Saturday, November 2, 2013

Big bikes hit the scale

Factory claimed weights can be all over the place...a lot of them can be flat out lies. Checking the bike on a scale usually puts perspective on actual bike heft. Scale is correct with my own weight alone and on each bike (when subtracted from total).

Scale is a truck trailer type. 
Scale rounds to the nearest 10 lbs. 

First up, 2008 KTM 990 ADV. The bike is stock with the following items added: Touratech skid plate, stainless rear rack, Touratech GPS mount with Garmin GPS, rear plate replaced with Pelican case with tire repair kit and mini air compressor. Factory tool kit on board with one or two additional tools. Front tube hidden in faring. Hepco-Becker crash bars and rear rack. PIAA aux lamps mounted to crash bars. Handle bars on ROX risers and filled with lead shot. KTM tank bag mounted, but only rain cover in it.
Tanks filled just prior to getting on the scale.
Weight as described- 570lbs.

Next up, 2013 Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX. The bike is stock with all equipment as delivered except the side cases (racks, crash bars, skid plate, aux lamps). Item added: Touratech GPS mount with XM antenna, Wunderlich windshield extension. Factory tool kit and tire repair kit with mini air compressor. Tank bag installed, but empty. 
Tank filled just prior to getting on the scale.
Weight as described- 660lbs.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Revised cross bar for Enduro Engineering mount

The basic Enduro Engineering GPS mount works very well for mounting the Touratech cradle. The bar diameter makes mounting other items a slight challenge without a lot of bulk.

Existing mount with Touratech cradle:

 DSLR camera rigs use clamps for 15mm rod diameters. These clams are cheap and offer 1/4x20 threaded sockets that a RAM ball can be mounted in. New 15mm rod from machined to match Enduro Engineering's stock rod:

DSLR clamp hardware parts were powder coated black to help prevent corrosion.

New crossbar in place with clamps and RAM mount:

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Revised rear rack for SWM topcase

The cases for the NTX are made by SW mototech. The factory topcase is difficult to obtain and is identical to the standard SWM case offered HERE

The case attachement is by the universal plate below. This plate uses clamps to hold it to the factory rack. The slots and holes in this plate do not line up with the factory rack holes very well:
A revised version of my original plate in a previous blog post is shown below with holes for topcase mounting:

The topcase latch required the removal of the center bent tab while still allowing the rack to be used as a tie down point when the box is removed. Rack mounted to the motorcycle after the factory plastic cover has been removed: 

Topcase mounted:

A possible change will be to mount an alternate set of holes allowing the plate to be moved slightly rearward to allow more room for a rear rider. A backrest pad is the next to be added.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Factory bag liners

The factory bags used to have an issue with leaking. The Trax EVO versions with a revised top gasket help prevent leakage. Instead of lugging the side case around, these liners help manage your gear.

Factory liners are shown here (and cost $200):

The alternate solution is to buy the 37L bag liners for the Trax bags from SW Mototech. SWM made the factory bags, so the other items sold will work with them. SWM includes these bags with the sale of the cases, so I had to order these special from Twisted Throttle. They took 6 weeks to get, but only cost $30 each ($60 total). Part number to order (you must call TT to get these on order as they are not on the web page):

Bag loaded with some gear. The bags hold the shape and will not require them to be stuffed into the cases. Major bonus.

The liners inside the bag. There is some space to allow storage of other gear. Velcro top with the standard dry bag clips to keep everything from unrolling:

There is 3-4 inches of space depending on how the bags are loaded. Enough for a pair of shoes or something else you don't want to funk up your clothes:

Another SWM item from Twisted Throttle that works with the factory luggage if hauling a dirty case is in your future:

My dog approves of this blog, as you can tell from her total lack of interest in something she cannot ride in/on:

Wolfman Large Expedition tank bag

Tank bags for the NTX can be a bit of a chore due to the high gas filler and quick slope back to the seat. The Wolfman expedition series is great weatherproof gear. The tank bag is no exception.

The bag fits the lines of the bike quite well. Not overly wide, tall, or bulky. The 4 point connection system is excellent at keeping the bag from moving around.

The points I used to secure the bag were the front of the tank near the steering head. There is a space in the frame directly in front of the tank mounting bolt. Wrapping the straps per the instructions works great.

The rear requires removing the seat and wrapping the straps in front of the seat blocks. The seat hides the straps once in place. The straps front and back can be cut down about 6" on each of the four. The 'keeper' cross straps are not needed. The mounting system works fine without them (and they are loose all the time).

Bag opened up, inner cover left pulled back:

Inner cover in place, bag draw string pulled tight, and binder strap pulled tight:

Top cover lowered in place with snaps keeping it closed. The steering lock is shown below to avoid dealing with interference with wider tank bags:

Rider point of view...I'm 6' tall and can clearly see my GPS at all times. This is a perfect tank bag for me...doesn't require a rain cover and just works. Highly suggested.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Other items that I use (not really mods)

Travel on the NTX is easy. Some items that make life easier are listed below that I have found over years of travel via motorcycle. There are other options, some better, but these are some ideas that have stuck with me.

Key condoms:
These silicone rubber caps are soft enough to fit over most keys, but also won't fall off like fuel line (what I used to use). They keep the tree of the bike from getting all scuffed as well as paint on other bikes (like the Griso)

McMaster Carr part # 92805K11

Helmet lock:
There are other types of helmet locks out there, but there are none better than free. Attending a golf outing where the event was giving away a bucket of these cable gun locks. Many of the counties in Michigan give them away for free at the police station. They are strong and rubber covered. Lock the helmet to the bar (with hand guards or behind the brake master cyl). Will also fit through the D-ring.

Wind protection:
Many NTX owners taller than 5'0" suffer with windshield issues. Some buy replacements or use add on devices. I like the adjustable type like the Wunderlich deflector HERE
It works great at reducing wind noise while still being able to see above the screen.

Seat comfort:
The NTX seat is one of the best stock seats made...ever. There is always some room for improvement on long rides burning that 8+ gallon gas tank. The quick and easy option is the Airhawk seat pad. Putting just enough air in it to keep pressure points to a minimum can double your ride time (it did on my FJR). The pads shown here are the small cruiser and Pillion pad. A new version called the 'R' looks like it may be an even better fit for the NTX HERE

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Fog lamp fuse holder

The stock Stelvio NTX comes with Aux fog lamps by Hella which are great for making a wide night time view. One downside is the lamps have known to short out the 12 volts supply due to the wiring in the lamp rubbing on the outer housing.

The lamps are not fused by themselves and can blow a 30amp main fuse that can leave you stranded. A quick solution is to fuse each lamp at a lower level which will protect the larger 30 amp fuse.

The wire in question (shown below with red jacket) will short out on the housing if the wire is not coiled up in the rubber boot (NOT in the lamp housing!).

Making an in-line fuse holder required locating the connector by following the lamp wire back up along the frame. The parts required to make this setup are as follows:

Sumitomo 2 pin male and female locking connector part number SC1102 can be found at

Littlefuse inline fuse holders #0FHM0001ZXJ can be had on Amazon or other online places. 

While you are at it, a proper crimp tool for 'Molex' style pins will be required. The cost effective (~$15), yet quality crimp can be had with the Waldom part number W-HT-1921-P tool.
Jameco linky
Newark linky

Using a short piece of MTW wire to make up the non-fused portion, the parts look like below:

Completed fuse holders (with heat shrink tube holding the wires together) are shown below. It is important to make sure you fuse the (+12V) line and pass through the ground. One fuse for each lamp. 
For my bike, I added another connector on the bike's right side after the fuse (same side the lamp is connected to). This extra connector goes to a 'Flash2Pass' garage door opener. I can flash my fog lamps twice to open the garage door. Photos below do not show the extra connector. 

The completed fuse holder put in place with cable ties to keep it neat and out of the way.

An amp check of a working factory lamp shows a draw of 4.8 amps each lamp. A 10 amp fuse would be more than enough to protect this lamp circuit and prevent being stranded with a blown 30 amp main fuse.

This is what a quality Molex style crimp looks like:

Monday, April 29, 2013

Euro turn signal conversion

The USA Stelvio replaces the very good looking front turn signals with mirror stalk turn signals which make the mirrors nearly useless. The stock signals don't meet some US requirement for surface area or ?

First step, order up the following:
#AP8104921 Right side mirror (standard Aprilia style)
#AP8104922- Left side mirror
#978428- Right side 'Euro' turn signal
#978427- Left side 'Euro' turn signal

I had good luck getting these from MPH in Houston where my dealer has been waiting for months. You are going to be on the hook for about $120 all told.

Take off the wind deflectors, right and left side panels. You are faced with the toughest part of the whole job, push nuts. Seen here with black backing washers.

Take a small screw driver and maybe something to pry the little suckers (carefully) off of the plastic posts. They are not too hard, so the process takes about 15 minutes per panel. You only need the four push nuts to access the hex screw shown above. 

Take a large drift punch, socket, or some round stock that fits into the push nut rolled edge, bang the tangs back into place (not done yet in the photo above).

Replace the painted over turn signal with the correct one using the single hex nut that now can be reached.

Use a 1/4" drive, 1/4" socket to push the push nuts back to where they came. Don't forget to put the black backing washers with them. Socket pusher shown below (you can use a small hammer to assist).

New signals in place...much better.

The Aprilia mirrors found on Tuonos, Grisos, and the like do a fine job on the Stelvio. This is what they come with everywhere else in the world. They are also cheap...and don't vibrate at speed.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Rear rack installation

The stock Stelvio rack is a tad small to carry much very far. The below solves this by creating a larger platform to strap dry bags or other luggage to. Future racks may include bobbins and brackets to mount a stock Trax rear case or a Givi box.

A few minutes on the drafting board:

Send it off to CAD:

Package in from the laser cutter...12ga. stainless:

Rear rack from factory:

Remove the rear rack plastic cover with (4) self-tappers:

What's left:

Rack installed with hardware:

Rack with Wolfman drybag strapped using Rok Straps (slots in rack line up with Wolfman's D-rings built into bag):

 I'm not really set up to make and sell these racks on a retail basis. I will be setting up AF1 racing with racks that they will sell on their web page (provided they have stock and sell with decent volume).

UPDATE- The racks showed up on AF1's site LINKY HERE