the wobble update.
Peter and I took the bike to Spear's (the mechanic) last Tuesday and explained the whole wobble situation. Well, I tried to explain it, but since it doesn't always happen in the same circumstances (sometimes it's at lower speeds, sometimes higher; sometimes it's right after I brake, sometimes it's after I turn a corner...), I couldn't really do much better than, "uh, yeah, and it does this thing, see, like a gyroscope, see, and, well, it's annoying." But the point seemed to get across.
The first and most obvious problem was my tire pressure. Even though my tire pressure gauge has religiously insisted that my tires were at 26psi, the more accurate gauge at Spear's pegged them at close to 40psi. That explains the weird wear pattern on the tires; the tires were way overinflated, so only a narrow strip along the center was being worn, rather than the flatter 1 1/2" or so that it should have been. Moral: don't trust your tire gauge. I have one of the stick kinds, and I think it just always gets stuck at 26psi. It was recommended that I purchase a dial gauge for around $10, which will be more accurate. After some air was let out of the tires, I took it for a spin around the block, and was literally amazed at the difference. Corners were *so* much easier, and tight U-turns were suddenly *possible* -- I no longer felt like the bike was tipping over or losing balance (due to being a beginner, I had assumed that was how it was *supposed* to feel. Apparently not.).
Letting some air out of the tires didn't totally solve the problem, however, and the next step is the fun one. :) So, the steering stem contains two circles of metal, one inside the other, with steel bearings separating the two. The circles of metal are called "races," and on my Nighthawk, the bearings are what's called "assembled ball bearings," which means that they're contained in their own casing, as opposed to being loose between the races. I just learned this on Tuesday, pretty cool. OK, anyway. So, while the Nighthawk sat in its garage for most of its 14 pre-carolyn years, the handlebars were turned all the way to the left (in typical parked position). The current theory is that 14 years of sitting in essentially that same position caused the ball bearings to settle into a "sweet spot," that is to say, they got comfortable in that handlebars-to-the-left position. We put the bike on the centerstand, centered the handlebars, and then lightly pushed them to the left. They instantly fell to the left-hand side. We re-centered the bars and pushed lightly on them to the right. Nothing. We poked a little harder. Nothing. It took a pretty hefty push to get the handlebars to fall to the right-hand side, which shouldn't really happen. So, we decided to replace the ball bearings. Not terribly surprisingly, they didn't have bearings from 1986 just laying around, so I ordered some. I actually ordered tapered bearings instead of ball bearings; I've heard that the conical design of the tapered bearings can be even smoother since there's more surface area than with ball bearings. So, they're supposed to call me back early next week with the bearings, and then Peter and I can spend a couple of lovely hours next weeking taking apart my steering stem. Yay!
my driving sucks.
Does anyone else have this problem? I can't drive my car for shit anymore. Whenever we go to San Francisco for clubbing, Peter drives us in my car (I just don't like to drive in the city), so my car ended up at his place after our foray into social interaction last night. I drove it home tonight, and, jesus, I can't drive. I drive like I've never driven a car before in my life. The mirrors are all in the wrong places; I try to glance over to see what's behind/next to me and I end up looking at the dashboard or the radio. I try to look to my other side and there's this HUGE PIECE OF CAR IN MY WAY. I don't care if it's holding the windshield on! Have I *always* driven a car with that huge vertical visual obstruction? How? Did you know there's a CEILING in your car? How claustrophobic! I went to merge onto the freeway today and I looked next to/behind me to check for other vehicles and I found I was looking at the passenger side door! Has that *always* been there? Eek! This "car" thing sucks. Too claustrophobic, too much metal in places that I'm trying to look at my surroundings in, and there's NO WIND! How can I tell how fast I'm going with NO WIND? I was at like 85mph today totally by accident [Note to police and mom: I'm kidding, of course. I would never drive faster than the legal and safe posted limit of 65mph.]! Christ.
And people say riding a motorcycle is dangerous! ;)
I want a Sprint 900. Peter says I'll never ride the Nighthawk again once I get a bigger bike. That's very sad. :( I saw my fellow Power Pixie Posse members last night. We all have "warm-colored" hair now, as my hair is currently red for Halloween (I was -- and will be, at future parties -- a ladybug!), Kim's is still pink, and Ann's is orange now. How fascinating! Ann's bike is, cough, *still* in the shop, where it has been since at least June, I think. Kim is still bike-shopping. She was going to go to the Suzuki dealers yesterday, but I made her go shopping for costume stuff with me instead. I'm a bad bike enabler. I did meet another hip young biker babe this weeked, though, which I'm very excited about. Her name is Sara, and this is reminding me that I promised her that I'd email her about the "Motorcycle Basics Manual" book which I love. She rides a Yamaha Maxim when her foot isn't busted like it is now. It's always great to meet fellow women bikers.
OK, I think that's it. Hope y'all had a great weekend. :)
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