New sprocket and battery

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Ognibene 'silent' front sprocket 7164-16It was heaving with rain and the Capo’s air-temp readout on the dashboard struggled to make 3°C as I rolled off the Dover ferry at just past midnight, welcome back to wintery England! The worn front sprocket I hadn’t replaced before starting the journey was now noticeably noisier with an extra 1,350 miles on it even though I’d ramped up the Scottoiler to keep everything well lubricated in the face of such shitty weather. Overall a good run up, marred only by the small rip in the riders saddle caused by the zip on my Halvarssons trousers when throwing my leg over the bike …… I’m sure this damn bike is getting taller with age! As I left Dover, I flicked the heated grips on and hit the M20 thinking that this is about as bad as it gets – then the sleet and hail started!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Yuasa YTX14H-BS battery14 days later, as I rolled back up the ramp onto the same boat, it was all quite different – a warm, bright morning with the promise of a nice day ahead and the Capo running sweetly with a new Ognibene 7164-16 sprocket. I’d also treated it to a replacement Yuasa YTX14H-BS battery* as the old one was beginning to show warning signs – slightly lower standing voltage and low voltage while cranking. I’d arrived at Dover a bit early and didn’t realise they’d put me on an earlier sailing (fine in principle) but it was one of the boats I hate, with a long curved (wet) ramp up onto the car deck….. never nice on a heavily loaded Capo.

One of the perks of a bike is that folks just wander over for a chat, be it a fuel station in Switzerland or a bike park in Broad Street, Oxford and 99% of the time the experience is enriching …… but as I rode off that damn ferry I could have happily kicked the two wheels from under the overbearing, opinionated plonker who’d happily eaten up 5 minutes of my life telling me everything that was wrong with my bike and how wonderful his was – then he promptly rode off in the ‘trucks only’ lane!

The return leg was as trouble-free as the first, with the Capo rolling into the barn with 97,145 miles on the odometer. Only a near miss with a kamikaze gull which almost took out the windscreen being memorable – that and Swiss road works!

The replacement Ognibene sprocket certainly lives up to its ‘silent’ name. It was noticeably quieter even just spinning the back wheel while on the main-stand; let’s see how much life I get out of it compared to the usual Renthal sprocket I use (avg. 15K miles). It looks well made and the tooth profile is very similar to the Renthal, but only time will tell. Purchased in the UK from: biketorqueracing.co.uk for £27 inc VAT & P&P.

*Special thanks to Jim at Abbey Motorcycle Instructors for getting the YTX14H-BS battery at short notice – you’re a star fella!  😀 

Hepco Becker pannier latch replaced

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Hepco Becker 700101 00 01 pannier latchJust got around to fixing my ‘breakdown’ – the new latch (Hepco Becker Part No: 700101 00 01) arrived today and after a hearty breakfast I set about changing out the broken one. The kit is a ‘universal’ one for all HB panniers and so a whole bunch of the bits supplied are immediately resigned to the waste bin …….. I’d have been happier with just the latch and a few quid off to be honest!

So out with the foam liner, off with the bottle rack and remove the five countersunk Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Hepco Becker 700101 00 01 pannier latchbolts/washers/nuts and pull the aluminium box away from the frame. Next, drill the heads off the four solid rivets using a drill bit approx 6mm or slightly larger. Then lever the old latch away and separate it from the spacer. Job done …… now for the rebuild!

The latch as supplied comes with 3mm rivets and is drilled to suit, unfortunately the Alu Exclusive luggage was  put together with 4mm solid rivets because of clearance between frame and case. No worries, down to the hardware store and a bag of 4mm Dia 10mm long stainless rivets are on hand to do the business. Once in, the heads are ground down a smidgen with the Dremel to achieve the same clearance without compromising shear strength.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Hepco Becker 700101 00 01 pannier latchRebuild is a straight reversal of strip-down, but  everything gets a thorough clean, grease and general pampering to make it feel good. The pannier is now solid once again and if I get 13 years out of this lock and rivets like the last set, I’ll be a happy bunny.

Thanks go to Griff at hepco-and-becker-luggage.co.uk (web face of moto bins) who chased up key numbers with me and made sure the latch was on the doorstep in Oxford the next day – excellent service.

 

CGI dashboard – 2

Saturdays lovely sunny weather gave way to thick fog and a definite chill in the air – time then to hunker down on the PC and finish the CGI dashboard and add a couple of extra bits to make it a touch more interesting on the eye.

CGI dashboard – 1

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid dashboard, instrument panelSlowly getting more parts of the Capo into CAD/3D …. finishing the dashboard motor off (after almost 2 years!) gave me the nudge to get the circuit board done. Here’s a work in progress, only a couple more chips to fit. Then the inlay and case / lens will see it polished off. Can I keep up the momentum or will galloping apathy step in … hmm who knows! 😕

AlternatorCapo charging system  ….. a new page going up shortly with a fair bit of (new) info regarding alternator output, waveforms, voltage, current and how those are affected with the attachment of different technology regulators – plus how exactly those regulator-rectifiers do the job of producing rectified DC. Pitched at electrical newbies I’ll be running through each of the components and what they do electrically (hopefully) in a way that makes sense, including why some wires can be thin and work just fine and why some regulators get hot and others don’t.

 

(UK) Replacement seals for Capo/Futura clutch system

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid & RST Futura clutch system master & slave sealsRecently while visiting the AF1 Futura forum, I saw an interesting thread about replacement clutch master / slave seals (common to both Futura & Caponord) sourced in the UK at a very good price and thought the information well worth sharing here.

The thread was started by a UK owner – Corsehf (Andy) in which he quotes replacements for all the  master / slave cylinder seals from one supplier. Seal details and individual prices are:

  • Master Cylinder Seal – Lever End: SU12-6.9-4DE-EP-S-DK101 – £2.50
  • Master Cylinder Seal – Spring End: SU12-5.2-3.8-EP-S-DK106 – £2.50
  • Clutch Slave Cylinder Main Seal: SU112078-018DE-EP-S-DK101 – £2.79
  • Clutch Slave Cylinder Piston Pushrod Seal: SS8-16-7-SC – £1.60

That’s a total of £9.39 + Vat = £11.27 plus package & post. So for somewhere around the cost of one genuine slave cylinder seal, we can buy ALL the seals needed for a full clutch system rebuild. Not bad in my books! If you’re interested, call Rebecca Pattinson at FPE Seals on 01325 282732 or email: sales@fpeseals.co.uk  If you do decide this is for you, then please drop by the thread and offer Andy your thanks …. he’s just saved you a pocket full of money!

So I’ll end with a big thank-you to Andy, then get a set on order and nip into the barn to dig out that old master cylinder and finally get it re-coated and re-sealed, then swap it for the brake fluid damaged one on the Raid ….. oh happy days! That things been bugging me for years.

First ‘breakdown’ in ages

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid broken Hepco Becker Alu Exclusive pannier latchRemoved the right pannier the other day while changing out the rear brake pads (makes life a bit easier!) but couldn’t get the latch to close properly when refitting it …… turns out the latch has broken on one side of the pivot. It looks like it’s just fatigue over the years of bouncing (over) loaded boxes across the continent. So a new latch (Hepco Becker part no: 700.101.00.01) has been ordered from http://www.hepco-and-becker-luggage.co.uk a spin-off company of Moto-Bins. Cost should be £22.80 but they’re knocking 15% off at the moment, so it cost £19.38 delivered. I can live with that!

The latch comes complete with new lock, keys and pop-rivets to fit it. However the original is installed with solid rivets, so this is what I’ll use as well. This of course means stripping the liner out and unbolting the aluminium box from the chrome/steel frame, but it’s only a 10-15 minute job and a good excuse to give everything a damn good clean and polish at the same time. 😀

One way of checking the brake lights work!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid BMW Dynamic Brake Light SystemWell it’s time to test out the prototype of the BMW-clone Dynamic Brake Light System ……… but how to keep an eye on the tail-light and hazards when riding around? Dig out a bit of scrap metal, the old Shorai battery and the Tarot 2D gimbal/GoPro camera combination – that’s how! 😀

Pardon the pun … but the Shorai battery was a complete non-starter as far as getting the Capo to wheeze into life (below 12C anyway!), so it spent the next few years doing various duties. Replacing the battery in my computer UPS (uninterruptible Power Supply) for one, then running the dashboard test-rig for a while before being the power supply of choice to run the Tarot gimbal or any home-brew datalogging/test kit that needed 12V. To be fair it’s 4½ years old, stored in the barn for extended periods, recharged with a crude 6V/12V charger, run flat as a pancake and overcharged …. and it still keeps working!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid BMW Dynamic Brake Light System GoPro Tarot 2D gimbalSo now we’re ready to rock the highways and byways with the gimbal/GoPro hopefully grabbing the footage I need. Once it’s done I’ll turn the gimbal around and grab some more quirky footage facing backwards! 😯

Dashboard motors – an update

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid dashboard speedometer tachometer stepper motorAn old (ironic) joke in England states that you will stand around for an eternity waiting for a bus – only for three to come along at the same time! In the same way, dashboard faults sometimes do a similar thing. Recently I had three boards arrive; all had defective speedo/tacho motors. All six motors were physically broken and two electrically dead.

The motors mount to the circuit board by four soldered pins and two push-fit pegs. The arms on the motor case that grip the pegs break off and that leaves the motor pivoting Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid dashboard speedometer and tachometer stepper motor stress analysison the four soldered pins. With time and vibration, the armature wires that are soldered to the pins flex and break – one dead motor.

Replacements are available from flea-bay for between £30 and £45 –not exactly a cheap part, especially when the old one may still be working fine. Now it seems a cheaper solution is available in the form of a replacement front cover (part with arms) for a fraction of the price of the full motor. On close inspection it doesn’t look like a 1-for-1 copy of the original (the arms are slightly different) but it’s well worth a punt at that price to see if it works.

So why are they failing? Well my guess is, it’s a combination of age, vibration and heat/cold cycling that causes the arms to fracture. Once that support has gone, the motor is left suspended on the four soldered arms – and they in turn are press-fitted into flimsy Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid dashboard speedometer and tachometer stepper motor armature wireplastic spacers. The armature wire (very thin!) is soldered onto these pins, with very little slack ……. So any flex between motor and pins will inevitably stress the wires and cause them to break. They can be repaired of course, you just need good equipment, a magnifier and VERY steady hands!

Unfortunately, spotting a broken motor is difficult without striping the dashboard, but here’s a little something to look out for …… have a good close look at the needle, where it passes through the inlay. If the speedo needle looks like it’s drooping downwards or the tacho needle looks like it’s leaning to the left – suspect a broken motor. Remove the dashboard and give it a gentle shake – hear something rattling inside? That’ll be the broken arms floating around – tick-tock, tick-tock – it’s only a matter of time now before the armature wires give way!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid speedometer and tachometer stepper motor disassembled

F4240 Hex …….. or 10^6 in old money if you prefer

While some of you may find the following post trivial or questionable and others may think it as anal as colour grading belly button fluff ………. I sincerely and unreservedly, don’t give a flying duck. KarlB March 2016

“Neither the mouse nor the boy was the least bit surprised that each could understand the other. Two creatures who shared a love for motorcycles naturally spoke the same language.”
Beverly Cleary, The Mouse and the Motorcycle

Honda SS50I seem to recall it was back in 2007 that I read a piece in a UK bike magazine, in which the journo waxed lyrical about documenting a riding time-line ….. Laying out your bikes, accidents, countries visited, mileage etc. since you first threw a leg over a bike to the present day.

I admit the idea was intriguing. Our bookshelves held all manner of manuals*, dockets, documents and diaries from every bike I’d owned and company/despatch bike I’d worked. It took about 12 months on and off to go through everything and assemble it onto a spreadsheet. The end result was quite surprising, the only missing information seemed to be loan/courtesy bikes and training school instructor/student bikes I’d ridden when not using my own. So it’s fair to say the number twinkling on the screen was several thousand miles short, this counteracted very nicely with the fact that bike odometers are woefully inaccurate and over-read. Bottom line – I felt the overall mileage displayed reasonably reflected my riding to that date.

Each following year the spreadsheet was updated with the Capo’s mileage and each year it never really looked like it changed much – until this year. In late January I realised I only had a few miles to go, so a reminder was stuck on the Capo dashboard – When the odometer hits 90,898 – you’ve done it fella.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid rider reaches 1,000,000 miles

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid rider hits 1,000,000 milesThat day has finally arrived. On a nondescript little back road the Capo rolled to a halt, I switched off, fumbled for the camera and took a moment to look around and reflect on the years, roads and miles that led me to this point ……………. all 1,000,000 of them.

*Each bike since my first Honda SS50 has had a Haynes, Clymer or genuine workshop manual from day one – not one of them has ever been dealer serviced. Each has the mileage on purchase, mileage at upgrade or repair and final mileage when sold added in the fly-sheet. The Capo is the first bike to be totally digital – manual, parts lists the whole nine yards.

g this is fun!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Dynamic Brake Light SystemI’m not really enthusiastic about the constant onslaught of technology on motorcycles …. the cynic in me sees mostly a revenue-earning exercise whereby the benefits to you and me are far outweighed by the locked-out, take-it-to-the-dealer and be fleeced mentality of the manufacturers.

But occasionally I do spot something that tweaks the nose of my flagging interest …. this time it’s been the BMW Dynamic Brake Light system. Trying to get the myopic, half-asleep nit-wit to notice the difference between my normal braking and HARD BRAKING is sometimes a real issue. There’s nothing worse than gliding to a halt only to hear some plank with full ABS active about to kiss my back wheel! Hmmm so how hard can it be to make a box of tricks to do the same as the BMW system and fit it on the Capo …..

Well a tad more difficult than I first thought that’s for sure! The BMW system seems to work as follows:

  • At speeds over 50Kmh(31mph) when braking HARD the brake light pulses at 5Hz*
  • When the speed drops below 14Kmh(9mph) while still braking hard, the hazard lights are activated.
  • When the speed rises back above 20Kmh(12mph) the hazards are turned off.
  • At all other times the brake light functions as normal.

*EU rules quote a rate of 4Hz (±1Hz) for LED’s and 4Hz (-1Hz) for incandescent bulbs.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid accelerometer dataSo how to replicate this on the Capo? Enter one test-box to get things started …… a microcontroller that measures acceleration in three axis and has inputs/outputs to the brake light, hazard lights and speedometer. The box of tricks is designed to allow normal brake/hazard light function in case of power or hardware failure … all in the name of safety don’t ya know.

Getting usable data from the accelerometer was harder than I thought ….. the thing is VERY sensitive and has needed a lot of filtering and data-smoothing to get usable info from it. But after a couple of days and quit a few emergency stops (all good practice!) the data is starting to look good.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally Raid Dynamic Brake Light SystemNext up, I need to input the Capo’s speed to the microcontroller. For this I’ll use the speed output pin directly from the dashboard – I knew it would come in handy one day! All the inputs are buffered with opto-isolators to make sure the system is as well protected from the noisy fluctuating voltage in the Capo’s loom as is possible. Now with the prototype well under way, it just remains to find answers to some other  questions ….. such as what about braking on wet, loose, icy surfaces where deceleration will be significantly less, but the dynamic brake light might still be useful. My guess is the BMW system has some integration with the ABS system to shift the triggering point, but I don’t have ABS! This one I’ll have to ponder on a while longer.

One things for sure …. you learn a lot about braking forces, motorcycle dynamics and breaking code doing this malarkey! Oh and I’ve found out that a warm front tyre breaks grip at about 1.1g …… 😳