Bear With Me

I have to be honest and tell you that there is someone in my life that you don’t really know. Her name is Kathy and, my God, does she turn me on. She loves getting dirty and the harder you push her the more she wants. She really can take a beating and some days all I can think about it is mounting her.

I surely do love my KTM 450 MXC. Seriously, she’s a fine dirt bike!

After my last trip out on the single track I noticed that my rear wheel and steering stem bearings needed to be changed. I have never had the opportunity to perform this task before but, being The Modern Man and all, welcomed the challenge and started assembling the tools I was lacking plus ordering the bearing kits.

Rear Wheel Step One:

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Pump up the jams, pump ’em up!

Find your jam music and crank it up to 11. Enough said.

Step Two: Remove your rear wheel and pound out the bearings while being careful to not damage your hub. I got excited and didn’t take pictures of this process so I’ll go ahead and deduct 10 or 15 points for myself.

Step Three: Whip out your new bearings and make sure you eye fuck ’em hard, they like that. Also, you’re making sure there aren’t any defects and it might be a good idea to pop the dust cover off so you can be certain the guy on the assembly line didn’t mentally shit the bed and forget to put grease in there. A utility knife works great just don’t cut the cover in the process of removing it. Obviously, properly pack the bearings if none is present.

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Easy, trigger.

Step Four: Hub Prep. Ensure that your hub is clean and ready to receive your balls…er…ball bearings. Slap a lil’ grease in there to help the bearing slide into place.

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Yeah, that’s YamaLube I’m using on a KTM. So what? It’s good stuff and waterproof.

Step Five: Proper tools help you get the job done right the first time. I don’t buy all of my tools at Harbor Freight but sometimes they have just what you need when you need it. This is a race and bearing driver set that retails for about $35 and you gotta admit the colors really pop in that red case! These drivers help you drop the bearings into the hub in a straight fashion with equal pressure and whatnot so you don’t damage the bearing. Use a rubber mallet and pay attention! The bearing needs to be properly seated in the hub.

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Harbor Freight saves the day again!
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Pick the right size driver for the job!

Step Six: Flip the wheel over and grab your spacer. Apply some lube to the shaft and drop it in the hole. I mean, drop it into the hub.

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Ya always gotta lube up the shaft.

Step Seven: Drive the other bearing home so the spacer is sandwiched between the two bearings.

Step Eight: Install your dust covers on both sides of the hub to protect the bearings. Be sure to pop some grease on the dust cover around the inside and outside edges.

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Snug as a bug in a rug.

Step Nine: Before you can put the tire back on the bike you need to pop the spacers in place. As with the other pieces to the puzzle, grease the spacer.

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Don’t space out, man!

Step Ten: Install that tire!

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Tighten all fasteners to their proper torque specification using a torque wrench!

Step Eleven: Bam! You did it! Bearing install completed! Now it is time to celebrate and grab a beverage from the garage fridge. Don’t forget to bedazzle your fridge with the hot stickers that undoubtedly came along with the parts you ordered.

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All Balls, sucka.

 

The Modern Man’s Guide to Memorial Day Weekend in West Virginia

I know what you’re thinking, West Virginia?! Fret not, Skippy, for I will spend my next couple minutes explaining why it is a good place to spend a weekend riding motorcycles and camping.

Let’s get the pain out of the way. I trailered my bike to West Virginia over the weekend. Ugh. Now that the band-aid has been ripped off I can continue. It is the first time I have trailered a bike to an annual dude motorcycle week/weekend and I felt guilty about it at first but at this point who in the hell cares? I’ve earned my stripes already and for this particular weekend it was the right call for my buddy and me.

A big ass tent for two guys and a lot of smelly socks.
A big ass tent for two guys and a lot of smelly socks.

At any rate, Bulltown Camp near Flatwoods, WV, is the first experience I have had camping in a park run by the Army Corp of Engineers and it was a damn good time. The price was right ($95 for 4 nights) and it had a bath house so what else more do you need? This campground was picked because we planned the trip late this year and it was the only place that had a spot for those four nights in the entire state, seemingly, and it was perfectly halfway for Rick James and myself.

Fate? I do believe, sir.

Our group is usually about 5-6 riders strong but this year it just so happened to be Rick James and myself for the weekend. As per usual I was the first one on scene and that afforded me the time to set up camp and prep the coffee percolator for Rick James’ arrival. Somehow it was a high of 55 at the end of May this year and if I could I would register a formal grievance against the Earth Mother as that is complete bull. Regardless, Thursday night was all about some coffee, a quick run for some grill items, and a nip o’ whisky before calling it in.

Surly Suzuki's final ride and the maiden voyage of the Harbor Freight trailer for Moto Weekend.
Surly Suzuki’s final ride and the maiden voyage of the Harbor Freight trailer for Moto Weekend.

Friday morning showed it’s icy face and we braved that shit like champs…at 10am as we were officially not on “Burt Time” (R.I.P. Burt’s ACL/MCL). One firewood run, two cups of coffee, and some breakfast later we settled on a route and quickly settled into a haze of not being in the zone. Rick James, bitch, and I were a little weirded out by the road conditions and decided to not turn it up to 11 as we rode Route 19S to 15E to 20N to Route 33 in Buckhannon. The goal was to ride 33 West to Weston for lunch but we couldn’t agree on where to eat so Rick James selected the glorious Wendy’s while leaving the lunch option for me on Saturday. Post feast we carved our way on 33 West until we reached Glenville at Route 5 South. At this point the thought of an ice cream cone from the fanciest restaurant in town (McDonald’s) was too much for Rick James to handle and we came to rest for a while. Route 5 was a decently fun route back to 19N/Flatwoods where we tanked up on grill items at the friendly Walmart before heading back to our site for the evening.

Rick James upset at having to share marshmallows
Rick James upset at having to share marshmallows

Saturday happened to be a better day out of the gate due to a better night’s sleep and a warmer morning. It still wasn’t summer temperatures but what can you do? After a couple cups of coffee, another wood run and some 40% RDA fiber oatmeal we risked everything and headed out for the day of riding. Route 19S to 4S to 16S to 39E to Summersville for lunch was almost what the doctor ordered with the exception of a certain GSX-R1000 tipping over at the intersection of Route 4 and 16S. The moral of the story is that maybe you shouldn’t be overly energetic and wave to a passing motorcyclist while you are mounting your bike on gravel on the side of the road after stopping for a pee break. How the hell did that happen? I don’t know but it was funny as shit and thank goodness for frame sliders. Hallelujah and pass the ammunition!

Post Bob Evans we hopped back on 39E to 20N which led us to 15W. We happened upon a lumber cutting contest/festival along the way and a pack of old ass vehicles that felt the need to operate at twenty miles per hour under the speed limit was the way to go. No matter how hard we tried to channel our inner Burt we couldn’t seem to shake the road clog that was killing us slowly. Why be on the road if you can’t do the speed limit? All it does is hurt those who you refuse to pull over for and honestly it probably kills a couple baby seals in the process.

Sunday, our day to make up for the pain before we head back to life and reality. Over coffee we plan the day’s route and decide to circle back on some roads we rode previously in 2010 near Seneca Rocks. We headed north on 19 to 33E where we had a glorious brunch at Huddle House (seriously fucking go there) before heading toward Elkins. After a quick 92 octane top off we headed south on 219/55 to 250/92. These roads are great if I must say so! We then turned south on 28 and rode to our second visit of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Arbovale.

Two pretty ladies
Two pretty ladies
Goldeneye and shit
Goldeneye and shit

The large dish in the background is really huge like the one from Goldeneye but the picture doesn’t do it justice. You can take a tour of the facility and I have to admit that I will circle back one day but we were on a mission to ride this particular visit so we didn’t take the time.

Serious business
Serious business

Route 66W is sweet and at the town of Cass there is a scenic railroad you can ride and I do plan on heading back to that with the Lil’ Man and his Ma. We headed north on 219/55 and that is a great section of pavement! After stopping for an ice cream treat at a gas station we took 15W back to Flatwoods. What a day! Route 15 was the worst part of the day due to a clog of vehicles towing other vehicles but what can you do? It was a great weekend of riding and we covered 620 miles in the three days we were in town.

A lot of people have bad things to say about West Virginia but at the end of the day there is some great riding to experience if you ever have the chance. On road and off road I have to say that West Virginia has something for everyone!

Good times and good friends with motorcycling to boot…I can think of worse ways to spend a weekend!

Riding Phelps Farm

There’s no better way to gauge your level of fitness quite like riding a motorcycle off road and with that being said I’ve realized that I’m a big ol’ bowl o’ gravy.

Phelps Farm is roughly 400 acres of awesome located close by and I finally got the chance to go check it out and ride for a while on my Suzuki DRZ400S. My bike is a dual sport (street legal dirt bike) and while I love her I have to admit that she is overweight and underpowered but she will get you where you want to go if you are patient enough. Riding trails on a bike is pretty new to me and I have a lot to learn before I become comfortable.

When you arrive at Phelps there is a great parking area where you can camp and hang out when you’re not riding the trails. Or you can use it to attempt to catch your breath after you’ve fallen for the one hundredth time…either way.

The Beast unloaded
The Beast unloaded

There are a ton of trails that can be pretty difficult but there is a nice and easy loop for beginners to get their bearings and gain some exposure. The motocross track is probably my favorite so far. It is a good place to develop skills and there aren’t really any trees to impale yourself upon.

Take a break by the motocross track.
Take a break by the motocross track.

The trail sections can be nearly impassable when it is wet but when conditions are good it is pretty fun! Tree roots and mud puddles are my greatest enemies but thank God for compression shorts and protective gear.

A fun little trail section.
A fun little trail section.

I have located a few weak links in the DRZ’s armor and over time I will do my best to band aid the issues. An off road carburetor is on the way and after I install it I will set my sights on upgrading the suspension. I looked up the spring rates and she is set up for a 130 pound rider from the factory. Anything I can do to help her corner speed and stability will be much appreciated!

She's only happy when she's dirty.
She’s only happy when she’s dirty.

All in all, only a mirror, rear turn signal, gas tank vent hose, and my pride were lost on this trip! Not too shabby…

Check out the video I shot on my GoPro below. You can see how unimpressive my riding is while seeing a tiny bit of what is located on the Farm.

One not-so-hot-lap around the motocross track.

One minute of a little trail section.

And, of course, at the end of couple hours of riding I got tired and sloppy and fell off twice within two minutes. Enjoy!

Sweet Deliciousness

I don’t want to start a debate over which donut shop is better (even though Krispy Kreme is the better option over Dunkin’ Donuts) but I felt the need to spread the word on the latest seasonal option from the fried donut king.

On a side note, though, doughnut is the correct spelling but I refuse to use it as it is too fancy a word for the sugary treat that we all know and enjoy. America is black coffee and donuts, not arrogant “decaf triple tall vanilla latte with nutmeg sprinkles on the foam. Oh, and 140 degrees for the skim milk, OK, bitch?” (all said while on the cell phone) and doughnuts. Ugh.

Anyhow, the ‘smores donut from Krispy Kreme is a gem! While being a little too sweet it is still very much worth swinging by for a taste before they are gone. It is filled with marshmallow fluff and has chocolate and graham crackers on top. It definitely tastes like Kaptain Krispy Kreme kreated a kool koncoction that would pair nicely with a dark roast koffee.

OMG
OMG

Now back to my regular scheduled program of glazed originals or chocolate with sprinkles. ‘Cause who doesn’t love a little flair once in a while?

Tammy Mother Fuckin’ Lou

Yeah, that’s right. That’s her name.

471 pounds of hot, wet American summer by way of British engineering and Taiwanese manufacturing. 1050cc, 135HP and 82 ft-lbs with a sexy ass single sided swingarm equate to smiles for miles on the back of this triple cylinder naked sport bike. I’ve never owned a triple cylinder bike before and the benchmark for “schwing” is my 4 cylinder 2008 Yamaha R1. I bought the Triumph Speed 3 this past October at the end of the riding season but managed to put 1300 miles on her before winter really set in. Sadly, the stock Metzeler K3 Racetec Interact crapped the bed at 1300 miles on the odometer so I dialed up a pair of Bridgestone BT-016 Pros as a replacement. I rocked the non-pro BT-016s on my R1 and they were the best tire I experienced to date so that is one of the reasons why I opted to replace the Metzelers with the Bridgestones. The other, of course, is cost. A rear K3 Racetec Interact is $250 alone while a BT-016 is $230 for a front and a rear. The K3s stuck well but wore like ass so it was a no brainer to get the BT-016s that stick just as well and last 3500-4500 miles over the 1300 the K3s got me.

As stated, I have never owned a triple cylinder bike before but I have to say that I am happy to own one. As best as I can describe it, it feels like good balance between a twin sportbike’s  growl and an inline four cylinder’s wail in the mid range and top end. I ditched the OEM exhaust for a slip-on shorty from Competition Werkes but it was mostly an aesthetics and weight saving measure over a competitive one. I have always been a lover of the naked sport bikes so obviously the Speed 3 is right up my alley. The overall look and feel are in place and the handlebars keep leverage on tap for negotiating the fun sections of the pavement but I did install a set of lower foot pegs as I am a tall SOB. I think that if I was to do a track day I would drop the OEM foot pegs back in place for the day but in the real world the lowered pegs are the way to go. I haven’t encountered a corner where I have dragged the lower pegs yet so I will keep running with them.

The brakes are simply the best I have experienced on a bike and I guess it is due to the Brembos up on the front axle. I previously thought the R1 had top braking honors but the Speed drops the gospel with every pull of the lever. Honestly. I am really impressed.

My only true complaint to date is the clutch lever pull. It’s not long before I have a Popeye style left forearm from the work out! I just gotta avoid city traffic. I think a set of one inch handlebar risers are on the horizon as it would help with my rider triangle but it isn’t a mission critical purchase.

All said and done I am happy that Triumph and I have embarked on a journey together. The Japanese motorcycle world I hail from is comfortable and nearly perfect but the Speed 3 is a challenge I will gladly accept.

Two Wheels and Some Steel

Today was a perfect day to get out for a ride on the Speed 3! I haven’t been doing much road riding the past couple years due to the lack of a proper bike (The Hotness is always trying to keep a brother down) but I am really happy to be back at it.

The main sections of the ride were on the Blue Ridge Parkway from Copper Hill to Tuggle Gap where we got on Route 8 headed south to Woolwine. In Woolwine we stopped for a stretch and a little water before turning east on Route 40 and headed toward Rocky Mount. The BRP was nice but probably the least interesting segment of the ride. Don’t get me wrong, gentle sweepers and beautiful scenery is great but I was looking to put my bike through more of a work out since we are still getting to know one another. Route 8 had potential to be the gem of the day in spite of being a short section (that’s what she said) but the tractor trailer in front of me definitely harshed my mellow. Pretty sure we topped out at 5mph in the gnarly sections.

On a side note, it is scary as hell to watch a big ass semi swing wide and use both lanes in the road to negotiate blind corners. If a car or me on my motorcycle was be-boppin’ along in the opposite direction at a normal pace there is no way that we wouldn’t have been hit. I followed him for maybe five miles or so and watched him do this at least ten times and I held my breath each instance. Just a reminder to always be on the ball but some things are out of your control even if you cross all your T’s and dot the I’s. YOLO I guess?

So, back to the ride. Route 40 between Ferrum and Woolwine is quite possibly the bee’s knees (There is an art gallery at the intersection that I want to revisit). There are nice, short straight sections connecting the tight twisties and it was hard to subdue the grin inside my helmet. Speed 3 and I were working on becoming more than just friends (I will review her another time) and my fresh Bridgestone BT016s were hooking me up just like the old days on the R1. Hot damn! A hot stop in Ferrum was in order and there was a local mercantile/Papa John’s/etc. conglomerate just east of the college where ice cream, donuts and coffee were consumed. The coffee and donut blew but it was good enough to plug the gap until I got home.

All in all, good day and a good ride and thank God for compression shorts.

Ferrum Speed

Speed 3 in Blue (flippin’ sexy ass single sided swingarm…) and a Rocket III in black.

mmmmmmm…coffee…

coffee

I’ve taken you to this scenic spot to discuss a new love in my life. The Clover brewing system at Starbucks is awesome and if you haven’t tried it yet then you should. It isn’t at every store but the newest store in town happened to get one when it opened. It’s the best thing next to a French press and what makes it cooler than a polar bear’s toenails is that you can get any roast they sell. They’ll open a bag of whatever you want to brew it up special for you. \

It’s almost like they love you as much as your momma.

But they still make you pay.