Archive | Featured Article

Summer Road Hazards by: Reine Knobbe

Image result for motorcycle construction zones pictures 

So I’m going to state the obvious.  We all run into road hazards practically every time we get into our vehicles whether it is in our car, truck or on our motorcycle.  When we only have two wheels under us these hazards tend to be worse.  During the summer it seems that there are more hazards out there:  work zones – which can have edge breaks, narrow lanes, cones, no shoulders; distracted drivers – which can include phones, texting, minds on vacation; folks tired and/or dehydrated from a weekend of fun down at the lake or river; and of course animals – deer, dogs, skunks, and armadillos have made it up this far north!

So what’s a person supposed to do?  Stay home where it is safe.  Hell no!  I’m all about enjoying life.  Let’s just go out there prepared.  Make sure your machine is in top running condition with good tires and a tank full of gas.  Make sure your tank is full also with a good breakfast and plenty of water.  Be alert and drive defensively (be aware of your surroundings, have an escape route, cut out your own distractions).  Think safety first so when entering those work zones pay attention to the decrease in speed and other warning signs.  When riding at dawn and dusk make sure you are alert and scan ahead for any movement on the shoulder that could be a deer or other animal.  Being prepared helps keep the life you enjoy remain a joy!  Peace Out,  Reine

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.

 

The Windshield We Prefer and Why. By: Reine Knobbe

                                                                                                                                                                                   

 

      As I mentioned last month, Rosie and I sat in on several very good seminars this
winter at the Drag Specialties expo. Last month I went over lighting. This month I
want to share with you what we learned from Brian Klock in his own words:

     “Not 3 weeks after winning the Discovery Channel’s Biker Build Off in 2006,
Klock Werks found themselves at the Bonneville Salt Flats with the winning
Bagger and Laura Klock as the pilot. In the first 2 passes she rode to a National
Land Speed Record. Reporting a lift in the front end as she increased speed with a
stock windshield, Klock Werks set out to design a windshield that would make the
bike more stable at high speeds.

     Starting simply, Brian held his arm out the window while driving, testing airflow
with his hand held in different positions to figure out how to add down force.
From there a prototype was designed, and the Flare™ Windshield was born. After
extensive planning and testing, including an incredible opportunity to test the
design at the A2 Wind Tunnel in Mooresville, NC, the Flare™ Windshield is now
available to you! “ Want more info on the Flare™

The Flare

     What Brian really emphasized at the mini seminar is the down force. I looked over
some of the reviews and most folks stated that it reduces wind and buffeting and
some mentioned being able to hear their stereos better.

     Brian makes a great product and we use his windshield on all our bikes. But don’t
just take our word for it. We have a “try it before you buy it” program. This is
how it works. Bring in your bike, trade out your windshield for one of the Flare™
models we have on display (we will also need a copy of your drivers license).
Ride for several days with the Flare™ and make an informed decision if it’s the
one for you. If not, then we can direct you to other models such as the Memphis
Shade. No matter what you choose, we have 15% off any windshield of your
choice for the month of May.

Light Up Your World by: Reine Knobbe

    As many of you know by now, Chariots of Fire Customs LLC prides itself in keeping up with the latest on motorcycle technology. We understand the importance of a well tuned, comfortable, beautiful and safe ride. Several times a year, staff members go to events that showcase the latest innovations. This year is no different as Rosie and I picked up some valuable information on lighting that we would like to share with you.

    Custom Dynamics® has everything to “light up your ride”. Rosie and I were most impressed with their new, low-profile LED taillight, which is included with other great lighting in the new ProBeam line-up. The way this taillight was designed lets the light be seen from the sides as well as the rear as it wraps around to increase side visibility and maximizes safety. Attending the mini seminar was interesting and gave us a chance to learn about the process in creating this specific light. The creator had to go back to the drawing board multiple times and almost gave on up this concept. Thankfully, he persevered and created a great product! There are five light pipes that illuminate across the taillight as the running light and 25 separate LED’s provide a full contrast brake light.

   The ProBeam headlamps are also very impressive. According to Custom Dynamics®, the low beam consists of three high-power LED lights and a DRL (daytime running light). High beam keeps the low beam illuminated and adds two additional LED lights with three projector lenses for an incredibly wide optical pattern. This brightly shines along the sides of you just as well as ahead of you down the road. Rosie and I were sitting on the opposite end of a large room when they turned the sample headlight on and we had to turn away. The guys sitting closer to the front had to ask the presenter to please turn it off because it was so bright! 

   The ProBeam lineup includes dynamic ringz, passing lamps, fillerz, head lamp trim rings and saddlebag lights. These products feature the highest quality automotive LEDs and modern light pipe design. We were able to see several of these products taken apart so we can vouch for their high quality. Custom Dynamics® is based in Youngsville, NC and was founded in 2002. Their products are proudly made in U.S.A. and are available for a wide variety of motorcycle makes and models. Custom Dynamics® also offers the best warranty program in the industry with a Lifetime Warranty against LED failure and a five year warranty on electrical modules followed with the best customer support to back it up.

   With this brief introduction to Custom Dynamics® you can see why Chariots of Fire Customs LLC is proud to carry their products. Be sure to call the shop or stop on by to find out how we can light up your world! We just happen to have all lighting on sale this month for 10% off, but if you mention this article we’ll make it 20%!

 

 

 

                       

 

A Brief History of Motorcycle Tires. By: Amanda “Rosie” Lotter

     Robert Thomson, a Scottish engineer, invented a hollow circular belt made of rubber which was then inflated with air. This is called a pneumatic tire and was patented in the U.S. in 1847. Shortly after, Thomson lost interest in his invention and about four decades later, John Boyd Dunlop reinvented the pneumatic tire for his bicycle and some early motorcycle prototypes by 1895. It was until then that solid rubber tires were mainly used.

     Many changes have led to the modern motorcycle tires we have available today. One being the radial tire, patented in 1915 by Arthur Savage. His patent expired in 1949 but Michelin had furthered and made commercial success of it in 1946. These tires enhanced road grip and traction which made them great for motorcycles.

     Early tires were made of cross-ply structure, which were threads woven across each other. These were great for accelerating yet, had solid sidewalls which made turning corners difficult. Michelin improved the cross-ply with rubber threads and were used roughly from 1920 until 1972, when Dunlop patented a tubeless tire. This was a revolutionary invention, though tubes are still manufactured and used. As the early motorcycle industry progressed, larger tire sizes accompanied larger engine displacements. Engine size, racing, riding in rain, cornering and being able to stop quickly all contributed to the progression of tires for both safety as well as a comfortable ride.  

     Tires are the most important part of your motorcycle.  Not only are they needed to move, but critical in safety for both you and your two wheeled baby. Happy and safe riding friends!

Think of Her. By: Reine “Biker Bunny” Knobbe

    Our tech department has written some great blogs the past couple of months on upgrading your ride.  They are full of really good advice and knowledge about how to make your engine fit your riding style.  And I’m all about that!  Everyone knows I enjoy riding behind Jan and going on long trips on a fast, dependable machine.  Not only are our motorcycles dependable they are comfortable.  I can ride for long distances, often gas tank to gas tank, because the passenger seat works.  If your passenger is not comfortable, well, we’ve all heard that saying “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”!

   I’m writing about this following our vacation this past winter.  With shorter days and a short opening to take vacation, Jan and I flew out to Arizona and borrowed a motorcycle.  We were so very blessed to have a good friend lend us his motorcycle as they were back here during our visit.  Jan and I were all too happy and honored to borrow his ride.  Jan could attest to the bike being dependable since all maintenance is completed here at Chariots of Fire Customs LLC.  This particular motorcycle has the original factory seat.  Works great for the driver, however not so much the passenger (now I’m not complaining, just being honest as I know the person we borrowed the bike from is reading this also).  I did not last for more than an hour without having Jan pull over so I could stretch.  Especially after a few days of riding.

   I am telling you this story because I want you to think about your passenger.  When upgrading your baby, think about your baby on the back.  The motorcycle we borrowed, well his baby has her own ride, so the seat works for him.  If your honey likes to ride behind you and cuddle and whisper sweet nothings in your ear like I do with Jan, you better make sure her fanny is comfy!  Girls, this one’s for you!  Come by the shop and mention this article and we will give you 20% off any seat.  I HIGHLY recommend a Mustang seat. 

Proven Performance by: William “Sparky” Tindall

     All bikers know when you buy a bike it doesn’t quite sound or perform as well as you wanted. The beginning of your transformation starts with changing out your air cleaner and exhaust. The following parts to change include your cam, pushrods and lifters. There are many options available for all of these parts.

Due to a recent release by S&S Cycle, we are able to offer you the stage 2 upgrade at a discounted price. The S&S stage 2 upgrade includes a set of cams, stealth air cleaner, mufflers and all of the necessary parts to install the kit.

These kits are bolt on proven power. With the kit you will get a more powerful and better sounding motorcycle. The performance gained compared to the cost of the kit is incredible. With these kits you can save anywhere from $400 to $800 compared to purchasing parts separately.

If you’ve been considering an upgrade on your ride, now is the time to get it done. Our team of experts will ensure your motorcycle is transformed into what fits your particular style of riding.

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.