Modifications to my Scrambler

This video is a walkthrough of the modifications that I’ve made to my 2013 Triumph Scrambler.

  • British Customs Retro Blinkers (front and rear)
  • BC Front Signal Relocation
  • BC Rear Signal Relocation
  • BC Fender Eliminator
  • BC Retro Taillight
  • Biltwell Grips
  • Metzeler Lasertec Tires
  • BC O2 Sensor Removal
  • BC SAI Removal
  • Airbox Snorkel Removed
  • Airbox Baffle Removed
  • Airbox Cover Clearanced
  • VW Beetle Tailpipes (from Vee Village)
  • Tank Pad Removal
  • Standard Bonneville Shocks (1″ shorter)
  • Custom Tune with TuneECU

I’m pretty strapped for time so these have all been wonderfully quick and easy. Some of the pieces have been more costly than I would like (the O2 and AI removal kits), but the convenience of not having to track down the bolts and the finish of the pieces made the extra money worth it.

This bike makes me smile every time I get on it. It’s not as fast as my Speed Triple R was. It’s doesn’t have as much swagger as my Nightster did. It’s not nearly as versatile as the BMW G650GS was. But, I love this thing. These modifications have made the bike feel like mine, like an extension of me. I know that sounds silly, but it’s true.

If you have any questions about what I’ve done, please let me know in the comments!

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Some Love from British Customs

A while back I made a long, tedious video of installing the British Customs Fender Eliminator and Turn Signal Relocation kit. The clever people over there picked it up and posted on their blog!

Thanks to Scott for the tip!

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Waste not, want not. 

Ever since I bought my ’13 Bonnie I’ve been bolting on aftermarket items and I’ve started to accumulate spare stock parts. They have been sitting and collecting dust in my garage. As I was sitting in my garage enjoying a delicious beverage I started to look around and take an inventory of the junk that has started to overtake my space. I was getting a little uncomfortable sitting on a stack of spare shingles in the corner. It was then that I saw my stock seat from the T100 (or the ironing board as I have called it since the moment I rode the Bonnie out of the shop). I grabbed it off the shelf and sat it down on top of the shingles. It was actually rather comfortable. That’s when I had my idea: to make a shop bench out of it.

[ This guest post is courtesy of Scott Sowers. When not teaching science, he can be found doing home improvement projects, being a dad, being a husband, and maybe riding a motorcycle. — ed.]

IMG_0261.JPGI grabbed another beer and got to work. I need to take a second to say that I am a new father as of July 31st, so my attention has been primarily on my daughter. I get few moments to myself and they come generally only when she is napping. So let’s just say that time was working against me. This wasn’t going to be a pretty creation. It was just something fun to do. I grabbed a box of screws, my screwgun, and my saw and started throwing scrap wood in a pile outside.

IMG_0262.JPGIn the corner of my garage was an old rickety ladder left by the previous homeowners. A few weeks ago when my dad was over he told me he liked it and wanted to take it home but it didn’t quite fit in his truck. Well we fixed it – we sawed off about 2 feet from the bottom! For some reason I kept the extra bit of the ladder (probably for firewood for the winter). That became the base of the bench. The rest of the wood was simply scraps. I reinforced it so that it wouldn’t collapse under my weight and mounted the saddle to the top. There was no measuring; just eyeballing. It looked good but something was missing. I grabbed the stock pipes and a couple of pieces of wood, and before long my bench had some shiny chrome!

This is not a masterpiece by any stretch, but it’s my creation. It looks perfect in the garage with the rest of my stuff, and it’s actually not a bad place to sit and contemplate when I need an escape from the daily grind.

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Fender Eliminator from British Customs

I always say I’m not modifying motorcycles … but guess what, I do. This one was kind of necessary as I accidentally broke my taillight lens by backing my Scrambler into the corner of my house. Whoops.

I looked at a few kits and stuck with this one as I liked the shape of the lights included. If you want to kill 25 minutes, here’s a YouTube video (scroll down for more text and pictures).

If you watched the video you’ll see that I was pretty frustrated by the lack of instructions. With all of the work that would go in to designing this and sourcing the parts, a few simple pages would have been easy to knock out. An especially bad part is the wiring. The colors didn’t match up to the Triumph colors (at all … not even kind of close). Luckily, some people on Triumph Rat had gone through the trouble of blowing fuses so I didn’t have to. This is made even worse when I look at how much this cost.

On the plus side, British Customs shipped the same day I ordered, everything was packed well, and the parts all feel like quality parts.

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The Hidden Costs of Motorcycling

“I bet that’s great on gas!”

No, it’s not and, no it’s not cheap in any other way either. Other than a low sticker price, motorcycling is expensive in a lot of ways people don’t prepare for.

Stuff

There’s just a lot of stuff you need. If you’re a safety junkie, you’re going to spend a ton on safety gear. Helmets, jackets, dedicated boots, pants, that nerdy-but-handy Aerostich suit, gloves.

Ooooh, I need an outlet to charge my phone!

That billet brake reservoir cover sure looks better than that plastic thing that came on it.

Surely a different seat will be more comfortable.

And on and on … there’s a reason there are hundreds of motorcycle accessories dealers, motorcyclists can’t leave shit alone. You’ll get the bug too.

Maintenance

No one goes in expecting to have no maintenance, but a lot of people aren’t prepared for the cost or work (which costs time) that these vehicles need. Some are easier than others, but the shop bill for yearly valve inspections on a high-strung motor isn’t cheap.

The drive line sucks a lot of cash too. Everyone knows chains wear out, but when a belt breaks (and they do, trust me) you’ve got to pull the swingarm off. Time or money on that one … your choice.

Brake pads seem to not last as long. Maybe that’s in the way I ride, but I can roast a set of pads in a year of regular street riding.

The big one is tires. All the tires. All the time. And they aren’t cheap. I had a shop put tires and brakes on my Nissan and that’s cheaper than just purchasing my preferred tires. The tires let you know too, they get squared off, or greasy feeling, or you cheaped out on tires and you HATE the ones you bought. Tires will put you into debt quick.

Events

Bike nights, trips with your buddies, bike shows, track days, MSF courses all add up. Sure it might be $10 or $20 bucks buying drinks at a bike night, but if you do that every week you’ll feel it. And you’ll start making up reason to take rides burning extra gas, rushing towards that next oil change. It’s fun, but be prepared.

It’s a real vehicle

This one really gets people. It seems like a fun toy, a diversion from daily life. It’s not, it’s a real, honest to goodness vehicle in the eyes of the state and county and they want their tax money. Property taxes, license plates, title fees, sales tax. Just like a car. I’m in the odd situation where my motorcycle is worth more and therefore costs more in taxes than either of my cars. I really felt it when I was writing “Jackson County Collector” on a check a few hours ago.

It’s for love

That’s the only reason I can really come up with to justify motorcycling. It’s impractical. It’s costly. It takes away time from other things in my life that may be more important. It’s hurt me. I’ve been in the back of an ambulance strapped to a back board thinking, “I hope I can ride soon.”

And that’s why it’s worth it.

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The Parallel by Bailey and Watkins

Motorcycles and leather. A pairing based in functionality but often embraced for style.

Being close friends with the wonderful people behind Bailey and Watkins, I get to see their work take shape. This piece, The Parallel, doubles as a day bag and saddle bag for a Triumph Bonneville.

The Triumph influence carries through the name and into the entire concept of these pieces. His and hers, in parallel, just like the motor powering them down the road.

The Bailey and Watkins website has the entire backstory for this, and all, of their amazing creations.

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Interview: Camping on a Scrambler with Beer and Guns

Will Shoemaker posted a picture of his recent camping trip to /r/motorcycles and it gained a lot of attention and caused a bit of controversy due to some of the items he packed.Will's Scrambler

I knew I had to get the backstory on the bike and the person riding it into the woods.

WorldOf2: I loved the title you gave your post on Reddit (Nobody wanted to go camping with me, fuck it I’ll go by myself then.). It really encompasses the way a lot of people feel about motorcycling being an escape. Avid campers that I know feel the same. Which came first: camping or motorcycling?

Will: Camping came first, my earliest memories are camping with my mom in pops in VA. I started riding when I was 19 and my first bike was a KLR 250 so moto camping logically followed suit.

That’s the attitude you have to have when you want to ride though, you have to say fuck it. Fuck it I’ll ride alone, fuck it I’ll ride in the rain, fuck it 600 miles isn’t that far.

Wo2: Do you have much experience with moto-camping?

W: The type of moto camping I do now isn’t like how I started out. I’d bring my KLR up to the mountains when I was a dumb kid and we’d get drunk and ride it around on trails but we’d take all our gear in the trucks. Now I can pack enough gear for 2 weeks on my bike and camp comfortably and not get drunk and crash my bike on some mountain bike trail like a dumbarse.

Wo2: You have a pretty interesting load out, and one that made for some controversy in some of the comments when first posted on Reddit. Can you give a run down of your luggage, gear, and packing technique?

W: I have 3 packs that I carry on my Scrambler. Back pack which contains my sleeping bag, AR (I don’t always take a rifle only when I want to plink), a hand gun, and a few other small essentials. I also have a small duffel that contains my sleeping pad, cooking supplies, hammock, pillow, book, webbing, lights, food, various other small essentials. I also have a small soft cooler which contains 12 beers from my local micro brewery of choice and various other small essentials (bottle opener).

A lot of people shit the bed about showing a gun on the motorcycle sub [/r/motorcycles] and I believe my comment in response to this was it was for plinking and something about mountain lions.

Wo2: I notice a few non-stock things on your Scrambler. What all have you done to it?
W: I literally just bought the bike a month ago from a rad older dude back in the mountains. He had put the after market seat on (with the luggage rack) but other than that it was stock. First thing I did was put dirt bars on it because it made the bike feel more like my Monster and the low-profile looked way better.

Wo2: Any planned modifications?

W: Planned Mods? I thought about chopping the tail but then again I hate having water pissing down my backside everytime it rains, thought about getting the 2-1 arrow but the stock exhaust is pretty sick. Honestly I’ll probably just get a head light screen to prevent that from getting fucked up and maybe get some legit dirt bike pegs because the rubber one suck for gripping with my cowboy boots.

Wo2: How off-road did you get and how do you feel the Scrambler handled that?

That was pretty tame off road, I could handle a lot more intense off road without being fully geared down. I feel like with that bike you could take it anywhere but there is always the risk of dropping it because it’s pretty heavy and I’m not a huge fellow but fuck it those would just be battle scars right?

Wo2: What other motorcycles have you owned?

W: Previous bikes, first bike was a 2001 KLR 250. No shit, probably the best bike you can get to learn on, you can drive it off a cliff then pick it up and drive to class the next day. Next bike was a 883 Sportster, also great bike for your first “real” motorcycle I’ll probably get one again one day. After that I got a Monster 696 also solid, good for commuting and touring (believe it or not) blew that fucker up first ride in the rockies. Then I got the Scrambler, had it a month and put 2K miles on it no regrets it’s the coolest bike ever made and it gets me where I need to be.

Wo2: Let’s talk about the AR. Is this a custom build or an off-the-shelf?

W: No it’s not a custom build totally stock Bushmaster M4A3 heavy barrel, I’m not really a gun nut but I have an arsenal for plinking and hunting from when I lived in VA. I haven’t really adapted that to CO yet. I spend to much time riding and working now.

Wo2: Why an AR instead of a handgun? It seems like a handgun would be the easier option on a bike?

W: An AR is an interesting choice for motocamping, but I love to shoot rifles, it’s relaxing for me it’s not often you get to that level of focus. That being said I typically shoot .22 for fun (plinking) but living in CO I can’t find any .22 ammo and I’m saving my last 30 rounds for squirrels and rabbits this fall. A hand gun is always a better option when packing light, and I did have one with me but I don’t enjoy shooting them like I do my rifles. I brought the hand gun for critter defense.

Wo2: Any particular challenges packing the AR?

W: No challenges I had it strapped solidly into the side wall of my pack. I’ve done this many times before and never had it become loose or fall out. The biggest risk is it gets some mud on it or some soccer mom calls the cops on me while I’m gassing up.

Wo2: How was the plinking?

W: Plinking sucked because I bought glass bottles and didn’t have any beer cans to shoot. Also forgot ear plugs this time so I just shot at a tree in a bank about 100 yards out just to squeeze the trigger a bit. Needless to say I’m rusty this year.

Wo2: I assume nomadic moto-camper isn’t your day job, what do you do?

W: I’m an IT Project Manager. I dress up and act nice to people who suck and stare at computers all day so I try to do the exact opposite of that on the weekends.

Wo2: Do you have any more moto-camping trips planned?

W: Yep, next summer/fall I want to explore the Pacific Northwest, I want to head up there and fly fish, hit up some new breweries and visit friends.

I’ve ridden cross country from the East Coast to Colorado and back but never any further north or west.

Here are photos from that trip.

Wo2: Thanks for you time! Anything you want to add in?

W: Yep sure. I see too many people playing dress up or having a dick measuring contest about who’s got the best bike. Riding needs to be about getting you to where you need to be, be that a state of mind or a remote location in the Rockies. Say fuck it and go ride somewhere.

Dammit I just typed a shit load. Blame it on the gin.

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Video: VW Bug Tailpipes on a Triumph Scrambler

There’s something about hearing the impulse of burnt gasoline exiting an engine. Just wrapping our heads around the progress humans had to make to be able to control thousands of little explosions that move us down the road  with a tiny twist of our hands.

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