: Yeah, the 20, they changed over the years, the 2020 and then the 2024 just evolved again. The point is it, the point is, and you know, I own one, but, but one thing to knock on it, a lot of that is kind of this, it's almost adventure drag. It really is not an adventure. Bike and like I owned a Vstrom, uh, you even wrote it, which was impressive because it's a raised it's a, but I owned a Vstrom for a long time. And that has even more suspension travel. The Vstrom has about six inches of suspension travel. The FJ09 has about five inches. A standard on a road bike is about four inches of. So it's, it's, it's kind of in the middle, but yeah, any pretensions, the, the FJ09 or tracer has to adventure riding is it's just, it's, it's lipstick. It doesn't actually have the chops

Robin: for that. Even when I was making those comments, I was looking at a newer model of the tracer and it's like they raised the headlight up higher, like the, is there some rule that with the modern. ADV sport bikes or what people would like to call sport touring. The headlight has to be higher than the mirrors. That just looks rough to me. Your bike, I'm looking at it now. The 2015 model is a much sleeker profile. It's still, I think you've got the same suspension travel as.

Brian: Yeah, it's about five inches. Yeah. Yeah.

Robin: It looks like a ninja to me. That's sort of trying to start a wheelie. And that's the thing that gets me. I feel like a sport touring bike. The front wheel. Should always look like it's falling victim to the bike's chassis, which is a shark. That's trying to eat it. It's already in the mouth of the shark. Yeah. The bike needs to be. Viciously attacking the front wheel for it to be truly sport visually all that air bothers me and you should be disgusted with yourself for that. Cause I am correct.

Brian: Yeah. And the FTO nine. Yeah. There's a lot of air. There's there's the fork legs are really long. It's a, it's a, it's a, it's a taller seat height. Um, and it's extremely comfortable like, um, that's. One thing, but yeah, the front end is weird. It's different. Uh, if you look at something like, uh, I don't, what what's the Kawasaki Sport tour called? It's a ninja based. It's um, it's got the hard bags and it's a sport bike with bags.

Robin: The ZX 1000,

Brian: is that the one? Is that what I'm thinking of?

Robin: Yeah, I think they're still producing that one too. And they also have, I mean the, now the H two head, you can get the H two with bags as well. Yeah. But the real Kawasaki dedicated sport tour needs a deep update. And that would be the concourse. Yeah. I never really liked the 14. I loved the original concourse with the dad bags and all that, but the 14 kind of got a little bit

Brian: Yeah, they, they went, they went a little too far in the, in the booster direction, you know, which

Robin: that would be a great sport touring bike. The BUSA is a reasonable commuter. Not

Brian: uncomfortable. Yeah. There was some hard luggage on there on your, on your booster, man. You can go boost the speeds, man,

Robin: 200 right out the gates, man, 200 balls. That's

Brian: true. Yeah, that comes from, uh, anyway, we were on a ride in like, uh, North Carolina one and, and some guy had a Hayabusa and another guy was like, how fast are you going back there, man? He goes, I don't know, man, boost the speeds, man. So that's why I always say boost the speeds, man. It's like you're warp eight. I don't know. But yeah, the, the, yeah, the, yeah, I'd say the concourse kind of got a little too porky. Um, and the FGR 1300, like it's, it's a great bike, a ridden one. It handles amazingly well, but it is big. And it's also large. It's

Robin: bigger than

Brian: you think. Yeah. And it, um, it's getting kind of long in the tooth. I think it's due for an update at some point. Uh,

Robin: when I first hopped on an FJR, I did not realize how much distance between the seat and the bars and the spaceship width of that tank. I did not see that coming. I'm very happy with my own bike. It's way more compact by comparison. But you know what? Okay. Let's come back to that next week. Leave the poops where they are. We got lots of poops from this one need to be pooped in the next one. And if you are listening to that, you're telling me what's all this about poop. Well, Brian likes to use the poop emoji as a bookmark. So we label poops next to things and we're not going to change it. Don't put any more poops in there. Leave that alone. Okay.

Brian: Excellent. We'll come back to that article. Perfect. Awesome.

Robin: Now we've got two at a coin. Oh, that's a good one. You're in charge. Do your worst, Brian. All right. Stuff happens. Quick version. What's the right thing to do? Slow version. And why?

Brian: We had three things written down, and I think they're all related. So we'll just kind of slap them all in one group. So right now we have poops right next to three things. Cold snap. You know, what do you do when it gets, when it's suddenly colder than you anticipated? Uh, ice on the bike. What do you do when you come out in the morning and there's ice on your seat? And, uh, the last one is probably the most interesting, uh, snow. What do you do? When it's snowing and you're out riding. So let's start there. You're out riding, you're on a chair, a whole sky way. Oh boy. Jeez. And that is a lot of elevation changes. Nice and sunny, 80 degrees in the valley. And, uh, and suddenly it's snowing. What do tell me what do Robin lead

Robin: us? Okay. My short answer. I'll think, where am I? I'm in Colorado. It's snowing. Is Colorado used to snow? Rhetorical question. They're equipped to handle snow. I don't know what they're going to put down. However, I imagine they use a very particular surface, and they're probably going to helicopter salt from the moon directly on. Whatever they do, they've done it many, many times. I'm going to proceed with caution and I'm going to be ready with a little bit of rear brake should I want to stabilize as opposed to a snow plowing my front wheel? That's my short answer. Excellent. Yeah.

Brian: What about yours? Low traction is still some traction and you can keep riding. You can keep riding to a surprising extent, uh, when it's snowing, although. There's a point where you have to stop. So, you know, there's a point where it just gets too dangerous, but it's surprising, especially if it, if it's not, you know, the temperatures are in the twenties and low thirties and not, you know, like zero or something, um, you can keep going. That's a reasonable choice to make. Um, The first thing, though, I would really consider is how long is this going to keep going? For example, if you're on the Terra Halla and you're up at the 6, 000 foot elevations, you have a certain amount of distance you have to go before it starts going down again in the Teleco Plains or, uh, Robbinsville. Um. So you can think about that and it's like, is this going to keep working? But the main thing is be willing to change your plan. You know, this may, you know, you're not going to fight mother nature. You may need to turn around, you know, you may need to turn around. And if you're getting ice and slipping, you know, it's getting too bad. Then, you know, live to fight another day.

Robin: These are two very different. Answers that I think are probably in consideration of one another. Where am I? Do they handle this? Well, am I going to, how far am I from my destination? And what is the presumed forecast for the remainder? If we're going to really elaborate on this, if I'm in Colorado, yeah. They know what they're going to be doing. And I realized I got to get up over the Hill. The snow just started and I want to go have a ride. I'm going to have my damn ride. I'm prepared to assess if I need to stop. And if I have to stop, Hey, that's it. I just got to stop, but there'll be a truck that has to come get me. And that's how my day is going. Yeah. However, if I were in Texas, I've seen how people in Texas driving the snow. It's. It's not pretty. It's not, no, not the same character as what they boast during their summertime kick ass in the sun mindset, which I absolutely adore. And honestly, I almost lost it. On Maggie's bike during a ride recently, cause we had so much rain. There was a road May flood sign. And from about a hundred yards out, I saw, okay, I see all that mud. I see where I need to go. There's no way to get there without crossing some mud and in crossing the mud. The bike was more squirrely than I've ever felt any bike, honestly, but it stayed upright.

Brian: The bike wants to live.

Robin: The bike wants to survive the ordeal. You got to let it. The point is just comparing that against snow. My memory of riding in the Colorado mountains in the snow and riding past the construction workers who just were like, what the hell are you doing, man? And it just kept on going. Smile and wave rode the bike. You got to want it. You really got to want to ride. You must love riding to do something

Brian: like that. Yeah. And you can see there, there are two, there are two aspects to this discussion. Should I keep writing, you know, is this possible? And then there's the pure skills part of it, which is pretty much any, uh, uncertain surface, you know, there's a certain set of skills around that to get what you can, but there is a point where you just don't have enough scraps of traction to work with.

Robin: There was a ride I took on my first bike, that same Seica in Chicago. Big snowfall. I rode Chicago all the way up to Baha'i Temple and back. I loved it, but I mean it was cold Pita grips are not enough. That's the other thing. Are you gonna

Brian: freeze? Yeah, and that's that's that's also part of it Yeah, the um, yeah and dealing with you know, and things like do you ride in the wheel tracks? Do you stay in the fresh snow, things like that. And the best I can say is you have to figure that out because it varies so much. Sometimes riding in the wheel tracks of cars or whatever is the way to go. Sometimes that's exactly where it's, it's compressed to the ice and it's the worst self assess, self assess. Yeah, you have to self assess constantly and, uh, you know, be willing to abort the mission, you know, that kind of thing. Um, and that kind of, when you're talking about, you know, in a cold snap, you know, what's the first thing you do cold snap, put on a, you know, you've got all your electrics. On high, you've got all your gear on and you're still cold. What do you do? What else can you do?

Robin: Dance. Shake it, man.

Brian: Shake it. Yeah. Move around. One thing, one thing, like the one thing that besides, you know, reassess what, what the hell you're doing here in the first place, um, you know, put your, put your hands down on the engine and absorb some heat and then you can go a little bit further, you know, and keep switching off. I've done that. Many times, um, just to get a little extra, uh, don't underestimate the effects of cold on your ability to control the bike.

Robin: Yeah. Right. Like your reaction time slows way down.

Brian: Yeah. Reaction time slows way down. Uh, even if you're not shivering, uh, it's, it's, it's actually can be hard to move if you're. So you, you do have to do things like stop more frequently and move around, move around on the bike. Um, You know, I've gotten through some very cold nights where you just got to get it over with and get somewhere.

Robin: Let's give these people some hope. Let's, let's talk to them about this cold situation that's approaching right now because we're heading into winter and you know what? Brian and I on a weekly basis, we got each other. We're gonna hang out. We're gonna talk about bikes. We're gonna get it out. There's gonna be so much less frustration. I'm telling you, man. Look at your forecast very carefully. If the roads are dry, if the roads are free of, uh, salt silt and nastiness, if you can call somebody that, you know, who is at the end of your route, say, Hey, what's it like there? I'm thinking about making the trek that way and call somebody who's halfway between. What's the weather like by you? How are we doing? Get on the bike, be ready with your multiple destinations. Make sure you got tons of outs, gas stations, hot tea. Coffee shops, all this stuff and go for it. Just go ride. That's cool. Yeah, that's fine.

Brian: Yeah. Learn, learn how you react. Learn, yeah. Learn stuff. Have fun. Oh, that was the other

Robin: part was like pick the right time. Don't do it in rush hour

Brian: and enjoy the weird looks you get from people. I love that. Uh, one of my sayings is, you know, I live, I live about 20 minutes from my office and one of my common sayings is, well, I can put up with anything for 20 minutes, so. I do, I do make an assessment, you know, like I usually don't ride to work when it's, um, when it's wet, um, because urban environments are just a lot of crap. And I can and have do it and I still do it all the time, but still, but, uh, yeah, you can, you know, you're, you're probably not going to freeze to death in 20 minutes. So there's also that go for a short ride if you're, you know, if the shakes are getting really bad.

Robin: Yeah, you, you don't have to ride the dragon to the Cherahala to the foothills parkway. You can just be on the bike long enough to be like, man, I just rode the bike. Yeah. And bring it on home. It's

Brian: February. I go, I went for a ride. People stared at me like I was nuts. Mission done. Got snow on my helmet. Excellent.

Robin: We should probably add that, like, if you're not going to ride this season, if you're just not that rider, if you have no interest in riding in the cold and you're going to winterize your bikes, don't start your bike up once a week and think that's a good thing that that's good for the bike while it's in the winter.

Brian: Biggest mistake.

Robin: Yeah. Winterize the bike, make sure it's good for it. And we have a whole article about that at TRO. bike. Just search for winterize and you'll see the instructions per, uh, you know, standard combustion engine. If you've got an electric bike, I don't know what to tell you, but good on you. Let's shut her down for this week.

Brian: All right. Well, that's our episode for this round. This round. Tune in next time for more discussion discussion on all things specific to sport, touring or universal, universal to motorcycling as a whole for Radio TRO, I'm Brian Ringer, Ringer, and I'm Robin Dean, Dean, safe travels, everyone.

The Gist

Place Brian's bike on its side stand and a little man with a hammer will bang on the walls. It's called Cam Walk and it's harmless. The sound, however is right out of a mechanic's nightmare.

Knocking that out, we consider all roads between Mount Airy and Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Hypnotic meditation and a droning mantra about all things north, south, east and west leads to friendly competition. Results next episode!

A look at cold and even hazardous weather riding follows. Call around and layer up, folks. Sometimes the mountains of Colorado, peppered slush of urban Chicago or ... sunny Texas is the cure for what ails us.

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