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! 😯

Exhaust heat management

Untitled-1Last year I had a look online for exhaust coatings that could possibly help reduce the radiated heat from the Caponord down-pipes. Among the usual rattle-can, cloth-wrap and ceramic paint contenders, I found a link to Zircotec in Oxfordshire. A few emails later and it looked like it would be around the £150-£180 mark to get the Capo’s pipes done. Not cheap granted, but when you read through the claims and list of customers who swear by  the product, you just know they have something unique. Now they are ready to bring a product range specifically for motorcycles to the market. Take a look through the website and be amazed!

Putting the Cat back ….

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - puuting the 'cat' back!The Quill Evo2 cans and link pipes had been on the Capo for a couple of years and sadly, never fitted properly. After spring I gave up waiting for a replacement left hand link pipe from my to-busy pipe bending chappie, so I decided to go back to standard cans. Then realised after 5 minutes – bad move! Way too muted, woolly and heavy! I wanted the best of both worlds!!!

So in August, after much pondering, I went for a hybrid system. The standard cans were cut from the their link pipes andAprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - Mikalor W2 55-49mm stainless clamps the remaining weld ground down to suit the external diameter of the Quill can inlet. An adapter sleeve made from stainless was fabricated to fit the Aprilia 45mm pipe to the internal 54mm of the Quills. These were welded onto the link pipe and the cans held in place with Mikalor stainless steel clamps and a little exhaust paste on assembly ensured a nice gas tight seal. Now the system also has a more robust three point mount compared to the Quill original two point.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - Quill Evo2 exhausts on stock Aprilia link pipesThe Aprilia link pipes are 45mm diameter and have Catalytic converters installed compared to the free flowing Quill ones – straight through 50mm, so generate a little more back pressure, not as much as the standard silencers though. The benefit has been in the sound department, the Quills still have the wonderful base-burble, but have lost the sharp edge … the ‘bark’ that they had before, making them much more pleasant to ride with, especially for the pillion!

So for me it’s been a win-win on this one. Looks, weight, sound and fit.

Map tweaks in the UK were minimal, suggesting the link pipes make little difference; as suspected, the standard cans are the biggest restriction.

Quill Exhausts – new straps in a Jiffy!

It’s nice to write something positive especially when it’s a British company involved! Some of you may remember that I didn’t have the best of dealings with Quill Exhausts in 2009. Well last month I contacted them again by email and this time – wow, what a difference! I enquired about a new silencer strap as I lost one and have been using a flimsy ‘universal’ one since. In the end I got two …… free ….. yes, free! Just send a pre-paid jiffy bag and we’ll have them in the return post, I was told … and sure enough, a couple of days later they arrived. So firstly, thank you James at Quill Exhausts for your exemplary customer service and quick email replies, I’m very impressed, thank you. And secondly, thank you to Jim Smith (Abbey Motorcycle Instructors) for sending the Jiffy bag on my behalf, you sir are a star!!

Linking out loud

The left hand link pipe on the Quill Exhausts has never fitted correctly (it hit the swing-arm & side-stand) …. nor sadly, did the manufacturer show any interest in sorting it out. So a friend kindly offered to make a new one to replace this sad excuse for British workmanship. And here, admittedly not looking like much, is the template link pipe that I’ve just trialed on the bike for a few miles.

It fits, it doesn’t foul the swing-arm … nor does it leave one silencer sitting 30mm further back than the ‘official’ one does! Soon, a few will be made from the same 2″ stainless steel as the original, then they and the silencers will have new mounting lugs welded on to make the whole system a nice snug fit with no nasty dirt-trapping straps in sight. Gone will be the days of wasting ages tweaking and tapping to get them all to line up ….. they’ll now slide on, bolt up and be done, fit and forget in a few minutes – smashing!

After demonstrating their enthusiasm for after sales care, would I want dealings with this manufacturer again …..