Stock your toolbox with protective gear…

I have always made an effort to protect myself with the best riding gear I could afford.  But often, my attention to safety stopped at the garage door, and I did not follow that same line of thinking while wrenching.  It’s easy to jump into a fix, with nothing but your bare skin between you and the incredibly nasty cleaning products, needed to strip these old bikes of their filth.  Although there are more and more “Eco-friendly” cleaners on the market, the type of product necessary to get engine parts clean are still highly toxic (and often highly flammable). Read More …

A ride up the Palisades…

Courtesy of NYSroads.com

The other day I found a guy on Craigslist who was selling a box of cheap parts, which seemed to have a few things I could use.  He was located out in New Jersey, up north toward the State line.  I decided to take this opportunity to ride up over the GWB and hit the Palisades Parkway, and make a day of it.  So I saddled up on the CB550, in a great mood, but of course the traffic gods felt otherwise, and I was stuck in bumper to bumper on 287 in Queens/Bronx for about 45 minutes.  There wasn’t even enough room to lane split for much of the time, so I waited impatiently for the hordes to get moving.

Once I finally crossed the GWB, I took the first exit off the bridge, onto the Palisades.  It’s been years since I have traveled this road, and I was now wondering why I waited so long.  Instantly you are not in the city anymore, and the road opens up to reveal a ton of trees along the sides of the parkway.

If you have never been, The Palisades Parkway is a divided highway, 2 lanes per side, with nice twists and turns at speed.  The cops can be a little nasty on this stretch closest to the city, so be careful to watch for them.  But honestly, it’s more about taking it easy, and enjoying the view.  The highway slopes up north toward the border of NY State, to the Bear Mountain part of Harriman State Park, hugging the Hudson the entire way.   Bear Mountain and Harriman are also a gorgeous ride, but that’s for another time…

There are only a few exits off the highway, and I planned on taking the 2nd one, which gives you access to a small twistie that curves all the way down to the Hudson.  This road winds along the cliffs, eventually spitting you out onto the Boat Basin landing, where people congregate to BBQ and lounge in the sun, especially on a holiday weekend.  Unfortunately, I got to the bottom of the road, and there was a park ranger waiting for me, at a sign that demands money to enter the basin.  Bullshit!  I asked if there was somewhere I could slip my bike for a minute to take a few shots, but he refused, so I turned around and was on my way.

I traveled only to the next exit where I left the highway for my destination, or should I say my destiny with a box of useless parts?

Highly recommended if you feel like taking a nice ride, complete with trees, which despite the book, still don’t seem to grow in Brooklyn…

Honda CB 550 Rear Wheel Rebuild

This is what she looked like when I started.

Back when I first got my Honda CB 550 K, I bought a stock brake panel from a friend of mine, to replace the incorrect one the PO had installed. Turns out he threw in the entire rear wheel, hub, spokes and all, along with the brake panel I needed. So I decided to rebuild the entire rear wheel from scratch, with new bearings and brake pads. The new one was in better condition anyway, and the beauty was that I could do it off the bike, with my current one still getting me where I needed to go, while I rebuilt it at a leisurely pace. Well, leisurely turned into a snails pace! Read More …

Honda CB 550 Front Brake Overhaul

The right size, or not?

For the past few months I have been slowly gathering the parts to do a complete overhaul on my front brake. Compared to modern bikes, my old 1976 Honda CB 550 K does not have the best braking power, so I figured making it as good as possible, was the responsible thing to do. Read More …