Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Island prep

Monday evening, 8 o'clock. Weird weather, but beautiful. The mountain keeps surprising me with light spectacles one doesn't see anywhere else.
Unfortunately, the weather hadn't let up by next morning, but it did allow me to test my new rain suit and prove that the new tires hold up well in wet circumstances.

On Saturday the Beast came out of service sporting new wheel bearings, two new Metzeler Z8 tires and new Remus exhaust. The clutch was adjusted, the 48,000 km service done and the little oil leak in the rocker box was checked and deemed not yet critical. (I'll probably have it fixed at the next service, before my warranty runs out in mid-August.)
I like the Metzelers. Whether the Z8 will replace my current favorite depends on how long it lasts. But after over 600 km I can give a first evaluation of the Metzelers. The Continental RoadAttack is very easy to drive and forgiving from the start. The Z8 isn't as generous; in the beginning it liked to smear. But once I broke it in it rewarded me with precise handling, clear reports and smooth braking. I'm quite satisfied.

And the Remus?
It growls wonderfully, especially wonderfully loud. What the Termi offered in acoustics the Remus makes up for in decibels. I'm just glad I don't need to worry about the goofy thing breaking loose anymore.
Next winter I'll have it blackened; silver won't do at all, of course. The '06 models only come in silver, and since I have an '06 12er manifold I couldn't get a black exhaust. Oh well. This'll only be the second exhaust I have powder-coated.
The bill for this exercise hasn't come yet, but it'll be around two and a half grand. It'd make you think the last service was two years back, not two months!
But hey, tomorrow we're headed for nine days of extreme riding in Sardinia. The Beast needs to be on its best behavior for that; good technical prep is a must.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Invisible treads

How many kilometers did I cover this past Easter weekend? Not many; a quick run over the Ibergeregg. Why? Look at the pictures. And these tires need to last me another 500 km. On Friday they'll get replaced with nice new Metzteler Z8s.

It's only the end of April and I'm already getting my third set of tires this year.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Italian quality

Friday afternoon, 3:40. We'd just left Frauenfeld West and had hit the autobahn. The bike wasn't even warm yet. The Termignoni growled obediantly along. Brmbrmbrmbrm...BAM-BAM-BAM.

Heck no, not again.

Bossi, who soldered the attachments so I got to Zurich the evening after all, commented, "Great Italian quality. Properly speaking: Bullshit."

Yeah, yeah, I give in. The next day I ordered a Remus, so I don't have to spend my ten days in Sardinia worrying that my exhaust is going to excuse itself.

It's a pity about the sound.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


My lack of posts here hasn't been because I wasn't driving. The Beast's been out almost daily for the past three weeks. I haven't been posting, however, because I can't get myself to take a camera everywhere. I should have had it on Monday morning, for example.
That night, my Precious had to sleep in the parking lot next to the road, because my driveway was snowed over. (On Saturday, Winter put in a last effort before the beginning of Spring.) I wrapped the bike in blanket; it wasn't the first time it'd be staying the night out in the open.
Well, on Monday morning before 6 a.m. I found the blanket white with frost, the grips frozen and both tires iced over.
The Buell fired up under protest. Such a good little bike. As soon as the engine started emitting heat, both manifold pipes glowed red. I've never seen that before, and I'm sorry I don't have a photo of it.

Today the Beast got new rear blinkers. The Rizomas I'd had since August 2009 were faded, full of moisture and the left one was broken. I never did like their shape, so I wanted a different sort.
Remo of R + R Mototeam GmbH told me the Rhombus LED minis from Kellermann were waterproof. Kellermen cost a pretty penny; twice as much as the Rizomas. But these are good-looking indicators.
I'll add a compliment for the service at R + R Mototeam. Solid work, a complimentary bike wash - and believe me, the poor Beast really needed a bath - and when Remo noticed my number plate was once again rattling against its mount, he replaced two screws and tightened the whole thing.

The company is new, but with service like that, it should flourish.

Monday, January 10, 2011


That's the first and last time I trust to luck in an Alpine winter. Next year, or rather next winter, the Beast is getting stationed in the parental garage at the first sign of snow up here. Seven weeks with no biking - never again.
They predicted rain at 3°C for Friday and a 3° sun for Saturday. Friday evening I worked for Opa, but on Saturday morning I drove back up to my house, hoping to find my driveway at least partially visible. All I needed was a thin strip of dirt and gravel down to the pass road, enough to give the Beast's front tire a bit of grip.

But nooo...

So now what? The weather was mild, the sun was beautiful, and I had myself all hyped up thinking I'd finally get a Buell fix after so long. There was nothing for it but to start hacking away at the ice.
I had Beretta, my dog, along, and she made herself useful chewing on the ice slabs I threw up. Some of them were over three inches thick, but with enough doggy slobber they melted.
I spent the entire sunny afternoon breaking ice, tossing the chunks aside and salting the cleared areas.
Finally, shortly before dusk, the driveway looked a little more promising:

But I still didn't have access to the pass road. I salted the strip and had to let it be; it was too dark to work anymore. Anyway, there would be a warm wind blowing that night, so I dared to hope.
Sunday morning dawned breezy and dry... But the ragged edges of the ice and the puddles on the asphalt had frozen smooth. The unbreakable three-foot-wide ice patch at the foot of my drive was as slippery as ever.
Giving up and resigning myself to more waiting wasn't an option. It was going to snow again Sunday night; the next chance to get the Beast on the road was far off in the future.
I could barely remember how the Termignoni sounded; I only had Bacchus' V8 in my head. A clear sign I'd gone bikeless for much too long.
So I grabbed the bag of salt again, salted, hacked, shoveled, and finally ground up blocks of compacted sawdust actually meant for burning, sprinkling the wood on the areas of ice that I couldn't remove.
After 45 kilos of salt, four sawdust blocks and about seven hours of work (in all), I finally had my tiny path down to the pass road.

I slipped into my gear, thick gloves and neckerchief, put Retta in the house and grabbed the keys and finally, finally brought the Beast back out into sunlight.

My precious, how I missed you.

Friday, December 17, 2010


I haven't posted in three months. That's terrible. It doesn't, however, mean I haven't driven in three months. Until mid-October I was able to take the Beast to work. Then the first snow arrived.
Early this year, said those who'd know.
Well, it melted, and for another two weeks I was, at least partially, able to commute on two wheels. Then for another two weeks I reduced my riding to the weekends, before the snow came to stay. Our last tour was short, one hour, crisscrossing the Appenzells. It was cold too.
The next morning my driveway was snowed over.
This morning it looked thusly:

Oh yeah, allow me to introduce my guardian angel of winter: Bacchus. A '97 Dodge Dakota, nearly 100,000 km, average gas mileage 20 liters per 100 km. A treasure.
The V8 is joy to listen to, but after four weeks of abstinence, the longest I've ever gone without taking the Beast out, has me skittish and getting impatient.
Please go away after Christmas, snow. All I want for Christmas is a 10°C weather forecast for the mountain.