Friday, 18 January 2013

Brutale 1090R - ECU & Arrow Thunder Full System

Peter Stevens fitted the Arrow Thunder system for me and ran the bike on the dyno to check that everything was working. When I picked the bike up, they explained to me that it was running a bit lean, and that I should keep an eye on things to make sure that this didn't cause any problems.

They told me that the lean situation might not be a problem, but it could be fixed with either a Power Commander or a race ECU. I decided to keep the bike for a while and see how it went with just the standard fueling. I also wanted to see what it was like with the db-killer in and out.

It didn't take long before I decided that the engine seemed to be lacking a bit low down, and was also a bit snatchy on the throttle, so I called Peter Stevens up and spoke to a chap about my options. He said they had the ECUs in stock, and I could get one fitted immediately - specifically designed for my bike. Within a few days I had the ECU on the bike and this time they reported that it was running slightly rich, which is apparently a better situation than slightly lean. The mileage I get now is about what it's always been - 180km from a full tank until the low fuel light comes on. Although my last tank I got 200km before the lamp came on.

The ECU definitely calmed the bike down in the lower ranges. It's a lot smoother from idle to 4k and no real dip in power there any more. Of course in the upper ranges it screams like a banshee and has bucketloads of power - as always. The other thing is the sound it makes when idling cold. Since fitting the ECU, it does this kind of sine-wave idling thing where it sits there going brrp brrp brrp brrp instead of just staying at a constant rpm. Sounds awesome.

Not knowing much about bike electronics/software I came to the conclusion that the Power Commander is a device that sits between the sensors and the ECU and tricks the bike into thinking that conditions are different to what they actually are. It seemed like you had to find a decent map suitable for your bike, so I preferred to go with the after-market ECU, which seemed like a more straightforward option. I'm certainly happy with the results.

I experimented with the db-killer out, but eventually came to the conclusion that it's just too loud for me. I ride every day, and always wear earplugs to cut out the wind noise etc. but I found the noise level when I rev the bike out to be just too intimidating. It becomes so loud that it deters me from revving. I prefer to have a quieter sound that doesn't sound like a jet engine, yet is loud enough to make cars notice you - which is my main motivation for fitting the exhaust in the first place.

Interestingly, the Buell was a lot better at making itself heard when doodling through the traffic, simply because of the bass thump of the big twin. The four-cylinder sound of the MV is not as bassy when idling, but a hell of a lot louder when flat out. Most of the problems I find with traffic not seeing you occur at fairly low speeds, when the engine is in its low to mid range, so the twin is better from that perspective. Of course the Buell ran out of steam at 6,500rpm, which is just about where the MV kicks in! Hence the 52 horsepower difference, I suppose...

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Gangnam Style Lyrics in Australian English

For those, who, like me, couldn't match the lyrics on the web with the film clip, I've composed this - the definitive, fully tested, phonetic version of the lyrics. If you're from the U.S. or England, please read as if you were Australian. For example, Kopi is not pronounced like Hopey, it's pronounced like Copy.



opan gangnam style
gangnam style

Najay nun taa, sa ro, un ingan-jogin yoja
Ko-pi-hanjan, e yoyu ahn, and poonk yo in an yoja
Ba me ohm., ya shin jon e, du gawa jeenun yoja
Guron ban, jon, eenun yoja

Nana sana air
Na jayna loma kuta saro, un casana air
Kopi shikido joni one-shot tenu sana air
Ba me ohn, yashimjani toja bon ya sana air
Kurosana air

Arun deh woh, sarang suro woh
Gureh noh, Hey, deh barum noh, Hey
Arun deh woh, saram suro woh
Gureh noh, Hey, deh barum noh, Hey
She can put her in deh gaji gagum goh goh goh goh

Wopan gangnam style
Gangnam style
Wop, wop wop wop, wopan Gangnam style

Tom, soot, keh bowie, ji man voorten gohnen yoja
i tehr da shi, pooh mehr mooh vohta, mohri poonen yoja
Kah yochi manwen ma'hnen nooch, oo border yahen yoja
Kuron gan, yak, jogi, yoja.....

Nana sana air
Tom jana vo-iji-manoorten, nuna sana air
Nega dena bwan-jan-michaba, ina sana air
Garnya por dasasani ortombor tona sana air
Kurosana air


Beenanohm, kowea nada nohm
.Baby baby nana more, jon ada nohm
Beenanohm, kowea nada nohm
.Baby baby nana more jon ada jorn what I'm sayin'…

Wopan Gangnam style


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Brutale 1090R R&G Tail-Tidy & CRG bar-end mirrors

I just bought an R&G Tail tidy for my 2011 1090R Brutale and spent a couple of hours fitting it last night.

Trooper Lu's in NSW were extremely helpful and sent the unit with blinding speed, so I received it on Tuesday after ordering on Saturday.

Anyway, I followed the instructions and soon had the old unit removed and in pieces. First thing to do was cut the wires to the license plate light and rewire them to the new R&G light, which is a lot smaller. The new light screws onto the tail tidy easily, although I was a bit scared to tighten the nuts too much due to their small size. I think locknuts would have been better.

Next thing was attaching my indicators. Immediately I could see that they were not going to fit without some modification. I had to enlarge the hole in the tail tidy and extend it back, then I had to cut off a couple of millimetres from the bush on the indicators so that the screw could fully tighten against the metal of the mount. Having done that, I routed the wires up through the unit and secured them with one of the supplied cable ties.

There were three allen head bolts, with locknuts, supplied to attach the tail tidy to the frame, but I could only get one of them to go in far enough for the thread to be accessible from the under-seat area. The other two were, frustratingly, just a bee's dick too short. Fortunately I found a couple of slightly longer bolts lying around the workshop, and a couple of locknuts to go with them.

After connecting up the wires for the indicators and license plate light, the last thing to do was drill a couple of holes in the license plate and attach that to the holder.

By comparison, fitting the mirrors was easy. An allen key to remove the existing bar-end sliders, then the rubber insert which was left inside the handlebar. For the 1090R, you need to use the adapters which go inside the handlebars and leave a mount for you to screw on the mirrors. I had to use all the supplied shims to get the required diameter for the adapter to fit inside the handlebars. Lastly you need to remove the old mirrors, which involves undoing the mirrors and then removing the mounting lug from the lever assembly.

It's strange not having those two hulking mirrors in front of you. Actually, it's great! I never liked the mirrors on the Brutale. There was only about a third of the mirror that displayed anything useful, the rest was my arms, and they didn't have enough movement to fully adjust them to my ergonomics. The new ones are brilliant. You can see completely behind you on both sides, and they don't seem to vibrate at all. They are also slightly convex, so I'm having to get used to judging the distance to the vehicles in the mirror. They also flip up or down out of the way when you're filtering through traffic, but I haven't tried that yet.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Commuting on a Brutale

So I've had the 2011 Brutale 1090R for around a month now, which is time to have formed a few impressions - having moved from a Buell XB9SX to the MV.

There were a number of things about the Buell that had gradually started to grate on me, eventually resulting in me deciding I needed to move on. As much as I love the Buell for its down-to-earth approach, stump-pulling grunt and superb handling, there were still a couple of things that I couldn't get past. The first was 'the fart'. Most Buell owners will know what I'm talking about here. A characteristic of the bike was that occasionally, and seemingly more frequently as the years passed, it had a habit of kind of 'farting' or missing, on application of throttle. Now on a 984cc twin motorcycle, when one cylinder decides to either not fire, or backfire, or whatever the fuck happens, it's not a nice experience. Those cylinders are big enough to stop you dead in your tracks. The bike is big and heavy (I'm pretty small) and I rely on things going smoothly, especially in heavy traffic when I'm often moving at almost walking speed and maneuvring around cars, using balance to keep myself in control. If the engine suddenly throws a curve-ball in stopping you in your tracks, especially on takeoff from the lights or a sudden blip during a tight manoeuvre - I don't appreciate it. That has always happened on this bike, but more so now that I've been swapping between standard pipe and Drummer performance pipe.

My second gripe is ground-clearance. As previously mentioned, I'm a shortarse, and even on the Buell, I can barely reach the ground on tippy-toes. If I'm trying to get from the pavement to the road, over the curb, and the underslung pipe catches on the concrete - I'm screwed. The bike stops, the back wheel lifts off the ground - no longer providing forward thrust, and I hover, waiting for fate to decide whether I can slide forward to regain control or slowly tip to the side. Of course the upside of having the pipe under the bike is that it keeps weight low, centre of gravity low, handling better. Small consolation when you're lying on your side next to the curb, hoping someone will help you lift the bike up.

Third gripe, heat. I live in Melbourne, Australia, where summer temperatures frequently reach the 40's (Centigrade). Being an air-cooled engine with one cylinder (the rear) being severely disadvantaged for airflow in the tight Buell frame, they've employed a system whereby a fan behind the rear cylinder comes on at high temperatures to draw air past the cylinder and prevent it from overheating. This is a fantastic idea, except for one thing : the air is blown straight out the side, at your leg, so that apart from any other discomfort you may be experiencing (such as heavy traffic, high helmet and clothing temperature), you get this fan coming on and blowing 1000 degree boiling hot air onto your leg, to the point where you actually have to lift your leg up and away from the unbearable heat.

Anyway, I bit the bullet and paid double what I paid for the Yank, to purchase a piece of pedigree Spaghetti - an MV Agusta Brutale 1090R. You couldn't get a more different bike if you tried. Four cylinders inline, water cooling, radial valves, 144hp compared to 90, yet with only 100cc more. Revs topping out at 12,000 rather than 7000 on the Buell, even higher seat height (jaysus!), heavier, and 'Brutal', meaning that a millionth of an inch twist on the throttle could result in a massive burst of horsepower - not something to be trifled with (I'm learning the deft throttle-hand usage). It's quickly become apparent to me that the MV does not want to be a commuter (like the Buell). The ONLY similarity is the riding position. The Buell was fun to ride and probably the perfect commuter. The MV wants to GO. It constantly tries to get away from you, and the only way you'll stop it is with the strongest determination and willpower. I can't believe that I haven't had a speeding fine yet. By the time you're doing an RPM that feels comfortable for the engine, you're way above the speed limit, in any gear.

I love the digital speedo, the gear indicator is a godsend, you can't take off with the stand down, there are two power modes ('scary' and 'terrifying') and 8 levels of traction control. There is only one thing, apart from the appalling petrol consumption, that I can't stand about this bike - the dashboard controls.

As you'll find out with a brief google search, there's probably not a single person on the planet who is able to operate the complex system of button pushes and menu choices for even the simplest of tasks such as resetting the trip meter. On a Ducati, this is a two second operation. On the MV, it takes 5 minutes of pushing and holding buttons, trying again, going to the wrong menu etc. They really lost it here. To make matters worse, when the reserve fuel display comes on, you can't see the trip meter at all. You also can't change the brightness or contrast, and the absolute WORST thing of all - it has no clock!!

Oh yeah, there's ONE other thing I don't like - the mirrors. You simply can't adjust them enough, so you just have to be content with a half-assed view. A tall rider would suffer even more in this department.

If MV could address those issues, I reckon this bike would be just about perfect.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Moved to Mac

Well, the critter went and done it. He finally did what he swore he would never do - he bought an Apple Mac. Why? Got sick and tired of looking at the hourglass with Windows 7, on both a 2.6Ghz pc and a 2.4 Ghz Toshiba laptop, both of which cost a not inconsiderable amount of dosh. Couple that with the ever increasingly annoying Office and that absolute pain-in-the-arse program Internet Explorer and you've got the picture. A casual visit to a mate's house confirmed it. There he had it - a MacBook Pro, CLOSED!, sitting on his desktop, connected to a Thunderbolt 27" monitor with a gorgeous trackpad, and I was gone. The backup software - what is it called, 'Time Machine'? - that was the icing on the cake. Plus the fact that I was about to join a new company who used Macs, and I figured it was time to move out of my comfort zone. A few painful weeks later - after installing a Vertex 250Gb SSD in place of the SuperDrive (DVD) player - I'm pretty much up and running. I bought Parallels to run Windows on, and it seems to be doing a perfect job. A few readings of various articles and there you have it - O/S on the SSD and data on the 7200 750Gb HDD. Couldn't be happier. ::::::))))))

Wednesday, 12 October 2011


I can hear the guy who sits behind me. Although he's Chinese, he speaks to himself all day in English, and makes noises like Jar-Jar Binks and little Yoda-like exclamations whenever he comes across something that requires thought. I suspect that when I don't hear him talking to himself, he's not working. When he's not talking to himself or making ridiculous noises, he puffs, really short and loud, like you do when you're about to attempt a heavy deadlift in the gym. I wonder if people know they're talking to themselves. I imagine me talking to myself in Chinese, and annoying the shit out of the whole office - if I was working in China.

He has one other really, stupefyingly irritating habit. He makes noises with 'things', like just now, he's picking up his pen and dropping it onto the desk, once every few seconds, in between clicking the button on top of the pen (and puffing, and talking to himself). Sometimes he holds his phone and absent-mindedly clacks it on the desk one side at a time, turning it over and over until you feel that death would be a welcome respite from the noise.

About once every five minutes, the phone rings. The main office phone is right behind me, and every time it rings, it plays a little, excruciatingly annoying, ditty, until someone answers it. If no-one answers, it does a round-robin of all the phones in the office, before returning to the musical phone behind me. 

Then I hear the 21 year old girl who sits next to me, tapping away on the keyboard again. She does this about once every minute, from dawn til dusk, interrupting her work to chat with friends over icq, often pausing for long periods to edit the response, one hand poised over the keyboard while the other pulls and teases at the ends of her hair, plucking out the loose ones and dropping them on the floor. I think that I could pick her typing sound from a hundred others, I'm so used to it. I reckon this behaviour gives her about an hour of productivity per day. When she's not tapping away on icq, she's on her phone. I don't know why they hire these people. Even if they're cheap, it's false economy. But then, they hired me, so should I feel bad?

She walks past me to get a drink and I hear the fingernails-on-a-blackboard sound of her dragging feet. Why do people have to drag their feet when they walk? You only have to lift them a centimetre or so to clear the floor, yet this seems too difficult? They must have shocking problems with static electricity, I think. The clinking of pointless jewelry and trinkets alerts me of her imminent return. She's one of three women in an office of around 25 men, almost all of whom are fat, slobby, IT guys over 40, yet she insists on wearing hot pants and dressing up like she's going out to a nightclub. I don't understand why. I can't imagine the thought processes.

Every half hour or so, I hear the rustling of foil from the other side of the partition, indicating that the Russian guy who sits there is having another Nicorette. I once asked him about it and he told me that he gave up smoking about a year ago but it now addicted to Nicorettes. I wonder constantly whether that's cheaper or even healthier than actually smoking. Speaking of smoking, I'm now hearing the old guy across the aisle hacking away again. He sounds like he's about to die, but one of the other guys told me that he's been the same for the last 3 years, so he could go on forever. He's always out on the balcony with the Sri Lankan guy, the Indian guy, the sysadmin, the admin woman and the managers of the company, who all smoke like chimneys.

The Chinese guy just dropped the pen again, but has picked it up and is clicking the button interminably. He's talking to himself again. People here talk to themselves, but don't talk to each other. They communicate by instant messaging.

My team leader asked me a question on icq yesterday, then when I answered, I hear him go 'Hmmm' (he only sits about 2 metres away). Then he types 'Hmm' on icq. I've pulled up a few people here who typed 'LOL'. I said 'LOL'? I didn't hear you make a sound! 'Laughing on the inside', quipped one bloke. Meanwhile the old guy's having another coughing fit, he's getting weaker, I can hear it. I wonder if it bothers him that he can barely breathe? Does he ever think that by quitting, he might stop coughing? Advertising doesn't work.

The Russian's having another Nicorette. I'm going to have to put on the headphones. At least it's not as bad as the last place I worked. The guy opposite me had a high-pitched voice like a jockey and used to host webinars from his desk, where he'd talk non-stop for an hour. When he put on the headphones at the start of the session, his voice used to go up a few decibels. It drove me nuts. Eventually we made him go into the meeting rooms for the webinars.

He was one of those people who just talk extra loudly on the phone, and seem to lose all awareness of their surroundings (ie, a very quiet office, surrounded by people trying to work). I remember when mobile phones first became really popular, and the first thing everyone who had one did, was buy annoying ringtones. So you'd be surrounded by stupid, pointless, music from morning til night. Then again, I used to smoke at my desk in the really old days, and that probably annoyed the ones who didn't smoke. I remember one guy asking me to blow the smoke elsewhere. I told him to get stuffed.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

DJ Settings with Traktor Kontrol S4, Yamaha MG82CX and Behringer Active speakers

Ok, so I had to learn a bit about balanced and unbalanced cables. The Traktor Kontrol S4 has only 1/4" balanced and RCA unbalanced cable outputs. I had already found that going from the S4 to my Rokit 5 studio monitor speakers required balanced (TRS) 1/4" cables, because if I use the RCAs, I get loads of noise - even with nothing playing. So I figure I have to use those balanced 1/4" TRS cables. Now, when plugging the S4 into my Yamaha mixer, the mixer only offers either mono XLR inputs, mono (balanced) 1/4" inputs, stereo RCA inputs, or stereo unbalanced 1/4" inputs. Sheesh - can't win! I have a brainstorm and come up with the brilliant plan of using the only two mixer channels with compressors - one for left and one for right. Pan left and right respectively. Only problem with that is that a) I've got to keep the two sets of eq's etc in sync on the mixer, and b) I have no compression if I want to plug a microphone into the mixer. I only have the basic remaining channels which only have eq. Anyway, I try it out and come to the conclusion that I may as well plug my two balanced 1/4" cables into the unbalanced 1/4" stereo inputs on the mixer, thereby freeing up the two compressable channels for other purposes. My feeble knowledge of cabling and mixing and pa's in general doesn't go far enough to tell me whether I would get the same degradation of signal quality that I get when going direct to the monitor speakers in my studio - if not using balanced connections. I have to assume that possibly the main benefits of balanced cabling comes in between the mixer and the speakers, because that's also where the cables have to be longest. My routing goes: S4 to mixer, mixer to 18" powered sub (Behringer B1800D), sub to left and right active 400w/450w 12" speakers (Behringer B212D Eurolive). After listening in depth to all setups, I come to the final conclusion that as there's only about .5 metres between the S4 and the mixer, I should be fine. I have a balanced signal between the mixer and the sub, and between the sub and the other two speakers. The sound is fantastic. My research shows that the volume/level on the S4 should be as high as possible (without clipping), which is something I didn't do last time I set this up, and struggled for volume. So now I've got the main volume on the S4 up about 3/4 of the way, not clipping, which I reckon should be between 0db and +6db. The Gain knob on the MG82CX is at 0db or slightly above, the channel level is at about 7, the main out of the mixer is about 4, and at these levels, I get the 'signal' light flashing on the sub (which is taking the entire output from the mixer and distributing it between the two smaller speakers and itself). Previously I couldn't get the signal light to flash on the sub, which I think was because I wasn't inputting enough from the S4. Tweaking the knobs on the sub will eventually provide me with the right high-cut and bass boost I need for whatever gig I'm doing, so that's just a matter of trial and error. The good thing is that I now have a bit of headroom and PLENTY of FOH volume to play with ;)