The Rough Draft

If you can't go through it. Go around it.

I was supposed to do the Lawrence Hacking’s Overland Adventure Rally today but instead I got to reap the results of being called in to work last Saturday.  Because I had to work, I didn’t get my tires changed and taking a good look at the state of my front.  I’m not going to trust that on gravel.

Even my rear was getting a bit squiffy.

I had heard through the club that Carrier Group Center in Hamilton had picked up Dual Sport Plus’ product lines (and I’m guessing the remainder of the store stock) and were going to be moving in to servicing the Adventure Bike scene on top of their usual trail and dirt bike business.  I fired off an email trying to get a service appointment for a tire change, last week.  Nothing came of it.  Which I find pretty irritating.  Don’t post up a contact email if you’re simply not going to bother answering it.

I decided to try Rosey Toes.  A local motorcycle mechanic shop that’s been servicing the Toronto scene for a very long time, who I’d heard about through the GTAM forum and local scene.  I was warned Ted was a bit crusty but I happen to like crusty as it means no bullshit.  Ted has no email and no computer.  You go to him, you pay cash.

So after running some short errands with the wife, I headed over to the Rosey Toes shop.  The address is in North York, which I always think is much further North that it really is.  Where I’m thinking it’s halfway to Barrie, it’s actually just to the East of Pearson and North of the 401 in a semi industrial area.  I’ve got a couple of clients in that area so I nearly slapped my forehead when I realized how close it was.

It’s a real honest to God old school shop.  Everybody wanting stuff done to their bikes hangs around outside.  Regulars get first dibs on the work or if it’s not super serious, they get rescheduled later in the week.  There’s an ebb and flow to joint that isn’t going to work for people with some place else to be that day.  You park your ass, relax and talk bikes with the other customers and wait your turn.  Ted will put you to work too if the rims you’re getting new rubber on aren’t clean enough.

I had to laugh as a young squid pulled up on a rashed up street fighter.  If I had to guess I’d say it was an 84 GSXR.  He told Ted he had an issue with his chain.  Ted and one of the other mechanics went over the bike.  They re-tensioned the chain and changed the kid’s oil (after asking him if he wanted that done and then they informed him he’d been riding with ten pounds pressure in the front and twenty pounds in the rear.  But to be fair they were educating a young rider who obviously didn’t know any better and they did it in the same way other mechanics educated me when I knew fuck all.  The kid rode away happier and a little smarter and one day I hope he’ll realize the discomfort of a bit of gear is better than a skin graft.

Anyway, after a couple of hours my bike was rolled in and the tires changed and it cost me $80.  I would have paid more at the Carrier Center and I’m sure it would have been more of a sterile experience.

One other thing, these guys are into old bikes.  There’s plenty hanging around and I saw more than few bits of old iron roll up during my stay from an R-75 BMW to an 85 Nighthawk in really good condition that was getting safety certified.

Yeah I had fun…

Here’s the new rubber.

There’s a slight oscillation on the front end at 100+ Kmh but I think it’s related to the fact there’s no center block on the tire, just a groove and the tire wanders back and forth on the edges of the knobs.  It dies down when you’re under the 100 Kmh mark.  It doesn’t help that the Toronto roads are beat to shit by the level of traffic so you’re surfing wavy concrete and asphalt everywhere.  I’m not considering going super fast on any part of the Translab, though it does surprise me how much slower I was instantly on these tires.  It could be I’m wary of the knobbies as I haven’t been on a DOT rated knobby for over twelve years and you have to adjust your brain for the new contact patch.  These Karoo 2s are really just for this trip, I’ll be swapping them off when I get back.  There was a guy with a R-1200 GS getting a set of Karoo 3s put on, they look like a much road friendlier pattern, I may try a set of them.

The rubber is now done, all that left is an oil change and cleaning my air filter.

D Day approaches.


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