Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sidestands to railroads to MP3-400

I think it must be a conspiracy for bike manufacturers to discontinue sidestands on most of their motorcycles. It is difficult to do routine maintenance or chain adjustments without one. On my last trip to Kelowna I found myself doing the "push ahead 3 feet method". I decided then that my next bike would have one. They are not cheap. For such a necessity which had formerly been supplied as standard equipment, you now need to take out a loan to purchase one


There are several aftermarket models available but I chose to purchase the OEM one from Suzuki. While it is possible to install these units yourself I was told that the dual springs were very strong and hard to put in place, so naturally I left it to them


This was the first time that I lifted it up onto my new stand. You put all your weight on the arm which juts out (nice technical term instead of using thing-a-miggy")

There is no difficulty in raising the bike, but getting it off the stand requires some thought. The V-strom is a very tall and heavy machine. On my scooter which weighs just over 550 lbs it is much easier as the left lever is for the rear brakes. You merely pull the scoot forward and slightly towards you and when it hits the ground you squeeze the left (rear) brake lever to stop it from rolling. On the Wee, the left lever is for the clutch. The right lever is on the opposite side and if the bike starts to lean more than a few degrees over to the other side then you could lose it.


I've heard of other vertically challenged riders use another technique which I tried and it is much safer. Make sure you raise your bike on level ground. and when you are finished lubing your chain, straddle the seat as if you were riding, then push forward with your legs outstretched like outriggers and when it hits the ground, it is easier to squeeze the front (Right) brake lever. If I don't say so myself, it works like a charm.



I'm not sure if you are aware but Jack rIEPE (<-- click link) is a model railroad hobbyist. IMG_1284

Jack has a large collection of engines, cars and tracks all in boxes stored in his garage and guarded by snakes and spiders. Needless to say his equipment is being safely guarded. Recently we visited some friends south of the city and they had set aside some of their yard for this permanent display they intend to leave outside all year


My friend Alan spends many hours crafting these life-like buildings from pieces of balsa and other remants and scrap pieces of styrofoam.


He scours garage sales and junk stores for the toy cars and figurines


Evidence of his work can be found in every corner of his yard, in his shed, on shelves in his workshop and even on his dining room table


Everything you see is made with ingenuity and his two hands


Wood dowels, thread and glue are transformed into telephone poles with electric wires


It's almost like looking at the real thing


When I saw this setup I asked if I could take some pictures for my buddy, Jack


I think Alan said he purchased a new electronic gizmo that can control the engines to make them puff smoke and make all those real engine sounds.


Mr Jack rIEPE, hoping that you liked these pictures and perhaps give you some inspiration to get working on your imaginary town


Victoria, May, 2009:

I forgot to post my favourite image from the scooter rally in Victoria earlier this year.

(Sherry, Seamstress, Victoria, BC, opposite the Empress Hotel)

Her Spree is being held up by the rear rack on a Vespa GTS


Earlier I posted a few pictures from my recent ride with Chuck Pefley (<-- click link), a professional photographer from Seattle.

I posted a more comprehensive Ride Report HERE. (<-- click link)

We spent a couple of days over on Vancouver Island and I am hoping that some of the Pefley experience rubbed off on me. After he left Vancouver he rode his scooter to Lethbridge, then down to Montana before heading back to Seattle through Spokane for the scooter rally . Go to his blog to read his postcards from the road.

I must say that his MP3-400 is a magnet. Everywhere we rode or parked, people would come over and ask him questions about "lack of Balancing" abilities. There is so much false information being spread about this beautiful machine that people think will balance by itself, like a trike. People with handicaps or injuries who used to ride are considering a trike so they are able to continue to ride but are lumping the MP3 into this same category. I know that Chuck will make some comments shortly about this mis-information so as an MP3 rider he is more intimate in it's abilities, or lack of ablilities as the case may be. I personally think that most riders use the "locking" feature as a crutch and find that it creates more problems than it solves.


  1. Just like the Bonneville-a center stand is an option, exceot I can flip the bike off the stand quite easily I find. $250 plus installation and worth every penny. On the subject of railroads I knew that wasn't riepe's set up as soon as I scanned the pictures. No women in compromising positions.
    And on the subject of the woman on the Spree- I wish I had realised the GTS's rear rack was so strong because if i had I would have put a spare scooter on it, so unreliable was my Vespa.

  2. Dear Bobskoot:

    The centerstand on the K75 is a mechanical wonder. Not only does it pick up the 570-pound bike with ease, but the machine comes complete with with a sping loaded folding handle on the frame for providing an adequate handhold. I learned the trick of taking the machione off the center stand with the side stand extended. Should it start to go, it is only necessary to drop it to the left.

    Thank you for taking the pictures of the trains. I ove model trtains of all types and have begun putting my layout in operating order. Actually, I have none of my "o"gauge models in storage. All are on tracks in th basement.

    I estimate it will take 40 hours of work before I can run the first current through my rails. Trains provide a great deal of relaxation and are an exercise in patience. Both are in short supply for me.

    I'm sorry I missed you call the other night. I was out at a political rally. I'll call you back soon.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  3. Bob, a wonderful post. I loved the model railroad and admire someone who loves them so much as to take such care and detail into building this. On the center stand, I am seriously considering one for my Bonneville America, but yes, pricey!

  4. Bob, I enjoy popping my bike on its centerstand. I had one installed on the SV650 and the ST came with one. I'll always have one on my bike. I'm really enjoying your photography lately--seems you've made a real effort to entertain your readers with some great images! Watch out for Jack, though ;-)

  5. Thoroughly enjoyed the pictures. Especially of the gal on the scooter on the scooter.
    I was surprised to know that a lot of motorcycles do not come with a center stand and are an option. I find it hard to believe, but it might be because the side stand on my scooter is so worthless. I use the center stand almost all the time. The only advantage I see to the side stand on my scooter is when you change the oil. The drain is on the side.
    Great train pics, too.

  6. What I like best about center stands is that it is easier to park the bike on the road for pictures. Leaning over on a side stand creates to big a target.

    On the other hand a side stand on a motorcycle makes for nice lines in pix sometimes.

    So you really need both. Maybe I need to get a side stand for my Vespa.

    Steve Williams
    Scooter in the Sticks

  7. Mr Conchscooter:

    Yes, in the good ol' days, centre stands were standard equipment, now this one cost me just over $250. Cdn . Most rear racks have a warning label usually indicating a max load of around 7 lbs, I am sure that the Spree with rider is up over 200 lb

    Jack "r":

    When I saw the train layout, I just had to take a few Pixs, "just for you". Yesterday I went to visit my friend who is selling his K75. The handlebars are narrower than I am used to, must make it hard to actually turn the wheels, due to less leverage. I did notice that it came with a factory tach as standard equipment, just like my Wee


    Because I have a chain drive, I needed to be able to lube the chain while travelling. The push ahead "3 ft method" isn't very efficient and you can clean the wheels more easily. The Centre stand was about Cdn$250.00


    The SV was the first bike I have owned without a centre stand. I was going to purchase one but knew that I was going to get another bike soon. I took the SV on a weekend trip to the Okanagan during the summer to see how it would handle the highway. All was good except for the ergonomics. When I got the Wee the first farkle were the side cases and then the centre stand


    Actually, most bikes do not come with a centre stand, but all scooters DO. Only some scooters have a side stand. On my X500Ri, I hardly use the centre stand, except when servicing. When your engine is on and you are using the side stand make sure your handbrake is ON, or your wheel is heading straight towards the curb or a wall - I've learned my lesson more than once


    On my scooter I rarely use the centre stand. I love my side stand, but there is an safety interlock which kills the engine when the side stand is deployed

  8. Hah! That's great ... as long as it's somebody else's GTS. I just ran across this image and thank you for posting it. I missed the rally that year I think.