Shocker, motorcycles can be dangerous.


The evening of April 20th could have gone better. Dumped the motorcycle in a parking lot. Net result was a broken collar bone, and an even more battered bike.

I was driving through a mostly empty Home Depot parking lot. I was leaning the bike way over being silly since it was the first time out this year. Best I can piece together I road up higher on the tread of the brand-new tires where it was still greasy and not worn in at all(first time out on the tires) and the rear tire kicked out. I lowsided the bike and took the brunt of the impact on my shoulder, then skidded for a bit. Proper gear meant no head impact and I scraped the shoulder of my jacket and not my actual shoulder.

The bike actually took the impact pretty well. There are scrapes on several parts(brake lever, headlight ring, turn signal, & engine casing. The mirror broke and the bar end bold is bent. But a friend rode it home from the accident.

I called Progressive and filed a claim. They ended up paying me very fairly for the bike, and let me keep it for a $50 salvage payment to them. As I had already been thinking of upgrading, and wasn’t going to be able to fix/repair it for 4-6 months I decided to sell the bike.

After a week of dealing with craigslist BS(no I won’t take $300, no I won’t trade for your Playstation 4, no I won’t meet you at 5am so you can test ride it) a polite guy named Frank came buy, took it for a test drive, and paid me my $500 asking price. He’s planning to fix it up and ride it, so the bike will live again.

I will probably get a new bike, either once I’m healed or once something interesting comes along. In the mean time nearly every project I have is on hold, which is intensely frustrating as I have $1000 worth of truck parts & and newer engine just waiting to be installed.

Angle grinder burnouts!

Yesterday was the start of getting the motorcycle in shape for the riding season. Top on the list was replacing the dry-rotted tires with new ones. I briefly tried prying the old tire off, then realized I was going to scratch the hell out of the rim getting a junk tire off. So out came the angle grinder and I made some smoke.

You can’t see it well in the pics, but there is a pry bar keeping the tire up off the rim while I’m cutting. I’m a hack, but not a dangerous hack.

Of course it isn’t a proper burnout until you get down to the steel belts.

New tires were installed using the “zip-ties & swearing” method.

I also bled the brakes,I think the front fluid(left container) might be vintage 1996.

The first actual repair to the bike.

A prior owner had drilled out the muffler to try and improve the sound, instead it sounded like a bike with holes in the muffler. The pipe on the GS500 doesn’t take a slip-on well as it has a bend right at where the muffler mounts, and used stock exhausts started around $100 for a system with rust & dents. So fixing what I had seemed to make the most sense.

I welded a cap on the end of the muffler, drilled it out for the center pipe and welded that up too. Then it got a quick coat of high-temp paint. Looks a bit lumpy up close but not too bad, and fixed the muffler sound.

Wrapping up my present to myself.

Wrapped the bike in Matte Copper Vinyl

I had known when I bought my motorcycle, that I didn’t want a red bike. But it was too good of a deal to pass up. I wasn’t interested in painting it, because that seemed like more of a hassle than it was worth. Instead I bought a 5’x5′ piece of 3m Matte Copper vinyl, so I could try wrapping it.Wrapped the bike in Matte Copper Vinyl

It took two evenings, and was quite interesting to do. I couldn’t manage to wrap the tank in one piece, and ended up doing it in two pieces. I was amazed at how much it changed the look of the bike.

Wrapped the bike in Matte Copper Vinyl

Wrapped the bike in Matte Copper Vinyl
One unexpected part of the project, the “Suzuki” lettering on the tank had been clearcoated over at some point in the bike’s history. AS I couldn’t remove it, I wrapped right over it. This resulted in an interesting ghost effect on the tank that I quite like.

Wrapped the bike in Matte Copper Vinyl

Bought a new toy with less tires than usual.

I’ve spent most of my life terrified of the idea of riding a motorcycle. This year I decided I was tired of being irrationally scared of something, so I took a motorcycle riding course to decide if it was a rational fear or not. The end result? It turns out to I do like it.

Now that I decided I wanted to ride a bike again, I needed a  bike. After a pile of research I decided I wanted a 500-ish cc standard bike with an upright seating position. To this end, I ended up buying a 1996 Suzuki GS500E with ~17K miles for $850. It needs a bit of a tuneup/carb adjustment, needs a new gas door lock and a PO drilled out the back of the muffler, so it sounds like a bike with holes in the muffler.

But it runs & rides well, and has brand new tires & rear brakes. I am already researching parts for repairs & upgrades.