Plastic Surgery

I have been working my tail off being a Domestic Goddess. Cleaning the spaces in between and repairing stuff that had been items on my longish To-Do List for eternity, or at least as long as I’ve owned an iPad. The house hasn’t looked this nice in forever. As a matter of fact, you haven’t been able to eat off of my floors since roughly the end of September 2008, when I first started learning to ride motorcycles. You can now, if you’d want to. The cats won’t mind as long as you stay out of the catnip and leave their dish alone. ­čśë

I should feel a sense of accomplishment, but the lingering thought of not doing enough keeps nipping at my happiness. What the hell? The Slow One keeps telling me that I’m too hard on myself (he has a small point there), but I think the feeling stems more from my To Do List (Race Flavored) getting longer and longer and I keep researching, learning, and it seems at times I’m making little to no progress. It’s downright depressing. The business (read: financial) end of things is overwhelming to me. Just looking at the numbers is cause for distraction.

Case in point: The bellypan.

Ilmberger Carbon Fiber Bellypan

Ilmberger Bike Part Pr0n: This thing is absolutely gorgeous and works with the OEM uppers and with a little careful trimming in the appropriate places works with the stock exhaust. Engineering Porn at its finest. Jawohl!

WERA requires a bellypan that is capable of holding five quarts of liquid. The S1000RR’s lowers are a joke, albeit a good looking one. There’s more air than plastic under there. I’ve thought about fabricating something myself to plug up all those holes and use the existing bodywork as a cradle for my fluid-retaining creation, but I’m not sure that would pass Tech, but it might still bear looking into a little further, if I can find the proper materials to make it work.

The only bellypan that also works with the stock exhaust and stock uppers (that I can find) is made by Ilmberger Carbonparts in Germany and it costs around $530. I could get it a little cheaper if I dealt with Ilmberger directly, who — by the way are awesomely helpful and friendly folks; but making Papa ship that stuff to me is a little rude, since S&H would be free by the way of sponsorship by the First Bank of Dad. Then there is risking getting customs to take a closer look, which in all my years only happened once, but still… Easier, not to mention faster, just to pony up the dough and get it from their distributor here in the States, which will set me back $690.

Hotbodies Race Bodywork

The S1000RR dressed in a full set of unpainted but primed, undrilled Hotbodies race bodywork. I WANT!

A full set of race fairings costs $5 more, if I get them from Hotbodies Racing, and those people must have forgotten to update their website since they still have their Black Friday Sale active. Buy one set of race fairings get one set free. WTF?!? No way, right? It still works, I tried it in their cart, made it all the way to the payment method page. This would be a killer deal. I would have a spare set for when I wreck myself (yeah, it’s when not if, I’m a realist… I just hope it doesn’t happen too soon). Then I’d just rattle can spray paint those puppies, slap my homemade vinyl decals on (more on that later), apply my sponsor stickers and I’m off to the races. Literally.

Where to get that kind of money before they find their mistake and correct it?!? What did I say about luck? Yeah, if I had normal luck, I’d have enough cash to click that order button in a hurry; but I don’t. I have probably about $700 worth of Hayabusa parts (Gilles Tooling rearsets in black anyone?) and miscellaneous other junk laying around that I could unload on eBay or Craigslist. But that takes time. I should have done that a long time ago, but I’ve been too lazy. I just hate dealing with listing stuff on eBay. I guess I’m too perfectionistic in my listings and it takes me forever just to get one item up, but so far I’ve never had a problem out of any douches saying they didn’t get exactly what they ordered, so I’m not changing the behavior.

And these are the trials and tribulations of a wannabe novice female knee dragger with sponsors who are equally broke and just trade off advertising between each other. Yeah, that’s racing (on a “What color is money again?” budget).

And this brings me back to the feeling of being overwhelmed with all this stuff. I think it’s mostly emotional in nature with a side of impatience thrown in. But the more I do my research and learn what I must, the more apprehensive I become. The more I feel I’m totally off my rocker and grossly irresponsible with my personal finances for even entertaining the notion of such an outlandish, no-monetary-gains undertaking. But it’ll be so much fun!!! And what is money anyway? Fun Tickets.

As far as that is concerned, this has got to be the worst business plan ever. Any VCs (venture capitalists) out there wanna unload some dough to ease the tax burden for next year? I’m spunky, look good in tight leather and have a cute ass of just the right proportions. My number is (706) 9…

Maybe I should look into incorporating Team PLD Racing, so Mr. Slow can use it as a total loss write-off next year when tax season is upon us like the Sweats on a church rat. The camera body (Canon 1D Mark II, is it?) that he’s been lusting after with drooling desire would end up a tax deduction on the accountant’s ledger. *cracks up laughing*

Well, hell… I might be onto something here… I need to make a phone call.

S1000aRRgh: Broken Bike Blues

MissBusa Marks Her Territory: The Pirate's New Vessel

The Mark of Busa: The "Black Box" be ours! Arr! Arr!

Let me start by saying that I miss my pickup truck. Missing my truck is OK though, for I have found MissBusa again in my life. I know that many people come here to read a motorcycle blog. Well… The Pirate has been in Atlanta for more than three weeks now, and I have found that my “better half” is doing things with me other than riding a bike again. Of course, I do admit that most of the ‘doings’ have to do with getting race ready.

MissBusa misses her bike. Of that there is no doubt. More than a few times she has brought up lowering links for my ride. I’m six foot, one inch. I’m considering the links. Just for sanity’s sake. Seems that Maxton, NC is calling my love for some Speed Trials. Perhaps there are those of you who think I wouldn’t want the Pirate of my Heart’s Desire back in my life. I definitely do. It’s simple: you love someone, you want them to have what they love, as well.

Watching her do the research to go fast has been fascinating. One hurdle cleared seems to bring on two or three more. She just keeps on rolling. Blue Moon Cycle may be in deep trouble if they don’t get that bike back here pretty quick. No bike is probably a hurdle that she can’t clear. Although, I do get a laugh out of picturing her running in full leathers down the Maxton Mile.

There is now a “MissBusa” sign on the back of my truck. Does that make it hers? I think it may have been hers from the beginning. Everything to do with the bike. Including my bike (read as luggage rack). Well, it’s only just. She’s found a new love. Not one to replace me, but one to keep me hopping. I haven’t been hopping in a long time, so I guess that’s a good thing. Ride on MissBusa. I’ll see ya in the pits or at home. Now I have to go tell Blue Moon to keep that bike for a week or so longer. Errr, no wait. I meant see if they can expedite it. Yeah that’s it.

S1000aRRgh: Thoughts Of Mutiny

Last time I took the S1000RR to the BMW dealership to have it serviced according to its maintenance schedule, I pointed out that there seems to be something going on with the white LEDs on the bottom of the main display. One of them was turning a distinct yellowish color. The service tech looked at me and said: “LEDs are either on or off, they don’t dim and go out.” I replied: “That’s what I thought.” They checked it, found nothing wrong (as I knew it would turn out). I felt a little silly, but told the dude I wanted it on the record for future “just in case” reference. Not too long ago, I was washing my bike and I noticed another yellowish cast appearing on the left side of the display. Where once was one, now there are two. WTF?!? This has been bothering me. The bike gets hot. Damn hot! You can’t ride the thing in shorts, you will burn your knees on the frame. I found that one out the hard way when squidding around Myrtle Beach, SC in July. That’s the sort of heat we are talking about. In 100┬░F weather in rush hour stop-and-go traffic, the temperature readout climbs as high as 223┬░F. I’ve seen it in the 230s. But the bike doesn’t complain, as a matter of fact, so far it has been regulating its heat output without overheating. I don’t even know what the danger zone would be, but I’m assuming there’s an idiot light for that, too. With the recent rear brake failure issue, this is coming back to haunt my brain. Is there a way these symptoms could be related? The bike has always been finicky with the rear brake pedal. I like to drag rear brake during slow maneuvers and sometimes the brain of the operation just tells me no, and the lever loses all pressure and goes limp under my foot. Annoying. Overshot my driveway once because it did that to me and I was not expecting that at all. Putting the bike in ‘Race Mode’ seemed to have solved that problem, hence I thought that to be of design rather than a malfunction. Now? I’m not so sure. Then there is the issue of the turn signal failing to cancel. Sometimes it just won’t cancel when you push the button. I noticed it first after I had the first alarm system installed, on the way home from the dealership. But clicking the button to the right first, then pushing it in its center position for the cancel function seemed to help. Alternatively, I could wait for it to auto-cancel on its own. Here I thought it may have to do with the bike not accepting its new toy. We found out later, from BMW, that the unit was obsolete and had been superseded by a newer version, which my bike wanted.) I also had that checked, along with the main display when I had to come back to get the alarm units switched. Again, the fault could not be duplicated by the technician. Of course not, that’s The Law, after all. Hubby suggested it was probably an issue with the button itself or the contact underneath it. I let that one go, too. If it was a mechanical problem, it would quit altogether soon enough and it wouldn’t have to be reproduced, it would just be. Same with the LEDs, really. I figured eventually they would probably fail. And the warranty would take care of it. The strange thing is that the signal canceling issue became almost non-existent after the alarm units were switched and the anti-theft system was in perfect working order. Coincidence? Perhaps.

I still couldn’t leave it alone. The first clue that something could be amiss was the limp rear brake lever, the intense heat transmitted through the frame always made me wonder if that was within operating specs, then the first LED yellowed, shortly thereafter the turn signal cancel function stopped working intermittently, then the second LED yellowed, next was the rear brake failure due to ABS pump failure. So I did a little quick googling and I came across this gem on the web:

A Non-contact Method for Determining Junction Temperature of Phosphor-Converted White LEDs

An excerpt of an interesting study conducted by scientists at the Lighting Research Center of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY

The original paper by Yimin Gu and Nadarajah Narendran can be found in PDF format at the RPI’s website. [direct link, opens in new browser window]

Funny Fact:
When I installed the rear fender eliminator kit and had to splice the new license plate LEDs into the stock wiring harness (before hitting the CANbus) and the ground wire came undone during routing of the wrapped wire bundle, the bike threw a fault. Told me plain and simple that I had a bulb out. Yeah. That’s important to know, if the rapidly blinking front right turn signal didn’t already give that little tidbit of information away. Truly, that is the mother of all idiot light warnings.

Cascading Systemic Failure… can you smell the ozone? OMG! This is so not funny! x/

…another thought keeps creeping into my mind: “heat is the main cause of electronic failure”. Screw this, I need a beer. Prost! *lifts her bottle of Warsteiner* We shall see what comes of this when the brake dust settles.