Sunday, October 26, 2014

Can Am safer?

After several requests, I am going to try and explain how the Can Am motorcycle is different than a regular bike...  Other than it has three wheels which is obvious....  LOL..



But what about those three wheels, ?? aren't they what makes it safer?  Well maybe..  But it won't fall over...  Well neither will a regular two wheel bike if you are going faster than about 5 miles an hour...

The gyroscopic effect of the wheels spinning keeps them standing up..  This is also true for your bicycle...  If you fall over while going forward, its usually because you ran into something or something ran into you...

Now on particularly heavy bikes, like the Goldwing and Harley Davidson touring bikes, they can manifest that  heaviness  when you are sitting stopped..  And once leaned over too far, you may not be able (strong enough) to keep them upright...  But no one gets overly hurt just from tipping over at a stop light....  Embarrassing however....!

What makes motorcycles unsafe, is that you are not protected from other vehicles while sitting out in the open...  Not inside of a vehicle like a car or a truck..  Thus you are ejected from an impact...  This would be just as true on the Can Am..  So if you feel safer on the trike, it might be in your mind...

But wait, aren't tikes unsafe because they will tip over toward the end with only one wheel...?  Well perhaps if you are still riding a kids trike.. But motorcycle trikes are quite long, and designed with the two wheel axle to be long enough that this isn't a problem..   Unless of course you are hit by a car, which will lift the wheels off of the ground..  But then we are back to the same thing......  getting hit by another vehicle is the major danger...  trike or bike it is the same thing...

What makes the Can Am different is that the two wheels are in the front.. This is a selling point that the machine will not tip over from the forces of traveling forward...  But this also makes the machine feel like it is an off road quad bike..  NOT a Motorcycle!!  And for that very reason, motorcycle purists won't like the machine...

Quite frankly, it feels a lot like a snowmobile to me...  The big rear tire has about the same sensation as the snow belt, and the two front wheels feel like the skis do as they keep you from tipping from side to side....   But on a snowmobile, you do tip and raise a ski from the snow at times..  But the forces needed to raise a Can Am wheel are counteracted by a computer operated Vehicle Stability System....

This is similar to modern traction control systems..  What it does is add braking, and adjust the throttle independent of the inputs of the rider..  This keeps the wheels planted on the roadway at all times..

Steering.  Remember this is not a motorcycle, so it steers like a car or quad bike.. It does not require counter steer to cause the bike to lean into a corner..  Actually the bike leans away from a corner and compresses the springs on that outer side a bit...  This can be discomforting at first as you feel like you might fly off toward the outside of the turn...  So you tend to lean your body toward the inside of the turn...

Brakes.  You don't have a handle bar brake lever...  Braking is done with a single pedal on your right foot...   Again the computer is adjusting how much braking each wheel uses...  This was quite apparent at a rapid stop when a light changed in front of me in traffic..  The brakes were  variably applied by the computer brain to keep me going in a straight line...

But that straight line was effected by my inputs..  The steering is power assisted as the front wheels are larger and wider than a motorcycle...  I was then adding too much input and the assist was causing me to wander...  I had this same problem when I first went highway speeds...  I was over correcting and wandering around in my lane on the road...  It will take some time to get this feel under my belt.

Engine and transmission.  The engine is a Rotax 1330 ccd three cylinder inline..  This is bigger than last years 998 V twin..  With the extra cylinder and more displacement, the engine develops more bottom end torque..  This minimizes the amount of rpms needed to develop power in each gear..  The older engine required larger rpms to maintain speed..

Shifting.  The newer bikes come without a clutch lever...  The conventional manual and clutch is available, but the dealer said they didn't sell well against the newer semi automatic...  The transmission has 6 forward gears and a reverse..  This is controlled with a paddle shifter under the left handlebar..   Your thumb changes the gears upward and your forefinger shifts back down... Or you can just let the bike shift by itself as it slows..

So this thing is not a motorcycle! Its not a quad bike or a side by side either...!  Its somewhere in between...  It weighs about 1050 pounds and needs the newer bigger 115 hp engine..  But it gets better gas mileage with that bigger motor than its predecessors..  On the 200 mile run the other day, I used a little under 5 gallons of gas..  That is somewhere near 40 miles per gallon...  That is certainly acceptable...

I know this is a technical post and if your not that interested, you probably didin't make it to this point, but I got the idea that some folks wanted to know all of this..

Tomorrow will be an ordinary, what's going on post I promise..

Retired Rod



Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bike ride and storage lot problems..

Thursday, I went riding on the new Spyder with the Goldwing Road Rider group... I have a Goldwing and have paid this years dues, so I am a member... But I was the only non Honda in the pack...  Not too sure how they liked that.... Not the rank and file members, but the ones leading the ride..



We ended up eating lunch in a Steak house type of restaurant in Oracle Az which was 100 miles away..  This took most of the day and drove us thru many mining towns and past open pit copper mines....

What a way to get some break in miles on the new machine....  And I am not all that familiar with it, as I was struggling to steer the wide front end trike...  It has power steering assist, and is very sensitive at highway speeds...  Consequently I was over steering, or chasing the controls for a good portion of the beginning of the ride..

Friday, was power wash the motorhome out in the street in front of the house.... And we had to have a record day in October temperatures....  96 and very sunny....   I came inside and sat in front of the fan a lot with what seemed like gallons of lemonade...  I never did get the outside toweled down, so the water spots are what they are...  But its cleaner....

Late in the afternoon, I hooked mr Jeep on the back and we headed to the storage lot....  They have had their problems with folks climbing the concrete walls and breaking into things stored inside...  The lot is surrounded with razor wire on the top of the walls, but the perpetrators have been using wire cutters to cut away sections in order to get thru...

The lot owners have installed critter cameras on various permanent structures, in order to get pictures of the thieves, but that doesn't help the folks that have had their stuff damaged or taken...  This seems to be a new problem in Apache Junction since so many housing units and storage lots are unattended in the warmer times of the year...

So with trepidation, my MH is now stored with the others....

Saturday has found me cleaning the inside of the house here in Mesa...  Dust and dirt has collected for the last 6 months without a single hand to wipe things off....  And its laundry day as well...  Seems to never end...

Retired Rod

Thursday, October 23, 2014

From Mesa!

There hasn't been much to report, as the trip down the mountain into Mesa was routine...  It isn't without its moments, though... You descend down from 7600 feet to 1400 feet in about 100 miles...  Up at the top, it looks like you are in Colorado with all the lodge pole pine trees and the cool air...

You wind around doing a bunch of ridge running until you go over the side of the cliff....  Well not literally, but you go down the side of the mountain on the edge of the road built into the wall...  They use bridges to suspend the gaps between the mountain peeks... You know, standard mountain driving stuff...

I used the exhaust brake to slow my descent as I had the Jeep on the back, which is the heaviest vehicle that I have ever pulled with the front engine diesel motorhome...  Remember I have the Dodge pickup sized engine at 6.7 liters and the Jeep at 4200 pounds is right at the edge of what I can successfully pull..

But we got here Sunday afternoon and it was in the mid 90s...  Which is always a shock to the system..  Especially since those summer temperatures left the Midwest several weeks ago..  And all that stuff that was loaded into the motorhome had to come inside the house..  I say "WE" but my partner is Biscuit, and she can't carry much inside for me...  LOL

That took me a couple of days to get mostly in here...  and I was very sore in the legs from climbing up and down the steps into the coach...  The motorhome still out in front of the house and needs washed, but I got side tracked..

As you know, I couldn't pull the motorcycle and the Jeep at the same time..  And buying another Jeep for out here is out of the question based on price...  So on Tuesday I went to my Honda dealer thinking I would buy another smaller goldwing style bike...  One without the top case and many of the options..  Its called an F6B...  That is cheaper too..

But such was not to be the case, as they were out of the 2014s and the 15s won't be here for several weeks...   But what they did have on sale were Can Am Spyders....

After a day of running around getting insurance and the money lined up, this is what I brought home last night...


This is a reverse tricycle...  With two wheels in the front and only one motorcycle style wheel in the back...  It has a car tire on the back, as this doesn't lean from side to side..  Several of my brothers from the Romeo Riders have these and they really like them.....

Otherwise, I have been calling the cable TV people trying to get the internet set up which turned into and exasperating experience...   I didn't want to write another rant, so I didn't write anything...  The short story sticking strictly to the facts, was that the cable was pre wired into our house, and they told me to just hook up their box inside and all would be good to go....  Ya, right....!

After chasing phone calls and fighting over a non existent password, some how an installer that never rang my door bell must have done something outside...  Out of the blue, it started working...  I only have 4 gigs of data on my phone so for this year I have given up and went to unlimited cable internet...  That will cost more, but I shut off the cable TV service in KC so it will come out about even in price...

Perhaps we are closer to being up to date now, but stay tuned something will get messed up tomorrow for sure....

Retired Rod



Saturday, October 18, 2014

I'm outa there

I had better get to  blogging or the prophecy made by Run N Rose several days ago will come true...  She said that I would just show up in Mesa one day, as I make the trip rather quickly...

So tonight, I am in Arizona, but not in Mesa... Rather I am camped in the KOA in Holbrook...   I came from broken camper waiting for recall parts.. to being here rather quickly...

We went to the Romeo ride on Tuesday up in Northern Kansas City...  The ride was to Weston, a small village on the Missouri river...   This is a tourist community where wine making and antiques are the main items sold on the old main street...   We ate breakfast in the old cafe on that main street...

When we returned back to Southern KC I went over to the freightliner dealer to see what the current excuse would be...  But to my amazement, the coach was done!!!  Of course they didn't have time to give me a call..  He said he was just about to call me... Ya, right....

So Wednesday was the load it up day, and Thursday was load the groceries and toiletries...  Once those are in, the house is no longer where you are going to sleep that night...

So by mid afternoon, I was on my way to Wichita..   I used to stay in a very nice CG that is all concrete and irrigated grass...  No mud anywhere...  But they want $50 bucks....

But this spring, I found an old KOA that is no longer affiliated, out West of the airport... $28..  I arrived just as the sun set...  And yes my site was muddy gravel....That night, I put all the stuff away once the motorhome was opened up so that I could get to the closets and the drawers...

On Friday, I drove all the way to Tucumcari, Nm...  This is all two lane roads that are choked with heavy trucks...  Surprisingly it moves right along in the high 60s..  But the road is so rough in Oklahoma and Texas that things fell all over inside the rig..

Today (Saturday) I left about 9AM..  It was all I 40, but I went right thru Albuquerque,,,  even though it was Saturday..   I stopped for lunch at the Casino out West of town where gas was much cheaper at $2.79..  Diesel however was as much as a dollar higher in town and $3.59 at the car lanes out front of the casino...  Its so big out there, I drove the MH right thru as well...

Once out of New Mexico, I gained the second hour because Arizona doesn't have daylight saving time..  That isn't too good though, as it is only 6 PM and its already dark outside...

Biscuit is a good little traveler, but doesn't want to eat too much...  But I fooled her this noon, by putting about a teaspoon of ranch salad dressing on her dog food...  Boy that changed everything..  she ate every morsel and even licked the bowl...  I won't make a habit out of that, but she needed to eat after three days...

If all goes well, its only a short drive to the Arizona house from here..

Retired Rod