30 January, 2011

Twisting the Tiger's tail – Day 74

Odo 953

The DS has a very mild hit off the line. Wheelstands are out. The throttle ramp is just too slow.

So now that the magazine shoot is over I can start to consider customisation. I could see a flash of blue under the yellow of the Delta-Q charger. I think it's an alltrax and if it is I should be able to reprogramme it. http://www.alltraxinc.com/Products_ControllerPro.html

To be sure I need to get a good look at it. There should be an LED near the large electrical connectors that gives a flash code but I can't see it. So time to crawl under the bike with a camera (my eyes aren't that good close up and I'm too lazy/vain to get glasses)

Looks pretty clear that it's an AXE 4855. I don't know what the “R5” means but it comes up on the dash during start up so it must be significant in some way. 4855 means that it's a 48 volt controller that does 500 amps. The throttle response rate is programmable so I should be able to get it wheelstanding. That would make it much more useful off road. Not sure if I want to void my warranty right now, so I'm going to think about it for a while. I haven't actually *needed* to pop the wheel up yet.

21 January, 2011

15 Minutes of Fame - Day 65

Odo 899

Today was the day. I've been hanging out for the magazine shoot. I didn't feel like the bike was really mine. I needed to keep it standard (and clean!) but I'm a bit of a fiddler. Tom from Trail Bike Adventure Magazine turned up http://www.tbam.com.au/blog and turned out to be the nicest guy. Very rushed but so willing to put himself out to explain just what was going on and the background of what he was doing.

I wheeled out the bike for him while he got his riding gear so he could take it for a quick street ride. Normally I never move a bike without shoes, but of course with all the excitement I did...

Wow that meaty sidestand makes a mess of your foot if you run it through the side. The boss reckons I'm bunging it on again, but it's bloody sore. I don't think I broke any bones because it doesn't flex funny, but it sure feels like I have. I asked if we had any bandages (as I wanted to strap it up before I put it in a boot). “Don't waste a bandage! Put a bloody bandaid on it!”

So 4 bandaids put it back together, I slipped on my riding gear and we were off.

I took him to the local mountainbike track. A little naughty but it was close, it was interesting and it was compact making the shoot easier.

Much photography was committed and then he took it for a ride.

Instant convert.

He must have ridden thousands of different motorcycles but that wide eyed enthusiasm is normally reserved for people on their first ever ride. I'm waiting for the article but the first impression I got from watching him get off the bike was bubbling joy. It's what I've been saying about these electric thingos. Nothing you read and no amount of research (and he's done a lot of both) prepares you for the reality of how damn nice these things are to ride. I'm really hoping that an experienced journo can put that joy, that he so clearly felt, down in words. I've tried but I know I've failed.

20 January, 2011

I know a seeecret – Day 64

Odo 884

I've just been let in on a secret that will be quite big news in the electric motorcycle world. By the time I can tell it will be common knowledge. But remember, you didn't hear it here first.

19 January, 2011

20/20 Hindsight – Day 63

Odo 884

I've got the new riding gear as I mentioned before. One of the side effects is that without the bulky jacket I can now see past my arms.

It's meant that I'm now using the mirrors. Unlike every other motorcycle I've ever had, I can actually see things in the mirrors. It's great. A completely clear view of what's happening behind me without turning 'round or looking under my arm.

It's only a little thing but it just makes the bike so much more pleasant to ride than anything else. Even if it cost more for a battery bike (which it might, I'm still not sure), I'd be happy to pay the extra. I couldn't see myself ever going back to petrol except in the most niche situations.

17 January, 2011

Tyred by the Police – Day 61

Odo 864

I mentioned that I was having trouble finding a front tyre. http://zerods.blogspot.com/2010/12/tyred-and-confused-day-27.html

I saw a picture of the new Zero DS Police Special on the net

I was well impressed, there is the tyre that I've been looking for. An exact match for the rear. I've emailed Phil from Zero to see if I can get them as a spare part. I'll let you know how I get on.

16 January, 2011

We don't serve your kind here – Day 60

Odo 849

Got visitors in the house this weekend, nine visitors. The place is a mad house. I have been short on sleep and I don't cope well with that. Last night two of them had a domestic and the kids of various ages were all up and jumping around (5-25 year olds). I tried to go to bed early but it was hopeless so I decided to go for a ride and clear my head.

I wheeled out the Zero and rolled silently into the night. There are no good rider's roads within range of either my wakefulness or my battery so I just rolled along next to the river. The moonlight glistened and my spirits rose.

I realised that I was thirsty. Really thirsty. I resolved to stop at the next available purveyor of beverages. Sadly that turned out to be the 24 hour McDonalds. Oh well. I also had a rather acid stomach and I thought something milky might settle it down.

So I stopped next to the Highway Patrol cars that had met up for a midnight picnic and got them to watch the bike while I slipped into the place. I could see the lights on and customers inside but the auto doors refused to respond to my waving distress. I realised I'd missed them and they were closed. However the drivethrough was open. Saved. I walked around there.

HELLO” I chirped brightly to the unseeing eye of the microphone.

I'm sorry we don't serve walkthroughs”. Clearly I was visible to an unseen camera.

Recognising immediately the futility of arguing my case to a 14 year old that was following orders I apologised and retreated.

So, I'm right in front of two Highway Patrol cars... I'm not going to ride in without my helmet. So it's on with the helmet and on with the gloves. I know that I'm not going to be able to carry a drink on the bike (they forgot cup holders) but I figure I'll make do. There's no clutch after all. Nip round to the drivethrough entrance, this time accompanied by my trusty steed.


Welcome to McDonalds, what can I get for you tonight”.

So I'm now acceptable. I place my order for a small chocolate thickshake.

That's a Large then?”

No, a small”

Choc Thickshake Med” appears on the screen.

After convincing them that is all I want I'm instructed to advance to the payment window where I'm greeted warmly by said 14 year old. (who actually looks about 20, I suppose 14 year olds aren't allowed to work the night shift). She informs me my purchase is $3.75 which seems a lot for sugary ice slurry. Of course I can't balance the bike while extracting my wallet from my back pocket and I can't extract notes from said wallet with my gloves on. Nor can I carry on a conversation with my helmet on. So I get off the bike (instantly converting myself back into a pedestrian) and take off my helmet and gloves, retrieve my wallet, pay and accept the change. Again I'm thanked warmly and instructed to go to the next window to pick up my meal. I sense a script being followed. I'm briefly struck with sympathy for the prematurely aged 14 year old but that feeling is overwhelmed by embarrassment as I see the line of cars waiting behind me while I re-don my helmet and gloves in readiness for the 20 foot journey to the next window.

There I'm handed the flimsiest plastic cup I've ever seen. Someone has worked out how to save 0.001 cents per cup by making it thinner. It's clear that I'm not going to be able to “make do” and carry it in my left hand. It's flexing alarmingly under the pressure of my simply holding it while standing still. So I balance it on a fencepost and ride the bike back out from the drivethrough then walk back against the flow to recover my drink.

By this time I could have ridden home and had something there, so I wasn't dying of thirst as I'd feared but it was very welcome all the same.

Bike continues to run faultlessly and has restored my sense of balance which is after all, what motorcycles are for.

11 January, 2011

Ninja Rider – Day 55

Odo 783

Haven't been riding much. It's been a time for family and friends so I've been driving them around in the Dinoburner.

As well it's been hot. Not super hot, but quite unpleasantly hot. I don't ride without some sort of protection and since I haven't commuted by bike for quite some time I had three options drafted from my other motorcycling activities. Full dirtbike gear, which made me look like I'd taken a wrong turn just before the start gate, one piece road race leathers, that made me look like I'd taken a wrong turn at the end of the main straight and touring clobber that made me look like I'd taken a wrong turn in the Hindu Kush.

I really didn't know what else to wear as there's very little on the market for commuters in tropic (well sub tropic) climes. Christmas came to the rescue as we were shopping for a chrissy present for the oldest boy and settled on a pair of Dragin Jeans brand kevlar lined pants. I got on their website http://www.dragginjeans.net/product/k-shirt and stumbled upon their “K” line of clothes. K-shirt, K-gloves and K-pants. Perfect for me! They were a bit eye wateringly expensive. The gloves were ok at 35 dollars but the pants and shirt were over 200 each. They're 100% knitted kevlar. I would have thought they'd be kevlar yellow but they're black and when I put the whole lot on I look like a Ninja. (well in my mind I do anyway). Getting a bit of reality, I think actually it looks like the tracksuit fairy has visited.  I think you're supposed to wear street clothes over them, but it's too hot for that.  My street clothes are shorts and tee shirt.  I can't imagine what a sight I'd be wearing shorts over track pants.

It's fantastic to ride in. Very strange experience to feel the wind flowing over you. So much cooler than either the leathers or the heavy touring jacket.

I'm back at work now and I'm wearing the shirt and gloves to work. Worn that way the shirt looks like a rather nice long sleeve pullover/jumper.

I don't know what they're like when you're sliding down the road and I hope that I don't find out either. Still they should be a lot better than nothing and they're better than passing out from the heat while riding.

Bike continues to run perfectly.

04 January, 2011

I'm Back – Day 48

Odo 748

Well nothing to report. I've been off work for a couple of weeks and anywhere I've needed to go I've generally been taking one or more passengers. No-one in their right mind would get on the back of a bike with me even if there was a pillion seat (which there isn't). I'm really struggling to think of something exciting or funny, but I've got nothing. Still I never promised that this would be a daily report.