Lieback’s Lounge: August 2018

Infomercials drive me insane, mainly for two reasons—the products are typically garbage, and the announcers are annoying.

But a few weeks ago, after dealing with leaking issues on my project Ducati Monster 900 S i.e.’s carbon-fiber gas tank, one of those annoying announcers’ marketing message played its part. And the product wasn’t garbage.

Flex Seal.

Yeah, that stuff that pieced together a boat and didn’t leak in shark-infested waters. If it could do that, why couldn’t a stop a pinhole leak on the old Desmodue-powered naked.

Lieback’s Lounge: Flex Seal in Gas Tank
Project Monster 900 – Flex Seal worked on the gas tank, though she still didn’t ride to AHRMA

The product explicitly says not to use around heat or gas, but I chanced it. And for 300+ miles that SOB hasn’t leaked.

The goal of finishing my project Monster 900 was to take it on an annual ride to vintage motorcycle races (AHRMA) at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

My friend Jay and I collect and restore classic sportbikes—mainly from the 1990s and early 2000s. The plan every year is to ride one of our projects to AHRMA.

Last year, I was supposed to meet Jay on a Ducati 748. He was riding his 1988 Suzuki GSX-R750. But, I had some issues, and ended up bringing my Multistrada 1200, which to-date is my all-time favorite motorcycle for sport riding and touring.

The temps were in the 90s, and every time I looked at Jay slouched over on that uncomfortable GSX-R, I patted the side of my Multi’s gas tank. Jay’s first beer was going to taste much better than mine when we got grounded in Jersey.

Lieback’s Lounge: Two bikes ready for AHRMA
These were the bikes of choice for this year’s AHRMA – a “classic” Yamaha R1, and my comfy Multi – sans the bags for a better pic.

My bike to ride to AHRMA this past July was the Monster 900. Although I had luck with the Flex Tape, doubts remained. Plus, there were a few things I have to finish anyway, such as rearsets and some cleanup work.

How about those triple-digit phases on the roads leading to New Jersey Motorsports Park, because there’s not one good route leading there once you’re within about 40 miles of the track?

These were the thoughts the week before, although I was still set on riding the M900.

The Friday night before leaving, after I promised Jay I’d finally be on time—we are typically an hour late to our meetup destination—I had a birthday party. My dad’s 64th. And when all the good ol’ boys get together, booze flows and nights never end.

The next morning I was awoken by my phone ringing. It was Jay. He was already at the destination for an hour. I slept through three alarms, and my wife was already on the road with my son—the two visiting family a few towns away.

I ran downstairs, boiled some water for some much-needed coffee in the French Press, and went to load the bike. Without even hesitating, everything came out of my Alpinestars backpack and directly into the saddlebags of the Multistrada.

Though I was late—I ended up three-hours late this time (sorry Jay)—within 10 miles of the ride I was all smiles. I had just hit 42,000 miles on the Multistrada’s odometer, and realized why I love this bike so much.

Maybe my initial doubts of riding the M900 were superficial, and I psychologically worried about a gas leak because I wanted to ride my Multi. Maybe getting a bit carried away boozing with my dad and brother-in-law was another deep-rooted plan so I’d be late, and have to take the Multi to make up time.

Who knows? After meeting up with Jay, even after we both promised to be there on time at 8 a.m., nothing mattered.

We only get a few rides in a year, and we were on bikes with no concrete plans except to engage with the vintage motorcycle racing community, gawk at cool machines, and relax with some cold ones.

That’s just what happened. He relaxed much more this year because he didn’t have the classic GSX-R750; he was on his 2002 Yamaha R1. I didn’t bother to break his balls because I owed him for being three-hours late.

Lieback’s Lounge and Multi loaded for travel
The R1 and Multi loaded for the trip, stopping under some highway near Philly.

Regardless, all turned out like every other trip we’ve been on since the Honda Hoot days back in the early part of this century—pure fun at AHRMA, and non-stop talk about everything motorcycles well into evening.

Over the winters here in the Northeast, I’ve been doing a resto project in my basement every two years. The goal for this winter is a 916, if I can find the correct donor.

That target completion date will be NJMP AHRMA. I do want to race my soon-to-be Joey Dunlop replica Honda RC51 there, but I also don’t want to miss out on our annual ride there.

I guess I’ll start doubting something now about the 916 that I don’t even own. The Multistrada is that good of a long-distance tourer that actually has some guts.

Then again, if that Flex Seal keeps gas from pouring out of the Monster, I can ride that. But, I’m sure I’ll make up some excuse and “have” to ride the Multistrada—definitely if I have to make up time due to being a bit late.