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Pedestrian Slicer

Pedestrian Slicer

A story found on the Internets tells me that back in the day, British and European motorcycle riders would display their license numbers on metal plates attached to the front fender. In the case of a motorcycle/pedestrian accident the plate would injure the pedestrian and so the term “pedestrian slicer” was born. I live in the ‘burbs so pedestrians are a rare thing, and pedestrian slicers are just cool.

Enter Kevin Wahaus of Wahaus Advertising and Otus now sports a pedestrian slicer complete with The Two-Wheeled Tourist branding! I found a suitable pedestrian slicer blank at Carpy’s Cafe Racers, ordered it up, and handed the blank over to Kevin. Kevin + the pedestrian slicer + Adobe Illustrator resulted in the cool artwork you see in this website’s header. That same artwork with colors reversed now graces my pedestrian slicer. After a few minutes in the shop, the pedestrian slicer now graces Otus’ front fender. That’s a lot of grace, isn’t it?

Kevin has done an amazing job bringing The Two-Wheeled Tourist brand to life. The pictures that follow demonstrate. If you’re interested in custom artwork on a pedestrian slicer for your machine contact Kevin and see what he can do for you.

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Lowered Foot Pegs

Lowered Foot Pegs, Happy Knees

Strix isn’t perfect. Shocking but true. I first discovered his primary imperfection when I went wandering to Oklahoma and have just now performed the first mod to address the problem. The problem – the foot pegs on Strix are too high. To be clear, it isn’t that my legs are too long; the foot pegs on Strix are simply too high. After about an hour of riding with my knees bent too sharply they begin to hurt. With this problem in mind I set out to find a solution. The solution was a journey in and of itself but it appears I have found a workable solution. I keeping with the methodology applied in Astronomia Nova, I present you with my much more concise “War on Foot Pegs”.

First of all, my test ride on Strix was fairly brief but quite exciting. Strix is a modern version of my beloved Airhead, Otus, and he was priced to sell. The decision was easy because Strix was also largely unmolested. I wanted to own a motorcycle that did not need to its previous owners’ molestations reversed. What I did not realize during the brief test ride was how different the seating position is between the two motorcycles. So began the project to lower the foot pegs.

Lowering the foot pegs on a motorcycle is, generally speaking, an exercise in spending money. The challenge with this exercise is the same challenge all BMW owners face because you must remember – the cheapest thing on a BMW motorcycle is the rider. With this constraint in mind, I began looking for options. Fortunately there are several options for lowering the foot pegs on a 2003 R1150R. Unfortunately I had no direct experience with any of them, so I started doing online research.

Online research presents its own challenges. To take liberties with Newton’s Third Law of Motion, for every opinion, there is an equal and opposite opinion. So, for every passionate solution, there was a reaction at least as passionate against the solution. This was true for basically every forum, article, and suggestion I read. I read several more, got discouraged, and gave up on the Internet opinions and went to my local BMW dealer to talk to the parts manager about options. This turned out to be the correct approach.

The discussion was brief and the recommendation was simple – they install a Suburban Machinery peg lowering kit on a high percentage of the BMWs they sell. Unfortunately they didn’t have any kits in stock so I would have to wait if that’s what I wanted. That said, the parts manager asked me to wait while he looked for something. What he found was something like the Wunderlich lowering kit but without the gearshift/brake lever extensions. The kit appeared to have been previously installed, returned, and had been sitting in their inventory for quite some time. As I consider myself a “resourceful scrounger” (a polite term for cheap skate) I bought the bits and returned home to install them. The installation was simple once I determined how best to compress the return springs and I was riding Strix with lowered pegs with less than an hour of shop time invested.

So what’s the verdict? So far, so good. This kit moves the pegs to the same height (from the ground to the top of the peg while Strix is on the center stand) as Otus – about 14″, and moves them out about 1.5″. I need to do some additional adjusting of the gear shift and rear brake levers but I think this has solved my peg position dilemma.

What I didn’t mention – along the way I considered buying an RT and selling Strix. I even test rode an RT and seriously considered it as a more comfortable, long-range bike. Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately) for Strix, test riding the RT was disorienting. The bodywork is big, when I turned the front wheel it was disorienting to see the bodywork remain stationary while the handlebars moved, I couldn’t find the mirrors at first, and the linked brakes were an unexpected scare. While the RT features a more comfortable seating position and greater range due to a larger fuel tank, it doesn’t have the soul of a BMW ’03 (apologies to Richard Thompson for that misappropriation of his masterwork).

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LED Solid Sate Instrument Cluster Lights

instrument cluster lighting – solid state LED

I figured out a few things recently. Since Otus became my motorcycle the turn signal indicator in the instrument cluster hasn’t worked. Because he arrived in my garage that way I assumed there was a problem with the cluster itself. I changed the bulb but that didn’t matter. I cleaned the contacts but that didn’t matter either. I assumed that it was damaged and left it at that. It wasn’t until I started looking for a replacement instrument cluster that I figured out that the problem wasn’t the instrument cluster but rather the turn signal relay. Somewhere along the line someone swapped out the BMW relay for an automotive  turn signal relay. It was moving to this relay that prevented the instrument cluster light from lighting up to let me know a turn signal was on. Figuring out stuff like this typically leads me into Quixotic situations.

problem solving

Once I got a lead on the reason the turn signal light in the instrument cluster wasn’t working I dug into the parts cache and retrieved one of the BMW turn signal relays. Installing the correct relay led to a wiring voyage of discovery, but getting that sorted out ended up making things work as they should so ultimately the change, and the ensuing work, was a good thing. With this problem behind me I was ready to upgrade the stock Airhead incandescent lighting in the instrument cluster to a solid state LED light kit from Katdash.

making things brighter

The lights in the stock instrument cluster are OK, but because “I was in there” it seemed like the right time to make another LED upgrade to go along with the LED headlight. Enjoy the pictures!

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avert your eyes!

LED headlight bulb

I added Strix to the fleet for a couple of reasons – to take some pressure off Otus and to have a more modern motorcycle. What I did not expect was a headlight no brighter than Otus’ stock headlight. In fact, the first time I rode the bike after dark I was convinced the headlight didn’t work at all. I had to switch to high beam to see the road. When I pulled up in front of the garage I was surprised to see that low beam actually worked! I didn’t occur to me that a motorcycle built in 2003 would use the same headlight bulb as a motorcycle built in 1977. Yes – both bikes were shipped with a standard H4 headlight bulb. So what to do? Install the same LED headlight I bought for Otus when I was in Billings this summer.

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