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RIDE REPORT–If something feels wrong it is (or how I almost died yesterday)

March 14, 2016

Last week I decided to do a little maintenance on the Caponord.  The last time I had the front wheel off, I noticed the front wheel bearing was a little “crunchy” on one side.  I’ve replaced the wheel bearings twice on my Caponord and once on my brothers Mark II Caponord.  As we start the new riding season, I wanted to take care of all the maintenance ahead of time. 

I took off the front fender, axle nut and axle.  I used my Rawbolt to punch out the bearings and just as I expected, one bearing was perfect and the other was a little crunchy. When I say “crunchy” when you feel anything less than the bearing rotating smoothly – it’s time for new bearings. 

Prior to taking off the front wheel, I put the new bearings in the freezer to help assist the installation process.  I also took one of the old wheel bearings and cut it apart with a Dremel.  What I wanted was the outer bearing race.  While I have a bearing driver kit, I’ve always worried that it might put a bit of stress on the inner bearing race while driving the bearing into the wheel hub (and maybe that’s why the Capo seems to go through bearings).  I used the outer bearing race (after I cut a slot in it to help with removal) as my bearing driver.  That was I knew with complete certainty that only the outer race was being pressured into the hub.

I grabbed the bearings from the freezer and with a few taps they were driven home to the wheel hub.  I re-assembled everything and gave the front brake level a quick squeeze.  The brake lever had a lot of travel in it.  It’s not surprising to feel that after pulling off a caliper so I pumped it a few times and it eventually returned to “normal”


The next day I went for a ride with “Frankie Boots” for almost an hour of the ride, I complained to Frank that the “my front brake feels weird’.  I pulled over to check the axle pinch bolts and could find not problem.  When I applied the brake and neared stopping I could feel a grinding, bouncing feeling.  I kept riding.


I kept riding.  Stupid.  If something feels not right – it ain’t right.  Finally I told Frank that we needed to stop so I could check things out again.  Up until that point we had been cruising with traffic anywhere from 65 to 85 MPH. 


We pulled into a gas station parking lot, and dismounted.  I put the Caponord on the  the center stand and went inside for a couple of bottles of water.  Back at the bike I handed Frank his water and took a few sips.  That’s when Frank said “Uhhh, Eric, your brake pad is hanging out”  I looked at the front wheel and sure enough, the pad had come out of the caliper and was hanging out.  There was a real possibility of hitting a bump and having the pad jamming itself into the wheel and perhaps locking up the front end of the motorcycle.  65 to 85 miles an hour, with a brake pad hanging out……. that’s just stupid.

I got out the tool kit and quickly re-mounted the pads in the caliper.  The change in braking was instant and substantial.  How I could ever think the brakes were fine before that was amazing. 

If something feels wrong – it is. Lesson learned.  If you think something’s wrong with your motorcycle STOP and figure it out.  Go back over any recent procedures and take a good look at the bike.  Who knows, it just might save your life.

Keep riding!

Frank’s Disposable Earplug Review

March 10, 2016


This is the first guest article from Frank G – or as I call him “Frankie Boots” because he just got a new pair of Alpinestars boots and I’m jealous!  Seriously, Frank is a great rider, loves his BMW RT and we spend a lot of time together smoking cigars, bitching about motorcycle gear and lamenting the purchase of Revzilla by Cycle Gear.  Here is Frank’s first article for Singlesided Swingarm.  Welcome Frank!


Hey there everyone, Frank here and today I’m reviewing an assortment of different disposable noise cancelling earplugs or hearing protectors that you might want to use while riding your motorcycle. One thing I want to point out is that I have added into the group one pair of non-disposable earplugs that I purchased from The Twisted Throttle in Rhode Island when I stopped in there one Sunday during a ride. The rest of these are disposable earplugs I purchased from the Ear Plug Superstore online. This website has everything and anything for earplugs and yes even earplugs for your horse. But back to our review

Most of these earplugs are disposable foam and considered “non-rolling “foam type. What that means is that for a lot of you that are used to going to the pharmacy or inexpensive department store and purchasing a bag or box of cheap disposable foam earplugs and using them, they are rolling foam earplugs. They come delivered sort of rectangular in shape and to put them in your ear you have to squeeze or “roll “them to shape before placing and fitting in your ear. It can sometimes be a burden when the earplugs are new because the foam has a strong memory and sometimes bounces back to original shape before you can get them in your ear, which makes it harder to fit. These “non-rolling “earplugs start out “pointed” instead of rectangular making it easier to fit in the ear. They also seem to have a completely different type of foam I was worried that a pointed earplug would not have a better sound rating or hold off loud noises but let’s see what I found.

The first earplug I might as well review are the No Noise earplugs I purchased 1plugfrom Twisted Throttle. For $30 I found these not to do the job that well. They come with a ceramic insert and are made from a foam that seems to be soft enough and have a 3 flange point on them. I found them to be loud and not absorbing a lot of the noise. NRR rating was at an average 30db.

Next were a pair of E-A-R Push-In with Grip Ring disposable earplugs. These plugs had small tabs on the outside ends to help insert and retract from your ears. They were 2plugcomfortable putting in and taking out, but after using them for a couple of days the tabs started breaking off from being in the helmet. The insert material used was a soft foam that had a certain low friction to them and the tapered flange made for nice snugness in the ear. High pitch sounds like a horn were muffled a little too much for me. I want to be able to hear the horn loud and clear with only enough attenuation and dampening. The rest of the outside ambient sounds were muffled pretty well enough. NRR rating at 30db. I somehow liked these as one of my favorites. It had a little of everything; great NRR rating which made for over muffling, snugness, and a stem that made it so you didn’t have to touch the foam when taking in and out. A great sanitary feature.

Next up were a pair of E-A-R Push No Roll Foam disposable ear plugs. A completely different shape  with more of a “lolly pop” looking head. I thought I was going to have a hard time with inserting these things in my ear but much to my surprise I made out OK with these plugs. At minimum, I thought I’d see problems with theear09pg5-PUSH-INSse when they were in the ears for a long time. The shape just said to me “un-natural fit”; but once again I found them to be to my liking. They proved to be comfortable on a 2 1/2-hour trip without stretching my ear canals. NRR rating was sufficient at 28db.

Next up were the Howard Leight Pilot Hybrid Push-Ins UF foam ear plugs. Foam when it is in a tapered design can be appealing because it sits maybe not as snug but slides in easier. I found the sound dampening ample enough though and an NRR rating of 26 backs it up. The stem is short and good for that reason; you don’t have something protruding in your motorcycle helmet but then when you have to take it out I thought it would be a small problem in grasping the recessed tabs. I didn’t have a huge problem but then I wouldn’t be trying to remove them with gloves on. The “UF” in the name is for the description of the type of foam it uses which is Urea Formaldehyde.  4plugNow, I’m no doctor or scientist but to your urea formaldehyde on home insulation may be OK and some may say not but to use this on my skin, in my ear for a long period of time may be something I’m going to stay away from. You make your decision on this one friends. Is it worth it?  Formaldehyde in your ear like that? Your call.

The last pair that I will test are a pair of radical looking Peltor Next Skull Screws foam ear plugs. Yea, have a little fun with your ear plugs. Although not fluorescent like the other soft foam plugs which makes it easier to find when looking for them when lost in your pockets and storage bins, these have a grey color. Which makes up for th5plugat is a great flange and taper and a Philips head looking screw stem. The stem is just long enough for not protruding inside a motorcycle helmet too much. Sound is dampened enough to keep out the loud noises and keep in the necessary noise like a car horn. The NRR rating of 30 is one of the best rating I’ve seen so far. The comfort is also one of the best I’ve had so far. And with that I think I’m going to rate these comical looking ear plugs as a shocking favorite out of all I tested so far. Shocking as I thought when I was looking them all over before the testing began that this would’ve been my last pick just by looking at them but they turn out to be my favorite!

Metripack/Weather Pack–Improving electrical connections on the Aprilia Caponord

November 4, 2015

Ahhhhhhhhh, Italian motorcycles and Italian electronics.  Most Aprilia motorcycles in the double ought’s (2000’s) had electrical issues.  The most infamous is the “brown connector”.  This connector was famous for melting, shorting out, having crappy crimping, oxidized wires, bad connections, and catastrophic failures. 

Needless to say this a nasty problem.

Let’s take a look (sample images from around the internet):







How to fix it once and for all:

At Singlesided Swingarm, we like repairs that you do once, vastly improve the reliability of the motorcycle, and are maintenance and access friendly. 

Both of my Aprilia’s suffered from the “brown connector” problem.  When I made the repair a few years ago, I soldered the connections and shrink wrapped them.  While that’s a good solution to removing the bad connectors, you end up with a connection that is virtually impossible to service in the field. 

Recently the Caponord developed another charging problem.  Having had a similar problem before I immediately bought a new Regulator/Rectifier from Rick’s Motorsport Electrics.  Quick side note about Rick’s – they are an absolutely FANTASTIC bunch of people.  Excellent customer service and even better technical support. 

When I ordered the rectifier/regulator, I knew that I’d have to get into the wiring and chop out the old soldered connections (photo below).  There was no way that I was going to cut the existing wiring shorter, solder the connections and perhaps have to deal with this again in a few years. 

The solution I picked was to make the connections with Weather Pack connectors.  They are bulletproof, obviously  weatherproof, disconnect easily and are fully serviceable in the field.  However – you need to make sure there is room for connectors to FIT.  They are a bit bulky and you definitely need to mock up the connector placement.  The last thing you want is to end up with a perfect wiring job and the bodywork won’t fit back on the bike. 

PHOTO: Hardwired connections on my Aprilia Caponord


Making the connection:

Weather Pack and Metri-Pack products are made by White Products, in Westlake Ohio.  Here’s a link to their product catalog.  I bought mine on e-bay and paid about $20.00 for everything.  You need to know the gauges of your wire.  As you can see there is some room for different diameters (18-16 ga).  The photos below show a typical Weather Pack kit. 

Weather pack 280 – 14 ga – 3 connector

Weather pack 280 – 18-16 ga – 2 connector

If you really want to do this job perfectly you will need to buy a crimping tool.  They run around $100.00. 


If you can assemble LEGO I’m fairly sure you can put these connectors together.  If you don’t have a soldering gun or soldering skills – just buy the professional crimping tool.

Strip the wires, insert the weather seal “gasket” plugs on each wire.  I used a set of electrical crimpers and small pliers to crimp the connection.  Its important to make sure the last bit of the connector crimps the INSULATED (yellow) part of the wire.  After crimping, I soldered each connection.


The lead ends snap into the black housing (below).  You will know it’s right when you hear a “click” and the wire can’t be pulled back out.  After you have all the leads inserted into the plug push the blue sealing gaskets down into the connector.  It helps to use a small blunt screwdriver or a ballpoint pen to push the gaskets into the body.



After the gaskets are flush, attach the sealing connector (white in the photo below).  This takes a bit of pressure to get it to lock onto the housing.  You’ll know when you hear a click on both sides of the connector.  Talk about a solid connection!  And the entire system can be disassembled in the field. 


The next series of photos focuses on the two wire connector assembly. 


PHOTO: Crimping the connection



PHOTO: Soldering the connections


PHOTO: Inserting the pins and sealing gaskets


PHOTO: Detail shot.  The blue connector drives the gaskets into the Weather pack body and ensures they stay that way.



PHOTO: Finished connector



Photo: Testing the connections



Just take your time and pay attention to the details. Once you do the first plug the rest are easy.  I had a few issues getting the plugs to fit where I wanted them inside the frame.  A few zip ties helped keep everything in place.   Lastly, make sure you connect the right plugs!  I managed to mix up the two plug connectors and drive my self virtually insane trying to figure out why the bike would not start.  Red to red, black to black, duhhhhh. 

Questions?  Post them here and I’ll respond.



October 24, 2015

Upcoming reviews for October/November 2015


KLIM Badlands Pro Jacket:


Shoei X-12 Helmet:

SIDI Deep Winter Gloves:

Long term review – Michelin Pilot Road 4:

Long term review- Michelin Pilot Power 2CT:

Visit to Aerostitch pop-up store:

Just in time for winter – A Motorcycle Track Day at Lime Rock Park

October 24, 2015

Just in time for Pumpkin Pie and Cider – A track day at LRP.  It’s been extremely hard to find information on the internet, however we found a link through our Muddy Chef Instagram account.  Here is a link to track day details.

The basic details are:

Motorcycle Track Day, Full Day

Monday, October 26, 20159:00 AM EST

Lime Rock Park Lakeville, CT

Motorcycle track days are returning in 2016 to the 1.5 mile Lime Rock Park road course for the first time in almost two decades! In celebration of the return of motorcycle events, Lime Rock Park is hosting a one-off track riding program for all levels of rider experience on Monday, October 26. The event will be separated into run groups by experience type. Do not miss your opportunity to be a part of history and get a taste of the great ride that Lime Rock Park offers! As a bonus and a thank you for joining us for this unique program, you will receive a 2016 Inside Pass membership to Team Pro-Motion (, one of the groups that will be offering motorcycle track day programs at Lime Rock Park in 2016. That’s a $99.99 value, for free!

I’ve been spending considerable time at Lime Rock Park over the past few years with non-motorcycle related activities and would love to see more events like this take place there.  It’s one hell of a shorter drive for me than all the way to the track in New Hampshire or New Jersey.  The people who run the place – Walter, Roxanne, Ryan and Kate are super cool.

If you go, don’t forget a visit to Toymakers Cafe.

Loop the loop ~ Madison, CT to Stowe, Vt and back

September 15, 2015


October 2015 / Madison, CT

I’ve been bitching all summer that I haven’t ridden enough.  Well, I got my share this weekend for sure!  I had to attend the yearly Ski School orientation at Stowe Mountain.  Held in mid-October, on Sunday – why on Sunday?  What a pain in the ass!  Anyway, enough whining about one day a year administrative stuff, lets get to talking about the ride.

How about great fall weather and foliage?  Nope.  The forecast called for rain, overcast skies and snow in Vermont.  Fantastic.  I kept looking at the Audi and thinking this is going to absolutely suck.  More than 500 miles in horrible weather…..  But, anyone who has been reading this blog over the years knows that I usually just go.  I toss a leg over the bike and make the best of it.

Also, I’m testing gear.  I’m still loving my Held Cardona Gore-Tex Pro jacket.  It’s supposed to hold up to the worst weather and I was a little excited to test it in the “wild”.  Don’t get excited about a long and technical evaluation of the jacket – Held does not make that model anymore and I’m pretty sure I have the last one sold in the USA.  The Cardona is however, the finest motorcycle jacket I’ve ever owned.  The fit and finish is impeccable.   Whomever designs the jackets at Held is an artist.  I’ve never had a garment that is so perfect for riding.  Some jackets billow up, or fill with air, or act like an airdam.  Some immediately leak water, break zippers, have cold spots, etc, etc.  Not with the Cardona.  You put it on, zip it up, and that’s it.  It’s perfect.  The Cardona is really a great compromise between Adventure Touring and Sport Touring jackets.


Well, perfect within reason.  The Cardona is hot in the summer and not setup for really cold weather.  However, in-between those two extremes it’s excellent.  For really nasty cold weather I go into the closet and get out my old Fieldsheer Adventure jacket.  Here’s a photo of Clement Salvadori wearing the Adventure jacket.  As you can see the most important part of this jacket is the zip on high  neck collar.  Clement’s review is here.  I’ve had this jacket for about five years and bought it for $99.00 from  To me it’s the absolute GOLD STANDARD cold weather riding jacket.  And of course,  you can’t buy that one anymore either…. I sense a theme here.


Anyway, enough about jackets.  On with the trip.  I wandered around the house on Saturday killing time.  That’s unusual as normally I’m itchin to get out riding.  The occasional burst of sunlight through the clouds was enough to get me packed and ready.  Somewhere around noon, I hit the starter button and started north.  Madison to Stowe is a little over 250 miles.  Today I’m concentrating on making time.  There ain’t much to look at.  Grey skies, looming dark clouds and wet roads were my companions.  Pretty soon I crossed into Massachusetts, I-91 and i-89 North are good friends of mine.  They’ve taken me to Stratton for years and Stowe for over a decade.  As far as riding goes these highways are a mixture of good and bad.  Both are usually lightly traveled, and you can usually run around 80 MPH without too many worries.  Occasionally they are pretty with foliage or cloudless blue skies.  Then again, the police are expert at hiding along these empty stretches of road and it’s mostly flat, straight Interstate slab.  I imagine it’s Deer country too – that’s always a worry.

Crossing the Massachusetts border, the skies were considerably darker, it looked like the rain – ahead somewhere, how far?  Should pull off to put on my rain pants?  Not yet.  And then there was gas – I’d been running on reserve for a long time and beginning to worry about running out.  As I recall, the reserve is something like 40 miles and right now I’m 38 miles into the reserve……….. I hope the new ECU flash (Thanks Catfish!) gave me better MPG.

Finally, I arrived at Exit 26 off of I-91 North.  Gas and fuel.  I rolled to a stop, side stand down and climbed off.  I had to release the tank bag and swing it aside to get to the fuel door.  I put just over five and a half gallons into the tank.  Whoooo, that was running pretty close to completely empty.  There was a rundown KFC/Taco Bell next to the station.  I wandered inside and ordered up some greasy goodness.  I was finishing my meal when a FJR 1400 rolled into the parking lot.  The rider dismounted and clearly this was another long distance rider.  Beaten up gear, bug splattered Aerotsitch Roadcrafter suit and a weary sort of look.  My kind of guy!  I regretted that I had to get moving and just nodded in his direction as I pulled on my gear and headed out into the cold.


I arrived in Stowe uneventfully.  The only exception was a I pulled into Kevin and Gabriella’s driveway, I almost lost the front end in the slimy mud.  That would have been a fitting end to a long day!  No thank you!  As you can see from the photos it was “a bit chilly” up in Northern Vermont.



I got up Sunday morning and rode over to Stowe.  It was cold but clear.  There were huge snowbanks already in the parking lot.  Maaaaaaaaaaaaybe riding up wasn’t such a good idea after all.  I went inside the building and hung up my gear.  Orientation goes for most of the day and of course, when I walked out of the last session at 3:00 is was snowing lightly. Dammmm.

Looking at the sky I thought – I better get riding south RIGHT NOW.


Heading out of Stowe, I dialed up the Gerbings heated jacket and cinched my gloves tight to the jacket sleeve.  This was going to be a difficult ride.  Cold, black boiling clouds and light snowflakes not my idea of a fun ride.  I made it to Waterbury and carefully rode down the exit ramp onto I-89 South.  Shit, it was absolutely BLACK to the south.  I-89 climbs a bunch as you pass through Barre, VT.  Over the years, I’ve seen some brutal weather there.  I was not excited about riding into something that might put me into the hospital or worse – the morgue.  The weather got colder and darker, heavier snowflakes now.  Slush was accumulating on the road now.  My immediate thoughts were to get to an exit ramp and maybe ride on a secondary road.  The thinking was that while the road conditions might be equally bad, I would have the option to manage my speed down to 35 MPH – and maybe, if I went down that was an acceptable speed.

Then again, dealing with the off-ramp would be an issue.  Less traveled, perhaps iced, and if there was a car behind me bad things could happen.  So, no exiting I decided.  Just keep it upright, no sudden throttle or steering input.  Heck, I’m heading south, at some point this has to pass.  Just for a laugh, I put my boot down to the pavement to see what the road was like.  Slick, nice.  The part that really freaked me out was the amount of ice/slush on my boot – couple of inches.  Whoooooooooo boy.  Not good.

PHOTO:  Not me, no way.  This guy is crazy. 


Finally, after a sold three hours fueled by terror, and the same level of grim determination I imagine possessed by a B-17 waist gunner on his second mission over Germany, the weather improved.  It stopped snowing and the slush was gone from the highway.  I pulled off the interstate for fuel.  If it were possible to dissolve into a puddle, I’d have done it after I stepped off the Caponord.  I’ve been in some nasty weather but nothing like that.  Rolling back into Connecticut, I was greeted by bright sunshine and temps in the 60’s.  Like it never happened……

I was very glad to put the bike away that night and relax on the deck with a bourbon and a fine cigar.

Harley Davidson 2006 Road King Classic – $12,000

August 18, 2015
Road King Classic

Longtime readers of this Blog might be surprised to see a for-sale advertisement here.  Especially one for a Harley Davidson.  Hey – I’ve never said I don’t have a ton of respect for their riders and dealerships.  And, a full dress Harley is a thing of beauty.   My good friend Garrett B is selling this absolutely flawless Road King.  If you visit Cycle Trader or other online motorcycle selling platforms you will see that Garrett’s price is squarely in line with the market.  What you won’t know from those bikes is the actual condition.  This bike is, in my opinion flawless and significantly better than new.  Biased review? Hell yeah!  But I’ve put eyes on the beauty and think the price is right.

Road King Classic

Upgrades include a PowerCommander, Chassis Stabilizer, upgraded saddle, a Garmin Zumo GPS, a windscreen leather pouch with a HD Classic logo and custom designed handlebar grips. Internal Saddle Bag luggage is included as well as the HD Tour Pack.

The Road King Classic has 58,000 miles and has been kept in a special temperature controlled environment when not in use hooked up to a battery tender. Regular oil and all fluid changes. There was also a new cruise control mechanism installed.  Want to buy it?  Send an e-mail to for more information.  The bike is located in the NY/CT area.








Harley-Davidson’s profilation of this bike
Get in the saddle of a Road King® and instantly you declare there is no horizon too distant. The bold profile hits you first. FL forks. Full fenders. Big chrome headlight and nacelle. Everything here is fit for a royal journey. Like an air-adjustable suspension and refined chassis. Detachable windshield.


General information
Model: Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King
Year: 2006
Category: Custom / cruiser
Price as new (MSRP): US$ 21,000. Prices depend on country, taxes, accessories, etc.
Engine and transmission
Displacement: 1442.15 ccm (88.00 cubic inches)
Engine type: V2, four-stroke
Torque: 116.61 Nm (11.9 kgf-m or 86.0 ft.lbs) @ 3500 RPM
Compression: 8.9:1
Bore x stroke: 95.3 x 101.6 mm (3.8 x 4.0 inches)
Valves per cylinder: 2
Fuel system: Carburettor. 40mm constant velocity carburetor with enrichener and accelerator pump
Fuel control: DOHC
Gearbox: 5-speed
Transmission type,
final drive:
Clutch: Multi-plate clutch with diaphragm spring in oil bath
Fuel consumption: 5.34 litres/100 km (18.7 km/l or 44.05 mpg)
Greenhouse gases: 123.9 CO2 g/km. (CO2 – Carbon dioxide emission)
Exhaust system: Chrome, cross-over duals
Chassis, suspension, brakes and wheels
Rake (fork angle): 26.0°
Trail: 157 mm (6.2 inches)
Front tyre: MT90-B16
Rear tyre: Mu85-B16
Front brakes: Double disc
Rear brakes: Single disc
Physical measures and capacities
Dry weight: 327.9 kg (723.0 pounds)
Weight incl. oil, gas, etc: 342.0 kg (754.0 pounds)
Seat height: 704 mm (27.7 inches) If adjustable, lowest setting.
Alternate seat height: 744 mm (29.3 inches) If adjustable, highest setting.
Overall length: 2,380 mm (93.7 inches)
Ground clearance: 130 mm (5.1 inches)
Wheelbase: 1,613 mm (63.5 inches)
Fuel capacity: 18.92 litres (5.00 gallons)
Other specifications
Color options: Vivid black, black cherry, black pearl, fire red pearl, deep cobalt; glacier white pearl, two-tone rich sunglo blue and chopper blue, two-tone chopper blue and brilliant silver, two-tone black cherry and black pearl, two-tone fire red pearl and vivid blac



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