Brew ha-ha!

I’ve written before about the good and bad points of the Aprilia (Rimowa) panniers, but one of the niggles I never mentioned was the carry handle on the lid. I never use it and the damn thing gets in the way.

So after a happy couple of hours cutting, sanding and drilling … they’ve been replaced by a nice piece of checker plate. A vast expanse of flat surface on which to make a brew and sort out my sarnies and nibbles. Smashing stuff!

Now I’m looking for a set of ‘pannier-top’ bags to finish off the job … bags to put the afore mentioned sarnies and tea brewing paraphernalia into. No more unstrapping panniers to delve inside for munchy stuff, it’ll all be on hand at the ‘zzzz‘ of a zip ….

Just call me ‘Hornblower’!

As an Bike Instructor I’m almost daily pointing out what the Highway Code has to say about the horn:- It’s ‘there to alert others of your presence’. In other words, use it if necessary to avoid a developing hazard becoming a major incident.

When something affects your safety, real or perceived … give a quick double tap of the horn! One long blast just puts peoples backs up, it’s aggressive, a double tap of the button can be an ‘Oi I’m here!’ as much as a ‘Hello, haven’t seen you in a while’ …. it’s ambiguous and inoffensive, but gets attention none the less. It’s a tool – use it if it’s going to help!!!

This is all well and good, if you happen to have a decent horn that is……

So the other afternoon,  there I am, cheerfully taking avoiding action with my thumb jammed on the horn button as my right knee is tickling the driver’s door handle of a VW Golf that not only didn’t stop for a Stop sign …. but jumped the junction at a paint-peeling pace to boot. Not only did she not look, she’s still sublimely oblivious to the impending 350Kg  of lap-Capo heading her way!

In amongst the swerving, braking and tutting …. I realised that the tooting element  wasn’t doing much in the way of attracting attention. Sad to say the toot was more like an ants asthmatic wheeze. My fault really, I said it back in 08 and I’ll say it again, the damn horn that Aprilia fitted has to go!

Back in the relative calm of the barn, I reflect on the moments entertainment and vow by Beelzebub’s butt, I’m not having that happen again in a hurry. I want the horn replaced, improved – something more blessed with decibels. Not quite a wall breaker, more a bowel shaker! There is it turns out, but one horn that fits the bill ….. the fearsome Stebel Nautilus.

So a ‘Nautilus Compact tuning’ in black is ordered from Fleabay and I set about making mounting brackets to fit it where the ABS unit would go if I had ABS, which I don’t. It fits nice and snug in the space below the relays and coils, behind the rear suspension unit and seems to be pretty well shielded from road crap. The existing Grey horn wire behind the headlight, is tapped into, shielded and run back to the new relay. Yes, the horn needs a relay to operate as it draws 18A … that’s a toasty 216w … or 10 sets of heated grips worth of electricity to you sir! And yes, before you ask – it’s protected with a waterproof 20A fuse. So now the existing horn and the new one work in parallel … if one fails, I have a backup!

Of course I’m biased, I think it’s better … but the real test ladies and gentlemen, the definitive before and after toot-test, is for you to decide.  Place your ear close to the speaker … closer than that, close your eyes and concentrate. Can you, discerning listener, tell the difference?

[audio:http://caponord.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Stebel-Nautilus-Compact.mp3|titles=Std Horn V Stebel Nautilus Compact]

Reasons to be cheerful ….. pt3

A tickle round the mountain, five logged files and two and a half hours of logging later …. it’s no longer a work in progress, it’s a runner!

It may only be a couple of weeks ago that this little project kicked off, but for the life of me, I can’t quite remember why I started, or in fact where I really thought it would lead. So I guess this is most definitely a natural end to this part in the development cycle. It starts, stops, logs and displays more than I originally intended. I guess there’s nothing more to do except get logging!

As for the other stuff on my wish list ….. well the aquisition of external info such as speed (measured not GPS), brake line pressure and gear position may well be handled by this little device. 8 x 5v analogue inputs should be fine … all looks fairly straight forward in the instruction book anyway. We’ll see!

So what have I learned from the data so far? Firstly, the air intake temperature is a fairly consistent 15ºC above the ambient air temp at all times – higher when the bike’s in stop-start traffic ….. all very power-sapping. Secondly … truthfully there isn’t a secondly just yet, but what I’m interested in looking at on the next couple of runs, is the barometric (air pressure) data. It’s measured in the airbox and with the restrictive ‘snorkel’ in place I’m expecting to see a drop in pressure at high RPM/throttle opening …. but will the data bear this out? And how much will it fluctuate by?