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BMW classic saddlebag - left side

repair work, parts, and details

I took Otus’ front end down to make sure I had everything as straight as possible and noticed that, in addition to all the other damage, one of the fork reflectors was cracked. I jumped on to and ordered up a replacement reflector along with a few other must-have parts. In addition to a collection of bits and pieces I also went ahead and ordered a new set of “classic” bags to replace those totaled on my season-opener last year. I did, however, pass on purchasing the official BMW roundels to stick to the bags. This isn’t (just)about being cheap but has more to do with being unwilling to pay to advertise for a brand. Don’t get me wrong – I love me my Otus and my Strix – but not enough to pay to stick roundels on the luggage. Besides, I still have some of my Mechanical Owl stickers to apply! I also bought all the bushings, washers, etc to properly reinstall the instrument cluster and (hopefully) reduce the jiggle factor considerably.

I also ordered a hand full of parts from Wunderlich because, like Bob’s, they love my money. Here’s the list of what I ordered:

  • Long mirrors – left and right
    I’m going to try the long stem mirrors rather than the bar-end mirrors so I can re-install my hand guards
  • Instrument Repair Kit
    When Otus and I stopped so abruptly the instrument cluster suffered a bit of damage. The glass covering the tach is now completely missing and the glass covering the speedometer has a nice chip. I scrounged up a replacement housing but I’m going to see if I can’t use this to restore my existing cluster to a usable state.

When all this first went down I was beyond bummed about the damage inflicted upon Otus but as I went through the process of sourcing replacement parts I’ve been able to come to the conclusion that the motorcycle could be repaired, I could heal, and both of us will ride again. Sorry if that was too sappy…

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shinguards as forearm protection

arm protection?

We got an invitation to a Halloween party and I did a little thinking about what costume to wear. My research (well, actually it was more like image searches related to some of my favorite movies while I drank beer) led me to some pictures of a character from Mad Max – Jim Goose. The Goose was Max’s Kawasaki 1000 – riding friend who (spoiler alert!) died rather gruesomely. Regardless, he was a cool guy with some costume-worthy accessories that I figured could be bought on the cheap AND provide arm protection as I returned to the road.

One of the coolest things about Jim’s “costume” is that he used what appear to be baseball catcher leg guards as forearm guards. This got me thinking about channeling The Goose this Halloween. I ventured down to the local used sporting goods store and scored a set of previously enjoyed leg guards for $18. I figured I’d go from there and start assembling the rest of the costume. Then reality set in; my riding gear isn’t leather, my helmet is modular and black, I didn’t have any of the pins or badges, and – worst of all – I didn’t have a Kawasaki 1000 to ride to the party! Thus ended my quest to pay tribute to The Goose.

But some good came out of this project – I have my own leg guards I can start wearing as forearm guards. I have seriously thought about this since breaking my arm this spring. Dirt bike riders get to wear armor so I might just wear my leg guards as forearm guards while protecting my freshly-healed right arm and paying tribute to The Goose himself!

In preparation for next Halloween, I have tracked down the appropriate Jim Goose pins and badges so all I need now is full leathers, costume-correct boots, a silver helmet, that cool face protector, and a Kawasaki 1000! Happy Halloween!

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the mobile man cave w/lens flare

camping gear redux

A couple of weekends ago I did some car camping to see if I could remember how to set up camp. There’s a Fall rally coming up soon and I didn’t want my first post-crash attempt at setting up camp to be a festival of challenges in front of strangers so I decided a 4-wheeled run would be a good first step. I drove a couple of hours west, found a secluded spot, and set up the Mobile Man Cave. I’ve attached a few pictures and I’ve also updated my gear page to reflect changes to what I learned and what plan to take with me in October.

Overall the trip was a success. I was able to set up camp, sleep, drink cold beer (car camping allowed me to take a cooler with plenty of cold water and just enough beer to get me through the weekend), eat, read, sleep again, and break camp without incident. I’m not going to lie – the whole set up and tear down thing was a challenge. My pace setting up was slow but I still got the tent up before sundown on night #1 while still allowing time to have a beer before turning in for the night. All-in-all it was a happy Labor Day Weekend!

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nerdy neck wallet

what to do before you crash

At the end of March 2016 I had an accident on my beloved 1977 BMW R100/7, Otus. When the first responders showed up, they cut my motorcycle coat off. At that point my wallet was separated from me and I entered the healthcare system I was an uninsured patient. This has been a festival of physical, emotional, and financial pain as every healthcare provider chased me for payment simply because I was separated from my wallet and, therefore, my health insurance card, by the scissor-aggressive first responder who cut off my coat and pitched it in the nearest ditch. Fortunately my riding buddy scooped up the coat (along with all the motorcycle bits scattered around the accident scene) and I was reunited with my wallet.

To prevent this issue going forward, I am going to do two things:

  1. Try like hell to not crash again!
  2. Put my important documents in something like this.

I’m going to prepare for the worst by putting my important documents and information in my neck wallet and then try like hell to not crash again.

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tracking my travel with stickers

travel stickers

One of the things that’s become more and more important to me is tracking accomplishments. I’ve always had a completist tendency as I’ve begun venturing out of the central time zone on Otus, and I’ve gotten more confident in my ability to keep Otus running, I’ve realized that I can put Otus in all of the US Continental states at some point. I’ve started a page on the site to show where we’ve been and today I tracked down a set of stickers I’ll place on Otus to show people were we’ve been when we’re out and about. I googled around until I found and promptly ordered up a set for Otus. I also ordered up a set for my Cherokee because I actually do have to travel by car from time to time. We’ll see how these look when they get here and get installed. Assuming these work out well I’ll order another set for the newest member of the family!

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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.

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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.

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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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Wolfman enduro tool bag

tank bag elimination

After the 2015 riding season, and with the addition of another motorcycle, I’ve decided that I need to eliminate the tank bag. There are several contributing factors:

  1. each fuel stop required removal of the tank bag.
  2. because I electrified Otus’ tank bag I have to do a bit of unplugging to get the tank bag out of the way when refueling.
  3. a tank bag on the oilhead – at least the one I settled on – looked kinda stupid on the bike.
  4. the bag on Otus didn’t look right on Strix either.

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