Here in Florida, the 2019 race seasons are starting to heat up. FMRRA has been running since November, but mini racing is set to begin in February with SFLminiGP and shortly after at Bushnell Motorsports Park with their new Moto series.
I just got my FMRRA race license last weekend, so I expect to be making it out to a few races here and there in each of the series mentioned above.
Also, maybe I’ll get this blog going again with some content.
I just installed the Trail Tech Vapor (752-301) onto my 2014 Suzuki DR-Z400SM. At about 3300 miles, the stock speedometer stopped working because Suzuki decided to put a piece of plastic garbage on to act as the speed sensor. Luckily, the Trail Tech uses a much more reliable magnetic wheel sensor instead of a plastic gear.
That was the main driving force behind this purchase and installation, but the tachometer was a nice added bonus (the stock DR-Z dash does not include a tachometer and is very basic).
I should note that the Vapor does not come with indicator lights for turn signals, high beam, coolant temp, neutral,etc by default, but can be added with an add-on unit. I haven’t installed the add-on unit at this time.
I will go over the different hook-ups and sensors individually.
The Vapor needs a constant 12V power source with a 1A fuse in the circuit. Luckily, the stock dash has a 3 wire connector that powers the unit. I was able to simply disconnect the plug and cut the harness off of the stock speedometer. It has 3 wires: red, black, and orange. The red is the 12v power, black is ground, and orange is key-on power. I simply spliced the red and black Vapor wires onto the red and black wires of the harness, ignoring the orange wire, which worked perfectly and gave me a nice clean harness to plug into.
2: Tachometer/RPM Sensor
(Requires removal of gas tank) The RPM sensor is a single wire that is red at the end. Simply coil the red part around the thick black spark plug wire 6-12 times. I ended up with about 10, then wrapped it in electrical tape to keep it in place. This is good enough for the graph portion of the tach to be functional, but I have the issue where the digital numeric readout jumps back and forth from actual to low at every other reading. I will likely splice the wire into the spade-connector at the spark plug for a more accurate reading in the future, but it’s good enough for now.
The speedometer sensor is a magnet that gets installed on the rotor and a sensor that picks up the magnet at each revolution. I used the shorter of the two included magnetic rotor screws to replace one of the stock rotor screws.
Now, the manual suggests drilling into the front brake caliper bracket for the sensor mount. This does NOT work for the SM model because the front rotor is larger for street use. I don’t have an S or an E model, so I can’t confirm if it’s a good spot for those.
Anyway, I just drilled into the front fork guard instead at a point that would be close enough to the magnet as it passes.
There are two versions of the radiator sensor for the Vapor. I got the 752-301 model specifically because it uses a screw that simply replaces the pressure relief screw in the radiator and doesn’t require any cutting of the radiator hoses. When replacing the screw, remember not to overtighten it as it is a hollow brass screw that can break easily. The manual recommends finger tight plus 1/4 turn. I can confirm that this mounting location DOES work on the SM model even though many configurators say it doesn’t.
That’s all, it was a pretty simple installation once i got a few of the unknowns worked out. The manual offers very good instructions for initial setup of the unit. I used 1 Pulse per Revolution and 1884mm as the wheel size (not confirmed, but i will double check later if it’s accurate).
And, when reconnecting the gas tank, remember that there are TWO hoses to reattach. That second smaller one is easy to miss and forget. My bike wouldn’t hold idle for more than a couple seconds because I forgot to reattach it. I wound up removing and cleaning the carburetor because I thought I may have gotten something in the line, but it was just my stupidity and forgetting to connect the secondary hose.
I hope this write-up and video were useful. Feel free to ask any questions or post comments in the comments section!
One vendor I was particularly looking out for at this year’s AIMExpo 2014 was CoreMoto, primarily known for their custom brake lines. I have heard many positive reviews from different people, and being from Florida, many residents choose CoreMoto because they are local. I even had the opportunity to meet the owner during Bike Week a few years ago and he was very interested in building and selling a great product, not just another knockoff of what works.
Brake lines are pretty simple. The OEM lines are generally rubber which allow flex and expansion of the lines and ultimately leads to performance degradation over time. Stainless steel braided lines don’t expand under pressure and offer a more linear feel throughout the pull. They are simply more predictable and reliable.
Other than just using good materials, it’s difficult to make a brake line that stands out from the crowd, but CoreMoto manages to do just that. With a huge assortment of color options for the fittings, logo tags, and brake lines, you get to have your choice of exactly how they will look and match your bike’s color scheme.
I have Goodridge lines for my R1, and they are a good quality brake line, but that’s where it ends. CoreMoto adds all of the extra line stiffeners, rubber fittings, etc to make them fit properly for your specific application.
I recently fitted them to my 2014 Suzuki DR-Z400SM supermoto after seeing that specific application advertised at their AIMExpo booth. It looked great in the picture, and looks great in person as well. They shipped in a long package due to the front line stiffener for MX based motorcycles, and included all necessary hardware…and a few stickers. (I don’t know why anyone doesn’t add free stickers to every item sold). The instructions were complete and even showed how to adjust the fittings properly (without voiding the lifetime warranty) if they didn’t quite line up, but mine did so I had no issue.
After installing the lines and filling with my personal favorite, Motul RBF600 Synthetic DOT 4 Brake Fluid, I was ready to test them out. I was instantly impressed. Both front and rear brake feel increased considerably, as expected, over the OEM rubber lines. No leaks or imperfections. A great looking and great performing product from an American company.
I certainly recommend CoreMoto brake lines when considering your next purchase, you won’t be disappointed!
I first tried on a Shark helmet at the 2013 AIMExpo and immediately became interested. I was in the market for a track/sport helmet that I could use day to day with good degree of comfort without sacrificing safety. I thought I would be most interested in the Arai Corsair V but just wasn’t impressed after trying one on. The inside felt very hard and didn’t seem like it would be comfortable over an extended period of time.
Then I tried on a Shark Race-R. It was both light and extremely comfortable. The XL fit my head shape perfectly, snug but comfortable. Additionally, the padding felt plush like a pillow. Between the weightlessness and the liner, I simply fell in love. At $649 MSRP, it is a bit expensive but is still cheaper than the Corsair V and is a top quality helmet. Another distinguishing factor is the 2.2mm thick shield. It is noticeably thicker than most other brands and gives confidence that it will stay intact in the event of debris hitting at high speed or on impact. Other top brand shields start to seem a bit too thin after experiencing the Shark. For a street/track helmet with more focus on street, the Speed-R is also a great option.
Like the Race-R, the Speed-R is a top tier helmet with a few extra street friendly considerations. Foremost is the built in sun-visor. A slider on the top of the helmet pushes down a tinted internal visor that resides within the shell when not in use. As someone who often rides over the transition from light to dark and has to decide which shield to attach constantly, this would be a welcome option. There is not as much aerodynamic plastics on the Speed-R, and the helmet is a bit heavier, but still very light. Both the Race-R and Speed-R have DOT and ECE 22.05 certifications.
And finally, the last helmet that I focused on at the Expo was the Raw. The aesthetic is great and looks like a fighter pilot helmet. It is the type of helmet I’d love to wear when riding my supermoto on the street, but I also feel I’d need to acquire other matching gear to really fill out the look. Unfortunately, as fun as this helmet is, it is not as comfortable as I hoped. The goggles and lower plastic mouth cover put pressure right around the nose and seem like they’d bite in and become more uncomfortable over time. I just don’t think the sacrifices necessary would be worth the look, yet a part of me still wants one of these just to have on display.
Conclusion – It will be my next helmet!
If it’s not obvious, the Shark Race-R or Speed-R will likely be my next helmet purchase. I can’t express enough how great the helmet felt to wear, and I would love to be wearing one at my next track day to boost confidence (I currently have an Icon that runs a bit loose and lifts at high speed, which is a bit unnerving).
Do you have any experience or impressions with Shark helmets? Let us know all about it, or your personal favorite helmet, in the Comments section below.
Motochaotic – a place for thoughts and experiences relating to all facets of motorcycling. I like to review products, post opinions about general riding experiences and the motorcycle racing world, and simply talk about motorcycling. A chaotic vision held in order by the two wheels that pull us all together.
I hope you will find the stories and blogs interesting, and always feel free to post comments or suggestions. It will be my aim to engage all who comment and make this one big chaotic family.