Motorcycle Hacks


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WingAdmin
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Motorcycle Hacks

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:14 pm



In my day as a young teenager computer guy (1980s), a "hack" meant breaking into a computer system somewhere. In today's vernacular, the term has been taken over to mean "a neat shortcut that others might not have thought of." We see articles about "how to hack your kitchen" and "neat hacks for your dog."

So...why not "hacks for your motorcycle?" Anyone who has spent any amount of time riding motorcycles figures out some things that work well for them. So let's share them with others!

Here's some that I use myself:

For rain, I carry three items:

- Plastic grocery bags. When you're trying to pull your rain gear pants on over your wet boots, it's extremely difficult, and you can easily end up tearing your rain gear as your boots "grab" the material. Instead, slip your boot into a plastic grocery bag first, then pull the leg of your rain gear pants over it. The slippery plastic lets your boot slide easily right through the inside of the leg without grabbing.

- Nitrile gloves. I carry quite a few of these, grabbed out of my box at home. They can be used to keep grease off your hands during roadside repairs, to protect yourself (and the victim) should you have the poor misfortune to have to help treat an injured person, and for rainy days. Why rainy days? Have you ever tried to put a pair of riding gloves on your hands when your hands are wet? It's pretty tough. Worse, if your hands do get wet, when you pull them out of the gloves you can end up turning the liner inside out, which is almost impossible to fix. Put on a pair of nitrile gloves first, your hands will slip easily into the gloves, and when you pull them out, the liner will stay put inside the glove. Plus, it keeps your hands dry should your gloves not be entirely waterproof. If the weather gets a bit colder than you expect, and your gloves are insufficient, putting on a pair of nitrile gloves underneath your riding gloves will warm your hands up considerably.

- Ziploc bags. I carry the freezer variety, which are thicker and tougher. I have a wide array of electronics on my bike, some of which (i.e. GPS, bike PC) are not entirely waterproof. When I get into heavy rain, I pull out a couple Ziploc bags, put them over top the electronics, and zip the bottom closed as far as it will go. You can still see the screens of the devices, but no water can get to them. Also very handy for holding broken parts picked up off the ground after a bad tipover or "off."

Some other "hacks" that come to mind:

- Unscented Pledge furniture spray: works amazingly well as a windshield cleaner, and leaves a slight oily coating that repels rain.

- Large white "stretchy" garbage bags: these have myriad uses, from improvised rain gear (use duct tape to seal the arms and legs) to covering up external loads from rain. They can also be worn underneath a jacket to give you a warm insulated layer if the weather turns unexpectedly cold.

- It never fails: five minutes into a long trip, a great big, juicy bug smacks right into the center of your windshield or helmet visor. Soak a paper towel in water, then put it on the dried bug guts for a minute or two. The dried remains will liquify and wipe right off without a trace.

- Your new-to-you motorcycle has air-brushed "artwork" all over it that is not quite to your taste? E-Z Off Oven Cleaner will take the air-brushed paint off without harming the factory paint underneath.

- You carry a smartphone? Keep a PDF copy of your bike's service manual on the phone. It's not convenient to look through, but in an emergency roadside repair situation, it could mean the difference between being stranded and getting home.

- Your not-so-waterproof boots wet inside? Stuff some crumpled up newspaper into them and let sit overnight, they'll be dry by morning.

And not so much of a "hack" as a "keep on task" technique I brought across from piloting airplanes: Obviously fuel is of utmost importance when flying, specifically how much you have left. If you encounter more of a headwind than expected, affecting your groundspeed, you need to calculate whether or not you can still make your intended destination with acceptable reserve, and if not, divert to an intermediary airport for fuel. I would spend hours in the cockpit assessing my progress, working out speeds, fuel burn, time, and doing the math in my head to work out whether I would be OK. It kept my mind engaged on the task at hand instead of wandering.

On the motorcycle, when on long, boring highway trips, I do the same thing. How many miles since my last fill-up? How much fuel have I burned? Will I be able to continue this average speed? Where will I need to plan to get fuel next? What time will it be when I get there? I do these calculations in my head constantly, to both keep me informed, and keep me awake and focused on riding the bike. I take great pride in being able to predict my time of arrival within minutes. Those with less aptitude for mathematics might not find this quite as much fun. My wife looks at me like an alien when I explain that I do math in my head for fun and to pass the time. :)



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redial
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Re: Motorcycle Hacks

Postby redial » Mon Jan 26, 2015 4:52 pm

I provide stretching and mental exercises going as I try to keep my umbrella steady while going along :roll:

More seriously, I have also used plastic bags over my boots when it is going to be steady rain. You need to stop and buy some supplies so that they give you more plastic bags every so often, as the wind will shred them pretty fast. Sometimes I double bag them, with rubber bands used to keep them in place. In an emergency, plastic bags also work for over your gloves when it is going to keep on being wet, and you do not have any nitrile gloves.
Len in Kapunda

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waituntilthebeep
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Re: Motorcycle Hacks

Postby waituntilthebeep » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:26 am

WingAdmin wrote: How many miles since my last fill-up? How much fuel have I burned? Will I be able to continue this average speed? Where will I need to plan to get fuel next?

Mother Honda knew I would suck at math so she gave a great hack called a gas gauge. I'd be screwed and walking for sure if I had to rely on my math skills to keep off the bottom of the fuel tank :-) The stuff keeping me awake is the endless stream of whack jobs in cages.

All great ideas though. KUDOS!

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WingAdmin
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Re: Motorcycle Hacks

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:44 am

Here's a couple more:

- Carry a small packet of baby wipes. They're great for everything from cleaning a small cut or scrape to wiping grease off your hands after a roadside repair. I prefer unscented ones, lest you walk around smelling like baby powder. :)

- I'm sure everyone knows this one, but if you are parked on soft ground and don't have something to stick under your kick stand to keep it from sinking in, a flattened aluminum can will work just great.

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minimac
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Re: Motorcycle Hacks

Postby minimac » Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:45 am

WingAdmin wrote: my wife looks at me like an alien when I explain that I do math in my head for fun and to pass the time. :)

I know that look! I get it when trying to show her how to read a map.

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Mag
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Re: Motorcycle Hacks

Postby Mag » Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:22 am

waituntilthebeep wrote:
WingAdmin wrote: How many miles since my last fill-up? How much fuel have I burned? Will I be able to continue this average speed? Where will I need to plan to get fuel next?

Mother Honda knew I would suck at math so she gave a great hack called a gas gauge. I'd be screwed and walking for sure if I had to rely on my math skills to keep off the bottom of the fuel tank :-) The stuff keeping me awake is the endless stream of whack jobs in cages.

All great ideas though. KUDOS!



I so agree with the gas gauge issue, lol.

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PoolDude
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Re: Motorcycle Hacks

Postby PoolDude » Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:43 am

Interesting because the term "Hack" in relation to motorcycles used to mean a sidecar.

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redial
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Re: Motorcycle Hacks

Postby redial » Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:14 am

And all the time I thought a Hack was a taxi! Or a bad cough! Or a horse!

That is a fine word, with so many meanings.
Len in Kapunda

The world is not going to finish today, as it is already tomorrow in Australia and New Zealand, and other islands of foreign nations such as Guam and Samoa.

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WingAdmin
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1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
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Re: Motorcycle Hacks

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:37 am

PoolDude wrote:Interesting because the term "Hack" in relation to motorcycles used to mean a sidecar.


Yeah, I was thinking of that when I wrote it. :)

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ct1500
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Re: Motorcycle Hacks

Postby ct1500 » Sun Feb 01, 2015 5:07 pm

In the repair business one who is known as a "hack" is to be avoided. Beside "computer hack" this term means nothing but negative to me for a procedure, routine, etc..

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hack+job
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/hack_job
http://www.yourdictionary.com/hack-job
This is what I do
Local and need repair help with your 1500, Valkyrie or ST please PM

lihartog
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2002 GL1800

Re: Motorcycle Hacks

Postby lihartog » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:42 am

I'm also a light plane pilot, and I was taught early on while learning to fly that one of the most useless things in aviation is the fuel on the ground you just took off from. So how can we apply this to our other set of "Wings"?

The gas gauge on the GL1500 is infamous for it's accuracy, or rather the lack thereof. The gauge on the GL1800 is a lot better, but still leaves much to be desired.

After more than 20000m on my GL1800 in just more than 2 years, I've learned that my bike on average gives me 38mpg, which translates to a tank range of ±250miles. I also know that this can vary from as little as 32mpg to as much as 43mpg, depending on headwinds, road conditions, speed etc, so I've simply applied a "mental reserve" of about 50m, and I start looking for a gas station after about 200m or so. Even when burning 32mpg, that still leaves you a margin of about 20m.

With some half-decent trip planning, and if you're lucky enough to have a GPS, it becomes second nature to know if you will make it to the next town.

This simple philosophy has never let me down.

rowland
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Re: Motorcycle Hacks

Postby rowland » Mon Feb 02, 2015 9:32 am

No Need to buy gloves for use when it's wet. Use the gloves supplied by the gas station for use on the pump. They work really well. I always keep a few in the trunk. And as you mentioned essential for putting glove back on if your hands are damp.

dw3123
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Re: Motorcycle Hacks

Postby dw3123 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 10:02 am

I use a shower squeegee that I cut down to fit my helmet visor, as a windshield wiper. the hardest thing for me while riding in the rain is the lack of visibility and this helps.

sfruechte
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Re: Motorcycle Hacks

Postby sfruechte » Mon Feb 02, 2015 10:43 am

Fill a plastic container with water, soap and dirty clothes, strap it to your luggage rack and let the movement agitate and do your laundry.
(Noticed this on a BMW at the BMW museum in Munich that had traveled around the world.)

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redbug
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Re: Motorcycle Hacks

Postby redbug » Mon Feb 02, 2015 1:20 pm

Here's one. Saran wrap over your windshield in the bug season. It may take a couple times to get it smoothed out and it will stay on at speed. Then peel it off ,refresh and ready to go again. I usually do just one piece at line of site all the way across the windshield.
" Ridin on Tulsa Time "

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Paulcf
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Motorcycle: 2003 GL1800 Massively Heavy Luxury Touring

Re: Motorcycle Hacks

Postby Paulcf » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:20 pm

As you may remember from biology class, insects skeletons/bodies are made up of chitin. As we ride our motorcycles, poor insects die from a violent sudden impact with your windshield and/or face shield, etc. The removal of this 'goo' has been the subject of debate for a long time on how to remove it without damaging fragile plastic parts, etc.

What I learned from an old grizzled rider is the following: H2O2 or as it is generally called as hydrogen peroxide does wonders! I keep a well cleaned out spray bottle filled with it. Merely spray it on the remains of the bugs and it instantly dissolves the chitin into a white foam. Repeat as needed. Merely wipe with a cloth and you are good to go. As you also remember from chemistry class, hydrogen peroxide is a denser form of water and in fact that is why it is sold in dark bottles as light will eventually transform it into regular H2O or water.

It will NOT dissolve or fade plastics, etc. and I have sprayed it on my motorcycles and current Goldwing with no harm whatsoever. Plus if you happen to cut yourself it kills germs. So get an empty spray bottle that isn't transparent or opaque and wash it thoroughly and fill with hydrogen peroxide and carry on your bike. I find it helpful to spray into the 2 radiators on my goldwing to soften and loosen bugs prior to washing it.

It is obtainable at any drug/grocery store and is inexpensive. Remember you must store it in a dark spray bottle or the H2O2 will revert to regular water.

If you find this helpful and works for you, I'd love to hear your feedback!
MOBILIS IN MOBILI

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unlimited headroom
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Re: Motorcycle Hacks

Postby unlimited headroom » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:58 pm

I love the sheer brilliance of these hacks. Here are a few off the to of my head:
-I too use the disposable nitrile gloves but I put them in those 3x4 shipping docs bags that have the peel'n'stick backing. whenever I need them, they are easily peeled off the roof of my saddle bags or somewhere out of the way but easy to grab. I have them is my car's glove box, spare tire and jack stand cubby.
-in Ontario Canada, we get milk in plastic bags (see the youtube vid for a great explanation). I wash and dry out two, I put warm dry socks in them and when the time comes to change cold wet socks, I pull these out, slip on dry socks and then these bags over top so my wet boots don't soak my tootsies again.
-when travelling, I put a set of socks, t-shirt and underwear in a zip lock freezer bag, sit on it to get the air out, zip it up. I have more space available and have one bag per day. It also keeps the smell down, too.
That's all for now. Must finish the shovelling!

barlee
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Motorcycle: 1984 gl1200 aspencade

Re: Motorcycle Hacks

Postby barlee » Mon Feb 02, 2015 10:37 pm

To remove heavy tarnish on aluminum covers use gel paint remover cuts polishing time in half

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themainviking
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Re: Motorcycle Hacks

Postby themainviking » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:26 am

lihartog wrote:After more than 20000m on my GL1800 in just more than 2 years, I've learned that my bike on average gives me 38mpg, which translates to a tank range of ±250miles.


I like to stop and look around and stretch my legs every hour and a half to two hours, so I just look for fuel at that time. I am usually at or just below half a tank. As long as I use this reasoning, I think I shall never run out of fuel. This worked for me when I rode bikes without fuel guages, and works now with my wing.
It ain't about the destination - it's all about the journey

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WingAdmin
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Re: Motorcycle Hacks

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:24 pm

themainviking wrote:
lihartog wrote:After more than 20000m on my GL1800 in just more than 2 years, I've learned that my bike on average gives me 38mpg, which translates to a tank range of ±250miles.


I like to stop and look around and stretch my legs every hour and a half to two hours, so I just look for fuel at that time. I am usually at or just below half a tank. As long as I use this reasoning, I think I shall never run out of fuel. This worked for me when I rode bikes without fuel guages, and works now with my wing.


I usually go 2 - 2 1/2 hours in between stops for the same reason. Rarely I'll go 3 hours, and that's usually if I'm doing brain-dead long-distance highway miles.

triwing
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Re: Motorcycle Hacks

Postby triwing » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:27 pm

Used old bread wrapper's over my shoes, to make it easy to pull on my boots in grade school, have used heavy plastic bags for improvised boots. Keep at least a couple of newspaper bags, or bread wrappers, & put them onto handlebars with rubber bands to hold, when it looks like rain, & I have to park my bike. Did this when I rode to work mostly, but work's any time you have park & don't want to worry about controls getting wet. The paper suits from work for wet suits, were surprisingly water proof, with zipper full length, elastic on arms, legs, & have hoods, look like E P A hazard suits, with nitrile gloves you shed water pretty well, heavier rubber ones for warmth if need be. Don't know where to buy suits, but think paint supply store might have them.

atpfirefly
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Location: Long Beach, CA
Motorcycle: 1999 GL1500 SE

Re: Motorcycle Hacks

Postby atpfirefly » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:51 pm

I have a 1999 Goldwing and was looking for a temporary and inexpensive backrest that could be set up for the driver.....just today, I picked up an inexpensive sleeping bag that comes in a tight fitting carry bag, very common item. I bugeeed it into the rear seat and it fit PERFECTLY. THIS HAS SOLVED THE MINOR ISSUE OF NOT HAVING TO INSTALL AN OTHERWISE PERMANENT BACKREST.

Franchise2k
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2014 7:01 am
Location: phoenix. az
Motorcycle: 1976 Goldwing Cafe Bike

Re: Motorcycle Hacks

Postby Franchise2k » Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:01 pm

FAIRING MOUNTING TIP

This is a great tip, albeit small, but one that works with great efficiency. (and can be used for other mounting uses)

If you are going to mount an aftermarket fairing and need a way to secure it, other than the headlight bolts, here is one for you that is simple, cheap, and sturdy.

I go to my local hardware store and get two 1", U-shaped conduit mounting brackets. They are perfect for either 7/8" or 1" bars. You simply wrap them around your bars, bending the mount tabs to line up the holes. They are sturdy, yet flexible to bend.

Then take threaded rod, (about 3/16" etc) and some nuts and washers. Replace the short factory windshield bolt with a longer one to come through the windshield, attaching that to a 1" "L" bracket. Attach the threaded rod to the other hole in the "L" bracket with a nut and washer on each side of the bracket. Stick the other end of the rod through the conduit bracket that you wrapped around the bar, attach a nut and lock washer on each side of that conduit bracket. If you use the the correct length of rod, it will allow you to alter the fairing up or down, or side to side, to get it centered simply by adjusting the nuts.
Then when you are done, take some rubber vacuum tubing, cut it to length and slit it lengthwise, wrapping it around the exposed threaded rod to "finish" the look. You don't have to do this step, but it cleans it up nicely. if you are going for a more mechanical look to your bike you could omit this tip. When you are all done, I suggest spraying it with black paint, or clear, to prevent rust.

It will make your fairing vibration free and rock solid! One additional tip, I used nylon washers between the "L" bracket and the windshield/fairing mounting point. You could also use a thin rubber washer. It will help prevent cracking by allowing a small amount of vibration and movement. Also, I suggest you "mock" everything up finger tight. Let all the brackets, etc "relax" into their natural state, then tighten. What this does is relieves any undo stress from an incorrectly angled bracket or rod. The nice thing about threaded rod is it is easy to bend. That way you can have a straight shot through the bracket. This will eliminate any side stress once bolted tight. Spin on a nut to hold onto while you bend to shape. This will prevent the threads from getting smashed.

Like I said.... Its a small tip but works great!

Franchise2k
Posts: 4
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Location: phoenix. az
Motorcycle: 1976 Goldwing Cafe Bike

Re: Motorcycle Hacks

Postby Franchise2k » Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:00 pm

WingAdmin wrote: I do these calculations in my head constantly, to both keep me informed, and keep me awake and focused on riding the bike.


One tip I picked up a long time ago on long trips to avoid getting drowsy: Chew something.

In a car sunflower seeds are the trick. These may not work real well on a full face helmet (________ <<-- Insert Joke here) But having some gum along will do wonders to keep your head occupied and it really works wonders on preventing drowsiness. If you are truly tired, thereisn't much that will help. But if you have that "I just ate" afternoon sleepies. This is the cure.

electdroid
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:08 am
Location: Canada
Motorcycle: 2008 goldwing

Dry yer bike

Postby electdroid » Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:07 pm

The best way to dry your motorcycle after you wash it is with a leaf blower...but you knew that! :D




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