First Ride

Greetings everyone.  I finally took the first ride on my “new” bike today.  Seemed appropriate with today being Independence Day here in the U.S.A.  😉

I’d love to tell you about all the beautiful vistas I saw, and the cool, tree-lined back roads traveled, but unfortunately I can’t do that… yet.  You see, I’ve spent weeks repairing mouse damage to the electrical wiring and hoses (another article, another time), and repairing/replacing other items that didn’t test out right or that were obviously aging and becoming brittle or worn out.  This is what happens when a bike sits for long periods of time without being ridden or maintained.

What I haven’t had time to get to are the tires and brake pads.  A quick look at the tires leaves the impression they’re new and ready to go.  Even the tiny little “nubs” are still there, but a closer look shows splitting and dry rot between the treads.  Not a good thing for any vehicle, a calamity waiting to happen with a motorcycle.  The brake pads also appear to be near new, however I don’t trust pads that have sat in varying conditions for a minimum of two years, probably longer, without being used.  I’ve heard of too many disintegrating under hard braking conditions.  Since I live in the mountains brake use is way too common a thing, and the downhill runs are long and curvy.  Stopping, or slowing, is not something I want to leave to chance anywhere, especially here.

Anyway, I took the bike out for its first post-purchase ride, keeping the speed really low and the trip short, about 2 miles round-trip, on a relatively level two-lane country road. Aside from the fact I wanted to get in an Independence Day ride, I needed to make sure all the systems repaired so far were working properly and the transmission shifted smoothly before starting the next task.  Everything checked out fine except the charging system.  For some reason the voltage dropped from previous amounts and running the bike didn’t charge the battery.  The voltage was good and the charging system charged perfectly before I pretty much stripped the bike to do the needed repairs, so I’m assuming I either didn’t get a connector snapped together properly or something is shorting out.  There’s also the possibility that a fused wire I did not reconnect doesn’t go where I thought it did.  It was installed by the previous owner and appears to go to the cigarette lighter, so after replacing it (had a LOT of mouse damage along its length) with a heavier new wire I opted not to reconnect it until I no longer have to disconnect the battery to finish the repairs I wish to accomplish.  The more I think about it the more I lean toward that wire being the culprit since it’s the only one I know that isn’t connected now that was before, so that will be the first thing I check out.  Thought about the stator, but the PO replaced that shortly before parking the bike.  In any case, I’ll post whatever the problem is and what the solution ends up being.

UPDATE – The problem was the Regulator-Rectifier, one complete unit on this bike.  Now that it’s been replaced the charging system is working good.  When time permits I’ll post the process, with pics, and explain other things I did which will make the charging/electrical system more efficient.

I really hate to admit it, but I dropped the bike once in my driveway.  I blame the driveway goblins for this one!  Lol  In my own defence I had good reason.  Perhaps you’ll agree.  😉  My house is on a hillside, on stilts, and the parking area is at the lower floor level of the house, so the driveway is curved, uphill, and gravel.  I didn’t have enough speed when I started the climb out of the driveway, and am not yet used to how it steers, so when the bike headed for the driveway gate post I hit the brake.  Of course, with the bike going up-hill, and turning, hitting the brake threw it off-balance so I had to let it fall.  After all, stopping a 900 (+) pound bike from falling under those conditions isn’t an easy task, so down it went.  I picked it up, rolled it back to the starting point, and tried to get out of my driveway again.  This time everything went well, except I didn’t feel comfortable in the situation.  I’m used to bikes about half this size, with no bells or whistles, so everything about it is a learning experience, including getting out of my own precarious driveway.  Something’s going to have to give here.  Either the driveway is going to have to be improved somehow, or I’ll need to find a secure place just past my gate to park the bike until I’m more familiar with it.  My initial “vote” is the later.  I’ve ridden on gravel roads, of all types and sizes, a lot before, but not with a bike this size.  Sooner or later entering and leaving the driveway will be old-hat, but until then my gut feeling is to not take chances.

The new tires came yesterday (03JUL), and the brake pads are supposed to be here tomorrow.  Hope so.  I’m well past ready to give this bike the workout it’s been patiently waiting for so long.  Somehow I get the feeling it knows it’s found a good new home where it’ll be pampered and well maintained.  What?  Bikes don’t know things like that?  Well, just abuse one and see how long it takes to show you who the boss really is!  😉

Happy (and safe) Biking!

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