Ride to Epping Forest

The last few days have seen some of the year’s first predictably sunny days, though the temperature was a high of only 12 or so. I took a few hours today – Sunday – to follow a route around Epping and Ongar that I’d found on BestBiking Roads. Most of it was beautiful – though typically I missed some of the loop. This area right on the edge of London straddling the M25 is a little gem. Some of the old towns or villages, Epping for example, on the route are beautiful. Nicely there are quite a few car parks in the woods on different parts of the route. About the bike and a shakedown: I realised that the instruments on the tower needed to be readjusted downwards and the GPS mount needed to be revised as the GPS was rattling around wildly. Both these teething problems are sorted.

Still to sort – the highly distorted voicing from the GPS to the bluetooth helmet headset. Some instructions are just crackles – completely useless.

Total 54 miles over 3 hours
Pretty much finished now

Once I got home and it was dark I tried to adjust the headlights in the new Aurora tower. I’d made a chalk mark on the drive 5m from the garage doors and put some masking tape at the height of the headlamp. A dipped beam is meant to stop 5cms below this line – but it was a couple of feet. The adjustment on the Aurora tower did not seem to be designed to do this properly – and the full beam did not seem to have an aim at all and flooded everything in sight with light – no wonder it is not road legal. Perhaps I need to swap it for the proper lamp before MOT time.

Some KTM mods

Bright orange Barkbusters – no one could not see me coming

My program of modifications to the bike is moving along rather slowly. I finally found the time at the weekend to complete the tricky install of the KTM heated grips and the new handguards – above.

Set the controls for the heart of the sun

I chose to buy heated grips made by KTM in spite of some other brands – Oxford – getting probably more glowing reviews because the ‘own brand’ seemed easier to fit. No scraping off the glue from the old grips and sticking the new ones on before the glue sets hard. This is a straight swap of the unheated pair – pretty straightforward. Working out how the small wiring parts are orientated inside the throttle mechanism was a little tricky but connecting to power was much more difficult. I thought that connecting to the auxiliary power leads hidden deep in the headlight body would be easier that trying to thread through some cables between the fuel tank and the top of the battery to the PDM60 I have installed under the seat. (one day at some point in the optimistic future I will remove the fuel tank and seat all these wires properly.) I have taken the headlight out before to fix up the GPS bracket and power – that I threaded through in the way I just described. For the life of me I just could not remember how to do it nor could I remember where I got the instructions from before. I felt completely blocked. Eventually I found the first few minutes of a vid from Rotweiler on fitting the RebelX rally conversion. This brought enough back to get going and I got as far as I had last time. But I realised that to hide the two large white not obviously water-proof plastic connectors and connect the two leads I would need to go further and take off the side of the headlight body. There are two Torx bolts – top and bottom on each side of this body. For the first time since working on the bike I came across a bolt that I could not undo – that broke my torx tool and then other tools just clicked inside the head of the screw without budging it. Time to stop before I wreck the head completely. I plan to ask the dealer to loosen it when they fit cruise control in a couple of weeks. (48 hours of WD40 later I have managed to get it moving – I am so happy!) Without undoing this, it (won’t) woudln’t have been possible to fit the new rally conversion that I plan to. In fact I wouldn’t have been able to continue with this job.

Back to Plan A making a connection to the PDM60 – and strangely once I had calmed down threading two more wires through the small invisible space behind the battery was easy and a trip out to Halfords to buy some spade connectors later and it was connected. I even managed to make some decent protection with some harnessing tape so all works and looks ok too. But it was a roller coaster of extreme focus and frustration getting it done. Looking back plan A was preferable all along. I have realised that all those who post up those helpful installation videos on YouTube must, of course, have filmed the second time (at least) that they complete the install. The first time, unless you are extremely lucky, would be full of hesitations, back-tracking mistakes and heading out to the shop for the part or tool that you don’t have.

The Barkbusters were delivered into my hands while I was working on this in the open garage. They looked great (and are made in Australia) – extremely solid but they tested my 3D imagination to work out which bits were right and which were left-handed and how the whole thing fitted. Again, walking away and then coming back a few hours later, things dropped into place nicely.

The next job is to fit the One finger clutch from Camel ADV. It ought to be simple but may well turn out to be fiddly.