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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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Finding Tonga in the Midwest

Finding Tonga in the Midwest

My first country recorded in the 2018 Melting Pot Grand Tour is Tonga via the city of Tonganoxie, KS. Even though this was a short trip, it took the better part of the day, primarily to find a good place to get the required photographic evidence. We travel U.S. Route 40 frequently as we have family in St. George, KS so I was very familiar with a colorful city limit sign on 40. I had originally thought that taking the picture there would be the best way to do it but the photographer wanted to get a better background so we started scouting for a better location.

We were fortunate to find two good locations – one that was really obvious and a second location that was very colorful. The photographic evidence that meets the Ground Tour requirements is shown below.

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While the official rules state that I don’t need to be in the photo I thought it would be fun to be in the first picture of this tour. I’m not sure the photographer will want to follow me around as I collect other locations so I’ll revert to Smartphone pictures soon enough.

In any case, I’ve bagged the nearest US city containing a foreign country name! Now, on to other cities, some Liberty Bell replicas, and (hopefully) some bonus point locations around the country!

Read more about my Melting Pot Grand Tour!

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Wandering Through Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma

Sending out a quick update tonight from a roadside motel as I rest up from wandering to Oklahoma. I got a late start and by 8:00 pm I decided the next motel I came upon would be my home for the night. So here I am at a motel that time forgot in Van Buren, Arkansas. Yes, I am in Arkansas on my way to Oklahoma.

You might be asking why but the answer is simple – Garmin. Apparently the fastest route to Talemina State Park goes by Joplin, MO and through Van Buren, AR. I’ve topped arguing with my GPS and just followed along. I ran out of sunlight as I approach Van Buren so here I am.

I’m just over an hour from my destination but it was shaping up to be a dark hour. I was hungry and tired so I decided to rest. The road, and my destination, will still be there tomorrow. And an early start will also get me to Sapulpa, OK while the sun’s still up so I can pay a visit to my Grandfather and Grandmother. They’ve passed away but I’m not going to tell them.

See you on the road tomorrow!

You can follow my progress by looking at this:

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hacking the Wolfman enduro tool bag

wolfman enduro tool bag hack

Let me make one thing perfectly clear – I love my Wolfman Enduro Tool Bags. I asked for a pair of these for Christmas – one for each bike – and mounted them to each bike’s top case. They are exactly what I wanted in terms of size, shape and capacity but there was one thing I wanted to improve – I wanted the sides of the bags to be rigid so it was time to hack the bag.

Continue reading “wolfman enduro tool bag hack”

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Mad Max-style Handguards on Strix

handguards for Strix

Some people think handguards, like tank bags, are required motorcycle accessories. I added a set of handguards to Otus, and because Strix is supposed to be a more modern version of the grand old man, a set of Barkbuster Storm handguards got ordered for the young man as well. Installation wasn’t as easy as on Otus because of the brake lines on Strix. I don’t think it will be a problem but the fitment was snug to say the least.

Continue reading “handguards for Strix”

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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.

Continue reading “LED headlight bulb”

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iphone6+ cradle

iPhone 6+ on the r1150r

One of the many things that makes motorcycle riding and touring fun is adding farkles to your bike. Otus is modestly farkled up to suit my riding style, needs, and my definition of complete. Now that I’ve added the r1150r to the stable I am compelled to add the same/similar farkles to this machine so it’ll support my riding and touring needs. So, first things first – I added a mount for my iPhone so I can have it handy while riding. To mount the phone to the bike I needed a few pieces of mounting hardware:

The instrument cluster on the new bike is quite different from Otus so I had to futz with the positioning of the mount so I could still see everything. I really won’t know how things are working until I’ve put a few miles on the bike with the phone in this position. The one thing I do know is that futzing is the constant companion of farkles.

Farkle Futzing – one of my many hobbies. This is phone farkle futzing. Lots of F sounds today.

And apologies for the awful pictures.

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R1150R instrument cluster

6th gear

I’ve been slowly adapting to the 2003 BMW R1150R. Having ridden my 1977 R100/7 for the past 15 years, moving to something more modern has been quite an adjustment but the new bike is getting more comfortable and my confidence is increasing with each ride. I’ve commuted successfully on the bike all week and last night I hopped on the highway for the first time. The R1150R does not disappoint. The bike is very stable on the highway and in 6th gear is very relaxed. The bike handled well and was a joy to ride at highway speed. Just like Otus this motorcycle is quite at home on the highway!

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