Sunday, May 4, 2014

Racing a Grom

My FJR is a fat heavy overpowered pig.

Words that were uttered Monday morning as I pulled out of my street.

Where the eff is my clutch lever!

Words that were uttered Monday morning as I tried to remember how to operate the YCC-S system on my bike.


This all started back in September when a poster on our local forum started a thread about seeing a "Flock of Grom." WTF is a Grom? Hrm, little 125cc street legal bike from Honda. Yawn. What a worthless little bike.

In March I get to see one in person at the local pie run. I had kid duty that day so I tossed kiddo in the car and we went to look at motorcycles, eat pie and talk bikes. I was surprised at how small the Grom was, my five year old was almost big enough for it.

For some odd reason, he decided to do his best Al Bundy impression right when I took the picture. Didn't notice till later.

Moving right along. So in April, on the same local forum, there's a thread pop up titled "Free rides on a Honda Grom" which I casually open out of curiosity. Oh wait!!! This isn't just someone offering to let you putt putt around on the Grom, but rather this is taking it out during the Texas MINI GP event at the track! Hint: You can get me interested with the words "Free" and "Track."

The guy doing the offering is Dennie, and he's a veteran of the TMGP series for something like 25 years. He's decided this is his last year and has offered up this opportunity as a thinly veiled excuse to recruit more people into the TMGP. I have to say, it's a VERY effective recruiting tool.

Costs are extremely low, he waived the beginners rider class fee, and all I have to pay is the $70 entry fee for my four races. All of which will get me several hours of practice on Saturday and Sunday plus the races. That's a heck of a bargain!


I pack up my gear and head up to Denton on Saturday and am greeted by the very friendly Dennie and already parked is my ride for the weekend. He's done a bit of work to it to make it more track friendly. Here's the specs and some pictures.

The bike: 2014 Honda Grom
  • Yosh pipe
  • Race Tech gold valve forks
  • Race Tech springs
  • Ohlins shock
  • Steel front brake line
  • Supersport tires, probably Dunlop TT93

After sitting through the class with Dennie and one other student, Kevin, we both pass our tests indicating we know all the written information to get out on the track with the big boys, we are now allowed out for beginner practice. This is reserved for us noobs so that we can get out there and familiarize ourselves with our bikes and the lines of the track without getting run over by the fast guys. 
Note: Some of the "Fast Guys" are 12 years old!

First trip out on the track, this little bike has no power, it's twichy as all hell and it's TINY! This is of course because I'm comparing it to my full size 650 pound FJR. I'm also spending time getting used to using the clutch lever again as I've been spoiled by my auto clutch system. I'm figuring out the lines, where the bike needs to be shifted, shifting way too often, and getting comfortable in general. I'm also starting to have fun!

After a bit, Dennie pulls me aside since he's been out on the track watching us. He's got some tips for the difficult chicanes and some advice on the off camber turn 6. This advice is welcomed as it helps greatly, also helpful is the stop for some water. Flicking this little bike around this tight track is every bit as tiring as flicking a full sized sport bike around a big track.

Soon enough Dennie pulls us aside for a "Mock race." This is so we can find our way to the grid, figure out our grid positions, learn the flags for the start, middle and finish of the race, and generally practice all the procedures without being in a "Real" race. We have a third that has joined us, he is Joe. Joe is a 22 year old guy doing his second weekend with the TMGP and has never ridden this track so he got authorization to come out with us during the beginner session. On the line is Joe's dirt bike running race tires, my Grom, and Kevin's little GP bike. It's a mock race, but we all have our game faces on. Joe get's the holeshot but I'm on him in a heartbeat. I pass him and manage a win for our 3 lap race. Woot!

After that, it's practice with the big boys. I start to learn about getting passed in race fashion. This is far different from passes I've experienced at standard track days, but it's not so bad. People are good and clearly safety is on everyone's minds. Passes are close, but clean. Nobody stuffs me and I'm feeling good.

Later, Dennie pulls me aside. I'm running well enough that if someone is needing another rider for their endurance team he'll let me do that. Also, he has a deal for me. They need corner workers for the endurance race and if I'll do that, he'll cut my entry fees the next day in half. I'm here, I'll be hanging out, I'm no stranger to corner working, and it's the best place to watch the riders. Heck yea I'm in!
I spend my afternoon watching riders turn consistent laps trying to get as many in as they can in four hours. It's entertaining and educational because I can see how these guys are navigating the track in the areas that are giving me difficulty. I only need to put out the yellow flag twice, each time for a mechanical failure. Both times bikes are pushed back to the pits and all is well.

Some things noted. First, everyone is very good about passing. The faster guys know their bikes are faster than the slower guys, and so will pull safe passes on the straight sections rather than forcing passes in the corners. Those maneuvers are reserved for riders of similar skills, similar experience, and similar bikes. Second, there's a team with riders that are pure monsters. Not only are their bikes fast, but the riders are very consistent. Additionally, where most teams were running 30-40 minute sessions before switching riders, these guys went out and ran a 2 hour shift each! I was tired and dehydrated after 30 minutes but these guys spent 2 hours out there. I also found out later, that while the first rider was done and chilling in the pits, he found out about another team that was too exhausted to go on, and signed onto their team and helped them finish the race without them getting a DNF. Impressive stuff for sure!

After those races were over, I retired to my hotel room for a much needed shower. I had a tasty BBQ Brisket Burger (hamburger with a slab of brisket and BBQ sauce on it) in downtown Denton at Roosters Roadhouse, then back to the hotel for an early shut eye.


Got up and headed to the track. Started off the day with the open practice session. I got back out there for enough time to fix some things I'd not gotten the hang of the day before and get myself warmed up, but not so much that I'd be tired come race time. Then it was time for a late breakfast.

I had the pulled pork sandwich for lunch the day before, so today it was a chopped brisket sandwich. Yum!

I started getting amped up come race time. I was making sure to remember a few things when I went out. First, Dennie had an excellent crash plan. You crash, you pay Dennie $100, no matter the damage. You crash a second time, you give him another $100 and you are done. I fully intended to NOT pay Dennie any damage money and to return the shiny new bike in exactly the same condition I received it in. Second, I'm out here for fun, but some of these guys are racing a season for points toward a place in a championship. I'm not gonna screw that up by doing stupid things. Thus, my plan was to ride my line, and if passed, allow it without trying to be silly with blocking moves I don't know how to do.

I get out on the track and to the grid. Grid positions are determined at random and I've been randomly given the middle spot on the front row. I elect to utilize the section of the rules that allows me to move myself to the back of the grid. I'm not ready to be in the middle of the turn 1 craziness.

I don't recall much from the first race. Mostly it was me just trying to get off the line, not run over kids on 80cc and smaller bikes, not get run over myself, stay on the track, and make it 8 laps to the finish line. I manage to do that, and somehow I managed to pass Joe and finish ahead of him.

I roll through the hot pit and line up to go back out because I have back to back races. I decide I'll just grid up at the back of the group. The group isn't very big, so I can get to my speed of riders pretty quickly and easily while avoiding that turn 1 stuff. At the end of the race, I'm chasing down Joe, and I set up on the final lap a good drag race down the straight. He's shifting like mad and his bike has the slightest of edges over the Grom down the straight, but I'm figuring out that last turn and had set him up so that I was on the gas before him. Edge goes to me. I come up along side him, we are both getting down as much as possible with the throttles pegged on our pathetic little motors trying to get everything we can out of them....and I do it! I swear, I'm past him as I cross the line and I pull over and throw up my hand signaling I'm exiting the track after the checkered flag. Except Joe flies past me and nobody is exiting. I look back at the finish line.

Noob mistake.

Freaking A. That wasn't the checkered flag, I was so into the drag race that I didn't notice it was the white flag signaling the final lap! Balls! I get on it. I'm faster than Joe in a lot of sections but I suck at passing and he's better on the brakes. I don't set him up quite as good but the drag race is on, and he beats me by a wheel. We meet up in the pits and Joe comments on how much fun that was. We chat for a bit but we don't have much time and I'm trying get water because we only have one race off before we have to head in for our third race.

Third race, I grid up at the back again, but immediately I'm behind Joe. Now, we watched this race from my helmet camera afterwards and I commented to Joe "Yea, soon as we got started you got hung up behind that slow guy on the green bike, I couldn't wait for you to pass him so we could get the battle going." Joe retorts "Yea, that's my dad." Joe's dad is standing next to me while we watch the video. How's that foot taste? Joe passes his dad on the video and his dad comments "Joe, that was a very good clean pass." Trying to save face, knowing my pass on dad is coming up I say "I sure hope my pass was that clean" Joe's dad says "Oh yea, it was, and then I had an awesome front row view of you two fighting it out." Whew, saved some face there.

With Joe's dad behind us we got to battling. I was trying to set him up by handling the corners in ways to get on the gas earlier, but Joe was still better on the brakes and wasn't leaving me any opportunities to pass. The last lap, he blocks me going into turn 6 and as we come around there's a kid on a 50. He's riding a bit erratically and swings in front of Joe and then back in my direction. Joe and I have both hit the brakes and if we can get around him, we can have a final drag race. The kid swings off the track in the final chicane and then pulls back across in front of me. I toss in the towel and realize the race isn't worth the risk and let the kid get back on the track and pointed down the straight before I take off and cross the finish line. I wouldn't have beat Joe anyways.

I had a lot of time to sit around and wait on my last race. My first three races were all within the first six of the day, my last one was the 21st race of the day. The final race is two classes combined. The GP bikes and the Grom's. Only problem, there's only one Grom. Sweet! I'm guaranteed a win today. I was very comfortable on the Grom for this race and was mostly out on my own after passing a few of the GP bikes. Forgot to turn on the camera, but I was dragging knee all over the place and feeling really good, but tired. It was only an 8 lap race but I swear it felt like 32. I kept coming around looking for the white flag so I'd know it was almost done and I could get water and relax.

 Later at the awards ceremony I received my plaque for first place, but the race director pointed out that I did manage to come in third overall in the combined classes for the race. No plaque for that but that felt pretty good.

It was a fun day, and I'd like to do more. I am surfing craigslist when the wife isn't looking. Probably won't happen this season, but maybe next season I'll be out there. Gotta find me a ratty competitive bike so I can ride without caring about the bike.

My kiddo was proud of his dad, one day I'll tell him the secret to how I won.

Here's three of my races I captured on Youtube. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Family vacation in north Georgia

What a crazy series of weeks I’ve had. First I accepted a position at a new company, which meant a departure from my current company and from a lot of people I very much enjoy working with. As the sole network administrator at the company this left them in a difficult situation. I managed to negotiate some extra time for my start date in order to assist with this transition. We ended up finally hiring a guy to start with only four days left in my notice, so I spent that time trying to cram all the details of my job into his head before I had to leave.

All that said, I timed everything perfectly. We had a long planned vacation for Spring Break that I did not want to miss out on. My sister recently moved her and her family to Dahlonega Georgia. My parents and her husbands family were all coming up for a big family vacation.
Wait a second. You opened this to read a ride report, not a family vacation!
Just wait, one thing my family has learned over the years, when we go to a place that is a motorcycling destination, my bike goes with me. This time on my newly acquired Kendon fold up trailer.
Here she is, one big fat trailer queen.

Day 1 - Saturday

Drove from Texas to Alabama. Two things are sure at the end of the day.
1. My five year old son is tired of being in the car.
2. Me and my wife are tired of being in the car with our five year old son.

Day 2 - Sunday

One broken strap required a quick trip to Home Depot. I really knew these straps needed replacing so this is my bust here. Thankfully I run the rule of using more straps than is necessary.
We arrived at our very rustic cabin. We’d only spend the first day here and the nights, otherwise we’d be at my sisters place hanging out.

It only has the very very basics, but that’ll do and the price is definitely right and you can’t beat the view from the front porch.

My sister and her family are actually enroute from Florida this day because of a funeral they had to attend on Saturday so we had some time to kill as we’d arrived several hours ahead of them. I introduced my son to the time honored tradition of throwing rocks into a body of water. We also hiked around and explored the area.

Evidently he’s got a mind of his own that greatly differs from his dad.

No real riding today.

Day 3 - Monday

Rode the bike over to my sisters house. The 10 miles between the cabin and their house is pretty amazing, especially for a Texas boy used to flat straight roads.

Approximate route, with actual addresses left out.

One tradition we have, is that when we have these big family get togethers, each night someone cooks for the group. It’s fun and saves money on restaurants. My night is Tuesday night, but I’m making my always successful Ree Drummon’s Dr Pepper Pulled Pork. To do pull this off properly, it requires slow cooking the pork for 6 hours the day before, turning the pork every two hours. I’m doing up two pork butts, one spicy and one for the wimps.

After getting the pork in the oven, I turn to google maps and start looking around. Now that I’m here and have a bit of a lay of the land, I can figure these maps out. I plot me out a loop that’ll take about an hour to an hour and a half, depending on how shaky I am on these twisty roads and if I stop and sightsee much. I get this laid out in the time it takes to get to the first turn, then I suit up and head out.

This was a good run, out 19 a little bit and then up 60. I was pretty much in love with 60 at this point. Very twisty, along the side of a mountain with very little traffic, good views, and a crossing of the Appalachian Trail.

I turned east on 180 and found zero traffic on a tight technical road. At this point I thought this road was pretty amazing. My opinion will change in a few days though.
Finally I turned back toward home on 19. This portion of 19 is more heavily traveled, and as evidenced by the uphill passing lanes, is a truck route. Most of this part of the loop is downhill for me but I can see those extra lanes over on the other side. Good pavement, and still not a whole lot of traffic. I didn’t get held up at all today on this road.

I ran back to the house and finished the pork so it’ll be ready for the crock pot for tomorrow.

Day 4 - Tuesday

Today is dad’s day. Of the four full days we’ll actually be here, the weather report is only nice for Monday and Tuesday. Temps in the 60’s and sunny, before the storms move in. That’s why I chose today to be dad’s day.

So, I’ve taken the parentals for rides a few times over the years. Both have decided that they’d rather not ride on a motorcycle. My dad’s last ride he said scared him to death, not so much because he didn’t trust me, but mostly the lack of control thing. I understand this because while I trust my wife to drive the car, I’m much more nervous if I’m not in the drivers seat.

Recently dad has had some medical scares though, and he’s re-evaluated himself. He’s realized he’s going to miss out on some fun things in life because he’s been scared to do them and is tired of being scared. For this reason, I’ve been taking him on a bunch of roller coasters lately, and he loves them.
So, when he found out I was bringing the bike, he asked if I’d take him for a ride in the mountains. I rounded up a helmet in his size and wrangled up a jacket. I then hit up “Georgia Roller” from the FJRForum to send me a nice easy route that wasn’t too long in the saddle. He shot me over a nice loop out of Dahlonega to hit up the Amicalola Falls halfway through. We decided we’d take the bike and the car so my wife, mom, and son could enjoy the falls as well.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, I ran out of the house with the wrong route in my tank bag map pocket. I knew the return route was pretty much the direct route to the falls, so I punch up the falls on the GPS and let it take us there.

Dad getting suited up.

Dad and son by the bike.

Apparently we were quite the sight at the gas station there getting ready to ride.

Dad and son at the park after the first ride. He’s smiling, he had a blast!

And dad proudly hanging out next to the bike.

Amicalola Falls is pretty spectacular. It’s a bit of a hike to get to the actual base of the falls, and those of us who are out of shape are in awe of those who run the steps for fitness.

Only two of us made it to the base of the falls. Let’s just say one of us was exhausted and out of breath, and the other one was five years old.

The route there.

I asked dad if he wanted to ride back or if he was done. He surprised me by saying that not only did he want to ride back, but he was disappointed that the road wasn’t twistier. I offered to take him all the way back to the cabin since we needed to get the other car, and he already knew those roads. He had a blast and hasn’t stopped talking about it since.

A good day on the bike, and what looked to be like my last day due to the weather rolling in. Rain and cold were in store for us over the next few days.

Day 5 - Wednesday

Storms rolled in about 2am. Raining and cold with a high wind advisory. Not a good day for riding, especially enjoyable riding. We pack up the car and head over to my sisters house to just hang out and let the kids play.

Oddly, the storms roll through by lunchtime and by about 1pm it’s sunny, but still in the forties and windy. I notice that the roads are drying up, so I decide, eff it, and run and grab the bike. I don’t have good cold weather gear, so I have to deal with just the quilted liners in my airglides and just be chilly.
I start off by running by the motorcycle dealership “Riders Hill” that I’ve heard so much about with the intention of buying a Riders Hill T-Shirt.

Yea, it’s a little dead in the middle of the week. I go inside and there’s another rider milling around looking at stuff. He leaves shortly after I walk in. I wander around, nice place, try on some gear, look at stuff and find their T-shirts. Meh, it’s just a Suzuki T-shirt with the huge Suzuki logo in the middle with a small “at Riders Hill” silk screened under it. Nothing too special. I’m mildly interested, but seeing as I’ve been in the shop 10 minutes and not ONE employee has bothered to poke their head out of the back offices, I figure they don’t want my money and walk out.

Having had no time to plan today’s ride, I run the same route as Monday, but I run it in reverse this time. The run up 19 is amazing with the extra lane. There’s very little traffic and I start to get really comfortable with this mountain riding stuff on the FJR. I had an amazing time running up this road.

I make my turn onto 180. With a few days of riding under my belt up here now, my opinion of this road has changed. Many sections are too tight for the FJR to enjoy it, the road surface is sketchy, and there’s some rain troughs in a few of the corners. This road would be a blast on a supermoto, but not so much the FJR. I’m quite happy to finish this road and turn south onto 60. Running downhill on 60 I’m having a great time and getting my groove on, when I get a subtle reminder to turn it down a notch, especially with the blind corners.

Thank goodness I wasn’t running a few seconds faster!

I make my way back to the cabin and park the bike having had a good ride on a day when I wasn’t supposed to ride at all. Let’s see how tomorrow works out. Day 6 - Thursday
We head over to my sisters house and I watch the temps come back up into the 40’s again. It’s sunny and the wind is gone. I’ve been perusing maps and come up with a good loop for today. I’m DEFINITELY going out!

My run up 19 is shaping up better than yesterday. I’m in the groove, feeling good, having an amazing time, until. Blah, pass one car just before the passing lane ends, and end up behind an SUV, which is behind another car, behind a slow moving semi truck.

We plod along up the hill, and I can tell the car right behind the semi truck is really antsy and impatient. He’s swerving to look around the truck at every opportunity. We’ll call him “Douchey” from here on out.

Finally, we get our passing lane back. SUV in front of me makes no move to go around, but Douchey in front of him peels off the formation and floors it. Finally! Someone is going to drive well in the mountains. I’m interested to see an enthusiast drive up here, so I pin it and tail along behind him to watch. We hit the first set of curves and he starts using up every inch of pavement on our side of the road, both lanes, to hit his apexes. He’s running outside inside outside to maximize his speed through the curves. This is why I call him Douchey, at least he’s not using the oncoming lane any, but it’s much more fun to just stay in your own lane and ride, which is what I’m doing.

And then I notice, for all his posturing running outside inside outside, I’m sitting in my lane and being held up. WTF? Ok, time to leave Douchey behind. I set it up, rip up the passing lane and zip past him all while staying in my own lane. Once I’m by, he continues his driving of using both lanes, and I easily walk away from him never hanging off or crossing the lane lines. Yea, I’ve got a huge grin inside my helmet.

I get a gentle reminder of my poor form and how far I’m leaning over when I drag my toe slider. I pull my toe in and start sliding a cheek off the seat and all is well from then on out.

Video of me passing Douchey and a little bit afterwards.

Once on up on the mountain I catch up to a Jetta. This guy is driving very well and I have no passing lane anyway, so I settle in behind him and we have a good time going down the hill. He’d totally kick Douchey’s butt anyway.

I pass my normal turn for 180 and keep going a few more miles to where 180 kicks off to the right and I take that. It’s a short run down 180 to 348 which is a part of the Russell–Brasstown Scenic Byway. At first I’m not so sure what is so scenic about this road, but continuing on, I climb up in altitude and am pleased with some nice views.

Snagged this one after a non-scenic pullout.

I head up and just around the corner I come upon this.

Yea, that gives a good idea of how cold it has been up here recently and how cold it is today. Bike says 40F on the nose. I take a selfie as well just because.

A little further on up is this scenic pullout. I wish it were greener but still, a very nice view.

I’ve been taking it easy because there is still gravel all over the road from the recent weather that hasn’t been cleared up. However, pretty much beyond this pullout, it’s extremely fresh smooth clean pavement all the way down and I’m having a blast again. I have seen almost zero cars on this road and it’s all mine. The sun is low and shining through the bare trees which creates a strobe effect on my vision and stripes on the road. I get a reminder again as I hit a stick or something in the road while leaned over. In the video it doesn’t look like much, but you know how that kind of thing feels when you are on the bike, felt like a tank slapper, but in fact was a slight wobble. Just enough to remind me to keep things in check and not ride the limits.

At the end of the road I stop for a quick chicken strip check. Yep, still there, but not too bad for a flatlander on cold roads.

I turn around and see this.

Hrm, I don’t recall seeing that sign on the other side of the mountain. Good thing there wasn’t any!
All that remains now is the ride back to my sister’s place. My last bit of ride is stifled behind a slow driving pickup truck following a UHaul through the last twisty bits.

I park the bike for the final time knowing I had an amazing riding day. I’ll load the trailer up here in a little bit and get the car packed for the trip home.

Day 7 - Friday

Up early, we head out. We aren’t heading directly toward Dallas though. We head up to Tennessee and across to Memphis. My wife want’s to put some flowers on the graves of her great grandparents for her grandmother and grandfather who can’t make it up this way anymore. Jakob takes a ride on the bike.

Actually, mom walked along next to the trailer while I drove slowly around the parking lot. He had a blast.

Then this happened. Oh yea, it happened!

For those not familiar, this was the location of my SS1K turnaround point. It’s been open since the 1920’s and was where my wife’s grandmother used to eat at as a kid. We can’t run through the Memphis area without stopping in Mason for some Bozo’s, and to bring some home to her grandmother.

Yes sir, two helpings of those beans please!

Cleaned my plates. Yum!

We run into the outskirts of Memphis where we have a reservation at the Best Western on why 64, east of Memphis. I just thought I’d add, if you are traveling through the area on a bike and need a place to stay, it’s a nice place, reasonably priced, and they have three or four designated motorcycle parking spaces on each side of the lobby entrance. Nice! Too bad mine is on a trailer, but they have good parking for that as well.

Day 8 - Saturday

Drive home. Through rain. Boring day. Nothing to report.

Started my new job on Monday, learning a ton! That’s why it took so long for this report to come out. Very wordy for a fairly uneventful week but I had fun and hope you enjoyed it.

And a boring video of some of the riding I experienced throughout the week.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Replacing the FJR subframe

Alrighty, let's get some closure here. It won't happen without a grown man almost coming to tears in his garage.

So where were we? Oh yea, I've got a new subframe to install.

So I start removing bits from the bike to get the broken subframe out and it's a lot of work there. As I go along I'm reminded that my bike is an AE and as such is so seamless that I often forget that it's not like every other FJR on the road. I'm reminded of this as I remove the AE actuator from it's mount point on the subframe. Then I think...hrm, that mount point wouldn't be on every FJR now would it? Realizing I didn't check when I ordered my subframe off Ebay to make sure it's an AE subframe, I feel the emotions welling up inside me. The frame is sitting behind me in the garage and I'm so angry I didn't check that I could spit nails, and at the same time I just want to cry.

Oh look, I do have SOME luck. It's an AE subframe. A quick check of my ebay history shows that it was listed as an AS subframe....same deal, different continent, but it'll work. I almost cry from joy. A man alone in his garage is sometimes an emotional deal.

So, some interesting things I DID note when comparing them. My bike is a 2007 and the donor bike was a 2006. You'd think the subframes would be identical but in fact there are some interesting subtle differences between them. A little extra welding here on the mount point in question on the 2007

And here we have a comparison shot of broken next to unbroken.

Every once in a while I have a stroke of genius, and actually think and plan ahead. This was one of those times. The air filter is a huge pain to get to on the AE, so I figured while I have everything off, why not toss in a new air filter, it's needed anyway. Easy peasy...mostly. Yes, that's a spool of Christmas lights holding up the tail section to make things easier to work on. Tools can be made from anything.

I read where someone else did this that said they didn't have to remove the whole middle black plastic part. This is true, it requires more fiddling to pull the subframe off than you'd think but it can be done, which saves a LOT of work. It's already a lot of work to this point.

This is Gerauld's stiffy kit that I'm installing. It helps to beef up the rear quite a bit and will hopefully help to keep this from happening again.

This is what it will look like when it's fully installed. It's actually very hard to see when all the plastics are on.

Here's more shots of broken vs unbroken. This time it's the tail rack and grab rails next to the Givi SR357 that is much better able to handle the extra loads.

I'm working on some ideas to make the Shad case fit on the Givi rack. You can make it work, but I noticed that it sits further back on the rack than stock, so I think I want to change that. Working out some ideas.

On the plus side though, I'm riding again and very happy as this week spring has arrived.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Broken Subframe on the FJR

Well, I finally got bitten by the broken subframe on my FJR.

It's a known weak point on the bike.  You have the frame that goes around the engine, and then bolted to the back of the frame is the "Subframe" which is the part you sit on.  Also, the rear bags hang from the subframe as well and the trunk in the back sits at the very back of the subframe.

We were riding and the tail piece of the subframe broke off.  This meant that several plastic parts such as the body work and the grab rails were holding the weight of my trunk box.  Since the frame is supposed to hold them, they started failing at a rapid rate.

My buddy was following me and saw my bag flapping around and signaled me to pull over.  Thankfully the trunk didn't fully break off because that would add to the expense of the repairs.

I ended up with eight total breaks.  Two on the subframe breaking off the tail piece.  Two grab handles broken off, a cross brace broken in the middle, one break in the right side plastic and two breaks in the left side plastic.

My buddy was riding an identical bike to mine but without the trunk.  Our initial plan was to swap my mount and box over to his to get it home.  However we didn't have the tools to get his bolts out.  I stopped him before he screwed his up as he was attacking it with a pair of pliers.  We were only about 20 minutes from home so I phoned my wife to come pick up my luggage and then rode the bike home.

Here are the pictures.

Broken cross member.

Broken subframe

Broken grab handles.

Broken fairing

Fairing broken in two places

I started disassembly, here are some pictures of the broken subframe.