15 August, 2010

Ratty goes 70

Actually, 71.2mph to be precise. And I wasn't trying to see how fast it could go, I just decided to jump on highway 99 this morning as I was running back home from the Car/Motorcycle swap meet at the fair grounds. I got up to speed behind an F250 and apparently settled into the slow lane at 70mph without drama. I even had a bit of throttle left, so with enough time and a better tuck who knows what he'll run!


14 August, 2010

Drinking my first brew: Three Week Hoppy Pale Ale

My first Mr. Beer brew is actually pretty damn good! And I'm not just saying that because I made it.

I used the standard Mr. Beer Pale Ale recipe that came with the kit I bought. I followed the instructions with the exception that I added 1oz. of Cascade Hops to the wort water, basically making a hop tea before adding the hopped malt extract. I dumped the whole shebang into the fermenter, complete with hops.

After two weeks I gave it a taste, and was pleasantly surprised with a nice hop aroma and taste. I gave it another week in the fermenter before bottling it. I thought I had maybe screwed up, because when I tasted it at week 3, it seemed as if much of the hop aroma and taste had gone away. So I wasn't anticipating a great result.

I bottled this first batch last weekend, using a mix of 12oz, 22oz, and the larger plastic bottles that came with the kit. I basically wanted to spread out the love, in hopes that if I screwed up the bottling process, maybe I would get one of the sizes correct.

So this first bottle is fairly young at one week old, but it has great carbonation with a decent head. Aroma is a bit sweet, which reminds me of how it tasted at the 3 week mark before bottling. But luckily, the fresh hop taste kicks in quite strongly in the body and remains through the finish. It never gets bitter, and in fact the hop taste I love sticks with it.

I'm pleasantly surprised!


08 August, 2010

Detail shots of Big Van

I finally snapped a few photos of the Trials bike, as shown below.

Note ghetto lane number using electrical tape. Eventually, I get some white vinyl that says "PL-4":

Fabbed up exhaust terminates in a used FMF Powercore II muffler, complete with USFS Spark arrestor:

Overall ride height is increased about 3-inches front and rear thanks to Trail 70 rear shocks, and Trail 55 front shocks with a few spacers:

Seat version 1.0. Just some rubber foam pad on top of the tank. I may get another Cub solo seat, as I could use the extra cushioning transporting to each section:

Original Trail 55 rear shocks mounts. These fit over the normal shock mounts, and attach to the chassis with three bolts. This allows the shock to be installed outboard of the swing arm, giving more room for the larger rear sprocket:

Original tiny little 14mm Keihn carburetor:

Crankcase takes roughly 0.6 liters of oil. I should probably change it after the use it got yesterday:

Timing cover provides quick access to point and timing marks:

Longer Trail 70 rear shock:


07 August, 2010

Sore hands, had a blast, I got a trophy?!?!?

Who brought home a trophy? This guy. 1st place in Premier Lightweight Novice. The best part was, I had a blast. Fantastic group of people, who were caught off guard by my choice of vehicle, but not a single person gave me crap for it. After a while, I even had lots of people admiring it, cheering for me, and giving me pats on the back after getting "zero" scores through sections.

I'm too tired to give a full recap, but here are several pictures Susan snapped while she hustled around the site to meet me at the eight different courses.

Who's the only guy not decked out in full Trials clothing? Notice the pants legs tucked into my socks, and the old school M95 helmet complete with OR-SCCA tech stickers:

Getting ready to line up for my first run. Luckily, I had some help from a veteran that took a couple of novices under his belt:

Ok, here is how the event is organized. There were 8 "sections" spread out over the facility. Each section has multiple "lines" from 0, 1, 2, 3, 4. 4 being the novice line. Everyone starts and ends at the same points, but as you navigate the course they use little markers to split the lines based on the terrain. Line 0 goes over giant boulders, Line 4 is usually very simple, and typically shorter. Running a section involved riding to it, walking the line a couple times, then making your run. you run section 1 through 8, then turn in your score card, and get a new card. You "loop" through all sections 3 times.

Me actually on course, no feet down. Every time you put a foot down, you get a point. If you stop completely, put two feet down or have a mechanical, you get a 5. The goal is to zero the section. I had quite a few zeros, a few 1 foot downs, and a few "5s" too. One particular section was very rocky, and the cleanest I got through it was with a 3.

Note the fierce concentration:

My second loop score card. A person punches your score at the finish of each section. Note quite a few "0" scores. Please to ignore the "5" on section three:

Getting through all three loops took about three hours. You're not on the bike riding the entire three hours, but you do have to ride to each section, walk, then ride the course, then ride to the next section. Basically, I got hot, super sweaty, and have a sweet blister. My helmet sucked big time as it was way too hot, and my mechanix gloves wore through on two fingers:

That's right, wood!

And finally, a video. Now, before you laugh at the fact I put my foot down three times, this happens to be my first ever section. I later cleaned this up to a zero run.

A few things for next time:

-replace the footpegs, as the old Honda rubber pegs ripped apart mid way through the first loop. Bless you electrical tape.

-move front brake handle to left side. I simply cannot modulate the throttle and use the front brake with the same hand. I had to use the rear brake, which also caused me grief on course leading to a "5" score. The top of my work boot got caught under the kickstart lever, so midway through a section I hit a rock and my right foot jammed on the rear brake, stopping me instantly. arg!

-I should pay attention to the fact that some locations might be at 5,000ft elevation, and maybe, just maybe, a stock 45yo carburetor might need some jetting changes. I was running a bit rich the entire event, which caught me off guard a few times after some uphill power sections. I would crest a hill and it would load up. Or, it would be hard to start after running a few sections back to back.

-this is not a spectator sport for a spouse. In fact, I think Susan walked about 5 miles today. While I could ride from section to section, she had to walk. And since I'm a retard, I didn't think about wearing a small backpack to keep my own supply of cold water.

Time for grub and the DVR'd Nationwide race.


Getting Ready to Leave

We're all packed up and ready to headout in about an hour. The event is being held out past Grass Valley, which is about 2 hours away. Luckily, these events don't start at 6am and run until 6pm. Registration opens at 11, meeting at 12, and then some Trialing.


05 August, 2010

Van runs, and rides around the yard bouncing over curbs while going slowly...

Sorry for the lack of detail photos, but I've been working most evenings and by the time I'm ready to snap pictures, it is dark out. So, here is a crappy photo off my phone of Vanilla Thunder after he putted around the neighborhood for 10 minutes.

The biggest items that got attention yesterday and today, included:

-Built a complete exhaust system, terminating in the used FMF Powercore II muffler with USFS stamped spark arrestor.

-Built a kickstand. Since the bike is 3 inches taller, the center stand wouldn't work, and I couldn't lengthen it as it would interfer with the large rear sprocket. So I built from scratch a simple kickstand that mounts on the "passenger" of the bike, attached to stock holes and brackets.

-Installed the large Trail 55 rear sprocket and made up a longer section of drive chain.

-Made up a new fuel line system with a small see-through fuel filter. I find having a visible way to make sure fuel is flowing helps with troubleshooting.

-And a bunch of other small details...

It fired right up, and I was able to put around the yard in second gear, enjoying the very plush suspension as I climbed up and down massive 5" curbs.

I still have several small jobs to finish it up in time for Saturday's event, including making a seat of some sort, adjusting the valves, changing the oil, lubing the chain, and other random bits. I'll also want to pack up some tools and a small box of spares.


02 August, 2010

Van gets some wheels/tires

Susan has named the Trials bike the "Vanilla Thunder." I'm thinking "Van" will be easier to say, especially in front of mixed company.

Anyways...I got a mountain of packages via FedEx and UPS today. Two new trials tires, tubes, rim strips, and a pair of tire spoons that proved much easier for dismounting and mounting than using half a dozen screwdrivers. I also received the FMF muffler and spark arrestor, so I'll be able to fab up an exhaust.

After getting the tires mounted in the air conditioned living room, I played in the garage for a bit cleaning, painting, and assembling the rear sprocket. I also mounted up a pair of rear shocks mounts from a Trail 55 frame. These mount the rear shocks outward about an inch, so that they bolt to the outside of the swingarm. This leaves room for the big rear sprocket.

No great photos, as I was too busy working away. But here is a quick snap of Van sitting on his fresh wheels:

Still a bunch of small details to finish up, including fabbing a complete exhaust. If things go smooth, we'll try to hit up this Sundays Trials event. If not, there are several events left in the season.


01 August, 2010

Some Assembly was Required

A few quick pics of the Trials C100 project, after paint and some basic assembly and wiring.

Those are modified Trail 70 rear shocks. I'm guessing on the final ride height, but have a bit of adjustment left with the spring seats and shims.

I decided against using my homemade front leading links. Mostly because I couldn't get them to fit inside the fork housing. And instead of spending a day making them slimmer, or making new ones, I investigated modifying the front shocks. I used a combination of Trail 55 front shocks and springs, C100 upper mounts, and a few shims to jack up the front height about "this" much. It may not be enough, but I won't know until I get the wheel/tires installed and some weight on the bike.

I also got most of the wiring installed, so I'm about ready to put the motor back in and start fabbing up an exhaust. I grabbed a FMF exhaust with a spark arrestor off ebay, which should be here in a couple days. I need the spark arrestor to be legal, and I wanted enough muffler to keep it quiet.


Spanish Peaks Brewing Honey Raspberry Ale

5.1% abv

If you like smooth and sweet, you'll like this Honey Raspberry offering from Spanish Peaks. The aroma is lightly sweet, with a subtle hint of honey. The medium colored body has some great malt flavors, but isn't overwhelmed with fruity sweetness, or the honey. It just has great balance between all three major flavors.

Very enjoyable.