Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Interlude: A Comprehensive Guide to Replacing the Headlight Bulb of a 2008+ KLR 650

"When working on a motorcycle, you will invariably get stuck.  When this happens, take a break and remove yourself from the situation.  Drink approximately 6-12 beers.  The problem will remain, but you will no longer care."  - MM:  Zen and the Art of Drunken Motorcycle Maintenance

If, due to Google's organic search results, you arrived here with the intent of replacing the head light bulbs of your KLR650, I implore you to reconsider.  It is simply not worth it.  Take my advice and just sell the thing.  It will save you a really big headache.

Accessing the headlight of a KLR 650 is more difficult than teasing an orgasm out of a eunuch.  The Clymer manual reads like the blueprint of a Rube Goldberg machine.  Direct quote from the manual:
1)  Headlight Inspection/Replacement:  To access the headlight, remove the front fairing.
2)  Front Fairing:  To access the front fairing, remove the rear fairing.
3)  Rear Fairing:  Unscrew anything you can see, put the screws in a little pile, unscrew anything exposed by the first round of unscrewing, and repeat a few times until the motorcycle is sitting in a pile on the ground.
4)  Root around the pile and find the light bulbs, throw the old light bulbs away, reassemble by reversing steps 3 to 1.
It took my hours to replace the headlight bulb, WITH help and WITHOUT beer.  I considered duct taping a flashlight to the windshield or just, like, wearing a miner's helmet at night.  I considered becoming a mechanical engineer and revisiting the headlight problem after getting my degree.  

I did my best to follow the Clymer instructions.  I removed the fairings, which included hex bolts.  I do not understand the logic of randomly intermixing regular bolts with hex bolts.  (Is "hex bolt" even a word?)  Once the fairings were off, the lights are inconveniently housed in some sort of device that required more unscrewing.  As I was, at long last, removing the actual headlights, it dawned on me that I shouldn't be mashing them into the cement floor, but only after scratching the hell out of them.  

By the time I replaced the light bulbs, there was something like 500 screws scattered throughout my designated parking space.  I had my doubts I would ever get it back together again, and even if I did, I just sort of expected the whole bike to fall apart the next time I rode it.

Once I reattached everything, I turned the key and smiled when I saw the headlights shine against the wall of the garage.  I walked to the front of the motorcycle to inspect my handiwork.  Only one of the two headlights I replaced was working.

I sat down and cried.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Interlude: Adjusting the Rear Suspension of a KLR 650 (and a Brush with Death)

I have been way too preoccupied this past week to get Kingy lubed and adjusted as I have been spending the lion's share of my mental energy contemplating a future in which our robot companions will be better and more fulfilling friends than actual people.  They will have all of the best qualities of human-friends with none of the negatives, and you'll be able to kick them around like puppy dogs.

However, today I adjusted the suspension because I was going to teach someone how to ride on the top floor of my office's parking garage, but even with the suspension set on 1, both of La Enana's feet could not touch the ground at the same time (even on tip toes), so we scrapped the idea.

Adjusting the Suspension of  a KLR 650
To adjust the suspension of a KLR 650, open your preferred web browser and click here.  This is all you need.  Well, a little charisma would have been nice, but let's just say this is all the factual information you need.

Close Call
Last week, I very nearly came to my tragic end.  I was cruising down Santa Monica Blvd, (sober, most likely moderately breaking the speed limit) when I noted that traffic was backed up on the other side of the road.  Out of nowhere, a big-ass utility van pulled right in front of me making a ridiculous left hand turn with zero visibility due to the blocked traffic.  Or perhaps he was an assassin hired by my estranged wife.

I attempted the emergency stop that I learned from the god of the machine, Jimmy Lewis.  Actually, this is not true.  I panicked like a pre-adolescent upon seeing Justin Bieber, and must have stomped on the rear break because my rear end fish tailed badly.  I let off the rear break, tugged on the front break, but by that time, I was already on top of the son of a bitch, who decided that, upon seeing a motorcyclist hurtling towards him at a high rate of speed, the best course of action was inaction.  I was still going too fast to stop when I was just a few feet away, so I let off the break and leaned as far over as I could to the left.  I was not swerving as much as I was trying to get my body out of the way of the van when I made impact.  By some miracle, I did not hit him, but the image that is still burned into my brain is while I was leaning as far over as I could, and while the world was traveling in slow motion, a woman in stopped traffic on the other side of the street opened and covered her mouth in sheer terror as she watched my brush with death.