26 April 2010

Waiting is the hardest part

On a sunny Saturday morning two years eight months ago, I rode home on my new to me 2005 Yamaha FZ1.  Three days later, I purchased new tires.  The next weekend, I did my first mod:  replaced the stock headlights with bright white xenon ones and added a tank pad.  Over the next two years, I learned the difference between riding a motorcycle with two cylinders and one with four cylinders.  I did more mods, mostly cosmetic like adding spinning/flashing tail lights, frame sliders, luggage anchor points, and gel grips.

I bought luggage too.  A new tank bag to match the different tank curves on the FZ vs the VX and a new tail bag because the old one didn't match the lines of the bike either.  I imagined trips, day trips and much longer ones.  I got into the gps thing, first by taking my old pda, a Casio BE300, adding a compact flash gps card and Delorme Street Atlas, and mounting it to the new tank bag.  No more maps for me!!

At no point did I consider I needed any performance related mods.  The stock engine on the FZ1 is plenty powerful for me.  Sure, I considered the R1 Fork conversion solely for the bling effect.  I mean, who can resist inverted front forks?  Apparently not Yamaha as they equipped the next generation of my bike with them.  It probably won't happen, but maybe one day...

I scoured the forums for information about all the mods.  I wanted answers to lots of questions, like If the mod is so great, why didn't it come that way from the factory?  Why to people do them?  What is the benefit to the bike?  Will I even notice it?

In the end I stuck with things I knew I needed, like the sliders and the brighter headlights, and left the performance mods to the guys/girls who'd come from true sport bikes and truly needed them.  It's only been during the last few months that I've discovered the surprise that awaits above 9k on the tachometer.  Who knew these bikes had turbo?!!

Alas, one day it happened.  I was riding innocently along behind Bobby on his FJR when I heard a deep rumble.  It was a bit of an overcast morning and we were taking one of my favorite ways to the mountains, via Suwanee Dam Rd across the Buford Dam and Lake Lanier.  Bobby was pulling away from a red light when I heard it.  Vrooooom, click, Vrooooooooommmmmm!!  What was that?

At the next light, I knew.  Two Brothers!!  He'd gotten new aftermarket exhausts for his FJR and it sounded fabulous.  I hadn't even considered them until that moment.  I'd heard Tony's Leo Vinces on his VFR and even Ted's Two Brothers on his Concourse but they hadn't moved me like this.  I HAD to have them.  That night, I posted on the forum I wanted them.  The search began.  I considered a titanium exhaust before, but only for the coloring.  I liked the blue-ish fade...other than that, I had no reason to want one.  Damn Bobby and his eFn Two Brothers!!

Two Brothers on the FZ1

Of course, I couldn't afford it.  Since that October day, it's all I've been able to think about.  I've been saving my pennies for the day that I could afford them.  Then on a cold day earlier this year, David joined us for the Cheaha ride and I heard his Akrapovic.  Hmmmm, that sounded good too.  Why hadn't I noticed that before?  Probably because the damn thing cost nearly $700 for a slip on!  All right, back to Two Brothers, similar sound at half the price.

So I scoured the Forums again.  I wanted hear the different cans on the bike and see what the collective had to say.  Other than Akrapovic, the other name that got mentioned a lot was Yoshimura.  The consensus was adding a slip on did little for performance.  The reason to do it was for looks and sound.  Good since that was the reason I wanted to do it.

Of course, if you want the right sound, you must mess with the air/fuel mixture.  For me, that means jetting the carbs.  This will stop the popping sound one hears when decelerating, among other things.  It is also good because it will put the engine in harmony with the new slip on.  This whole thing of looking and sounding better was going to be expensive.

Back to the forums I went, was all of this really worth it?  The stock can sounded all right when I rode by myself.  But then Tony or Bobby would go zooming by and suddenly it was no longer sufficient.  Am I succumbing to peer pressure?  Trying to keep up with the Joneses, as it were?  No.  I have never, willingly, followed the crowed.

I didn't want to put too much thought into it.  I wasn't really worried about it so much because when you are saving pennies, it takes a lot longer to reach a goal.  I was sure I wouldn't have to question my motives until the end of the year, at the earliest.  Besides, there were other safety things I wanted to do first like changing the levers for adjustable ones and upgrading the headlights to true HID.  The exhaust could wait.  Of course, I found a Leo Vince, like Tony has, on clearance that was almost in my budget and later a Yoshimura RS3 that was almost in my budget.

Nevermind my weekly ebay search for "FZ1 Exhaust" or "05 FZ1 Exhaust".  Forget Tony putting the pressure on me to get rid of the stock can.  Even when the Chinese exhaust appeared in what was definitely my price range, and didn't look half bad, I resisted.  Mr. Danmoto could keep his knockoffs that are supposedly very very very loud.  I didn't want loud, I wanted that deep sexy growl.  Then a guy on the forum put one on his FZ, suddenly Dan Dan's titanium cans looked all right.

But I wasn't desperate...yet.  There were levers, lights, a new tent, other things I wanted to buy long before I bought the exhaust.  Then on the Twisty Butt, I lost the cf gps card and decided to get a blue tooth replacement.  It led me down a winding road:  Two new blue tooth gps receivers, a more powerful pda (a new to me ipaq hx2190 with WM6.5), crystal case for the pda, new to me Fuji camera (to replace the battery eating p.o.s. GE camera), replacement stylus for the pda, and a pda cable later...I found a Yoshimura TRS stainless slip on exaust.  Yep, he spelled it just like that.  Starting at $100.  So I bid what a Dan Dan exhaust would cost and won it for a lot less! Yay!!

So now I'm waiting, not very patiently, for my new to me exhaust to arrive.  My bike will be transformed in the next few weeks with my first performance mod:

The Yoshimura TRS Stainless/Stainless Slip-On
Yes, I wanted titanium but for that price I didn't want to let it pass by without at least making an attempt to win it.  I never expected to win anyway.  If I grow tired of the stainless, I can get a titanium replacement sleeve and will still have only spent what a new stainless one costs.

I was concerned about jetting to go with my new to me exaust (Yes, I know it's spelled wrong, but that's how HE spelled it).  I scoured the forums again and decided to do the Ravenrider diy jetting (with a little help from va_rider) until I can afford Ivan's S/O kit (if I need it, Ravenrider's diy kit is supposed to be THAT good).  Until I can get together with va_rider, I'll just install the slip on following the directions on Pat's site, and ride stock with new Autolite Spark Plugs, as suggested by Dale Walker of Holeshot Perfomance.

For now I'm just waiting...

4 May 2010 Update:

I got an email on 29 April 2010 with the title "Your package is on it's way..."  I was very excited.  Well, the mail lady has already run today and still no package.  When I got to the USPS site to "track and confirm" I'm still getting the message to "Please check again later."

Now past experience has taught me that the USPS track and confirm is not always up to date.  The last package I got, I was getting the message at the same time as the mail lady was putting the package in the mailbox.  I can only hope that is true for this one too.  I am trying my best not to email the seller to ask just how he sent the package or what day did the USPS tell him it would arrive.  Too much drama in the payment process to pester him, besides it hasn't been a week yet.  That will be Thursday. 

I guess I better go ahead and get my tent for the Wheaton's FJR Camping meet next week and stop by the auto parts store to see if I can get the carb jets locally rather than having to wait for them to come in the mail too.  I'll make another post about tent buying.

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

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