In Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance I wrote of the quest to find my dad’s motorcycle, and return it to the world.

The tl;dr of that was… drove to cornwall, found it, lashed it to a skid, put it in my truck, drove home. I then found a local shop (Air Support BMW) that specialises in this ‘air head’ BMW, and, dropped it off.

After some disassembly and parts scrounging, the next phase is ready to commence. You can see the photo above, there is some ‘patina’ (a polite word for corrosion), and some missing bits.

The worrying parts (the missing carbs) have solved, some ones that are the same casting are being re-jetted etc to work. The rest, well, the shop seems optimistic.


OK, this is getting tiring, but… tomorrow will be -22C when I head out for work and some errands. So, no time like the present to groundhog-day-repeat-the-same-warm-hands tricks. (There is zero availability on studded snow tires so we are going ‘analog’)

First there was cold hands on the bike in the winter. Then heated gloves. Then some usb-powered tape thing. There was the 2nd gen. We had the 3rd gen. It suffered from a bad BMS, no over-discharge. We had the 4th gen. The only real downside here was it was a little too warm, clocking in well over 100C at the hot spots.

So, gen (5? but who is counting). Let’s dig in.

First, we need power. The previous gen was a bit overdriven, so this one is PWM instead of a dual-coil. The idea w/ the PWM is that was can pick a temp between toasty and toasted. Here it is mounted. I had to use a dremel to make it fit, but, it still works.

OK, now let’s power it. To keep the power closer to 12V I’ve gone with LiFePO4 battery chemistry. 4S makes the discarge cycle about 12-13V for about 90% of the range, good enough. I’ve tucked it in to this downtube bag, about 150Wh of power. The grips draw about 45, so ~2-3 hours of time.

And now, the final touch, (yet another) pair of 45Nrth ‘cobra fist’ bar mitts. Dremel the end off the grips, insert, tighten, re-arrange cables and brakes, done.

Bike #4, arrived, Assembled. Time for a shakedown run.

Now, there are some quality issues here. Inverted forks, but no way to mount the front fender. They just didn’t think it through, so, we’ll try without a front-fender for a bit. 40% more money, i mean, why would i expect it to be just turn-key?

This one weighs about 1/2 the previous one (still not light though).

Snow-tires are pure-unobtainium right now, so we’ll try it with the generic street tires (Chaoyang). A little snow, a little ice, i’m sure they’ll be fine.

Now we start the usuall drill. Upgrade the seat, seat post, add the bar mitts, etc etc. I’ve gone with some PWM -driven heated grips, should avoid the ‘burning’ issue of the last set.

Going to try the double-lock for a bit (the disc-brake and the u-lock).

OK, you may call me a sucker for punishment. But, Yet Another Bike is on the way. The last 3 have each been owned for less than 1 year, so I’m going to work a bit more on that problem.

Step 1, i’m investing in a 2nd lock, the image above is a disc-brake lock. It has an alarm in it as well. Now. the alarm. you are probably thinking, that will help, right? Well, recall, the last ones were stolen by using an angle-grinder to cut through 36mm of hardened steel, probably taking ~4 minutes. Do you really think this alarm will be louder or longer? An angle grinder is going to be like screaming “I am a thief”, it would have attracted all the attention that exists.

Step 2, I’m investing in some GPS tracking tech. Now, i’m not too optimistic here either. The Waterloo Regional police didn’t even bother calling for the video footage of #3, so you can see the enforcement priority is nil. This is for > $5000, so grand theft. Also, this is an organised crime, I’m sure there’s a quick once-over for trackers done by a thief sophisticated enough.

Step 3, i’m not too sure here. I mean, locked cage, video surveillance, locked bike wasn’t enough. Do I rent a rabid german shepherd with a Cujo sticker?

So, for the above mentioned disc lock. I bought one that is not cast-metal (its 304 stainless). Its not boron-hardened like the U-lock, but will still not come off w/ a hammer or hacksaw. So there’s a chance that the angle grinder has run out of battery and blade by the time the U-bolt is through. Since its attached to the bike (and not the rack), it will help against the last attack (the rack cut).

What’s proving the most demoralising though. This latest bike costs more than the last. And, for that I get less bike. Its not as good, they’ve gone up a lot in price. And, all the work in the replacement seat, post, grips, handlebars, … all has to be done again. First time, fine, 2nd time, grumble, 3rd time, was a PITA. Here we are talking #4 for installing each accessory etc. Time and $ are wasted.