Category Archives: Rides

Another FJ09 Oil Pan Bites the Dust

So, as you guys may have read in a previous blog of mine, I did a 12 Step “how to” to replace your FJ09/FZ09/MT09/Tracer oil pan after you crater your shit. If not, you can read it here:

The 12 Step How to Replace the FJ09 Oil Pan

Well, so, yeah…I smashed another oil pan the other day. Luckily, it wasn’t nearly as bad as shearing off the entire bottom of the oil pan like I did last time. This time, I simply put a small hole in it while parking for an epic photo. Yes, while parking. I was doing approximately half a mile an hour. *sigh* I was so livid that I didn’t even get the shot I wanted.

fj09 oil pan cracked fz09 oil pan mt09 oil pan

Long story short, I was at the top of Sonora Pass in the Sierra Nevada Mountains when I cracked it. Kevin and I were screwing around with various photo ops.

fj09 wheelie mt09 wheelie tracer
minutes before FJ09 oil pan disaster #2

I saw this gorgeous pull out with an amazing vista and I wanted to stop for a picture of the FJ09 sitting atop this giant granite slab overlooking the valley below. There was a small bump, maybe 4″ in height that I super slow rolled over top, as I have a CONSTANT fear of cratering my oil pan on this damned bike, and sure enough, it made gentle contact. I mean barely. It hardly even touched the rock. I even giggled to myself thinking that there’s no way that would have damaged it. I step off the bike, walk over to Kevin for a second, turn around….and there it was. The puddle of oil already starting to form.

fj09 cracked oil pan puddle
my FJ09 gets scared every time I pull off the pavement now and it pisses itself.

I let out a LOOONG and LOUUUD string of expletives. Kevin almost looked panicked. I can’t even imagine what he was thinking when I suddenly burst out yelling and cussing. Ultimately, I told him we had to go, and go asap, before all the oil was drained out of my bike.

I coasted down most of the east side down to highway 395. I then alternated between 6th gear—low engine load—and pulling in the clutch and killing the motor for the 17 or so miles it took to go north to Walker, CA, where a store there happened to have JB Weld. I lost about a quart of oil in the 35 mile or so trip.

fj09 fz09 mt09 oil pan tool kit
the “Essential FJ09/FZ09 Oil Pan Tool Kit” ..I think I might start marketing these as a package.

I threw the FJ09 on it’s side in disgust, cleaned up as much of the oil as I could, and JB Welded the oil pan up. I currently have Givi crash bars on it for “just in case” moments… I didn’t realize when I got them that I’d be needing to lay it on it’s side on purpose to fix oil pan issues. Ugh.

fj09 oil pan on it's side jb weld
it looks sad, I know. Because it IS sad.

I left the FJ09 laying there on it’s side for the better part of half an hour, essentially, watching paint dry.

fj09 oil pan jb weld

All in all, it got me home. But now I’ve got to buy ANOTHER FREGGIN OIL PAN. Ugh! So, to prevent any future freggin disasters, I’ve spent a bunch of time researching, and I’ve found higdonion.com

They’re having a group buy right now, so I’m all in. I’m getting the skid plate and crash bars. The group buy is currently sitting at $75 off, with the potential to go $100 off if more people get in on it. Thus far, I’ll have spent over $400 in oil pans…I should have got the skid plate from the get go, and I would have been ahead.

https://www.groupbuyparts.com/hgd_sv/higdonion-upper-cage-add-on-or-full-crash-cage.html

Higdonion has skid plates, crash cages, frame sliders, and other protective products for the FZ09, FJ09, XSR900, and the FZ07.

This is what I’m going to put on my bike:


fj09 higdonion skid plate

Sportbikes are the Problem, Part 2

As I am sure you have read Joe’s letter to the world, “Sportbikes are the Problem”, I am your savior, I am here with the Solution.

Here is where Joe and I differ, he believes that the FJ-09 is an “Old Man Bike”. Listen here Billy, it’s motor is in a naked street bike with oversized dirt handlebars (comparable to hypermotard, speed triple, etc). No matter what hooptie frame you slap in that there engine block in, there is no way it can be a touring bike. That ain’t no old man bike! It doesn’t have massive side storage pockets!

Unlike Joe, I actually went full AARP and bought myself a proper old man bike, a Honda ST1300. It’s this elongated, elegantly bagged and refined piece of Japanese craftsmanship. Straight from the early 2000’s this bike set the standard for long distance, mile munching comfort. What’s the catch? This piglet weighs in at something like 730lbs, its manly aluminum monocast frame and related giblets aren’t light. It’s a good thing that it makes rocketship like power from it’s 1300cc restaurant freezer like engine. Cause she’s hefty.

st1300 wheelie aerostich od man bike
yeah….she hefty alright.
Continue reading Sportbikes are the Problem, Part 2

Sportbikes are the Problem

Okay, okay, okay! Before you get your panties all in a bunch, I’M not saying sportbikes are the problem…I’m just saying that sportbikes are the problem. Allow me to explain:

Over the last 15 or so years, I’ve owned a handful of bikes. All fully faired, “crotch rocket” style bikes as far as the uneducated masses are concerned. The kind of bike where you see assholes doing wheelies up and down the freeways like lunatics with no regards to anyone else, being menaces to society and probably dealing drugs to kids at the local middle school. You know, sportbikes.

Until last year. I bought what I’ve dubbed an “old man bike.” I got a Yamaha FJ09. It’s the first upright, “non-threatening” street-going motorcycle I’ve owned.

Over the last year and 12,000 miles I’ve put on the bike, my habits in the twisties around other cars haven’t really changed compared to how I was on spr0tbiles back in the day. I still roll up on cars and give them a bit of room. I wait em out for a few mins to see if they’re going to use the turn out like they’re supposed. I’ll gently pass them giving them the shakka when they do in a display of exuberance… or blow their doors off in a look-back wheelie-scowl as I pass them—DY be damned—if they don’t move.

grumpy cat wheelie
“I hate everything.”
Continue reading Sportbikes are the Problem

Quick Ride to Grass Valley

I went for a short ride today. 229 miles on the odo. I’ve been so busy since I got home that I wanted to just stop working for the day and GO RIDE. I haven’t ridden my FJ09 much lately, so it had to be done. And it had to be done today, because it’s supposed to rain everywhere all weekend. Meh.

I headed out the door just before 10am. I grabbed my summer gloves… but took pause and stared at my winter gloves thinking that I should bring them, just in case. Afterall, I do live in Reno. Who freggin knows what’s gonna happen with the weather around here. I decided not to take them.

So, off I go. I have a loose plan: 395n, cut across 70 to hwy 49, and ride to Downieville, be back by 4 so that the family and I can go to the movies. :)

I didn’t make it 30 miles before I was literally cursing myself in my helmet… “Joe, you stupid dumb idiot…you HAVE saddle bags. You HAVE the room to carry stuff. WHY THE HELL DIDN’T YOU BRING THE WARMER GLOVES!? God, you’re SOOOO DUMB!” By the time I got around Loyalton, I saw 47 degrees on the ambient temp gauge. So dumb.

fj09 selfie loyalton
“Joe, you’re fired.”
Continue reading Quick Ride to Grass Valley

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

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

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

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