Story from our digital magazine, available for free at the Ultimate Motorcycling App.For most, Thanksgiving means one thing—the beginning of the holiday season. But, for the true moto wrenchers—especially those like me out here on the East Coast—Thanksgiving means something more significant: ’Tis the season to start winter motorcycle projects.
For the past six years, I have a ritual of planning my projects the weekend after Thanksgiving. Just as the turkey leftovers are finally diminishing, I plan the order of projects, budgets, and whatever else is needed for a flawless process. This year, I sat down with some The Jimi Hendrix Experience BBC Sessions playing, and put finger to iPhone Notes.My list for 2016/2017 Winter Moto Project season begins with typical maintenance. First, first I have to replace my Ducati 1198’s timing belts and adjust the valves, followed by putting a new clutch in my 1998 Honda VFR800. The 1198 has become more of a track bike lately, though I’m keeping her road legal because there’s always a need to engage my higher spirits on the back roads, and nothing quite does it like the final Superbike featuring the trellis frame.As for the VFR, I’ve had that bike since 2008, and I’d trust it to take me across the USA. The 1998-2001 VFRs had the mechanical cam gears, and are without a doubt the best VFRs ever built. Except for replacing brake bulbs, I never had a single issue with mine.Many owners would agree, and regardless of nearly 50,000 miles, the VFR800 is still a go-to for a comfortable tour or short rip through the countryside. I have it set up for touring with Givi bags, but am thinking of putting it back to sportbike form. This decision will likely be made once I get that clutch replaced. It is still the original and would likely take me another season, but I hate the feel of a slipping clutch when the throttle’s pinned.Then, it’s onto the fun projects, which I’ll work on together—the full restoration of a 2001 Ducati Monster 900 S i.e., and the reassembly of a Honda RC51 SP2 that I’m building as a tribute to my all-time favorite racer, the late Joey Dunlop.After months of searching, I have yet to find a clean gas tank for my M900. A 2000-2002 M900 tank will work due to the fuel injection, and a 2002 M750 F.I.—the only year they built a fuel-injected 750. So, if you know of anything, send me a note!The RC51 was a steal; I got it off a dude on Craigslist for a mere $1200 with a clean title. Many people thought it was a scam, and so did I, even after I set the meeting up. But, it was far from a scam.The seller had moved on to a newer Honda CBR600RR, saying the RC51 was dated. I got to ride with him once at Pocono International Raceway FUSA course, and after I passed him twice during a 20-minute session, he realized the RC51 was more than a capable bike, as did I.It’s an accomplished track bike, and it’ll remain solely for track use. I fell for the RC51 after watching Joey Dunlop dominate the Isle of Man TT aboard the V-twin platform. Dunlop still holds the record of 26 Isle of Man TT wins, and there is no one who carried so much passion off the track as Dunlop. This is why my RC51 became a tribute to him. Everyone has a hero, and Dunlop is one of mine. It’s an honor to build something in his memory.Here in Northeast Pennsylvania, winters usually last through March, so I’ve got plenty of time to finish some serious work. It’s always a matter of finding the additional time between travel and, of course, work. Although most of these projects will be completed around midnight during the weeks, it’s well worth the lack of a full eight-hours of sleep and some grease-stained wine glasses. My passion for wrenching is as strong as my passion for riding and writing, and thankfully so. If it weren’t, I’d likely crack up during the long winter months.My winter motorcycle project plans are complete—how about yours?
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Ultimate Motorcycling’s weekly Podcast—Motos and Friends.
My name is Arthur Coldwells.
This week’s Podcast is brought to you by Yamaha motorcycles. Discover how the YZF-R7 provides the perfect balance of rider comfort and true supersport performance by checking it out at YamahaMotorsports.com, or see it for yourself at your local dealer.
This week’s episode features Senior Editor Nic de Sena’s impressions of the beautiful new Harley-Davidson Low Rider ST that is loosely based around the original FXRT Sport Glide from the 1980s. Hailing from The Golden State, these cult-status performance machines became known as West Coast style, with sportier suspension, increased horsepower, and niceties including creature comforts such as a tidy fairing and sporty luggage.
In past episodes you might have heard us mention my best friend, Daniel Schoenewald, and in the second segment I chat with him about some of the really special machines in his 170 or so—and growing—motorcycle collection. He’s always said to me that he doesn’t consider himself the owner, merely the curator of the motorcycles for the next generation.
Yet Daniel is not just a collector, but I can attest a really skilled rider. His bikes are not trailer queens, they’re ridden, and they’re ridden pretty hard. Actually, we have had many, many memorable rides on pretty much all of the machines in the collection at one time or another.
From all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!