Review – Motrag Garmin 590LM GPS mount

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid with base & micro mount for Garmin GPSFor the past six months the eight year old Garmin 2820 has steadily slid its digital cheese off its cracker, forgetting the date and time and generally making a meal of locating satellites. Add to that an annoying habit of swapping screens at random and it’s easy to see why it’s not my best-buddy it once was! Nope …. time for a change.

Which ties in very nicely with Manuel at loaning me a Capo-specific mount for the Garmin 590LM to try out. Unlike the Mad-Maxesque contraptions that Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid with base & micro mount for Garmin GPSTouratech supply, the Motrag unit is clean and simple …. and pretty uncomplicated. The mount consists of two parts, the ‘Base Mount‘ that bolts to the handlebar clamp (all bolts and spacers supplied) and the ‘Micro Mount’ of choice based on the GPS unit to be fitted. This is attached to the Base Mount via four rubber anti-vibration mounts, again with stainless steel screws supplied.

The 590LM comes with its own bracket for powering the unit and locking it in place, this simply bolts to the Micro Mount which provides the extra support for use in rougher terrain. When the GPS is tucked away in a bag and the ‘Zumo’ cover fitted, the mount is much less in-your-face unlike the Touratech one ……. plus a lot less angular, aggressive and sharp-edged, which is no bad thing.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid with base & micro mount for Garmin GPSFirst impressions are excellent, it holds the GPS perfectly and vibration is virtually none existent, the whole thing is unobtrusive and the powder coating looks like it’ll outlive the Capo. The laser cut ‘Rally-Raid’ is a nice touch and just so no-one feels left out – the mount is available with ‘Caponord’ as well! As always, where possible Manuel supplies stainless steel fasteners that match the look of the OEM Aprilia fasteners – a nice touch. Currently Motrag have Micro Mounts for the Garmin 340/350/390 and 590LM with one in development for the TomTom Rider. Base Mounts are also available for the Multistrada (2012-14) and Hypermotard (2014 on). The cost is €38.95 for the Base Mount and €63.95 for the Micro Mount. The Micro mount in supplied with a plate and clamp so it can also be fitted to a cross-bar or a Ram Mount, in which case you don’t need to buy the Base Mount.GPS-bar-clampAt the time of writing, I’ve done about 450 miles with the mount fitted, some on VERY poor mountain roads and everything is fine. The dashboard is still clearly visible (rider 182cm / 5ft 11inch) and the mount angle goes a long way to limiting screen-glare. I look forward to reviewing the mount along with the Motrag fog-lamp brackets in six months time when the Capo has a good few more miles and a winter under its belt.

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Another bike ….. It was inevitable I guess

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid frame number 075Say hello to Rally-Raid number 075! Yes a little lightweight I grant you …. one or two parts do appear to be missing, but a fully registered bona-fide ETV1000 Rally-Raid none the less. So in anticipation of building up a second Raid, I’ve decided to start a dedicated website …. …. But it’ll be a slow-burner for sure while the bits are sourced! 😕

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Fuse box panel

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid AP8178418 fuse box covering panelOn the Mark 1 Capo there’s a screw-on cover, on the Mark 2 a panel held on by 4 screws but on the Raid it’s just waving in the wind …. staring at you with those half-inch high letters screaming “FUSE”. Quite why Aprilia felt the Raid needed an uncovered fuse box below the dashboard is anyones guess …….. it’s not like I need millisecond fuse changes!

Besides it’s always niggled me that one sunny Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid AP8168770 panelday some light-fingered arse would think it a jolly wheeze to pull all the fuses out when it’s parked up. To remove the temptation I’d been keeping an eye open for a replacement panel for a while. Recently when a panel from an 05 came up on Ebay I was in-like-Flynn and the Capo got a nice little upgrade. I think it looks much better now. 😀

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Check Valve AP8104251 – symptoms

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid AP8104251vacuum check-valve exploded viewA couple of folks have asked what the symptoms where that prompted the replacement of the check valves (AP8104251). Well, for a while I’d had an intermittent ‘cough’ or momentary stumble when lifting the throttle off idle …. maybe once every twenty times or so. More than enough to make your heart skip a beat when you think she’s about to stall just as everyone’s powering away from the traffic lights! Other than this annoying habit, everything in the garden was Rosie. Or so it seemed.

I’d cleaned and rebalanced the throttle bodies and all the vacuum hoses and inlet rubbers were perfect as they’d been replaced – but it kept happening. In the end with nothing much else to go on, I’d pulled the check valves and found them both to have failed.

Since replacing them, I realise there were other symptoms – very subtle –  and the sort of thing you adapt to without realising it.

  • Reduced engine braking. This was really noticeable within a couple of miles after the valves were replaced – Engine braking  is certainly  stronger now
  • ‘Burble’ from the exhausts on overrun. This is greatly reduced, especially at low RPM
  • Eratic idle during warm-up. The idle became lumpy at 65°C then smoothed out again by 70°C – now stable throughout.

With a few hundred extra miles under the belt, it’s fair to say that the intermittent off-idle stumble has well and truly gone which is great of course …. but I do miss that bit of ‘Burble’ on the overrun! So if you have idle issues and any of these symptoms ring a bell, then take a moment to check the valves as well as the usual old favourites – IACV, vacuum lines and inlet rubbers. You might be surprised.

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MCCruise control revisited

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid MCCruise CIU throttle servo cablesWhile the Caponord was stripped for the vacuum check-valve replacement, I decided to get my act in gear and finally, once and for all, unequivocally ….. Sort out the MCCruise control/throttle cables. Last year I relocated the CIU (Cable Interface Unit) to the left hand side of the throttle body. This had pros and cons ……….. The upside was a lighter feel on the throttle grip, the downside, the Servo/CIU and CIU/Throttle body cables were overly long and the Servo cable fed into the CIU from the wrong side. However, the cruise was working perfectly and so it became one of those ‘mañana’ jobs!

Well today is that tomorrow! First I jotted down a list of what had to be done:

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid MCCruise CIU cable interface unit1. Make a spacer to fit onto the side of the CIU. This is to move the throttle cable adjuster further out and make the inner cable a better fit on the spool.
2. Drill new cable holes in the CIU so it can be rotated 180° so the Servo cable enters from the rear not the front as is the current arrangement.
3. Shorten the CIU/Throttle cable while allowing for the new spacer at the CIU – 350mm down to 190mm.
4. Shorten the 1,150mm Servo cable to a more reasonable 750mm!

I have to say here and now that I do like learning new skills or adapting old ones to suit a new task. I also have to admit that in a good few years on this Earth, I’ve never made up or adjusted Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid throttle cablethe length of clutch/choke/throttle cables before! So time to adapt the electronics soldering skills and brush up on required technique courtesy of the Internet. Now I’m not going to bore you to tears telling you how to do it – there is tons of advice on various websites/YouTube. Suffice to say, sort out the duff advice from the good, have the right equipment to hand and practice, practice, practice  …… do the job once and do it right! All the cable bits and pieces I needed came from Venhill in the UK.

By late afternoon everything was buttoned up and the cruise control recalibrated after the throttle bodies were rebalanced, fault codes cleared and TPS reset via TuneECU. As the sun faded behind the hills I cracked open a cold beer happy with how the day played out …. Time then to put the tools away and get back to revising for the next Amateur Radio Exam!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid MCCruise controlThe MCCruise has been installed for approx. 25,000 miles and worked perfectly throughout. The CIU was relocated because the initial location proved to be problematic – causing slight binding of the throttle cable. This meant that the cables supplied in the kit (as specified by me) were now the wrong length and the orientation of cable entry into the CIU was wrong.This is not the fault of MCCruise, what they sent is what I asked for! Should anyone else wish to go down this route I will of course be glad to provide notes/measurements etc so a kit will be a simple bolt-on job.

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Vacuum check-valve …….. part2

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid check valve AP8104251The new vacuum check-valve (AP8104251) arrived yesterday and today, while the rain poured endlessly from a depressingly black sky I set about swapping out the bad one on the front cylinder. Just to be Boy-Scout ready, I’d also made sure to have some new hose and stainless steel click-clamps to hand – just in case! Getting the old one Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid AP8104251 failed check valveout is a real trial of patience and dexterity believe me! Here is a pic of the old valve cut in half and you can see that the valve has broken up completely.

 With the valve cycling anywhere between an estimated 11-73 times a second depending on RPM, it looks like the 0.5mm thick valve flaps suffer from fatigue and  rips develop where the material flexes most. The valve doesn’t completely fail until the flap is ripped away as my other (rear cylinder) valve is testimony too. That valve flows in one direction but also a very small amount in the other and when Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid AP8104251 valve stress testviewed end on, light can be seen through the valve flaps leading me to think that rips have already begun. So now another new valve is on order and I guess I’ll make a note to check these again in 15K miles or so, it’s easy and quick to do – simply pucker up and suck or blow! 😳

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid AP8104251 one way valve sectionOh and I’ve been asked a couple of times …. why not use a cheap Ebay ball-valve replacement? Well it seems to me they’re just not designed to cycle rapidly, a ball/spring valve may well be susceptible to the same phenomena as an engine valve train at high rpm – valve bounce/float. Of course in the real world it may make no damn difference what so ever and I’m just a sucker for buying genuine Aprilia parts! :-)


Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid check valve AP8104251Second (rear cylinder) valve replaced and all now in perfect condition. In this case the valve was leaky as it had a tear down one side – so a partial rather than total failure. It also seems that these parts were upgraded some time ago, this looks like it’s a modification to the plastic body …. on the old one the case is simply presses together, on the new one it is welded. Maybe they had instances of the cases coming apart in service, who knows.

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5 years on ….

Aprilia Caponord Rally-Raid ETV1000 2010 Icelandic ash flights cancelled2010 ……. A year we made a mad-dash to the UK by Capo when an Icelandic volcano rather unsportingly blew its top. A year we gained a Kitten (Sam-Sam) and lost a cat – my venerable old friend Joe. A year when Kelly the English setter lost a foot but found a strange kind of companionship with a chicken! A year when the Capo went MoSFET and sported a nice new headlight switch ……. But most of all, it’s the year when the moto-abruzzo WordPress website/blog went live. 5 years to the day to be exact!

Way back then, Jan told me that something like an estimated 75% of blogs are abandoned after the first three months, so I’m glad to have dodged that particular statistic …… also that the ‘in’ joke websiteamongst the blogging glitterati is that most blogs have a readership of 1. Looks like I nailed that one then!

The reality is of course, that a site mainly dedicated to one particular bike is never going to have much traffic. In truth I suppose I have written it more as an aid-memoir for the Capo in the  years to come, a diary of one particular bikes journey and it’s issues along the way.

The intention was always to keep it clear of advertising and not ask for funding to maintain it, other than that, it just goes where time and content takes it. Maybe when the Aprilia Caponord Rally-Raid ETV1000Caponord (touch-wood!) hits 100,000 miles next year I’ll look at winding down the site and porting the content over to a self-publish book to put on the shelf, that way the content won’t disappear if the server/host decides to pull the plug one day.

Until then of course, the increasing miles on the Capo will generate a proportional increase in site content as a consequence of needing more restoration work. There’s also the question of a possible stable-mate ……. Do I plough on with the Capo regardless, or wind-down the mileage after 100k and look for something to take over the long-distance Euro trips. If so what? Inevitably I seem to go full circle and come back to square-one – another Capo, a Rally-Raid of course. I suppose it makes sense – reasonable price, ample spares to hand and a working knowledge of the model, and it does exactly what I want from a bike, period.

Either way, 2016 will be a landmark year with (I hope) plenty of posts and new pages.


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Pucker up and suck or blow …. your choice!

Here’s todays little quiz ……

  1. What’s this?
  2. Where does it go?
  3. How many are on YOUR bike?


Of course the smarty-pants among you will scream out the answers to 1 & 2 in double quick time – it’s a check-valve or none-return valve and it fits between the throttle body and clutch in the vacuum line. Excellent stuff, spot on …… but question 3 …… one valve or more than one? Hmmm.

Here’s what Aprilia show in the parts manual (click for photo of matching engine) …..

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid pneumatic vacuum clutch and one way valve

The front cylinder throttle body port has nothing but a piece of clear hose and a bung – the manometer/VAC gauge test point. All the slipper-clutch hose/valve assembly is ONLY attached to the rear cylinder throttle body port and TPS port. This may well be fine and dandy for an 01-03 bike.

But if you have a Rally-Raid or an 04-onward bike, next time you’re under the fuel tank/airbox take a good look at the front hose …… my guess is you’ll have a ‘T’-piece and more black hose disappearing downward below the mire of cables and wires running alongside the frame. Now this might be no surprise to you, but it had me scratching my head for a while I can tell you! 😕

And this is what I’ve got on the Rally-Raid (click to enlarge)……

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid slipper clutch pneumatic vacuum lines and check valves

A second complete set of pipes AND a second check valve connecting to another ‘Y’-piece. Why do this? Well this is my hunch, guesstimation, call it what you will ….. the 01-03 Capo has I believe a clutch pack that is 43.6mm thick, the 04-08 is 44.9mm thick. A difference of 1.3mm – in other words the valve springs will be compressed an extra 1.3mm on later bikes and that means a little more spring preload for the vacuum system to overcome when getting the clutch to slip, hence the second set of connections to improve the vacuum – 2 cylinder are better than 1! Also, two sources of vacuum from cylinders running out of phase (60° remember) may well help smooth out the pulses you can sometimes feel through the clutch lever. It simply looks like Aprilia modified our blessed Caponords and just didn’t bother to update the parts manual.

So what’s all the hullabaloo, why rip this poor little thing from the Capo’s delicate innards? Well the long and short of it is that one of them is pooped, shot, completely knackered ….. where air should only flow one way, it flows happily in both. Looking at the defective duckbill valve reminds me of Daffy-Duck cartoons, the ones where Elmer Fudd rearranges his bill with a shotgun! No worries, simply order a replacement …….

……. Aprilia part no AP8104251   Just make sure you’re sitting down when you look at the price! :-(

I’ll shortly open up a new page with some more 3D images to try to better illustrate how the system is operating at different stages and how to go about testing the valves and what to expect.

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Dashboard repairs – a reminder

AItaly Abruzzo Civitaquana road closurefter being contacted by a few folks over recent months, I decided to post a quick reminder that I no longer do any dashboard repairs. This isn’t through choice, more a necessity. Since the land slides in March, we’ve yet to see any work start on the badly damaged road network around us ….. bad enough they stuck up ‘no cyclists’ and ‘no motorcycles’ on 80% of them! In fact I only have one viable way out by Caponord and even the journey to the local Post Office is now over four times further – 28Km to be exact.

Unfortunately this simply makes collecting/delivering parcels too costly in fuel and time, especially if I have to use the old gas-guzzling Range Rover! Sorry folks, but until something is done to sort the situation, dashboard repairs will remain shelved indefinitely.

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Oil in the Airbox …..fixed!

You may (or may not!) have read the post a couple of months ago – Fixing a few Capo niggles. That was where between Continental trips, the original air-box molded connection for the crank-case vent was drilled out and a new 90° bulkhead coupling and Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid extended airbox drain tubepipe fitted to drain any oil into the front of the airbox, well away from the throttle body and IACV (Idle Air Control Valve).

Now with the Caponord seriously (+1,000 miles) overdue a service, I got stuck in and removed the tank ready for plugs/air filter. I admit to being really pleased to see no oil what so ever in the upper part of the airbox and only a tell-tale smear in the front section. A syringe sucked what oil there was from the drain tube – approx. 5cc @ 3,000 miles WITH the oil tank filled to the HIGH mark.

Previously it didn’t seem to matter where the oil tank level was, oil kept getting thrown into the airbox and sucked down into the throttle body. Look closely at the design of the airbox and you see the ‘fenced’ in area (red) around the velocity stacks – and of course, the two slots in the stacks (arrows) for excess oil to drain through.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid new crankcase drain inside the airbox

It’s pretty obvious then that Aprilia/Rotax EXPECTED regurgitated oil – and tried to ensure it was fed back to the engine and burnt. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case and when some bikes are left on the side-stand oil manages to get over the ‘fence’ and muck up places it shouldn’t!

Of course a little hot oil can spread a long way and look far worse than it really is ….. I guess it just niggled the hell out of me each time I lifted the airbox lid. In hindsight it’s one of those quick jobs I wish I’d done years ago.

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