Honda CRF1000 Africa Twin Traction Control Memory module installation

Right! While the tank was off,  I installed the Traction Control (TC) memory module switch/sticky switch. You might ask what the hell I’m on about…well here’s a video:

Basically this little gem remembers the TC setting you want. Leave the selector switch on one, and it stays on one, what ever floats your boat/sinks your sub. You still have full use of your OEM TC selector switch.
I got the switch from my buddy Richard at 12’O Clock performance.
Cost $150 USD
Contact him here to get your grubby hands on one: 12operformance@gmail.com

Let’s do it!  You will need:

  1. TC module from Richard
  2. Tie wraps
  3. Wire cutters
  4. Linesman pliers (for t-splice connectors)
  5. Heat gun (optional)
  6. Solder gun (optional)
  7. Solder (optional)
  8. Heat shrink, large and small (optional)

The kit comes with all you need.   Good set of clear and straight forward instructions.
IMG_3359 Remove the tank. Follow your owners manual. The kit suggest to run the wires on the left hand side of the bike. I found lots of real estate on the right hand side, along my gps, radar, heated grip wiring. I installed the switch 1st, and worked my way back to the ECU.  Ladies choice! Either side will work.  IMG_3362
IMG_3363

The calm before the storm! Not really, but I usually take pictures before I dive in.  That way I remember which way the hoses go etc..
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A few things I did to make the work easier:

  1. Removed the fuel line
  2. Unplugged both connectors near the ECU
  3. Undid the one bolt that holds the ECU down
  4. Cut back the insulation all the way to the large bundle.  This will make things stupid easy later, as per below picture.

IMG_3364

  • Instructions are straight forward and easy to follow.  There’s also a handy diagram of the ECU connector to locate the two wires.
  • I used the inline quick connectors to test the wiring 1st, and grounded the black wire to the right hand side ECU tray bolt (blue arrow below).  Note:  You could stop here.  The inline crimps work well, and the addition doesn’t necessarily need to be soldered, hence all the optional tools at the beginning of the post.

ECU bolt

  • Once I was happy with the operation of the switch, I got the solder gun out, and went to town
  • Cover the wires that you are not working on with a cloth, or what have you.  Use the heat of the solder gun to peel back about 1/4-3/8″ of insulation.  Strip back the yellow and red wires the same length.  Tin both wires 1st, then solder them together.  Make sure there’s no sharp pointy things sticking out after the soldering job.

IMG_3366
Get your 1″ long piece of 3/8″ heat shrink, cut it down the middle and slip over the wire.
IMG_3371 Grab some tie wraps, and tie wrap the heat shrink on the wires. Grab your heat gun and slowly and evenly heat the heat shrink. As it heats up, because it’s cut it will have a tendency to want to fold out. Use your fingers to glue it back together, and tighten up the ties as your’re going. Repeat the above for the second wire.  Once you’re satisfied, cut off the ties.  I also ran a longer 1.5″ heat shrink over the 1″ shrink.  Double up the protection.   Not really necessary, but whatever…I had it cut and ready to go.IMG_3375

Once that’s done, I took a large 1″ diameter shrink, split it down the middle, and cut it roughly at 1″ long.  I put that around the entire bundle of wire that  serves the black ECU plug in.  Tie wrapped it semi tight, heated it up, and removed the ties once it was set.
IMG_3376 Dress all your wires, secure the module where ever you please, and put the tank back on. IMG_3377
Plug all your connectors back in. Test the TC switch one more time before installing the tank.
Enjoy your new sticky TC switch!

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Honda Africa Twin Altrider full crash bars and skid plate install. Pivot pegs too!

More stuff came in the mail.  Right around my birthday too! bonus.

Let’s get started.  First on the list.  Pivot pegs.  The OEM pegs are garbage.  They are tiny.  Likely from the left over stock of xr50 parts.  When you’re riding the bike, it feels like your legs are going to snap.
I opted for the pivot pegs due to area, and the fact that they pivot back and forth by about 20 degrees.
Crap OEM peg vs Pivot peg
The pegs are about 40% larger in area than the oem crap jobbies

Finished product below:
Finished product

Ok, on to the big stuff.
Altrider bits came well packaged, marked, complete with decent instructions.
They were all printed on black and white paper, and easy enough to follow.
All the bits ready to bolt on

Lowers went on first. Tip. Alt rider suggest to loosen the exhaust. Do yourself a favor, and remove the entire exhaust. When you get to installing the front bracket, it’s almost impossible to get one of the long allen head bolts through the AR bracket, OEM bracket and the frame.
Exhaust gone

Little interlude..got out on the XC after a shitty cold and long snap, great day.
20180107_121321

Right, back to it!

All the stuff bolted up very nicely.
I started off with the lowers, and skid plate bracket, and worked my way up from there.
Finished product!
IMG_3347

Altrider bars and plate

I’m still waiting on my usb/battery indicator, fog light, and switch from Chiiiina so the plastics are off for the time being.

Obviously the uppers and link bars will need to come off to install the plastics, but that’s relatively easy to do.

Overall I’m really happy with the workmanship, fit and finish.  Time will tell how the stainless holds up.
The finished product c/w all plastics on
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Black on white looks great IMO IMG_3382

Honda Africa Twin, fun with electricity

Ho hum…this had to be done.
Electrical bits are a necessity now in days. I had to get the following powered up on the bike:

  • The gips… Zumo something or other..had it for years, works great
  • Heated mitt warmers by Oxford
  • Cop alerter aka Gaydar  including extra bright front warning LED
  • Aux lights from Flea bay (in the mail…on the way, or so I’m told)
  • 12V USB/Battery indicator (again in the mail, aparently)

Before I dove into that ton of fun, I put on my new windscreen, small rack from Richard, Rotopax and EE whitey white hand guards

IMG_3200 Tasty, and cheap!! IMG_3202
Rear rack and Rotopax
IMG_3203 another view here IMG_3204

Went to work for a bit..
IMG_3248 OK, on to the tedious BS. Out came the repair manual, and I slowly peeled off the plastics.  Always fun to do the first time around.  Luckily I broke nothing, so all was well I was going to use the front option plug. After digging the little bastard out, I set to work. Everything came off. Side panels, tank, headlights.  IMG_3209
White hand guards…NICE!  Ignore the errand beer can.  I didn’t start drinking just yet!
IMG_3206 Meet Mr. Front option IMG_3207

Wires we’re after:

  • Green: Ground: doooh
  • Red/Yellow: 12V accessory
  • Blue/black-Fog light dash light

Ten ways to skin the kitty
IMG_3208 Naked bike! IMG_3211

That out of the way, here was my plan.  Cut the plastic tray up behind the tank, as there’s a big enough space to stuff all my electrical crap in there.  Distribution block, relay, GPS power module, radar related wiring, and the feeder wires to the front of the bike.  As always the plan didn’t work.  I ended up only stuffing the distribution block and relay underneath the plastic (pics to follow).  On a positive note, this will leave me room for tools to go in.  The GPS and radar wiring went on the right hand side, just behind the rad and fan.  I also cut the OEM Oxford wiring, spliced/extended it to go to the same spot.  I didn’t like what they give you and it looked like shit near the head stock.

Edit: All the stuff finally trickled in.  Put it all back together and presto!
IMG_3379
Lights on
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Notice the fog light indicator light to the bottom right
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Job done
IMG_3382

Honda Africa Twin Outex install. Tube to tubeless conversion.

Right…it’s colder than cold lately, -30C this morning.  Perfect time to head to the garage, with three layers of clothes on, and do some more work on the Africa Twin.

Today’s project, install the Outex kit.  For those of you living under a rock, the Outex kit converts any tubed rim, into a tubeless set up.  Magic.
I’m not going to rant about the AT having tubes, or the pluses/minuses of tubes/tubeless rims etc..I wanted tubeless tires. I don’t want to fuck around on the side of the road by myself trying to break a bead on my rear tire, when I can plug it in 5 minutes on a tubeless and ride on. I’ll still carry tubes and irons with me in case I dent the rims badly enough to warrant tubes as a repair.

This is a blog post. The below is a rant by a semi competent half wit. Don’t take my words for it, the below is meant to be helpful, and to illustrate my experience with the Outex kit. Personal experiences will vary. The instructions are decent enough. More on that later.
If you’re lazy, or illiterate, you can oogle all the  pictures here:
https://flic.kr/s/aHsm8xH4qf

My plan was to pull the wheels off, bring them into the house, and do the work there. Even with a heater, the garage was at 5C today. The house at 18C. The house wins!

Rear wheel was first. I tried to break the bead with my motion pro tire bead breakers. Wasn’t going to happen. Yeah it’s fucking cold, even though I was working next to a 30A heater. Out came the tire changer. Used the bead breaker, and the bastard gave easily enough. IMG_3292 Peeled the rear  tire off, and remounted the rim on the axle to give it a clean. IMG_3293 Notice the nice ridge on the rear rim. Nice! IMG_3298 My first screw up of the day. I forgot to use sand paper to rough up the rim. Instead went straight to go and tried to collect my 200 dorra…muppet. Right, rear rim, tire stand (made by Borat) IMG_3300In the house for the rim to warm up, and on to the front tire. A little segue about Honda quality. Some of the bolts on this bike are really fucking cheap. Out of the six that hold the fender on, two stripped. Yeah I was using the right 5mm allen key. They are made from imitation american cheese. IMG_3304 On a positive note, the fender doesn’t have to come off! Take both calipers off (14 mm) Loosen off the left side pinch bolts (12 mm) and undo the 22 mm nut. No need to worry about the big allen on the other side, as the right side pinch bolts are on. Once the nut is loose, undo the right side pinch bolts, slide the axle out, and remove the front rim

Moar bead breaking action. The front came off super easy…not sure if that’s a good thing.. No ridge on the front tire…damn.IMG_3305OK, on to warmer locales! I’m set up in the house, got the blessing from the boss.

Do not drink beer prior to doing the work.  You are guaranteed to fuck it up royally!.  It’s tough enough to do it sober, and with someone helping you. My wife volunteered!

You will need the following stuff:

  • Tire stand. You will not have a good time without one. The one I used was my ghetto paddock stand for my enduro bike. I simply cut the middle out, and bodged up an axle holder with some conduit straps.
  • Acetone
  • 200 grit sand paper
  • Scissors (don’t run with them!)
  • Olfa knife, with a sharp blade
  • Heat gun, or blow dryer.
  • tire iron (rounded) for front rim, and a small pry bar for the rear rim
  • Clean rags
  • An assistant…this should be on the top of the list. It’s difficult to do this on your own

Right, let’s get going! Rear rim first. I’ll go step by step according to the Outex instructions IMG_3326 STEP 1: Sand paper the rim. Really only need to do the area where the tape will sit. Take your time, and be extra pedantic (read: anal retentive) around spokes nipples

STEP 2: Clean off moisture, and dirt using acetone. If you have a white rag, as you clean, it will show

STEP 3: use the round pre cut seal tape on each nipple. Top tip, use your heat gun to adhere the tape to each nipple. The heat shrinks the tape a bit, and gets the outer edges stuck to the side of the nipplesIMG_3324 STEP 4: Use heat to warm up the rim. Since the rim is warm from the ambient temp of the house, I get to skip this

STEP 5: Apply one side of two sided tape. Fuck me with a wooden spoon, this part sucked!! IMG_3325 Trying to get the tape to sit straight, and without air bubbles on the first go was a TPITB!!

STEP 6: Cut the tape at one revolution. Don’t overlap

STEP 7: What I found is that the tape is stupid strong, so with your lovely assistant helping you out, take a flat piece of metal (I used a small pry bar for the rear rim, and a rounded tire for the front), with heat from the heat gun or blow dryer aimed directly at the rim, slowly push down on the tape between the spokes to work the air out. Eventually all of it goes out. Yipeee!!

STEP 8: Cut the hole out carefully, push the valve through to the outside. Remove the valve

STEP 9: Start the tape as shown, install valve finger tight

STEP 10 through 17: Nothing to report here. Follow the instructions, go straight…Rear rim tape went on straight enough, as there’s some room. The front rim was a bit more crowded but easy enough IMG_3328
Top tip, remove the green tape at about two spoke lenghts at a time, that way the tape stays strong

STEP 18:  This is critical, it’s a re do of STEP 7. Go through the rim with both tapes on, and your overlap tape.  Have your assistant heat the rim, and the pry bar/tire spoon.  Slowly work out the air, and use the pressure of the tools to further glue the tape on the rim

You are done!  Put the beer down fozzie bear!!…we’re done the Outex install.
The tire needs to go on next in order to put pressure on the tape.
IMG_3332 I spooned on the rear tire in the house.  Went on easy enough.  Over to the garage, popped the bead on, checked pressure.  Left it at 42 PSI, and brought it back in the house.   Ditto for the front, set at 30 PSI. IMG_3334
and the set
IMG_3337

In conclusion:

  • The kit is easy enough to follow, and install. It’s made well, and there was a bit of spare material left over (kits are bike specific)
  • You need a second set of hands to do this properly
  • The heat gun/dryer is a must
  • Don’t do it in the cold as it will not end well

I’ll let the tires sit overnight, check tire pressure tomorrow, and re-install.

Drink beer!

Out with the old, in with the new. Bye bye Super Tenere, Hello Honda Africa Twin.

Right!

Been a while since I blogged, I do have a good reason to getting around to a post.

Yep, bought a new bike.  2017 Honda Africa Twin.  Manual gearbox thank you very much.   Why the AT? Well, my well serving and well used Super Tenere (ST) was getting on to six years of age, and 90K km.  The bike served me very well, but I was ready for a new bike, and  looking for a few improvements:

  1. Less weight.  The ST tipped in at about 580 plus all the bits and bobs (crash bars, skid plate, rigid light, 2kg worth of wiring etc..)
  2. More ground clearance.  I’ve been having a blast off road the last 3 yrs on various actual dirt bikes.  And this leads me to believe that I can stay up for more than 30 seconds without falling over on a gravel road.  This summer while riding briskly on a quad trail on my ST, I got a bit airborne…3 feet if that, it almost ended in disaster.  I landed and bottomed the skid plate on a sharp rock, which cut the plate open like a tin can.  It bent it up with enough force to just touch/loosen the rear drain plug, but luckily no more.  After some vigorous hammering, cursing, and straightening, the plate was good as new…MOAR clearance!!
  3. 21/18 wheels.  The tenere does well off road for a bike it’s size, but when riding down hills, and tackling bigger holes, a 21″ hoop would be beneficial
  4. On the fly TC.  Man…I didn’t like where the TC button was on the ST, and the fact that you had to hold it down for three seconds, after you turned the bike on every time, to turn off TC.  Total PITBs!
  5. More suspension travel.   Yep, ST was decent, about the 7 inch mark.  Needed a touch more.
  6. Reliability.  Not once has the ST left me stranded.  When ever I prepped for a long trip, I checked the oil, kicked the tires (made sure I had enough rubber left for the trip) and off I went.  The ST had the following break/wear (major items, out of the ordinary) in six yrs and 90 hard k’s:
    1. Rear drive seal went.  Cause: rubber plug fell out that was not glue in place
    2. One blown fork seal
    3. three or four rear brake pads (linked brakes…dusty conditions)
    4. one rear disk.  See #3
    5. One complete top end rebuild.  Bike started using oil around 60k.  Culprit: piston rings and valve seals.  Write up here:
      https://thetenerist.wordpress.com/2017/03/04/yamaha-super-tenere-xt-1200-top-end-rebuild/
    6. Manual CCT.  Didn’t trust the OEM.
    7. Side stand switch died.
    8. Lots and lots of tires.  Rears lasted about 8k.  Do the math.

And the contestants are…

well, there really only two.  The AT, and the KTM 1090.  The T7 is not in the picture now, and even if it was, it’s not got the powerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
The below is my opinion only, you know what they say about opinions.
Both bikes tick all the boxes, except maybe one for the KTM, reliability (but that’s debatable).  All have tons of clearance, lots of suspension travel, on the fly TC, and switchable ABS.

1090:

  • On par price wise to the AT
  • More power than the AT
  • Better OEM suspension than the AT
  • Better dash than the AT (analog tach..yes please)
  • V-twin…tasty!
  • Tubless tires as standard..it is 2017 you know..
  • Adjustable wind screen
  • Reliability is a question mark to me (see dodgy fuel pumps circa ktm 950, issues with fuel tanks, and the air filter is still not sorted (easy enough fix)
  • The controls felt flimsy
  • Might get a bit toasty from the twin..
  • Need to buy KTM dongle to switch off rear ABS…
  • Front end fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down

AT:

  • Great looking bike
  • LED lights as standard
  • Honda reliability
  • Great fit and finish
  • Narrower tank
  • ABS rear off switch as standard
  • Less power than the KTM
  • Shittier suspension than the KTM
  • Tubed tires…seriously??
  • Dash…meh, hard to read in direct sunlight
  • Foot pegs from an XR 50
  • Fisher price tool kit.  A screw driver and an allen key…wow

I did test ride both bikes.  1090 for about 50k.  Great power, very good suspension.  I was sold.
Rode Richards 2017 red AT, bog stock on a gravel road.  As long as there wasn’t too much washboard, the thing coped well.  But the minute you hit wash board…it wasn’t doing so well.  Power was decent, but my hopped up tenere felt and went quicker.  1200cc, a full catless exhaust, and ecu flash will do that.  I wasn’t sold that day.

Fast forward a few months, and we’re west coast bound with Richard, Evil Greg and myself.   Here we are on top of  Mt. Baker.

Mt. Baker

Richard has been busy with his AT.

  • Full SW Trax ADV cases
  • Custom rear rack, and tool tube for side case
  • Altrider full scaffolding and skid plate
  • Tractive rear shock
  • Various other doo dads, and what nots…

We covered roughly 3500km in six days.  Evil G had some good times and bad times on his strom.  First he blew a fork seal, then the second fork seal.  On the way home, he bent not one, but two of his rims on a large rock, following some muppet on a blue ST.

I had a chance to ride the AT in different situations.  On road, on gravel, at sea level, on some rough track.  This bike, with the rear shock fitted, was amazing.  No it doesn’t have the power of the 1090, but I don’t really care.  How often does one ride at full clip? Am I going to miss 15 hp.  Is 90 hp not enough?

So as the title says…here’s my bucket of awesomness!!

IMG_3176

Yes, I went with the less powerful, shittier suspended bike.  But, I’ve always been a Japanese bike guy.  The Euros can do off road bikes well, and their on road stuff is getting much much better.  This is the bike for me.
So why oh why would I buy a bike in December, in Alberta?  well…because winters are long and boring, and I can take my sweet ass time putting on all the bits and bobs on.  Amazingly enough, I picked up the bike in early December, and got a few decent rides in.  Managed about 300k before the snow came last night.

So what are my impressions of the bike so far?

  • It’s well finished.  This is my first ever new Honda.  I owned several (CB400, CB450, VFR 750, CBR600, CBR 900, VFR 800), but never a new one
  • I love the paint job.  The white has a nice metallic flake to it
  • Good ergos.  OEM bars are decent, but I swapped to my renthals, and rox risers (less sweep, less wrist cramp)
  • Power…it’s not stupid fast…but it’s fucking sneaky fast!  I have not yet looked for the non existent 7th gear, i’ll do nicely.  OEM Exhaust note is nice.  Not too quiet, not too loud.  Good intake honk too!
  • Suspension.  Plush.  It’ not too wallowy, but to be honest, I haven’t pushed the bike hard, or done any really twisty stuff.  It handles itself very well on gravel, even on the oem Dunslops.  The 21/18 combo handles well, on or off road.
  • Handling, turn in, balance.  This bike has a great turning radius, it feels very light at low speeds, and handles  very well so far
  • Brakes, great
  • Headlights, brilliant.  Will not need aftermarket LED’s.
  • Seat, decent
  • Mirrors, pin sharp
  • Electronics.  Wow wee…on the fly TC.  Oooosooom!!!! TC1 works a treat.  Great wheelies btw…with the brap brap brap cut off, and soft landing.  The rear ABS off switch is laugh out loud awesome.  It’s like your 8 yrs old again…doing kiddie skids.

Overall, I’m very happy with it.  It’s now my only road bike, and I think I struck a very good balance.

The to do list:

  • Centerstand.  Done.  SW motech.  Cheap, and cheerful.  Works well
  • Fleabay shorty levers.  I got fingers like pickled sausages…short and stubby.  Need the shorty levers.  Got a set from fleabay.  Cheap, and surprisingly well made
  • Renthal fat bar.  Flat, low sweep, low rise.  Need my stupid tall 3.25″ rox risers.
  • Fleabay side stand foot.  $15 bucks.  In the mail apparently
  • Fleabay aux lights, mounts, and bar mounted switch
  • GIVI shortie screen.  Tried a friends TT shortie, and his home made deflector..zero turbulance, clean line of site.  I’m not about to spend $250 on a bit of plastic, so I bought the cut rate version from GIVI.  Will report back
  • Usual electrics (GPS, heated grips, gaydar, USB/ voltage indicator)
  • Altrider scaffolding (full cage) and skid plate
  • Pivot pegs to replace the joke OEM items
  • Staintune slip on.  Will require some hammering!
  • Richards TC stickie switch, video here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVtcc-69IOs
  • SW Motech ADV Trax cases
  • Outex kit.  It’s on the shelf, ready to go.  Will pull the tubes, and convert over to a tubeless set up.  GTS!
  • Tool tube for side rack.  Richard cut some tasty brackets up.  I have a spare tool tube kicking around.
  • Put together a decent tool kit, from my two old bikes.  Might need to add a few bike specific tools (f/r axle)
  • Rear rack.   Will likely mount my rotopax that I took off the ST

IMG_3182

  • Tractive rear shock from Ted, at the Beemer shop in California.  I want to ride this bike as intended.  The OEM rear boinger is just ok
  • EE hand guards.  Done.  Pilfered these bad boys off my FJ.  They work well off road, and look good on the AT.  Will need to get a better color than the black..

IMG_3197

The new bars and risers are in, electrics are ready to go.  Heated grips are on, and the EE hand guards mounted up great.  I found a nice spot to mount the Oxford selector.

IMG_3189

That’s all for now. See what shows up next in the mail box, or at the dealer.  Stay tuned.
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Edit: Update. A few other things need to come in but the bike is all back together. Tasty!
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