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Messages - Dan

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Stablemates / Re: The 650's Get a Peculiar Friend
« on: September 15, 2017, 12:09:30 PM »
Does it not charge the same way a prius does when you hit the brakes?  We use to have a prius and when you hit the brakes, the pads don't even touch the rotors unless you really hit them or are already basically stopped.  It uses that energy to charge the battery. 

Yep.  It's called regenerative braking or regen.  On the Smart you simply let off the accelerator and it that energy gets sent back to the battery.  You can change the display to a graphic that will show power from battery and power to battery.  There is also an instrument cluster that does it.  Lot's of graphics to flip through on the cluster, Serena's favorite is the eco score, best it 100, she has got in the low 90's a few times and it bugs her a lot when she doesn't do well.

Stablemates / Re: The 650's Get a Peculiar Friend
« on: September 13, 2017, 10:19:59 AM »
One other thing to mention about electrics in general are charging stations.  Depending where you live you can find remote charging stations, some are free, some have a small cost associated with use.

The New England area has quite a few and most seem to be free to use.  Of course charging takes some time but if you stop for lunch or dinner an hour of charge on a level 2 station can get a Smart Car around 20 to 30 miles.

Stablemates / Re: The 650's Get a Peculiar Friend
« on: September 13, 2017, 10:05:18 AM »
I understand Smart is fixing the trans for the latest versions.  I know, not an electric, but I imagine it's the same car except for the drivetrain.

From what I've been told by my salesman the transmission lag has been fixed with the 453 gas model, which you can still get in the US brand new.  All future Smart cars will be electric from 2017 and on in the US and Norway.  The transmission isn't an issue on the electric as it is a single speed direct drive.

or a gasoline equivalent "fuel mileage" of 106.8 mpg!!!!

^^^^^ THAT has got my attention.

It looks like you can buy that car for about $17,500 after the federal tax incentive, and before sales tax/title/license.  That compares fairly close to the cost of a sub-compact/mini gasoline car.

In 6-8 years, you have to buy about $4,000 in batteries, but I wonder how that offsets to the cost of gas engine maintenance?

It would appear that the electric vehicle is becoming more affordable and competitive to the conventional drivetrain.  Without the tax incentive, I don't think so.  But the numbers are much closer than even 2-3 years ago.

It's not only the reduced cost in fuel, an electric car has very little maintenance.  There is no oil to change, no transmission, fuel lines.  For the Smart I have three wear items, the brakes, tires and a filter that gets replaced every four years.

Eventually subsidies and rebates will disappear, by then manufacture of electric cars should be more efficient.  Our car is the top of the line, Prime model, don't let that fool you, it isn't all that decked out but still pricey.  I think it was $27k total.  We leased it rather than buying it so Mercedes gets the fed tax credit but we get a reduced price on our lease.  We do get the Massachusetts state rebate of $2500 plus I traded our Mazda 3 in on the deal.  We paid well under $3k for three years with a one time lease payment.  We did the lease with the thinking that electric tech will be changing so much in a few years that owning a niche car would be a financial burden for resell.

The Smart's battery is warrantied for eight years, obviously with a three year lease it will never be a worry.  At the end of eight years it is said that the range would degrade and the car would lose some power, how much is uncertain.

Like I wrote earlier, if I were wanting a more traditional car I would get the Chevy Bolt, with all the incentives in MA a top of the line model can be had for $23k which is a sweet deal once you start tallying up all the value added costs of maintenance and gas.

Here is another fun video of the Smart car with it's crazy tight turning radius:

Stablemates / Re: The 650's Get a Peculiar Friend
« on: September 12, 2017, 05:03:05 PM »
The hood space is next to nothing.  Leaves much more room inside, I imagine.

Are those vehicles crash tested, and if so, how do they fare compared to a comparable sized petro vehicle?

What about insurance cost, again comparably speaking?

Did you have to make any modifications to your home electrical in order to house the charger?  If you wanted to take a short over night trip, is there a portable charger you can bring?  Or does it always carry the charger with it?

Finally, how many kilowatts of electricity does it take to charge the batteries fully from dead?  IOW - what is the effective fuel cost for your 80-100 miles of range?

I like the green - it looks like a fun car to drive.  I was never in the market for an electric car, but unlike MA, Louisiana offers little to no tax incentives for these.  Go figure - we dig holes for oil....

I forget the crash rating but it's very high, there are many YouTube videos showing crash tests.

The insurance cost is nearly identical to my old Mazda 3 for sake of comparison.

We didn't have to make any changes to our home electrical. The portable, included charging cord comes with the car and plugs into a typical socket. Charging to full takes about twelve hours. You can install a 240 volt EVSE around $700 to get the car to charge to full in under three hours.  From what I've read it's much cheaper than gas but I forget the ratio, less than a third I think.  It has a 17Kw battery.

It is fun to drive, the motor is over the rear axle so the front hood only has a few fluid reservoirs. Because of this they have more room to rotate the front tires in a turn. I believe it is a less than seven meter turning radius, you can literally do a u-turn in a narrow two lane road.  Lotsa torque off the line and will be most cars for the first ten meters or so but then it fizzles out.

Stablemates / Re: The 650's Get a Peculiar Friend
« on: September 12, 2017, 12:48:51 PM »
With any electric car an in particular the Smart car you have to rethink how you drive.  Not a lot but a little, in particular the planning.  Not so much the range, which is limiting but the fact that it will take hours to recharge the battery.  The Smart car is billed as a city car so it's range is rather anemic with an average of 80 miles, we have been getting a little more.  Reported max range is about 100 miles.  In winter the range will most likely drop to 60 miles once you start running the heater and the cold starts to sap the battery.  That's more than okay for us as I work from home and Serena's commute is about twenty miles round trip.  We can top it off at night or every other night and possibly every third night and be okay.

There are much better electric cars available right now and with tax incentives and rebates it may be cheaper than a traditional car.  If I wanted a more normal car I would have purchased a Chevy Bolt, it has a range of 240 miles, seats five and is quite nicely finished.  While it's a $40k car in Massachusetts you can get a Federal tax credit of $7500, state rebate of $2500 and we have a local dealer taking $6500 off list, no haggling making the final price in the low $20k's.  Still spendy sure but it's a great little car with fantastic range.

Smart cars are tough to get now, Mercedes who owns Smart sells electric only now and cut the dealerships to large cities only for obvious reasons.

Yes, the 453 model which is the most current model and the one that Serena and I purchased is very roomy inside.  I guarantee even a guy of your height would not feel cramped inside, it's bigger inside than a lot of traditional cars.  It's a great second car and cheap to own and run.

Stablemates / The 650's Get a Peculiar Friend
« on: September 12, 2017, 07:08:24 AM »
So I've been trying to sell my 2012 Ninja all summer long and had a few tire kickers and one serious offer but that was it.  I thought I may have to sell it for next to nothing to make room for my car in the garage this winter.  Turns out I no longer need to worry about space in the garage.  Say hello to my little friend...

A 2017 all electric drive Smart Car

Everything now fits in the garage!

About the same size as the Ninja, lengthwise anyway.

I know it's not a bike but it allows me to keep two bikes in the garage... maybe three if I plan the space a little better.  It's kinda strange driving an electric car and getting used to it's peculiarities but it's been fun so far.  Far roomier on the interior than it looks, matter of fact if you were sitting in the car you would have no idea that it is so small unless you looked behind you and saw the rear window.

We still have a gas powered car for long trips so this is a nice addition for us and it works great fitting into tiny parking spaces in the congested greater Boston area.

Stablemates / Re: My Prior (MC) Love Interest was....
« on: September 12, 2017, 06:55:09 AM »
VFR's of all stripes are such beautiful bikes.  I used to worry about my Nighthawk 650 in Boston traffic jams.  Thought it might overheat because it was air-cooled, never happened even on crazy hot days with traffic at a standstill.

General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: Mods for My Versys (photos fixed)
« on: August 27, 2017, 12:11:24 PM »

Report card for my mods.

On my trip up to the White Mountains yesterday I got to use a few of the mods quite a bit.

The Denali mini Soundbomb.  I was cut off on the road twice so in anger I gave a blat of the horn.  In one instance the driver either ignored or didn't hear my horn, in the other he saw but decided he wanted my lane anyway.  Grade C.

The SW Motech over the clocks GPS mount.  This is really well made, nothing feels cheap and it holds the gps over the gauges just like it's billed.  Two issues with the first being the gps bounces up and down to such a degree that the screen is extremely hard to read.  This could be because my older Zumo 550 is so heavy that the mount just isn't rigid enough.  The bouncing only occurs at low city speeds when the bike is in low revs.  The vibes from the engine transmits through the bike and the mount and it's like watching a basketball.  Problem is, that's when you need a gps the most, in a city getting to an address.  On the highway it's just fine.  Second problem is sun glare on the gps screen.  You can adjust the angle of the gps but on the Versys if you adjust it too low it covers the tachometer.  You can make the case that a tach is not really needed I use mine a great deal and it bothers me when the top half is covered.  Grade B

Puig Fender Extender.  Rode the bike over some dirt and gravel roads up in New Hampshire.  I felt good knowing that the radiator was somewhat protected from stones being thrown up.  Grade A

Heated Grips.  It was chilly in the morning, low 50's and I decided to wear my mesh jacket and gloves with lots of layers as it was to warm up later in the day.  The heated grips worked like a charm, with 5 different settings it was easy to find one that did the trick.  A side issue, once your hands are warm you realize how cold other parts of your body are feeling.  Also, if you don't wrap your fingers on the grips they don't get warm.  I keep my index fingers off the grips when I ride, never really knew that until I had heated grips.  Grade B

12 volt adapter.  Haven't used it yet.  Grade N/A

Your Ride Reports / Hurricane Mountain Road or an Ode to Design Flaw
« on: August 27, 2017, 07:44:21 AM »

Last year a few Design Flaw, Naske and a few others came out to New England for a very small rally.  We had great weather except on the last day so we never got to ride Hurricane Mountain Road... Tim had specifically mentioned this route to me and it stuck in my head.  So this year I took a Saturday and rode up through the White Mountains in New Hampshire and visited some old haunts on my new bike and at the end of the day found Hurricane Mountain Road and got to see what all the fuss was about.

I've have gone past this shop countless times and today decided to stop.  It's full of odd and old items, I suppose some may be considered antiques but others are just flat out strange like an old-timey slot machine with The Force Awakens graphics on the header and wheels.  If you're in the area (it's on the east end of the Kancamagus Highway) stop in just for the weirdness.

Close up of the Swift River.  The water has finally come down a bit, it was very fast and deep this spring and early summer.

At the top of the Kancamagus Highway.  As mountain highways go it isn't very high, just under 3,000 feet of elevation.  Still some amazing views.

A good number of riders out today.  I saw a large Harley rally and there were decent sized groups of them prowling around.

I've been up in this area a lot and have some favorite places to stop and eat.  Tried something new this time, Nachos Cafe in Lincoln.  The salsa was awful, tasted like stewed tomatoes.  Saw a few folks adding hot sauce to the salsa  My tacos on the other hand were excellent, they were so good I ate them before I thought to take a photo.

Once again I stopped by the Basin.  It's a natural shaped bowl formation made by rushing water.  It's a neat area along the Fraconia Notch Parkway with easy parking and a brief pleasant walk through the forest.

The Cog Railway.  These old trains are set up alongside the road as advertising for the still functioning train that travels up to the top of Mount Washington.

Here we are at the beginning of the descent at Crawford Notch.  Some some sharp twists and turns before it turns into sweepers as you make your way down the slope.


The scenic view overlooking Crawford Notch.

The Versys alongside a Saco Lake.

Here it is, the beginning of Hurricane Mountain Road.  Just north of North Conway you can find the entrance.  If you look at a map you won't be too impressed or intimidated.  A few twists and turns is all it looks like.  The experience is quite different, large vehicles and trucks are warned not to use the road and it is barred for passage in winter.  The road itself is quite narrow, maybe a standard lane and a little more wide.  It's twistier than the map suggests and it's steep in places with a lot of undulating whoop-de-doos as you ascend from the west.  The quality of the road itself is good to fair.  Not really any potholes but lots of ripples and cracks and off camber in places.  The ripples can really mess up your tracking through a turn so you have to stay alert.

I traveled the east to west route.  As I stated the road is very narrow and there is no shoulder for the most part.  At the very peak there is a gravel driveway and parking lot for hikers.  At one neat spot you pass through a very small clearing and can see the state of Maine stretching out as far as the eye can see, it's an amazing view.  Sadly there was no place to pull over to get that photo, not that it would turn out too well with my camera.

A good example of the road.

The Versys parked along one of the few flat spots along Hurricane Mountain Road

It was a great day in the saddle and my first time riding the Versys all day.  Glad I got to give Hurricane Mountain Road a try, it's a neat stretch of road but kinda short.  Hope you enjoyed the ride!

Your Ride Reports / Re: 2017 Black Hills Rally - Sturgis without Sturgis
« on: August 20, 2017, 09:36:22 AM »
That is such a cool trip, so wish I could ride there.  When did Guy get his FJR?  Does he still have his Sportster?  Great photos by the way, some of these photos are just downright amazing.

Your Ride Reports / Re: I Went To The Edge
« on: August 20, 2017, 09:24:16 AM »
Those are some great shots.  Very nice.

Your Ride Reports / Re: Mississippi River Run
« on: August 20, 2017, 09:21:17 AM »
That's a great road Baja.  Have you been to Wildcat Mountain State Park?  If not, next time you are out in that area take a detour to the area, it's unique albeit short ride.

Your Ride Reports / Re: Sunrise/Sunset Picture Thread
« on: August 20, 2017, 09:18:53 AM »
That's excellent Hog Dog!

General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: Road Trip on NH650
« on: August 03, 2017, 07:18:37 AM »
That was great.  Hearing that motor made me miss my old 650.

General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: Scariest ride ever
« on: August 03, 2017, 06:58:26 AM »
I always put on my rain-gear too late, thinking it's a brief shower and it will pass or just the opposite, put on the gear and it's never more than just a light rain.  Can't win.

Glad you made it to the shop okay, Baja.

Your Ride Reports / Re: Sunrise/Sunset Picture Thread
« on: July 31, 2017, 12:40:15 PM »
Dan - I have the same P/B service you have, but our days are numbered.  P/B is allowing us (paid subscribers0 to continue hosting until December 2018:

Thanks for the heads-up, Pants.  I'm not going to continue my account then and I doubt I will even update the subscription for just one more year if it's going to be taken away.  I also don't think I will relink all my old images as that would be a long and tedious task.  I guess it was good while it lasted.

Your Ride Reports / Re: Sunrise/Sunset Picture Thread
« on: July 30, 2017, 08:07:22 AM »
I use PhotoBucket and I pay a fee. It isn't monthly, mine is annually and it's around $35-40. It was free for me too but I reached a memory limit and needed to pay, delete content or leave. I have no problem paying a minimal amount for a decent hosting service so I paid.  If my fee switched to $40/month i would leave them too but so far it's not the case.

Your Ride Reports / Re: Carpe Diem!!!
« on: July 17, 2017, 10:42:11 AM »
Damn, Pants!!!  That was a truly epic ride.  I have to come back and review it again, so much to see.  You write so well, thanks for sharing this trip with us.

Your Ride Reports / Re: Sunrise/Sunset Picture Thread
« on: July 17, 2017, 10:17:20 AM »
That's really nice Hog Dog.

General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: Mods for My Versys (photos fixed)
« on: June 30, 2017, 06:45:38 AM »
I'm talking about actual cruise control.  The reason I like actual cruise control over a throttle lock is that it is easy to set and easy to disengage.  It's just a button to push to set, but I also have to think about unlocking the throttle it in a sudden stop.  Mine disengages with a tap of either brake or the clutch. 

That is the right way to do it.  I did have a nice throttle lock on my old Nighthawk, came with the bike.  It was a lever that was right by your thumb and a quick press would engage or disengage.  You could also turn the throttle down or up while it was engaged it was just harder to twist.  Of course if you pull in the clutch the throttle would become neutralized but you still had to manually disengage the lock every time.

I hardly ever used the throttle lock when I had it, I guess that's why I don't get all that interested in cruise control, I hardly use it in my car as well.

General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: Mods for My Versys (photos fixed)
« on: June 29, 2017, 09:23:56 AM »
I've only had heated grips on one bike, and to me, they were of dubious use.  Still, I like those a lot.  If they're not too expensive, might be a decent add-on for the ST.

You may be right, Wahrsuul, it could be a dubious addition and I guess I will find out when the temps drop.  These were pricey as far as heated grips are concerned, I think the price was just over $100 at Revzilla.  I didn't really shop around as I liked the integrated design.  I had a trip two years ago to DC in Spring, it had started snowing and getting near freezing temps on the ride back to Boston.  I would have paid anything for heated gloves, grips, handguards, Hippo-Hands.  It was Sunday and all the dealerships were closed so I rode through the crap weather vowing my next bike would have something, so I went with these.

I love heated grips.  They extend whatever gloves I'm wearing by 20 degrees and essentially on tours, I now only bring 1 extra pair of gloves instead of 2.  Two other things I will never live without on a motorcycle are cruise control and ABS.

Your bike is looking very nice, Dan.  Thanks!  Few questions:

1.  Did you put the factory 12V adapter from Kawi on your bike?  My buddy with the 1000 LT looked at that and it was some kind of stupid money.  So he bought an after market one and just used the OEM hole for it.

I used OEM, my shop has been giving me discounts on the stuff.  Most riders on the Versys forum use after market too.

2.  What are "rear spools"?

Small spools that you can attach near the rear wheel so you can use a hand jack to lift the back tire.  No center stand on the Versys 650.

3.  Have you given any thought to a top box?  On my first FJR, I resisted it - didn't like the way it looked, expense, etc.  Now, I won't leave the State without it.  The Givi monokey boxes are incredible.  My buddy bought the SW Mototech top box plate on the stock rack and it is MUCHO strong.  Solid mount for sure.

DF knows how I feel about topboxes.  On most bikes I just don't like how they look.  FJR's, Goldwing and big cruisers look okay but I just havent' crossed that line yet for the Versys.  I know they are amazingly practical.

4.  You mentioned "4" additional things.  I only noted the heated grips, 12V socket, and the fender extender.  What am I missing?

I forgot to mention the battery tender lead pigtail... almost not worth mentioning.

5.  Do your saddle bags come with OEM soft liners in them?  If not, put that on your list for sure.

No.  They are available and I considered getting them.  Right now I just use two tote bags that do the trick.

6.  My buddy also looked at the OEM auxiliary lights and again, way too expensive.  So he bought a set of the Mondo Motos like I have on my forks and we used the same mounting location under the headlamp assy.  To me, the "triangle of light" is not as pronounced as it is on my bike, but OTOH, his lights are on the sprung side of the forks, which should make them last longer (much less vibration).

I like the idea of additional riding lights.  Maybe someday.

Farkling is an addition.  The first step is admitting you have a problem....

It's real easy to do on the Versys and I have a problem.

You need cruise control.  Once you have it, you'll never want a bike without it.  It greatly increase the stamina for longer rides.

I had a real nice throttle lock on my 650 Nighthawk.  I have no plans at the moment but maybe that will be added to the list.

General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: Mods for My Versys (photos fixed)
« on: June 28, 2017, 08:18:06 PM »

Added four more items to the bike in the last two days.  The first is a set of heated grips.  I've wanted heated grips since I rode my first motorcycle, especially since I typically ride well into winter and my hands get cold so easily.  For the Versys I purchased Koso Apollo Heated Grips.  These are really neat, it's the only aftermarket heated grip that I could find that has an integrated controller built into the grip.  That way you do not have any control box mounted to your bar or mirror or wherever.  These look OEM.  I don't know how hot they get but they feature five settings and the temp is indicated by color; blue, green, yellow, orange and finally red as the hottest.  The controller will remember where your last setting if you hold the button for three seconds when turning off.

Shown in the coolest setting.

The red light indicates that they are on high power.

The grips are also a bit wider in diameter than stock which some people like.  I have smaller hands and actually prefer the stock set-up but it isn't bad.

I also added a DC outlet.  I figure it was a nice accessory though I don't have any immediate need for it.  Maybe phone or camera charging.

And finally a Puig Fender Extender.  I hadn't really even considered one of these but it was cheap and recommended by other riders so I thought no big deal.  You can see the Soundbomb horn hanging off the bracket in the background.  Still think it looks funky.

That's about all I'm going to do for now.  Things I'm considering down the road, center stand, crash bars, rear spools (these will probably happen soon, now that I think about it), gear position indicator and a couple of maybes, wider footpegs, windscreen and seat.

General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: Mods for My Versys (photos fixed)
« on: June 25, 2017, 07:06:06 PM »
113 db's at 3 feet.  Sounds like a good idea.

How 'bout a sound bite?!

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

This isn't my bike, just a video I found on YouTube.

General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: Mods for My Versys
« on: June 25, 2017, 01:56:18 PM »
None of your photos are showing or clickable.

Thanks, Raven.  It's fixed now.

General Motorcycle Discussion / Mods for My Versys (photos fixed)
« on: June 25, 2017, 08:10:28 AM »

For the Versys I've got a list as long as my arm of things I wish to add.  Yesterday I started with two simple additions.  The first was replacing the "meep" of the OEM horn with a Denali Mini Soundbomb.  This is so easy to swap out, it's about one step harder than changing a light bulb.  This particular horn is meant as simple swap, there are no relays or any addition wiring, plug and play.

da Bomb!

OEM horn.  It's heavier than it looks.

The back of the horn is connected by one bolt and two wires.

Just slide the rubber boots off the connectors and slip off the clips.

Replace with the Soundbomb.  Seriously simple.  I used the OEM bracket and bolt because they are black.  The Denali bracket and bolt were silver and would have been an eyesore.

It's not a super loud horn but it is much deeper and more robust than stock, substantially so.  I think it's kind of large visually which I don't care for but it does the job quite well.  Cheap and easy upgrade, plus it says made in Italy right in the front, my dreams of a Multistrada are teased a little.

Next I added my gps mount with a new over the clocks version from SW Motech.  This wasn't cheap, nothing from SW Motech is cheap but it's really nice quality and matches up to the bike like it was OEM.  It's a fiddly thing to put together and I worked on it off an on all day.  Most of my issues stemmed from not having another pair of hands, also I thought they shipped me a box with a piece missing.  Turns out the pieces were attached at the factory but they are listed separate on the parts list.  I spent about a half hour searching my house for the "missing" piece as I opened the box the night before and thought I had misplaced it.

The main brackets attach to the windscreen frame.  Would have been easier to attach had I removed the windscreen.

The crossbar holds the GPS.  That small piece of plastic on top of the crossbar is the part I was searching for.  It slides into the gps mount and locks it into place to the crossbar.

The gps all mounted up.  You can just see the side of the pivoting mount that let's you adjust the angle of the gps.  Everything was really fussy to assemble.

Overall I like the new mount but because of the size of my gps cradle it sits a bit low over the tach.  I can see most of the tach but the very top is obscured.  Also at low revs or rough road the gps bounces quite a bit, not an issue at any steady speed but around town acceleration makes the viewing quite distorted.

I had a dream last night that my gps fell off and I didn't realize it until the next day.

Next up are heated grips and a DC plug.

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