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Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Riding Jacket - Let the air FLY

Texas gets hot.  The Weather Channel's website states the average temperature from June to September is 90+ degrees with an annual average of 16+ days of 100+ degrees and record highs of 110+ in all four of those months!

A high air flow jacket is a necessity for riding in the heat.  While allowing a breeze while riding it also provides protection from the sun.  Earlier this spring I decided to try the Fly Flux Air Jacket (I did NOT get it from Motorcycle House, but they carry the jacket at a great price).
Fly Racing's Flux Air Mesh Jacket
The jacket has armor in the shoulders, elbows and back.  There are two zippered exterior hand pockets and two interior pockets on the left chest (one is zippered and one uses hook and loop).  The HYDRA Guard water and wind resistant liner is removable and useful for light rain and/or wind.

Adjustable waist straps and 3-snap sleeve adjustment allows for customization of the fit.  Zippered side expanders run from armpit to waist and allows an extra inch on each side.  The reflective piping works great and provides greater visibility at night.
The reflective piping really lights up!

The jacket comes in six different color options.  The back panel is large enough to accommodate a rider's patch if desired and also has reflective piping.
Simple design works great.
The blue looks great with my VFR 1200
Fly Racing states the mesh material is "abrasion resistant" (hopefully I will not find out).  The mesh allows great airflow.  Earlier in the spring I had to wear a flannel shirt or light jacket on early morning rides.  In the warmer temperatures the jacket is great.  The wind moves through the jacket while the sunlight is kept off of me.
The double layer of mesh allows air flow while protecting the rider.
I wish the cuffs had velcro instead of zippers and snaps, but otherwise I love the jacket.  The fit and the look are great.  The air flow when riding is superb.  If you ride in warmer climates you will find the jacket a great buy.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

I have been Flashed!!

In the winter and spring of this year (2016) I debated about changing from the Honda VFR 1200 back to the Yamaha FJR 1300.  I ended up deciding to stay with the VFR 1200 and make some changes to fit what I wanted.

The latest customization has proven to be the biggest grin inducing change!  After a lot of reading and talking to a fellow VFR rider I decided to have the ECU re-flashed by Don Guhl Motors. 

It was almost time for a valve adjustment and other maintenance so I took the VFR to my mechanic.  I removed the fairings and the ECU.  While the ECU was being sent to Don the bike got a valve adjustment, new plugs and new air filter.

Removing seat, fairings and gas tank to get to ECU

VFR sure looks
Time for a new filter!
The VFR's 1237cc V4 engine comes stock with 150hp at the wheel and weights 589 wet, but Honda has several restrictions on the motor.  The Don Guhl re- flash eliminates limits and raises the rev limiter by 500 rpm (if desired).

Little box control the big engine
I mailed the ECU to Don with the appropriate information including what exhaust was on the VFR.  The day after he received it the re-flash was performed and the ECU ship Next Day back to me all for $375.

Once back installation was easy, but the fairings where more difficult.  Thank goodness for friends.  I got the bike home, but too late to ride that night.  The inaugural ride would come the next day.  While the bike was out of commission I also added the mounting plate for the Givi case I ordered.
Givi case mount installed and ready for the first ride after the re-flash
The throttle response was immediately noticeable.  I was careful not to over do it and perform my first ever wheelie, several riders had experienced an unattended wheelie after the re-flash so I was wanting to avoid that.

The transition from gear to gear is now so smooth with no lag in power.  It is like I am constantly in the optimum power band.  Acceleration is immediate and produces a big smile.
The VFR and my sons ZX6R - he noticed the difference when following.
This is the first performance modification I have made on a bike and I am very happy with it.  I would without hesitation recommend Don Guhl Motors for your motorcycle's ECU reflash.  You will be smiling when you feel the power.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Memorial Day Ride 2016

May 30, 2016 marked the 2nd Memorial Day since my dad, WWII veteran and Purple Heart recipient, passed away.  During the previous 10 years or so I had spend some of each Memorial Day weekend with him.  It was my honor to take him to several Memorial Day services and accompany him in 2010 on Honor Flight. 
Wendell Osburn PFC 1st Army, 2nd Division, 9th Regiment, Company K, 3rd Platoon, 3rd Squad
I decided to take a ride and have a Memorial Day service and lunch with some fellow riders.  We gathered at a local gas station for fuel, food, drink and the pre-ride meeting.


Fueled up and waiting on others for the ride.
Bikes at the memorial
The ride was nice and cool in the morning thanks to some late night/early morning rain.  We were careful as some of the roads were still wet, but still managed to enjoy some "spirited" moments as we twisted through the country side towards the Audie Murphy Memorial at the Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum in Greenville, TX.
Audie Murphy statute
Audie was a Texas boy!
 Several friends on cruisers welcomed us as we rode into the parking lot at the memorial.  After looking at bikes and the normal comments/jokes about each others bikes we took time to read quotes, names (from Hunt county) and information that were part of the memorial.
A nice gathering of bikers to remember the sacrifices made for our country
One veteran reading names of soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice




Reading the names is very sobering and humbling


The veterans in attendance were gathered for a photo.  We were all very honored to have them with us for the day.  A few words of appreciation for all our military, past, present and future, were said and a prayer for our country and armed forces was given.

Six veterans were with us and one join us at lunch.  It was an honor.
After the time at the memorial we enjoyed lunch at a local hamburger establishment before a spirited ride home on dry roads.  Several riders chipped in and bought all the veterans lunch.

Thank you to all veterans and their families for the service and sacrifice made so we can go ride motorcycles with the freedoms and security we so often take for granted.  May God bless our armed forces and the USA.

I want to thank all my friends for sharing the ride and the time of remembrance with me.

A big thank you goes to Sergey O and John B, for the photos. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Kobalt Air Compressor: A review - little things impress

I am the first to admit I am not a "gear head" (good at working on bikes/autos), but I do try to learn and do more of my own work and maintenance each year.  With that said this post may seem silly to some, but for this ordinary biker a great tool has been found.

I have owned portable air compressors and shop air compressors and they have all functioned well.  However; I recently found myself without either and in need of one.  Since downsizing my life over the last 18 months I wanted/needed a portable compressors due to storage space.
Photo from Lowes.com
I had to borrow a neighbors Kobalt 12-Volt air compressor to get the bike's tires to proper pressure and loved it so much I decided to purchase one for myself from Lowes.

The Kobalt 12-Volt Car Air Inflator is very versatile and has some very useful features.  The unit comes with a power cord for use in an automobile power plug and a cord for home outlet usage.  A simple flick of the switch lets the compressor know the source of electricity. 

Use at home or with the car
Multiple nozzle options for inflating various items are included.  The digital air gauge displays current tire pressure so an additional air gauge is not needed.  I really like that once I connect the compressor I don't have to disconnect until finished.
User friendly button and display
Once the compressor measures the current air pressure the desired ("Target") air pressure is entered using the up or down arrows.  Once target pressure is selected a push of the run/pause button starts the compressor and it automatically shuts off when the target pressure is achieved.  This feautree is great because it allows for multitasking without concern of over inflation.

The cords fit neatly either in or on the unit making it easy to handle, manageable and tidy.
Automobile power plug stores inside the unit.  Photo at Lowes.com
With a width of 12 inches, a height of 10 inches, depth of 5 inches ( 30.48cm X25.4cm X12.7cm) and weight of 9 lbs (4.08 kg) it is too big to carry on motorcycle trips, but is very handy at home or in the automobile.

It is rugged, sturdy and durable and functions great!  Glad this amateur mechanic (I use that term loosely) found it.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Taking care of the feet

On February 18, 2016 fellow blogger and international biker Gary France posed a question on his Flies in your Teeth page - "You cannot ride without....what"?  I thought it was a very good question and it made me examine what I pack for my multi-day trips.
http://garysusatour.blogspot.com/
Gary's blog
Gary later posted compiled and organized lists from all the answers submitted -Essential riding items - The Results.  The lists are a great place to start for any biker planning a ride.

For his "Something you wear when riding" category I answered "comfortable socks."   Tired, hot (or cold), sweaty feet at the end of the day are not comfortable.  So, as discretionary income has increased over the years I have tried different and more expensive socks.  Although I still can not bring my self to pay $10+ for one pair of socks I have moved away from the 12 pack sock purchase.  (At times I have been called "cheap", I prefer to think of myself as frugal.  After all, I want to maximize my gas and tire budget so I try to save in other areas).

I watch for and purchase higher quality hiking socks when they are on sale.  I am glad I have started do this!

REI Performance Crew - REI.com
Many of  the specialty hiking or running wicking socks have proven to make a day of riding less stressful on my feet.  In particular the REI Performance Crew and the REI Side Stripe Sock have become my two favorite motorcycle riding socks.
REI Side Stripe - REI.com
Both pair have flat toe seams, wicks moisture away, dries quickly and because they are made with some spandex they are flexible and durable.  The Side Stripe is my #1 choice.  The comfort and performance helps my feet to feel much better at the end of the day whether riding, hiking or a combination.

On colder days I will wear sock liners with these socks to keep my feet warm.  During the warmer times these socks work great at wicking moisture and are not too warm on the feet.

In the past I would not of thought spending more on socks would be a worthy investment, but I have changed my mind.  Having been blessed to get to take a lot of multi-day trips with some all day riding I can honestly say a good pair of socks makes a BIG difference.

Take care of your feet and they will take care of you.