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. ::::::))))))