3.24.2009,10:02 PM
Two sensors and a sprocket
V-strom owners beware!

Sensor mentors

Nothing serious, but owners might want to be aware (a play on words) of two sensors sitting on a bike....... No, no childhood rhyming there.

Last week after departing the train -after my afternoon nap on the train- I finished my routine of packing the bike bags, changing into gear, ears plugged, helmet on, turn the key in the ignition, press the start button and....... nothing. Oh no. Try again. Nothing.

Headlights on? Check. Turn signals? Check. Voltmeter reading? A happy 12.4 volts. Scratch helmet. Remove gloves, helmet, ear plugs.... de-gear. Take the seat off and check battery. Check. Hmmmm.......

Ah! Hold up bike, kick up stand, kick stand down. Try it again. Nothing. Hmmmm #2.....

Modern bikes have a sensor at the top of the stand that detects if the stand is up or down. If it is down, the bike won't start. They are notorious for failures. So on my hands and knees, I test the sensor switch, trace the wire and.....where did it go?? Press in the sensor switch, contort my short limbs, press the start button..... Nothing.

Okay, I give up. I called my best friend and explained the deal: bike won't start, but battery is fine. Then *sigh*. I spend my waiting time tracing this and that, testing that and this to no avail. Still nothing.

Ed arrives with truck and trailer, hums and haws for a few seconds, fiddles with something under the clutch lever and presses the start button. The engine fires and purrs. I wanted to call it a bad name, but I suppressed it.

"What did you do??"

All right folks, here's Sensor Number 2: underneath the base of the clutch lever is a small black attachment that connects to two copper prongs. This is the clutch sensor switch. Hitting my head and feeling very stupid, I exclaimed I never even thought of that. Try it. Shift to neutral and try to start the engine. Nothing. Now pull in the clutch lever and try again. Whoom!!!!!!!

We discovered that this switch is not a very tight fit. It must have disengaged when the front tire hit a pothole on Vicory Street near the station. The engine won't fail until it is turned off and attempted to start again. Nothing. So keep this invisible little demon Sensor No. 2 in mind when the bike won't start. Add it to your checklist.

Rocket Sprocket

Before I started riding the Whee again last fall (post-surgery), we changed the chain and front sprocket. Ed had picked up an after-market sprocket that cross-referenced with the make and model of the Whee. The two differences between it and the stock sprocket were: cheaper (a lot) and no rubber bumpers on either side.

Keep in mind, not all sprockets are made equal. Despite what manufacturer cross-references might say. The bike has been plagued these many months with awful vibration. A low rumble starts at around 4k RPM, then builds to a rattling crescendo at 5k RPM. Only at 5.5k RPM does it lessen and the ride soothes out. Ironically, riding at 72 MPH has been its sweet spot. Up to that point, my teeth rattle inside my helmet (literally). It has been unpleasant and uncomfortable.

Acting on a suspicion, I ordered a Suzuki stock sprocket: rubber bumpers and the big price. We installed it last Saturday and WOW! What a difference. 95% of the vibration is now gone. From now on, no after-market engine sprockets. Unless I want a cheap dental removal.

Terlingua again!

Well, it's two days count down to departure time. Two of us riding the big bikes south to Big Bend. Leaving after work, we expect to arrive in Abilene in time for dinner and sleep. Then depart in the morning for the ride to Alpine, 82 miles north of Study Butte. This will be my chance to explore Alpine for an evening.

We will ride the rest of the way south to Terlingua Saturday morning. This time we are staying for three nights at the Perry Mansion. Yessir, we are staying with Perry's ghost. It will be a short trip, but wonderful just the same. A few rides, a few hikes in the canyons, relaxing on the Porch watching the sun set in the east over the Chisos Mnts., visiting with a few Terlingua friends.

This may also be a life-changing trip. I am revising and polishing up my resume and c.v. to hand in for scrutiny. If all goes well, I may be living down there sooner than I had anticipated. We shall see.


posted by Macrobe
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