Saturday, August 16, 2008

Rain Riding Issues

Today I had a meeting at the university where I'm adjunct faculty and teach part-time. It was softly raining as I looked out the garage door and the weather guessers were calling for the same all day.

So, did I make the rational decision and take the cage? Or at least take the motorcycle with the most weather protection? Nope, took Brigitta, my 1987 R80 with an S fairing. I wanted to get a ride in with the new ICM from to see if it cured the tachometer needle twitchiness.

So, some issue arose:

1. I had a heck of a time getting her started after she'd sat in the rain for about 3 hrs or so. The battery sounded pretty weak as I tried to crank her over. I even tried bump-starting it using a very slight incline in the school parking lot. Several attempts later, involving pushing the motorcycle back up the incline, failed miserably. She finally did crank over and I was quick enough to rev her up high enough to catch and stay on. Sheeesh. Not exactly my idea of fun. I guess my using the heated hand grips on the short ride to the school was not the best idea. After all, these Airheads are known to have weak charging systems. Sigh. I must get a voltmeter mounted on this motorcycle.

1a. Update: 1710hrs: Got a cheapo voltmeter from the autoparts store, hooked it up first to the switched connections for the heated grips, not good when the grips are on. Left the hot wire on the heated grip switch and ran the ground to a ground screw under the tank. More better. This will do till I find a BMW or VDO Voltmeter for a reasonable cost.

2. There's still some twitchiness with the tachometer's needle, so I guess it's not the ICM but the motorcycle still needs some work in that regard. It's worse in driving rain too, on the return trip home she was not holding idle even when warmed up. Rather disappointing in a way, I had been thinking of upping the idle somewhat and this clinched it. She then held idle fine once I tweaked it upwards when I got home. I really hope the new coil is not defective somehow. Still, it works much better than the old cracked one.

3. The most serious is I've got to figure out how to keep the inside of the helmet visor from getting wet and foggy. I am thinking perhaps a towel that's accessible at stops. The visor I had on the helmet had the Fogshield brand anti-fog mounted and it failed pretty miserably in rain.

So yeah, riding in the rain specially on a motorcycle with a minimal fairing is something to be experienced once, next time I'll know better. I do plan on a short ride through the neighborhood later to make sure the higher idle setting is a real solution or not.


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dom:

I am of the opinion that riding in the rain is an acquired taste. I have a 1995 K75 with a 50amp alternator and will not use the MotoLights on a real short trip, less than 15 minutes, for fear of beating up the battery. I have a Beemer battery, but it is the small one. I upped the idle to 1200rmp to keep that battery charging at all times.

I think a voltmeter is a handy thing. I've got an unusual device, an LED, that turns different colors to reflect the battery's state. I haven't installed it yet but plan to do so next month.

Fondest regards,
Jack Riepe

Charlie6 said...

Hi Jack

yeah, sooner or later I'll win a bid on ebay for an bmw or vdo voltmeter that is "stock" for my S Fairing, in the meantime, the one I got will do the job to monitor current draw.

On my R1150RT, I used something that sounds like what you're planning to use:

Anonymous said...

Not sure which type of helmet you wear, but if you wear a Shoei, Arai, HJC or KBC, I would suggest you look at the Pinlock system. I have used it in all kindds of weather conditions.