The last couple of days I've been working on my motorcycle seat. It's a fairly common practice to put a lower seat on these WR450s because they're so tall. I was going to buy a lower seat for it but that didn't work out so I decided to modify the seat myself.
It looks simple enough, you take off the seat cover, cut an inch off the top of the foam, and staple the cover back on. What could possibly go wrong ?
Well I'll tell you. The first thing that went wrong is I decided that I wanted an all black seat cover instead of the blue and black one that came with it, because someday I would like to change all the blue and white plastic parts for black ones so I would have a black motorcycle instead of a blue-and-white motorcycle. But I found out that putting a rectangular piece of vinyl over the foam is a lot harder than putting the fitted seat cover back on that I took off.
The next problem was my staple gun. My old staple gun didn't have the power to push a staple through the plastic seat base. So I went to Home Depot and bought a heavy-duty staple gun that with some effort will put Staples into the hard plastic seat base most of the time.
I also found out I didn't have a good way of cutting the foam. I've cut foam before using a electric carving knife or just a long serrated knife blade but I no longer have any of those things having gotten rid of them before I sold my house. So the only thing I had handy was a hacksaw blade and even though it made an ugly cut it still worked.
I also didn't have any sandpaper to sand the foam smooth after I cut it so I bought some while it was at Home Depot, all the while thinking of the boxes of sandpaper I threw away before I sold my house.
After I bought the things I needed the actual job wasn't all that bad except making the vinyl fit the seat and look halfway decent. I've never upholstered anything in my life, so taking that into consideration the finished seat didn't look all that bad, it's not perfect but its not embarrassing either.
But looks aren't everything so it will be interesting to see if I leave a trail of staples as I ride down the road.
Pulling out the staples
Removing the factory seat cover
Marking the 1 inch cut
Cutting the seat foam with a hacksaw blade
Stapling the vinyl to the plastic seat base
It actually looks better than it does in the picture when I bolted it onto the motorcycle it looks smooth and nice
For the last few weeks I've been ordering things that I'm going to need for the motorcycle and one of the first things that I ordered was a cover for the motorcycle called a "Dirt Bag" I know it sounds like something for a vacuum cleaner but according to my Internet research this cover one of the best ones out there. There's two main reasons for the cover, one is to protect the motorcycle from all the dirt that the back of the trailer sucks up as I'm driving down the road. The more important reason is to cover it up so you can't see what motorcycle it is, and that gives it a little bit of protection from theft.
Another thing I had to buy was 4 tie down straps. I used to have some tie down straps but I either sold them or gave them away when I was cleaning out my garage to get the house ready to sell. There again I did a lot of research on the Internet to find out which straps were the best because the damage that could be done by the motorcycle falling off the back of the trailer is way worse than having the bike fall over in the back of your pickup truck, so there could be no compromise on the tie down straps. I ended up buying these pro-taper straps, the write ups about them were excellent and when I got them in my hands they looked very well made and very strong.
Something else I ordered is a yard of upholstery material to cover my motorcycle seat in. Since I'm going to be slicing an inch or so off the top of my seat I figured I would just reupholster it in black carbon fiber design vinyl so the seat would match the rest of the bike when I start painting some parts black, which is another way to disguise the bike so it's hard to tell what it is and maybe cut down on the theft factor.
And speaking of theft I got the motorcycle added to my Geico auto policy and got some pretty good coverage for $180 a year which I thought was a real bargain.
Something I ordered that will make me more comfortable is 1 inch handlebar risers. As soon as I sat on the bike the first time I could feel that the handlebars were a little low especially if I'm standing on the pegs, but I think with the risers and cutting an inch off the seat that will make the handlebars more comfortable for me.
That's about all so far, I'm looking forward to the Yamaha coming out of the shop this Tuesday as that will be a major piece of the puzzle that I've been putting together this last month.
Well, all the pieces of the motorcycle puzzle are slowly coming together. I've got my motorcycle license, the welding of the motorcycle carry rack for the back of the Arctic Fox is in it's beginning phase, and all of the parts to make the WR450 street legal are now at the dealer's waiting to be installed.
The Yamalink which is supposed to lower the WR 450 an inch and a quarter is in and waiting to be installed, but the lower seat is on back order or something and won't be available till the middle of June, so I've decided to skip that and just work on the seat it comes with to make it lower. And that's not all that difficult, I just have to take off the seat cover, slice an inch off the foam, and staple the seat cover back on again.
So with any luck the motorcycle will be finished Tuesday and I just have to get the Highway Patrol to come to the dealer and sign off on the bike being street legal. And then the dealer will give me a title for a street bike instead of a dirt bike. So no matter where I move to it will always be a street legal motorcycle.
This is the Yamaha TW200 that I rode at motorcycle school this weekend
Vall and Mo if you're still out there I have something I want to tell you.
The last time we talked you told me you are interested in the Yamaha TW200, well that just happened to be the motorcycle that I rode all weekend for my motorcycle test. Before my only experience with the TW200 was sitting on it in the dealers showroom but now that I've ridden it I have a more favorable opinion of the motorcycle.
Now I still don't think that it's a good motorcycle for the highway, but that wasn't something you needed anyway. But I do feel like for the uses that you described the TW200 might be just perfect. I found it to be an easy motorcycle to ride. the seat height and the handlebars were comfortable but just a tad low for my 34 inch inseam, so if you're less than 6 foot tall it might be just perfect. It was an easy motorcycle to get used to and ran great for the 10 or so hours I was on it. It was very maneuverable and those fat tires had plenty of traction, in fact it had so much traction that I had the shortest stopping distances in the whole class.
So I would say the TW200 would make a great motorcycle riding around out in the boondocks and making a short run to the Walmart. And I'm assuming that the motorcycle had to be pretty reliable or the school wouldn't have had it around.
The motorcycles we rode and part of the obstacle course. Penrose Colorado.
I passed my motorcycle riding school. It actually wasn't as fun as I thought it would be, it was instructive, but it wasn't much fun.
Riding down the road and carving the turns is fun, but riding in a parking lot on an obstacle course where everything you do and every move you make is controlled and critiqued is not fun. I would describe it as stressful, tiring, and somewhat informative.
If you're a brand-new shiny rider I would say the course is very informative but still stressful and tiring. But if you're an old-time rider like me and your set in your riding ways I think it's in some ways more difficult because they want you to do everything their way and not the way you have been doing it for the last 40 years.
Now you could say that they're trying to get rid of your bad habits, but for me considering all the countries I've ridden in and all the states I've traveled in on a motorcycle and never had an accident I'm more than a little hesitant to give up the ways that I ride a motorcycle.
If you're a beginner I think this course is a great way to learn the basics of riding a motorcycle. There was a couple of brand-new riders in the class and there was a huge improvement in the way they rode when we started and in the way they rode for the final test.
The first day was a 10 hour day. four hours were spent in the classroom learning riding fundamentals, and the rest of the day was spent riding around the obstacle course which was changed and became a different obstacle course about every half hour.
Very little of the course was going straight so you could sit back and relax. Most of the course was stopping and going and turning in different directions and in different ways, and that's what made it so tiring. And if you're not used to sitting on a motorcycle seat for four or five hours at a time you learn it can become uncomfortable pretty quick.
Sunday was a shorter day we got there at 8 o'clock and were done by three. The day consisted of, four hours of obstacle course, an hour or two of the actual riding test, a short refresher discussion on the book learning stuff, and then the written test.
There were six people in the class and I'm happy to say that everyone passed. we got to know each other pretty well this weekend. And I think we all would've been disappointed had someone failed.
So that was it, I'm really glad it's over, and now all I've got to do is go to the DMV and get my motorcycle license.
Well tomorrow is the big day, or should I say the big weekend, for motorcycle school. When I first signed up for the school it kind of bothered me a little because I've been riding motorcycles all of my life and I didn't think I would get much out of it, other than a motorcycle license.
But since I always try to look on the bright side of things I started thinking that it might be fun, after all laws change and maybe I'll learn something that I never knew before. And I'll get to ride a motorcycle around and that's always fun. I haven't had much saddle time in the last 20 years so I know I'm a little rusty and riding around in a parking lot will be a good way to get the feel of it again.
The bikes we are going to be using are Yamaha XT 250s which are as friendly and mild-mannered as you're going to find in a motorcycle. I've never ridden one before but I've sat on a few of them Because the XT 250 was one of the bikes I considered getting before I decided on the WR450. I liked it originally because it's a street legal dirt bike and the seat is low enough that almost anyone can get both feet flat on the ground. But the problem for me was it was kind of heavy at 298 pounds, and it didn't have much power for riding on the highway, I think it's only got about 18 hp.
I think one of the reasons I started feeling more optimistic about going to the school is I remembered last year when I had to go to a concealed carry school to renew my gun permit. I had inadvertently let my concealed carry permit expire and because of a new Colorado law I now had to take a class.
This bothered me because I had owned a concealed carry permit for the last 20 something years, and in fact had never had to go to a school because Colorado accepted my military weapons training as sufficient to have a concealed carry permit.
But there I was having to sit in a classroom and listening to someone who knew less about firearms than I did tell me which end the bullet came out of. But despite what I thought I ended up actually enjoying it and learning some things that may prove to be beneficial in the future.
So I'm hoping that's what's gonna happen this weekend. I've got everything I'm supposed to bring in the truck, my helmet, my boots, my brand-new gloves, and a jacket. And I'm looking forward to getting on a motorcycle again.
I stopped by Fremont motorsports this morning to find out what size handlebars are on the 2016 Yamaha WR450. I had looked all over the Internet and couldn't find nothing definite. I was pretty sure they were 7/8 bars but not sure enough to buy some new higher bars for it.
The parts department said that they were 7/8, so I'll go with that. I'm thinking that instead of buying higher bars I might be better off buying a 1 or 2 inch riser, that would definitely be cheaper but I'm having trouble finding a riser for the 2016 model. I've always preferred a higher bar, it makes it easier for me to stand up and I think lower foot pegs would help to.
I finally bought a helmet the other day. I remember back in the day when buying a helmet was no big deal. There was only two styles, the three-quarter helmet that racers used, and the round pot that set on the top your head. You could have any color you wanted just by going out and buying a can of spray paint, because the helmet itself only came in white.
When the helmet wasn't on your head you hung it on the handlebars of the motorcycle and the thought that someone might steal it never occurred to me, and in fact I rode street bikes for 30 years and never lost a helmet.
Needless to say times of have changed, I started looking for helmets on the Internet and after looking at all the options I thought the best helmet for me would be a modular helmet, that's the kind that looks like a full face helmet when it's on your head but you can flip the chin bar up to the top of the helmet and take it on and off like a regular three-quarter helmet. But the problem was a decent one cost hundreds of dollars and I wasn't about to leave a $200 helmet hanging on my motorcycle.
Of course they make locks for helmets but I haven't seen anything that couldn't be defeated with a pair of pliers or a pocket knife. So I devised a cunning plan. I bought a GMAX three-quarter helmet that you see at the top of the page for about $90, which is an amount that I can sort of live with if it gets stolen. And to prevent it from being stolen I am going to ugly it up a bit by making it look kind of old and beat up so it doesn't look like it's worth stealing, then I will lock it to the bike by the D rings just like everyone does.
If that doesn't work I'll go to Walmart, buy a $49 helmet and hope my head never hits the pavement.
Cool guy on a Yamaha WR 450, This will never be me .
When I checked in to Haggard's RV Park a few days ago I couldn't believe how lucky I was. Because not only is it a nice place to stay, but when I was telling the owners, Nancy and Matt Fetty, that I was here to pick up my new Yamaha WR450, and explained that I needed to have a motorcycle rack built and welded to the back of my Arctic Fox fifth wheel. I asked them if they knew of a welding shop in the area that could do that. And Matt said said I sure do, mine!
I couldn't believe my luck! Matt took me into the RV storage area and showed me an old motorcycle rack that he had laying there and said he could weld some receivers to the frame of my Arctic Fox and put this rack right in them.
He took some measurements of the Arctic Fox frame and is getting some material to cross brace and strengthen the frame at the back of the trailer. And some time this week I'm going to pull the Arctic Fox to Pueblo where his shop is and have the job done.
Once the welding is all finished the old rack will need to be cleaned and painted. Matt is checking on a place in town that can sandblast and powder coat it, and if that's not too expensive I'll have that done, but if it cost too much it will just be me, sandpaper, and a rattle can.
This is the Australian version of the Yamaha WR450, it has cool black rims.
One of the things that had been worrying me about buying a motorcycle is how I was going to carry it. Since I live, and travel, in my Arctic Fox fifth wheel I knew I was going to have to put something on the back of the trailer that could safely carry the motorcycle. And the simplest and cheapest thing seemed to be a rack that could be attached to the back of the trailer.
The first thing I did was call the Northwood factory and asked them if it would be safe to carry a 300 pound motorcycle on the back of the Arctic Fox 27 – 5L. And they told me if I welded a receiver hitch to the frame and cross braced the frame it would be just fine. I was glad to hear that because I know there are some trailers that they don't even want you to hang a bicycle on the back of.
Since I live by myself I have to be able to take the motorcycle on and off the trailer with no help, and I've been a bit concerned how that was going to work out. Knowing me if it's not an easy, and safe thing to do then I will look for excuses not to take the bike off and ride it.
The Arctic Fox is kind of high off the ground so I never assumed that I would be able to push a 271 pound motorcycle up a ramp to get it on the rack, so I'm hoping that I can crank the bike up and idle it up the ramp. If that doesn't work out too well I guess I will have to figure a way to hook up a little winch and pull it up the ramp.
I need to be able to take the bike off the rack from either end of the rack, in other words I can't have a chock bolted to one end of the rack. Because sometimes I have to Park the trailer in places where taking the motorcycle off in one direction might not be possible. But without a chock to grab the front wheel and hold it, its going to be difficult for me to hold the bike in place and tie it down at the same time. Maybe I could have a way to just put it on its kickstand while its on the rack.
I'll get it figured out, after all I don't have much choice because at the moment I own a motorcycle that I have no way to carry.
Welcome to my very first post on a brand-new page on my blog. This blog is going to be about the joy and the pain of living with my brand-new 2016 Yamaha WR 450F.
The fact is I haven't started living with my Yamaha just yet, it's still at Fremont Motorsports in Florence Colorado and it looks like it's going to be a couple of weeks before I can bring it home. I did get to sit on it the other day but not for long and that was by my choice and not there's, because frankly it feels like I'm sitting on a 2 x 4. The seat is hard and narrow, and my feet dangle helplessly several inches from the floor. I could've sat there with my feet on the foot pegs but I don't trust kickstands to hold me up because I've seen them break before.
With a 38 inch seat height I don't think a yoga instructor could get on and off that bike gracefully. I had to stand on the foot peg to get on at all and even then it was a struggle. Now bear in mind I'm 6 foot tall and have about a 34 inch inseam, but I've got more days behind me than I do ahead of me and I don't bend like I used to.
The solution to this problem is obviously that the bike needs to be lowered. The salesman measured from the bottom of my foot to the floor and determined that I'm 3 inches from being able to flatfoot when I stop. So what were doing is this, I've ordered a seat that's 1 inch lower than the factory seat, now taking 1 inch of foam off of that seat is going to make it pretty thin, so I'm keeping the factory seat just in case, the dealer ordered a Yamalink that's made for the 2016 WR450 and its supposed to drop it another inch and a quarter. That should leave my feet hovering about three quarters of an inch above the ground, and I'm hoping they can adjust the suspension to bring it down that much.
The other reason its still in the shop is that I'm having it titled as a street bike. As you know the WR 450 is an off-road bike here in America but fortunately Colorado has been very generous in their rules about what constitutes a street bike. Fremont Motorsports is handling all the paperwork so all I have to do is request a highway patrolman to come to the dealership and sign a paper saying that it has all the street legal equipment on it and I'll be good to go. So with a couple of DOT tires, some odds and ends like a horn, a mirror, and a brake light switch, I can be cruising the twisties in the Colorado mountains just like I belong there.
Yes I know the head looks like it's on backwards, and that's because Japan is on the other side of the earth so their left is our right. When the bike is in Japan it looks perfectly normal.