The life of the Rallement

I’ve had my beloved Honda Element (affectionately known as the Rallement) for 7 years now. I bought it used with 33K miles on the odometer. I now have 330,600 miles on it. It’s dying now. It needs a heart transplant. And I’m sad.

It’s funny how one can drive so many miles, yet never really leave too far from home. The Rallement has visited California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Utah, and Arizona. It’s literally never been any further than those states. Even though I’ve driven enough miles that I could be nearly halfway home on my return trip from the moon. I could have driven the Rallement to New York City and back 57 times. I could have driven around Earth just over 13 times. There’s so many places I could have gone, things I could have seen. Cultures I could have immersed myself in. People I could have met. Friends, experiences, and memories I don’t have because instead of driving around the Earth 13 times, I simply drove back and forth through the 6 states I mentioned.

honda element rallement
Continue reading The life of the Rallement

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:

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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
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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

Brammo Has Changed My Opinion on E Bikes

Some of you may remember my previous blogs on Electric Bikes… The first one I wrote was 4 years ago and I had some not nice things to say about the electric bike market. I mean, who the hell cares, right?

Holy crap, times have changed in 4 years. Pure electric vehicles are coming out of the woodwork for consumers left and right these days. The Nissan Leaf. The Chevy Spark. The TESLA (insert dramatic theme music).

It IS a damned good looking car… Images credit: Tesla Motors
tesla model s ev electric car

Some of my opinions haven’t changed…much…
Continue reading Brammo Has Changed My Opinion on E Bikes

It’s a Wrap, AFM!

Well, I never really wrote much this year for AFM…In fact, I only did one write-up, and that was last round (R6 @ Infineon). I’d thought about it, but never really found much motivation for it.

I read once—in a blog—that if you are going to have a successful blog, that you need to write shit constantly…and that you shouldn’t spend too much time on it…just get it done, blast it out, rinse, repeat….F-that. I spend, like, 4-5 hour per blog that I write. At LEAST!

I’m not really sure WHY it takes me that long…I mean, I type decently fast, I never pre-plan what I’m going to actually say, I barely proof read my posts… I simply think of a topic and go PEW PEW PEW! Why the hell does it take me so long?

In this case, my topic is the the entire 2012 year of AFM.

Lawdy lawd, where do I begin? I’ve got the memory of an elephant—that’s been mortally wounded and had it’s tusks poached—so it’s not like I can actually remember many specifics about round 2…or 3 or 4 or hell, even round 7, just a few days ago.

R2 at Thunderhill.

Someone crashed…that’s all I remember.
crashed r6 crash thunderhill sparks lowside
Continue reading It’s a Wrap, AFM!

2012 – Year of the Dragon

Well, it’s been some time since my last post about fishies and stuff… since then, I’ve had hundreds of queries, asking me “What’s next?” Often, my reply had been something along the lines of “I’m just taking things as they come.” …and it was true…I was. Until now.

dragon caligraphy chinese

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So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish

Well…I don’t really know what to say here. I hadn’t planned on writing this blog..hadn’t really even planned on talking about this at all but to a few friends…but I guess, for lack of better words, I’m feeling a bit inspired by a friend of mine right now.

He said to me “What’s up with 4theriders? It seems like the site has crawled to a halt” (or something like that…just with a lot more bad words).

It has.
Continue reading So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish