Category Archives: Products

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.

EDIT// here’s the FJ09 FZ09 MT09 updated oil pan part number: B56-13400-00-00

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

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

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

Fast Girls Camp

This past weekend, I got the opportunity to hang out with some seriously cool chicks! Not only that, but my seriously cool girlfriend got to RIDE with some seriously cool chicks! :D

Brok McAllister of hosted a special, women only event at the Prairie City Dirt Track. It was a hit. Kinsy learned a ton of stuff and had a bunch of fun doing it. I’m super proud of her. :) All the girls walked away as better riders with new skills, new friends, and new memories.

Check out their Facebook page and follow them: facebook.com/CaliforniaSupermotoSchools

Here’s some pics from the event!

Sara Probert gets her slide on
CRF230 honda slide girls that ride
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Electric Bikes, Again?

So, I spent all weekend at Infineon Raceway for AFM’s round 5 or something-or-another. Your typical hodge-podge of petrol powered, 160+ bhp screaming monsters for bikes with loud exhausts, greasy engines, and greenhouse gasses up the wazoo.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved every second of it. :)

A little over a year ago, I wrote a blog entitled “Electric Bikes: This is it?” It was about my dismay at the progress being made and all the hoopla that seemed to be surrounding the electric bike market.

Lots of talk, very little awesomeness.

I’m really starting to think that may be changing…and it appears as though the “little guys” are paving the way…

Little talk, LOTS of awesomeness!

For starters, Brammo, a small company out of Oregon, was at Thunderhill Raceway yesterday with their Empulse RR race bike. Steve Atlas was at the helm, piloting it around Thunderhill’s 15 corners. I was there taking pictures.

brammo empulse rr thunderhill steve atlas
Continue reading Electric Bikes, Again?