New places, new tyres

I’ve just done a quick search of the website and realised that I haven’t mentioned tyres in three whole years. That’s probably because for the past three years I’ve been very happy thank you very much running around on the Michelin Anakee 3’s. But now I have a need once again for something a bit more 50:50-ish to tackle some seriously dilapidated roads, more like tracks across ploughed fields really!

Of course I could just opt for the venerable old TKC 80 or Karoo 3 but I wanted to give another manufacturer a try. I’ve read pretty good things over the years about Mitas tyres, a  budget tyre made in the Czech Republic, so I opted for the Mitas e07+ based on reviews for our wheel size and bike style and ordered a set from Pneus Online – £146 the pair, delivered.

Well they arrived by two different couriers from two different warehouses on two different days – but they arrived! Both were manufactured within the last few months, so no old stock which is nice. I unwrapped both of them and stood back in amazement ……. I guess we’re all used to the hairs/bobbles (vent spews) on new tyres, but Mitas has REALLY gone to town. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such hairy tyres before! These things have never bothered me in the past, but this amount gives me a real urge to reach for a craft knife!

Dashboard – Multi function display screen – 4

First off ….. a bit of code change to the website should mean that all other pages, not just the front page will now display at a greater width than previously. I hope you find the general readability and layout better.

Secondly, I’ve now swapped from an Arduino Uno to an Arduino Mega 2560 to drive the 4DSystems display. This was due to the Uno only having one hardware serial interface, while the 2560 has three. Now I’m driving the display off one and a HC-05 Bluetooth module off another. After a frustrating few evenings playing with the MIT App Inventor, I managed to get a working app on my Note 10 that drives the display. It flicks between screens, resets the two MPG indicators and allows me to change the time of the Real Time Clock.

Dashboard – Multi function display screen – 3

Here we go then …. the plastic inlay carrier was treated to a real good bash around and the display popped into place. Looks nice with the inlay on top, but believe me, there’s plenty to do underneath to make the mount safe for thrashing around on a motorbike!

The good and the bad so far ….. the good – fits (ish) and should be straight forward to finish off, it’s as good as the original in bright light and looks kind of nice as in black as opposed to grey when it’s turned off. The bad … we’ll the eagle eyes among you may have noticed that the plastic pegs for the ‘Mode’ and ‘Set’ buttons are missing. The display is just that bit to long for everything to stay. So I’ve decided to not only move them, but replace them with a 5-way switch that will allow better interaction with the new screen. The old buttons will stay simply to look retro!

Dashboard – Multi function display screen – 2

Burning a couple of hours each morning before work has proved beneficial in the end. The 4D display now has working fuel and engine temperature digits and graphics, plus the ‘clock’ is now actually attached to a real-time clock and showing the correct time. The board also runs a ‘self test’ on startup so that the pie slices cycle up/down along with a nifty ‘Aprilia’ splash screen. The lugs have been removed and an inlay panel is sacrificing itself to the Dremel tool …. all in the name of prototyping!

Dashboard – Multi function display screen

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Arduino 4D Systems SDK-ULED-35D-AR displayMore years ago that I care to remember, fellow Caponord owner (Beasthonda) and I discussed the idea of replacing the dashboard LCD panel with an LCD screen that could be made to display just about anything we wanted. At the time, we looked at 4D Systems and made a few notes on feasibility,  but in the end the idea fizzled out – primarily because at that time the panels were expensive!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Arduino 4D Systems SDK-ULED-35D-AR displayWell here we are, a toe-dip into 2020 and the idea has been resurrected. This in part is due to the panels being better and cheaper now as well as the Arduino boards being much more powerful and faster than the old generation. So as I write, winging it’s way from Australia is an SK-ULCD-35D-AR kit …. basically a 3.5″ non-touch sensitive screen with all the cables and bits to program and connect it to an Arduino device.

The idea is to emulate the existing panel layout for day-to-day riding. However the device will have alternative screens available. The first will be the real-time display of sensor data from the ECU, the second will be a detailed trip computer, displaying continually updated fuel consumption and fuel tank range among other things. The next will display GPS position using a fusion of on-board GPS and Bluetooth mobile link for map downloads.

The display turned up a few days ago. Early the next morning, while the world shivered outside, I managed to program it with a couple of basic screens and power it up for the first time. The displays need to be scaled to fit the aperture in the dash overlay, but other than that it’s pretty much ready to hook up to some data. Role on the weekend!

Powder coated cam covers

** I intended to post this back in October!**

Let me start by saying they were cheap and I was curious ….. They were cheap for a reason though. They were most definitely NOT the magnesium cam covers in the EBay advert photographs! Oh well, they were physically fine, just scratched and one had a little surface corrosion under the paint. 

So I had a brainwave, take these and the spare pair of Caponord cam covers to be powder coated. Use them as test pieces before letting someone loose on more important bits of the Capo. A lovely idea in principle, but around here powder coaters are thin on the ground, so Google was my best friend for a few minutes. Initially I looked at the ones with websites and they were either too industrial or too far away. Then I looked at one about 20 minutes from where I work. No website, but good reviews from other social media and some examples of his work – so I made contact.

Aprilia Caponord Rally-Raid ETV1000 powder coated cam cover

And here is the outcome of that meeting …. One of four cam covers in ‘Anodic Bronze’, with a one week turnaround for £60 inclusive. I’m happy with that. I think it’s fair to say that Sam is a man of few words, who’s happy squirrelled away in a modern workshop out in the sticks, doing what he enjoys. Communications were excellent and he did a great job in the time frame quoted, at a reasonable price. Next then a Caponord oil tank, passenger footpeg hangers and some crash-bars and various brackets – In RAL9011 Graphite Black.

Tuono clutch cover – AP0610992

AP0610992 Aprilia Tuono ETV1000 Caponord clutch cover magnesium

Well it was a long time coming … I mean a looonnnggg time. Try several years in fact. But was it worth the wait? Well I think so, but hey, I’m biased! 

Here it is …. AP0610992, a gold(ish) Magnesium clutch cover from a Tuono (2006-2010). It seems they are harder to come by in an as-new state than the proverbial rocking-horse doo-dah. All the ones I’ve seen have either been mullered by over enthusiastic riding Gods (crashers) or are brand-new at silly Aprilia pricing. 

I know the standard cover does the job just fine, but ever since I saw one of these on a Capo motor I’ve wanted one as well – it just looks so much better. And besides, the weight saving alone must be worth at least 10 mph on the top end – right? 😉 

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Zero Leak low profile clamp stainless steelSwapping over only takes a couple of minutes …. 8xM5 bolts and a click clamp to remove. I exchanged the old one for a nice new Zero-Leak low profile Stainless Steel 11.3mm version – very snug! In fact the old one wasn’t really squashing the pipe onto the siggot anymore and could be pulled/pushed/rotated very easily, which makes me think it was no longer vacuum tight ….hmm. Anyway, the new one crimped up lovely and everything is supper-sealed once again.

Capo memorabilia

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid dealer brochureMany years ago I asked someone who owned a Rally-Raid dealer brochure for a scanned copy. That scan is still available in the ‘downloads’ section of this website to this day. Today however, after all these years, I finally OWN that exact brochure! Luckily I happened to have a quick look on Ebay last week and there it was, the same brochure up for sale. Thankfully I was the only bidder.

It arrived yesterday in excellent condition and what a delight it was to finally hold the genuine article in my hand. Given the short production run of the Raid, it makes me wonder how many of these brochures still exist. Any left in the dealers probably went to landfill and those that made it home probably went the same way over time. The odd one may be hiding in a stack of magazines or hidden at the back of a dusty cupboard no doubt, but it won’t be many.

Now I have an original, I realise that the scanned copy isn’t quite telling the whole story …… some pages are missing and unlike the standard Capo brochure, it has several fold-out pages as well. Hopefully I can update the scanned copy in a week or two.

In the end I’m just really excited to add this to the growing list of Capo related items I have squirrelled away, somehow though this one item adds the finishing touch to owning a Rally-Raid. It only took 11 years to get it!

Seal of disapproval

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid AP8144478 O-ring fuel pump plateFair to say, things have REALLY dragged on this year. The fuel tank overhaul I mentioned in May and planned to do in July is still firmly on the to-do list -why?

I had 90% of the parts on the shelf in June and only had a couple of ‘O’-rings to order. The parts lists don’t give a size for these particular seals, so I needed new ones from Aprilia to measure for future reference – no problem really, they’ll only take a week or so to arrive I thought. Yeah right.

So I put together a list of parts and punched them into the Fowlers online ordering form. All items were available – except one. The dreaded ‘back order’ item. The deal was, wait for the back-order part and we’ll ship them all together, or we’ll send the in-stock items and charge you £3.95 to post the one remaining tiny back-order item. I decided to wait. 

And wait they made me do alright ….. almost two months in fact!

In the end the parts arrived of course, but by then the warm and dry summer weather had given way to almost daily rain and nights drawing in earlier and earlier. But on a positive note, I have now measured the main O-ring I was interested in and can finally post up the size and alternative (UK) that you can have delivered within a day or two, not months! Far quicker and quite a saving on the £30.30 plus delivery for the genuine part.

AP8144478 Equivalent:     142.88mm ID  5.33mm cross section – Viton

£13.91 plus VAT (for two) from Simply Bearings Ltd (October 2019) – Thanks to Beasthonda for measuring for me!

 

TuneECU IS your friend … just don’t forget it!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid TuneECU TPS resetI’ve just had a fun few hours preparing the Capo for its MOT (annual inspection) and one of the issues I wanted to get around to sorting was the slightly high tick-over.

For quite a few months now the idle has been 1,500 – 1,550 when warm – not enough to be troublesome, but noticeable. Problem is ….. I’ve plain forgot to do anything about it once the ignition was turned off! So today I dusted off the cable and charged the old ASUS notebook and plugged in.

Thankfully it was just as I hoped, the TPS (Throttle Position Sensor) was not at zero with a closed throttle. It was reading 1%. A tap on the ‘TPS Reset’ had it reading 0% and the idle was fine once again. So, the question is, have I got a TPS on its way out, or was it simply the fact that I hadn’t done a reset in 18 months ( 20K+ miles), something I used to do at every service. I’m hoping it’s the latter and will endevour to make sure I hook up TuneECU during all future services. Funny really that a tool I used to hook up on an almost weekly basis slowly slid to the dark recesses of the workshop over time.