Motorcycles

Las Vegas Buell Rider Meetup

http://autos.netscape.com/embed/480/JIMNBKIFNRHEUPKEHVHG
(here’s a link to the 640×480 version of the video)

Being new to Las Vegas, I decided to take a slightly active approach to meeting people (truly active would be introducing myself to random people). I hit Meetup and signed up for a couple local groups. Las Vegas is big enough that there’s a chance people might actually meet. For the record: the Democrats outnumber the Pagans, but have slightly fewer members than the Witches.

Saturday at 10AM I arrived at Hooters for The Las Vegas Buell Riders Meetup. No one else was there and Hooters was closed so I decided to wait 10 minutes. Jai showed up 10 minutes later on a Firebolt with a cracked straight pipe that would put any Harley to shame. He was another first-timer so we decided to wait another 10 minutes before riding somewhere for breakfast. We met Ron on his CityX coming the other direction and decided to head to the Harley-Davidson Cafe. Somewhere along that trip I lost my contact. Blake met us there on his Ulysses. The video is from leaving the cafe and heading to my house to take some pictures. I couldn’t see, so that was my last stop. The other three went on to Hoover Dam.

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Motorcycles

Cherry Bomb

Buell XB9SX
Less than three weeks after I bought my new motorcycle, Buell introduced the ’07 line. No major changes so I wasn’t feeling any remorse. They did add some new colors (not to my model). I particularly liked the translucent “Cherry Bomb” body work better than my standard “Kick Ash” pieces. I ordered a set and they showed up today. I think it looks pretty good. You can find more photos of the new body work on Flickr.

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Motorcycles

Not so great engineering

footpegIn an unfortunate event yesterday both the bike and I ended up on the ground in the parking lot. It happens. We’re both fine and don’t show any wear except for one thing; the left rider foot peg snapped off. Apparently Buell foot pegs are cast from an alloy of aluminum and rich creamery butter or at least something just as soft. A cursory glance around the web found several stories of people losing footpegs to minimal side loading: backing the bike up and snagging the peg on a wheel, on a bumper, or even just coming off in people’s hands. I had already placed an order with American Sport Bike for some front and rear axle sliders so I just had them add some new billet pegs.

Since the bike was out of commission today Frosty and I decided to go through the suspension setup. The owners manual covers all the adjustments. It was all pretty easy. The wrench for the rear shock preload is included and the the valves for rebound and compression are really easy to turn. We weren’t able to do the front fork preload because of a lack of tools. It looks like the bike comes from the factory set up for someone closer to 200lbs. We ran to Frontier HD to pick up the service manual I had ordered. The parts guy said he had snapped pegs off of his Buell before.

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Motorcycles

Annotated Buell

buellI’ve been interested in Buell motorcycles ever since they introduced the new XB line. The XB has some very interesting engineering; which I’ve noted on this Flickr photo. The muffler is mounted at the lowest point on the bike for a lower center of gravity. The gas is contained within the aluminum bike frame. The airbox is located where the tank normally would be. The bike has a belt drive intended to last the lifetime of the bike. The belt tensioner is a fixed unit. The front brake is inverted so the braking force is applied directly to the hub instead of through the spokes. The engine is an 984cc air/oil cooled 92hp v-twin. The bike weighs 390lbs. dry. The steep steering head and short wheelbase make for an extremely compact package.

Erik Buell, an ex-Harley-Davidson engineer, founded the company in 1983 and built sportbikes based on HD engines. In 1998 the company was acquired by HD and now most HD engines are developed by Buell’s engineering.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that I’ve put 175 miles on the bike in the last week. The first 500 miles are engine break-in.

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Hacks, Innovation, Motorcycles, Robots

Walkers and other nonsense

walkerDoom, doom, doom! No not really. This mech’s guns only fire squishy balls; yes, their first thought was “hey, let’s put guns on it!” Also, calling it a walker is a broad interpretation since it moves like someone using a “walker“. No threat yet, since you could probably take this thing down with a speed-bump. Check out the video of it in action at the site.

Need more wackiness? Check out this Akira scooter mod. What’s not to like? Well, it’s a scooter which means it will only look like Kaneda’s bike, never move like it. Also, windshields are supposed to protect the face, not the crotch.

Finally, Google maps added satellite imagery. It looks really nice if you live in a populated area (not under a cloud), but if you live in the middle of nowhere it just looks like a bruise. Google doesn’t take advantage of the full image resolution either. Head over to Terraserver to zoom in even farther.

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