Thursday, May 6, 2010

Goodbye TT2, Hello VUN

Last week I said goodbye to my Ducati TT2 and Triumph 675 Daytona. My beautiful TT2 was sold, the Daytona gave me four months of fantastic riding and is now in storage for the New Zealand winter.

This week I returned to Northern Europe and I'm getting reacquainted with my VUN. My first ride involved pushing her three city blocks from the garage to my apartment. It was a cold winter here and the lightweight Lithium Ferrous battery I installed last year was dead flat. At one point I attempted bump starting it down a gentle slope.

A bump-start technique for 650 singles:
  1. Find a gentle slope, or a steep slope. Not too steep or you will loose traction on the rear wheel. Remember that if it doesn't start you will have to push it back up.
  2. Put the bike into 3rd gear. This lowers the amount of engine breaking so your rear wheel doesn't lock up.
  3. Rotate the engine until the piston is just before top dead center. This ensures that the engine will be ready to fire as soon as it starts turning. This requires a bit of feel... top dead center is the point of maximum compression.
  4. Turn off the lights, check the kill switch (important), and turn on the ignition.
  5. Sacrifice a chicken (optional).
  6. Still in 3rd gear, pull in the clutch and run beside the bike, get up to your maximum running speed. 
  7. Jump onto the seat (side saddle style). At the moment your ass slams onto the seat, let out the clutch and pray to the gods of speed. Timing is important here. You want to put as much weight as possible onto the back wheel before letting out the clutch. This requires a bit of balance, do not fall down, with any (lots of) luck it will start. 
Slamming your weight onto the seat helps to prevent the back wheel from sliding. If this happens, don't panic, just pull the clutch back in. If you still have enough speed and are still going down hill then throw your leg over the seat and stand on the pegs. Now push all your weight on the pegs (start to fall onto the seat then stop the fall with your legs). Let out the clutch again when there is maximum weight on the back wheel.

Bump starting a VUN on your own is pretty difficult but I managed to start mine. Unfortunately, after riding about 20 meters I had to stop at an intersection and the engine died (I was now at the bottom of the hill). That was my first short ride on the VUN for 2010.

Here is a short list of what makes my VUN different from the standard model:
  • Marvic magnezium wheels,
  • Breaking "wave" front & rear disks,
  • Ohlins rear shock absorber,
  • Racing "sterio" lightweight radiators,
  • LSL clip-on handlebars,
  • Lightweight Speedcell lithium iron battery (now fully charged),
  • High-flow air filters, free flowing headers pipes (no catalytic converters),
  • Rizoma LED indicators,
  • Rizoma mirrors,
  • Custom paint.
This year will bring another series of modifications starting by replacing the rear subframe with a lightweight alloy one. As ever, the goal is to reduce weight, improve handling and (less importantly) increase power.


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