V-Strom 650 || Modifications || Reducing Buffeting Part 2 – Rick’s Mirror Extenders

I finally got around to installing Ricks Mirror extenders from www.adventuretech.biz

Continuing on from my earlier article on the Windshield replacement, I look forward to seeing how much the dirty wind around my helmet has reduced. It had already reduced significantly thanks to the Givi – I can now listen to my favorite podcasts (On Point – Tom Ashbrook by NPR) on my Sena headset, which I could not do before while on the Stock windshield….

Removing the stock mirror – you actually don’t need to separate the two pieces like I did – Learn from my missteps ! 🙂

The removed stock rear view mirror, and it’s parts (I wrongly separated the stalk from the lowest screw nut)

Rick’s extenders come with a nice spacer that sits atop the stock female thread on the handlebar

You need to place the new black spacer on top of this female thread, and use Rick’s extended long bolt.

You simply put the space over the female thread, use Rick’s long bolt to secure the extended piece ; You need to use an 8MM Allen key to tighten up the bolt.

The new, installed mirror extender! Super sexy & looks stock 🙂 . You just need to install back the mirror stalk onto this extender. Use blue loctite if needed

That’s it! Now you can screw back in the stock mirror stalk into the female thread on Rick’s extender. Done ! The improved visibility is nothing short of amazing.

Additional Pics to follow :-

Improved rear visibility! Vastly better. I no longer see just my shoulders 😀

Regards,
Vishnu
‘thepaleobiker’

V-Strom 650 || Modifications || Reducing Buffeting Part 1 – Givi D260ST Tall windshield

The majority of Strom owners have experienced ‘buffeting’ on their rides, especially at speeds greater than 50 MPH. There have been numerous theories as to how/why this happens, but the common wisdom & consensus revolves around the following main reasons :-

1) Stock Windshield & mounting bracket locations cause ‘dirty’ turbulent air to flow up to the rider’s helmet causing a majority of the buffeting effect (potentially resolved using aftermarket brackets such as MadStad & aftermarket windshields)

2) Stock mirror stems are aerodynamically in a bad spot, and these add to the turbulence felt at the helmet (resolved by using different mirrors such as Aprilla Mirrors, or by using a simple genius mirror extender such as Rick’s Extenders)

When I got the bike, it already had the excellent MadStad Brackets on them. These help provide different adjustments to the windshield, and helps the rider find a good sweet spot tailored to their riding style, their torso/seat height etc. I had a horrid time on the freeway with the stock windshield 🙁 so I decided to get a taller touring one installed.

While researching potential windshield replacements, I decided on the Givi D260ST in particular for its excellent price ($119 shipped from Revzilla) and also because I did not need an adjustable windshield like the AirFlow ‘AF’ windshields given I already had my MadStad.

The Givi D260ST Tall windshield is 7″ higher than stock and rather wider too. I took some pictures that might help you get a sense for how much taller/wider this is compared to the stock.

Results – Part 1

1) So far, the buffeting/wind turbulence around my helment has already reduced significantly thanks to the Givi – I can now listen to my favorite podcasts (On Point – Tom Ashbrook by NPR) on my Sena headset, which I could not do before while on the Stock windshield….

2) The Givi had to be slightly coerced into attaching on the Madstad (fits tightly), nothing that should be concerning. Just a good tight fit!

The below pictures are self explanatory, and should be helpful to anyone looking to get this cheap simple windshield alternative.

Stock vs Givi D260ST – 1

Stock vs Givi

Stock vs Givi D260ST – 2

Side view comparison

Givi on MadStad Lowest & Straight Up

 

Givi on MadStad Lowest & Pulled Back all the way

 

Givi on MadStad Highest & Straight Up

Givi on MadStad Highest & Pulled Back all the way

 

 

 

 

Hope this helps you and your v strom! 🙂

Regards,
Vishnu
‘thepaleobiker’

V-Strom 650 || Modifications || Installing LED H4 Headlights : Part 1

I’ve been researching LED headlight replacements for my V Strom for a while now. The key benefits are two-fold :-

  1. Lowered Power Consumption (Stock Halogen Bulbs consume 55W, while the LEDs consume 35W-40W depending on the model)
  2. Improved Light Output (LED bulbs convert more of that input power into useful light energy)

Finally I received the LED headlights on 7th March 2016. The packaging was pretty decent, and the LED bulb looks well constructed.

Amazon buying link 
http://www.amazon.com/Headlight-Evitek-6500K-Easy-Installed-4500LM/dp/B017M566T4/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1451400580&sr=8-3&keywords=EVITEK%20h4&tag=viglink20849-20

4 LED chips per bulb

A funky shield the seems to hover above one set of bulbs

Initial thoughts on construction of the ballast – positive. Looks waterproofed and well constructed.

I’ve attached a short video of the bulb below, and some pictures…it was raining the entire night so I got some video but it just looks funky and psychedelic 

YouTube video overview of LED

Pictures of the bulb/packaging

Boxed LED H4 Bulbs

 

Opened the Box, 2 well packaged LED bulbs

 

 

A closer look at the bulb
A closer look at the “Shield” on the LED

The “SHIELD” is clearly visible…

The shield from a head-on view

 

I finally got around to installing the LED Headlights a few days later – 😀 😀 spoiler : The lights are pretty good!

I’ve tried to document the steps below for the v strom, so that changing bulbs (to another halogen or new LED bulb) should be easy.

I read the procedure on the owner’s manual

V Strom Headlight Removal – Owners Manual

Step 1 – Disconnect socket/power plug (3 point) from headlight

Before disconnecting

A look at the OEM Stock Bulb Housing

After disconnecting

After disconnecting the Power Harness

Step 2 – Remove rubber boot. This is a very simple process; at the top of the boot and around the boot, there are extensions/flaps of rubber that you can pull on. Gently pull them off all across the circumference of the boot, and it should simply come off.

Removing the rubber boot

After the boot is removed, you can see the H4 halogen held by the brass clip

Step 3 & 4 – undo the brass clip by pushing into it and over the edge holding it, and it swings open free. You can now simply pull out the bulb.

Un clipped

Bulb comes out easy, twist it and pull it out

The SHIELD on the LED now makes sense ! It’s very similar to the OEM bulb halogen shield….

Step 5 – place the LED bulb into the slot and out the brass clip back on. This step is tricky because you’ve to massage the clip over the big hump of the LED fan. But if you gently massage the clip over this hump, it gets over it. Just be a little patient 🙁 I took most of my time here

Step 6 – UPDATE : I’ve come to realize that you do not need to cut/modify the rubber boot, and that you can detach the fan base from the main LED, and put the rubber boot back on it, and then install the fan back on.

 

I went ahead and Cut the rubber boot! Please follow this only if you are unable to remove the fan base. Cutting this is easy. I just gauged the diameter I needed to cut by eyeing it…And I cut it off using a pair of heavy duty scissors


Another look at what I cut off

Step 7 – Slide the plug+ ballast through this cut hole, and push the rubber boot back on. it should be the same snug fit as before.


Step 8 – Final step! Connect the plug power into the ballast socket, and zip tie the ballast (it’s light weight..) to anything that clears the turning of the handlebars& forks. Be careful not to snag on anything.

Video – Comparison of light color difference between stock & LED

Video – Comparison of light beam pattern between stock (left) and LED (right side)
The LED beam is surprisingly close to stock beam pattern.

Video – Comparison of both LED headlights together, beam pattern, it’s very tightly grouped, not much stay lighting ! Looks really good together.

UPDATE : Ride Video Comparison

I’m plenty pleased with the light results. I hope this blog post helps anyone out there looking to use LED headlights :).

Regards,
Vishnu

Motorcycle Riding 101 : Evaluating the ‘RISK’ of Motorcycle Riding (and educate oneself)

“Motorcycles – those sexy, dangerous machines! People who ride them surely are modern gladiators, fighting for their lives and avoiding deadly events every second they’re on their machine! They’re crazy people! I bet they’re also sexy & awesome! ”

The above description is a mild exaggeration of the standard Western view of 2-Wheelers & their riders – partially true (yes, especially that last statement) and partially folklore. Make no mistake though – Motorcycling is a dangerous means of transport/hobby and comes with inherently higher risk compared to alternatives. But like quite a lot of ‘risks’ in life, awareness of the same and means to mitigate them can help us enjoy that wonderful hobby/passion while minimizing the risk involved. We shall look at some of these ‘dangers’ and try to affix a number to the motorcycling risk, compared to driving a passenger car/4-wheeler.

Motorcycle Market Size in US

In the US, total new motorcycle sales were about 0.5 million in 2013 , compared to 17 million new cars sold  in the same period. That comes out to being 3 motorcycles sold for every 100 cars!

USA - 100 new cars sold to every 3 new motorcycles
USA – 100 new cars sold to every 3 new motorcycles

Motorcycle Market Size in Developing Nations (India as example)

Things are very different in other parts of the world – For example, in developing nations, motorcycles & scooters are a much higher proportion of total vehicle sales, driven by the much lower cost of ownership of a 2-wheeler and the gradually improving road infrastructure. Taking the example of India, there were 16 Million 2-wheelers sold in 2014, while only about 1.8 Million cars were sold in the same year!
That’s roughly 9 motorcycles sold for every car sold in India.

9 New Motorcycles sold for every new 4-Wheeler sold in India
9 New Motorcycles sold for every new 4-Wheeler sold in India

Evaluating Risk in Motorcycling

The absence of an interaction with a motorcycle can create a wonder (fear) of the unknown. So is the conventional argument ‘Stay Away from a Motorcycle, It is Dangerous!’ true? Well, DEFINITELY YES.

A US NHTSA Study in 2008 showed that there were 72 fatal accidents per 100,000 registered motorcycles, while for the number was 12 fatal accidents per 100,000 registered passenger cars. This gives us fair idea of the higher risk involved in motorcycling. However, this risk does not take into account factors such as rider awareness, Helmet wear vs no helmet, and riding a 2-wheeler under the influence of alcohol/drugs. Lets take a look at that :-

The same 2008 NHTSA study gives us the following risk-related stats :-
1) 41% of fatal motorcycle accidents in USA involved NO HELMET
2) 30% of fatal accidents involved BAC (blood alcohol content) > 0.08, meaning they were Under the Influence of Alcohol
3) Among fatal motorcycle accidents involving 2 vehicles, 41% were due to a vehicle turning left/passing/overtaking while the motorcycle was going straight (the classic “I didnt see the motorcycle at all?” argument )

US NHTSA Study of Vehicular Accidents 1997 & 2007
US NHTSA Study of Vehicular Accidents 1997 & 2007

Ways to Mitigate & Minimize Risk

1) BE SEEN – Wear Hi-Viz attire, Helmets, improving lighting on the motorcycle (AUX Lights, running lights etc). Hi-Viz (high visibility NEON Yellow as an example) colors help catch the eye of the vehicles around you. Conspicuous lights on the motorcycle help you be seen better (most motorcycles have just 1 headlight, and is easily missed by oncoming traffic). Reflective Tape & Stickers help you shine through when other vehicles are near you.

2) BE AWARE – Every motorcyclist needs to be highly aware of the road situation around them. Heightened awareness comes from expecting the unknown; being ready for that car to jump out of the driveway even though they may be looking at you. 4-Wheeler drivers (including yours truly) are guilty of being distracted thanks to food, music, mobile devices, cozy seating & A/C etc.

3) UPGRADE YOUR RIDING SKILLS – The ability to lean into a curve feels great! But the same ability can also help you evade a lousy driver ahead of you incorrectly coming into your lane, or a nasty piece of wood/rock lying right in your path on the road ahead of you. Do the MSF Safety courses atleast once every Year or two. Do the Advanced course if you’ve already done the basic course. Skills can save lives.

I hope this article puts forth the many varied dangers involved in motorcycling. The awareness & knowledge of these dangers will hopefully educate you, and help you be a better rider/help you make the right decisions, so you can enjoy the beautiful sport of motorcycling.

#WHYWERIDE

Ending on a positive note – A video on Motorcycling Touring 🙂

How to be cozy & warm riding your motorcycle in Winter

Whenever I get my motorcycle gear out in November-through-March, especially at work, I generally face a common question/statement – “Oh Gosh! It must be terrible riding in the cold! Do you feel cold?”

Its not easy to answer that question with a one liner reply, and I shall explain why it is so; What does the question ‘do you feel cold’ mean? If I consider the overall state of my body, the answer is a straightforward NO 🙂 However, I will admit with an honest grin, that my neck and occasionally my nose do get cold.

Despite the ‘localized’ cold sensation, the riding experience is pretty much still a wonderfully pleasurable one. I spent a whole season in the great mid-west winter of 2014/2015  trying to figure out the best way to make motorcycling work during the cold times. When it snows hard (> 4 inches makes it dangerous enough for a 2-wheeler) and the streets are not cleared, there’s very little a puny one-wheel drive machine can do! 🙁 sigh. Submit to the powers of nature! (and rant at the City municipality for not pre-salting the streets enough…) But if there is no snow on the roads, then motorcycling is very very doable and enjoyable! (pardon my runny nose, dear friends)

These are some of the more important and useful tips I’ve come across through trial & error :-

1) ELECTRIC HEATED GLOVES (BIGGEST DIFFERENCE MAKER FOR SUB-40S TEMPERATURE)

Heated Gloves are the simplest & easiest upgrade, one that makes a great difference. You need to get a ‘Heat Controller’ that wires into the battery, and you get to control the heat setting using the heat-troller.

Gerbing Heated Gloves
Gerbing Heated Gloves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve personally been hugely impressed with Gerbing gear; However, all the big name companies make excellent heated gear. Pick your favorite ones!

Optional : Heated Vest and pants liner, Heated Grips, Heated Seats

2) SOLID WINTER WEATHER/3 SEASON JACKET & PANTS

One absolutely needs proper Winter Jackets & Pants if one is riding in a cold area (cold = Temps below 50 F /10 C) – The wind cuts through summer mesh jackets real easy.

Winter Motorcycle Jackets
Winter Motorcycle Jackets

You need Cordura based outer gear (my favorites are Olympia Gear) but good winter gear made from leather also exists. Either way, make sure your gear is meant for the cold!

Optional : Layering up with additional base layers & sweaters can extend the duration of that winter ride

3) SNOWMOBILE HANDLEBAR MITTS (YEAH!!)

These are amazing ways to save those cold hands from getting too cold; even with the heated gloves, there is a chance that you are perhaps a little more cold-sensitive or that perhaps the wind chill is too great a factor that gloves themselves are not enough.

Handlebar Muffs !
Handlebar Muffs !

4) WINTER/WATER-PROOF MOTORCYCLING BOOTS

A proper pair of Winter Boots are again key to stay warm. You know the old addage – keep your ears, hands and feet warm!

Alpinestars Ridge WP Boots
Alpinestars Ridge WP Boots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5) BALACLAVA / FACE & NECK WARMER

A face & neck warmer is again super useful especially under a pin-lock inserted full face helmet. The extra warmth helps a ton on long rides, when the cold can creep in through the thickest of helmets…. 🙁

Head & Neck Warmer
Head & Neck Warmer

 

Optional : A Good old woolen scarf around the neck

Thanks for reading the article! What other techniques do you use? please share your wisdom in the comments below! 🙂

– Vishnu