Saturday, May 08, 2010

A Tech Day with the Denver Area Uralisti

A beautifully sunny day here in Colorado, and I hosted the DAU's first Tech Day.  We had a total of five Ural Sidecar rigs in my garage/driveway the weather couldn't have been any better for it.

The tech day (gathering to exchange technical know how, practice jobs you've never done under guidance, shoot the breeze and share in general motorcycling camaraderie) was scheduled to start at 8:00AM.  I had the garage emptied of cars, leaving only Natasha in her usual spot.

Before the arrival of the Uralisti

Pretty soon rigs and riders started arriving with Steffen making a surprise and welcome appearance after having written saying other commitments precluded his participation.   Introductions all around, coffee in hand and breakfast noshes provided my Martha my loving wife, and we got ready for work.

Left to right: Craig (S 854), Jay (Mapperjay) Steffen (Scapello), John (Spat), 
Brian (Trialsguy) and yours truly.

Jay had brought along the factory fuel can and bracket to mount and lucky for him Craig had mounted his exactly where Jay was planning.  The assembly went in smoothly I believe, at least I didn't hear any cursing from Jay's rig's area while we were starting work on my sidecar's tire swap.

mounting Jay's new fuel can bracket on his Patrol

My objective for the day was to swap out the tires on all three wheels on the Ural.  Two were near the limit in terms of wear and one ended up a working spare. There was some debate whether to use the 110/90 -10 heavy duty inner tube or the 3.5-19 regular duty inner tube.  We ended up with the heavy duty as they were similar in size:

John and I comparing the new inner tubes

Brian, who is a new Ural owner, had come by truck as he's on the way to Wyoming to participate in a cattle roundup/drive along with his wife and some other folks.  I am hoping he'll do lots of pictures as he's participating on this drive on his trials motorcycle!  Being a new owner, he was glad to pitch in to get some hands on practice on some of the tasks we were doing today.

Brian, loosening the drive wheel's pinch bolt prior to removing the old pusher tire

Here's a look at my garage and driveway with all the rigs present and accounted for.  There's still room for more rigs in case you're a Ural rider or heck any kind of sidecar rider.  I am sure we'll be doing this again.

The fleet's in!

Another view of the fleet

Here's Steffen's indecently clean Retro, you can see Jay's Patrol and John Gear Up inside the garage

The first tire we swapped on Natasha was her sidecar tire which was worn smooth down the center.  The operation went well with lots of kibitzing from all involved.  I learned smoother ways of doing it and the first tire was installed with a new inner tube and we didn't pinch a hole in it!  One down, two to go.

Once we had the pusher tire off, that one proved a bit tougher to work on for some reason.  It was Jay's turn to try it and his luck of the draw wasn't too good.  Much struggling ensued with some head scratching but we finally got it done!
Tire #2 was a booger to get the old tire off, getting the new tire one wasn't too bad.

While all the above was going on, Craig and Brian graciously worked on my rear drum brake on the tug and on the sidecar.  Craig was doing most of the guiding and Brian was getting his hands dirty.  They got my brake shoes adjusted, the brake cam angled better for leverage and cleaned out the excess grease I'd left in there.  Thanks guys!

 Here's Craig and Brian working on the sidecar's drum brakes
(I kept hearing them talk about greasing the brake shoes....hmmmm)
photo courtesy of John
Brian and Jay expressed interest in the valve clearance checking procedure on the Urals and John stepped up immediately and used his own rig to demonstrate his version of the procedure.  I believe that both Jay and Brian are now familiar with the process and will be ready to do this on their own rigs when the time comes during services.  Oh and Jay swapped out his air filter for a new K&N filter as well, under supervision of course so it all went rather smoothly.

Alas, Craig had to leave us prior to this point, he had to motor down to Colorado Springs and meet people.  Steffen would soon follow him as he had soccer matches to attend with his kids.

Craig motors away

We had a brief break for a quick bite, courtesy of Martha.  Andrey, my Russian friend showed up around this time as well and joined us for some conversation around the kitchen table as everyone got something to eat.  Andrey even brought us a bottle of vodka!  

Lunch break over, John finished showing Brian and Jay the valve clearance check procedure and I remounted the front wheel with the new tire on it that Brian had helped me swap.  That one went the easiest of all three tires today!

Working on the third and final tire swap, this is the front wheel

I did a quick adjustment of the brake controls.  There was general cleaning up of tools and putting them away along with cleaning things up.  Jay left us at this point as he had other things to get done.  Brian left soon afterwards after some more chatting with John and I.  We hope to see him at an upcoming trial motorcycle event down near Howard, CO.   He lives in New Mexico, near Sipapu, so John and I are thinking of going to the annual gathering of Beemers there and perhaps seeing Brian again then as well.

Here's Brigitta, parked out of the way.  She remained unmolested but admired by all.

That left John and I, and he graciously accompanied me as I took Natasha out on her new tires to do final adjustment on her brakes.  There were a bit loose so I tightened them down some more, did some quick riding with semi-hard stops until I got things braking nicely.  Nice job there Brian and Craig!

 Natasha and her new tires
photo courtesy of John
John then left after a few more words, it was his tire irons that made the job so much easier along with his expertise with tire swapping.  Thanks John!

Once John had left, I piled up four worn tires I had, two of which had been with me for a while from the 1150RT I used to own, Maria.  I motored over on Natasha to the local tire shop where we buy our car tires.  Since I was a client of theirs, they let me throw the tires into their disposal bin, no charge!  Otherwise, its like $2-3 bucks each, good deal

The cars are back in the garage, the motorcycles are back together in their single bay.  Nothing was broken and I believe a good time was had by all.  Much learning and practice was performed so it was a successful tech day I believe!

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