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Old 04-27-2010, 05:47 PM   #106
snooker
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Location: Loveland, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRONE
OK, I got around to making and installing these brackets.

Now I can aim the lights anywhere I want. Thanks, Snooker, for asking those pesky questions. I should have done it this way in the first place!
No charge just this once.

Now you can adjust them "on the fly" until the cagers just begin to wince yet the deer are BRILLIANT !

There is a de-motivational poster in my cubicle from Despair.com that says:

QUALITY: "The race for quality has no finish line... so technically it's more like a death march."
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Old 05-05-2010, 08:42 AM   #107
DRONE OP
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OEM Shock Mod

My complaint about the rear suspension is the weak spring. The OEM spring is about 11kg I think and just not heavy enough for me. All last season I rode with the preload cranked all the way and with the rebound damping cranked to about 75%. What I got was a very harsh ride. And I was still bottoming out on rough gravel roads and would even bottom out on pavement if I hit a hard dip mid-curve while leaned over.

Solution? A heavier shock spring. I sent the shock to John at Moto-Pro Suspensions --this is a local suspension shop near Seattle--and he agreed to do a custom shock spring for me. He removed the OEM spring and replaced it with a 15kg custom-wound spring powder-coated black.

Total cost $150 plus shipping.

I'd post a pic except there's nothing to see--the new spring looks exactly like the old spring except black. But ride quality is WAY different! I've reset both the preload and the rebound damping to the middle of the range and now my rear suspension is much more rider-friendly for ordinary riding, while I'm confident I'll be able to push the bike harder on rough stuff without fear of bottoming out.

Must admit though that I just got this done and have not yet taken the bike into the woods.
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:14 AM   #108
plumber mike
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How 'bout a long(er) term update on those lights. I rode home on a deer riddled 2 lane last night in the rain.My heated jacket sucks up what little power I have, so these seem like the hot ticket for the X bike. These lights have jumped to the front of my "next" list...providing they come with the Drone seal of approval
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Old 06-14-2010, 12:48 PM   #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plumber mike
How 'bout a long(er) term update on those lights. I rode home on a deer riddled 2 lane last night in the rain.My heated jacket sucks up what little power I have, so these seem like the hot ticket for the X bike. These lights have jumped to the front of my "next" list...providing they come with the Drone seal of approval
I have to admit that I haven't used them yet at night. First off, I have a new Moto Guzzi "toy" that seems to be getting most of my attention this season. Also, I ride 99.9% in daylight so my lights are primarily for conspicuity. I have them aimed directly in front of me as daytime running lights and, though they seem really bright to me, I haven't had any cagers flashing their brights at me during daytime hours as if to complain about getting blinded. Have also encountered any number of LEO's without a problem.

The only problem I can report on is not really a problem but more of an "issue". Off-pavement riding will cause the lights to lose their point-of-aim. I can prevent this by tightening up the bracket locknuts. But I also want the brackets to be loose enough so that I can reach over the bars while riding and adjust the aim (I can do this now.) I just need to find the sweet spot on those locknuts between too tight and tight enough.

As for voltage, I don't wear heated gear, but I can run the Solstice lights with my heated grips on "HI", GPS turned on, and headlight on "HI", and keep my volts at or over 13 at normal revs. Turn off the grips, and my voltage goes up to around 13.5 and seems unaffected by turning the lights on or off. So really there seems to be very little draw.

I will hold off on giving my seal of approval until after they've been used for an entire season. And after I've done some night riding.
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Old 06-14-2010, 04:32 PM   #110
plumber mike
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I can't think of any other light that would put out more for less...so I think I'll get some Thanks Drone!
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:33 AM   #111
pyarnall
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Wunderlich screen performance?

Hi Drone,

Really appreciate the effort you have made to show your Xc mods. I just took delivery of a new '09 and many of your additions have been on my mind to add.
I am particularly interested in how you like the Wunderlich screen. After visiting the site and looking at their photos I get the impression that may be you shortened yours. True?

In any case what is it like behind the screen? I want to take the blast off my chest but I don't want my helmet to be in turbulent air.

I am not afraid to modify a screen but really hate doing $200 experiments, so, are you pleased with the Wunderlich? I am 6' tall as a reference and may mod the seat a bit to sit a bit higher.

Thanks very much for your great posts!
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Old 07-20-2010, 12:37 PM   #112
DRONE OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pyarnall
I am particularly interested in how you like the Wunderlich screen. After visiting the site and looking at their photos I get the impression that may be you shortened yours. True?

In any case what is it like behind the screen? I want to take the blast off my chest but I don't want my helmet to be in turbulent air.
I didn't modify the screen--that's the stock height. It does a good job taking the wind blast pressure off my chest, making for less of a death grip on the bars at highway speeds. I especially noticed it recently travelling westbound in eastern Washington at 65 mph into the usual 20mph headwind.

Also, I'm not getting any buffeting, but with my handguards and lights the wind tunnel tests might be a little different than others. Not to mention the helmet and the size of the rider. I'm 6"1".

My range has also improved a little - about 5% - not the 10% I was hoping for! To improve my range more, I'm going on a diet.
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Old 08-09-2010, 07:25 AM   #113
waspp
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Drone

I just purchased a set of HB racks for my xcountry and have followed your thread on the mods and wondered how your bag set up has worked? It seems like you did your homework so I planned on doing the same thing to mine and figured I would ask if you would change anything.

Also lets hear about the Guzzi. i have a couple and have done my own work on both the old bikes and the fuel injected ones. They are a great motorcycle.

Hal
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:11 PM   #114
DRONE OP
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WASSP-- PM'ed you.
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:02 AM   #115
DRONE OP
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Update on Solstice Lights

First of all, I've had to add threadlocker to the mounts. Without it, over time they loosen enough to change the aim.

As for throw and brightness, they are way too bright to use at night on the street. If a car appears suddenly on a curve coming in the opposite direction you'd blind him bad. So I'm using these as daytime running lights, and for night riding only when I'm in the straights and have no traffic coming at me.

As daytime running lights I'd say they are a huge success. I honestly feel that I have fewer cagers rolling their wheels at me since I installed these lights. Used to be I could not do a one-hour ride without some idiot making me pucker the sphincter, but I haven't had a shincter moment now in months. At first, I thought it was the hi-viz AST jacket I bought last winter that was getting noticed by the cagers, but when I switched to my plain old red-black mesh jacket for summer, still no wheels rolling at me. So I'm thinking it's the lights.
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:05 AM   #116
DRONE OP
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Update on Range

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRONE
My range has also improved a little - about 5% - not the 10% I was hoping for! To improve my range more, I'm going on a diet.
Have lightened my load by 50 pounds. No noticeable change in range. Gonna see if I can lose another 50. Stay tuned.
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:26 AM   #117
DRONE OP
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Update on Luggage

The hard cases I used last summer had a couple of drawbacks. First, they are hard to close. Second, with my big size 48 Combat Boots there's a tendency to get the foot caught between case and ground when pushing off or paddling on dirt. Couple of times I really squashed my foot and was lucky to not break something.

So I changed to a set of soft bags from Ortlieb--the Bike Packer Plus. I got the idea from Colebatch who used these bags on his 2009 Sibirsky Extreme trip. His only complaint was that the mounting system was not robust enough for his purposes so he devised a permanent mounting system. But I'm not riding across Siberia and they looked like a decent alternative so I plunked down $190 for a pair, plus another $14 for two extra lower hooks to keep the bags more steady at speed.







They hold a lot of stuff, are waterproof, they ride fairly low, they mount to the HB racks in about 20 seconds per side, and are removed in 10 seconds per side. I also think they look OK. Have used them on two trips so far and they are working out perfect.

One thing, though, is that they're not really designed to carry a lot of weight like the hard cases could. So I've moved my tools and CPAP battery (the heavy stuff) to my tailbag and I use the Bike Packers for clothes, sleeping bag, downmat and other soft stuff. Fully packed, each pannier weighs about 16-18 pounds and can handle that load easily.
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:36 AM   #118
DRONE OP
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Update on shock spring

Last weekend I ran down the 25 Road from Randle to Carson fully loaded for a trip. Last year when I did this same stretch of road, I bottomed out the shock at least 5 times just in the section from Rt. 12 to FS 99. This time -- no bottoming!! Not once!! Hurray!! And once I realized I wouldn't be scraping the frame in the corners, I was able to let loose a little and have more fun.

Have also noticed a huge improvement in handling on dirt, especially over washboard and potholes. Have the preload and damping set at about 3/4 and I'm thinking I might be able to back that down a little more. Still experimenting.

Very happy with the new spring.
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:46 AM   #119
DRONE OP
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Update on knee surgery

Got my right knee replaced last February. Last summer it got so bad I couldn't stand on the pegs for more than 30 seconds. This weekend coming back from Hood River I was standing for 5 minutes at a stretch! Then I had to sit only to rest the quads, not because of pain. Glad I finally got this done, though the recovery and the first three months of rehab was a bitch! Of course, rehab is ongoing. Will probably be a year or more before I get back all my strength. Still can't run or jog more than a few steps at a time, but walking and hiking is no problem. Here's a gratuitous pic of me on a hike earlier this summer--

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Old 09-07-2010, 02:09 PM   #120
pyarnall
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Tank bag & rear rack?

Hi Drone,

Does your tank bag interfere with riding and maneuvering when standing on the pegs? If not, which brand and model are you using?

Did you use the Tourtech mounts for your modified rear plate?

The G650GS has a 4 gal capacity. Anyone determined if it can be retro'd into an X Country?

Thanks!

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