Saturday, April 14, 2007

More adjustments

Sean wrote again from Texas with the following info. I agree with him completely and not all of us think about these things. Here's his gently edited email.

It's funny how much time I spend prepping a new bike. I get a bike and then spend a bunch of time in the garage on the first day of ownership. Everything you mentioned I adjust. Sometimes, I'll even need to lightly bend the front master cylinder reservoir bracket just to get the hose to reach the new position of the perch.

On the 14, I actually needed to adjust the rear brake light switch because it wouldn't come on until very late. Not that I use much rear brake in most situations, but it only takes one time to get rearended.

Also, the throttle typically has too much play, though that doesn't add to riding comfort.

Finally, the projection headlights on bikes are typically too low for nighttime driving through corners when you're stuck in the dark. Adjusting the low beams to shine straight ahead for a couple 100 ft typically solves this problem, while not blinding oncoming traffic too badly. When riding in the corners, highbeams are still necessary to get light in front of you, but at that point the highbeams are pointing slightly upward and compensate well for the bike's lowered nose.

Thanks for the tips Sean!

I want to add one little thing to the headlight adjustment issue. Most Yamaha projection headlights have a very drastic cut-off point at the top of the beam pattern. If you shine your low beams against a building or garage door, you'll find that there's lots of light where the projectors want it to be, but there's virtually no light above a specific line.

Unfortunately, Yamaha delivers their bikes with the cutoff point at almost exactly the same height as the side view mirrors of the average car. So, as you bounce down the road behind Mr. and Mrs. Cager, your headlights seem to flash in his mirrors. Lots of light / almost no light as the cut-off point passes above and below their mirrors.

I've been given the finger, I've been sworn at, and I've been given the "fake swerve" because of this. The most common and irritating reaction I get is that the cager slows down to about 5 below the speed limit because he thinks he's being pulled over.

None of this has been a problem since I lowered the cut-off point just a little bit so it stays below their mirrors. I have high beams if I wanna flash them now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The specification used by BMW for K-bikes calls 1% drop in low-beam adjustment, i.e., when loaded with rider, the beam falls 10cm in 10 meters.

I find that to be quite correct. After adjusting the bikes that way, the beam just reaches the edge of trunk on cars ahead of me, without hitting the rearview mirrors. This is particularly important if extra-powerful beams or HID conversions are installed: one needs to be considerate to be considered.

If the bike is light-weight or is lightly suspended - like a dual-sport - I'd drop the beam even more, to allow for the up and down movement.