Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I think my wife is starting to have an obsession. (by Rosanna)

When Joel and I first started dating, he was a big stickler about making sure I knew how to fix my own mopeds. He gave me one for my birthday with the stern lecture that he would teach me how to work on the bike, but I needed to do the fixing myself. Ok, alright, I can learn about this, it is interesting. We even took apart and cleaned an e50 for a hot friday night date once.

My first moped was a Foxi GT Sport. It was blue, and in really clean shape but was slower than slow. Seriously slow. The biturbo pipe helped a bit. Apparently Sachs engines are notoriously hard to make fast, I'm sure it has been done, but putting an 80cc Athena kit that Seattle Mopeds had laying around on the Foxi = scary. I don't know, 80cc's just sounded intimidating at the time. I took apart the clutch on the Sachs engine a few times, I think it is a really beautiful clutch. I love the donut shaped wheel thing, and all the wavy springs. I think it is really fun to put everything back together in the proper order. Puch clutches aren't nearly as entertaining or fun to look at in my opinion. And those are the only two clutches I know about, perhaps there are other nice clutches out there too. One day while Joel was poking around on the Foxi he noticed a crack in the frame. Michael Mike texted me and said that if I got the bike down to his shop the next night with the gas tank off he could weld it back together. I thought sweet, we'll just pop the gas tank off and we'll be good to go. Nope. Not that simple. Basically the moped splits in two. That was exciting. Once the bike was apart though, we noticed that the crack ran all the way around the frame except for right where the engine mounts on. Seriously scary that I had been riding around like that for quite some time. After Michael Mike welded everything back together like the amazing person he is, the Foxi was MUCH less shaky. I thought all mopeds were that janky feeling. Guess I was wrong. Aren't we cute?

Then one day, I can't remember why, I started riding Joel's red and gold maxi. And it went 33mph! O what an exhilarating feel it is to gain 4mph! What fun! I had always really liked riding the Foxi, but this was even better. I also really like the handlebars and seat set-up, it fits me really well. I rode the red and gold bike all winter long. It was steady and dependable, but felt like it was too rich. It would bog down, but never fouled on me. Somewhere in there, Joel and I got married, and I stopped being so diligent about working on my own moped. We amicably split up the house chores, he was in charge of transportation (we only ride mopeds or bicycles, so if one of them is faulty it makes life all that more difficult) and I was in charge of the food (I really do like cooking a lot) and we both felt we got the better end of the bargain. Plus, Joel was unemployed and I was running my own business, it was the perfect fit.
Then we went to LA for Flock Yeah 2. I had been prepared for moped apocalypse, because if my moped was too rich in Seattle, surely it would die in the spring heat of LA. I could not have been more wrong. It got off the bus and roared down the street. I think I can probably safely say that bike has never gone so fast as it did in LA. It was truly thrilling. The moped had been SUPER lean all winter long as it turns out, and since the symptoms I was describing sound an awful lot like a rich moped, we hadn't thought to go the other way with the jetting. We got home, jetted up for the cold Seattle air, and the bike now blasts, and by blasts, I mean the bike now goes super fast for a completely stock moped. The only difference is that I have an Estoril pipe. and that, you might say, is the beginning of the end. It has completely rekindled my interest in working on mopeds and that one little detail called the Estoril pipe has totally piqued my curiosity and interest in the two-stroke engine. I find it totally fascinating that just a pipe can make such a huge difference in performance. I'm sure this all sounds somewhat silly, but you have to start somewhere. Even last night, my dad came over and I was telling him all about my new found interest, one might call it obsession, and there happened to be a cylinder head and piston sitting on our kitchen counter. He gave me a step by step demonstration of exactly how it all works and why one would want pedal reeds, and what transfer ports do blah blah. He even went crazy and started explaining the science behind expansion chambers, drawing pictures etc. It was pretty awesome. By the time Joel got home from work around midnight, we were looking at the wikipedia article aboutexpansion chambers, so there the three of us sat on our small couch crouched over the computer screen watching this cool animation:
What does all this have to do with anything? Well, I'm building a bike. It will take some time because, as you might have gathered if you've read other posts on this blog, we're on a bit of a limited budget due to the fact that we don't seem to follow the traditional routes of employment, but I am super excited. To remain on track, we drew a diagram:

a) to help us budget as the project progresses b) we like drawing pictures.
My goals for this bike are of course, speed, but I want lots of torque. I want this bike to charge up hills like nobody's business and be really fast off the line. In a city with hills, those are, to me, necessities. What good is it if the bike can go 60mph, but it takes you half a mile to get to 60? I will have stopped at two or three red lights by then. Annoying. I'm enjoying asking questions of whomever will answer about what sort of pipe, what sort of carb etc. to achieve these performance goals. haha. And in case you didn't notice, the main distinguishing factor of this bike will be the mermaids painted on the sides of the tank. It is going to be amazing.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Blog updates... 2 in 1 day!

Like any anal retentive compu-nerd. I hate two things:
1) When people shorten "anal retentive" to "Anal"
2) When blog people scold you about updating your blog despite their own blogging inadequacies.

The things I love, you ask?
1) the satisfied feeling one gets after making ther web presence nerdier or "better"
2) Bloggin' in my helmet.


Check out my new banner and favicon!

Uh Oh Travis...

Travis better get that Top Tank Hobbit on the road so he can earn some bragging rights. There has been a lot of talk lately about top tank hobbits on the MA forums. So far they all seem to look like half ass attempts to slap a top-tank onto a hobbit frame and none of them have the really proper finished look and style of a ground-up build. Travis has been slaving away, really taking his time to produce a beautiful and well running "magnum-esque hobbit".

And then today pictures surfaced of a hobbit with a top tank at the Motion Left moped rally this last weekend. Which brings me to the title of this post. Uh oh Travis. Looks like someone out there is actually stepping up the level of detail in the "Magnobbit" competition.


As I see it, Travis has two advantages in this battle,
1) He strove for hobbit accuracy and painted the whole thing as close to stock as possible. When you look at his bike you have to take a double take to figure out if it is some freak one off Honda product.

2) This other hobbit has a seat on it that says three things, "I bought this from Treats", "It's supposed to go on a 103", "I painted my bike to match the seat."

Ding ding

In the first Magnobbit head-to-head match I pronounce Travis the winner based on originality, detail and accuracy of colors.

Let this be a lesson to us all, the Magnobbits are coming!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Fixing Fixing Fixing

As often happens here at Castle Kvernmo, we have recently run into a veritable moped apocalypse. A steady trickle of things breaking, bending, and rattling off has rendered all of my bikes unridable. (Oddly enough Rosanna's bike is still running strong with nary a flaw.) As I am currently one of the elite persons rich in time and poor in finances, I had to get a bit creative with my moped fixing approach.

First up, the Hercules. This bike is usually a fairly rock solid bike but lately has been showing the results of my daily abuse. I recently noticed that the brake pull rod was bending.

Here's a picture of the poor guy:

As you can see, the rod has been bent due to two things,
1. My vigorous and often excessive use of the rear brake
2. The lack of a proper pivot piece in the brake arm.

When the brake is pulled the rod needs to stay in a straight line and still allow the brake arm to pivot independently. The pivot piece was never on the brake plate when I bought the bike so I just went without. As you can see, it wasn't a good idea.

So, it's time to make a new piece. The proper way to do it would be to machine something out of aluminum. However, I'm trying to fix it now, not later, so I improvised. After putting around my shop for a while I found a section of brake line that had come out of my doomed Chevy van. It's sort of thick metal and I decided it was worth a shot. So I dremeled the ends and drilled a hole, and voila! a new pivot.



I also worked on the Pinto a bit and got the cdi to work with lights and a horn! Check out the video for more on that...

Janky fixes from Joel Kvernmo on Vimeo.

Also, apparently I broke my stabilizator.