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Four Ways to Improve Your Motorcycle’s Horsepower. By: Amanda “Rosie” Lotter

 

    If you have been thinking about adding some horsepower to your bike there are many different routes you can take. Here are four of your best options.

  1. Exhaust/ Air Intake. After-market exhaust will reduce back pressure. This makes it easier for the engine to receive oxygen, which leads to more power at the wheels and even improves fuel economy.
  2. Cams. Cams increase the cylinder pressure as the engine’s RPM’s rise. This is done by the scavenging effect from the valve timing and overlap in the cam, which raises the cylinder pressure and increases horsepower with RPM.
  3. Increase Motors Cubic Inches. There are only two ways to increasean engine’s cubic inches. You can bore it (engine boring increases the cylinder diameters) or you can stroke it (engine stroking increases the crankshaft stroke).
  4. Dyno Tune. A proper tune will help ensure maximum performance, durability and reliability. We can also tell from the graph if your motorcycleis running properly, wasting fuel, or is not up to its full potential.

   We understand that every rider wants complete performance from their motorcycle.  We also know that it is a top priority to ensure that any changes you make suit your bike and won’t harm anything along the way. Keep Chariots of Fire Customs, LLC in mind when it comes time for these upgrades. Custom is in our name, quality is in our product and service is our reputation. Happy and safe riding!

Readying Your Bike for Winter. By: Amanda “Rosie” Lotter

   

   Nobody wants to believe it but, winter is almost here and for those of us that live in the Midwest, this means storage. Here are a few tips that will help ensure you’re bike will be on the road and not a lift when spring comes.

 Lube ‘em up! Any and all parts that are prone to rust and corrosion should be kept lubricated and protected.  This includes your chain, bolts, cables and switches.

 It’s time for one more oil change. Used oil has contaminants that will stick and gunk up. If your bike won’t be moving at all, you’ll need to start it once in a while to get the engine lubricated again. Just make sure you don’t keep it running for too long and contaminate that oil again.

 Fill ‘er up! Top off your gas tank. Condensation tends to form in an empty tank. Stabilizer is also recommended. Helix 5in1 will stabilize your fuel for two years.

 Don’t let it die. Putting your bikes battery on a tender with a trickle charge will keep it from draining. Every time your battery dies, it loses some of its lifespan. A tender is recommended because it automatically switches to float which maintains the charge without overdoing it.

 Keep ‘em round. Tires that sit it one spot for a longer period of time tend to obtain flat spots. Easiest way to avoid this is to put your bike up on stands or a lift. For those of you that don’t have stands or want to spend the money on a lift, here are a few things you can do to save those tires. 1. Move your bike around a couple times a month to keep the tires from resting on the same spots. 2. Add about 5PSI to each tire. They naturally lose air over time. 3. Parking on plywood will help your tires from obtaining moisture.

 

Stranded. by: Donna Childers

           

                 I began riding my own bike way back in 2000 or so. I’ve taken many day trips and vacations on the motorcycle along with my husband and good friends. Over the years we have experienced many break downs within our small groups. This year as I ventured out on my own, I had the good misfortune to break down. Not just once but, twice. Both times temperatures reached into the 90’s.

                I have been confident for many years, to take off alone on the bike, enjoying the wind, the road and local events. Recently, I was at an event waiting for the “Ride to the Wall Riders” to show up at a local V.F.W. Hall. It’s quite an eventful sight to see. So many bikes show up to honor our veterans. As I got ready to leave, my bike would not start. A dead battery. As confident as I am in my riding skills, I am not so confident in asking for help. Good thing I was with friends that knew exactly what I needed to do. Look for a motorcycle support vehicle. Soon enough, we found someone with a battery charger in his truck. That’s just what I needed to get my bike started!  I tried to offer him some money for his time and trouble but he politely refused. Before I knew it, I was headed home. Parked my bike in the garage and told my husband about the bike issue. I was sure he would know how to fix it.

                About a month later, it was time for a girls ride. Another hot day was in the forecast so we decided to head to the lake. Go for a swim, have lunch and ride home. What a nice afternoon we had sitting in the water, the shade, and drinking ice tea. We soon packed up our bikes and got ready for the ride home.  Yet once again, my bike will not start. UGH! It’s hot, my husband isn’t reachable and now I have to deal with this, again. We asked some locals if they could help and give my bike a jump. That didn’t work. I soon called a friend with a truck and trailer that was willing to come get me and the bike. The ladies I was with were nice enough to stay with me until my ride got there.

                We soon got the bike home and found out what it was that kept leaving me stranded.  The charging system went bad, which my husband was able to fix.

                I learned a couple of things through these mishaps.
1. It is very difficult for me to ask for help outside my family.
2. Bikers stick together.

I am very grateful for all who have helped get me back on the road and the ladies who stuck with me. Just when I think I’m independent, I have to learn to depend on others.

                Today as I got into my car, it would not start. Positive thinking, I was home and knew exactly what I needed to do. Whip out the credit card and call a tow truck to take the car to the dealership. Ride the bike to work.

                                                                                   Life is good.

 

Troy First Baptist Biker Babe Ride. by: Reine Knobbe

 

  If you want a feel good story, keep reading!  Eight years ago Tim Swofford was the Chairman of Deacons at Troy First Baptist Church.  One of his duties was to work with the widows in their church community.  One Saturday Tim used his motorcycle to help tell a story relating back to the church.  At the end of this meeting Tim jokingly asked if anyone wanted a ride.  As Tim stated, the joke was on him as Gladys, who happened to be 85 years-young at the time, raised her hand.  So Tim gave her a ride that evening.  It was her first time on the bike and Gladys had so much fun she asked for another ride the following week.  This time she showed up with her friend Mary.  Tim took each of them around the block.  Well as often happens in life, Tim left this area for a few years.  And that is how this story begins. . .

 

  When Tim moved back, the girls asked him for another ride.  Tim of course complied as both ladies were now 92 years-young.  This time they showed up with even more friends.  Tim was somewhat prepared and had enough other drivers to take all of them for a longer ride in the fall of 2016.  They all had so much fun they requested yet another ride.  This time Tim called in reinforcements and CMA Broken Chains Chapter stepped up to the plate to help organize a bigger better ride along with other volunteers.  This time 19 widows showed up!

 

  Jan and I were invited to participate in the “Widows Ride” as they needed more drivers than the year before.  What a blessing to be asked to participate!  The day started with a briefing for the widows who range in age from 60 to 93 years-young.  Most have never ridden a motorcycle before, others only a few times and still others not since their husbands have passed.  Helmets were fitted and advice was given on what to expect.  At the same time the drivers were briefed on the route.  After prayers everyone headed out to pair up with their respective partners for the day.  It takes time getting up into the saddle when you’ve got artificial knees or hips or just stiff arthritis!  The guys were so patient helping the women.  It was wonderful to witness everyone working together, laughing and having fun, just loading up! 

 

  Several of us took off just ahead of the group to capture them as they road by several areas along the route as well as at both rest stops.  The girls were all laughing at all the hoop la stating that they felt like they were being followed by the paparazzi!  The first rest stop was at a pavilion in the town of Silex where water and a stretch break were provided.  I asked one young lady if she would like her helmet taken off since we were there for more than a few minutes.  She stated “No, thank you.  It is too much trouble to put it back on.”  The second stop was at a gas station in Elsberry where one of the drivers observed a group of the women coming out with candy bars laughing and giggling like school girls.

 

  The final stop was at Anchors Restaurant in Winfield MO.  I took the opportunity to ask the men and women about the best part of the day.  Here are just a few quotes:  “WOW, just WOW!”; “The Lord blessed us with wonderful people and weather.”; “I LOVED it!”; “This is only my second time on a motorcycle.  First time was just around the block.  This is really what you call living!”; “Open road.”; “Great driver”; “We got lost and had to turn around!” (there’s one in every group LOL!); “Seeing the joy on faces of those that have never ridden before.”; “Something I can scratch off my bucket list!”.  

In The Know. By: Reine Knobbe

      I love an educated consumer. Those that are in the know are more likely to keep their machine
running in optimal condition. An educated motorcycle rider knows how important maintenance
is: they know their service intervals; when to replace tires; change fork oil; when the clutch
needs adjusting. They know when something is loose that shouldn’t be! An educated rider
knows to listen and to hear subtle differences in the sound of the motorcycle: wheel bearings,
engine, transmission, primary, front forks.

     Under normal riding conditions most riders listen for the hum of the engine; the clatter of rockers
and lifters; the whine of the primary; the clunk of the transmission when shifting. These are all
normal sounds that you hear, but an experienced ear will be able to tell the difference from what
is normal versus abnormal. By tuning in to the “abnormal” they will be able to accurately tell
our technicians what is going on which greatly helps in diagnosing and inevitability cuts down
on cost to the consumer.

    Even if you do not feel that you are as experienced as others, still listen for the sounds coming
from your bike as well as the feel. Educate yourself! Even subtle difference that you can tell
will help our technicians. Many of these noises come over a period of time, so the daily rider
may not notices these small changes. That is why it is so important to have an experienced
technician ride your motorcycle during interval services. They may catch something going bad
that you might have missed. That is one of several reasons why we test ride every bike that gets
serviced at Chariots of Fire Customs LLC.

Hot Weather Riding Tips by: Reine Knobbe

Happy Fourth of July!  We’ve enjoyed some really nice weather this June, however it is Missouri and I believe the hot muggy weather is once more upon us.  It has been a few years since I last wrote out tips for hot weather riding, but as the matriarch of Chariots of Fire Customs LLC I believe it is my duty to keep you all riding safe.  Drink lots of water and wear loose fitting, light colored clothing.  Please do NOT wear sandals or flip flops.  Even though boots are hot, they will protect your feet in case you go down.  Long pants will also provide a bit of protection and 100% cotton under your leather or jacket helps prevent sweat from wicking off your skin.  Make sure you wear sun tan lotion.  I also recommend stopping for ice cream.

Jan recommends the following for your beloved motorcycle:  Check Your Tires:  Low tires create heat.  Heat expands tires to possible blow out stages.  Low tires and the heat of the road is a poor combination!  Proper air pressure allows tires to run at a cooler temperature decreasing your chances of a blow out.  Check all Your Fluids:  Proper fluid levels on air cooled and water cooled engines allow your engine to run at operating conditions.  Lack there of causes engine or other drive train components to over-heat causing premature wear.  Don’t Overfill Your Tank:   When stopping to fill up your tank, leave the fuel level slightly lower in the tank allowing expansion of fuel.  If you fill it to the top, it may expand and overflow onto your tank.  Especially if you are filling up and then going in for a refreshing drink (or that ice cream I recommended) and not running the gas down immediately (it will spill over!).

Enjoy your summer, where ever it may take you!  This picture is just out side the Corn Palace.

Why is it Important?

When it comes to routine maintenance, most people don’t think about fuel injectors and fork oil.  Dirty or clogged fuel injectors and fuel filters can greatly degrade your motorcycle’s performance and economy.  A plugged fuel filter can lower your fuel pressure leading to poor performance and possible engine damage.  Plugged injectors can do the same.  When it comes to the fork oil, it is just as important to change.  Why?  Think about this:  forks move at a very high rate, sometimes up to 2 meters per second as the fork springs compress and relax.  That movement can work dirt and metal debris into the fork oil.  Heat, shearing and contamination can take place with all that movement over the course of the bike’s life.

The damping characteristics of old fork oil are very interesting in cooler weather. At first it will resemble cold Maple syrup, not easily stirred. Fork action will be minimal, abrupt and quite harsh. After a few miles the fork oil will begin to warm and change its flow characteristics, providing a little more suppleness to fork travel. That will improve considerably the longer you ride, but only to a point. If you ride for longer periods of time and/or for more miles on your average bumpy roads the fork oil will get thinner and thinner, and then you have little damping to go with your springing.

So, you can see why it is important to change ALL fluids in your motorcycle.  We just happen to have 15% off fork oil changes and fuel injector cleaning this month.  Stop by or call for your appointment today 636-775-1385.

 

Love that Rumble!

There are many sounds that motorcycles make.  These sounds can come from the exhaust, stereo, other additions such as a deer whistler or Gremlin bell.  The two main sound you listen for are the rumble of the exhaust or your stereo over powering road noise.

The exhaust enthusiasts listen for that rumble.  When you put an exhaust system on your bike there are a few things to consider before replacing/upgrading.  Does the bike have an open air cleaner already installed?  Does the bike have a fuel programmer?  Will the exhaust restrict you from checking your transmission fluid or oil? 

Why is it important to have an open air cleaner?  When you change the exhaust and/or air cleaner you are allowing the engine to breathe more air in turn making the engine run lean.  If you run the engine lean it will run hotter.  Running hotter the engine will start making a knocking sound from the spark not igniting the proper fuel amount.  This may potentially melt a head or the piston top.  All motorcycles come from the factory programmed on the lean side in order to meet EPA standards.

The question that seems to come up most is can you remove the baffles?  There are a few reasons we do not prefer to remove the baffles.  First of all, according to the department of transportation, you are required to have baffles.  Secondly, when you remove your baffles, you cause the bike to run lean.  Thirdly you lose performance with the baffles removed.  All name brand exhaust have been engineered to be used wht the baffles in them.  When you remove the baffles you lose all back pressure and in turn you lose torque and horse power.

The other sound so many love is music.  Individuals looking to upgrade their sound system may be looking for clarity, base or just plain loud music.  The things you need to consider when adding a new stereo system are where and how many speakers you would like.  Are you just wanting the stock system to sound better or do you want to add a shit load of speakers?  If you are adding speakers, consider the brand of speakers, what kind of amplifiers are necessary and what amount of power the system will hold.  Also, what style of sound are you wanting?  Is it clear or is it heavy base or loud?  All are achievable the the proper equipment.

As you see, there are several ways to make your bike RUMBLE.  Make sure you educate yourself before making that final decision whether it is exhaust or a stereo system.  Stop by the shop and our knowledgeable staff will guide you to making the best decision for your specific needs.

Til next time, Sparky

Riding Season is in Full Swing. Where are you riding to? by Reine Knobbe

 

 

 

 

 

All this rain will wash the roads clear of the winter slop.  The red bud trees are blooming and dogwoods are right behind.  Love it!  We are making several weekend plans for the riding season including the May Fun Run for Sunday, May 7th.  How do you decide on where to go?  Past enjoyable rides, talking to other motorcycle enthusiasts about their favorite ride, magazines like Thunder Roads? 

I hope that our website calendar is being utilized to the fullest.  Leah does a great job updating it so be sure to send us all of your events.  You can also make it sync with your Google calendar if you want.  It is great for local events, but what about when you are traveling out of state?  Leah found a great new app we are going to try out this year.  It is called Where2Ride.  I went ahead and copied their opening paragraph.  I don’t think they will mind if I share it:

“Where2Ride is a free mobile app & website that provides riders with an interactive map of literally thousands of motorcycle events; destination rides, rallies, races, bike shows and exhibitions, family fun runs, poker runs, rider education and much more.  Where2Ride users can search for events, add events, chat, upload photos, get email notifications, send event notices to their friends and even add events automatically to their Google or Outlook calendar.  Where2Ride is a product of Where2 Interactive.  Contact them at info@Where2Ride.com for more information.”  www.Where2Ride.com

I just got this app this week so I don’t know a whole lot about it yet, but it looks like a really good way to find both events AND great rides.  I like the fact that it has “how to” videos for people like me that aren’t always so patient on trying to find their way around a new website/app.  You can even post your own favorite route.  Leah has Chariots of Fire Customs LLC events posted already.  I personally like to try new adventures so I am always looking for new roads to travel.  It is nice to have somewhat of a plan so we don’t end up on a long gravel road.  This app allows you to type in the state you are in and up pops up all the local rides and events.  Pretty cool!

I am going to challenge all of you to share pictures of yourself wearing our t-shirts or hats on all your rides this riding season.  Who knows, I might even come up with a prize for the best picture!  I think I need to make this a thing. . . .

 

Keep the shiny side up!   Reine

Biker Resolutions by Leah

    It seems each New Year we make personal resolutions along the lines of healthier eating, more exercising or more family involvement. For bikers, the start of riding season is when bike resolutions are made. Some of those resolutions include getting that upgrade, changing up the look of your ride with new lighting or changing the sound.  Also consider replacing that older gear – helmets, sunglasses and rain gear. And what about taking those trips to places unseen or just becoming more involved in the events of the biker community?

     While you’re thinking about all of that, shake the dust off your bike and do your TCLOCK checklist: Tires and wheels, Control levers, Lights and battery, Oil levels, Chassis, and Kickstand. Many of our vendors have sales going for many of their parts and we’re offering 20% off tires and 10% off lighting this month! Jan and Sparky would be happy to talk to you about getting your ride ready for the riding season.

     As for your gear, new riding season = new selections!  While Jan and Sparky were in Indy last month, they found a new line of apparel through Drag Specialties – Lethal Threat Designs – that we’re looking into for this season. Of course our other vendors have new styles available as well as favorites that never go out of style. Reine and I are excited to show you all the new stuff we’ll be getting in as well as helping you replace some of that old gear.

     Our events calendar is quickly filling up,  giving you the opportunity see some old friends and meeting  new ones! There are always lots of local events to attend between the longer trips to Sturgis, Lil’ Sturgis, Tail of the Dragon or the Arkansas Pigtail.  This month on the 25th, is our Customer Appreciation Day. We’ll have our Bike Blessing in May, Chariots of Fire Customs, LLC Annual Bike show in June, and Lincoln County Bike Night will be the 2nd Saturday of each month from April through September. Here, you can meet other riders and reconnect with riding friends, while listening to great bands, eating good food and seeing some awesome bikes. 

     So as you answer the call of your bike demanding more attention and resolve to become more involved in the events of the biker community, all of us here at Chariots of Fire Customs, LLC  look forward to helping you keep those resolutions and having a great 2017 riding season.