Rollin' the shit

Kosciuszko Rally 2008

TO GEEHI AND BACK OR BURST...what not to do when heading off on a rally!

I did all my pre rally maintenance and decided to try for one last trip from my rear tyre. I loaded The Mistress up and headed off to the Geehi Hut on Friday, 17 October, for 2 nights in the mountains.

I went via the Princes Highway (including the old section) to Albion Park, up the Macquarie Pass to Moss Vale, before hopping onto the DRED to Goulburn and then onto Tarago, Bungendore, Queanbeyan and Cooma, before arriving at Adaminaby at 1:40 for lunch. Sarge had eaten and was waiting for me. So I tucked into a counter meal and a beer before we headed off for Khancoban via Kiandra and Cabramurra.

Over through the real twisty stuff we went, before stopping for a toilet break at 3 Mile Dam. I dragged out the camera and took a couple of pictures, before continuing through more of the twists and turns to Khancoban.

After grabbing ice at Khancoban Roadhouse, we headed off to Geehi and just as I was really getting into the groove of some nice tight corners, I came across Murray 1 power station and stopped for a photo. As I pulled the camera out Sarge rolled in behind me and spotted some shiny wire exposed in the centre of my rear tyre tread. Trying for one more trip from my rear tyre, coupled with accepting poor advice from my last shop visit on tyre pressure was a mistake. Being at the point of no return we continue at a more subdued pace for the last 15 or so K's..

We set up camp on arrival to the Geehi Hut camping grounds, as we usually do at any rally. Put the beers and perishables on ice and cracked a couple of beers after they chilled and decided to fix the tyre problem the next morning. Ian and Jen were onsite already, a caravanning holiday down to Phillip Island and decided to finish it with the rally, which they normally attend on their bikes. After dinner, we sat around the fire sharing some yarns and having a few drinks as you do before heading to bed.

After breakfast Saturday morning and Sarge asking me what my plan of attack might be on the tyre. I told him my brother was riding up from Albury and with my full Tyrepliers kit packed instead of just the puncture kit section of it I normally carry. Along with my Anderson’s bike prop in my gear, I suggested we go into Khancoban 2 up on his bike. Phone my brother and ask him to pick me up a rear tyre and bring it with him so we can fit it at the site. We went back to the Roadhouse and I caught my brother in time to buy a tyre and bring it with him.

After having a coffee at the roadhouse and topping up fuel for Sarge’ run home on Sunday, we headed back to Geehi, stopping at Murray 1 again because Sarge got something in his eye, but he got it out quickly and return to Geehi we did. Along the way I spotted a 7 foot snake off the riding line in one of the corners and then we had not one, but three close encounters with 4x4's towing their boats.

On getting back to Geehi we set about removing the old rear tyre to be ready for the new one on it’s way from Albury. Sarge supervised and intervened when he felt it was required and had a bit of a laugh at my first time efforts at removing a tyre.

Removing the wheel is something I had done before, but not a tyre. So we had some fun and we both laughed at me a bit, as per the captions under the pics. In the end it was off and we just had to wait for my brother to arrive.

Once he arrived it took 3 of us to get the new rubber onto the wheel and then the wheel back onto the bike. Touring equipment is just that. Handy if you need it, but not recommended for everyday use. I thought my lunch was going to pop out at one stage with getting the new tyre on, while Sarge and Neil were standing on each side of the rim. Ian had a compressor with him and being a MC mechanic seated the bead into place before we refitted the wheel.

All in all a huge wrap goes to Sarge, my brother Mick, Neil and Ian for their help in getting the tyre change completed. Also to one and all for their encouragement and good natured digs and as for me. Well I have to put my hand up and say “I’m not smarter than a fifth grader” made a silly mistake in stretching a tyre too far and listening to the wrong advice on tyre pressure with my last shop visit for work on The Mistress.

(Some history on the tyre originally fitted before the 2007 Kosciuszko. I picked a tech-screw up heading onto the M5 (Hume Hwy), but not realising it when heading down to the Autumn Leaf Rally in April. Getting home after ignoring noises and minor handling problems to find my tyre had flat spotted and only had 12 psi. Plugged the puncture and road it until Geehi completing 8,738 kilometres with it).

After doing the tyre it was time for a beer and catch up with the new arrivals, which quickly brought us back to our friends in their 4x4’s towing boats. Some close encounters by some and one of the lady riders wasn’t so lucky and was ran off the road by one of them, only resulting in minor damage and injury to bike and rider fortunately. Correct speed, road position and rider protection being worn was the reason for the minor damage and injury. The driver did stop and assist.

I caught up with my brother and wandered up to see some friends at the entrance to the Geehi Hut Camping grounds, which are quite stretched out and every group tends to go to their regular site. Having been told they caught some fish, I returned to our site, grabbed my rod and tried again, but nothing. Wrong lures, but maybe next time with the right gear.

As 7 pm approached, we headed down to the rally control point for the raffle and trophy presentation. Raffle prizes were a helmet, gloves, shirt, 3 caps, half a dozen notepads and plastic pens and a couple of keyring/mobile phone lanyards.

The usual trophies were awarded for longest distance, oldest, youngest and so on. The most notable going to a Queenslander who travelled over 1200 Kilometres to attend. Then it was back to the campfires and catch up with all and sundry before we each in turn headed for our tents.

I was first up at our site at 5:30 on Sunday and got a small fire going before making an espresso coffee and trying my luck with my wrong lures again.

Everyone else slowly came to life and the site was busy with people making breakfast or packing for the ride home. Bacon and egg rolls for us again. More espresso coffee for those who wanted some and then I packed up too.

Sarge was done ahead of me and headed home via Thredbo and once my brother was ready we tried to set off to Culcairn to see our Mother, but my bike wouldn’t start until I got a push from some of the guys. Got my gear back on and into Khancoban for a fuel up and more roll starting and onto Jingellic, Holbrook to Culcairn. Had a coffee break and chat before I headed home to Carlton and Mick went home to Albury.

The Mistress was now happy to start without being rolled. I had intended a different route home, but the starting problem made me change my plans, even though The Mistress started every time after every stop with a press of the starter button. I headed back to Holbrook and up the DRED to The Dog on the Tucker box service centre for a refuel, visor clean bottle of water.

Then back on the road until 20 K’s south of Goulburn for a numb bum break and then to the Illawarra Hwy exit and down through Moss Vale, stopping at the Pie shop at Robertson to get a pie for dinner at home with The Girl (brownie points toward the trout rally in two weeks). Down the Macquarie Pass and refuelled at Albion Park before going up the freeway to Carlton and getting the pie home in one piece.

A brilliant 618 kilometre trip down thru some great back-roads and main roads. A tyre change challenge with brilliant assistance and encouragement from everybody.

The trip home of 687 kilometres had some nice back roads my brother showed me until I got back to the DRED which I almost dozed off on several times from Holbrook until getting off it for the Illawarra Hwy. I actually had to listen to myself sing inside a helmet and then check to see how bad my plugged ears were bleeding on my next rest stop.

I completed a round trip of 1,305 Kilometres riding my 1995 Kawasaki ZX6R, The Mistress! 2 nights camping in the mountains with some great company. Who the hell needs to stay in 5 star crap!

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GS850 Rebuild - Part 1

I finally managed to pick up of my second Suzuki, a shaft drive 1980 GS850 that I purchased off eBay for $700. I bought it with the intention of having a cheap but reliable bike that I can do my daily commute on, as the GSX is really starting to clock up the miles. I plan to cut the rear off it and turn it into a single seater, with a rattle can paint job and just a few custom bits - nothing flash, just rat it.

I like bits of all of the following GS's, so I am using these as examples on which to base mine...

The strip down of the GS has begun. I am still yet to get it to turn over, but believe that I have a problem with the starter motor or carbs, so will get onto that next. Anyway, I did manage to remove the rear guard, tank, covers and the exhaust (....I managed to shear two of the eight bolts in the process - fucket - now I have to get them out). Once I had completed that I was able to see what I have to work with, and man, I now realise that I have a lot of work in front of me!!

It was very obvious that this bike had sat out in the weather for a fair period of time before the guy that I bought it off had picked it up, so it will need a good clean before I start to disassemble the carbs or motor. The wiring is pretty average and will need attention, the exhaust system is fairly well rusted and the carbs are filthy - and thats just a few things. Luckily, the motor doesn't appear too bad, although there is a fair bit of oil on the front, centered around the number two exhaust outlet. I am still unsure whether the oil is from a leaking gasket or it has blown out of the exhaust port - I just hope its a gasket!!

I look at this bike and I am so tempted to get stuck into the cosmetics, but my first goal is to get the motor running, starting with the carbs. Only once that has been accomplished will I turn to modifying the look of the bike.

Sheared bolts after removing the exhaust system - bugger!!

Fair bit of oil on the front around the number two exhaust outlet - hidden by the frame

Tankless but filthy - that is what happens when left outside in the weather

I love the ass ends on these bikes - shaft drive really tidies em up!!

Carbs need a re-condition - have ordered parts for this already

Actually looks quite cool with the tail section removed

Managed to remove the carburetors and begin stripping them down - man, there is no way this bike would have run for long had I not done so. Found a lot of loose hoses, screws and fittings and even the hose clamps around the rubber intake boots were loose. There was also a lot of dirt on and around the carbs - looks as if a wasp colony had at one stage decided to make it their home and left a few of their dead comrades in the casting holes of the carbys!!

After removing the carburetors I commenced on separating the four of them from their gang plate - from this point I plan to progressively strip, clean and reassemble one at a time in an effort to keep things as simple as possible. Nearly every screw (yes, they are screws, not socket heads!!) I have tried to remove has seized or is badly rusted, so it is slow going. Have been utilising my centre punch and hammer quite a bit to free these stuck screws and they will need replacing, but there are a few (especially on the the float bowl covers) that I have had to drill out. I am yet to get the first carb open (hopefully tonight), but looking in from the outside they don't seem like they are going to take too much work - not bad for a 28 year old bike.

Really is a learning process for me as I have never done anything like this before. I have an excellent set of instructions as well as a full set of O rings for the carb reconditioning courtesy of the GS Resources site and am planning to follow them as closely as possible. Reading what other guys have accomplished with these bikes really gives you the confidence and drive to do the same!!

Enjoying it so far.

Well, after stripping carb number one (in pic above) I have to say that I am glad I decided to do so. I found a lot of black sticky residue from old fuel and the float needle was near on impossible to remove from its sleeve - permanently stuck shut, which is not good when you consider that it is supposed to slide up and down dependent on the float assembly and feed fuel into the carb. Starting to make me realise why I couldn't get the bike to kick over.

Stay tuned - heaps more to come!!

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Keep on rollin!!!

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The Creed

I ride because it is fun. I ride because I enjoy the freedom I feel from being exposed to the elements, and the vulnerability to the danger that is intrinsic to riding.

I do not ride because it is fashionable to do so.

I ride my machine, not wear it. My machine is not a symbol of status. It exists simply for me, and me alone.

My machine is not a toy. It is an extension of my being, and I will treat it accordingly, with the same respect as I have for myself.

I strive to understand the inner-workings of my machine, from the most basic to the most complex. I learn everything I can about my machine, so that I am reliant upon no one but myself for its health and well-being.

I strive to constantly better my skill of control over my machine. I will learn it's limits, and use my skill to become one with my machine so that we may keep each other alive. I am the master, it is the servant. Working together in harmony, we will become an invincible team.

I do not fear death. I will, however, do all possible to avoid death prematurely. Fear is the enemy, not death. Fear on the highway leads to death, therefore I will not let fear be my master. I will master it.

My machines will outlive me. Therefore, they are my legacy. I will care for them for future bikers to cherish as I have cherished them, whoever they may be.

I do not ride to gain attention, respect, or fear from those that do NOT ride, nor do I wish to intimidate or annoy them. For those that do not know me, all I wish from them is to ignore me. For those that desire to know me, I will share with them the truth of myself, so that they might understand me and not fear others like me.

I will never be the aggressor on the highway. However, should others fuck with me, their aggression will be dealt with in as severe manner as I can cast upon them.

I will show respect to other bikers more experienced or knowledgeable than I am. I will learn from them all I can. However, if my respect is not acknowledged or appreciated, it will end.

I will not show disrespect to other bikers less experienced or knowledgeable than I am. I will teach them what I can. However, if they show me disrespect, they will be bitch-slapped.

It will be my task to mentor new riders, that so desire, into the lifestyle of the biker, so that the breed shall continue. I shall instruct them, as I have been instructed by those before me. I shall preserve and honor traditions of bikers before me, and I will pass them on unaltered.

I will not judge other bikers on their choice of machine, their appearance, or their profession. I will judge them only on their conduct as bikers. I am proud of my accomplishments as a biker, though I will not flaunt them to others. If they ask, I will share them.

I will stand ready to help any other bikers that truly needs my help. I will never ask another biker to do for me what I can do for myself. I am not a part-time biker. I am a biker when, and where-ever I go. I am proud to be a biker, and hide my chosen lifestyle from no one. I ride because I love freedom, independence, and the movement of the ground beneath me. But most of all, I ride to better understand myself, my machine, the lands in which I ride, and to seek out and know other bikers like myself.