Monday, February 29, 2016

Last Sunday in February Uraling

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in the great state of Colorado.  Temperatures would range from the mid-40s to the high 50s under almost impossibly clear sunny skies.

Scarlett and I met up with Dan K and Tim L at the gas station near Morrison before 9:00 AM, the plan was to ride to the Tarryall Reservoir and introduce both Dan and Tim to the area as neither had ridden this road before.

Dan K and his

Dan showed up on two wheels, he's really loving this inexpensive 250cc motorcycle and plans to ride in with a guided group tour in Baja next week.  I am looking forward to the stories and pictures from that trip!

Tim showed up on his trusty green 2011 URAL Patrol sidecar rig and after some chatting and UDF, we got underway around 9:15 or so.  We took US 285 down towards Jefferson and the only thing of note to report on this leg of the ride was that Scarlett didn't seem to have the oomph to stay with Tim's rig on the uphill portions of US285.  Some discussion upon arrival at Jefferson and I may have to revisit the use of the present EFI mapping or perhaps switch to a more free-flowing muffler.

 In Jefferson, CO where the road to Tarryall starts.

Dan then got a pic of Tim and I by our rigs
photo courtesy of Tim L.

Tim and Dan preceded me as we wound our way down the scenic road that is Tarryall Road.  Lots of interesting rock formations, livestock in the form of horses and cattle, a winding river sometimes covered in white snow/ice; it made for pleasing scenery as we tooled along.

We soon arrived at the Tarryall Reservoir and proceeded to back our two URAL rigs down a narrow pier/spit that protruded onto the water.  I apparently need more practice backing up the rig as there were a couple of times I came very close to the edge!

 photo courtesy of Tim L.

photo courtesy of Tim L., taken by Dan K.

We left the reservoir area and soon after Tim picked a great spot to shot the scenery that was behind us, nicely illuminated by the bright sun that would sometimes cause us lighting issues with pictures later in the day.

 Rigs are pointed north alongside Tarryall Road

photo courtesy of Tim L.

Tarryall Road ends at a junction with US24 which we took towards the town of Woodland Park, but first there was a brief stop for pictures of the below mountain scene.

 Near the junction of Tarryall road and US24

photo courtesy of Tim L.

We fueled up in Woodland Park and Tim's rig took almost one gallon less than Scarlett did to fill up!  Sad.  Really must look into either going EFI mapping OR1.01 or a more free-flowing muffler.

Tim had never ridden along State Highway 67 so we twisted and turned our way through this lovely curvy road to the small community of Deckers.   Lots of "Motorcycles use extreme caution" signs due to the sharp curves!

We parked at the diner in Deckers and had us a leisurely lunch while we chatted of future plans and travels under a warm sun and cool breeze.  Lunch over, there was some more UDF to be dealt with by Tim and I about our rigs while Dan patiently waited astride his RX3 Cyclone.  

We continued on state highway 67, following the South Platte River, heading for the community of Foxton.  This was new ground for Tim as well and both he and Dan were subjected to stops by me to point out some historical stuff along with scenic spots for pics.  Surprisingly, I didn't take any pictures along this often shot route.  Here's the last time I was through here on my own:  LINK.

Tim was inspired to do climb up nearby rocks next to one of my usual stops to take this shot though:

Dan K and I along the South Platte River Road

The late afternoon lighting from the still bright sun precluded pictures at the usual spots further long this scenic roadway.  We soon came upon the junction with Foxton Road, a sometimes steep and very curvy road that ascends away from the river and eventually puts you near Conifer, CO on US285.  Quite the lovely road for some curve practice on your motorcycle by the way.

We said our goodbyes here before we all got on US 285.  Dan K would split off soon after we started taking CO 73 towards Evergreen and eventually home near Black Hawk, CO.  Tim would split off at the Morrison exit and take CO93 back towards Golden and eventually Longmont.

I stayed on US285 as it became Hampden.  As I was negotiating the heavy afternoon traffic near the junction with Broadway Boulevard; I felt the clutch go slack while going from first to second gear from a stoplight.  I couldn't shift and all kinds of bad sound noises were coming from the clutch pack area.

I stopped and looked, it felt like the same symptoms from my ride near Montezuma where the cable developed sudden slack.  I tried the same remedy of adjusting the cable and it got me a bit further down the road but still had to keep adjusting it.  Shifting gears involved quite the effort and it was definitely not smooth or quiet.  Still, while in gear, she ran smooth.   Scarlett and I limped home and some more adjustment got her to the point where I think I can get her loaded on the trailer.

More on the repairs later once I coordinate with Randy of Unique Rides.

All in all day though, a great day of riding with a couple of good riding companions!  The mechanical failures will be dealt with, and everyone got home safe.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

A Warm Winter's Day Sunset

We're having a spell of rather warm, for Winter, weather here in Colorado, it was in the 60's this evening as Scarlett and I motored out to the usual sunset viewing spot.

It was so warm, I removed the big windshield from Scarlett!

I was the first one there but was eventually joined by three other parties, two cagers and another motorcyclist, all there to enjoy the sunset.

One of the cagers decided he also wanted pictures of his ricer cage, and inadvertendly intruded into my shot.  Though slightly annoyed, I just pushed the rig further away from his cage, and all was well.  Sigh.

Anyways, it was a nice sunset, got some nice yellows and pale orange/reds as the sun set and its light lit up the sky still, well after the sunset hour.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review, Fox Racing Comp 5 Shorty Boots, one year later.

As mentioned in the posting one year ago, here's my review of the Fox Racing Comp 5 Shorty Boots.

source: google

I bought these for warm/hot weather riding as my other pair of boots get quite hot in temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.


One of the reasons I don't like Velcro fasteners, is that the Velcro material quits "grabbing" after a while.  So far, the small Velcro strap at the top of the boots is holding.  In the case of my feet, this top strap does nothing in terms of tightening as the boots are quite snug against my calves.

No tears, rips or parts coming apart.  On other boots, I've had the rubber bits come off the leather portions.

Buckles still work just fine, easy to adjust.  The top buckle is quite hard at times to engage since I've got it to provide snug support for the ankle area.

Good grip in the soles, so long as you're not walking in slick mud.  The traction is OK on snow and ice if you go really slow.

Good waterproof/resistance.  Rain isn't that common here in Colorado but I don't recall a single instance when after riding in either snow or rain where I got home and thought they weren't up to the job in keeping water out.


Still a bit warm in hot weather but bearable.  They are not vented, at all.

The boots have thick cushion pad at the top where they meet your calves.  This took a while to get used to but now I don't even think about it.

From day 1, they make my left small toe feel like is pressed into the adjoining toe when I first put the boot on.  This is just on the left boot.  The feeling goes away after walking a few feet.  

The top buckle snags sometimes on the inside lining of my riding pants, I have to reach down to adjust the pant legs up a bit, a minor annoyance.

These aren't boots one would take for long hikes, they're OK for stuff less than say 1/2 mile of walking.

The construction of the boot doesn't allow much "pointing your toe" flexibility when engaging the brake pedal on the URAL.  I've had to modify the brake pedal somewhat to get around this when using this boot.

On my R80 Beemer, gear shifting becomes a bit more of a conscious effort to make sure you get the toe of the boot in the right spot under the shift lever.  I sometimes miss the shift going from first to second at the start of a ride.


Decent boots for the money, protection appears good and comfort is good for day long rides.

The search for the perfect year-round boots, however, will continue.  On a scale of 1-10 I would rate these an 8.

 Not that aggresive a thread but works OK for me

 The thick cushion I mentioned, guys with large calves
might have issues.

 So far, the buckles and straps are holding up fine.

No real discernable wear on the shifter pad

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Minor work on Scarlett

You're probably saying, "oh oh, here we go again", something's wrong with Dom's URAL sidecar rig.

Fear not, it was a relatively minor thing and I believe already fixed.

Symptoms:  when the engine got during city driving, the clutch would not fully disengage when stopped at a stoplight and in gear.  I would have to kick the transmission lever into neutral to prevent the rig from trying to move forward and bogging down the engine.  The clutch, otherwise, behaved just fine while moving.

I got her home where she stalled while I waited, with the clutch lever pulled all the way in, while the garage door opened so I could get her parked to examine things.

Tried adjusting the clutch cable several times, but no matter how tight or loose I got it set, it would try to move forward after a few seconds and stall out.  Dammit.

I telephoned Randy, the dealer/owner of Unique Rides in Fort Collins and describe the symptoms. Along with removing the clutch cable to check its length against the spare cable I had on hand, he recommended checking the thrust ball bearing assembly which is part of the clutch actuating mechanism on Scarlett. (see diagram below)

So I loosened up the clutch cable in order to remove the clutch actuating lever and get at the thrust ball bearing assembly:  parts 4 through 7 in the diagram below.

Once I had removed the Clutch Release lever (12) and slider (9),  I extracted the thrust bearing assembly (14). It became immediately obvious that this was the problem.

Two Tip Aseemblies (14)
The one on the left is good:  Two washers sandwiching a ball bearing
race assembly(5).  The one on the right is missing the ball bearing race assembly
and half of the lower washer!

Another view of the broken washer

I did not find the missing pieces inside the cavity where the assembly is meant to be.  Randy is guessing that the pieces ended up at the bottom of the clutch housing (we hope).

I had an old tip assembly which had a slight wearing of the end where it contacts the clutch actuating rod:

Again, left one is the one with the good ball bearing assembly and washers but
its slightly worn down on the end of the clutch release rod  (1) as you can see.  \
The right one is the one with 
the missing ball bearing assembly and damaged washer.

So, I've asked URAL for a warranty replacement of this assembly, we'll see what they say.  In the meantime, I transferred the ball bearing assembly and washers from the one on the left above to the one on the right above.

Per Randy's advice, I used blue Loctite to secure the screw that holds the washers/ball bearing race in place on the rod tip.

I put everything back together, re-installed the clutch cable since it appears to be good.

I also discovered the spare clutch cable I've been carrying is 1.75 inches shorter than the existing cable, so its too short to use on the rig!  Randy is checking into this to see if there's a new part number.

I did a brief check of the clutch action and all seems OK right now.  A test ride to follow.

Fun times, the life of a URAL owner.

Update: 24FEB:  Took Scarlett out for a long test ride, the creeping behavior is still there once the engine gets hot.  Sigh.  Now debating whether to try and remove the clutch actuator rod to see if the failed thrust washer assembly aka throwout bearing, caused it some damage and is preventing it from pushing on the clutch plate fully in order to disengage it.

Weird part is that it only happens when its hot from say city driving.  Hmmmm.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Uraling to Montezuma, Colorado via Loveland Pass

Saturday, February 20

It had been quite a while since I'd visited the town of Montezuma, roughly south of the Arapahoe Basin ski resort.  In fact, I got apparently confused thinking that I'd missed a cliff side dwelling associated with the name Montezuma, but alas, that turned out to be somewhere else.

Still it was a pretty good day of riding, temperatures never fell below freezing even at the summit of Loveland Pass and most of the time in the mountains was spent with temperatures in the mid-40s Fahrenheit.

Scarlett and I motored out of the home neighborhood by 7:15 AM and it would be almost 9:45 AM before we made it to the junction of US Highway 6 and Interstate 70!  Traffic was slow/go and stop/go from before Floyd Hill all the way to the junction of I-70 and US Highway 40!  Just a lot of cagers, some of the them heading to the ski slopes, some folks heading into the mountains to hike and play.

As Montezuma was the primary reason for the ride, and the sun was not in a good position to highlight the mountains peaks visible while transiting Loveland Pass; I only stopped once along US 6 at the usual spot overlooking Seven Peaks and the Arapahoe Basin Ski area.

Near the A-Basin ski resort

Scarlett and I proceeded west on US6 until we reached the outskirts of the Keystone ski resort.  Turning around, we got on the exit for the road to Montezuma.  The road was pretty much empty, and mostly clear though there were patches of packed snow and ice in the shady areas.  Not a road I'd take a two wheeled motorcycle on, with my lack of off road skills.

Of course, on Scarlett, no problem!  We got to the town of Montezuma with no issues and found all its streets still snow-covered/packed.  I'd read the local sheriff and his deputies were strictly enforcing the speed limits in town but the snow ensure one took one's time regardless.

Transiting through this small town, past three barking dogs, took very little time and soon I was at the trail head where I had to turn around last time.  Today would be no different, the snow had been cleared but only to the width of perhaps the rig or a snowmobile and conditions looked iffy.  

So I turned around and explored up a different road I'd seen, advertised as the way to Webster's Pass.  This proved to be a snow-packed narrow road which forced the use of 2WD on the part of Scarlett.  Still we made good progress going uphill but soon ran into this:

 Above picture shows you the quality of the "road" towards
Webster's Pass

 I spotted the "Private Property" and No Trespassing signs and
decided at this point to turn around.
I have a feeling the private property is on the sides of the road, not
the road itself but today was not the day to find out.

The turning around point.

Scarlett's clutch cable developed a lot of slack while I took the above pictures, very strange.  But I was able to put the cable back into adjustment after making sure the cable had not broken somehow.  Scarlett and I motored out to the main road with no further issues and headed back to the trail head to get a picture of the peak:

 Looking back towards the trail head

 Montezuma's Church

Standing near the church, looking back towards the nearby mountain.

Quaint little town, Montezuma, but after the above riding around, not much else to see so we motored on back towards the Keystone ski area and from there turned west towards the Breckenridge ski are.  We turned off onto Swan Mountain Road before we reached Breckenridge to get a shot of the Dillon Reservoir/Lake.

 Dillon Reservoir/Lake
 Ice Fishing
The houses on the ridge sure have a nice location don't they?

Riding back towards the summit of Loveland Pass, Scarlett and I stopped fairly often whenever we found a safe spot as the sun was now lighting up the mountains quite nicely.

 Another shot of the ski slopes of A-Basin ski resort

 Seven Peaks

 Climbing towards the summit, looking back towards the west

The summit was full of skiers, snowboarders, tourists and cars so Scarlett and I didn't linger there.  We rode all the way down the east side of the pass to the first major hairpin turn where we turned around to get pictures of the scenery visible as one goes to the summit:

 Clouds moved in sporadically, making it appear gray near the summit
but it was mostly blue skies overhead everywhere else.

Pictures done, we motored back down towards the east end of  Loveland Pass Road, past the Loveland Ski area facilities and soon Scarlett and I were motoring back towards the Metro Denver area.

I refueled Scarlett at the Valero gas station in Georgetown (32.9 mpg) and from there took the frontage road towards Downieville where we once again picked up I-70.  Traffic was about medium, but moving quite fast so clusters of cars just kept passing Scarlett and me.

Got home via the I-70 to C-470 superslabs and chose to use Parker Road as the way to get me back towards the home neighborhoods.  No issues, no idiot cagers trying to kill me, good weather and good picture opportunities.