Well I never ….

I don’t know if I should be flattered or annoyed … or a little of both, let me explain. I had just had a chat with my wife about a press release from ACEM regarding the dire downturn of European motorcycle sales. As the conversation started, she got confused with ACIM – the Aprilia Caponord International Meeting …. and that sowed a seed at the back of my mind to have a look on the internet to see what ACIM was up to. All well and good.

Later that evening I found them on Facebook and lo and behold, the group banner picture is of my old Caponord on a back road in Abruzzo! In fact it’s a picture of mine lifted from a post I wrote a few years ago (the post). So now I am a tad curious to see if someone from ACIM reads this over here then says something over there ….. 🙄 

Anyway, I’m glad someone liked it enough to use it!

New main menu item added

As I write this, the UK is slowly beginning to come out of lockdown and taking our beloved Caponords out to stretch their legs is finally becoming a reality …. before then I have tyres to fit, wheels to deep-clean and a poachers bag full of other little jobs to do – on the Capo and on the website.

To that end I want to bring to your attention if I may, the addition of a new heading in the main menu – PARTS. Currently a work in progress, it contains two sub directories (O-Rings & Hose Clamps) but this will be expanded hopefully to include bearings, seals and hoses. All items that we may (or not!) still be able to get from Aprilia, but which may have cheaper and more easily sourced alternatives available. The idea is to present them in independent sections using graphics and hotspots so you can quickly locate the item you need and get the alternative information if there’s any available.

I appreciate some of this information and other alternative parts can be found in the likes of the AF1 forum ‘OEM manufacturers/suppliers’ thread, however it’s a random collection regarding all sorts of parts and sometimes searching can be very hit and miss. Here, I hope to make the search for a particular seal, clamp or O-ring nice and easy – enter the subsection, click on the link to the parts location – fuel pump, cooling system etc – find the highlighted item in the graphic and hover your mouse over it. There’s the part number and current UK price, click on it and any alternative and size info is given in the field on the right hand side – simple. I hope!

Anyway, to help bring this to fruition, I’ve ordered one of every O-Ring I need to measure where that info isn’t readily available, I’ve also ordered a range of Ezyclick and Zero leak clamps to do the same for particular areas of the Capo oil/cooling system. With any luck all this data will be up on the website in a week or so. After that, bearings, seals and hoses. 

One last thought ………. is there any mileage is selling bags of O-Rings – say a service kit, or engine kit for example ….. maybe oil/coolant clamp kit? Just an idea to throw around, what do you think?

Finally, a huge thank you to folks who have donated toward the website this year. Without your help this little project may well have not happened or been way down the line. Website plugins are usually free, with limited functionality – Pro versions have a price tag but have infinitely more functionality – your kind donations have bought those Pro plugins! Thank you.

E10 ……… no it’s not a boy band!

Did you get around to watching ‘The Last Motorcycle on Earth’? Well this post is about a little of that fiction meeting reality right here, right now.

After much deliberation it looks like E10 fuel got the UK government green-light in February 2020 and will be on a forecourt near you in 2021 … probably/maybe. It’s been on the horizon for almost a decade, but thankfully we’ve not had to deal with the tank bloating, seal destroying gut-rot fuel that’s the scourge of the EU .. but times are a changing as the song says. It looks like the current ‘Premium’ fuel (E5) will become the ‘Super-Unleaded’ and E10 the Premium. Like Europe, it’s  use will be optional unlike some countries where it’s introduction and use are mandatory. One note of concern though …. the proposal only protects E5 supply for up to five years after E10 is rolled out, presumably supply could then disappear from forecourts almost overnight, making refuelling an unmodified Capo awkward to say the least. And five years isn’t a long time!

On occasion I would use it while travelling through Europe, but only one tank at a time, then I’d use E5 fuel to clear it out of the system and always on a journey where I knew I’d burn through it before I arrived at my destination. I never left it stewing in the tank for longer than a couple of hours.  So this looks like it’s  time for one of those other jobs that have sat firmly on the garage shelf for the last 12 months – lining the fuel tank with Caswells Epoxy resin. Even after that’s done, I think I’ll try to steer clear and take the price hike to ‘Super-Unleaded’ on the chin…… while I can anyway.

 

The Last Motorcycle on Earth

Stuck in lockdown and looking for something biker related to watch? Well here’s a real thought provoking treat for you. I found out about this a few months ago and yesterday it popped up on Amazon Prime UK for £2.49 in HD. It’s part one of a trilogy by the looks of it. If you like bikes and worry about what the politicians  may do to our lifestyle in the coming years as they push ever harder to ban fossil fuels and rush headlong toward electric and autonomous vehicles, then you might just like this film. I loved it …. and maybe the back-story sat all the harder as I work in the autonomous vehicle industry!

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!

 

May update

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid rear panelsWell it looks like the website is up and all the links work again – hooray! In the end it took about 24hrs of fiddling in the database to sort out, but I got there in the end thankfully.

Meanwhile, the rear panels were removed from the Capo for a trip to the paint shop. The years have been pretty kind to the base coat, but not the lacquer unfortunately, especially where the decals are located. As luck would have it, I already have a set of decals that were kindly given to me by Manuel from Motrag.com a few years ago.

We use chippingnortonbodyshop.co.uk for some parts on our autonomous cars and the results have always been excellent, so it’s fantastic that they are willing to have a look at the Capo panels for me. Plus it’ll be great to finally get a color match given that Aprilia don’t provide paint codes.

Finally back again!

Saturday 27th April

Oh boy, where to start …… first, last year was a real learning curve with a new job., so the number of posts fell through the floor. Then is late 2018 my website host said they were shutting their doors – move your domain (and name) or lose it. I did ….. and that’s when everything went horribly wrong!

Through December to February I tried all sorts to get it to spring into life again, but nothing seemed to work ….. and frankly I was steadily getting pissed off with the whole thing. In the end I hardly glanced at it for a couple of months.

Then this morning, while thinking of something totally remote from websites, an idea popped into my head and I sat down at the PC ….. a couple of hours later, the website popped back into life-ish! Unfortunately, it’s still not right, but it’s a start and I think I can get the rest of the links to work over the next week or so.

Sunday 28th April

The website theme has been updated and is now based on the WordPress 2017 one … the old one was from 2010! This adds a load of new functionality (some good, some a nuisance!)  but should look better on bigger screens. I’ve also sorted the links to loads of pics from pages … yet to do posts. The downside (more frustration really) is that the links to PDF documents won’t sort themselves out. The links are fine but they just loop around to a 404 page. Oh well, that’s for next week!

INNOVV K2 – a quick update

OK, so this is a no-frills post while I’m on the road in Italy …..

Some folks have asked how the INNOVV K2 is getting along after I fitted it to the Capo a few weeks ago. Well here is a quick update for you! The install is a semi-permanent arrangement – the recording unit and GPS module are in the under-seat storage area and the front camera is hung from the right-hand fog lamp, while the rear camera hangs from the right-hand pannier rail. Both are very much temporary mounts and as such suffer from a little vibration (front mostly) but it’s only noticeable at certain RPM’s. This will disappear once they are mounted permanently on more robust mounts.

The 12v/5v power supply sits in the same spot as the old unit – on top of the ECU. 12v is taken directly from the battery and the sensing/switching connection goes to the tail lights. No lights, no cameras!

The system has run faultlessly from day 1. Start the bike, turn on the lights and away it goes …. no fuss, no drama. I have not experienced any of the shortcomings of the old K1 – corrupt files, frozen recording etc. The K2 has done its job exactly as it should, in fact I’ve got so comfortable with it that I no longer check the video or setting on the app every ride …. I just fire up and go! At the end of the week I’ve checked the SD card and been really pleased that all the files are recorded just fine with no corrupt or dropped frames in sight.

So that’s it as far as a quick update is concerned. Once I’m back in the UK I’ll go more in detail about image quality etc, but for now I’m really pleased with the K2, it’s a real improvement over the K1 in all aspects. 

Getting ready to role!

A few weeks ago I wrote:Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid 131,313 miles

With the Capo fresh out of its winter slumber, we set off for a quick shake-down before (hopefully) heading back to the UK on Sunday. Along the way the odo clicked over to 131,313 miles and I couldn’t resist taking a quick pic! The ride was uneventful and it now sits in the sunshine waiting to be loaded up ……. but even then it may not turn a wheel. That depends on the weather forecast through Switzerland – oodles of snow and -15C doesn’t float my boat these days, so I guess if push comes to shove, the Capo can hibernate for another month or two until I can get back over here for it. I’ll make the call on Friday evening …. thankfully I managed to snap up a cheap-as-chips return flight for Saturday. Just in case!

In the end, Ryan-Scare it was …… hideous delays and a landing like we’d been shot down included in the discount price! Now the time has come to finally make the run once and for all. Ticket and ferry booked, all docs to hand and weather on  route between 9-20C with a bit of rain in North Italy. Much better than last time! It’s going to be a real whirlwind trip, but worth it to have the old Capo with me once again……

Dodgy solenoid hmmmm?

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid L1 50A starter solenoid burnt pitted contactsI honestly couldn’t believe my luck ….. dozens of perfectly normal starts after the one stuck-solenoid moment during our 10 days away and then, this morning in the comfort of the old barn, first start of the day it stuck again!

So it was off with the seats, top deck and right hand plastics, disconnect the battery Earth (Ground) then snip a few tie-wraps, unclip the two-pin connector and twiddle the 10mm spanner to undo the battery/starter cables from the old solenoid and voila! One dodgy 50A and 14 year old solenoid confined to the bin …… by way of stripping, measuring and knocking up in CAD!

It’s pretty obvious from the picture that one side of the contacts has been burnt and welded together such that the return spring couldn’t provide enough force to pry it apart again – that was the job of a swift whack from the all-powerful 1/2″ ratchet!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid L1 50A starter solenoid cutawayThe new solenoid (AP81129275) was bench tested and shows a coil resistance of 4.4Ω pulling 2.9A at 12.8V – approximately! Now 2.9A is quite a current draw in itself, especially when you take into account the amount of wiring (under specified?) and switches/diodes along the way. The only way the solenoid really has of reducing pitting/burning is by opening and closing as fast as possible – opening is purely by return spring but the closing speed is proportional to the applied Volts/Amps ……. and if this is low then the solenoid will become sluggish and more susceptible to damage. So tomorrows little job will be to look at losses through the entire circuit up to the solenoid. In fact looking at the circuit diagram and simulating it in ‘EveryCircuit’ (Android app) it seems that the best possible current flow path you can give the solenoid is – bike in neutral, side-stand up AND pull in the clutch before hitting the starter … this adds a mighty 0.1V over ‘neutral only’. In comparison bypassing the diode block completely could elicit another 0.55V at a struggle!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid L1 50A starter solenoid exploded parts