Tag Archives: Surf

New Ducati Scrambler? Maybe a new SurfMoto machine?

9 Jun
Ducati Scrambler 2015

A secret shot of the secret new Ducati Scrambler.

Very much looking forward to checking out this new Ducati Scrambler. It seems like they’re going back to what the Monster started out as – the simplest interpretation of a motorcycle, Ducati style. I’m hoping this will be a good one to modify into a proper surfmoto machine. But even if it’s not, it looks to be a whole lotta fun!

Parking, Getting On and Getting Off

2 Jun

From this angle you can probably figure out the challenges of parking, mounting and dismounting.

You may recall that I shortened the kickstand about 1/2″ as the DR650 not only stands too straight up, but it has a soft suspension, so when weighted with the suspension compressed it stands even more straight. Shortening the kickstand increased the lean to the left, keeping the bike from teetering and making mounting and dismounting easier.

Easier may not be the right word. Possible is more like it.

In this shot you can start to see a few of the challenges – the narrow sitting space (not as big of a problem as it seems here), the rear luggage preventing me from mounting the bike by swinging a leg over the rear, and the surfboard further limiting mounting space. What you can’t see is that with the weight of the baggage, the bike is near teetering, so I always had to find parking that sloped slightly downhill to the left, to add lean.

Parked on the right ground, mounting and dismounting can begin. See that duct tape on the seat? That’s not a repair. It’s there to prevent scratching or tearing. To mount, I needed to lift my (heavily booted) right leg onto the seat, then slide it down into the space between the surfboard and the bike, aiming to plant my foot on the ground. I needed to do this in one smooth motion, because as I slipped onto the bike the bike would move more upright, the suspension would compress more, and momentum would push the lean to the right side, so my foot had to get planted quickly. So it was a 2-step deal: Lift right boot onto seat, then slip over and plant right foot solidly on the ground.

(One time I found myself without a landing place for my right foot. I was at the Oasis Motel in Loreto and had parked on the walkway in front of my room, which was narrow and raised, so there was a drop-off where my right foot was to land. Narrowly saved! Had I failed, everything would have toppled onto my surfboard and rack, and that’s for another post.)

Dismounting was just as strange, perhaps stranger. First, stand on pegs, weighting on the left. Second, lift right boot up and onto the seat, so I was now standing with one foot on the left peg and the other on the seat. Third, pull right boot up off the seat and onto the ground. Remove left foot. Why not one smooth motion? The distance between the pegs and the seat combined with the bulk of a solid off-road boot (Moose Racing M1 boot – great value for an excellent, heavy-duty boot) made it near impossible to complete that move in one step without dragging the boot across the seat, risking tears from the boot sole. Also, this was a good test of the stability of the parking spot.

Sounds like a lot of work, and it was at first, but you get the hang of it. The toughest part was the first time I did it, which was when I pulled the fully-loaded bike out of my garage into the alley and fired her up for the trip. No practice run, so I wasn’t even sure if I could get on and off the bike! I was already sweating as I pulled away. The adventure started right then and there.

Surf Racks Mounted

6 Mar

Mounting the Carver surf rack to the Manracks tail rack was almost straightforward. As you can see in this pic, one bolt looks different from the other. The Carver rack mounting bolts are LONG, and would drill into the fender, so I replaced the left side bolt with a shorter one, about 3″. Not seen here is that I put a third bolt in the center. That one is even shorter. It’s a solid mount.

You can see that the Carver surf racks clear the DBz luggage racks nicely. That was a relief.

Carver Surf Racks

6 Mar

OK, down to the good stuff: Surf racks on a motorcycle. I checked Deus Ex Machina rack, but you can’t buy it without buying the motorcycle attached to it, and at this point they’re only doing street bikes. I also checked out the Surfer Peg rack, but again, it’s street oriented, and needs to attach to the frame. That’s not inherently bad, but it would require fabrication that I’m not quite interested in. Primarily, though, it’s the street focus that steered me away. I settled on the Carver Racks, even though they’re not for motorcycles – bicycles and scooters, but not motorcycles. What I liked, though, is that it could be bolted to the rear rack.

When putting the racks together I encountered a small problem: The rubber tubes were too long, so the pieces wouldn’t fit together without a bit of cutting. I called the guys at Carver in Hawaii. They were a bit surprised, but were good with the mod.

The Surfer’s Guide to Baja – New Edition

2 Mar

The new, 4th edition of The Surfer’s Guide to Baja is finally back in print. It’s been out of print for nearly a year while the update for the 4th edition has been under way. Available at core surf shops everywhere, or it can be ordered direct from Amazon, Createspace and other online vendors.

UPDATE: The Kindle version now available too…here.

Big Day – Rack Arrived

23 Feb

Tail rack from Manracks. The foundation for attaching the surfboard racks, as well as a place for luggage, probably the largest bag (the DBz Flat Top Duffle).

Big day, because the tail rack is the key component needed to getting this SurfMoto thing going. The surf racks bolt to it, and once the surf racks are on I need to make sure the DBz side luggage racks fit along with the new pipe. All good stuff; it’ll work out. This is the ManRacks rack. It weights 1.5#, so with the savings from the DG pipe With everything installed I’m currently at a net weight savings of 6#. BUT, I haven’t installed the surf rack, and that weighs 7#, so that puts it at a 1# gain…until the hand guards and luggage arrives. I can remove the foot pegs, for maybe a pound or so, but there’s not many more places to cut weight. Except from my own body.

Baja’s Seven Sisters have an LA Cousin

17 Feb

Travel the world looking for surf, but every so often, the good stuff is local. Here Venice does its best imitation of Baja’s legendary Seven Sisters, with a good NW swell combined with strong off shores.

Feeling the Shift

14 Jan

I’m feeling the shift from what seems like an interesting idea to taking action.

Today I stopped by LA Cyclesports to price a Suzuki DR650SE. Nine years ago I bought a GSXR750 there, which got me back into motorcycles after a bit of a layoff. It’s fitting that I went there to look at my first off-road bike since I was a kid. After much research I’m pretty sure this is the one, the DR650, the one to take me to the hardest-to-reach surf spots in Baja, and get me down the highway. But first I need to catch you up.

I’ve gone beyond fantasizing to planning and declaring to all my moto-surf trip to Baja and maybe beyond. The idea is simple. Strap a surfboard to a dirt bike and head off. Right.

Which bike? I eliminated the BMW, KTM and other adventure-tourers as too heavy for the really rough stuff and deep sand, and too complicated (having too many parts). My buddies Will and Q have been riding the BMW 1200 Adventure bikes. They ride for fun and train in the woods of New Jersey. I went with them on a Rawhyde weekend training camp for BMW 1200’s, but I rented the 650, which is more of a traditional motocross-style endure bike. A bike that weighs nearly 600 pounds just isn’t my thing. Besides, they’re 6′-plus guys and I’m a scrawny 5’9″. They went on to do another Rawhyde ride, this time in South America where they followed the Dakar race – a grueling ride. I was one part jealous and one part happy not to be dealing with those monstrous bikes. As it turns out, it was a memorable adventure, but the Rawhyde crew mismanaged the thing badly, so they won’t be back. But I’m still jealous and really wish I had gone.

Anyhow, I want a light, simple bike as I’ll be on my own and will need to do everything myself, from picking it up out of a ditch to repairing it after. No water-cooled, multi-cylinder, feature-laden, see-the-world touring rig. No special electronics for everything from heating my butt to adjusting the ride height. Just a plain, simple, big thumper (that’s a single-cylinder bike, typically over 500cc’s), with lots of clearance for the rough stuff.

BA Belton’s “The Alexander Project” trip (http://the-alexander-project.blogspot.com) from Canada to Panama showed how to do it on the Kawasaki KLR 650, a well-respected bike for it’s workhorse-like reliability. A good story and background for my trip. Less surf and more highway than I would like, but it narrowed the search to the so-called “dual sports” – or what we used to call enduro bikes. That narrowed it to the KLR (out), the Honda XR650L (well respected in Baja) and the Suzuki DR650SE. The XR has a 37″ seat height and is great for off-road. But it’s not as good on the highway, and the tall seat makes for difficult slow-going, i.e., can’t put my feet down easily – it’s unstable at slow speeds. The DR has a 34.8″ seat height, is faster on the highway, but the suspension is a bit soft, so it’s not as good for fast off-road travel. And the DR runs about a grand or more less. (That thousand dollars will go a long way toward stiffening the suspension.)

I decided on the DR, with a list of modifications I’ll need to get to. But for today, I found the dealer I will buy from if I buy new. And I can get it out the door for the MSRP, meaning no tax, freight or dealer prep. Awesome. That’s the bike pictured. But I think I’ll look for a slightly used one.