2009-11-01 - odo: 15,725
TIRES CHANGE THE BIKE
A new set of Metzler Z6 roadtec tires and the bike is back to being GREAT. Handles well, nice and light, very stable. Still the slight nervous feeling around trucks and such, but I put that down to the bike giving very good feedback as to what is happening. Fine once you get used to it.
The bike still drifts lightly to the right if I take my hands off the bars on a flat road. Not unusual for any bike, and common for this model. By following the proper procedures for wheel mounting the issue becomes barely noticeable, and only if you really look for it. I have had bikes that were not balanced properly (Harleys) and easily got used to it. Just lean a little to the left if you have to take your hands off the bars. But still..... it is not right.
So I searched the mis-information net. No real solutions. One guy used what I believe was an inclinometer to measure the angle of the forks and other parts of the bike. I decided that I must come up with a better way. I have never liked the way that the front forks get aligned on bikes. You basically follow a tightening procedure and hope everything goes as planned and they are aligned in the end. Yeah, that builds confidence.
The procedure I came up with uses a piece of quarter inch thick plate glass. The glass is about 3.5" by 10.75" with the edges sanded down smooth. I had a piece laying around and cut it shorter so it would fit on the exposed part of the forks. Of course, you need to make sure it is flat, but that is pretty much standard with plate glass. The 3.5" was the largest I could get that could be used on both my bikes. I won't get into details of the whole fork tightening procedure as it may be different on different bikes. The assumption is that everything is in spec, nothing bent or broken and the forks are clean. For the ST1300 with the bike on the center stand and the front wheel in the air and the left axle pinch bolts loose, I place the glass against the fork tubes. If the forks are square, the glass will sit nicely against both forks. If the forks are even a little bit tweaked, the glass will be able to be rocked. If this happens, you need to slightly partially loosen the fork clamps and using the front wheel, tweak the forks in the other direction. A little experimentation here and you will get the forks perfect (within the limits of your measuring device).
My first test ride after performing this procedure? Better. Not a lot better, but there was not much drifting left anyway. But at least I feel better about the way the forks are aligned.
2009-11-10 - odo: 16,647
Most of my complaints about this bike are really complaints of this category of bike, Sport Touring. They are all pretty much the same. These side bags open from the side, rather than from the top. Bags that open from the top are easy to really stuff things in.
Even the Honda Goldwing touring bike has bags that open from the side. Just have to get used to it I guess.