Friday, February 24, 2017

Fairing Color and Graphics - A few more options

I keep playing with the paint program.  I made the high front fender disappear, but haven't figured out how to add a low fender, so imagination is still required.  The low fender is carbon fiber so it will read as mostly black like the tire.

The orange frame and black trim limit the color choices.  My sister thought the right blue would be a good accent to the orange.  I think 3 colors is already a lot, so I may have to play with blue instead of white.  Of course, white was a natural since the body is already white plastic and it is opposite black on the color wheel.

One thing is clear.  When I try to break up the shapes, it starts looking patchy very quickly.  I started with the idea that I would use graphics and stripes, but I now think that it will have to remain fairly simple.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

KTM Update

 I have been working, a little at a time, trying to make the KTM mine.  One of the first tasks was to improve my fitting on the bike and build in some long distance comfort.  Below are the Knight Design footpegs I bought that are lowered a little more than 1 inch.  They help me in the fit department, but the "cleat" or traction surface looks like it would tear up my boot sole.  My boots don't have a hard rubber sole like dirt bike boots.

John C. came up with a great suggestion.  Why not just remove the cleat.  It's only attached by screws.  That would make the footpeg a little lower and I could have a better surface.  To his idea, I added some button head screws which will give me a little bit more traction without being so aggressive.

In the long distance comfort department, I sent my original seat into Bill Mayer Saddles for them to make me a wider and slightly higher seat.  The embossed seating surface and the KTM orange stitching are nice touches.   Also shown is the small Enduristan tank bag.  My goal is to put almost everything into panniers (Mosko) to keep the ability to swing my leg over the bike intact.  Of course, I still need a small place to put sunglasses, camera, gloves, etc.  So the Enduristan will serve for easy to get at items and keep everything dry.

Apparently, some 690 E riders have had holes punched in their radiator tank when they fall.  These little radiator protectors improve the toughness of the bottom of the tank and add practically nothing in weight.

Based on my experience with the KLR and forum chatter on the KTM, a high front fender (normal for a dirt bike and stock on the 690 E) is an aerodynamic lift and buffeting problem at highway speeds.  A low fender solves this problem and, I just like the way it looks.  This carbon fiber low fender is the same design as used in Dakar rally.  It took a bit of fiddling, but it fits properly now.

Naturally, I screwed up.  Since it was a race part, the surface wasn't perfect on arrival.  My mistake was thinking I could refinish it and improve those minor flaws.  Now, a couple of weeks work into it, I will be lucky if I can get to an acceptable appearance.  I'm pretty sure there will be more flaws than when I started.  Man that carbon fiber is stiff!

I have selected an aftermarket fairing and have it on order.  This one looks something like the most recent Dakar racers.  There were a few other options would have been very interesting, but I chose this one because it is a complete kit that is well thought out.  Also, my other options would have doubled the price.

These shots are of the prototype and have been downloaded from the Rade Garage website.

 Of course, the fairing isn't available yet, so I have been playing with color on the side view picture.  Notice that I removed the high front fender in the picture to give a better idea of how it would look with a low fender.  I've tried lots of idea, but the whole thing looks busy when you break up the shape with graphics.  At the moment, I am leaning toward a solid color with maybe an accent line or two.  Any thoughts?


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Charm School

In today's culture, charm school usually has a somewhat negative connotation.  It varies in meaning from something that a beauty queen might need to, in corporate lingo, something for a bad manager.  The second one is familiar from my experience.  When a boss is perceived as having poor people skills and may even be abusing the people working for him, then he is sent to charm school to learn the play acting required to seem like a good guy, even when he is not.

That's why I found this place so ironic.  In this case, the Charm School is exactly that, the local school in the village of Charm, Ohio.  Charm is a mixed Amish and Mennonite village that is bustling with activity and very traditional in appearance.   One assumes, looking from the outside at a community like this, that there are no beauty queens or bad executives.  And that the Charm School is just for learning reading, writing, and arithmetic. 

It is a very pretty valley and worth the side trip.  Finding places like this are a big part of my back roads wandering.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Mystery of Buying Used

I have had a little time with the KTM.  When you buy something, you always wonder what don't you know about it and why is this guy selling it.  In the case of the KTM, the fact that he was selling a 2 year old bike with only 765 miles made that question even more prominent.

The guy did a really good job of cleaning the exterior, but even lifting the seat showed dirt covering everything.  There were other clues.  For example, replacing handguards, brake and clutch levers, the muffler, the skid plate, and missing graphics on the rear fender might suggest some light damage from an accident.  It also could mean nothing more than these are parts the guy wanted to upgrade, as the replacements are all premium quality parts.

Sidebar - The replacement muffler is quiet light and is made of titanium with carbon fiber ends.  Do you know the correct procedure for "washing" titanium?  I didn't.  The manufacturer recommends you use a cloth and WD-40.  And it works.  Apparently, solvents, even soap, can react with the surface of the titanium and damage it.

As I have dug deeper into the bike, I found a layer of stubborn NY dirt on everything.  This stuff is so tough that even Dawn dishwashing soap won't cut it.  The only way I have found to clean this stuff is using Simple Green.  Everything was coated.  Both sides of the fan blades.  The cloth wrapping the wiring harness.  Truly everything. 

I also found up to 1/4" of caked mud in the strangest places.  For example, the rear fender sits directly on the fuel tank and all the gaps between were filled with mud.  The area around the fuel filler on the top of the rear had mud caked around it.  The radiator still had mud in the fins.

I have finally gotten the thing cleaned up and have guessed at a reason for him to sell.  I think he was way out in the woods somewhere and got it totally stuck in the mud.  I think that when he finally got it out, he decided that this bike was too heavy for real offroad use.  And I concur.

Working on fitting the new low fender and will post some pictures when that is done.  Boy, carbon fiber is truly stiff stuff.

Sunday, January 8, 2017


Recently, there was an article in Racecar Engineering magazine about a 1964 Mini from New Zealand setting speed records in class I, 750 - 1000 cc engine displacement.  Their fastest record was 166 mph which is pretty good with some body modifications and a blown engine, free fuel class.  I was surprised how much modification they had to do for 166 mph.  The engine has a highly modified block, the head from a BMW K bike, and a billet crank.  They claim 370 hp on methanol.  That is both impressive from what started out as an A series block amazing to me how much extra horsepower is needed to get the speed.

I guess I'm comparing from a project I was part of back in 1988/89.  A bunch of guys at Subaru got together to go for the 1 liter production class which allows no body changes and a modified, but production based engine.  Our little Justy was so square that it makes the Mini look like a streamliner.  Even slammed, it must have had significantly more frontal area than the Mini.  In production class, we were allowed to change internal engine parts and carbs, exhaust, etc.  The engine head, and block had to remain production based.  So our 1 liter, 3 cylinder engine had motorcycle carbs, titanium intake valves, porting, and high compression.  Some mods were done on site at Bonneville, for example, a cowl induction air box was made of a Huggies diaper box and lots of duct tape.

The end result was an I class production record of 123 miles per hour that still stands today.  Not bad for pushing an origami body with a little 3 cylinder engine.