Countdown to 2010

Sounds awkward after the New Year festivities? For us the chosen ones 2010 starts in April, and we are counting every second to get back on the road with that soft chilly Spring scent in the air.

I have added a Season 2010 Countdown widget to the blog on the right sidepane, above the About text. While half of the winter is gone by now, still more than two months remain. And hell, World of Warcraft just doesn’t fill the gap.

Two Retro BMWs: R7 and Sunbeam S7

Two beautiful retro BMW motorcycles shared by folks in Google Reader looked so gorgeous that I could not resist posting them here.

First is BMW R7, a 1934 concept motorcycle.


Second is the beautiful Sunbeam S7 designed by Erling Poppe based on BMW R75 of the late 40s.

Sunbeam S7
Sunbeam S7

Retro curves and round headlights are sexy. No, sportbike riders, you probably don’t get it.

How to Store a CBF500 for the Winter in a Developing Country

Riding is fun, and in order to make sure the machine serves long and without problems, we need to serve it on our part. One of the cornerstones of motorcycle maintenance is proper motorcycle storage between the seasons. This step–by–step guide is aimed at helping those who can’t following the regular guides available online due to non–availability of certain required products in their area (like myself).

Doing all of this with the help of a friend in a well organized manner should not take more than half a Saturday, usually turning into a fun and unique experience, but most importantly your motorcycle is certainly going to appreciate the effort!

Step 1: Go ride

Take your motorcycle out on a short ride, preferably to the nearest petrol station. Ride for at least 15 minutes to make sure the engine gets warm and good, ready to change some oil. Use the chance to enjoy the last moments of riding to the fullest!

Step 2: Full tank

Fill the tank with petrol fully. Make sure the petrol station is credible for high-quality fuel, as the petrol is going to stay in the tank during the winter and if there is water in it then it is going to separate over the long period. Note that while most of the online storage guides suggest emptying the tank and using a tank spray to prevent its rusting, since you presumably have no access to luxuries like the spray the tank is better off being full than empty.

Some guides also suggest emptying the carbs before storage. I believe the carb is better off staying full and being emptied just before taking the bike out from the storage.

Step 3: Tire pressures

On the way back, check the tire pressures at any tire maintenance spot. Inflate both tires to the maximum pressure levels recommended for the motorcycle. Flat tires rot or get permanent dark patch spots that nobody wants to get.

Step 4: Clean and tidy

Dirt, mud, oil and dead bugs deteriorate the surface of the motorcycle over time by eating into the paint. Wash the motorcycle thoroughly making sure that it is completely clean before proceeding. Do not forget the tires and the leathers as well as the chrome parts. All of these need special care and attention.

Step 5: Lubricate

Lubricate the chain and everything else that needs to be lubricated, to avoid corrosion and rusting.

Step 6: Oil

Oil and the oil filter do need to be changed. These need to be changed even if you rode only a couple of kilometers since the last change. If you are storing the motorcycle for more than 4 months, you will have to change the oil again before you start riding it again. Otherwise, you are just going to ride with your winter oil on the next season (before another change of oil is needed) and it is perfectly fine.

I am assuming here that you do know how to change the oil and the filter, and I will write a separate guide someday for those who don’t.

Step 6a: Pistons

This step applies only to the cases when the motorcycle is going to be idle for more than 4 months.

Remove the spark plugs and fill a tablespoon of oil into each cylinder. Crank the engine with the starter to spread the oil evenly on the cylinder walls. This is a common and nice method to avoid rusting in the cylinders. Shut the plug holes with clean rags and take the spark plugs home.

Step 7: Battery

You generally do not have nor can you find a trickle charger in your country, so your battery is going to die and there is nothing you can do about it. But to make it less painful, you definitely want to take it off the motorcycle, take it home with you and slowly deplete it by plugging a 12V bulb or something else to the contacts.

If you have a chance to charge it with a charger once it’s depleted, and then go depleting it again, that is just wonderful (that is essentially what the trickle charger does). Otherwise, you will have to start the motorcycle with the help of another battery, charging your own from there.

Step 8: Removables

Besides removing the battery, you also want to remove the air filter and some of the leather parts, taking it all home with you. I personally remove all I can contain safer at home, including the mirrors, the leather sits of both the rider and the pillion and any accessories I have added. Some maniacs take home the entire carb and disassemble it.

Step 9: Ventilation

Close the exhaust pipe hermetically so no air gets into it causing rusting. This is an important step. Do not just stick some rugs into the hole, as clothes breathe pretty well and you do not need that. Similarly shut the air filter hole to avoid ventilation where it shouldn’t occur.

Step 10: Placement

Placement is important. Keep the motorcycle in a dark and dry place with minimal temperature variations between the day and the night. It is also very much preferred that the temperature does not get below zero.

Since you presumably do not have a motorcycle lift and CBF500 does not have a center stand by default, simply lean the motorcycle on its sidestand and make sure that the tires do not touch concrete. It is best to put sheets of thick paper under the tires to be crystal sure that no tire rotting can happen. Moving the motorcycle every 2–3 weeks a little forward and backward so the wheels don’t change their round shape under the weight is much desired.

Finally, cover the motorcycle with a blanket or a specialized motorcycle cover. Do not cover it with a plastic cover, or anything else that does not breathe and locks the moisture.

Of Subscriptions

If you’re reading this post, you may have come across it through your search query on your favorite search engine, or it may be that you are just reading this blog regularly (if you’re currently in the coziness of your favorite feed reader, you can safely mark this post as read and move on to the next item in your roster).

For you guys, the need to subscribe is certain.

Whether you’re using Google Reader, Bloglines, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Outlook, any other feed reader or none at all — subscription is an easy and convenient way of getting the updates as they appear instead of refreshing till your reload button goes numb. I found this important to mention, as I get a lot of direct hits.

Most of the time simply adding to your reader’s subscription list should be enough. For particularly dumb feed readers would be a more precise URL. Over there you will also see more options of subscribing to the blog updates — you can even get the new posts in an email.

There are at least three feed readers already mentioned in the post, so if you don’t have a choice at the moment — they are listed in order of exponentially dropping coolness.

Seriously, content and convenience are more important than form and style. Go ahead and subscribe. Catch up with the Web 2.0 train before Web 3.0 hits you from the back!

And do not worry, big brother I will still track you.

Safety Tip: Of Vigen

  • Do not buy a Honda CBR 1000RR Fireblade (or any other 1000cc sportbike) as your first motorcycle!
  • If you do, do not ride 200km/h during the day!
  • If you do, do not ride it on Komitas avenue!
  • If you do, do not ride without fastening the helmet!
  • If you do, watch out on the intersections!
  • If you don’t…

Get well soon, Vigen.