Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bleeding Brakes - Η αφαίμαξη πεδών

I always like to adjust the levers and seats and things on a motorcycle to suit me, just like when I install an IKEA kitchen to suit me, people with vertically challenging  inferiority syndrome (viz about 99% of the population), cannot reach into the wall cupboards to stash the Tesco pasta bowls.

So when I investigated my K75 for rear brake lever adjustment I discovered that the reason the lever was touching the ground was due to a master cylinder gone to toast.  Whilst the new cylinder was fitted easily enough, bleeding the hydraulic circuit and set up proved more of a challenge, notwithstanding the contradictory and somewhat inadequate information provided in the budding motorcycle mechanics staple bed time reading recipe books of Nigella Haynes and Jamie Clymer.

This heep of shite is the old master cylinder viewed from where the reservoir feed came in - I was trying to figure out how much adjustment I could make to the push rod without blocking the fluid feed port.  I made a wrong assertion initially - I thought that the big hole was the feed hole and I could not understand how fluid entered the hydraulic circuit because that big hole seemed to be in the wrong location compared to the piston.  Obviously the technical literature was useless and wrong.

This is the piston that pushes the hydraulic fluid through the hydraulic circuit when the rod is pushed by the movement of the brake pedal - it is pushed from the left to the right against the return spring (required in a disc brake circuit to relieve pressure when the rod is not pushed anymore).  Hydraulic fluid in virtually incompressible and transmits the applied force through pressure to the brake pads (that provide friction and hence braking effect) .  Air is very compressible and if present in the hydraulic circuit renders the system unable to transmit force as all the work is done compressing the air .  That rubber cup seal on the right is quite clever as it disguises the presence of a one way valve formed by a washer and three small holes drilled in the back of the piston.  This allows pressure to be equalised on both sides of the piston on its return stroke

Here are my tomato plants with fruit - these were irradiated briefly with light from my HID headlamp.

According to this my brake cylinder needed to have  a fluid inlet port (to allow fluid to enter the system to compensate for brake pad wear and the phases of the moon) and a compensating port (for compensating?). It does not seem to show that clever three holed one way valve effort that I discovered during my exhaustive strip down analysis. The feed hole inthe old cylinder turned out to be covered in class A crud and is 0.1mm diameter, very hard to see, compared to the mistaken compensating port diameter of 1.5mm.

My other ride is boxer powered by means of  two well proportioned jugs sticking out either side.
The fraudulently named Eezi-bleed -  a pressure bleeding system that did not  purge all the air from my K75's devilish rear brake hydraulic circuit.

The newly acquired vacuum bleeding system in action - bleeding can be fun especially..
..when a little bubble appears from the ABS unit.
Epilogue:  if at first you fail rush out and buy more tools.  Bananas are a natural source of goodness and I'm going on a tour of Southern Greece tomorrow with "boxer power". It turns out that the Engineer who designed the master cylinder adapted the design from a sequencing valve used in the peroxide secondary pump fuel line in the V2 rocket that comes into play during the rocket motor start up sequence.



Further to the kind expressions of care conveyed by my worthy correspondents, I have trawled through the attic and found an  efficacious present given to me by Mrs Nikos during our early courtship.  The only hitch is that this inflatable banana protection sheath (IBS) was scaled for the Japanese market.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I'll be honest here - life - it's a bit boring at times, what with the weather and work and all that stuff.  The nice weather day of the weekend was spent in IKEA wondering that I used to like going there before the riff raff discovered it. The shitty weather (next) day had the effect that time was spent wondering why we had not gone out yesterday on another motorcycle excursion to trial the onbored (sic) video camera recording system. So in this posting you are getting raw pornography - take it or leave it.

 You can never get too much of it

A late breakfast on Sunday

 Harley Davidson

Waffle Crocs (tm)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Four Days

With two weeks of annual leave remaining in September ear marked (at least in part) to explore the fabulous mountains of Arcadia Greece on two wheels, a GS motorcycle deployed in Germany, and a newly acquired bike trailer in Cheshire that should allow rapid blitzkrieg movement to the Southern Balkans, some rapid trip planning had become necessary to move the trailer to Brussels for a handover to Mrs Nikos. And then I noticed that Ted Simon, the father of write two books having ridden a motorcycle around the world slowly twice without a TV support crew and a farting companion,  was to give a talk at the Transport Museum in Coventry. For the avoidance of doubt this is a blog post concerning a four day round road and ferry trip from Cheshire to Brussels in Belgium and any similarity to reality is purely illusory and without foundation. No K75s were harmed during this trip but there was a fair bit of naughty waffle eating. 

Coventry - The statue of the legendary Frank Whittle who in a shack in Leamington Spa developed a crude form of gas turbine jet engine despite the hindrance of the UK Government that forced Frank to publish the idea in Flight magazine that effectively gave BMW practical details.
Jupiter - Ted Simon's Triumph following the inservice development of 40,000 miles - see route map on rear panier.

Not a wax works  - Ted Simon signing previously sold and mostly tatty copies of his books.

£20 worth of fish and chips - but the Norfolk Lines waitress (kelnerka ) was pleasant enough.
Where our VAT goes part 1 - an intriguing and GPS defying inner Brussels tunneled ring road.
Everywhere I trod Euro Cobblers had been there before me.
Where our VAT goes part 2 - the European parliament building in Brussels - part of the gargantuan administration that tells us what curvature is allowed on our pork sausages.
Initially I did not notice the "fries" part of the notice and assumed that this was evidence of the long standing language feud  in mainly Walloon speaking Belgium.
How strange to hear Carmen sung in Walloon with Flemish sub titles.

 A conservatory factory outlet  in the old city??
Dunkirk ferry port floating observation salon, tea room and shopping arcade.
Mrs Nikos advised that Niederbayern is near Austria and therefore my ferry queue fraternisation  with this HOG outing was to be avoided at all costs.
The painters are in but having a tea break.  Arrivaderci Norfolk Lines - Guten Tag or should it be Hej DFDS Seaways.
The traditional Sunday evening English recreational activity of crossing the River Thames.  Bikes go free by the way but these guys should have been in the left hand lanes.
Almost back in Cheshire - it's so nice to meander along England's byways at a constant 49.5 mph.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Lost Lad and Magnetic Sump Plugs

The Nikos family has been associated, one way or another, with the Peak District for many years and it is woeful that we have never ventured more than five miles away from the comfort zone of the Cat and Fiddle.

 The tell tale sign at the Fairholmes car park that is the start of our 71/2 mile walk around the Upper Derwent valley. Actually there is only one dam in this direction.

No excursion in the Peak District would be complete without a vacuously staffed filthy counter  with bikers standing around although we would have to wait four hours for the pleasure of weak tea and stale eccles cakes.

This is the base of the Derwent Dam and not somewhere in the Ruhr.

Not an Avro Lancaster in sight.

View from Derwent Edge to the Ladybower reservoir.

The going is mostly easy up here on Derwent Edge as we pass Lost Lad peak.

The outcropping grit stone has been weathered into some weird and wonderful shapes - here are some weird and wonderful rock climbers playing with their equipment.

Looking in.

Looking out at....

K75 interlude - apologies for this but I have not mastered the blogger text editor.

A magnetic sump plug doing its job.
Now its clean.
Male sheep
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