Ride to Work

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Royal Enfield Riding Gear

Just got an email from RE linking to their shop with riding gear that is available in the US.  They have jackets, helmets, t-shirts, buffs, etc., that you can get directly from RE or that can be bought at the dealers listed at the bottom of the page.  Supposedly this stuff will eventually filter down to the local dealers as well.

The nicest thing, IMHO, is the leather riding jacket for $279.  This might be in my future.  I would hope that the sizing in these products have been adjusted for the American market.  We are some plus sized boys over here.  XD

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Monday, November 24, 2014

K&N Air Filter After Action Report

I see you! (At Llama Farm)
Winter has been with us for all of last week and there was not even a nice weather window to commute to work all week due to the cold.  However, yesterday the day was fairly clear and in the mid 50s so it was time to test out the K&N air filter.  I layered up and doubled up against the elements and headed up for a short run up Goshen/Strasburg to the Wawa at 3 and 352.  The Bullet did not need gas but it was a good target for a short run and nothing inhibits rust like a full tank so that was that.  Layering up and doubling up worked well except for my hands that got rather cold on the run but nothing to bad.

The K&N air filter seems to have helped with increasing power, it hasn't added much but there definitely is a noticeable improvement.  At some point before Providence Rd, the Bullet was clocking 80 mph on the speedo.  I know that the speedo is ambitious but before the change in filters it would not pass 70 mph, so there is some measurable gain there beyond my feeling of improved performance.  After crossing Providence on Goshen, I noticed what I thought was another biker in the distance in front of me and gave chase.  I didn't close the gap until Duttons Mill, where he turned left towards Rt. 3, but I did catch up to him.

From Duttons Mill is just a short run to the Wawa where I stopped for gas.  Two guys on Harleys pulled up to the pumps while I was there and one of them came over to ask how old was my bike.  He had a tremendous look of surprise on his face when I told him that it was built in 2012.  I probably told him more than he ever wanted to know about REs but he was nice enough to listen and compliment the Bullet.

Clock still on DST!
I left the house at around 12:25 with approximately 2513 miles on the odo.  I say approximately because I don't remember checking the mileage but I figure 10 miles between the house and the gas station.  At the Wawa the odo had 2523 miles and the tank took 1.906 gallons.  That's a total of 105.9 miles since the last fill up for a mileage of 55.56 mpg.  Most of that 100+ miles were commuting miles to and from work.

From there it was an easy shot across 3 on 352 to 926 and then a long loop back home via Garrett Mill and Goshen to a left on 252 to Newtown Street Rd and the Sugartown - Church Rd loop.  It was a great ride.  Nice to be out moving on country roads after a good couple of weeks with very little riding.  I would have liked to stay out longer a ride some more but my hands were staring to really feel it and it there's no joy in that.  The K&N filter has made a difference in my opinion and I'm glad that I made that change.  I am thinking, for next season, of adding the Nfield Gear Stage 1 EFI performance kit to the Bullet.  Supposedly this will increase power by 20% and improve the exhaust sound to make it more like the originals.  That will probably be good thing, we'll see.

When I got back to the house the weather was still great so I decided to take the MG for a spin as well.  I had some errands to run at the grocery store so that was the first stop.  I had noticed that the llamas were out in Llama Farm so after the grocery store I headed out that way and took some pictures from the car.  The llamas were in the back pasture but there were sheep in the front pasture.  I had never seen sheep there before but I am not surprised that they keep them together.  I came back via White Horse and got a little lost back there when I took a wrong turn onto Wayland Rd.  Ended up at the end of Wyland by the Melmark school that looks like a French chateau.  On the way home I took Sawmill Rd to avoid the steel plates on Earles Lane and I saw another Tesla, this one charcoal grey, merging from Martins Rd unto Sawmill.

The MG ran like a clock despite being in the garage for over two weeks.  I had not lost a lot of oil but I filled it up none the less.  I love taking it on those back country roads as much as I love riding them on the Bullet.

Snow expected for next Wednesday with a Nor'easter on the way so who knows when I might be able to ride again.  This afternoon, I took advantage of the good, clear, warm weather and took the Bullet to work after lunch.  Didn't do it in the morning because the roads were pretty wet from the rain last night and I had a ton of things to bring to work.

The exotic car tally now stands at 8 Ferraris, 4 Teslas, 2 Lambos, 2 Maseratis, 2 Cobras, 2 Unknowns, 1 Bentley, 1 DeLorean, and 1 MGA.

Llama Farm

Llama Farm

Llama Farm

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pierre Terblanche Hired by Royal Enfield

Pierre Terblanche, the South African designer that created bikes for Ducati, Piaggio, Norton, and Confederate, has been hired by Royal Enfield.   This guy changes jobs more often than I do.

This is an interesting combination of an ultra avant garde designer with an ultra traditionalist brand.  What does it mean for the future of design at RE and how will it affect the RE fan base?  That fan base appears to be grounded in the Way of the Bullet and not likely to take kindly to radical changes to that icon.  Also, looking at Terblanche's résumé in the last ten years would lead one to question how long will he remain with RE.

Is this a good thing?  It could be, it could also be a disaster.  Only time will tell.
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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Coco Mats

Black and Natural Coco Mats
The UPS truck delivered the Coco Mats I ordered about a month ago.  Drew, the owner* at Coco Mats, sent me a VW pattern that had to be altered to fit the compartment of the MiGi II.  Once I made the new patterns and sent them in, I go a call from Drew to make sure everything was fine and then they began making the mats.  I ordered the coco in black and natural to go with the carpet kit already in the MG.

The mats fit like a glove, they are incredibly well made, and they look like they were original "factory" fit.  I am really happy with the quality of the product and the service from the company.  Drew worked with me, was helpful, friendly, and stayed on top of my order to make sure everything was as I wanted it.  I highly recommend them to anyone interested in quality custom mats for their cars.

*(Errata:  Since this posting, I've received an email from Drew who told me hes is not the owner, just "a simple vice president."  Well, I assumed he was the owner because he certainly took care of the customer (me) as if his personal interests were involved. Kudos to him!  That's what happens when you hire good people.)

Passenger's side
Driver's side


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K&N Performance Air Filters

K&N High Flow Air Filter
Yesterday afternoon UPS delivered the K&N High-Flow air filter from Nfield Gear. I wish they would have delivered it a little earlier in the week because at least I would have had a chance to test it out.  The temperatures have dropped to the low 30s today and they are forecast to remain that way for quite a few days.

Regardless of all that, the filter got installed as soon as I had it on hand.  It is a rather easy task.  The filter is in the box on the starboard side of the bike.  The older filter boxes were attached with screws but in the newer models there is simply a bolt and a 13 mm nut holding the box in place.  Once the nut is removed the box has to be worked out around the key latch and a bolt and nut that protrude from the lower inside of the filter housing.  The OEM filter is held in place by a black metal plate that in my case had fused with the OEM filter.  I had to use a screwdriver to separate the filter from the metal plate.

The easiest way to replace the filter is to lay it on to the filter box and then place everything together into the filter container and move it around until the bolt falls into the metal plate hole and the filter box hole.  After that is a simple matter to reattach the washer and nut to the outside of the filter box.

I commute on the Bullet yesterday morning and took it to the dentist's office in Newtown Square for my afternoon appointment.  After replacing the filter I took a quick spin around my subdivision just to make sure everything was good.  Not a big ride but it appears to me like there is a definite improvement on performance just by changing this filter.

Part numbers from Nfield Gear.

Filter housing on starboard side of bike.

Filter Box held in place by 13mm nut.

OEM filter held in place by metal plate.

K&N High-Flow air filter.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Green Tesla

Not this green Tesla
This week the temps have been low in the mornings but rising to the low to mid 60s by the afternoon so I've been commuting on the Bullet every day so far.  Unfortunately, the sun is on its way down by around 17:00 so by the time I leave work the light is on its way out.

Yesterday on the way home there was an accident on the bridge that crosses over Darby Creek on Sawmill Rd blocking my way home.  It was already dark and I couldn't see what had happened, but I could see a car astride the road blocking the bridge completely.  To get home, I had to continue down Church to St Davids up to 252 and back to Goshen.  It wasn't much of a ride because there were quite a few other commuters doing the same thing but it was a couple of extra miles on the Bullet.

This morning on the way in to work, there was a dark green Tesla making a turn onto 30 from Spring Mill Rd.  I know I have seen this particular Tesla before at this same spot but never while on the Bullet so today it goes onto the exotic car tally.

The tally now stands at 8 Ferraris, 3 Teslas, 2 Lambos, 2 Maseratis, 2 Cobras, 2 Unknowns, 1 Bentley, 1 DeLorean, and 1 MGA.
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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Bogart's 4th Annual Open Car Show

Headlight Bucket Reflection
Not as cold as yesterday although the morning started at about the same temps but by midday it had warmed up to the low 50s.

So with fairly good temps and a clear and blue sky it was time to head out to Bogart's 4th Annual Open Car Show.  The flyer I had said that the show was starting at 13:00, however, by the time I got there at 12:45 there were cars everywhere.  When I pulled up one of the organizers sent me over to a spot between the hot rods and the Corvettes.  Shortly after that, my friend with the Mercedes 500K replica rolled up and took a spot across from me.  

2006 Maserati
This show was not as big as the HCCP or Delco Cruisers shows but there were quite a few cars none the less.  It is another benefit show, so no registration and no judging.  Things were fairly low key but there were quite a number of people and I talked to several of the other drivers and some of the visitors.  I also took the opportunity to take some pictures, the light conditions were not great but some of the shots turned out OK.

The show ran from 13:00 to 16:00 officially but when I left there were quite a few people still milling around.  This is a nice, small, local show.  I saw some cars from Delco Cruisers and some that were at yesterdays show including the Rolls I had photographed.  There was also a really nice 2006 black Maserati.  Ordinarily, I would count a Rolls and a Maserati in the exotic tally but a car show is like shooting fish in a barrel so they are not going in.

With the Hot Rods
Mercedes Benz 500K replica

To see more photos of the Bogart's show, please, check out my Flickr Cars album.
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Delco Cruisers' 7th Annual Salute the Troops Car and Bike Show

Spirit of Ecstasy
Cold today, not quite in the freezing range but in the low 40s most of the morning.  No riding but we did drive out (on the closed car) to Rose Tree Park in Media for the Delco Cruisers' 7th Annual Salute the Troops Car and Bike Show.

The show is fairly big and informal.  Not as big as the HCCP show we went to last month but definitely good sized.  It is also very informal in that the cars are not arranged in any particular way, it appears that they are parked as they come in without having designated areas.  Part of this must have to do with the nature of the park as it mostly an open grassy area.  But it must also have to do with the set up of the show itself as a fund raising event without any formalized judging and need for categories.

As a consequence of that, there weren't as many classic cars as at the HCCP show and definitely nothing before the 1930s.  I did see some cars I recognized from that other show as well as the 1961 Porsche that I parked next to at HCCP and the 1936 Mercedes 500K replica from that show.

Not a huge deal but I guess a fine way to spend a fall Sunday morning and a good way to support the troops.  Next year, if the weather cooperates and we are still here, I plan on showing Montse at this event.

To see more photos of the Delco Cruisers' show, please, check out my Flickr Cars album.


Drop Top Cadillac

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Saturday, November 8, 2014

AutoRéplica AR50

While trolling the web this morning I found this webpage about a MG TD replica made in Spain in the early to mid 80s called the AR50.  This is the link to a photo of an ad for the car on Flickr that lead me to search the web for the AR50.

I lived in Barcelona between 81 and 83 and I never heard of it.  Supposedly there were only twelve made.  The link will lead you to a page in Spanish which I have translated for you below.  It's worth it to check the link because there are some nice pictures of the car at the bottom of the page.  The bottom two pictures were taken at a car show in Spain in 2011.


The AR 50 was the product of a prototype made from an original MG TD, which was presented at the Barcelona Motor Show 1981.  Francisco Pueche, the maker of the prototype, embarked on an ambitious project founding the “Autoréplica” (AR) company in 1983. Its aim was to handcraft a small series of AR 50s, a magnificent replica of the legendary 1950 MG TD.

The body and mechanics of the AR 50 rested on a classic steel frame rail, it did not use a self-supporting structure, which was unusual in the making of replicas since usually they used the chassis of another car. The wheelbase was the same length as the original car, however its width was 7 cm wider to match the axles used.

All the mechanicals, engine, gearbox, axles, steering, brakes etc ..., like so many replicas of that age (in Spain), came from a Seat since they did not give too much trouble. Specifically chosen for the AR 50 was the Seat 1430 for its length, front engine, and rear wheel drive. The engine was the well-known 4-cylinder 1438cc, 77 hp at 5400 rpm. The gearbox was a 5 speed with rack and pinion steering. Originally it was equipped with regular wheels that could be optionally replaced with wire spokes wheels. The top speed was 137 km / h.

The dashboard of AR 50 was varnished burl wood, full of gauges. The wood and aluminum steering wheel, made by Motolita, was imported directly from England. The passenger compartment could be covered with an easy to install top.

Offered as optional extras were side curtains, heating, luggage rack, radio wiring, and additional color options for the leather upholstery, since originally it was offered as standard in white, black, red and green. The price (excluding taxes) was 2,160,000 pesetas.  (I was living in Barcelona at the time and I remember the exchange rate to be between 93 and 97 pesetas to the dollar making the price around $21,600 USD.)

According to the manufacturer, their intention was to also develop another version using a 1.6 liter Seat engine and later to make a replica of the 1955 MG TF.

The original production schedule for the AR 50 was 8 units per month, which would be built purely handmade.

At any rate, the project did not come to fruition possibly due to the high price for the time, so after making twelve units, the doors of Autoréplica finally closed in 1985. 
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Friday, November 7, 2014

White Tesla

This morning the temps were down to the mid 40s but I commuted into work on the Bullet because the sky was clear and the forecast did not call for rain.  Also, I am obsessed with the idea of beating my mileage from last season so I'm trying to get in as many miles a possible before the weather turns really bad.  Last year, the last ride of the season was on 27 December and I don't think that I will have that long this year.

Random White Tesla (not the one I saw)
By mid morning clouds had begun to gather and there was a sprinkling of rain at around 10:00.  At noon I rode home for lunch and saw a white Tesla on Earles Lane headed towards Malin.  It could be the same white Tesla I saw in the same spot back in late September but since I have no way of knowing that I'm adding it to the count.

I rained a little while I was home and the sky stayed overcast so I decided not to take the Bullet back.  At least we added 10 miles to the tally today.

I ordered a K&N performance air filter from NField Gear to replace the OEM filter on the Bullet.

The exotic car tally stands now at 8 Ferraris, 2 Lambos, 2 Maseratis, 2 Cobras, 2 Teslas, 2 Unknowns, 1 Bentley, 1 DeLorean, and 1 MGA.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Almost to New Hope

Peddler's Village
This morning, with one of the possibly last good weather forecasts in the season, my wife and I decided to go out to New Hope in the MG.  The forecast called for light cloud cover with a high of 68 degrees and no rain so we headed out the door a little after 09:00.

We planned a route that would take us there via back roads bypassing the highways.  It would have been simpler to go out 276 to York Rd and then follow that out to 202 into New Hope but we wanted to see some foliage and we felt that we could get a better ride if we avoided the highways.

We followed Matsonford Road through West Conshohocken and across the Schuylkill into Conshohocken were Matsonford turns into Butler Pike. Between our house and West Conshohocken, the road runs through some pretty wooded areas but once you get close to the borough it turns urban until the other side of Conshohocken by Cold Point Hill.  There Butler Pike makes a hard left dogleg and it's best to follow that to avoid Cold Point Hill road which is narrow and steep.  This is a really pretty area with country road feel and lots of foliage.  Buttler Pike continues with that character all the way out to the crossing of Prophesy Creek into the Village of Ambler, which is a really cool little town with shops, restaurants, and great architecture.  Of course, I would leave the house without my cameras again.  I am going to have to make a ride check list to include all the things we need to have before hitting the road!

Shortly after Ambler we made a right on Horsham and stopped at the Wawa there for refueling.  Then we made a turn around the southern end of the Air Guard flight line to continue on Maple Avenue, following that to York Road.

Once on York we continued out to make the link to 202.  There was some construction on York but there is also some very nice country out that way.  A lot more open than before with farms and clear fields all around.

Shortly after getting on 202, we got a little spitting from the clouds.  Not rain, just three drops but enough to give me pause.  We decided not to continue on to New Hope but to stop at Peddler's Village and asses the situation.  We also needed to be back by 14:00 and by now it was 10:45.  With time for lunch and sightseeing we would have been pressed to make out to New Hope.

From the Buttonwood Grill window
The rain did not materialize but we stopped did some window shopping and had lunch at The Buttonwood Grill.  Our waitress recommended their burgers which are rated Best of Bucks.  I had that.  Being and In-N-Out snob I am always disappointed by other burgers but hope springs eternal.  It wasn't a bad burger but like most places they can not grasp the concept of an onion slice even when you ask for it and it fell short of my expectations.  I will never learn.

We left the Buttonwood at 12:30 and decided to head back on 202 to save on time since we only had an hour and half to get home.  The coolest event of the ride happened shortly after we left the restaurant.  As we approached Durham Road, I noticed a guy in a Military C5 Royal Enfield waiting to make a right onto 202.  I gave him a big wave and he waved back.  He followed me and the next red light I turned around and we talked Enfields for a bit.  It's really nice to run into a Bulleteer on the road!

The return was fairly uneventful except that 202 makes a hard right dog leg shortly after East Germantown Pike at Johnson Hwy without any signage that I could see.  There you have a one way facing you and no clear direction.  I supposed I should have figured to go right but I went left and had to maneuver through Conshohocken to find Matsonford Rd. again.  Once there it was easy.  Because of the mishap with 202 we got home by 13:45 instead of my targeted 13:30 but still within time for our 14:00 schedule.

The day was overcast but nice, cool enough without being cold.  The ride out had some really good areas and some not so much but overall it was enjoyable.  When we go back to New Hope we will follow this route again.  Also, we will put Ambler on the list of ride destinations.  The ride back was not bad either, there are some portions of 202 that are not highway like so that was good.  In the highway like portions, I had the MG cruising at 65 mph without any issues so that is good to know.  Mechanically there were no problems during this ride.
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Monday, November 3, 2014

The Musket V-Twin is Available!

You might have seen the Musket V-Twin around the web or you might have read the blog entry here last June and now you may be able to own the thing.

It is finally in production and the order form can be found here.  Aniket Vardhan, the maker, has six motors available which can be had as a kit for your own work or can be added to your donor bike by him.

Prices range from $5990 for the engine kit to $13,750 (plus whatever upgrades might be necessary for the donor bike) for a completed top end bike.  I sure would love one of these but I don't see that happening any time soon.  
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Winter is coming

Clock still on DST
No riding in the last week beyond the regular commute to work.  It rained on Wednesday afternoon and I caught a little of it on the way home but not enough to bother and it rained all day on Thursday so not even a commute that day.

Saturday was a complete rain out and Sunday was fairly cold.  This morning I did not ride in but I did come back from lunch on the Bullet and used that opportunity to gas up on the World's Most Expensive Shell on the corner of 30 and Spring Mill Rd.

At the stop the Bullet had 2417.1 miles on the odo and the tank took 3.133 gallons (which cost me $12.53 at $3.99 a gallon when most other places are way below that).  That is 179 miles since the last fill up for a mileage of 57.1333 mpg.  Probably the worst mileage since the Bullet rolled of the showroom floor.

Thursday's forecast calls for clear and fairly warm, in the mid 60s.  Will definitely schedule in a ride then.
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