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  1. Today
  2. Good luck with everything ducnut. I agree with Terry, we can want for every bike in the world but our best possession in life is good health. Grab the CanAm sell the SV if needed, but hang on tightly to that beautiful 5th gen. Glad we have your expertise and advice to tap into on this forum.
  3. Welcome to VFRD from across the pond! To add what was written already, you can run the bike without the fuelpump by the way Check that the 4 vacuum ports are sealed; I believe the 3rd gen could have little screws, where the 4th gen have capped "boost joints" #5 Before going through the hassle of removing the carbs, verify synchronisation; This for instance is not bueno
  4. What an interesting few racers to start the season.
  5. First of all, nice bike. Every time I see a 3rd gen (rarely these days) my reaction is "oooh - look at that 8 spoke wheel! You have a lot of things to sort out - here are some things to think about in order. First, if it were mine I'd try to undo all the "mods" the previous owner(s) did to get back to as close to stock as possible, starting with the wacky airbox thing . Then be sure you have a good fuel pump. Second, I'd next attack the carbs, making sure that you have good fuel in the system. Being 30 years old, there could be all sorts of crud, deposits and varnish in the tank, fuel filter, pump and carbs. You can at least empty the tank (and have a look down in there to see how clean things look) add some fresh fuel and then drain the carbs to get known good fuel through the system. If there's a lot of rust, jetsom and flotsom in the tank, you're likely in for cleaning that out and a new fuel filter at least. Clogged jets would not be a surprise - you may need to bite the bullet and rebuild the carbs, either having it done or DIY'ing it. If the latter, there are some members here that are really sharp on going through 3rd and 4th gen carbs (I wish I were one of them). Lastly once you have it running well, your charging system seems a bit weak. You likely have at least decent stator output as you're getting some reasonable numbers at 5,000 rpm, but you should really go through "The Drill" in the electrical forum to thoroughly assess the stator, R/R and wiring. Repair / replace as necessary and you should be good. That's not a lot of help - there's likely some very knowledgeable advice that will follow. That is a now rare and nice looking bike that deserves the attention needed to get it going - once you do you'll really love it. I wish more 3rd gens were around - but they've become a fairly rare site. One other thought - you mentioned that it's low on clutch fluid. It would be good maintenance to change both clutch and brake fluid - since it's low it sounds as though it's been neglected and it would not surprise me if the fluid looks like the gravy you'll put on your Thanksgiving turkey. Best of luck with it and update us on how you're doing with it.
  6. Never done it but provided you can supply 9v to that Pink wire, then it doesn't need to be at the ignition switch. You could most likely patch into any switched 12v line, use a 3.9v zener then feed that 9v to the Pink wire near the ECM. That could have got you around your switch issue! But keeping things standard is a better option and you've been able to do that by fitting the new key barrel to the original switch assembly. So something to keep in mind with your bike. If you ever have a dead bike and everything looks fine and dammed if you can work out why, check that Pink Wire for 9v. Cheers.
  7. Lorne

    VFR800 Stator??

    Dutchy and Cogswell offered some good suggestions. Before you spend money on any parts there are a couple of things worth knowing. The output of the rec/reg goes through the starter relay (adjacent to the battery) *before* going to the battery. Check the connections on your starter relay to ensure they are in good condition. And as Cogswell says, check that your meter is set to AC.
  8. I have a 1990 VFR750 with some running problems, I'm looking for some help with this bike. First I'd like to add some backstory to this bike. I picked up this bike for a trade (rode for an hour to get it) and when I got it I got a chance to ride it. When I went to make the trade the bike would stall out about 10min after riding (but could punch it and get it up to 11k rpm and into 3rd and fourth gear) and the previous owner kept having to jump start it. He drove an hour to me (swears he had no problems up till the trade) but owner did let me know that he picked it up from someone who let it sit for a year. When riding for about 5-10 minutes the bike won't throttle over 5000 rpm and as soon as you let in on the clutch and throttle it would die. I put in a new battery and after about 10min of the bike running with choke on i was able to ride it with the choke off. Went and rode it for about 30min with a friend and it only died twice and i kept having to mess with the idle screw, sometimes it would idle at 4000 sometimes would feel like it was about to die. I had a friend come take a look at the bike and found that it had a aftermarket rectifier and fuel pump in it and the intake for the bike was partially tied shut with what can I only assume is hobby wire. As of right now with fresh battery it will only run with choke on at 1000 RPM as soon as you touch the throttle it dies. I have done some basic checks: All connections for charging system are clean and not burnt. I reinstalled the correct rectifier SH701-12 (owner said that was on the bike originally) Runs at 12.06 volts at 1000 RPM and it gets to 13.03 volts at 3000 RPM and seen it peak at 14 at 5000+ RPM (It is at 11.8 volts at 1000 RPM now I think I killed the battery starting the bike multiple times) Reinstalled original fuel pump Ran some mechanic in a bottle through the gas tank to help the carbs Engine oil is clean and at a good level. Low on clutch fluid Air filter is clean No hissing when idling All fuses are okay New AGM Super start battery It dies whenever I touch the throttle or idle screw it dies, I'm thinking bad stator or clogged carbs. Has anyone had this issue or can lead me in the right direction.
  9. Is not the starter relay adjacent to your battery? You should be able to access it for inspection or to remove & replace it by removing the seat. Yours is in virtually the same location as on my '92 VFR750 and I didn't need to remove the tank. Cannot remember if removing the battery was necessary. Good luck
  10. An update, well sort of. I had ordered a pump through partzilla as it showed available in 2-3 days. Well the avail date keeps slipping to I cancelled the order and went back to my local Honda dealer. I should have just ordered from them in the first place but Zilla showed it available sooner. Long story short, paid a chunk more for the pump but it should be in tomorrow afternoon. Sigh........
  11. Cogswell

    VFR History

    That's a beautiful 5th gen example.
  12. Yesterday
  13. Here's a link to the excellent writeup (with photos) by Bryan217 on installing OEM luggage on a 6th gen. It's definitely worth reading if you're about to install a luggage rack.
  14. These are basically new. Never used just mounted. I bought them and they fit fine but at the highest level they were barely higher than stock foot position. I wanted more height so I ground some material from the bottom mounting holes of the footrest plate so I could angle them up and took some material off the gear lever near the swingarm to get clearance as well as 1/2" spacers at the frame. Once mounted you can't tell they've been massaged to fit that postion. They still have all the adjustability as the intended, just now a little more. Comes with everything in the picture including the master cylinder which is also new. Will need the heim joint at the gear selector on the motor and 1/2" spacers (which can be purchased at you local hardware store for a few bucks) I also upgraded 4 bolts since the ones that came with them were cheap in my opinion. $150 free shipping to US only. Can provide more detailed pics once I get them off.
  15. Grum

    VFR History

    And a superb dream bike it is.
  16. I’ve seen it on an ‘04 GSXR 750, as well. Suzuki refused warranty, claiming we’d improperly serviced the battery, despite the obvious R/R failure. The shop owner did the right thing for the bike owner, by replacing the R/R, battery, swingarm, rear wheel, and peripheral bits that were ruined, then, went after Suzuki. Corporate Suzuki can eat a bag of dicks.
  17. ducnut

    VFR History

    I like my ADV bike for its ability to eat up the shittiest roads the USA has to offer, it’s seating position, and electronic cruise control. However, my daughter will be selling my 5th Gen, once I’m gone, because it’s the bike I’m never selling and it was a dream bike for me.
  18. a picture would be nice. they don't fail often, so somethin happened.
  19. Cogswell

    VFR History

    I also take exception to some of the article's points - * "Not only did it have a hideously complex gear-driven cam V4 engine . . . " This was written by someone who's never been inside the bike or its engine. Yes it is more complex than an inline 4, but no more so that of the hundreds of millions of 4 wheel counterparts running around with V configuration engines. It's packed in a tight space, but it quite serviceable. "Hideously complex"? Fail . . . * "Not only was this the sportiest VFR to date, it was also the gutsiest with a wonderful V4 that was stacked full of torque." (referencing the 5th gen). A gain of 3 ft-lbs of torque is probably not what I would refer to as "stacked" (vs older models) - at least not something the average rider is going to feel. Maybe I'm picking nits, but it does seem like an exaggeration on the author's part about the output gains from later gens. * "Then there was the styling… Owners rebelled against the VFR’s brand new angular look. The current fashion accessory of underseat pipes was all very good for the fashion conscious, but they made fitting panniers a pain and lost some of the useful underseat storage. " Really? Here we go with personal opinion. If the author is not a fan of the 6th gen's styling, he must be blowing his own vomit on many of the new offerings. IMHO motorcycle styling in the past 7 to 10 years has gone to shit - there's nothing elegant, flowing, aerodynamic or appealing about much of what's coming out of manufacturers. It's industrial machinery adapted to two wheels . . . Also, the "underseat exhaust made fitting panniers a pain" - compared to having a can on the side to figure out how to avoid? And what if I want to run a high mount can? Again, he seems to be fishing for something that's not there. And he overlooks that 6th gens came with factory hard mounts. Hello. . . I will give him that the underseat area on a 6h gen is just about useless - it's tight to fit even a Power Commander or Rapid Bike under there. It's doable, but there's not much room for more than a pair of gloves and maybe some odds and ends. Personally I like the 6th gen styling and have never heard it described as being "rebelled against". But again, just my own $.02. I do agree that Honda's incorporation of VTEC in to the 6th gen was maybe partially an attempt to mollify government tail pipe sniffers (and chain driven cams to comply with noise regs) and also possibly to "showcase" Honda's technical prowess. While fine in theory, in practice VTEC really does nothing for the riding experience. Put a VTEC next to a 5th gen and they're neck and neck at any speed / rpm. While valve adjustments are more of a PITA than on earlier models, an solid DIY'er can readily handle it with common hand tools if instructions are followed closely. What gripes me most about VTEC is the cost of parts. When adjusting VTEC valves, you don't buy the shim (about $6), you buy the entire shim/bucket assembly (best price I could find was $32). That really begins to add up when more than a few are involved. And of course there are chain tensioners and chains (when they begin to elongate) to add to the cost equation. Honda would have been better off to have left VTEC out of the formula and just done what the regs said they had to on the 5th gen motor. Adding VTEC to this bike did nothing for Honda's reputation and nothing for the end user. Oddly, the article skips right over the 7th gen. Own one or not, love it or hate it - or a departure from the traditional formula, Honda did place "VFR" badges on it and it deserves a place in the discussion as part of the lineage. Sadly, the discussion of these is rapidly becoming a moot point. The "ADV" craze has taken over despite the fact that the vast majority of those bikes are mall cruisers and never see a dirt road. Most of them look like they were taken from a job pumping water out of a well before being adapted to being a motorcycle and were designed by drunk, blindfolded engineers who stuck parts bin pieces on at random, some for no apparent reason. Whatever - to each their own. None of those will end up at the Barber museum or will be considered quasi works of art as so many (now vintage) bikes are. Furthermore, our time talking about and enjoying all this is growing short. In the state of insanity where I live, the licensing of such vehicles will be coming to an end, on the basis of a utopian fantasy grounded in political agenda designed to turn campaign contributors in to billionaires to fund their campaign coffers vs scientific fact. So be it - that is the dismal state of education / indoctrination we now face. It doesn't have to be true - "it's true because I'm telling you it's true". That's all that's needed to sway young minds. Personally I'm looking to get all the trips in I can while I can before it's over. It's been fun and a lot of enjoyment and I'm glad that it was Honda in particular went their own way with the V4 vs nearly every other manufacturer. It's been a good ride.
  20. anyone here moved from a 5th -or 6th- Gen VFR800 to their 7th Gen VFR1200? i've owned my 00' VFR800 for over 6 years and i love it and thinks its a keeper and i'd be more than happy to keep it for years to come. but i've always had a crush -sort of- on the VFR 1200 which i think would still fit my riding as the 800 does. i mostly ride backroads on weekends, occasionally ride to work on a nice day, longer weekend rides here and there, and maybe one or two multiple day trips a year. i've done 4,000-5,000km trips on my 800 and it handle them perfectly and i like its ergos. i rarely take a passenger on my bike, maybe a handful of times a year with the gf for short rides have anybody owned/tried both? how do they compare? what did you like/dislike on the 1200 vs the 800? how does the riding position and ergos compare? any input is appreciated cheers,
  21. The LED's I have used for years had the locating plate in the wrong place which put the LED emitter in the wrong place. Once corrected it throws a good pattern.
  22. Hi all. First time poster. I’ve got a 97 vfr 750 which is my pride and joy. unfortunately, after changing to a -1 front sprocket I found my eccentric drive is goosed. Removed it and it’s beyond repair. does anyone have one or know if one going? Just need the eccentric drive as axle is fine. cheers
  23. What do you mean "beam pattern"? Last time I checked, pre-8th gen VFR headlights used reflectors, which means that any light you see in front of the bike was first bounced off of a smooth (RC36) or sculpted (RC46) reflective surface (if you're seeing light directly from an LED, you've got bigger problems). There is literally nothing the bulb can do to affect the beam pattern apart from more or less precisely match the design parameters of the reflector it sits within. Yes, LED H4s have progressed a bit from the early versions, but they can't get around physics. Plus, if you cut off the lower tabs to get a regular H4 to fit into an American-market Honda H4 headlight unit, you're depending on blind luck to even get the focal point positioning right (that's assuming you can live with the fact that the light source of an LED is still not the same size and shape of the homologated H4 halogen filament). At the very least I would suggest buying bulbs made for your particular headlight housing (if you can find any). [Edit: It is also possible to modify some US-spec Honda headlamp housings to accept regular H4s; 3rd and 4th gens can do this; 5th and 6th gens I think cannot.] What I call "regular H4" use the P43t base shown in the drawing above; instead, Honda's North American market bikes used the PX43t 65-Degree base. Those tabs are the only thing that reliably determine the position of the light source (e.g., filament) relative to the headlight reflector, which together create the beam pattern you (and other road users) see on the road. If you snip off two of them, you no longer have a tripod, you have a monopod. Usually, the bulb leans on something else in the headlamp so it doesn't get very far away from the designed position, but there is no way to predict by how much or what effect it will have on the beam pattern unless you test it afterwards. Caveat emptor. Ciao, JZH
  24. Dutchy

    VFR History

    Red NACA's are the best.... (Redslut got totalled 4 years ago tomorrow..)
  25. Rob916

    VFR800 Stator??

    my voltage readings were perfect when the bike was cold and reved to 5000rpm. after 30 min of riding the voltage would drop to 10.5-11 at any rpm. ( no damaged / melted plugs, the bike only has 27000kms) i was lucky. i followed the tests outlined in this forum for the regulator and stator. i only bought a OEM '31600-MBG-306' regulator as a "temporary cheap solution" because i found it on ebay for 90$ shipped. Within the next 2 yrs i will purchase the better version from Roadster Cycle .com and solder the wires. at the same time by precaution i replaced the stator ( the readings were okay) with this one that was mentioned on this site too. https://www.electrexworld.co.uk/cgi-bin/sh000001.pl?WD=vfr800 generator&PN=G52.html#SID=200
  26. slowbird

    VFR History

    Great read. Thanks for sharing. ....I do have a few gripes with the article though: -They lump the 3rd gen and the 4th gen into the same category. So many great things about these 2 gen VFR's that they should be separated and talked about individually. -It says the 5th gen was the gutsiest of them all with tons of torque, but the 750's had more torque. -"...the VFR also gained the RC45’s fuel injection system and a whole heap more midrange." 750's had more midrange too. -Not one RWB model pictured in the entire article -Not even one mention of Naca ducts. Sacrilege! 😅
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      Skyline Drive, US 250, and motorcycle touring during a pandemic
      Warning:  This is a very long read.  Entertaining, I hope, but long.  If you're up for it, grab a beverage and settle in for a long story about a not-so-long ride.  There are several photos at the bottom if you want to just skip to those, but understand you'll miss the explanation about the tire photos.  The last paragraph is kind of important, too, so if you read nothing else, please check out the very end of this very long ride report.
      I planned a 3-day tour for last weekend, centered around riding the 105-mile length of the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park (in Virginia) for the third time, and the second time in the last year.  I had planned to ride from home in NE Ohio to Front Royal, VA, on Friday, ride the Skyline Drive and the northern section of the Blue Ridge Parkway on Saturday, then make my way home Sunday.  It didn't quite go as planned, but I'm not complaining.  If I'm being completely honest about the brief tour, I kind of waited until late last week to even decide on my destination.  I'd just ridden the Skyline Drive last September, and didn't really feel the need to go back there this soon, but it's a nice relaxing ride for the most part, and I decided I could really use that kind of an excursion.  Other than the paid holiday on July 3 (in observance of July 4th), I hadn't had a vacation day in over three months.  While I had thoughts of riding to Washington, DC, New York City, or some other tourist destination, the last thing I wanted to do was be stressed out over traffic and be surrounded by thousands of people.
      As I said above, I'd had a 3-day weekend during the Independence Day holiday, and I'd thought of going down to ride the Skyline Drive then, but thought better of it knowing it would be packed with families, tourists, minivans, SUVs, SUVs towing campers, and RVs.  (As it was, I did three 1-day rides that weekend, so it worked out.)  The speed limit on the Skyline Drive is 35 mph its whole length, except for some tourist areas, where it's 25 mph.  There are some passing areas, but they are pretty well spaced out.  While I'm not willing to risk a ticket doing 50-60 mph on the Drive (and it's very easy to go that fast), I also couldn't bear the thought of following lumbering camper trailers and RVs at 25-30 mph for miles at a time.  So I waited until this past weekend, and thankfully the weather was great.  (More on that later.)
      As usual for me, unfortunately, I got on the road about an hour later than I'd planned.  By the time I'd packed and checked the bike over, I headed out around 9 am.  No biggie, as I had all day to get to Front Royal, the northern entrance to the national park, which, by the way, charges an admission fee.  It's not cheap, and it's more than I remembered it being from my last couple visits.  Maybe the price is about the same, and my memory is just not that great anymore.  But the fee for a single motorcycle is $25.  At least you feel like you're getting your money's worth, because the road surface is terrific, and the facilities are great.  Also, your pass is good for a few days.  If you're going to visit more than once a year, buy an annual pass for $55.  It would be worth it if you visit the park three times or more.
      From home, I took some state routes to get SE to OH 7S, which got me to I-470E, across the bridge into Wheeling, WV, and onto WV 88S, which led me to US 250, which would take me through about half of West Virginia.  You can take 250 out of Wheeling, but the route takes you way out of your way, so it's shorter to cut across on WV 88.  The ride was pleasant, but by noon it must have been 90 degrees, but at least the humidity wasn't too bad.  As long as I kept moving I was fine, so I kept moving.  I should have stopped more often to stay hydrated, but I did a few 90+ minute stints on the bike that day.  US 250 has some nice sections in WV, but I wouldn't say it's the best road.  Still, for a US highway it's okay.  I took 250S to US 50E, and had planned to take that highway to US 220S to US 48E, then VA 55S into Front Royal.  But it was so hot I decided instead to stay on US 50E to Winchester, VA, then slab it most of the way to Front Royal.  And that was knowing I'd be hitting some late rush hour traffic on I-81S, and that the heat coming off the expressway would be pretty intense.  (It was.)  Still, that was a better option at that point.  I stopped in Winchester to book a hotel room in Front Royal just before hitting the freeway.  Room booked, run a good 70-80 mph for some miles on the interstates, and I sailed into Front Royal around dinner time.  I stopped to fill up the tank so I wouldn't have to do it again that evening or the next morning on my way out.  I rode 354 miles on Day 1.
      The lodging was adequate, nothing special, nor very cheap, but acceptable.  I wish the little motor lodge where I stayed a night last September had been available.   I like little places like that, where you can park your bike right outside your door.  (Also, it brings back fond memories of the VFRD Tmac events when we stayed at the old Franklin Motel.)  I was feeling pretty cooked by the time I parked the bike, so I just headed up to my room to soak in the air conditioning for a while.  After relaxing and cooling off - and drinking probably a gallon of water - I thought about dinner.  There was a cool brewery and burger place across the street, but it was crowded.  They had a takeout menu, but instead I opted for Thai food from the restaurant in the same building as the hotel, so I could just walk down the sidewalk for my takeout instead of having to actually get on the bike again and ride somewhere.  The entree, the Pad Pak with chicken, was tasty, but I really liked the spring rolls more.  That was my last decent or even halfway decent meal for almost 24 hours.  I ordered my food, then went to take the hard bags off my VFR, put them in the room, then grabbed my food and went back upstairs to eat and relax the rest of the evening.
      When I'm touring on the bike, I prefer not to stop all that much.  As such, I have to carry food and usually a couple bottles of water with me.  You need food that won't perish, of course, so two of my go-to's are granola bars (or this time Clif Bars) and beef jerky.  No, this isn't the healthiest option, but the Clif Bars (I usually go with peanut butter crunch) and beef jerky both have protein, which keeps me from getting too hungry either between meals, or lets me skip a meal if I choose to forgo breakfast or lunch.  It also keeps me from buying pure junk food and sugary treats from convenience stores.  So during my infrequent stops, I snack a little, in the morning on the granola or a Clif Bar, and at other times the beef jerky.  These are also fairly inexpensive options, because I try to keep my tours pretty cheap, too.  The Thai food was a splurge for me - it was my one food-related treat to myself this tour.
      Now, when I parked the bike when I got to the hotel, I sprayed chain wax onto the chain, as I do every 400-500 miles or so.  I didn't see it at the time, but when I went back to get my luggage, I noticed my rear tire was a bit worn.  It was a little squared off, but not too bad.  However, the tread depth was a little concerning, considering I was headed away from civilization for at least the next day.  Plus, it's Friday night.  I don't want to spend half a day Saturday riding to and waiting for a shop to replace that tire, especially when it looks kind of worn but okay.  But also, Sunday - if the tire gets eaten up Saturday - it's going to be next to impossible to find a shop to replace the tire.  Plus, of course, you're looking at hundreds of dollars for a new tire and labor at most shops, even though it's just four lugnuts to take the rear wheel off a VFR.  So I opted to go with what I had and deal with it later if necessary.  Would that decision come back to haunt me?  Keep reading to find out!
      I got up early Saturday morning, packed up, loaded the bike, and headed south out of town to Shenandoah National Park.  It was a nice, cool 75 degrees or so, but the forecast was 96 degrees for the day.  I paid my admission fee and headed up the Skyline Drive., where the first several miles are just amazing.  It's unlike anywhere else I ride regularly.  I had started even earlier last September, hoping to catch the sunrise (and I pretty much did), but found many squirrels laying on the road, I think keeping themselves warm overnight on the residual heat coming from the road surface.  As I'd approach, they'd jump up and scamper away, sometimes crossing my path.  It was a little unnerving, partly because that day I had started up the road around dawn, and the critters were hard to see until you were maybe 20-30 feet away.  Thankfully this time wasn't nearly as bad, and I only had to dodge a couple squirrels.
      If other VFRD members are like me, and I'm sure many of you are, the main point of a ride like this is the riding, not the sightseeing.  So I didn't stop very often at the wonderful overlooks.  As usual, I preferred to keep moving.  At 35 mph (or even a little faster), it takes 3 hours to ride the length of the Skyline Drive, and that's if you never stop.  I stopped at 2-3 overlooks, and once for a restroom and drink/snack break.  Don't get me wrong, I love beautiful scenery as much as other people, but again, the point of a tour for me is the ride.  So when you're checking out the photos below, you might note there aren't that many scenic pics, because I didn't take that many.  About halfway through the Skyline, I started increasing speed, averaging maybe 45 mph.  But between the slower speeds earlier, a few scenery stops, and a rest stop, it took me about four hours to finish the Skyline.
      The photos, by the way, were taken with my Canon EOS 77D digital SLR, a wonderful gift from my family for my 50th birthday last summer.  I'd wanted a digital SLR for several years, and my family surprised me with this gently used but like-new Canon.  I've not used it nearly enough, and I still have much to learn about its features and capabilities.  I have two good lenses for it so far, but need to buy a few filters for them.
      While mapping out Saturday's ride, I had previously thought about two options when I came to the end of the Skyline Drive:
      1.  Continue on to the Blue Ridge Parkway, heading south until at least VA Route 56, then turn west to begin the trek home, stopping somewhere for the night maybe halfway home.
      2.  Head west on US 250 at the end of the Skyline Drive.
      Two things made me choose option #2.  I was worried about my rear tire, and there were two warning signs near the end of the Drive.  One read, “Loose gravel ahead.  Not advised for motorcycles and bicycles.”  (Or something to that effect.)  I thought, well, I’ve done gravel before, but I wonder how long a stretch it is.  The second sign said, “Road construction next 28 miles.”  And that was it.  Coupled with worrying about the life left in my rear tire, I took US 250W immediately.
      US 250W in Virginia is a nice flowing road, with mostly good pavement.  Most of the towns along the highway are fairly small, so they don’t hold you up too badly.  There are some nice curves but there are also places to pass.  And then you get west of Churchville, VA, and things improve dramatically.  There are 2-3 mountain passes that are just completely excellent for sportriding.  Unfortunately, during the first stretch I was stuck behind a couple much slower vehicles.  There’s nothing like riding up a mountain at 30 mph, watching your VFR’s engine temperature climb, too.  I would occasionally drop back to I could have a better run for a few turns, but I easily caught up with the folks in front of me.  But at the end of the sweet stretch of road, I turned around, rode back up and down the mountain with nothing in front of me, then turned around again and headed back west.  There were a couple more sections like that afterward and it was glorious!  What a treat to be on an amazing mountain road with nothing holding you up.  We should all be so fortunate most of the time.
      By the time I’d had plenty of fun on US 250 and was in West Virginia, it was already mid-afternoon, the temperature was a scorching 96 degrees, and rather than continue on 250 all the way through WV and into OH, I decided to make some time.  Despite having about half a package of beef jerky left in my tankbag, I stopped in Elkins to have a fast food meal – my only real meal of the day - taking a break to sit in the very welcome air conditioning and drink 5-6 cups of ice water.  Afterward I continued on 250 to US 119N, then took I-79N toward Pittsburgh.  Just like the day before, the heat coming off the road surface was intense.
      People who don’t ride probably think cruising down the freeway at 70+ mph must feel refreshing.  But it doesn’t in temps like this.  It feels more like being shot through the world’s longest blast furnace.  When it’s that hot, I’m choosing between the lesser of two evils.  Either make time and deal with the heat on the freeway, or have a bit more pleasant ride on 2-lane highways, but face slowing down and/or stopping at lights and stop signs in the small towns I’m riding through.  As much as I dislike slabbing it, sometimes that’s the better option.
      I had checked my rear tire during most rest or gas stops on Saturday, and it was holding up.  The visible tread kept getting thinner, but thankfully I wasn’t seeing cords.  I had considered that instead of heading home I would route myself toward Columbus, OH, home of the Iron Pony (in the suburb of Westerville actually), where I usually buy tires and have them mounted while I wait.  They’re open on Sundays, and I thought perhaps I’d ride through most of West Virginia and maybe even into Ohio, find a place to stay, then finish riding to the Iron Pony on Sunday morning.  I’d get a new tire mounted, then ride the rest of the way home.  But I decided since the tire was doing okay, I’d just make for home.
      I got off the expressway at Washington, PA, and took state and US highways the rest of the way home.  I arrived home around 8 pm, pretty tired, but feeling better than I had Friday night, because I stayed better hydrated on Saturday.  I logged 457 miles on Day 2, which is a lot, especially considering it took me about four hours to ride the Skyline Drive.  But what’s funny is that’s not even my longest day of the year, as I’d done a 477-mile day several weeks ago, though it wasn’t in such tremendous heat.
      First thing I did when I got home was to apply another coating of spray-on chain wax, as is my custom after every long day.  (This is why a centerstand is a must on a chain-driven bike in my opinion.)  I let the bike sit for the chain wax to stick while I unloaded the bike and starting putting things away.  I realized a few minutes later I hadn’t actually inspected the tire again.  So I went to the rear and looked.

      At first it looked fine.  I thought, “Oh, good.  It made it okay.  Maybe I can actually ride down to the Iron Pony tomorrow and have a new tire put on.”  I have done this several times.  I carry T-shaped tire iron with me down to the shop, strapped down to the rear seat under my emergency pack.  When I get there, I pop the rear wheel off (Again, hooray for centerstands!), take it inside, and get a new tire.  Why pay for an hour of labor when you can just hand them a wheel and pay much less for installation?  The bonus is I have a favorite route to get down there from home, and one of the roads in particular, while not epic, has some really nice curves.
      Confession time:  I have ridden rear tires into the cords a few times.  Not really on purpose, but I’ve known a tire was worn, and figured I *might* get into cords by the time I got to the shop, and a couple times I did.  Not a good practice, I know.
      So looking at the rear tire and thinking maybe I could make it to Columbus the next day, I spun the wheel a little…and saw a couple cords.  “Hmm.  Well, I won’t be riding again ‘til this is replaced, but at least I made it home.”  Again, I’ve ridden a rear tire into the cords, so I wasn’t too disturbed.
      Then I spun the wheel a little more, and “Whoa.”  There before me was a rather wide and shiny steel belt.  At that point I felt extremely thankful to have made it home without a flat or a blowout.  I was also quite thankful that:
      a) I decided to head for home when I did, and
      b) I avoided any sharp edged objects in the road, including gravel, lane reflectors attached to the roads, and large snakes with large fangs who might bite my tire as I was riding by them.  (Just kidding.)
      Before anyone blasts me for being such an idiot (duh), please remember that I did check my tires before I left for this trip, checked them again Friday evening, and checked the rear often on Saturday.  Other than interrupting my trip for a day or two (and having to then take additional time off work) to find a shop and overpay for a new tire and installation, there is literally nothing I could have done to avoid that very worn rear tire.  I’m fairly certain the combination of hot roads and a loaded-down bike contributed to much faster tire wear than I expected.  I haven’t weighed the loaded bags, but I’m guessing they’re in the neighborhood of 15-20 pounds each when I’m touring.  Plus I’m heavier than usual, having gained some weight over the last couple months.  Believe me, I’m not happy about having ridden a tire in this condition.  But maybe I can be a good (or very bad) example for others when planning a tour, especially in the middle of summer.
      Yesterday morning, I got up early again, removed the rear wheel from my VFR, hopped in my ND Miata and made for the Iron Pony, taking that favorite route I mentioned above.  Top down, driving some sweet twisty state highways, and having a blast, especially before it got hot again yesterday afternoon.  Got the tire on and headed back home, again taking a combination of freeways and state highways.
      All in all, a terrific weekend on the bike.  In fact, I’d go as far as to call Saturday’s ride "epic," which is a word I don’t use very often to describe my rides, even the really good ones.  I felt great, riding quick, even fast sometimes, nailing most corners, choosing the correct lines, and easily avoiding trouble where it suddenly appeared.  I don’t think I had one “Oh crap!” moment the whole weekend.  Keep in mind, however, my ‘fast’ is not your fast.  Really, my fast is probably more like your medium pace.  So I’m not bragging here; just saying I went quick for me, and it felt amazing.  I totaled 811 miles for the motorcycle trip, and it was worth every gallon of gas and every ounce of sweat those two days.
      I’m not even really disappointed that I didn’t get my planned 3-day ride in this weekend.  The terrific morning drive yesterday in my wonderful roadster made up for any disappointment I might have felt.  Besides, why should the VFR get to have all the fun?
      And this evening, new tire installed and inflation checked, I went for a little ride.  Only 50 miles or so, but it felt great.  I won’t be able to ride this weekend, unfortunately, but I’m already looking forward to my next long day or trip, and hoping to get down south before the season is over, maybe all the way down to North Carolina to some certain roads we all know and love.
      Some observations:
      One of the harder things to do on a very hot day is to just find adequate shade for a rest stop, particularly in the middle of the day.  You don’t even want to stop at a gas station or convenience store, because the heat coming off the parking lot is awful.  I found shelter under a bank drive-thru (closed at the time of course), and have found it under an awning in front of a church and other similar places.  The only downside is there usually isn’t a place to sit, but just getting off the bike and standing in the shade is a welcome relief from the sun and oppressive heat.
      I'm still pretty happy with the ergonomics on my VFR, though my knees start to balk after a few hours or a couple hundred miles, particularly the right one.  My hips get a little sore, and my neck gets stiff and a bit sore during very long rides, too.  But what I found interesting on the Skyline Saturday was how much more effort it takes to keep yourself upright when you're only doing 35-45 mph.  Faster than that the wind resistance helps you, but it was definitely more tiring - and more monotonous - going slower.
      Along with idea of the riding being the main attraction for me during a tour like this, I find the scenic overlooks to be amazing, but also kind of repetitive.  I mean, after a while, don't they all start to look kind the same?  There are definitely different features at some overlooks, but especially on the Blue Ridge Parkway, I've found most overlooks are similar.  That's probably another reason I don't stop at very many of them.  That and the time it takes to park the bike, take off my gear, grab my camera, take a few pictures, put the camera away, don the riding gear, and get moving again.  It just eats up a ton of time.  Time I'd rather spend riding.
      Some people are great, and will wave you by when you’re clearly able to go much faster than them.  I always wave a big “Thank you!” to such folks.  And some people aren’t so great.  May karma bite those folks on the ass at some point.
      There were a couple times this weekend that actually made me wonder whether my riding jacket would fit into one of my hardbags.  Yes, it was that hot.  It’s extremely rare I ride without a jacket, and even then it’s usually just a trip to the gas station to fill up the tank.  I haven’t ridden more than a few miles jacket-less in many years.  But the heat this weekend actually made me think about ditching the jacket, if only for a little while.  But I resisted that temptation.  I’m not fully ATGATT, as wear jeans instead of actual riding pants, but the rest of my body is geared up - helmet, riding jacket with armor, riding gloves, and boots (hiking boots, but at least they're over the shin).  I don’t know how or why people can put their skin and their very lives at such risk by riding with minimal gear, or none at all.  I’ll just never understand it.  And if that sounds judgmental, so be it.  Maybe that sounds ironic coming from a guy who finished a 2-day ride with a rear tire showing cords, but that was accidental.  People riding without gear do so on purpose.
      Motorcycle touring during a pandemic:
      I want to share some thoughts about motorcycle touring during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially right now when the US is seeing dramatic increases in the number of new cases.
      A brief background:  I have asthma, but it’s not usually a problem.  I take a daily pill for it, can go about my everyday routine, exercise normally and be fine, and I carry a rescue inhaler if I need it, which thankfully is rare.  But I get an annual flu shot because if I get the flu, it can be pretty nasty.  I'm in the at-risk population, so I’m taking COVID seriously.  I’m wearing a mask in public, I’m social distancing whenever possible, and I’m using hand sanitizer after leaving a store or pumping gas.
      But the threat of the virus hasn’t stopped me from going to the grocery store, from going to motorcycle shops, or from doing long rides on my VFR.  It *has* made me think twice about going into a convenience store for a drink, for paying for my gas with cash at the register, and about going into restaurants for meals while I’m on the road.  In stores, some people are wearing masks and properly distancing, and some aren’t.  Consequently, I pay at the pump with a credit card, and on the rare occasions I’m going into a store, I put on my mask, I distance if possible, and I’ll buy two bottled drinks to save having to go into another store later on for another drink.  I’ll stop at a restaurant to eat, preferably fast food rather than a sit-down place, and even then I'll try to pick a fast food joint with outdoor seating, but will avoid any restaurant that looks crowded.  Thankfully, most of the fast food places have taped off some booths and seating areas so there is always several feet between available seats.  (While touring I really prefer to eat at mom and pop establishments, but for some reason fast food just feels a little safer right now, probably because I can get in and out more quickly.)
      I think with common sense measures like these, and maybe even more than what I’m doing, we shouldn’t be afraid to get out there and enjoy our summer riding season.  Staying in a hotel did give me some pause, but I had to have faith the staff adequately cleans and disinfects everything I would touch.  Honestly, however, by the time I got to my hotel on Friday evening I was almost too drained to care.  That’s not great, but it’s the truth.
      To sum this last section up, and perhaps the message I really want to send is this:  If you’ve been holding off doing an epic ride of your own because of the pandemic, I would strongly encourage you to take some standard precautions and just go ride.  Pay at the pump.  Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your tankbag.  Wear a mask if you have to enter a store or gas station.  I don’t blame people for being anxious, but you can’t let fear rule your life.  We take calculated risks all the time while riding, whether it’s across town or across the country.  This is the same.  Live your life.  Live it responsibly, of course, both for yourself and for your loved ones, but go out there and truly live.

      • 9 replies
    • 18
      Another Epic Ride
      Lost a job recently so decided to spend some quality time on my moto. Took a 3 day tour of SD/WY, solo keeping a generous 6+feet distance from most individuals and animals (luckily)
      Day 1, left Denver and arrived Hot Springs, SD. I was immediately greeted by lovely twisties of Hwy 395/87 and the bison on a way heading to Custer. 
      Stayed overnight in the Center Lake campground, roughing it sleeping in a hammock (my first). Dipped to 48F overnight so I was a little chilly. The campground is awesome: clean showers, beautiful lake, wildlife around.. 
      Day 2, left the campground and I was immediately on the Needles Highway. I’ve been on it a few times so I did not bother stopping to take pictures because I was enjoying the road basically to myself early morning. The is super twisty and has a few on way tunnels carved out in the rocks. Epic ride! I continued riding to the Spearfish Canyon after a short stop for breakfast in Hill City. SC is another must do: flowy, moderate speeds ride! Left SD heading to the oldest National Monument in US. The roads around it are triple digit sweepers but kept it sane being alone and seeing some cops around. After a quick picture at Devils Tower, rode to my cabin in Buffalo, WY. 
      Day 3, after sleeping not that great, I stopped for a drive through coffee at Macdonalds:). I wonder if I was their first customer on a motorcycle going through a drive through 🤪. After slurping the god-sent beverage, off I went over the Big Horn mountains. It was a cold foggy morning in the mountains so I missed some of the scenery. The fog lifted as soon as I reached the peak, and I was happy to be able to see more than 20 feet in front of me. Again, did not stop for pics, I was just happy to avoid any potential collision with the wildlife and being warm enough to enjoy the corners. The west side of Hwy 16 is better anyways, smooth pavement and nice views. Stopped in Thermopolis, WY at Bear Cafe for brunch-great food!
      The canyon heading south of town is beautiful!! Then, the boring shit of 120 miles to Rawlins.. Not terribly so but after all the good roads, this was definitely a drag. The highlight of the ride back to Denver was a ride through the Medicine Bowl mountains (Saratoga to Centennial). Nice road and lots of snow still on the sides..
      In summary, the best part of my trip is the Black Hills, SD. You literarily can spend 3 days and explore some of the neatest roads and not have to go far. They also take care of their roads, and the wildlife is the icing on the cake: watch out for wild turkeys, deer and bison of course. 


      • 18 replies
  • Blogs

    1. med_gallery_491_3463_298783.jpg

      Juniper Pass

      I took a day off from work and also from my bicycle training to take out the Veefalo one last time before the weather turns ugly, supposed to snow the rest of the week and possibly start sticking to the ground along the Colorado Front Range. I took a leisurely pace up hwy 105 toward Morrison and got reacquainted with the bike since its been over a month since I took any sort of twisties on it at all, hwy 105 is a scenic ride along the front range between Denver and Colorado Springs, its mostly easy fast sweepers and lite traffic so its a favorite road of mine when going north. Then I have to negotiate a bit of traffic near Highlands ranch and up hwy 470 into the mountains. I decided to take the Morrison Exit and try either Lookout Mountain or head up Golden Gate Canyon - this time it was Lookout Mountain, I was sort of making it up on the fly as I went along. Lookout Mountain is my old bicycling haunt from my days while I was working at Coors, its a killer ride and all uphill - I don't think I could do it today If I had to, not quite there yet! I saw a whole bunch of riders doing it though and wished I was in shape enough to be there doing it as well. 30 more lbs and I will be able to do it! On this day I would do it on the Veefalo instead.





      I took a video from the gateway to the top at the Lookout Mountain State Park, getting past riders, the guy in the green jacket actually pretty much astounded me with how far he had gotten in the short time it took me to set up my camera, some 3 miles at least and up to the gateway from the turn off at hwy 6! Amazing I thought. I took the first two turns slow then got more comfortable as I went up further, till I was doing well, I made some gearing mistakes and took the tight 15mph marked hairpins in the wrong gear so I lugged it a bit on one or two. Still enjoyed it though and then got off at the top and hiked over a rock outcropping for an overview of the road for the pictures below.




      Lookout Mountain - Golden Colorado


      Zoomed in


      Lookout Mountain Park top of the mountain

      From there I headed up interstate 70 to Idaho Springs for a beer at the Tommy-knockers brewery, I was the only customer in the joint - slow day for them so they treated me like a king! I got a nice tour of the place sort of impromptu, they made me a nice Pastrami sandwich on rye and with the brown ale it was fantastic. I must say the beer is much better there than in the bottles - its always good at the brewery. I am glad I stopped


      Tommy-knockers Brewpub Idaho Springs


      Idaho Springs Colorado


      Mashtuns and fermenters


      Rows of fermenters

      I finished my lunch and since the road to Mount Evans is right there I headed up Squaw pass hoping to get in some nice pictures I wasn't expecting what I found, ICE IN ALL THE SHADY PARTS


      Icy patches on Squaw Pass definitely taking it easy on that road

      There were some section where the ice covered the whole road for 300 yards or so I had to roll through it with my legs out to help keep the bike from sliding and falling over, I took it real slow. A Ford pickup was right behind me so I pulled over to let him pass but the guy was going slower then even I was so I pressed on - in places where I could see I just cut over to the oncoming lane and out of the ice where the sun was shining on the road more, but some places there was not alternative so I just had to go slow, good thing it wasn't slick but rather they tossed some gravel over the worst parts so I had some traction!

      I did stop for pictures in all the best spots


      Echo Lake at Mount Evans showing off my new plate


      Elephant Butte Park and Denver


      Close up


      Veefalo on Squaw Pass


      Juniper Pass


      Juniper Pass


      Mount Evans

      My route A is home B is Tommy-knockers


    2. martinkap
      Latest Entry


      Not that it matters and not that I expect anyone had noticed, but to those who sent me "where are you?" I would like to say I am back. Not only that I am officially returning to VFRD after nearly 2 months break but I have also ridden my Hawk last weekend and had FUN! Let me restate that; I had major fun riding! Something I have almost given up on.

      Most of you have been riding your whole adult lives and riding is not only a hobby to you, it is part of you. But I started riding three years ago and even though I have encounter some setbacks, till this spring I loved riding with whole my heart. However, I have always considered riding as my hobby. As a hobby which suppose to make my life better, more fun and more rich. Life is too short to do something which we don't fully love.

      My love of riding received a first major scar this spring: I lost a friend on the racetrack. He was a total stranger who offered me his help after I lowsided at CMP track last year. I still remember hearing his "Hi, my name is Todd, do you need help?" while I was duct-taping my roadrash from ripped jacket. He helped me straighten up the shifter and we kept in touch. The next time we saw each other was the day he died.

      With 9 months delay, I can say that Todd's death shook me more than I have realized. It rooted fear in me which was fueled by seeing and hearing about others getting hurt over and over again. If I was to summarize this year - it would be one big accident report. I became sensitive to every broken bone, every roadrash, every lowside. And even though I did 10 track days this year, I became slower and slower and slower. Suddenly, I have acquired this 'grandma' riding style on the road, frozen with fear that behind every corner there is car standing in my lane, or major sand trap or deer staring at me ... I was crippled with fear not only for me about also for my fellow rider.

      So, at the end of this year, I rode more and more by myself. I could not bear the feelings of responsibility for others on the road and my lines were crippled by my own fears. It all culminated this fall at WDGAH. In a freaky accident Love2rideh82crash was taken down by a truck crossing into our lane. I was done. I finished the weekend, locked the VFR into a garage and took a break.

      Until the last weekend, I pretended that motorcycles do not exists. As a last instance after 2 months break from riding, I decided to go to CMP track to see if I can still have fun. I also felt like I should go for the memory of Todd. I went and I had fun! I had much more fun than I expected and the most fun on track I can remember. Suddenly the whole track connected into an uninterupted line of turns and I felt one with the bike riding around! I was giggling like a little girl in my helmet and keep on giggling ever since smile.gif

      Granted I was not the fastest one and through out the weekend, I have never exceeded about 60% of my riding abilities, but I had no "oh-shit" nor 'blond' moments. I could have maybe go faster, I could have brake later for the turns and I could have lean further, but I am no Rossi nor Stoner. I decided to ride for fun and I had amazing blast riding well within my comfort zone.

      I was proud of myself when, after bandaging Ricks arm, I was able to distance myself and go back to riding without the year-long fear. I did feel bad for him but the feelings were not crippling my lines nor my mind. And when a total stranger came to me and said "Hi, my name is Todd", my heart stopped for a minute though but I suddenly knew that my life went a full circle. I probably will never win MotoGP :idea3: , but I am back! :wheel:

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