Auel Wax Fix soft ….. bye bye bug splat!

Take that Spongebob!In the flush of youth I was the same as most fledgling bikers I guess, spending endless hours cleaning my bike with mates over a cold beer and loud music  ….. of course all that changed when riding a bike became a job five or six days a week. Washing the bike turned into a chore, something to be endured not enjoyed through endless ice-cold winter weeks, honed into a slick process to illicit the most benefit from the least input.

A working bike, one you put food on the table with ….. has to be as reliable and resistant to the degradation by the elements as is possible. To that end I’ve lived by the mantra of checking a bike over daily ….. battery, bearings, chain, electrics, suspension, steering, tyres  etc …. there are numerous mnemonics kicking around to work with. Washing the bike was just as much a way of helping do those checks as it was presenting a clean bike to the world at large and sailing under the radar of bored Metropolitan Police officers, whose sole existence appeared to center around the idea that any dirty motorbike was undoubtably an illegal one.

Yes it’s fair to say that cleaning a bike for me has long since lost any interest, it is simply a means to an end …. jetwash the main muck (avoid bearings and seals), hose pipe and Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid & Auel Wax Fix softbucket of sudsy-wudsy car shampoo and rinse off. Air line some bits and chamois the others ….. then coat liberally with ACF50, either sprayed directly or wiped on with a soft clean cloth. Total time, less than 30 mins or I’m slacking. This method has stood me in good stead for many a year – and let’s face it, snake-oil cleaners come and go, just like gimmicky brushes or wonder sponges.

That of course was until Manuel from Motrag stuck his oar in! He’s tried for ages to convince me about this amazing product he uses – in fact he says he hasn’t actually washed his bike since Moses was a little boy. Instead he uses ‘Auel Wax Fix Soft’ – wipe on, wipe off ( no silly Karate Kid impersonations please)….. and when he recently sent some dashboards for repair, he snuck a can in the box to try out. Hmmmmmm.

So yesterday, I took a notion into my old numb-skull to give it a go on the Capo windscreen. Spray on, wait 30 seconds, wipe off ….and …………….. JEEZ! This stuff actually works!!!

Residual bug splat going back years just wiped away – over 95% of it. The other 5% just took a second spray/wipe. So out came the hex-key, off with the windscreen and I did the inside as well, no smears, no waxy (forget the misleading name on the can) residue, noAprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid windscreen apparent static build up either. Just one unbelievably clean windscreen, so much so, that I can see the stone chip damage that once hid among all manner of splattered bug guts. Afterwards I tried it on mirrors, hand guards and panniers …. anywhere buggy-bits accumulate. excellent results every time.

Manuel tells me he’s been using this stuff since 1996 and I can see why. No, it won’t re-write how I clean my bike, but I think an extra 5 minutes tagged on using Wax Fix isn’t going to break the time-bank either. The downside seems to be getting hold of it ….. Ebay has a couple of suppliers (approx €10-€13 a can) – not cheap, but Manuel says a can does go a long way when you get used to using it. Hopefully he’ll be able to supply it through Motrag in the future.

Meanwhile all these smooth and polished surfaces must be worth an extra 5mph! :-D

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TuneECU (Android) update to V2.2

TuneECU Andriod app V2.2 - Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Sagem ECUStop the Bus (or your Caponord) and grab yer smartphones again, TuneECU has just been updated to V2.2 ………… worthy of mentioning? Oh Yes! Alaine has addressed the poor connection (cable) AND the screen freezing if you swiped it when logging issue. Now TuneECU connects to the Capo quick as you like, just as it used to. I tried it numerous times and never once had a problem – fantastic! All-in-all a positive step forward …..

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Back in 1921 …………

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid tax disk holder removed after abolition of paper disks on 01/10/2014 by HM Government (UK).While the weather’s been holding up, I decided to wheel the Capo out and give it a wash. As I soaped, sponged and lathered my way down the left hand side something caught my eye and a hollow feeling opened up in the pit of my stomach ……. something broken or rusty? No, worse – the bloody (road) tax needed renewing!

In October 2014 after 93 years or so the tax disk was resigned to history, unlike the annual payment! So I went online, did the deed – and felt like Dick Turpin had just shoved a pair of musket barrels up my nostrils and fleeced every pocket for cash – now we don’t even get a humble little disk to display anymore, just an email acknowledgement that we’ve been rolled by yours truly, HM Government.

So now what do I do with the 6-bolt Über-aerodynamic MotoGP/NASA inspired titanium tax disk holder eh!! :evil: OK, it’s an aluminium carbuncle really, and they’ll be coming to a car-boot sale near you soon enough (by the thousands!). Well I’ve decided to cut the ‘ear’ bit off and use it in the workshop as a coaster for a tea mug! :-D

making a tax disk holder into a coaster

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TuneECU (Android) update to V2.1

TuneECU Andriod app V2.1 - Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Sagem ECUTuneECU app for the Android was updated again  last week to V2.1 – Google store says bug fixes and adding the Ducati 848/1098 & 1198 are the reason. Time then to give it a whirl on the old Capo and see if the experience has improved from last time. So with the sun shining brightly and making the barn a nice cosey sun trap to work in, and the road devoid of the sound of machinery and promised workmen, I rummaged around for the cables charged the phone and set about pulling the seats off.

Bluetooth (ELM327 V1.5)

elm327Connection was the same as before and data is still slow to update – tacho and TPS seem quick enough but the side-stand takes a whopping 5 seconds to change state. Still no side-stand or Fan status indicator like the PC version. The datalog facility worked, but seems to have a bug, more on this later.

Cable (Samsung Note 3)

Connection is now very poor, taking 2, 3 or 4 attempts to get it to connect. Each time I get a flashing red indicator, sometimes going orange then back to red followed by a dialog box telling me to recycle the ignition. The connection worked fine with version 1 and 2 so something has definitely happened in the latest release. Oh and the Samsung was tried with two cables and both cables tried with old faithful – the Asus EEPC901 and they worked just fine with the PC version. Once connected however, the data seems to be displayed quicker than Bluetooth and the connection was stable even when starting the engine.

Datalog

TuneECU app datalog via cable not Bluetooth on Samsung Galaxy Note 3 from Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-RaidGetting this to work took a bit of time, simply because it turns out I have to touch the ‘REC’ icon in the bottom left hand corner of the Diagnostics screen for something like 4 or 5 seconds for it to toggle to orange and begin recording. Once recording I can’t change screens, but if I swipe left or right as though trying to get to ‘Adjustments’ or ‘Map’ then data on the screen freezes and you wonder what the hell is going on …… but the data is still being logged in the background. Swipe in the opposite direction, as though going back to ‘Diagnostics’ and the screen starts working again.

Disconnect from the ECU and ‘Datalog’ now appears at the bottom of the ‘ECU’ drop down menu, click and select the log file to open and a new window opens with the data displayed as a graph. TPS, RPM and Engine Temp are logged, but apparently no way of selecting other data to log other than TuneECU app datalog data file diasplay on Samsung Galaxy Note 3 from an Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raidthese three. The TPS and RPM are a nice distinct line with good contrast to the background, however the Engine Temp is dark blue dots on black background …….. difficult to read clearly in bright light. The data is stored in CSV format so it’s easy to bring the files into your PC and use something like Microsoft Excel to display it. Incidentally the screenshot of a data file on the TuneECU (Google) page shows additional information – Speed / MAP (Manifold Air Pressure) and what looks like gear position …… so there is certainly scope to allow more (bike model specific) information to be logged and displayed.

Conclusion

I so want to like this software. Building in the datalogger is great but in the light of the connection issues and slow performance when in operation, I’m reluctant to use it at the moment preferring to stick to the old PC version and my TuneBoy based datalogger. Of course this is only one persons view with a specific combination of bike/phone, but if others are experiencing the same or similar problems, then maybe addressing these issues to make a solid and robust platform before adding any more new bikes or functionality would be the way forward …… just my six cents worth. Let’s see what V3 brings.

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The Fissure King

Civitaquana, Abruzzo - Cda di Ginestre road (strada) subsidance & landslideWhat good is a motorbike or a car for that matter, if you don’t have a road to run along?

About 10 days ago Jan and I went to do the weekly shopping and I must admit I was already starting to get a little nervous about movement within the road – In one particular place the Range Rover was beginning to bottom out bodywork even when on its highest suspension settings and the traction control was starting to make itself useful when hauling us up the slope.

The next evening after walking the dogs and eyeing the recent movement and ever bigger crack in the adjacent field, I felt very uneasy …..

….. with the dogs tucked up for the night I grabbed the keys and decided to move the car beyond the bad section. In the end it took 3 attempts to clear it, but the good old Rangey did brilliantly with the traction control working overtime as it clawed its way over. That was it then – no going back. Life would be different for the forseeable future for sure.

That was over a week ago ….. since then the land has moved something like 2m down and 3m sideways with more cracks and fissures appearing across its width, soon the road will have separated completely with a section about 30m long moving inevitably down into the valley below.

The reality of our predicament is sinking in …. moving anything, shopping, gas cylinders, rubbish bags etc has to be carefully thought through. Each item has to be carried by hand over ankle-breaking terrain up (or down depending on which way you’re going!) a 200m stretch of steep road that is changing every 24hrs.

The fact is, this road doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to the Comune (Council) and as such they have responsibility over it. It’s not like this problem is new either, in fact we were promised it would be repaired and resurfaced throughout 2014, it wasn’t and now the problem is a magnitude worse. Unfortunately all I can say is we’re disheartened by the lack of response to our emails and phone calls for assistance over the past week.

So until something spectacular happens it gives me time to dream up new and novel ways to free the Capo from its incarceration …… zip wire over the valley, kids balloons tied together (I’ve seen ‘UP’) or turn it into an X-2 Skycycle and fly the bugger out!

Anyway until then, chin up ….. and do what Brits do best in a crisis

KEEP CALM AND DRINK MORE TEA!

 

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ACIM VII 2015 update

ACIM VII 2015 Aprilia Caponord International Meeting - Nafplio (Greece)A quick ACIM VII 2015 update – In my original post I said it will be held at Argos (Greece). Well Trikkas (Iania) kindly pointed out my mistake – it is actually being held in Nafplio Argolida about 12Km south from Argos. Yes folks bring yer buckets and spades ….. we’re going to be by the seaside!! :-D

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Stuff …. 6 months and 12 months on

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid dashboard - new right-hand indicator repeater!A couple of anniversaries this week ….. firstly the dashboard. Yes a full 12 months since it was finished and put back into the Capo for the last time, resplendent with its new inlay to complement the electronic changes. The auto-dimming back lighting and split indicator repeaters have been absolute winners – I couldn’t go back to a standard board again without missing them. Moving the side-stand and low-fuel lights toAprilia Caponord ETV1000 & Rally-Raid Voltmeter and re-located side-stand light on dashboard accommodate the twin indicator repeaters has had no impact, positive or negative. The voltmeter has been a different kettle of fish …. generally unused as the Sparkbight battery monitor handles voltage feedback when riding around – however it has proved a real benefit during start-up when the dashboard goes through its self-test phase. Now it’s become second nature to eye-ball the tacho needle to see what the battery voltage is pre-start. >12.6v and I know I should get a good kick from the battery!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 & Rally-Raid MCCruise controlThe second anniversary, although shorter at 6 months and a tad over 11K miles, is the MCCruise cruise control. After a rushed install (not clever) I knew I had a heavier throttle than pre-installation ….. this was purely down to throttle cable routing and nothing to do with the cruise control itself. It simply didn’t like being re-routed behind the radiator, so I gave up and relocated the CIU (cable interface unit) to a new location by the throttle bodies. Now everything works fine – a light throttle and a happy cruise control. It’s been 100% Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 & Rally-Raid New MCCruise CIU locationreliable and functional. As a demonstration of its finesse I ran the bike in 1st gear at 25mph and let the cruise control take over the (100 horsepower!) throttle – all I can say is WOW! I would never have believed that the system could have the sensitivity to operate the throttle with such precision, but it did – up hill, down dale – never an ounce of jerkiness. Ok I admit no one wants to ride around in 1st gear …. but as an experiment, it proved to me that MCCruise have indeed developed an absolutely fantastic piece of kit.

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A pivotal moment

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 & Rally-Raid rear brake lever pivot and grease nipple CAD graphicSometime last year I decided that 2015 was going to be the year that a whole bunch of parts were going to get cleaned up and recoated – engine/sump protection bars (especially the mounting brackets), headlamp guard and passenger foot peg hangers for a start.

The accessory parts seem to be made substantially cheaper than the bike parts themselves – stamped, pressed, bent and welded with a flash of cheap paint to top it off. All well and good for a couple of years, but the elements soon work their magic and the stuff begins to look jaded and rusty. No, if you want it to look good and last, you’ve got to pick up where the Aprilia contractor left off ….. Debur, remove weld spatter and radius any and all sharp edges you can find, THEN get a quality finish applied. That’s the plan anyway!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 & Rally-Raid rear brake pedal and grease nippleSo to kick off I took the spare rear brake lever and began to radius the sharp edges and smooth the lumpy stamped (or laser cut) edge … I have to say it was looking (and feeling) rather nice when I downed tools and wandered indoors for a brew.

It was while standing there aimlessly waiting for the kettle to boil that I thought about adding a grease nipple to the pivot – Aprilia have done a good job in making the bolt grooved to hold a reservoir of grease AND fitting two ‘O’-rings (OR114 – 1.78mm section / 11.11mm ID) to keep the grease in …… but a grease nipple would make packing the grease in and replacing it soooooo much easier!

In the end it only took 30 minutes ….. grinding a flat on the underside, drilling and tapping a 6mm hole and screwing in a 90° fitting. What do you think?

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Dashboard repairs

Risto's Christmas cardYes I admit it here and now, I’m doing a U-turn – a full 180° – and NOT stopping dashboard repairs at the end of January 2015. Jeez …. You’re thinking, I wish this chap would make his mind up!!

Why the change of heart?

A couple of reasons actually …. Firstly, a few emails over the past couple of weeks that have made me reflect on the initial decision, secondly a Christmas card. Yep – a lowly piece of card with a simple season’s greetings from a Capo owner in Finland.

Risto sent his board over almost 18 months ago and by all accounts is happy with the work done and each Christmas he has sent a card. That connection across the continent would never have Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 & Rally-Raid dashboard repairs and upgrades, backlighting and voltmeterhappened without the dashboard repair service. This year I opened the card and felt a twinge of regret, uneasiness, a sense that a decision I was making was the wrong one. The bottom line is that I would miss the emails/calls and involvement if I stopped something that I’ve been involved with since the beginning of unravelling the dashboard circuits.

Jan and I sat down and worked out some ways to free up a little more time and I’ve decided to put other projects on the back-burner for now. So I will not stop doing what I’ve done for almost two years ….. Give folks a grain of hope that a piece of their pride and joy can be repaired or upgraded. Sorry for the wobble, but hey, I’m only human.

And Risto ….. If you read this, just remember that opening your Christmas card changed the course of moto-abruzzo as he staggers into 2015. That’s pretty awesome when you think about it! :-D

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ACIM VII – Nafplio (Greece)

ACIM VII 2015 Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 International Meeting - Nafplio (Greece)A double post today ….. the details have just been posted for 2015  – 7th ACIM (Aprilia Caponord International Meeting) and it’s to be held this year in Nafplio, Greece on the 10,11 & 12th July. A lovely bit of news that brings a touch of warmth to a cold and snowy day!

This is a colaboration between apriliacaponordim.blogspot.it, aprilia.mototouronoffroad.it and apriliabikers.gr so visit these sites for more info.

Post updated (21/01/2015)

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