Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Driftless Respect

Walls of ice churn up the landscape leaving in their wake gravel, sand, silt and clay;  filling in the valleys, grinding down the ridges and accumulating in piles. A steady flow of Canadian granite emigrating to what is now the Unites States. Massive lakes form behind these piles of rock and sand. Eventually their contents breach, leaving behind vast flats, wide river valleys and sand counties. These boulders, rocks, sand and clay are known a glacial drift.

There are pockets of the great white north that were spared from the most recent wall of ice. In these places the valleys and ridges remain. And roads, glorious roads! It's know by geologists as the driftless.

One of the best documentaries about the coulees and ridges we ride through was put together  by Untamed Science, an "extremely passionate group of scientists, teachers and film makers."  Mysteries of the Driftless is a 25 minute film that highlights some of the most unique aspects of this area.

Another short worth watching, put together by fellow blogger over at The Winona Fly Factory

Respect must be paid.
(queue the Reservoir Dogs soundtrack)

- Ride North

Friday, January 8, 2016

Happy New Year!

Crafting a story adds a new depth to the ride that could not have predicted. Often it's just a process of stringing together my poor grammar into paragraphs. (I've considered leaving the text out.) Many of these photos would not have happened had it not been for this blog. I would miss the stops not taken and the thoughts not thunk. Many morning commutes would be forgotten.

I'm very much looking forward to more of this in 2016. I can already taste the post-International Motorcycle Show beers and scotch eggs at Britt's Pub, a family tradition on it's seventh year.

An early spring ride, the first humidity of the year.
At the Kinnickinnic River walk in access near River Falls, WI

My first big ride with the little XS. Hwy 35, Lake Pepin, WI.

Early fall snow flakes enrich my morning commute.

The morning sun.

The Rooster rolls into St. Paul after completing the M2M run.

The Midway, St. Paul - Minneapolis 

University Ave, St. Paul , MN

Somewhere in central Minnesota.

Adding some touring ability.

Wildcat Mountain, WI

The St. Paul High Bridge on a dull November morning.

Someday I will take you to all these places too.

- Ride North

I'll have to get over my paparazzi phobia and more pictures of people.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The wayfaring button

My buttons are jumping ship and it's not just the Christmas cookies.

Heading home from work one day, I walked out to the bike only to find an empty hole where the starter button once lived. Just a sad little spring stuck out, which would have been a problem had Yamaha not installed a handy little lever for me prod.

One of the many joys of vintage bike ownership is pulling it apart and seeing how it works. With that in mind I set to work with one question: what's the difference between the horn button and the starter button? And can I steal it? In theory, they do the same thing, close a circuit and send power on its merry way. Did Yamaha use the same part and can I switch them up until I find a replacement?

There are many little parts hiding behind that plastic cover so go slow.

At first glance, the button assemblies seem to be mirror copies of each other. The only difference that I can see is that the starter button has a heavier gauge spring. However, moving the button from the left to right did not result in a functioning starter button. The horn button must sit on its lighter gauge spring if it's to complete the circuit. Reassembled with the spring and button swap, my starter is back in business.

So the button spins the starter once again but I'm left with a question and a problem. Why the beefier spring? The starter button is just a switch for a much more substantial switch, the starter relay, that takes the full force of the battery's cold cranking amps. I'll have to do some more digging into the manual and/or testing with the volt ohm meter.

But the much bigger problem, the one that became important during the first thirty minutes of operation, is the big empty hole where my horn button use to be. I ride in city traffic so that little button on the left sees it's share of use. In addition to that, the bike is a reliable kicker. One or two kicks is all it usually takes. So, it will be kick only for a while, until I can find a part. 

This leaves me wondering if all 78' Yamaha switch gear is the same. Did they make the button assemblies or are they from some Japanese electronics supplier that was used by a handful of manufactures?

Time to do some digging... www.mikesxs.net/  http://www.xs500forum.com/

- Ride North

The tools of the trade.

Update: success!

Mike's XS to the rescue. I put in the order for a button and a set of mirrors on Sunday, USPS had them on my doorstep on Wednesday. The seven dollar horn button works for both the horn and the starter on my 1978 XS500E.

Mike's part # 24-6525OEM # 27010-1009Fits: XS/TX650 switches 1974-84. 

New button is go. 

New mirrors replaces the old oxidized originals.