An Open Letter to Yamaha

I originally wrote this as an email to Yamaha. It was sent off to Yamaha over a week ago, and I haven’t heard a single peep in reply. So, on behalf of myself, and anyone else who’s experienced this issue with their FZ/MT/FJ09 motorcycle who also agrees with me…here’s an open letter to Yamaha:

———————————————————-

I’m pretty disappointed with Yamaha right now. This is only the second motorcycle I’ve EVER purchased brand new, the first was also a Yamaha.

Long story short, I was riding a fun little section of twisties with my girlfriend, Kinsy, on the back of my new FJ09. I was plodding along around 35-40mph as I crossed a small bridge over a creek. There was a build up of slurry/tar on the transition from road to bridge. Definitely a bump, but nothing so bad to cause for much concern. Until I hit it. And the bike completely bottomed out on the drain plug, shearing off the bottom of my oil pan spraying oil all over my rear tire, saddle bags, undertail, and even all over the backpack Kinsy was wearing.

I didn’t crash. I have lots of experience on two wheels, dirt, track, and street. It was certainly a 500ft death slide afterwards, but I managed to keep it upright in the end.

I’m disappointed because after this happened, I go to research a new oil pan for the bike, I see that I’m not the first person to have this experience. In fact, SO many people have had this happen to them (some in the most trivial of ways), that Yamaha has redesigned the pan and updated their part number to supersede the original design. The originally FLAWED design.

They say recalls are for safety reasons. Like the new 2015 R1, for example. The transmission locks up and causes the rider to crash, as has happened with one of my friends already. Or the o ring on the oil filter assembly does seat correctly, causing oil to spray from the engine, possibly causing someone to crash, as has also happened to another friend of mine.

Well, having the lowest point of contact be the drain plug on a motorcycle isn’t very safe. Decking it out on the ground at 40mph with your loved one on the back, instantly saturating your rear tire with synthetic oil, IS NOT SAFE.

I’m upset because Yamaha has acknowledged that there is an issue without even saying “there is an issue with our original design.” They simply redesigned it and quietly updated their part number to patch over an issue that many of us with the FZ/FJ/MT09 line of motorbikes is having. AND MAKING US PAY FOR IT.

The fortunate ones, such as myself, who don’t actually crash because talent, scenario, or pure dumb luck was on their side are simply left with a:

– $202 bill for an oil pan
– $18 for a new gasket
– shop labor of 2 hours @ $95 per hour
– roughly $400 for a new set of tires (oil was all over both of my tires)
– plus mount and balance fees of $80
– $35 for a new set of rear brake pads
– and 5 hours of their time cleaning up the mess out of the back of their truck they had to tow the bike home with as well as the bike itself.

And sadly, my newly updated how-it-should-have-been-in-the-first-place design of an oil pan DIDN’T EVEN COME WITH A NOTE SAYING “SORRY THAT HAPPENED. HERE’S YOUR FREE OIL PAN CAUSE WE GOT IT WRONG THE FIRST TIME”

I should have waited to buy the Africa Twin.

Sincerely,

Joe Salas
4theriders.com

The 12 Step How to Replace the FJ09 Oil Pan

So, as some of you guys know already, I cratered the oil pan on my FJ09 while riding two up with Kinsy on Carmel Valley Road over xmas. All 3 quarts of yummy synthetic 10w 40 splooged everywhere. On rear tire, the undercarriage, the saddle bags, and even on the backpack Kinsy was wearing. Everywhere. Instant slip-n-slide-deathride.

dead fj09 tracer

So I recently fixed the bike and I took pics throughout the process.

Step 1) Stare at the bike for an incredibly long time, hoping that it will somehow fix itself, only to realize that it will not. And be dissapointed by this fact.

fj09 mt09 tracer oil pan broken
Continue reading The 12 Step How to Replace the FJ09 Oil Pan

Working With The Champ

It’s late in the day at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway. The sun is low in the sky, yet still shining brightly through a thin layer of clouds. The winds are steady, cold, and piercing through my hoodie I’m wearing. Dust is swirling across the track and upwards into my eyes, my nose, and everywhere as far as I can still see on the horizon. There’s grit in my mouth that I’m constantly spitting out. It’s cold. Very cold.

chuckwalla cvma sunset
Where I shall stand
Continue reading Working With The Champ

If This is Grom I Don’t Want to be Right

Well, how to begin? This weekend was an absolute whirlwind! But it does have a beginning…

I’ll skip back a few months: Gordon sent me a text message asking me if I wanted to race a 24 hour endurance race with him on a Grom; The M1GP 24 Hour Super Endurance Charity Race. I think my reply was something along the lines of “FUCK YEAH!” I’ve never raced anything before. I have exactly zero race experience at this point. But a 24 hour endurance race? Why the hell not?!

Months go by, and as in usual Joe-fashion, I wait till zero-hour to actually register for the race…shit just got real. I’ve officially signed up for my very first race ever.

I wasn’t terribly concerned about the racing…I was moreso concerned about making sure I pulled my weight on the team. I didn’t want to be “that guy.” I never want to be “that guy.” I was also worried about sleep. I’m probably the worst insomniac you’ve (n)ever met. My brain turns, whirls, and swirls. Even when I’m so tired I can’t keep my eyes open, my brain doesn’t let me sleep. I’ve been this way since I was a little kid. As early as 3rd grade, I would sneak out of the house on moonlight nights and just go ride my BMX all over town for hours during the night because I couldn’t sleep anyways…so I may as well have fun, right?

I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to sleep at all, and then I would ultimately end up being “that guy” who is absolutely useless. At every race event, every trackday, everything, I’m always the last one to go to bed. While I never really voiced my concerns, I was seriously stressing on it.

Friday: Kinsy and I caravaned to Willow Springs seperately as I had to leave directly from the track to Miller Motorsports Park. We got to the track around 9pm and started setting up camp. We hung out for a short while before going to bed. Tomorrow was gonna be a big day. And I layed there. For a long time. Unable to sleep.

What seemed like only a few minutes later, my alarm clock went off and it’s Saturday morning. I’m a terrible morning person. Not in the sense that I’m crabby or anything, I just really, really dislike getting up in the morning. When I do finally go to sleep at 5, 6, 7am, I’d prefer to sleep to 11. But it was 8am. I was tired. Thankfully, I woke up to Eric already having made a delicious breakfast for the team. That lessened the early-morning-blow. ;)

We were scheduled to have a 40 minute practice before the race. That I know of, none of us had previously ridden the Willow Springs Kart Track. We were all green. I was second to last in rotation. 40 minutes amongst 7 riders = 2 laps, then GTFO! Well, I did 2/3rd of a lap when the checkered flag came out, telling me to exit. Gordon was last in rotation for practice…buuuut….even with everyone only doing 2 laps, we ran out of time.

Gordon was lapless. So who better to START the race than G himself!? :D

m1gp le mans race start
Gordon, our courageous and talented team captain takes charge in the Le Mans race start
Continue reading If This is Grom I Don’t Want to be Right

My Day With Rickdiculous Racing

About a week ago I got the privilege of riding with one of the best riding schools I know. Rickdiculous Racing. I have been to a few schools with Joe. I’ve listened in to all the information that they pile on you (and trust me it’s a lot of info) and thought, “Wow, I really, really, REALLY want to take this school.” I loved everything that I was hearing but couldn’t fully grasp the concept. See I’m the type of person that has to “do” to retain.

The Rick program is nothing like I have ever seen. They combine both bikes and CARS as learning tools. Plus, their small class size (one on one coaching) really makes you feel important and not fall into the crowd. They are dedicated to the sport and to your personal best.


Continue reading My Day With Rickdiculous Racing

Doing Truck Things

It never fails…whenever I travel somewhere in my Tacoma, I have this burning desire to go on an adventure. You see, the Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road has been my DREAM truck for many, many years. Since I was a kid, I thought the Taco was the bees knees. I’ve always loved the Tacoma. It’s just bad ass.

It goes anywhere, does anything, and even Top Gear wasn’t able to kill the Tacoma (Hi Lux) after smashing it with a caravan, demo’ing a building with it on top, letting it float out to sea, and even setting it on fire. Who wouldn’t want a truck like that? Besides Vegans…they don’t want anything cool…

About a year ago, Kinsy and I finally made my dreams come true and we bought a 2010 TRD Off Road. //me faps.

Anyhow, today at Miller Motorsports Park, it started to rain. My very first thought was to go bonkers in the nearby mountains…so, after warming up for a few mins in the off-roading park at MMP, I set off for a 3 hour adventure.

toyota tacoma trd off road articulation flexing
Flexing wicked

Continue reading Doing Truck Things

Aquiring the Mighty FJ09

It was May, 2008. I was hosting the 3rd annual Com3 Death Ride. Only Paulo, Matt, and myself were partaking in said ride, but none the less, it was the Death Ride.

The rules were simple: Go fast and don’t die, else be left behind at the mercy of the native Sierra Nevada wildlife.

Rules were broken that day. Paulo ended up in a tree, mostly upright. Matt likey ran over a critter, I don’t fully recall, but for the story’s sake, we’ll go with that…and I…well, I crashed pretty hard. So hard in fact, I was left with a fractured vertebrae, some ribs, some soft bits were mangled, there was blood and all that other fun stuff that happens when you fall down at high-ish rates of speed and your bike decides to exact it’s revenge upon you for treating it so harshly.

Matt stopped for me. I mean, he kinda HAD to, as I’d done the deed right in front of him. Actually, I was in the process of crashing as I was along side Matt, before finishing up just in front of him. Matt, you broke the rules, buddy. ;) Thanks again for not running me over.

I was life flighted off the mountain. I crashed. It was entirely my own fault. I had no one to blame but myself.

As I lay on the gurney in the Level 1 Trauma center, nearly naked from having my leathers cut off and still strapped to the backboard that was designed for someone several inches smaller than myself, quietly crying—more-so emotional rather than the pain, which was really intense—my then wife and 2 year old son came into the room. The look on their faces as I strained my eyeballs to the side to see them (as my head was strapped in still) said it all; I’d made a series of poor choices.

At that moment, I vowed to quit riding on the street. I was too stupid. Too irresponsible. But mostly just too dumb. I cheated death that day and I was lucky to still be amongst the living.

So, what the hell does ANY of that have to do with the mighty FJ09?
Continue reading Aquiring the Mighty FJ09

Gear Review – Fly Racing Back Country Backpack

Recently, I was asked to review a backpack for my moto adventures… The Fly Racing Back Country Backpack. I’m a total stickler for backpacks. I own several of them, and each has it’s own function. Normally, you’ll find me in the woods wearing a NorthFace arctic expedition, seal-clubbing, dynamite-carrying, bull-riding adventure pack with all sorts of strappy things and loopy loops and pockety stuff that works flawlessly for what I do when I’m out mashing in the woods at death-defying speeds.

So, being offered a proper back country backpack made by a moto company, Fly Racing, I was totally stoked to give it a whirl!

The day after I received it in the mail, Kevin and myself went on a moto-camping adventure for the weekend. No better time than then!

fly racing back country backpack ttr
merp face!
Continue reading Gear Review – Fly Racing Back Country Backpack

Racer Gloves USA High Speed Glove Review

I’m super picky about what goes on my hands when I ride and what protects me from 100+mph knuckle-drags across asphalt and dirt. I mean, shouldn’t everyone be? I dunno, I’m also one of those guys with baby soft hands, free of callouses, clean fingernails, and I wash my hands at least 15 times a day…WITH soap. Most people think I’m odd. Hell, even I think I’m odd. Anyhow…

clean everything hyperbole and a half

When I got the High Speed gloves a few months ago, Lee asked me to review them after I’d had a chance to try them out.

I warned him then and there: “Lee, I’m honest about my reviews. good, bad, ugly….I’ll write EXACTLY what I feel and think…and I’m REALLY picky about gloves…” He had a rather smug look on his face as I said that. I interpreted it as him being fairly confident that I’d write a positive review.
Continue reading Racer Gloves USA High Speed Glove Review

AFM Round 4 – Sitting This One Out

As some of you may already know, I was involved in an altercation at AFM round 3 with Monte Izatt. As “punishment” for my actions, I was informed today that the Board decided that I was to sit out the next round (AFM R4 at Thunderhill). That I’m not permitted to even be on the premises during the event.

Firstly, I’d like to apologize to all my season pass holders. I’m sorry that I won’t be there to shoot for you guys. It really bums me out. I’ll figure out a way to make it up to you guys tho. And if you have any specific needs or concerns, please contact me and let me know.

////EDIT FOR UPDATE/// Max Klein of OxymoronPhotography has graciously stepped up and offered to take care of all my season pass holders! You’re a gem, Max, thank you!

Secondly, I’ll simply itterate the events that led to this decision:

The altercation was initially spawned from a post he’d made on my 4theriders facebook fan page, which read:


Continue reading AFM Round 4 – Sitting This One Out