Friday, February 24, 2017

Finishing up service on the ST1300

New rubber for the ST -

Tonight a fresh set of Pirelli Angel GT's were installed. The set removed were also Angel GT's with around 9,000 miles on them. Had a couple of 32nds of tread left - but they were choppy and handling had deteriorated. Front tire especially.


My long time riding friend, Ken, had just splurged on some tire equipment. Said we are too old to be wrestling tires on with levers on the ground. So I loaded up the tires and wheels in the van. Ran over to his house after work.

He bought the No-Mar Cycle Hill model tire changer with a built-in bead breaker. It is their entry level unit. Works like a charm for a guy doing a handful of tires a year. So much nicer than sweating and cussing while doing them by hand.

Ken installing the front tire -


Forgot to take pictures of them, but I also took this opportunity to install the 90 degree machined aluminum valve stems. Some high quality Italian pieces from MotoMillion. A vendor found on the ST Owners Forum. Nice parts that installed without a hitch.

Then our freaky Southeast Michigan weather got weirder. We have been walking around in tee-shirts for the last few days setting high temperature records. While mounting the tires we experienced a February thunderstorm - then hail storm !


Ken also purchased a Marc Parnes static wheel balancer. Balanced up the ST tire-wheel assemblies by hand also. They balanced out without much weight at all. The Pirelli Angel GT tires have two red dots that you align with the valve stems when mounting. The ST should be ready to rock for the year now.




Sunday, February 12, 2017

More wrenching on the ST

More winter maintenance -

Been working a lot of hours at work this winter, but have still been making it out to the garage as often as possible. Working on getting the Mighty ST ready for spring. This mild winter has me thinking I'll be out on the road in March. Things are coming along.


The ST is known for having issues with the SMC - Secondary Master Cylinder. The part has been revised with an updated part number also, although I'm not sure of the details. Anyway, figured since my ST is at 82,500, might as well slap a new complete unit on the bike.

Below is a picture of the unit. The whole silver bracket complete with the SMC towards the top. Note the plunger on the SMC with clevis that bolts to the fork leg.


The ST's linked brake system is pretty complex. The SMC resides on the left front brake caliper. When the front brakes are applied, the caliper slightly rocks and depresses the plunger on the SMC which in turn applies the two outer pistons in the rear caliper.

Occasionally, the SMC piston has been known to hang up in the bore and not fully release the rear brake, creating a dragging condition. Sometimes even a wheel lock-up.

The ST has some serious brake lines and banjo fittings going on. Bleeders too. This is all on the left front caliper.


Bought a large bottle of brake fluid and commenced to going through the bleed procedure on the whole bike - front and rear. There are seven bleeder valves on the ST ! There is a specific sequence to be followed also.

Continuing on with the "Heat Reduction' mod, the underseat area was addressed. I fed insulation under the frame from the airbox area on top of the lower fuel tank. Then added another whole piece under the drivers seat, extending and doubling over the front area.

Before -


After -


Before doing the heat shield mod in the air box area, I totally removed the throttle body assembly. Let me tell you, it took some serious leverage to pop them out of the rubber intake boots - even with the clamps totally backed off and lube sprayed onto the edges of the boots.

Thorough cleaning and lubricating of the throttle body assembly was done along with the idle speed cable. This is notorious for seizing. One of the reasons for removing the throttle body assembly was also to peel back the rubber mat on top of the engine, exposing the water tube assembly and thermostat housing for inspection. The thermostat has already been replaced, so I just wanted to visually inspect for any coolant weeping at O-rings or hose clamps. No problems detected.

The alternator also resides under the mat, right on top, in the vee, in the center of the engine. I wanted to take a look at it while things were ripped down, so I know what is involved if it ever needs replaced. Hopefully it does not need any attention for many years as they are very expensive. I've heard of them failing at 65,000 miles, but I've also heard of them never failing - even past 200,000 miles.

With everything back together, new Fleetguard ES Compleat coolant was installed in the cooling system. Only the best big rig coolant for the king of the interstate.

Now it was time to perform the Starter Valve Synchronization before wrapping up the top of the bike.

An old friend of mine gave me a rail of antiquated vacuum gauges years ago for syncing carburetors or throttle bodies. He gave them to me in the 90's - and I'm pretty sure he was tuning bikes with them in the 70's. They even have the red plastic in-line squeezers to choke down the vacuum (pulse) signal, in order to stabilize the needle from bouncing.


Procedure has you disconnect and tap into the vacuum lines at the five way connector. I prefer to disconnect each line from the throttle body nipple and hook directly to the nipple. Either way things are tight. But the throttle body is solid and I prefer to manipulate the lines on and off with a long-handle pair of needle-nose pliers with a 45 degree tip, rather than deal with the loose five way connector buried within the plethora of vacuum lines and wiring.

With the upper fuel tank removed, there is much more room to work. The bike can be ran without the upper tank because the lower tank houses the fuel pump.

Warmed the bike up. Followed procedure - and dialed in cylinders 2, 3, and 4 to match cylinder 1. They were only very slightly out and while probably not necessary, I try to keep the ST in as high a state of tune as I can. It felt good to hear that buttery smooth V-4 again. Can't wait to get her out on the road.

A few days ago, a set of the 90 degree machined valve stems were ordered. The high quality Italian made ones from the vendors section on ST Owners Forum. Plan on installing them along with a fresh set of Pirelli Angel GT's. The 90 degree valve stems will greatly facilitate airing up the tires on the bike.

Very soon, an order to Cyclops will be made for another light upgrade for the ST. They have recently made available a 7000 lumen H-4 LED headlight bulb. Prior to this they were 3800 lumen. Going to pop a pair of these bad boys in before buttoning up the side fairings. A riding partner of mine is going to install a set in his FJR also.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Detroit to Outer Banks - Day 1

52,474 - ODOMETER

The first stop will be in Surry, Virginia to visit my Dad.
Over the years I have taken many different routes to and from the Hampton roads area to visit him.
He works in the shipyards in Newport News on the Aircraft Carriers as a Tool and Die Maker/Machinest.
He has lived in Norfolk, Newport News and now Surry County just across the James River from Historic Jamestown where it all started in this country in 1607.

Although I loath riding near Washington DC, that is the fastest route to his location, and the one I will ride on the way down.


Sometimes great rides must begin in adverse conditions.
That is what I kept telling myself anyway.
It figures.
All night there is not a drop - but as I get ready to leave on a big trip it starts to rain.
I considered going back to bed for a couple of hours and see if it passed, but decided instead to stay on schedule and just suck it up and ride on.
By the time I reached Ohio it was really coming down.
60 degrees-rain-dark-poor visibility and a huge spray coming off of the semi trucks on the turnpike as I passed them.
But having been here before, I knew it would just make the ride that much sweeter when the conditions changed in my favor.
That probably holds true in all things, especially if you can manage to stay positive.
And change they did. The sun rose and the rain stopped and I was blessed with almost perfect weather the rest of the trip !

The KLIM Traverse Gore-Tex gear once again saved the day and kept me dry along with safe.
It has been an awsome experience ever since I finally upgraded to the KLIM gear and no longer have to second guess the weather and climb into and out of rain gear throughout the day.

Coffee and food were now needed, so I pulled into a service plaza on the Ohio Turnpike for a break at Panera bread.
Often, I like to get a hundred or so miles under my belt in the morning before Coffee and food.

Shortly after crossing into Pennsylvania I stop for fuel.
I still don't know how far I can push the ST past the fuel countdown or how accurate it is, so I have been playing it safe.
But from the looks of what I am putting in I think it will go quite a bit farther. (Fuel capacity is rated at 7.7 gallons.)
Someday I need to strap a 1 gallon can on and run the bike empty to see.

52,757 - ODOMETER
283.7 - FUEL TRIP
46.56 - MPG
9:39 AM

Since day 1 is going to be about mostly droning Interstate and Turnpike miles to quickly and efficiently cover the 700 miles to my Dad's house, I thought I would make it interesting by keeping track of the trip data and seeing what kind of overall(including stops) MPH average I could maintain.

Someday I would like to attempt a Bun Burner Gold ride (1500 miles in 24 hours) which you must maintain a 62.5 MPH overall average to accomplish, so I will see how close I can come to this over approximately half the distance.

The only real visual highlight of todays ride was the Mountains through Pennsylvania and Maryland along with riding through the Allegheny Mountain Tunnel.

It was built in 1939 and is 6,070 feet long.
It is a twin-bore tunnel with four lanes, of which two go in each direction.

In the pocket of my tank bag is a point and shoot camera; this is my go-to method of capturing scenes while on the fly.

Even though the bypass is taken around Washington D.C. - the traffic still comes to a slow crawl multiple times !

Now in Virginia and not too far from Richmond it's time for fuel and a sub for lunch.

53,032 - ODOMETER
274.2 - FUEL TRIP
46.56 - MPG

Not long after getting back on the road, traffic comes to an abrupt halt !

A trucker up ahead comes over the CB radio stating that somebody has dumped a load of gravel in the right lane, so traffic has to funnel into the left lane.

It's really helpfull being connected to the road with a CB radio while having tunes from a Sirius satelite radio available in between transmissions.

Finally rolling again, I bypass Richmond on 295 and follow that to the exit for route 10, which runs the remaining distance via rural roads and a few small towns to Surry, Virginia.

It's 12 hours into the ride and I'm riding down the dirt two track driveway leading back into the woods to the old house my Dad rents.
It's actually an unfinished addition on the back of the eccentric owners house.
It's a shack really.:D
He was more or less forced to move out here to accomodate the 6 cats he now has !
Before this he always stayed at various efficiency motels until he brought BABY (A feral cat from Detroit that he befriended) home from a visit in Detroit.
She was pregnant, so he would not leave her, and even paid someone $500.00 plus fuel to drive him and the cat back to Virginia instead of taking the Amtrak train as usual.

She had 5 kittens, and he kept them all !
Needless to say, it was not long before he had to find somewhere that allowed the cats.

He deals with the place pretty well, but then again he is a pretty rough old hombre.
If you look up the definition of vagabond, there just might be a picture of him.:rofl
He is the real deal, in this regard.
For the last 30 years he has lived a nomadic life from coast to coast.

I spent years on the road with him in the 80's and early 90's.

There were many interesting times and experiences and I'm sure his influence helped shape my adventurous spirit and desire to travel but there was just too much chaos due to alcohol and drug abuse which caused alot of unneccesary hardship, violence, and homelessness.

So I had to break away for awhile and get my life going in the right direction which caused some strife between us for awhile due to his state of mind at the time.

Now, we are finally both old enough to have a few beers together and act like human beings and not animals.:clap

He finally slowed down a few years ago after a heart attack and double bypass.

He is 65 now - down to just meds and chainsmoking ! :D

So it is often bittersweet going to visit him, with old emotions and history coming back to the surface.

But he is my Dad. I love him and there is a bond there. It is what it is.

But I digress.



I knew I would not make the 62.5 MPH overall average considering the pitfalls like all the toll booths and not having an Eazy-Pass, traffic around D.C., starting in the rain and just routing to the East coast in general.

But I just wanted to get close and I am satisfied with 57.16 MPH overall average.

I think a route West may be doable for me.

The 1 marks the spot on the map of his location.
You can see the close proximity to the James river and the Jamestown-Scottland Ferry system.

In the morning I will be taking the Ferry over to explore the Historic triangle of Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown via the Colonial Parkway.


Detroit to Outer Banks - Day 2

-DAY 2

Off to the shipyard my Dad went at 5:45 AM, so I set off for the Ferry to deliver the ST and myself to the Eastern side of the James River for a big day of exploring the historic triangle and planned on being back to spend the evening with Dad after he returns from work around 4:30 PM.

So I better get an early start !!


The Jamestown- Scotland Ferry system consists of four Ferries and runs around the clock.

POCAHONTAS - built 1995 - 70 car capacity

SURRY - built 1979 - 50 car capacity

WILLIAMSBURG - built 1983 - 50 car capacity

VIRGINIA - built 1936 - 28 car capacity


Using the Ferry system is a pleasant and efficient experience, and it's free.

Being from Michigan, it took me a minute to grasp this concept, as you pay for everything and then some ! :D


This morning the SURRY was running and the early morning air coming off the water was refreshing on the ride over.


The James River is very wide in this area.


On the ride across, the Historic Jamestowne, which lies on the riverbank is visible.

You can see many of the prominent features such as the Old Church Tower, the John Smith Statue, and the Tercentennial Monument.


Colonial Williamsburg


First on the agenda today is Colonial Williamsburg.

Arriving first thing in the morning afforded me the opportunity to photograph the pristine Duke of Gloucester street while devoid of people.

The only souls present were a couple of groundskeepers tidying up and making sure everything is immaculate before the days activities and a occasional runner passing by.

What a wonderful place to take an early morning trot.



I Wandered over to Aromas coffee shop on Prince George street and waited for them to open.



It was worth the wait !

One thing I thoroughly enjoy while traveling is coming across worthy gourmet coffee shops.


There's nothing quite like a proper cup of coffee.
Aromas also had a delicious classic breakfast.


With the bike securely parked, another benefit of arriving early before all the convenient spots are filled up, it was time to take a stroll back into the streets of old Williamsburg for a few hours.


You could easily spend days here, but I was doing the condensed tour and stayed walking and poking around except for a few brief stops at a few interesting locations.


Seeing the stockade outside of the courthouse made you think.

I'll bet if perpetrators had to spend time in the stockade with the sun beating down on them and people gawking and sneering, they would think twice next time.


Someone was passing by, so I just had to get my picture taken in it !


The Blacksmith shop and public Armoury was definately a worthwhile stop....


....with the furnaces roaring from the air fed in by a ceiling mounted mechanical bellows....


...and a fair maiden tending the shop.


The quaint wood shop had that aromatic smell that anyone who has worked with wood will appreciate !!


I stopped in the kitchen and had a chat with a women while she cleaned and prepared a chicken.

She explained that whatever they cook that day is what all the workers there eat for lunch.

She also described how the large opening fireplaces are for cooking, and the smaller units are for heating.

I love those large cooking fireplaces.

You could have alot of fun doing cast iron cooking in one of those over the winter time.


The Tin shop was a sight to see with all of the work pieces sitting out on the tables.


Even today the Capital building is magnificent !

Personally, I prefer old architecture as compared to new, and feel it has much more character and charm.


The Governors Palace and Palace Green.





It began at Jamestown in 1607.
It ended and began anew at Yorktown in 1781.

An English settlement of 104 men and boys on the James River expanded into 13 British Colonies.

It ended for Great Britain in a port town on the York River,where independence for the new United States became a reality.


Leaving Williamsburg, I jumped back onto Colonial Parkway (23 mile long scenic byway) and ran it out until it's terminus - in Yorktown.


For the next few hours I walked the Yorktown Battlefield, which is the site of the last major battle of the American Revolution and browsed the visitor center.


I walked some of the trails which led through various parts of the battlefield and redoubts.(tactical positions)

I noticed some of the wheels on the cannons had knobbies and some were smooth.


There was nothing out there that was going to hold my attention for long.

Mostly just fields with some historical points of interest.


The only remotely fascinating things to me were the cannons and mortars which is what I focused on photographing.

Some were down right beautiful !!


I would suppose if you were a history buff and studied these events in detail then you might really connect. This historic stuff is starting to grow on me.





A short ride down the street and I was in the center of Yorktown, which is a very small and clean town with a nice selection of restaurants and pubs along the York River - and a small beach.


There was a bicycle tourer there with an impressively set up Surly Disc Trucker. Noteworthy for me, as the Surly Long Haul Trucker is my bike of choice.


I had lunch and a walk along the river; then back on the parkway retracing my route back to Jamestown.

The Colonial Parkway offers spectacular views of the York and James Rivers.