Monday, July 27, 2015

Cee Baileys Windscreen and Maintanence on Piaggio MP3

Chiron with the new Cee Bailey windscreen. 
The Piaggio MP3 has been running great and getting me good gas mileage. With summer here, I've been driving it back and forth to work every day. It is very relaxing to hop on after a long night of work. Motorcycle therapy is good for the soul.

I put a new Cee Baileys windshield on and love it. It is a custom job in light green to take up the glare of sunshine on wet roads. Works -- and looks -- very nice.

When the spring rains were still constant, I had the big bug shield on -- which was okay for cold weather. I hate looking through a windshield rather than over it, but I'll put up with it if it means I can ride dry 4 seasons.

That said, I think I'll ride with the Cee Baileys as long as I can. It is very comfortable and sheds light rain over my shoulders. It forms a great cushion of air around me that makes the ride very easy while still cool on a warm day.  I'm very happy with it and the price was very reasonable even with the custom color.

Already I've added 3,000 miles to this bike commuting to work and hopping on it for rides whenever I can. It is amazing I've ridden that much since December, but it really is a great all weather bike.

I've changed the oil, but now it is time to do the 6,000 mile service. Too far from the nearest Vespa dealer, I'm on my own. Actually, I have the help of the Modern Vespa community which is very friendly and helpful with great how to videos  and pdf files on everything you need. I set my laptop up next to the scooter and began removing layers of plastic.

Under all the covers, the CVT is pretty simple. 
The job itself is straightforward, but I'm always very nervous when tearing apart a perfectly fine running motorcycle.

It pays to have a breaker bar and good torque wrench. What it didn't know was that I'd need an 8 mm socket to remove 7 cover bolts. All I had was an 8 mm open end wrench so that was tedious. Seating the new belt was also tricky -- the video has you pound in a dowel to make space for the belt to go down - that spooked me but worked fine.

 I got it all back together and gave it some throttle while it was still on the stand to see if the belt change was a success. The engine cut out -- panic loomed. I tried it again, then noticed that the dang parking break was on. (facepalm). So I went for a little ride and everything seems to be okay.

Still need to do the other stuff on the list, but it now has a new belt and Dr Pulley sliders which seem to smooth out the acceleration. I start my commute back to work tonight. Wish me luck!

Modern Vespa Wiki - MP3
Cee Bailey Windscreens 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Year and COLD

It's been pretty cold in Grays River the last few days.
But that hasn't stopped me from riding the new scooter as often as I can. Here it is on the Rosburg Bridge. I love how easy it is to hop off and take photos. 
And it looks cool .. at least to me. 
I am new to scooters, I love how easy it is to run into town and get some groceries. Lots of storage under the seat.
And I live in a great place to see beautiful scenery. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Rain riding

I took a ride to Naselle and around the valley the other day. Here are a few pics.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My New Scoot

Okay. That'd didn't take long. Actually, I've had my eye on one of these since they first introduced them a few years ago. I am the new proud owner of a 2009 Piaggio MP3 400.

Yes, it has 3 wheels.

Yes it weird looking.

Once you are on it, however, it rides just like a motorcycle -- or I should say a 400 scooter. You counter-steer just like on a bike, you can really lean the thing over in the twisties and it is smooth and fast.

I think there are a lot of misconceptions about this three wheeler compared to the Can-Am Spyders. The Can-Ams don't lean, which is kind of the fun part of riding motorcycles. I can't fly planes, so riding motorcycles is as close as I've been able to come in my daily life. It's the leaning that gives you that feeling of motion and speed. Sometimes when I'm driving, I'll even feel myself leaning in to the corner, trying to cut a little more off the apex before accelerating out.

So when people see it they say "oh, it's more stable, right?"

Not exactly. Motorcycles operate by the gyroscopic principle. If the wheels are rolling at speed, they are hard to knock over. They are very stable, even going around corners. In this regard, the MP3 does have a little extra gyroscope up front, (are two 12 inch gyros better than one 20 inch one?) but the real advantage is on slippery and uneven surfaces. That's where the MP3 is brilliant. That's why they've sold gobs of them in Paris -- wet cobblestone streets.

When leaning into a corner, the MP3 has an extra contact patch up front that stays on the ground even when leaned over 40 degrees. That outrigger wheel keeps contact with the road in the event that the other wheel loses grip or hits unstable ground. I found this out yesterday coming around a cover and finding the road covered in mud and pine needles from a recent storm. The Mp3 stayed planted to the road like it was attached with velcro. That's where the advantage is.

At low speeds, it is no more stable that my VStar 650. You can lock the front wheels when rolling to a stop so you don't have to put your foot down, but I'm still in the habit of putting my foot down. The turning radius is very tight and so it is easy getting into my driveway.

So far, my daughters do not like it. They think my old motorcycle was cooler and that dad isn't cool anymore. I'm surprised they thought there dad was ever cool. My wife likes it a lot. She loves the back seat and smooth nature of the CVT. Mama Bear is the opinion that matters most!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sold! Now What?

Yesterday I skipped church and spent the morning puttering around the garage putting spare parts and accessories together. A couple came all the way down from Seattle to buy El Burro.

Shelly was excited about the big red bike. She promised to give it a good home.

 It was sad so see my old friend go.

It is not the end of my motorcycling, but I'm left with a hole in my garage and a fog hangs about the future. What's next?

One of my goals is to get something that is an every day ride. Something I won't hesitate heading to work on even if the weather is a bit damp.

Last winter I didn't tear the bike down and found I rode it quite a bit over the winter. That said, a big carbureted cruiser is not the best all weather machine.

Alas, I shall not speak ill of the so recently sold.

That bike did everything I asked of it. I sorted through a lot of emotions behind those bars.

It was time for something new however, Time to move on. I mistrust nostalgia and am skeptical of sentiment. I could have tottered away until my beard ran long and gray with that bike, but that's not me.

I now have my wandering eye on some younger Italians with fuel injection and anti-lock brakes.

There are new things in the world. Always new places to go.

Adios El Burro,

Friday, October 31, 2014

Fall Riding Weather

I'm selling El Burro. Not sure why, it just seems time for something new. Maybe it has too many memories already for me. Or maybe I'm just looking for a new challenge. It is certainly not the bike's fault. El Burro continues to run like a champ.

 I've stripped it down to go more in the bobber direction. I think it looks tough and it is fun to buzz around without the bulk of the sissy bar and bags.

 With a sunny day, I took some nice snaps. Check them out.