So, we’ve been stuck at home. I never wrote an intro for my BabyNinja (2019 Black Ninja400), so this post is going to be that, a discussion of the work that’s gone into my VStar, and a bit of other motorcycle nonsense, too.
First of all, say hello to my new bike – a 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 400 that I bought at an amazing price back in January. I was lazily browsing Craigslist, kind of looking at small sport bikes to compliment my giant VStar, figuring I’d get the big one running again and eventually find a good deal on a ~2015 Ninja 300 to compliment it. Long story short, this one happened instead. I know there’s no such thing as perfect, but this bike comes damned close to it, for what I wanted. It’s small, it’s new (no meaningful maintenance for awhile!) and it’s nimble. It has the qualities that exactly balance out the VStar, and balance is important, both in the force and in life.
There was drama about picking it up because part of the reason it was so cheap is that the dude had garaged it in bumblefuck and didn’t want to bring it out to LA. It was a solid hour just to drive out there to look at it and make sure the bike wasn’t fictional. It wasn’t. Eventually, I rented a truck, hopped in the cab and drove out there with some ratchet straps. After a stop to pick up a motorcycle ramp (think I’ll ever use it again?) and a little help from the dude to roll it into the truck, i had me a new bike. Did I mention it had fewer than 100 miles on it?
Now this fucker is a different story. Entirely my fault, but it’s been sitting up on the street for nearly four years now. Part of my New Years resolutions was to finish more projects than I begin (at least for awhile!), and this was/is foremost on the list. I bought all the parts I needed, minus a $650 tank, and then sat another month or 6 weeks until quarantine really began in earnest.
At some point, I decided it was time to get to work, and like any true quarantine loser, i pushed this thing, flat tires and all, all the way up the alleyway by myself. That part sucked, but not compared to what was to come. The fix, pictures of which are below, was actually not that bad, although it did manage to make me miserable during some of it, and it’s still making me miserable right now (I’m talking to YOU speedometer!).
I threw away perfectly good spark plugs! I paid a guy to come do a thing I’d already done just fine! I’m trying to tell myself I paid a guy to come tell me something I wasn’t experienced enough to know on my own, namely that my fuel pump should click when the key is switched on, and mine not doing that was bad. It still idles really rough and I’m not 100% sure the mix is right, but it runs, and runs better than it did at the start of the tank of gas I put in it, so that’s good. I’m pretty sure the idle is high, but I know how to back that off, so i’ll fix that before I ride it today. Or, more likely, I’ll spin the wheel and break something else – let’s be honest.
Yesterday’s ride would have been great if not for the speedometer and the engine light that came on around the second half of the ride for 10-15 minutes. The new shoes grip like rubber (ahem) and the engine seems to run without too much hesitation or drama. I’ll work on the tune after I get the speedo fixed. I also think it’ll get better after another tank of gas. I’m hoping I can fix the speedometer today before I ride because it’s connected to the odometer and I know I lost at least a few miles during yesterday’s failures, and with the VStars, the only way you know how far you’ve got till empty is to keep an eye on the odometer. Go figure.
Okay, now it’s time to quit talking and start wrenching. Thanks for letting me vent. I’ve missed writing, and even this is a good start, right?