It’s been a while since I’ve written about my big-bike activities, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been riding or fiddling with the motorcycles.
As long-time readers will recall, my default mode of transportation to and from work remains a motorcycle and when weekends afford me any free time that’s not consumed by home maintenance, cycling or visits to one of two or three local bars for dinner & cocktails and evenings spent listening to bands at local clubs, you’ll most likely find me on one of the two Harley’s.
As mentioned in one of my other July blog entries, July was definitely motor vehicle maintenance month and all three motorcycles got a fresh fill of essential fluids and other timely changes.
Harley-Davidson FXDWG “Wide Glide”: Plugs and non-drive train fluids all looked good, so just fresh Mobil 1 V-Twin 20w-50 in the crankcase and, for the first time, RedLine primary fluid and RedLine Gear Lube in the other holes. I’d not used them before and decided to give them a try for the Wide Glide’s 10,000 mi service. I still need to check a few other 10,000 mile service items, but overall the Wide Glide seems to be in great shape. Very little material on the drain plug magnets and the old fluids weren’t in bad shape either.
BMW R1100S: New OEM plugs, brake fluid flush with Motul 600, clutch fluid flush with Motul 600, Mobil 1 Oil and Redline gear lube in the transmission & rear diff. The clutch flush became a bit of a science project when the bleeder adapter turned out to have a grub screw that didn’t want to come out delaying the bike’s return to service by about 3 days while I awaited the arrival of the $40 replacement part. I swear, there’s not anything I can do maintenance wise on the R1100S for the first time that doesn’t require a special tool or replacement of OEM parts that didn’t stand the test of time. Still need to replace the alternator belt, but that’s about it for the 22k service.
Harley-Davidson FLHRSE5 “CVO Road King”: This should have also been a relatively simple mid-service point primary and gear box fluid change, but in retrospect I did something stupid. Or, more accurately, I forgot to do something rather important. It suffices to say, no harm done but a humbling experience just the same. The purpose of the mid-point (8,000 mi) fluid change was to see how ‘Blue’s’ primary and gear box would perform with the RedLine lubes as the Wide Glide’s gear box definitely seemed to be a bit more quite and smoother with the thick green RedLine gear lube.
The Road King also got a new “Live to Ride” derby cover during the primary lube change process. The OEM CVO derby cover was both aesthetically questionable and delicate so it was always a matter of when, not if it would be replaced. The equally aesthetically questionable and delicate faux points cover (there ain’t no points behind those covers on new bikes) also got replaced with a simple yet elegant plain chrome dome cover. The “Live to Ride” cover received a little “custom” treatment in that the black lettering fill was over-painted with a nice metallic blue lacquer to make it look a little more at home on “Blue”.
Barber Motorsports Museum, Birmingham, Alabama: Back on 26 July my partner in crime, David, felt the need for a day trip of some significance so I suggested a ride over to the Barber Motorsports Museum near Birmingham. I’ve been there several times, but David had not yet made that trip.
So, around 9:00am EST on Saturday 26 July we pointed the Road Kings west and made our way over to the museum on mostly two-lane backroads via US-278 to Gadsden, Alabama and then US-411 to east Birmingham… about a 3.5 hour ride that put us at the museum around 11:30 CST. Well, OK… we stopped for lunch at Subway which is always a sure thing when you’re on the road and not a bad value.
Knowing that we needed to be back “home” to take the two Debbie’s to dinner, we only spent about 2 hours at the museum before hopping back on the bikes and heading east. I opted to put us on I-20E to Oxnard, Alabama, where we could stop by the Mt. Cheahah Harley-Davidson dealer to check out their battle of the bands and pick up a small part for Blue (ref. the boner I pulled on the gear lube change).
From there we headed east on US-78 to US-120 which was an awesome ride. I can definitely see making future trips down to Mt. Cheahah H-D and Anniston for events with the lovely Miss Debbie via that route. In fact, I doubt I’ll ever take I-20 east out of Georgia again!
I wish I’d have kept my receipts from that trip as it was a perfect fit for HOG Magazine’s $100 Rides submittal. We rode 300 miles and I probably spent a whopping $22 on gas, $12.50 on admission to the Barber Museum, $8 for lunch at Subway, $2 for two soft drinks and $1.45 for an O-Ring at Mt. Cheahah Harley-Davidson for what was a great day on the bikes.
Blue Ridge for Lunch: The day after our Birmingham trip the two Debbie’s joined us for ride up to Blue Ridge, Georgia on 27 July. As on all of our previous visits, the primary destination was Harvest on Main for lunch. The ride up kept us off of I-575 and GA 515 for all but the 17 miles on GA515 between Ellijay and Blue Ridge as there really aren’t any good back road options that don’t add a bunch of miles or a bunch of time. Although the weather looked a bit threatening at times and the ride up was cooler than we expected, it ended up being a great day on the bikes and lunch was excellent, as always. All told, we added another 180 miles to the odo’s.
As always, every day of the week is a ride-to-work day for me. Regardless of the weather, short of a snow storm that is, I’m on either the BMW or the Wide Glide for my daily 25-mile round trip to the office.
Most of my co-workers remain somewhat mystified as to how I can wear a nice suit & tie every while riding on a motorcycle without looking like I rode a motorcycle, particularly when there’s rain in the forecast. My “trick” is knowing how to pack my suit coat in a small bag so that it doesn’t get wrinkled (plastic dry cleaning garment bags are the key), keeping two pair of dress boots at work and not “doing my hair” until I’ve gotten in the office.
The only noteworthy things from the weekly commutes was a partial failure of the new Harley-Davidson rain suit on its first real test. However, I decided to take the blame for that as I made the mistake of folding the jacket over mid-waist to keep it from bunching at the waist and I think that created a channel for the water to by-pass the rain fly. It did fine this past Friday when I once again had to ride home in the rain but it wasn’t really a heavy rain so that doesn’t really count. On the bright side, I was treated to rain-free weather on this past Monday-Thursday which made the daily commute on the Wide Glide quite nice, as it doesn’t have any frontal protection: it’s truly a knees and nose in the breeze ride which is just fine.
There also was zero big-bike time this weekend as we used both days to get in some tandem cycling time. It’s sometimes tough to strike a balance between our passion for both the big bikes and the pedal bikes, but we just feel better if we can get in some good exercise in between motorcycling adventures that tend to be calorie-rich / low calorie-burn events that can pack on the pounds if we’re not careful.