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Messages - DesignFlaw06

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Awww, it was better when they were on the Harleys and I could outrun them.

General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: buying a 2002 nighthawk
« on: January 26, 2018, 05:52:25 AM »
Hi I'm a new member, my name is Ed. I'm thinking of buying a 2002 nighthawk. My main concern is can I get parts for it? It has around 13000 miles on it. the picture of it looks good. Is there anything in particular I should look for when I inspect the bike. All help will be welcome, thanks.

Tires for sure.  13,000 miles isn't a lot and reason to be a little suspicious for a 16 year old bike.  It is likely the tires are old.  I think if they are older than 5 years, you should replace them.  Date should be marked on the tire.  Make sure you tell the seller you want to start it cold.  I'd be more suspicious if the bike was already warm when you go look at it.  Also take a look at the chain.  Make sure it is properly lubed and tight.

Stablemates / Re: My bucketlist bike
« on: January 22, 2018, 06:09:54 AM »
So where is the picture of your bike?  That picture looks like it rolled off the showroom floor.

Your Honda Nighthawk / Re: My '96 CB750 "Dragon Bike"
« on: January 05, 2018, 12:34:55 PM »

Beyond that, I like the look of naked bikes, because the engine is part of the look of the machine, rather than it being an ugly hidden component under some bodywork.  I'm apparently not alone in that regard, evidenced by the resurgence on nakeds in the market.
It is also why I like air cooled engines - By design, they need to be out in the breeze where you can see them.

Your experience in looking for a NightHawk for your friend was similar to my experience back in the day.
A great condition, low mileage 'Hawk is increasingly hard to find, and pretty well impossible at a "low" price. 
I wanted a CB750 and it took me months to find the right bike.
For me, the cost and wait was worth it, as over the last going on 12 years, it's been a very easy machine to live with.

So, despite the 'Hawk being an "old technology" machine (which it is) the market would seem to indicate their actual value is greater than that indicated by those who apparently have not tried to buy or sell one lately.

The "cream puff" low mileage NH750 for $1500 does not exist, and hasn't for some time.

I don't think it is a resurgence of naked bikes.  Using the Nighthawk as an example, it's the law of supply and demand.  Supply has been decreasing because the Nighthawk hasn't been produced in 15 years.  The real problem is why the demand has not declined as fast.  I think it has less to do with Nighthawks are good motorcycles and more to do with they are easy to modify.  Nighthawks are one of those bikes that are bought to be executed by a Sawzall way too often.  Guys that want to turn it into a chopper/bobber only to find out that they've ruined the bike and it's uncomfortable to ride even out of the driveway.  Then they try to sell it for 3x what they paid because of all the "custom work".  And because none of these guys want to do custom work on a bike that already had custom work, those bikes are left to die.

It depends on where you live also.  Bike prices around here tank come October and you could probably get a Nighthawk for less than $2k.  It's also 2 degrees with about 4 feet of snow right now.  Come spring,  you can add another $500-$1000 to the average price.   Go ahead and wait until October, but you've lost an entire riding season.  What is an entire riding season worth to you?

The definition of low mileage is relative too.  I would consider any Nighthawk with 20,000-25,000 miles low at this point.   Then you get into the question of how many miles is too low.   Dry-rot tires, dead battery, fluids, etc.  are all things to consider on a bike that hasn't moved much.  A Nighthawk that only has 20,000 miles by now has been sitting a while.  Either the seller will tack that cost of repairs/maintenance onto the list price or you'll have to do it later.

None of these reasons discredit the Nighthawk as a quality motorcycle.  I just think the price increase is showing how few quality Nighthawks are left.   It's a little sad when you think about it.  We're approaching the end of an era.

Putting all of that aside, value your bike for what it does for you, not by what you could sell it for.

Your Honda Nighthawk / Re: My '96 CB750 "Dragon Bike"
« on: January 04, 2018, 11:32:54 AM »
I've said this many times before:  "It's a good deal if you think it's a good deal.  Doesn't matter what anyone else thinks."

I know a couple years ago, I was helping a friend find a Nighthawk.  Neither of us could find a running one for less than $1500 and the ones we did find weren't around long enough to even look at.  One guy sold his Nighthawk while he was on the phone with me and that was for $2500.  It was insane.  We finally found 650SC for $1500 and I'm pretty sure the only reason was because it was stolen.  But that's another story.

If you restrict yourself to one particular bike or criteria, you can expect to pay more or wait longer.  Sometimes you get lucky.  Waiting longer means time you're not riding.  There is value in that.  It's the same reason why amusement parks can charge extra for a Fast Pass ticket vs regular admission.   Time is money and vice versa.

I will agree with pants about the features of newer bikes, but they are features to me and not everyone.  The FJR is a pain in the ass to work on.  I don't work on my bike much so simpler maintenance is a non-issue for me, but others like a simpler machine because it is simpler to understand and work on.  Or they look at those features and see additional things that need to be maintained and/or replaced at a greater cost.  Take throttle or drive by wire for example.  There's no cable so it should last longer, but if it does fail, it's a $1000 bill rather than a $50 cable.

As for the fear of being stranded, a newer bike may help with that fear so alleviating that with a newer bike is worth something.  But you could be stranded no matter what vehicle you're driving for a million different reasons.  I agree with mollusc on this one.  Don't hold back until it gives you a reason not to.  Being stranded makes you have one bad day no matter how far away from home you are.  Fear of being stranded can make you miss a hundred great days.

Sometimes gravel is unavoidable.  I do my best to plan routes that are pavement.  In the case of this trip,  we detoured on gravel the first day just to save time.  THe second day, I ignored a turn from the planned route because we saw it was gravel.  We pressed on the way we were going only to find that pavement ended a 1/2 mile later.  Who knows what would have been less gravel, but we all made it just fine.

It was a great trip and I'm glad Jim could still make it, even though I had to change the dates.  I'm in the processing of looking for the location for next year. 

General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: Potential purchase (high mileage)
« on: December 13, 2017, 10:53:38 AM »
I'd pass on it for $1000.  But it really comes down to how much you're willing to spend.   Not sure where you're located, but winter is usually a good time to buy for states with only 3 riding seasons.   Even in the spring, you should be able to get a 750 with half the miles on it for $1500.  Unless you're in California or Hawaii.

General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: You'e got $5k...what do you buy?
« on: December 04, 2017, 02:11:27 PM »
I don't know... how much does it cost to add onto a garage?

You need another zero.

I don't necessarily agree that a do-it-all bike equates to mediocrity.

Do-it-all is a relative term.  For me, the FJR is a do-it-all bike because of how I ride and I certainly don't think it is mediocre.  I don't feel the need to run the FJR without luggage even.  I don't have the slightest desire for a second or different bike. 

I'd go demo one of these.  My perceptions could be all wrong.  I'd like to take the new Goldwing out for a spin too.

Your Ride Reports / Re: Great 8's
« on: December 01, 2017, 07:29:46 AM »
Yeah, I don't think you can do direct sharing from a Google account.

Yeah, because Google doesn't use an extension in the link to the image.

Have to use another hosting site like Imgur or SmugMug.  Don't use Photobucket.

Congrats on the Crazy 8's.

Negatives, it's sure to be pricey, $12k at least.  The luggage is still smaller than the Versys meaning it won't store a full face helmet.  Probably fuel range isn't as good as the Versys either.  The Versys is paid for and modified to suit me currently.  I'm sure thinking of how I can trade or sell my Ninja 650 and Versys for this refreshed Yamaha.

The FJ-09 I think was  $11k, I doubt this will be much different.

I've said this before, but the FJ-09 was a huge letdown.  Not that I would ever be in the market for one, but I think they missed the mark with what this bike should be.  It was way too tall (taller than the FJR), no cruise, chain drive, no heated grips, next to nothing wind protection, adjustable nothing, etc.  The luggage was also weak.

They have made some improvements, but not enough.  I know everything can't be the FJR, but I think it still sits way too high.  The adjustable seat height is only 0.6 inches either way.  That still means the lowest setting is the same height as the highest FJR seat.  At least cruise control and ABS are standard.  This bike belongs more in the adventure touring than the sport touring.

I guess I don't speak for small people, but I would think you would want a bike you could be sure-footed on.  Something that's also not 4x your weight.   I would think you could still come under a 500 lb wet bike and the added features.  I guess I'm looking for a bike (not really looking) that my wife could ride and be able to keep pace with me.  The FJ-09 missed that mark and I don't the Tracer gets much closer to it.

General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: 99,999.9 miles
« on: November 15, 2017, 02:18:11 PM »
Very cool! A reliable machine, no doubt.

General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: Still Alive and Kickin'?
« on: October 19, 2017, 01:25:35 PM »
Prior to the crash, I think we had close to 7,000 members.   After the crash, we probably had 400 users register in the month that followed. .  But using that statistic as a measurement, I'd say about 5% of our membership would be described as active at that time.   I'm guessing most of those 400 are gone now.  The activity level had to start all over and many were not interested in rebuilding the site from scratch again.

It's been 3 years since the crash.  If we use the ~5% statistic, I'd say maybe there's 100 active members.

Stablemates / Re: The 650's Get a Peculiar Friend
« on: September 13, 2017, 08:29:19 AM »
The thing that I'm surprised hasn't caught on more is a modular battery system, especially for fleet vehicles (think USPS, or parking wardens).  The depleted set simply gets switched out for a charged set, so there's no operational lag to the vehicle.  It does mean more infrastructure space but you've already saved that space since the vehicles themselves are smaller.

Well, there is still a lag, needing to head back to swap out batteries.   I do see a market for delivery vehicles though.  Those are function over form and could hold a battery large enough to be a viable solution for a daily route.  There's a weight / fuel economy trade off I'm sure plus the cost of replacement batteries.  I'm also not sure how far the average postman drives in a day.  There's also the power grip that would be required to charge a fleet.  But just because it isn't viable now doesn't mean it won't be in the future.  We have to start somewhere and demonstrate the demand.

I'm really curious to see what Tesla has in store with their Semi product.  It's supposed to be unveiled sometime this month I think.   Couple the fuel savings along with their automated driving technology and I think you could see a huge cost reduction. 

I also wonder about induction charging from overhead/underground wiring as the vehicles are moving around.  It's a small amount, but possibly significant.

The problem with inductive charging is that the coils need to be aligned. There is a handshaking that goes on to make sure you're charging something you're supposed to and not something else that is electrically conductive.  There is some wiggle room, but my phone displays crosshairs when it detects it's on an inductive charger so you can align it properly.  The further off you are, the less efficient the charging is.  That's just X&Y.  Add Z in there where you're another foot off the ground and you're looking at real inefficiency at a huge cost. 

Stablemates / Re: The 650's Get a Peculiar Friend
« on: September 13, 2017, 06:51:41 AM »
I will say when I was out in Boston a couple weeks ago, I really noticed that being green was encouraged almost everywhere.  At least far more than here in Michigan. 

From what I remember from the initial SMART car was that the European model could get 70-90 MPG, running on diesel.  The US model could only get 35-40 MPG running on gas.  The diesel wasn't refined enough in the US to use in the SMART car.  With gas prices being down and other vehicles getting close to that economy without sacrificing space, I'm not surprised they went to all electric. 

Charging time is the issue with electric cars so I never see them as a permanent solution.  However, replacing city commuting will keep getting more viable as the infrastructure adapts.

Stablemates / Re: The 650's Get a Peculiar Friend
« on: September 12, 2017, 11:01:41 AM »
Having just spent a few days in Boston, I get the appeal of having a small car.  I'm told these are roomier than they look, but haven't actually sat in one.  What's the range on it? 

I could get away with one now I think.  I won't, but I could.  My commute used to be 100+ miles a day, making electric appealing but nearly impossible.  The irony is my commute is only 7 miles round trip now, so electric is more practical but it has less appeal since a tank of gas lasts weeks instead of 3-4 days.

One day I'd like to drive a SMART car just to see what it is like.  I imagine you have to have the same mindset as riding a motorcycle where you are not seen by other drivers very well.  Congrats on the new purchase.


If I took a bike apart this far, I'd look at this picture and go "Well, that's not going back together."

Luggage makes a bike so much more useful.  There are plenty of miles that the FJR never would have seen had I not had the luggage to carry things.  Very nice looking mounts.

General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: New Bike Hauler
« on: September 07, 2017, 05:51:55 AM »
I'd suggest a tonneau cover as well.  I have one of the hard folding kind and I like it a lot.

General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: New Bike Hauler
« on: September 05, 2017, 08:40:10 PM »
Trailering is just easier.   Easier to load, easier to tie down, and a lower risk of something happening during loading/unloading. 

General Motorcycle Discussion / Re: New Bike Hauler
« on: September 05, 2017, 06:10:28 AM »
I'll always have a truck because it doesn't make sense to have two vehicles with the same purpose.  Especially with a crew cab truck.  For the most part, I've loved my Sierra.  No vehicle is without its flaws, but mine has done pretty well.

Your Ride Reports / Re: Hurricane Mountain Road or an Ode to Design Flaw
« on: August 30, 2017, 12:21:47 PM »
Yeah, it was the plan to finish Sunday with that road, but the weather had other plans. Glad you got to enjoy it and thanks for sharing.

Your Ride Reports / Re: 2017 Black Hills Rally - Sturgis without Sturgis
« on: August 20, 2017, 10:37:33 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.

Guy bought the FJR not too long after the New Hampshire rally.  He figured out what good riding is apparently.  He claims he's never getting rid of the Sportster as he put way too much time and effort into rebuilding it. 

Who's got the 2005 FJR?  Brings back memories.....

That guy is Guy.  He's the latest addition to the Michigan crew.  He works with Gary, who has the 2014 FJR.

Your Ride Reports / Re: 2017 Black Hills Rally - Sturgis without Sturgis
« on: August 04, 2017, 01:08:38 PM »

Sunday was the final day of riding.

Sylvan Lake is one of the more picturesque spots you can visit.  I didn't realize we organized ourselves by height.  Left to right is me, Guy, Nick (naskie18), Gary (Huys), and Jim (jspringnator).

I climbed the easy rock formation.  There were guys climbing the rock behind me.  We kept waiting for them to jump off, but there is a hefty fine for those who do so.

Panoramic shot of the lake.  Jim split off after this.  He had a long trip back and just wanted to get a head start.  Today wasn't going to be a long day anyway so I can't say I blame him.

The Michigan Four continued on to Crazy Horse.  Up until now, I had only taken pictures from the road.  We decided to make the visit in this time.  I found it more interesting than I thought.  I mean, the rock doesn't look any different from what I remember 5 years ago or 25 years ago.  I found out why inside.

This basically was the project of one man for about 7 years.  He started breeding help after that and it has been a family operation since.  All of the faces in Mt. Rushmore would fit in the space of Crazy Horse's head.  This guy was ambitious.

We decided to eat lunch there and it was a good thing.  It started pouring rain in the middle of our meal.  Thought we could wait it out.

The goal after Crazy Horse was Wildlife Road.  There was a gap in the rain where we could get geared back up.  Those dark clouds behind us is where we were headed so everyone put the rain gear on.  I don't have any still images of Wildlife Road, but you have the potential to see plenty of wildlife.  Another instance where I need to get through the videos.  When I went about 5 years ago, I remember trying to get a car through a herd of bison.  The only thing we really saw were some donkeys harassing people in their vehicles.  If you had your window rolled down, they were poking their head inside to see what you had.

After Wildlife Road, it was back up Iron Mountain Road in the opposite direction as before.  We had cut our planned route short by about 100 miles due to the rain delay.  Plus we decided we could get a jump on the 17 hour drive back home.

The thing about Iron Mountain Road is there are 3 tunnels.  Each of the tunnels are carved out to frame Mt. Rushmore.  That's easier to see in person than on the camera, but you can see it if you look close.

Gary headed through the tunnel while the GoPro took pictures.

Guy's turn.

You can't see Nick, but he's actually on top of the tunnel taking pictures out the other side.  Neat idea, but the photos captured weren't as spectacular as we'd hope. He did get a shot from here though.

There wasn't much to tell from here.  We saw a few vehicles that we wondered how they were going to make it.  The pigtail bridges were neat.  That's in more video that I have to put together.

We got back to the hotel around 5 PM, grabbed a quick bite to eat, and loaded up the bikes into the trailer.  We were on the road around 6:30 or so.  We made it to Sioux Falls, SD around 2 AM.  Slept for about 3.5 hours and continued on our way.  We made it to my house around 8 PM EST.  The other 3 still had another 3 hours to go, but all arrived safely.

All in all, it was a great trip.  Everyone stayed upright and safe,  no tickets were issued, and we got another experience that we won't get at home.

Your Ride Reports / Re: 2017 Black Hills Rally - Sturgis without Sturgis
« on: August 04, 2017, 01:08:06 PM »

Saturday morning was a pretty good size loop.  Most of this area I have seen before, but not on a bike.  Devil's Tower is something I hadn't seen at all, so I thought it made a good objective for the day.

We didn't make it too far before we pulled over for some pictures.

This is profile view of George Washington's head.  You can't really see the others, but it served as a decent photo opportunity.  From there, the route got interesting.

The route I had planned, I thought, was pretty good.  Turns out I was wrong.  We left Hill City with our eyes on Four Corners via Deerfield road.  That road is paved for a good portion, but eventually turned to dirt.  The sign said it was another 23 miles to get to Four Corners.  But the other road at the intersection looked paved.  It took us out of our way a bit, but we decided it was the better route to go.  Turned out that pavement lasted another mile.   We pressed on, hoping it would turn to pavement soon.  It took 10 miles to do so.  We made the right call, because the other way was 23 miles of dirt the entire way.

We jogged through Spearfish Canyon on our way up to I90.  It was a nice road and I've got video of it, but there was a bit of traffic so that held us up a little.

Once we got out of Spearfish Canyon, I took us on I-90 to save us some time on our way to Sundance.  It didn't take long from there to reach Devil's Tower.  It costs you $10 to get in on a motorcycle.  Worth it or not is debateable since you're looking at a giant Earth zit you can see from the road.  But there's an interesting visitor center that explains how it was formed, history behind it, spiritual meanings, etc.

I didn't realize you could actually climb it.  There is a permit required to do so. A large portion of the tower was closed due to some bird's nest or something.   It takes these guys between 6-8 hours to climb.  Coming down is about an hour and a half.  Over 5000 people climb it every year.  Some go to the top, others only go part way.  In the history of allowing people to climb, only 6 climbers share the record for the fastest rate of descent.

We found more gravel, but it was just off the path.  A good chance to get some photos of the bike with the tower in the background.

I really like this one.

Objects in mirror are larger than they appear.

You can tell the color is changing in this picture.  Rain is imminent.  The original idea was to run through Spearfish Canyon again and make a stop in Deadwood.  We abandoned the second run of Spearfish Canyon and only passed through Deadwood.  It was a long enough day and it was time to head back.

After we made it back, we thought it was a good idea to hit Mt. Rushmore at night so we didn't have to spend that time on the route the next day.  We piled into the truck and headed over.  Two of the guys had never seen it before.  I knew they had some special ceremony at night when they lit up the heads so we wanted to make it for that.

Truth be told, I wish we had arrived a little earlier.  The ceremony was longer than I anticipated.  They show a video narrated by James Earl Jones that talks about why each president is on the monument.  It was neat, but it didn't go into much detail about how it was constructed / carved.  After 40 minutes, we had a chance to browse through the visitor center for about 20-30 minutes.  We missed the video talking about the construction, but there were some neat exhibits in there.   All stuff I had seen years ago, but it is nice to have a refresher.

I reflected on how much a different time we live in. The 4 men on this monument achieved greatness and a legacy that will live on forever.  If the idea of Mt. Rushmore had been proposed today, it would be so incredibly criticized and the politics would never allow it to happen.  It seems like today, monuments are only acceptable when and where something terrible has occurred.  I don't see a new national monument in my lifetime that isn't the result of a tragedy.

Your Ride Reports / 2017 Black Hills Rally - Sturgis without Sturgis
« on: August 04, 2017, 01:07:45 PM »
Time for another long weekend ride.  A Nighthawk Rally without any Nighthawks.  Four of us trailered from Michigan, one trailered from Kentucky to ride in western South Dakota.  Basically Sturgis, without Sturgis or the million bikes.  We arrived at the hotel around midnight and we were on the road a little after 9 AM, since we had to unload the bikes and such.   I was all set to try out my new GoPro Hero 5, when I realized the night before that I was missing the remote cable. 


We modified the route to hit Best Buy first thing and see if they had the remote cable.  If they did, great, if not, I was just going to buy extra batteries and make the best of it. They had the remotes, but no cable.  Remotes are $80, which I really didn't want to spend.  When I explained my predicament to the manager,  he offered me employee pricing on the remote which was $50.  You know what?  This is what I bought the GoPro for and I'm not going to be here again any time soon.  Plus we went out of our way for me to go to Best Buy.  A $50 mistake doesn't even crack my top fifty most expensive mistakes, so I bought it.

It was still early, but we had a vast wasteland ahead of us so we ate lunch in Rapid City.  Firehouse Brewing Co. was our selection and it was decent enough.  They have tons of billboards along I-90 with old fire trucks in various configurations.

The new remote had a charge on it, so I slapped it on the bike and took off.  It takes some nice pictures.  Our Kentucky friend Jim mentioned there was a missile silo nearby.   A quick Google search showed us that it was right where we were going today.  Well almost.  The historical Monument Missile complex is just a history museum.  We wanted to see the rocket!  The park ranger said the actual silo was about 15 minutes west down I-90 and there was a park ranger there for another 45 minutes.

The air conditioned building felt nice, but we wanted to check out the silo so off we went.

This is the Delta 09 launch site.  It held a 1.2 megaton nuclear warhead.  Had we missed the park ranger, we would have only been able to see this from the road.  There are motion sensors on the property that is likely to get you arrested if caught.

Sadly there was no launch button I could press. :(

The park ranger was very knowledgeable.  Part of the START treaty signed by Bush and Gorbachev allowed a couple silos to be used as historical sites on both sides.  Russians are welcome to inspect this property at any time for any reason.  The ranger said there has only been one visit.  He has a picture of Colin Powell at the site with the Russians for that visit.

If the time came to launch, the cover that the kid is standing on would open via an explosive charge.  During the test, that entire steel / concrete structure blew off the tracks, through the fence, and over 100 yards beyond.  Not only did it take out the fence directly behind it, but it took the rest of the fence surrounding it out too.

OK, enough history lessons.  There's riding to do in the Badlands, which was the destination for this particular loop of the trip.  With the later start, the run to Best Buy, and the missile silo, the day was getting away from us.  There was a benefit to the silo stop as we watched a small rain storm fall over where we were going to be riding.  Spent enough time off the bikes to miss that shower.

Like most scenic spots, pictures don't really do this place justice.

Believe it or not, there are roads in there.

There wasn't much traffic and most of the cars pulled over if we caught them.  We decided to do a couple action shots.  This one was my favorite.

After that, it was late enough to put us in "Get Back" mode.  We had to take a 9 mile gravel road shortcut and it was paved from there on out.  There was a section towards the bottom of the route, Rt 2 I believe where we opened it up a little bit.  Not a car, building, or person in sight on a straight road slightly downhill.  We weren't at "Go To Jail" speeds, but clipped along pretty good.  As we were approaching the end of the road, we finally saw another car that lit up like a Christmas tree once he saw us.  Crap.

Fortunately, he motioned for us to slow down as he went by.  I was already slowing down anticipating getting pulled over.  That was all we saw of him, but still followed his directions and toned it down a bit for the rest of the way. 

Quick bite to eat and got to bed.  Another big day coming up.

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