Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


I love my new Triumph Scrambler!  I have not been as excited about a motorcycle since I got my first Triumph (the Trident, which I still have).  And, one of the things I am excited about is personalizing the bike, and making it my own.  This will consist mainly of cosmetic changes (I don't plan to hop the motor up, or anything), cleaning up the profile of the bike.

One of the things I am changing is the look of the exhaust.  I like the stock set-up, except for the awkward-looking heat shields.  Specifically, I do not like the misshapen pie plate just below the rear of the tank, and I don't like the over-sized guards on the mufflers, at the rear of the bike.

Here's a view of the stock heat shields (and also my new mirrors, mounted beneath the bars, to clean up the top of the handlebar).

I took the pie plate off, yesterday, and rode around running some errands.  I never even noticed it was gone.  My leg crosses over the pipes well behind that spot.  So, I figured that a smaller plate, mainly there to just cover the mounting bracket welded to the pipe, would be sufficient.

Yesterday, I went to Ace Hardware and bought some 2" x 1/8" aluminum stock.  Today, I set to work.

I pulled the big guards off of the mufflers, as well, and cut pieces of the stock to cover those brackets, as well as one to cover the pie plate bracket.  Then, I drilled the mounting holes and test-fitted them.

I then marked off a radius on each end of the new guards, and went to work with the angle grinder, bench grinder and metal file.  Once I had them fairly close to the finished curve, I mounted them up and did a bit more filing while they were in place.

So, here are the new heat shields.  I still need to do a bit of finish work on the edges, and polish them up.  But, even in this semi-rough stage, they look 1000% better than the stock shields, to me.

What do you think?


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Quite Random

Saw this, on the way home from work, last week:

 Oddly, one of the stickers in the window is from WHBQ AM, in Memphis.  We listened to Rick Dees in the morning, after he hit it big with "Disco Duck".

Nice pinstriping, though it's a bit hard to see in the crappy cell-phone photo...


Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Daily Project Chugs Right Along

I just realized that today's story was Number 100.

So far, the well has not begun to run dry.


Friday, April 15, 2011

New Motorbike!

I finally broke down and bought a Triumph Scrambler.  I will readily admit that I am being "follow-along-Jonny" on this:  Both Brad and Randy have Scramblers, and I was coveting their bikes.

 I traded the big Suzuki V-Strom in.  I got a little less than what I was trying to sell it for, but it's gone and I don't have to deal with Craigslist people, any more.

So, I once again have two Triumph 900s in the fleet.  They are as different as can be, but I loves me some Triumph iron!


Saturday, April 09, 2011

Dollar Menu

In circulation, around Denver...


Still Obsessing Over Handlebars

This past week one of the original Gary Bars came up for auction on eBay, and I won it.  It is one of my favorite handlebars, and I was disappointed when it got redesigned into the Gary II.  I have tried to find a new bar which is comparable, but nothing out there has the shallow drop of the original Gary or the old On-One Midge bar (which seems to be discontinued).

 For comparison's sake, I set the bars on the table, and measured from the table top to the top of the clamp area, on each bar.  The original Gary measures about 4-3/4 inches.

The new Gary II, at 6-1/2 inches has 1-3/4 inches more drop.  It might not sound like a lot, but, looking at it from the side:

The difference is pretty noticeable, in use.  That much more drop means that you have to have 1-3/4 inches more of your stem quill showing (on my bikes) or a really severe upward angle on a threadless stem.  This is why I took the Gary II off of the RockCombo, and went with a mustache bar.  The quill was out so far with the Gary II that it would flex as I stood and climbed the hill on Dahlia, every morning.

The Woodchipper falls between the two Gary Bars, drop-wise.  At 5-3/4 inches, it has one inch more than the Gary, and 3/4 inches less than the Gary II.  On my old 29er frame, this bar was pretty usable. That bike has a pretty high head-tube, so I was able to use a reasonable number of spacers under the threadless-style stem.  But, it is pretty wide:

The Woodchipper is in the background, the Gary is in the foreground.  And, the original Gary is wider than the Gary II:

The Gary II seems more like a road bar, to me, than an off-road drop bar.

Speaking of which, I find it odd that none of the three bars, each advertised as being designed for off-road use, will accept mountain bike shifters or brake levers (without modification).  I've managed to shoehorn thumbshifters and v-brake levers on each of these, but it takes some doing.  And, forget it if you want to use GripShift gear changers.

I am happy to have another pair of the original Gary Bars, though.  I have liked them a lot on the XO-2, and I am glad to have a spare.  In fact, if I ever see more come up on eBay, I'll be bidding on them.


Sunday, April 03, 2011

A Satisfying Weekend

The weather, this weekend, was pretty awesome, especially for the first few days of April, at this elevation.  The temperature was in the upper sixties or low seventies on Friday, and we hit a record 84 degrees F on Saturday.  The sun was shining, and everything was almost perfect..

Except the damn wind, of course.  But, I was able to overlook that, due to how nice the rest of the weather was.

I rode 50 miles on Friday (as I posted about), and actually got a little bit of sunburn. 

I also finished mounting a new speedometer on my CL-450.  I decided to go without a tachometer, and mounted a mini-speedo in place of the stock instruments.

On Saturday, I rode over to the coffee shop, and sat outside to drink ,my coffee.  Then, I went for a short ride, that afternoon, to loosen up a little from the stiffness left over from Friday's ride.  I ended up sitting out in the porch swing, playing the cigar box guitar for a while, then listening to music for a while.

And, I put the finishing touches on the mounting plate for the speedometer on the Honda.

Today, it was 65 degrees when I got up, at 6:30 AM!  I did the outside coffee thing, again.  Warm, sunny weather, with birds singing...then this moved in:

In the space of about an hour, it started raining, the temperature dropped to 38 degrees and the rain turned to snow.  I'm certainly glad I washed the Dodge, this morning.

But, the bad weather gave me an excuse to spend the afternoon in the shop building, working on my 29ers.  I put some new wheels, with XT hubs, and some Stan's Crow Tires on the ti bike. 

I swapped the wheels and tires which were on the ti bike to the old Motobecane frame, which I had set up as a 650b, last year.  I also temporarily mounted a surplus military bag, which I got off of eBay, as a seat bag.  I will do a neater job on it, later.  I mainly just wanted to make sure it would work, okay.

Here are a couple of shots of the older 29er, inside my messy shop:

 And, a shot outside, after my test ride:

I also switched the bars and stem, installed SRAM X-9 shifters and rear derailleur and put the Frankenseat on the bike.  I am tentatively planning on taking this bike to Pennsylvania, this summer.  I might throw some cross tires on it, and make it an "all-rounder", much like the ti bike.

The temp has dropped to 32, now.  Looks like it might be a chilly commute, tomorrow.


Friday, April 01, 2011

Less Windy, Today

The weather-guesser on the morning news pointed out that the wind was "only" blowing a steady 25 mph, instead of the 35 to 40 mph it had clocked, yesterday.  And, the temperature at 7:30 was already in the middle 50s, predicted to climb into the mid-60s by lunch time.

So, I took that to mean I should get out on a bicycle ride.  I haven't done a lot of riding, lately, outside of riding for transportation.  So, I felt the need to get out and put some miles on.

I rode down to Kaladi Bros. and had a coffee and scone to augment the bagel and cream cheese I had eaten at the house.  I figured I was going to need some fuel, if I was going to buck the wind, all day.  Turned out to be a good plan.

I rode on down to the South Platte Trail and turned north, into the teeth of the wind, and figured that I would just ride into the wind until I was tired, then I could turn around and reap the benefit of a tail wind on the way home.

As I rode, the trail was detoured at one section, avoiding the construction of the west-bound LightRail tracks.

This is the new bridge for the commuter train.  The tracks, heading west from town, actually follow the historical route of the trolley line which made Lakewood a viable suburb of Denver, a hundred years ago.

This shot shows where the bike path ran before the construction commenced.

I continued northward, past Confluence Park, and rode toward the intersection of the South Platte Trail and The Sand Creek Greenway Trail.  I briefly contemplated taking the Sand Creek Trail to head back south, but I decided against it.  I had never been any farther north along the South Platte, so I pushed on, just to check out the trail. 

I eventually came to an intersection with the Clear Creek Trail.

I believe that the Clear Creek Trail goes to Golden.  I will have to return, at some point, and go left at this intersection, to find out.  As it was, I turned right and continued along the South Platte.

The surroundings improved as I rode north and left the industrial sections of Denver and Commerce City behind.  The river was a lot more scenic, fields and reservoirs bordered the path, and Nature seemed to be a lot more in charge.

Eventually, I rode under 104th Avenue and realized I was in Thornton.  I was also right at 25 miles into the ride, so I sat down for on a park bench, beside a pond, for a minute to check my phone, and look at the mountains.

I turned south, and headed back toward home.  I was somewhat dismayed to find that I really didn't have a tail wind for most of the ride home.  The wind was actually blowing across my path, so I had a head wind for about 80% of my ride home, as well.

Just over 50 miles at an average speed of 14 mph (dang wind!).  I got a good workout, and I rode on some trail I'd never been on (and found another trail to ride, to boot).  I consider that a good ride, any day.