Sit down and get comfortable. This is a long update. I've taken it upon myself to ramble on quite a bit here today.
A tour. First shot shows my '86 Kawasaki 454 LTD. Behind it is my father's NX250. In the foreground is the 2000 Vette hardtop. On the bottom right you can see the wheel of my bicycle. The NX will be parked at the side (plenty of room) when I'm working on my bike. So there's a fairly large area in which to work and lay parts and make a mess. The garage contains an extensive collection of tools and some fine lighting.
Second shot is a close-up of my bike. You can clearly see the windscreen. You can see the roll-bar type add-on in front. Nice looking bike.
Third shot is a cameo appearance by duo. Yah, that IS the kid who has terrorized you countless times. He's nearly big enough for this bike!
Anyways... getting the bike home was a bit of an adventure (in a good way). The temperature was mid 40s, the wind was quite harsh. The guy who sold the bike had told us the wrong direction for the reserve tank switch, so we killed the bike on the side of the road at one time. I mostly drove the Vette while my father rode the bike.
There is much to do. I have to clean the carbs, sync the carbs, change the oil and filter, clean the air filter, clean the fuel filter, install new plugs, adjust the valve clearance, adjust valve timing/camshaft degreeing, check the coolant system, adjust the steering head, lube the speedo, wheel bearings, drum brake cam, steering head bearings, all cables, and swingarm bearings, adjust the kickstand spring, adjust the mirrors, correctly inflate the tires, air up the suspension, bleed the brakes and replace the brake fluid, check the brake master cylinder, adjust the clutch, clutch lever, throttle lever, brake levers, and shift lever, replace the fork oil, check the brake pad, adjust the drive belt... Big things right now are the shift lever adjustment (it's quite loose, needs to be tighter) and carburetor cleaning.
I'm also going to scrub off some weight. The roll bar is coming off. The rear backrest will be gone. The center stand, passenger pegs, whole rear seat sissy bar/reflector assembly, the rubber section of the rear fender, rubber on the front pegs, and the fabric strap will all be gone. The license plate will be repositioned. The seat will be neatened up. Various stickers will be removed (like break-in procedure stickers n such). The windshield will be removed when it's warmer and the bike isn't being used for long distance travelling. The tires will be scuffed to break them in and remove the nubbins. The horn transducers (which are in stock condition after all) will be moved down and back. Various other little bits will come off.
As far as mods, I may be doing the airbox mod--drilling for airflow. I may be reducing the muffler baffles. Not sure about power increases from this, but there's no question it would sound better. I'll be running the tires a little over. I'll be running pretty tight on the front suspension (heavier fork oil and high air pressure in the forks). I may have the carbs rejetted (going to run it a little rich, even in the summer, regardless of whether I rejet or not), may have the timing advanced a little, may install a K&N filter. I may have the front and rear fender, engine covers, and tank painted black. I'm going to use 93 for a while. The bike is only going to get non-synthetic oil. The plugs will be NGK D9s at .28.
I'm going to do a full clean and polish job on every part of the bike. No surface will be untouched by whatever cleaning or polishing tool I'm using.
I'll more or less chart my progress here on the diary. One day this will be part of a website about my bike and future bikes. I hope to have the thing all dressed up and humming better than ever by mid January.
Okay. But that's not all. I also have taken home a Dodge Stealth Twin Turbo. Yessir. Black. Fast. Handles like it's on rails. Racing clutch (ouch, my foot!).
The RX-7 is now sitting in front of my family's house. A guy at a tire place has said he'll buy it. He wants it for racing. I'm going to miss it. It's going to be one of those cars I'll think about in 5 years, 10 years, and wish I still had. It is true the Stealth and Vette are more powerful and can move quicker. It's also true that they both run out of breath near their redline.
The RX-7 has such immediate throttle response and pulls incredibly linearly to redline and beyond. The Vette and Stealth engines are also reciprocating motors, which means they have parts that move back and forth, more and more rapidly as redline is approached. This makes them waste a lot of energy reversing direction, puts an artificial limit on how high they can rev, and makes them rough at high RPMs. The RX-7 just keeps humming along with absolutely NO reciprocating parts anywhere in the driveline. This makes it very efficient (not gas mileage-wise, this is a different concept), lets it rev well past redline (I've been up past 9000 before; redline is 7000), and gives it unparallelled smoothness no piston engine can match. They also can't touch the RX-7's symphonic engine sonically. What a great sounding beast!!
The RX-7's power is incredible. So linear, so usable, so immediate. The Stealth, by comparison, is much harder to use effectively, and also much harder to have fun with. For one thing, the engine note is very weak. I don't like quiet cars. I like that engine communicating to me the whole time, urging me on. Next, the Stealth is a pretty underpowered car (well, it still has better power to weight than most of the unfun econo-specks on the road) without its twin sequential turbochargers. Sometimes turbo lag is evident, and so the power is not always immediate.
Next, the Stealth's handling is obnoxiously good. By this I mean, it is almost impossible to get it to let go of the road. The thing has 4-wheel drive, 4-wheel steering, and some of the tightest suspension components on the road. I have yet to get it to slide at all!! I'm not sure there's anything it can't do on dry pavement. It has ZERO body roll and simply GOES exactly where you move the steering wheel, never mind the fact you're going 120 mph. Remember Tron? This thing feels like it handles like those weird cycles they had.
But is that a good thing? Around a racetrack, the MUCH more tossable Vette would smoke the Stealth, simply because there is no drifting on the Stealth. I have the feeling once the Stealth's stratospheric cornering limits are reached, it lets go violently, while the Vette, and to an even greater extent, the RX-7, can easily and predictably be tossed around the track or the road. I have fun in the RX-7 being a hooligan and swinging the tail out. These things aren't possible in the Stealth. It's just not as fun to drive.
The clutches on the two are complete opposites. The Stealth has had an Exedy racing clutch fitted. The engagement is about a third of an inch and the force required to hold the clutch is shocking until you get used to it. There simply is NO way to slip the clutch on the Stealth. The RX-7 has a great, heavy flywheel effect and about 3 inches of engagement. The feel is firm but reasonable. It can be gainfully slipped (although sometimes bad slipping occurs on hot days).
Other drawbacks of the Stealth include lighter steering (I love the heavy, unpowered, meaty steering of the Rixxer), no tape player (broken), mandatory one minute-plus warmup and cool down periods (must stop driving every 30 minutes to cool for one minute, must let car idle for a bit longer than a minute before shutting off the engine), the windows no longer roll down (sucks, I love driving with the windows open even on cool days), insurance is more expensive (something to do with having 320 horsepower) and premium gas is absolutely required (94 is recommended, unfortunately, I live in a smallish, unsophisticated, truck-dominant town and we only have 91 and 93).
In the end, I'm making the responsible decision giving up my favorite vehicle in the world. The Stealth is unquestionably a more reliable car in almost every way (well, except for the turbochargers... heck, that Wankel was bulletproof), has air conditioning, has a more intact interior, can actually stay on the road in wet conditions, has functional wipers, has no trouble passing inspection, gets better gas mileage (offset by the premium gas though) and in the end has more passing power. Hopefully I can have half of it paid off before its first breakdown.
Driving the Vette was odd. I went pretty slow because my father was keeping the bike down. The thing is as docile and quiet and comfortable and roomy as a Cadillac (except the seats actually support your body) when driven without any spiritedness. Passing is absolutely effortless in ANY gear. The suspension is the best I've ever felt. Bumps are taken care of easily, with a quiet, dull thud. There is no rebound at all. It's the smoothest ride ever. The torque is so great and the need to shift so negligible, that it becomes boring to drive it on the street. In my RX-7, I ALWAYS downshifted to pass, sometimes all the way down to 3rd. I had to actually drive the car to keep it in the lane. There was interaction and feedback. In the Vette, just stick it in 6th and forget. You don't even have to touch the steering wheel. It's kind of sanitized. The power is overwhelming, and you could never push the car very hard on the street, unline the Rixxer. I guess I preferred the powerband to that of the Stealth, and I definitely liked the looser handling. I dunno... I would have bought a Porsche or BMW with my $50,000.
The bike show was awesome!! Wowiewowow. I met my friend livinonedge/85 Ninja 900 (he changed his name after buying the bike), whose real name is Jonathan. Really cool guy, a real enthusiast. I sat on a Hayabusa. Saw some amazing custom sportbikes. Did a little pre-pre-shopping for the future. I really like the SV650!! They had a race bike outside which was phenomenally loud and snarly. Yah!! I sat on a ZX-6R, my supersport streeter of choice. The blue ZX-6R is stunning. I also got to see the awesome Aprilia Falco, my choice for coolest super twin sportbike. Great show.
Family news. Kody is home from the Army for two weeks. He broke some guy's nose and jaw and gave him a concussion, but it was in self-defense, so no charges. Quentin (dust) has lost his scholarships. Kristen is moving to Utah. duo is getting Paint Shop Pro 7 and an MP3 player for Xmas. I watched a GP 500 (two stroke) bike race--it's too bad the EPA outlawed two strokes for street use (since the new direct injection two strokes are extrememly clean), as a two stroke makes about three times the power of a comparably-sized four stroke engine. Those bikes were FLYING around the track. 170 on the straights. We watched a movie called "SLC Punk". I had a flat tire last week.
Last weekend I had to put up with coworkers. People who have no real interests. No hobbies. On break they talked about jobs. One morbidly obese man kept stating for everyone that he really didn't want to come work, but "$9 an hour talks". Yah, it sure does. Here's what it says to me: "you, nepenthe, can make much more money doing something you enjoy which lets you use your generous intelligence and competence and doesn't wear out your mind talking to the dullest people on earth and your body laboring at something which by rights a robot could (and should) be doing... you need to get the education and get into something which is not only far more lucrative but also enables you to be challenged mentally".
I got several bits of positive feedback on my last post, the bike pic/lyrics combo page. Maybe I'll do it again in a week or two. I need to post the FJ1100, as that is just about the baddest bike I've ever seen and a big part of my childhood.
I found a site that has some sounds of cruisers fitted with their pipes. Some of them are wild, but this one is pretty mild. It's a Virago 750 with normal cut pipes. They have 1600s with drag pipes, but that's just outrageous. Oh, it helps to have good speakers for this, and it should play right in WinAmp.
Ah yes, the snow and ice. So the weather has gone south lately. Last week we had snow. And ice. And I was pretty much grounded, as I'm not going to risk taking my car out on the ice. It has trouble enough on wet pavement, and with its low polar moment of inertia, it's a death trap on ice. This week, it won't be above 49 degrees, and the wind is ugly. The low on Friday is going to be 12 with high winds (wind chill negative teens) One of these days it will be nice though. 73 degrees no breeze sunny sky dry nice. Not that I'm going to be a fair-weather only rider, but I want some experience in optimum conditions under my belt first.
Florida. Supreme court ended it. Bush won. Gore conceded. As I predicted, much lobbying of electors has gone on. It remains to be seen whether the lobbying has been effective or not. The margin of victory for Bush is tiny. There's a lot of stuff to talk about, including appointees, Lieberman, the Supreme Court, and Congressional Democrats... but I'm going to sit on the whole thing for at least a week and see what is still worth mentioning.
UT is slow again, because of the job and the bike n stuff and Xmas coming up... but it'll heat up soon again. I've been playing some of the 5 Cubes contest maps. There is some excellent fun to be had in some of those! Some bizarre but great mods are coming out early next year.
This will be the last post for at least a week I believe. Probably on Xmas I will post again.