Tag Archive | Mechanical work

Measure once, cut twice

I am about to get married. And my fiancée already know some tell-tale signs of restlessness. With the (mostly) goodnatured nickname «Gorilla» it hardly needs stating that I don’t do so well sitting still doing nothing for too long.


She even claims that I go around looking for projects,- a tree to climb up and/or cut down, something to fix, and axe to grind to shaving speck, or one of the many motorcycle modification projects. It is ofcourse a completely unfounded claim.


Eitherway, the other day when I was hovering over our two BMW F800GS in the garage, I found that I could gain 3,5 cm, or 1,378 inches, of luggagespace on each bike by moving the Rotapax fueltanks backwards.. That’s 3,5 cm more space to try to find a comfortable position riding our bikes for 13 months. (If you’ve not yet heard about the project, click here for the route description)



The process of moving the spare fuel tanks is fairly straight forward. It is simply a matter of measuring up and drilling two new holes in the luggage plate. It is highly reccomended to remove the luggageplate before you start drilling, unless you want to risk ventilating the bike in places the BMW-designers did not intend for it to be ventilated.


I pride myself in using only the tools I have in my toolroll. These are the tools that are going with us on the trip, so it makes sence to make sure I can do any opperation I need with a minimum of tools and gizmos. Drilling two holes in a precision cut luggage plate however is not something I wanted to try without powertools. So I got my drill from storage, removed the luggage plate form the bike and measured up where the new holes should be. Then, drilling the holes is eazy peazy.



In my juvenile days, roaming around in my dads basement/workshop, I remember him telling me «measure once,- cut twice». I now realize that this was not so much an advice as it was a warning.

In retrospect I now wonder about a lot of the other advice he gave me growing up. Perhaps they all where warnings? A bit confused and curious I returned to my work. The lockabel attachment for the fuel tanks have a very spesific distance between the holes for the bolts, a distance I missed by maybe 3 mm (0,118 inches). As metal dont really bend too well, I had to follow my dads advice, now turned into warning, and cut twice. So another powertool came out of storage and I made the annoying little adjustment to make it fit.


Some before and after images. 3,5 cm may not seem like much but I’m sure it’ll make a big difference. And the zen-like state of mind I get from taking on and finishing yet another project makes it all worth it.



See the difference?





Airfilter trouble…

Early in march I posted the “OMG what have I done” story.

While this where mainly about me peeling the two-wheeled onion looking to dig out the sparkplugs from the litteral belly of the beast, well the last part of the post mentioned me switcing out the original airfilter with the Unifilter from Touratech.

After riding to work for a few weeks I discovered that my F800GS lost a lot of top-power with the new filter. I couldn’t get rews up pas 5000 rpm. This gave me some interesting oh-shit-! moments entering the E39 motorway on-ramp.

After reaching out to the BMW F800GS community on FB i got my suspicions confirmed and decided to change back to the original airfilter.

Great success! My baby was back to the fun high-tork high-rev shenanegans
There is a good chance that I can solve the Unifilter issue with rinsing out waaay more of the oil-gunk before trying to reinstalling it.

We’ll see how it goes..

The “OMG what have I done” job

For a long time I had plans to practice removing and replacing the sparkplugs on my BMW F800GS, in preparation for the big trip (click here for more info on our 13 month trip).

Close to two years ago I helped my good friend to change the oil on his KTM 990. We laughed at the saying that “if you wanna change the oil on a BMW you’ll drink two beers while doing the job, but if you want to change the oil on a KTM you’ll drink a case of beer.. The oil change took half a day on his KTM. Well, I laughed, and Andreas grumbled. Today however I got a bit of karma handed to me..

It turns out that if you want to (or need to) change the sparkplugs on a BMW F800GS you come very close to disasembling the entire bike. After the job is completed I now realize that the great engineers at BMW started the asembly prosess by one guy holding the sparkplugs, and then another asembling the entire bike around them…

So this morning I did the final little pieces of research and then happily skipped down into the garage underneath my building, my home away form home. Just before I left the Apartment, Hotstuff aka Tonje, comented on the oilfilter removal tool that just arrived form Wunderlich. “Ooo what a nice color… what is  it?” Great…

Oooo what a nice color..

Oooo what a nice color..

Anyways, I brought the nice-color-doodaa down to the garage and got started.. Below you can see the bike as it was.. I had just removed the saddle. “Why”, you may ask. “Are the sparkplugs underneath the seat?” Surely no, as will be the case for a great many things I had to take off the bike. Just pealing off the layers like a two-wheeled onion. With a GPS. And spare fuel tanks..

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So I followed the instructions I found on the BMW mechanic handbook. Step 1 ; Remove saddle. Check.  Step 2; Remove the beak.. Really? Remove the beak, waaaaaay in front of everything. In order to remove the sparkplugs, that surely must be in or around the engine somewhere? Now my pride and joy looks just like a retarded seal.

What, take off the beak? To change the spark plugs?

What, take off the beak? To change the spark plugs?

Next step was to take off the fairing on both sides. But noo,- not that simple. Because in order to do that I had to take off the upper crashbars. Have I mentioned that I perviously mounted the extra heavy duty adventure crashbars from Wunderlich? … Grumble..

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Then came battery removal, all kinds of wires and hoses, and the entire air-intake and airfilter housing. Any sparkplugs in there? Nooo sir.

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At this point I really had to take a step back, and said out aloud (yes I do talk to myself in the garage while working on the bikes) “OMG what have I done? How the heck am I gonna get all this back the way it was? Anyone got a AAA-card?” No one answered, but at this point my fiance came into my domain (well, it’s really the garage we shared by about 30 other people..) with coffe and lunch. Life was suddenly much better..

Oooo. Another shining doo-daa with great color

Oooo. Another shining doo-daa with great color

And true to form, she looked around at the disaster area with parts everywhere, spotted the little spark plug tool from Wunderlich. “Ooh there’s another of those great-colored parts.. What is it?”..

Pulling out the HT coil with this little great colored doodaa was a lot easier than expected. Which is about the only thing all day that was easier than expected..

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Fun fact; the pipe that is used in order to actually loosen the spark plugs can also be used to loosen the front axle. I know ’cause I tried. Also, see how long it is? Even after all the stuff I took off this two wheeled onion, I still need a foot-long tool to reach into the belly of the beast in order to get the spark plugs out.

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TADAAA! Spark plug successfully removed. Very happy! An then I remembered that I had to put everything back together again..
Just to complicate matters I decided that this was a good time to mount the reusable airfilters from Touratech. Turned out A-OK. I hope this is a good idea. This way we don’t have to bring extra airfilter for the 4-ish months we’ll be driving through South and Cenral America on our trip..

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One cup of coffe and a lot of bolts and nuts later, the job was complete.

Check out the video below for proof of life! The engine runs perfectly after all I put it through. Very happy now!

Practice some more..

A little while ago I strolled down into the garage to practice removing the rear tire on my F800GS, and successfully putting it back on. Just because why not. And of course the tiny fact that I expect we will wear out 6 or 7 sets of tires on the trip. Pluss who knows how many flat tires. So it makes sence to practice.

Anyhoo, this time I tested the theory on how to remove the front tire. Alone. And with only the tiny toolroll that are going with us on the trip.

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Turns out that the only tools really needed for the job was  3/8 inch drive ratchet  with a T45 torx bit, a 17 mm wrench, a E12 wrench (torx 12 mm) a screwdriver with a T30 torx bit. And the sparkplug remover thingofabub…

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I earlier mentioned the instructional DVD made by Helge Pedersen and his Company. Following his lead, I tried out the tricks.

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..like how to balance the bike on the back wheel,  sidestand and one of my paniers. In order to pull it off I needed to tie the right side handlebar to the left side luggagerack. Also. The sidestand is a little short for this balancing-act, but chucking a little piece of wood under the sidestand did the trick.

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…how much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood…  Sorry, there was just no way I could pass that up. I mean, chuck wood. Get it?

Anyways, moving along

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Once the ABS censor was removed, the break calipers gently removed on both sides,  and the front axle loosened, I used the sparkplug remover thingofabub to loosen and pull out the front axle. I have no idea why this fits, but it’s a perfect mach!

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Once the axle was removed, tadaa! Bike still standing. Even better now without the weight of the frontwheel.

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All that remained, was putting it all back together, while ignoring my gawking neighbors. It’s like they’ve never seen a 215 kilo motorcycle balancing on it’s own on the rear wheel, while a gorilla in overalls are trying to coax the front wheel back into the fork, and mount the axle and all the other gismos. It’s easy when no one is watching. However when someone IS watching.. Lets just say I think I got a glimps of the hell called “trying to dress a 4 year old child who is throwing a fit and is the only one in the debacle that does not realize that violence is not the answer”. For spectaters there is only one valid solution:  Walk away. Don’t speak. Don’t wave or make eye contact.  Just walk away and be happy it’s not you.

Well,  after making sure I hadn’t forgotten anything, I took my bike for a little testride in the parkinggarage. Zipping in and out from behind colums and parked cars. Testing the ABS breaks on the front and rear  tires (even thoug I didn’t really remove the rear tire..). Just a little testing. Around and around. And around. For almost 15 minutes. It’s a 30-car garage. If that.

Good times 😀

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Practice practice practice…

I am currently enjoying (more or less) some down time due to a knee injury sustained at work as a bouncer.

My doc even sent me to an MR-picture doo-daa. While I await judgement on my knee-on-the-mend my girlfriend-soon-to-be-wife gets to go to work as a bouncer (really, she’s the best). What do I do with my downtime?

I do what any sane man would. Bring my tools down to the garage and practice taking off an putting back on the rear wheel on my BMW F800GS.

During our planned 13 month trip we’ll go through somewhere between 5 and 8 sets of knobbies on each bike. Factoring in a few expected flat tires it makes sence to practice a bit.

Last summer on our test trip we (Tonje and I) visited the Touratech shop in Lidköping. There we picked up a great instructional DVD made by Helge Pedersen at Globe Riders. With this as a guide it’s really a lot easier than it looks!

So, as said, I went down to the garage and tried it all out.


And look; I even got it back on again..


Next time I’ll take off the front wheel as well. And take off and on the tires.

It’s good to be me 😉

The paint-job and the Motooverland bashplates

Every once in a while, a MC-rider will park his ride horizontaly. Never by design, as motorcycles have an inherit design-premise inidicating that parking should be of a more vertical manner..

I’m jumping the gun a little here..

All through the summer I spent hours in the garage, time and time again converting that little rented parkingspot to my own mechanical workspace. The last piece of equipment to be mounted on both HotStuff (aka Tonje) and my bike was the awsome bashplate from Motooverland.  I had spent quite a bit of time researching and looking for the perfect crashbar and bashplate combo, and after I found the very rugged crashbars from Wunderlich, the bashplate from Motooverland was the only piece missing.

Crashbar test complete

The crashpars was somewhat a tight fit. That’s A-OK because you really don’t want the crashbars to move around too much… They offer great protection; proven. Before Tonje aka HotStuff and I had our test-ride those two weeks this summer, I had the crashbars installed on both bikes. The bashplates didn’t arrive in time for out test-ride, but we had no real plans for any offroad riding anyhow. Shortly after returning to Stavanger after our 2 week trip I stopped by a friends place in order to check out his own mechanical project. As I put out the sidestand, apparently I had a moron-moment, ’cause the bike leaned to the right. The sidestand is on the left side. Always have been.. So I ended up parking my ride horizontaly. Leaning it safely  and firmly on the crashbars. You can see the three impact Points. No damage to the bike. Some scrapings on the crashbars and a massively bruiced ego. I’ve had my license since 1999, and only once before have I parked any bike horizontaly. My first day with a license in 1999…

So it was clear that I would have to deal with this in the near future. At the same time the bashplates arrived form Canada. OH HAPPY DAY 🙂

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See the difference between the tiny plastic bashplate original from BMW and the much bigger and sturdier Aluminum (5052) one from Motooverland? 🙂 I couldent wait to put it on.

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After a little while I discovered that between the BMW, the crashbars from Wunderlich and the bashplate from Motooverland, something was not a perfect fit. There are 6 bolts to fasten the bashplate, 4 underneath on rubber-cushon, and 2 in the lower front. The two in front would not align properly 😦

I emailed the good people at Motooverland for some advice- They quickly gave me 3 options for a fix. 2 0f them required a bit better equipment and workspace than what i have available. If you have read my post you may have noticed that I work out all my mechanical issues in the parking garage where we live, using only the toools I’ll bring for the trip. Also I have no place to mount a vice that was needed for the two first options. So option number three it is; – widen the forward mounting holes just enough.

It seemed like a easy fix. I strolled to the  local hardwarestore and bought a dremel-like tool and what seemed to be the correct bits. The going was slow and after a little while I notice the powertool wobbeling in my hands. For those of you that don’t know this; wobbeling powertools are generally not a great idea. Before I manage to hit the “off” switch the diamonddust covered bit I used went flying. But only after impacting my right middle finger. The same one that sometimes is used to communicate in traffic. Especially when one has polite but firm opinions about ones fellow travellers on four or more wheels.. Anyways. There where a lot of cursing and a bit of jumping around. At first I was convinced it was broken. But as sanity slowly returned I performed a basic self-diagnostic prosedure:

Does it bend? Oh YES it bends. Logic dictates it’s not broken, as it bends in the right place..

As I was squaring away my tools (I called it quits for the day after bandaging my very battered communication-device..) I realize that I where not using protective goggels, or gloves.. I was just very lucky that the flying bit didn’t hit something vital, like an eye.. So the next day I strolled back to the hardwarestore and got even more bits, + goggles and gloves. As soon as my finger healed work where resumed and the adjustments made. Once this was done, I primed and coated the bashplates to prevent them form rusting.

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And while the bashplates where drying in stages of 2 prime coats and 2-3 black paint coats, I got to work on the crashbars. I made good use of the dremel-like-but-not-quite tool and ground away all scraches and rust and evened out the surface. After this was complete I wrapped my bike like a christmaspresent and got ready to apply a few coats of primer..

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And between each coat,- the waiting game. Luckily for me and everyone around me; patience is stong in this one. 😦 After priming, I had to unwrap my ride, remove any flaking and smoothe any edges. Then prep and wrap and tape again. I coated it again 4 times, with plenty of time to dry properly between each coat.
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I am very happy with te result, Even more happy that I now was ready to mount the bashplates again.
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Yep. That’s right. The two forward bolts in place, bashplate secure. Ready to ride again.
And I will try to avoid any future horizontal parking…

New Years eve – some garage work

Why should this day be any different?

Keeping it short due to the waiting party.

Today’s work was both fixing a loose sidestand on my bike and fixing Tonjes left panier, who took a beating during the testride we had 2 weeks this summer.

I had to go all Thor on the panier and hammer it back into shape. One of the plastic clamps that connect it to the frame of the bike had do be taken off, then subsiquently glued and screwed back on. As good as new!



Then I took off the sidestand in order to ajust it. It felt a bit loose,- and there is no time like the present, so off it came..


And later on again. Quite happy with the result.


I guess this is a good place to wish all my family, friends and readers a happy new year.

To all those who have supported my, and now our, dream of riding the world for 13 months. THANK YOU!

And to all of you who keep telling me how dangerous and impossible it is; THANK YOU. It motivates me greatly. I mean, if it was easy, any idiot could do it 😉

Day 7 – Welding awsomeness Hamar

HotStuf aka Tonje aka the Extremely Lost Biker had her ride lowered at Touratech in Lidkøping a few days ago. Day 6 made it clear that her sidestand was waay to long after the lowering of the suspension. At a gas station in Notodden on our RnR day her ride tipped into the pump due to the awkward angel of the bike. The panier took a bit of a beating, but it was obvious that an adjustment was needed. We rolled back into camp and I started researching our possibilities.

Meanwhile the camping life was further enjoyed 🙂





The wonders of solar power! Great investmet!

Day 7, thursday, we got in touch with a very accomodating guy at MC Huset Nydalen in Hamar.  He explaned that the sidestand needed to be cut and welded, had the knowhow and experience and could squeeze us in the next morning! Great! So we broke camp, spent some time balancing HotStuff’s paniers (did NOT want a repeat of day 3 where she wanted to sell the bike, and me, and quit the project….), plotted another scenic route to Hamar via just about every back road I could find, and rode off.. Resting at closed down diners, crossing airstrips (!) and just cruising thought a great and varied landscape 🙂






Bear in mind that Tonje still don’t have her licence. The roads less traveled that we chose give us constant challenges with regards to road quality. At least gravel roads are unasuming with regards to quality and maintenance.
At one point we crossed under a railway and the tunnel was so narrow that we barely made it thought. Also, the tarmack was so worne that it looked and felt like driving in paralell bathtubs (don’t ask me how I know 😉  )

It’s at these places that I realize the enormouz skill increase in HotStuff’s riding abilities. I know many who would struggle a lot more here! Very proud and impressed! I no longer worry about, and plan, both my and her riding style, speed, chosen line etc. I’m just enjoying the ride. Life is great 🙂

Day 8, just before 9am we rolled into the parkinglot outside MC Huset, Nydalen.  The mechanic gave a very reassuring 60sec talk through of the job and how they wanted to solve it.


We just relaxed, kicked back and abused the offer of free coffee and wifi.

90 minutes later the bike was ready! Perfect!

Before :




After, 4 cm shorter

The man with the skills! Thanx! :


Thanx to all the people at MC Huset Nydalen. Great work, great service, very accomodating and very friendly.

Before we rolled out we spent a little time talking to other bikers at the lot. Tonje was introduced to the upside of meeting other bikers on the road. All is friendly and easy to talk to 😉

We even got our picture taken by a professional photographer from NRK; Bjørn Anders Sørli. Thanx for the picture and the chat 🙂


The rest of the day was spent riding back to Oslo, again checking into Hotel Marte&Espen for the weekend.

Life is good. Ride on.

Day 4 – Lidkøping – Touratech

So day 2 was largely spent catching and later eating crabs at the cabin, and the rest was spent in the pool. 🙂

Day 3 was a long ride from the cabin to Marthe and Espen in Oslo. Waaay later then planned (sorry to our gracious hosts). We where batteling high winds, long rig road trains, poorly balanced packing on the Tonjes bike (my bad) and and wrongly adjusted rear suspension same bike (again, my bad)..
Tonje was NOT impressed and wanted to sell the bike, and me, at some point. After proper adjustment however all was a little better. I think she’ll keep the bike (and quite possibly me aswell)

Today, day 4, we left my bike snuggly at M&E’s garage and both got on Tonjes bike riding to Lidkøping to get Tonjes bike lowered. (Hope it’ll be a little higher than your standard gocart.. )

Due to great weather yesterday we packed and dressed for the same weather today. Yes its warm now, but we almost froze to death with temperatures around 10 deg C the first hour. But great roads, no traffic and a rising temperature turned it into a great ride! Tonje is happy and yet again purrs.

We also picked up all the little pieces that didn’t make it on the first Touratech shipment. Most importantly my new Companero jacket. Very exited for the road home.

A special thanx to the guys at Touratech Nordic for hooking us up with great prices and service on what is the majority of our equipment 🙂

While waiting for the mechanic to finish (a little later than planned,- therefore we again will arrive a little later than planned at M&E’s…) – we enjoyed Lidkøping the touristy way, and got our first panier-stikkers. Yay!

Seeing the housing prices here I seriously wanna move. Just gotta find a job here. After the world tour,- ofcourse. …



And, because the GPS is mounted on my bike, I chose all the extra and special and wrong little streets gettibg home. But finally here! 🙂

Oil leak.. oh crud

So one of these days I was down in the garage putting on some of the new parts that is intended to make both bikes adventure worthy.

After each part I put on I take each bike for a little spinn around in the garage. Firstly testing that everything is as it should be, but also funn training doing tight corners standing up in tight and low-light conditions.. Work, then play, then work, then play..’

A few days I suddenly noticed a plume of smoke, and the smell of burning oil or wires.

SHIT! What the hell? Did I do that?! 

Then I spendt a lot of testing and looking and crawling over and under the bike looking for the culprit. Was it a wire suddenly melting due to engine heat? Was it something I did putting stuff on the bike? I conferred with a good friend, Trond, my mechaninc-go-to guy. Then, following his advice I removed all the ods and ends that I had just added looking for the source.

I found that it was a gasket leaking from the main motor housing. Bad News because now I needed to get the bike to the only local BMW sertified mechanic in the area. Bike delivered and time passes..


Today I recieved an sms telling me that the bike was ready, and that it would be free of charge due to the factory waranty..



Getting my bike back tomorrow!




MSR Mutha Hubba. The tent, bought and tested..

Those of you who have read some of my research know I have looked at quite a few tents.

Factors where as follows but not in any spesific order..

  • Weight
  • Durability
  • Price
  • Ventilation
  • Space
  • Pack size

After much pondering I ended up choosing the MSR Mutha Hubba, a 3 man, 3 season tent. In adition I also got the MSR Hubba Gear Shed, and extension for storage space. Yes it is a lot of space but it is also a 14 month trip. With many many nights in a tent.Comfort matters. A lot.

Arguably there are other tents out there that will score better on one or many of the key factors I was looking for, but overall the choice where made without any doubt.

I wanted a tent that could be pitched without the rain-fly cover, with only bug protection and a lot of ventilation. Also I am a fairly tall guy at 189 cm and some change, so I needed a tent that allowed me to sit upright properly. Ease of pitching is also important if your doing it 4 or 5 out of every 6 nights. And a good vestibule option for sorting out stuff and/or drying clothes on the road.

MSR Mutha Hubba

So far I’m very happy with the choice. The only thing I am not 100% happy about is that the Gear Shed does not fit the 3 man tent Mutha Hubba as well as I assume it does the Hubba Hubba, the 2 man version. It works, and with some adjustments to the straps I’m confident that there will be no problem. But I always like it to be ready out of the box when the salespitch indicates it will..

Anyway. See below for the test-pitching of my home / office for 14 months on the road. I’m only sad I can’t go right now. Still gotta wait on visas to Russia and Mongolia, and seasons (I wanna get 3 summer seasons, not 3 winters..).

354 days to go..


First curious setup of inner tent and poles.

First curious setup of inner tent and poles.



Yay! Bug net / inner tent setup in 2 chakes :-)

Yay! Bug net / inner tent setup in 2 chakes 🙂


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Fly sheet setup complete. Not bad. Not bad at all :-)

Fly sheet setup complete. Not bad. Not bad at all 🙂

My son, the Labrador Leo. Carefully following my lumbering from the cool shade...

My son, the Labrador Leo. Carefully following my lumbering from the cool shade…


The Gear Shed. Not a Perfect fit, bus some minor alterations and we're golden. Good thing it can easily be added when there is need, but can just as easily stay in the bag.

The Gear Shed. Not a Perfect fit, bus some minor alterations and we’re golden. Good thing it can easily be added when there is need, but can just as easily stay in the bag.




The joy of new winter gloves..


So, the cold and wet season is upon us here in Stavanger.

Mid temperature is about 4-5 deg. C. / 40 deg. F.
It´s only slightly different from late summer. Difference mainly the much shorter days, and just about 10 deg. C colder.

Anyway, I ride my trusty Yamaha every day, and hope to do so all year. Mostly because I just love riding the MC. Secondly because I sold my car late august..

The temperature-drop late in late october meant a need for a glove upgrade. So, as the picture above shows, I ordered and tried the LOBSTER gloves from Rukka.

In a word; fantastic! Warm, waterproof good enough for a record wet Stavanger fall, and the lobster design lets me use throttle and brake-lever without having to put all 4 fingers over the lever. Makes for more control and a more relaxed ride.

Read More…

Helmet Camera

Helmet Camera GoPro

OMG this is a real must!

So this may be …

So this may be a bit juvenile, but instead of figuring out important stuff like VISA-applications and Carnet and other very dry but ultimately crucial stuff, I look for a new helmet that I won´t need for at least a year. Makes sense, right?

So, I´ve fallen in love with this one from Arai, based on the features like big visor opening so that I can use the attached wind shield or a pair of goggles, nice big peak and the fact that its intended for the kind of trip that I´m planning. Also, a bit of coloring makes it stand out and be more visible in traffic compared to my current matt black finished helmet.

Also I just think it rocks!


That being said, I haven´t even tried it an it may not fit my Shrek-sized head..