Friday, February 17, 2012

Don't Bring the Torque Wrench

Zero-B Waterproof Saddle Bags

I have had another full day of planning the trip.  I went to Zdeno's to check out the soft luggage, and the throttle locks.  Then I cleaned out the basement and took two car loads of junk off to thrift stores, and put the rest at the curb for garbage day.

But as Mary Ann says, maybe I should ease up a bit, as we are not leaving until mid July and it is now only February.  In my defense, much of that junk in the basement has been there for years, and it will be kind of nice to be able to move around in there right now. Also, it will be used as a staging area, where I can gradually assemble all the important bits from our master trip list, when I create one.

Having planned several of these trips before, I know the basic routine.  1. Make a list.  2. Get all your crap together 3. Pack it 4.  Get your house taken care of 5. Make sure you have the important stuff (e.g. credit card, drivers licence, keys, glasses - basically everything I forgot two weeks ago in Dutton)  6. Leave

The trip to Zdeno's did not yet result in any new equipment, because I was unsure of the types of throttle locks they had.  In the past I have used simple N.E.P. locks, but this time I want to try the gloriously complicated Vista Cruise.  However I needed to come back home and check the reviews on the internet before committing myself to another piece of worthless junk.  So according to the internet people, it basically works.. which is hard to believe from looking at the kit.  So I will probably buy it (about $35) next time I'm there.

Vista calls it a cruise control, but that's because it dates back to when motorcycles didn't have real cruise controls, so there was no confusion.  In reality it is a throttle lock, that simply holds the throttle open while you scratch your rear end with your right hand (or whatever).  I am keen to try a throttle lock on a bike with a torquey engine.  Up to now, I have had bikes with the power produced at high rpm - the faster the engine goes, the more power.  That type of engine will not hold a constant speed for long with a locked throttle, because as it speeds up, it gains power - which speeds it up more.  The opposite is true of slowing down- engine loses power as you slow down, and you slow down more.  So it is an unstable system.  On the other hand, when an engine has no powerband at high rpm, speeding up will meet more wind resistance, which keeps the speed from going higher.  Slowing down means less resistance - but more torque from the engine, which keeps you from slowing down any more.  In theory, anyway.  So far all my tests were on peaky bikes, like the Honda CBX and Yamaha 250 two-stroke.

I was also looking at luggage, specifically saddlebags for Burgie. Mary Ann wants to know how much stuff I'm planning to bring.  In my experience, it's not good to estimate the space too close. One use for the saddlebags is aesthetic - it might make the Burgie  look more like a serious touring bike instead of a scooter.  At least it breaks up some of the swoopy lines.  I was especially interested in waterproof saddlebags, with a rubberized coating like canoe "dry bags" have. I found out they make some, and Royal Distributing in Guelph has a cheap pair for under $70, called Zero-B bags for snowmobiles.  But they are stunningly ugly in the catalog, and reports on the internet say the buckles break and seams rip - so not good for long distances, apparently.  There are some really expensive ones I could order on the internet, but I prefer to touch before I buy.  Zdeno's has normal motorcycle bags from $80- $160, and they look very well made.  But those are easy to find, so I'll just wait until we need them, and I can try them out on the scooter and see if they fit and look OK first.


  1. The cost of materials (fabric, zippers, nylon webbing and buckles) for 'custom' bags is surprisingly low.

    If memory serves, I got change back from a twenty when I bought the materials for my 650 at Len's Mill Stores. A half-hour of dicking around with a paper pattern for a mock-up, followed by a couple of hours on the sewing machine and I had the set of bags I'd been unable to find after hours of searching on the Web.

    And stitching up bags for Burgie would be even easier, because there's no real concern about the bags getting tangled up in the wheels!

    On the other hand, if you do not have a sewing machine, that could be a limitation ... LOL!!

  2. Actually I think we have two sewing machines but can't get either to work the way we want.

  3. Ah! 'Tis a poor workman who blames his tools.' ;-)

    Like motorcycles, even sewing machines occasionally need servicing ... LOL!

  4. Many years ago, I sewed up some canvas saddlebags for my motorcycle. I would need a lot more experienced to make an equivalent of the Outbound Expedition bag, and do it for less than $70.

    We have a treadle sewing machine from the '40s, but so far it has proved difficult to get it working, so we use it as a table in the hallway. I just found out the electric machine is no longer with us, Mary Ann gave it away years ago. I hope somebody is getting use from it.