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The new year began with finishing a full service that had begun over the holiday break. In addition my Weld 86 baseplate showed up. I bought one that was unpainted figuring I’d ding it up and might as well be the guy who painted it in the first place.

Weld 86 Bashplate

I ordered some graphics. Stickers for the side cases and my helmet.

Of course some stickers were just for fun.

I’d noticed corrosion on the spokes so while I had the wheels off one weekend to change tires, chain and tires were the order of the day in 2014. I ended up changing from 17/42 to 16/45 and not noticing any change in fuel economy, but finding the throttle nicer at slow speeds in technical terrain.

A little work with Scotchbrite and some polish got the spokes looking much better.

In January I rode out to El Mirage dry lake for some dirt practice. I still had the tall windscreen as the OEM screen I ordered was yet to show up. This short day ride confirmed I didn’t like that tall screen at all.

I had been experimenting with phone mounts in order to use the phone with a navigation app. This would eliminate one electronic device and cord. I like multitasking devices. But, of course the hazard is I could destroy or lose the phone. With that in mind I went through several mounts and cases. The first of these was a Wahoo case and Quadlock style mount that positioned the phone between the bar clamps at the center of the bars.

This mount worked well and the case is very sturdy, but I had issues with the touch screen and sometimes seeing through the screen in bright daylight. I later changed phones, that was slightly different size and configuration so this case no longer worked.

Around the end of May I made a trip to Death Valley, it was hot at times but worse than that the wind from a storm was so strong that riding from Furnace Creek up to the Ubehebe Crater used enough fuel we were not certain we could make it out to near Homestake dry camp let alone down Lippincott to fuel. We headed north on the valley road out the north end and back to 395 where we got to fuel about twenty five miles after my bike’s reserve light came on.

I did a full valve check prior to this ride, setting all the valve clearance back to within limits.

To get down to where the valves live, this stack of stuff has to be removed.

I had plenty of work at the office over the summer so there was almost not riding outside of commuting.

By October the weather was cooler and I had some weekend time, so more riding was done. I got a few rides in with fellow riders from Advrider.com, one being into Big Bear from the back side. I had ridden some of this a couple of times with the old BMW 1150 GS Adventure. The stock mirrors were changed to Double take after I broke the right side mirror in my garage, when I slipped on the floor pushing the bike around and it leaned away from me into the shelving, the mirror just missing the soft sleeping bag storage bag and hitting a very sturdy wooden apple box made of oak. Nothing quite like having a motorcycle leaning on a shelf unit away from you, with the floor covered in freshly shattered mirror and barefoot. Always an adventure.

Photo Credit: Joel, Advrider.com

By October I had installed an OEM screen, sold the tall screen, replaced the mirrors with Double Take and replaced the black crashers with orange. There was a ride and weekend camping trip with another group from Advrider.com. In November I changed tires to Pirelli Scorpions having worn through more than 7,000 miles on the TKC80 on the front and Dunlop 908RR on the rear.

Advrider Camping weekend in Big Bear 2014, Ride

At the end of December I checked the valves again, changing one shim and changing oil and filters. I also changed the sparkplugs. And that ended the first full year of ownership and riding at 21,241 miles.

In 2014 I began refining my motorcycle packing for travel. These weekend campout rides were leading me to plan longer rides that would require more clothes and maybe more layers to cope with more varied weather. I added a Kriega 20 liter dry bag tail bag to my gear inventory. A bicycling bungee net stretched across it made a handy way to stow my camp hat and mid-layer.

My tent takes up almost 3/4’s of the space in the left 38 liter Zega pro bag, which leaves the upper area for spare gloves and rain gear. The right side case finds my sleeping bag, sleeping pad, silk bag liner, inflatable pillow and a heavier mid-layer jacket. When traveling for longer than a weekend or needing to hike I stow my hiking boots in that bag as well. The Kriega bag holds my spare tubes, all the tire repair tools and air pump, my kitchen, first aid kit and clothing for a weekend ride.

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