The rained out qualification session of the opening Grand Prix of this year is about to restart in an hour’s time. The 2013 F1 season is off to a bit of a slow start due to the rain delay, but I expect a very exciting race due to the potential of a mixed-up starting grid and lower than usual temperatures for Melbourne. As I have been anticipating the start of the F1 season, I have also been thinking a lot about motorcycle riding and the Sherpa. I want to make sure I take advantage of this season as this will be my first ever full motorcycle season. So far, I have thought of a few maintenance jobs that I would like to complete before starting the bike up for the first time. And once the warm weather has taken over, there are a few trips that I want to undertake with Mel on her Honda 599.
I want to take the time to rewire my heated grips. They are currently wired directly into the battery, which means they can be operated without the ignition being on. Twice last year I found the Sherpa sitting in my driveway with a dead battery. While I have not been stranded by a dead battery, it is still very inconvenient to find your bike dead when you’re fully suited and ready to go for a ride, or get to work. Furthermore, I would not want someone to unknowingly, or maliciously, activate the heated grips on my bike when it is parked somewhere! I have looked at the wiring diagram in the service manual and it is clear that I do not really know anything about electrical systems. What I did note is that every lead is rated at 12V, which should make just about any connection suitable for the grips. Another reason I want to undertake this job on the Sherpa is
because I am tasked with installing the heated grips Mel received at Christmas on her 599. Essentially, I believe it will be easier to perform the installation on the 599 if I am a bit more familiar with how it is done on the Sherpa.
Next, I want to look at the carburetor. The Sherpa is not very keen to running when it is cold. Even in the middle of summer it takes a bit of skill to get it started and running. With the choke pulled, the bike will stall if you do not pay attention to how it is warming up. Essentially, it is running too lean. There is a popular carb kit available for the Sherpa that can resolve this issue. The Dr. Jekle jets change the air fuel mixture and makes the bike run like it is supposed to.
Following that modification, I am considering changing the front sprocket from the stock 14T to 15T. Adding a tooth will allow the bike to run a slightly lower RPM at my regular cruising speeds. I am not too concerned with the loss of power due to bigger jets also getting installed at the same time. I would expect a small improvement on my mileage, but I think it is hard to predict. Currently, I hit over 65mpg no matter how hard I pull away from intersections.
If I change the front sprocket, I will want to try cleaning the chain. The service manual advises washing the chain in diesel oil or kerosene and soaking it afterwards in a heavy oil. Occasionally shaking the chain when it is soaking will allow the oil to penetrate the links.
Although my tyres are not completely worn as they only have about 5k on them, I want to get some rubber that is primarily geared towards street use. I have looked around and there are several names that continue to come up for the Sherpa. The Scorpion MT 90 A/T seem like a good fit for the bike and the kind of riding I want to do.
At the moment, I have a rough idea for two trips over the course of the summer. During the May 24 weekend, I hope to leave London heading east to New York through Buffalo and then south to Pennsylvania. Getting near the PA border seems very reasonable for the first day of riding. The next day would see Mel, Sam and me riding into PA where there seems to be an abundance of State and National parks. We would then ride back home on the third day back through Niagara Falls.
I want to take some time off work in August and head back home to New Brunswick through the US. I have driven to Moncton a few times from London in a car and it is a long drive. I have never done it through the US, so I look forward to seeing new scenery in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. I hear Mount Washington is beautiful and a popular motorcycle destination.
Well, the qualifying session is about to start so I will leave it at that for now. Look forward to some more posts from me this year. I hope to give a few details on a few short rides I took last year that were memorable, and I also hope to continue providing details on the maintenance that I plan to accomplish.