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Author Topic: Long Commutes?  (Read 1496 times)

Will

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Long Commutes?
« on: July 29, 2010, 08:07:13 PM »
I just read WillW's comments and the answers about overheating on a long ride, but how would a new Bullet hold up to a regular thrashing of 80 or more freeway miles?  What about stop and go traffic at the end of those rides?  It is a bike I have always thought would be the perfect commuter if it would survive the regular commute and if the Prince of Darkness is well and truly banished.  It rains a lot here, and I would ride it in cold, wet, nasty weather as well as hot, sunny weather.  Is 25,000 miles/ year on a Bullet as dumb an idea as it seems?

gashousegorilla

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2010, 10:26:59 PM »
I think the jury is still out on the reliability thing.Should be better then the older bullet's. I think 25K a year might be pushing it? A local guy over here I think just hit 20K on his G-5.He should have some better Idea's.
An thaibhsí atá rattling ag an doras agus tá sé an diabhal sa chathaoir.

Ducati Scotty

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2010, 03:15:41 AM »
Sounds like the absolute limits of what the bike could/should be asked to do.  I think a small BMW would handle that a lot better.  They go hundreds of thousands of miles in a lifetime and don't mind getting rained on so much as most bikes.  A Honda Nighthawk would be great for that too but it's a soulless riding appliance more than a motorcycle.

Scott

Ice

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2010, 03:49:23 AM »
 Keeping the speeds reasonable I believe an 80 mile ride is better than an 8 mile ride.

 All of the bits get to expand to the sizes and shapes they are designed to be when operating temperatures are reached. Parts get dried of moisture Seals get lubed
 
The water and other condensates in the oils gets a chance to evaporate too.

Google up David Willet and his 416,000 mile Harley. He did many long hauls.
I can break it better,,,,at night, in the rain, on the trail,, 20 miles from nowhere.

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BRADEY

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2010, 05:34:03 AM »
I would say the RE will hold up very well in cooler climes (be it rain as well), because we in INDIA do really long rides in tempratures above 100* F without any problems.
The trick is to ride the bike's torque curve where she is happiest all day long, rather than its power curve, which puts a lot of pressure on its hand built engine.

cheers.

Maturin

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2010, 07:10:58 AM »
Its not heat whats kills engines on the long run, its cold. Apart from overheating certain parts like valves or piston by wrong treatment like long full-throttle-operations, you´re doing the best you can do to your bike with long trips.
But if you look for a motorcycle that keeps on running under most circumctances you are on the wrong tack! As Scotty mentioned before a little flaw- and soulless YamahaHondathang would be much better. 25 k miles/year is pushing the Bullet to her limits within a few years, aswell as most japanese singles aswell. If you will be heavily  dependent on your bike to run get yourself a BMW, I ran my old 90/6 between km 50000 to 120000 and I always were able to reach my destination (although close sometimes ;D).
If you decide yourself for a RE you should have fun getting your fingers dirty, at least occasionally.
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clubman

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2010, 08:22:09 AM »
I rarely do a journey that's less than 60 miles; I just do so at weekends only rather than every day. The engine will cope very well with such distances. What would put me off would be the number of chain adjustments, lubing etc though I suppose a Scottoiler or similar would go some way to managing that. Then there's the vibration issues - side panel locks falling out, loose connections. All these things can be sorted over time but if I were relying on it as daily transport it would probably get quite frustrating while doing so.

UncleErnie

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2010, 12:25:26 PM »
Give George and Sam identical motorcycles.
In 2 years, Georges bike will perform and look as new, and Sam's bike will have caved in.
George will talk about what a great bike the new UCE is, and Sam will talk about how he was "taken" and what a rolling pile the new UCE turned out to be.

Some people just get lucky, I guess... ?
Run what ya brung

WillW

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2010, 03:38:20 PM »
I regularly have rides of over 100 miles with no problems. I agree with Clubman that the frequency with which the chain requires adjustment is a bloody nuisance. Chain lube can always be carried in a spray can. I don't get stuff falling off, apart from the exhaust heatshield early on, but there's a simple answer to that... ;)
I wouldn't want to hammer it along the freeway for 80 miles at a stretch - it doesn't mind an occasional spell of 70/80mph, but it wasn't built for sustained riding at those speeds. Bradey said it already - ride within the bike's comfort range and it'll roll all day with no worries.
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2004 Kawasaki W650
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REpozer

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2010, 03:55:53 PM »
I would say the RE will hold up very well in cooler climes (be it rain as well), because we in INDIA do really long rides in tempratures above 100* F without any problems.
The trick is to ride the bike's torque curve where she is happiest all day long, rather than its power curve, which puts a lot of pressure on its hand built engine.

cheers.
That's the way I roll. Its all about staying in the torque curve.
 On another thread, someone is putting together a shift change chart , based on high RPM horsepower curve.  Their engine will be a pile in no time if operated like that.
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REpozer

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2010, 05:09:49 PM »
Not sure if there is a non-stretch chain.  At some point your chain should slow in stretching.
I am not familiar with dry lube on a chain either. Makes me wonder if that could be causing some undo stretching.

My chain has settled out, I use  spray chain lube after a ride. Before the next ride I wipe off the excess chain lube, with a rag. Yes I get some oil sling, but very little.
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WillW

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2010, 05:17:44 PM »
Hmmmmm   ...  almost 5000 miles and still stretching.
The Wurth is more like wax than oil. It comes highly recommended,and I'm sure it's doing what it should, but it never quite looks as though the job's been done!

Had a look at those scott oilers - I always love a new toy - and it sounds like a great idea, but blimey what a carry on!  ???
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~ the best british bike they never made ~

Ducati Scotty

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2010, 08:02:42 PM »
Scott Oilers can mke a mess if you don't set them right.  From all my reading, DID brand chains are about the best in the industry because they are made to the tightest tolerances.  I was very pleased with the one I put on the Ducati but I only got maybe 1000 miles on it before it was totalled.  If you know what size chain the RE takes I'm pretty sure you could get one.

Dry chain lubes: I'm not sure these really work for non-O/X ring chains.  On O/X-ring chains the grease is installed in each link pivot at the factory and sealed in by the ring.  Lubing the chain gets nothing to the real stressed pivot points.  You just need to lube the sealing rings so they stay good and keep the factory grease in.  I think dry lubes do this well with a very minimal mess.  These chains do tend to last longer. 

On a conventional chain you can lose and replenish the lubication at the pivots with wear, cleaning, and re-lubing.  I don't think the dry/wax/teflon spray lubes really offer the same kind of long term protection as thicker oils do for highly stressed pivots in a traditional chain.  Just my opinion but all the fabulous (and I think deserved) write ups on dry lubes with long term usage that I've seen are for X/O-ring chains.  I haven't seen one yet with someone who used it on a traditional chain and kept it for 20,000 miles.

I'll post up a link on some good chain info later.

Scott

WillW

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2010, 08:09:57 PM »
Thanks Scott.
So is that a conventional chain on the UCE bikes? 
Pardon my ignorance but I hadn't got to Chains yet....... ;)
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qgolden

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2010, 08:30:58 PM »
Chains don't stretch.  

Ok, not don't pull out the shotgun yet, hear me out.

"Chain Stretch" is a misnomer often used to describe the condition where the chain gets longer.  What is really happening is that when the chain is made it is a series of links. pins, and sometimes rollers.  There has to be a certain amount of play between the link plates and the pins to allow them to flex. For the sake of discussion lets say a new chain out of the box has a half a thousandths clearance.  (Read that .0005.) As the chain is first used the initial wear within the pin and link area is significant (like breaking in a motor) so after a few hours of operation the clearance is now a thousandths. (.001) So you take that newly created clearance and add it up times the number of links (pitches) in the chain and you have a new length.  So if you have 110 links and you create another thou per link you have added 110 x .001 =.110. Just under an eighth of an inch to the chain length.  That is why you always re-check your chain and might make an adjustment within a relevantly few miles of a new install.

Now give me another minute...An eighth of an inch don't sound like much,

But now lets talk about chain lube.  I know there are all kinds of new lubes on the market, dry lubes an such that are great at keeping your bike cleaner.  However experience tells me that the primary job of a chain lubricant is to make parts slippery, right.  Nope, it has an equally important function of flushing out the debris and dirt that is picked up as the chain goes 'round and does its work.  IMHO, if there is not any oil leaving the sprockets and flying over the rear rim and the engine cases then there is no way it is flushing out the debris.   Sooo, if the debris is staying inside the chain it is irritating the space betwixt the pin and link plate.  Unlike an Oyster that creates a gem in an irritated space, that dirt will works its way around and before long that little .001 space now gets larger and larger.  So now it us up to .002.  110 links x .002 = .220. Darn near a quarter inch.  Little more dirt, little more time and you have a chain that is beyond it useful pitch because the distance between the pins has increased.  Now that the chain is out of spec. it starts to eat at the sprockets.  The radius of the inside of the sprocket pitch is machined to precisely fit the bushing or roller that is covering the chain pin. So as the distance 'tween pins increased it wears on the side of the sprocket.

Wax  based and grease based chain lubes are excellent in an environment where dirt  and temperature are not an issue. Like running a conveyor in an air conditioned factory.  The work is steady, the temperature is stable and the chain stays clean.

Our chains are in the worst environment they can be in, dirt, heat, different loads at different times and the constant pull of over and under tension based on suspension travel.  Even the load of one passenger vs two, or adding a sidecar.

Another enemy of the chain is heat. The running temperature of a chain ideally should not exceed 160 degrees F Above that, chain lubricant starts to thin, and the chances of it seeping out past the O-rings increase; eventually the film strength drops, don't forget the huge amount of centrifugal force as that chain whips around the end of the sprockets.

Even the cheapest chain without O-rings will last a surprising amount of time with proper care, meticulous adjustment and oiling at 350-mile intervals.

The average 110 link chain contains over 400 precisely machined components,  well OK, some of the are stamped, but the stamping dies are incredibly precise and the tolerance of the stampings is incredibly high.

So if you want good chain life, use a good lube, use it generously and often. It costs less than chains.   And tension it correctly.  Chain too tight is worse than a chain too loose, especially in the first 350 miles.
Any other Enfields in New England?

qgolden

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2010, 08:39:40 PM »
Scott Oilers can mke a mess if you don't set them right.  From all my reading, DID brand chains are about the best in the industry because they are made to the tightest tolerances. 

The best I have seen is made by Diamond.  Lots of chopper houses use it including some infamous ones built on the TV.  The pins are made of a powdered metal that is impregnated with lube.  The lube is released though heat and wear so you get supplemental lubricant in addition to regular maintenance.

The reason the Scott system works so well it that it is constantly flushing out the debris.
Any other Enfields in New England?

JesterNT

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2010, 08:45:33 PM »
I have been using my C5 as a daily driver for the last two weeks.  I do 90 miles round trip with very little stop and go.  I average 65 -70 mph.  The vibration factor has proven apparent.  By the end of my 2nd week I have lost 4 fender screws, the bottom bolt that holds on the tail light assembly, and the fork lock fell off!  I replaced the fender screws with some nice chrome ones with nylon locking nuts.  When replacing the taillight bolt I added a lock washer.  My dealer ordered a new fork lock, I plan to use locktite generously.  If you plan to ride every day I think you’ll find that you need to tighten “everything” quite frequently, or add locking nuts wherever possible.  
So far the chain adjustment has held up nicely.  I use a full synthetic “MOTOREX Chain Lube 622 Strong Street Spray (#36968)”.  It sticks well and lasts long.
Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

clubman

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2010, 09:59:54 PM »
Chains don't stretch.  

Ok, not don't pull out the shotgun yet, hear me out.

"Chain Stretch" is a misnomer often used to describe the condition where the chain gets longer.  What is really happening is that when the chain is made it is a series of links. pins, and sometimes rollers.  There has to be a certain amount of play between the link plates and the pins to allow them to flex. For the sake of discussion lets say a new chain out of the box has a half a thousandths clearance.  (Read that .0005.) As the chain is first used the initial wear within the pin and link area is significant (like breaking in a motor) so after a few hours of operation the clearance is now a thousandths. (.001) So you take that newly created clearance and add it up times the number of links (pitches) in the chain and you have a new length.  So if you have 110 links and you create another thou per link you have added 110 x .001 =.110. Just under an eighth of an inch to the chain length.  That is why you always re-check your chain and might make an adjustment within a relevantly few miles of a new install.

Now give me another minute...An eighth of an inch don't sound like much,

But now lets talk about chain lube.  I know there are all kinds of new lubes on the market, dry lubes an such that are great at keeping your bike cleaner.  However experience tells me that the primary job of a chain lubricant is to make parts slippery, right.  Nope, it has an equally important function of flushing out the debris and dirt that is picked up as the chain goes 'round and does its work.  IMHO, if there is not any oil leaving the sprockets and flying over the rear rim and the engine cases then there is no way it is flushing out the debris.   Sooo, if the debris is staying inside the chain it is irritating the space betwixt the pin and link plate.  Unlike an Oyster that creates a gem in an irritated space, that dirt will works its way around and before long that little .001 space now gets larger and larger.  So now it us up to .002.  110 links x .002 = .220. Darn near a quarter inch.  Little more dirt, little more time and you have a chain that is beyond it useful pitch because the distance between the pins has increased.  Now that the chain is out of spec. it starts to eat at the sprockets.  The radius of the inside of the sprocket pitch is machined to precisely fit the bushing or roller that is covering the chain pin. So as the distance 'tween pins increased it wears on the side of the sprocket.

Wax  based and grease based chain lubes are excellent in an environment where dirt  and temperature are not an issue. Like running a conveyor in an air conditioned factory.  The work is steady, the temperature is stable and the chain stays clean.

Our chains are in the worst environment they can be in, dirt, heat, different loads at different times and the constant pull of over and under tension based on suspension travel.  Even the load of one passenger vs two, or adding a sidecar.

Another enemy of the chain is heat. The running temperature of a chain ideally should not exceed 160 degrees F Above that, chain lubricant starts to thin, and the chances of it seeping out past the O-rings increase; eventually the film strength drops, don't forget the huge amount of centrifugal force as that chain whips around the end of the sprockets.

Even the cheapest chain without O-rings will last a surprising amount of time with proper care, meticulous adjustment and oiling at 350-mile intervals.

The average 110 link chain contains over 400 precisely machined components,  well OK, some of the are stamped, but the stamping dies are incredibly precise and the tolerance of the stampings is incredibly high.

So if you want good chain life, use a good lube, use it generously and often. It costs less than chains.   And tension it correctly.  Chain too tight is worse than a chain too loose, especially in the first 350 miles.


Good post, thanks.  :) I do have a different view on dry lubes though. (Yes, I use one.) As much as lube that flings off will throw off muck with it wet lube will attract muck in the first place. Dry lube doesn't do this. I'm not saying it works much better - I need to adjust the chain approx every 750 miles, (lube every 300-500), and I would expect that whatever lube I used. I just like dry cos it keeps the wheel clean. I completely agree that regular lubing and cleaning is the key to long chain life. The excellent chain enclosures to be found on MZs and Jawa's are the best solution and it is a scandal imo that other manufacturers ignore this.

WillW

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2010, 12:24:49 AM »
Thanks for all this input - I'd kind of taken the chain for granted. I adjust it and lube it, only cleaned it once, a lot of miles ago, and I guess it's time to do it again. I bought a grunge brush the first time, which just seemed to make a grotty job more crappy and difficult than it needs to be. I'd used chainsaw oil as an emergency measure before a long trip and the bloody stuff was everywhere. The dry lube was my plan to keep the wheel etc cleaner, but I guess it makes me neglectful of chain cleaning duty.
I seem to be working my way round those snail cam notches pretty rapidly. It's an aspect of motorcycling I'd klind of forgotten about. That said, it's good to have something to tinker with on these damnably reliable machines... ;)
So is there an O ring chain available for these bikes? Do they make for happier transmission?
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Ducati Scotty

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2010, 04:26:41 AM »
Thanks Scott.
So is that a conventional chain on the UCE bikes? 
Pardon my ignorance but I hadn't got to Chains yet....... ;)

Yup, just all metal.  The alternatives are O-ring and X-ring.  These have little seals on every little pin that keep the grease in and the gunk out.  With poor chain maintenance habits these tend to last much longer.  Even with good habits, they tend to last a little longer.  They are wider though to fit the seals and I think I rad somewhere on this forum that there's not enough room for one on and RE :(

Anyway, here's some reading:
http://www.quality-cycle.com/truth_about_motorcycle_chains.htm

Best comprehensive info on chains I've found.  Forgive me if it repeats a lot of what's in the previous post, I didn't read the whole thing.

Scott

Ice

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2010, 05:33:19 AM »
  Variations in the thickness of the castings of our transmissions and inner primary chain cases provide at least a chance that an O ring or Xring chain might fit on a lucky few bikes.

 The only way to know for sure if one will fit or not is to try one of each brand.
They differ in widths a bit.

 In street use ( Suzuki GS 100E's) My best friend and myself averaged about 20,000 miles before the O rings gave out.
 We squeezed another 10,000 miles out of them by cleaning and maintaining them like regular chain.

 
I can break it better,,,,at night, in the rain, on the trail,, 20 miles from nowhere.

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gashousegorilla

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #21 on: July 31, 2010, 06:53:09 AM »
Yup, just all metal.  The alternatives are O-ring and X-ring.  These have little seals on every little pin that keep the grease in and the gunk out.  With poor chain maintenance habits these tend to last much longer.  Even with good habits, they tend to last a little longer.  They are wider though to fit the seals and I think I rad somewhere on this forum that there's not enough room for one on and RE :(

Anyway, here's some reading:
http://www.quality-cycle.com/truth_about_motorcycle_chains.htm

Best comprehensive info on chains I've found.  Forgive me if it repeats a lot of what's in the previous post, I didn't read the whole thing.

Scott
Check that new bike scotty, there's an O ring chain on my 09 C-5. Did they go conventional this year?
An thaibhsí atá rattling ag an doras agus tá sé an diabhal sa chathaoir.

WillW

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #22 on: July 31, 2010, 09:10:37 AM »
Thanks for the, uh, chain link Scott..... ;)
Chain cleaning and lubing is this weekend's job. I'm going to try a different chain lube - something "oilier" than the Wurth, probably Silkolene. I'm not going to change the chain until I have to, but there's certainly room for improvement in my chain care habits.....
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qgolden

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2010, 10:02:15 AM »
That is a good article Scott, thanks for the link.

Another interestng (at least to me) tidbit the high performance racing bikes of the late seventies created about 120 HP and used a 530-size chain that wighed about 2.5 lb. per yard. Todays Race Bkes produce close to 200 HP but run a 520-size chain that weighs only 2.3 lb. per yard. Technology has decreased the tolerences and that has increased the tensile strengh of the chains while decreasing the amount of energy it takes to turn the chain. That 8 percent in chain weight is a big bang for the buck in HP to the rear wheel.

Any other Enfields in New England?

Ice

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #24 on: July 31, 2010, 10:45:13 AM »
 Good info Br.'s Ducati Scotty and ggolden.

Beers to you both  ;)
I can break it better,,,,at night, in the rain, on the trail,, 20 miles from nowhere.

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #25 on: July 31, 2010, 03:23:03 PM »
Well I spent an hour cleaning the gunk out of the chain - oh dear I had been neglectful   :(
Sprayed on some Silkolene from every angle I could, and took it out for an hour's thundering about. A much happier bike and a chastened and wiser rider. And the chain looks a lot healthier than it did before.
Didn't realise the Wurth dry lube was more suited to O link chains.
Another step forward in my motorbiking education. Thanks chaps.   ;)
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Ducati Scotty

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #26 on: July 31, 2010, 08:32:30 PM »
Didn't realise the Wurth dry lube was more suited to O link chains.

Not sure on that, that's just my opinion.  

The first bad habit is chain neglect.  The second bad habit is over lubing.  You generally need less than you think.  The excess tends to just fling off and make a mess.  Go light.

Scott

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #27 on: July 31, 2010, 08:37:57 PM »
I read it somewhere else too Scott. But mostly the chain just looked bone dry and caked with crap all the time. I'm just now back from a sixty mile ride, and the bike is way happier with a clean and oiled chain. The chain looks way healthier too. But yep, I overdid it. It's bloody everywhere.  ::)
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Ducati Scotty

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #28 on: August 01, 2010, 05:11:45 AM »
Keep cutting back until it doesn't end up all over the place. 

Scott

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #29 on: August 01, 2010, 08:43:46 AM »
Part of it this time was making sure I was washing out any gunk and de-greaser that was left in the chain after I cleaned it. I note the oiling method illustrated in your link and it makes perfect sense of course - pretty much where I figured the oil ought to be put. A lot easier too to direct the Silkolene exactly where you want it with the little tube, instead of just spraying.
2010 Royal Enfield Electra (G5) DL

2004 Kawasaki W650
~ the best british bike they never made ~

Ducati Scotty

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #30 on: August 01, 2010, 01:10:45 PM »
I do feel sad that almost every chain lube comes in an aerosol can these days.  When they came in squeeze bottles it would take a little longer but you could apply less to start with and make less of a mess.

The three best things you can learn to do yourself for your bike are oil and filter change, lube and adjusting the chain, and washing the bike.  Washing the bike is the single best maintenance you can do.  It gets you to look at everything up close and personal.  Who could fault and inspection that makes the bike shine?  That said, I washed my Monster less than once a year.  C'mon, who washes a flat black bike? ;)

Scott

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #31 on: August 01, 2010, 01:36:07 PM »
I bought one of those Muc-Off brushes for bike cleaning. Brilliant! Gets in everywhere. Recommended. There's nothing like a new toy to get the job done   ;)
2010 Royal Enfield Electra (G5) DL

2004 Kawasaki W650
~ the best british bike they never made ~

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Re: Long Commutes?
« Reply #32 on: August 01, 2010, 02:00:23 PM »
Clubman,

" wet lube will attract muck in the first place. Dry lube doesn't do this. I"

Yup, you are right.  but I think that the muck attracted is on the outside of the chain, can't do any harm there.   Although you are spot on, regular cleaning is the key regardless of lube used.
Any other Enfields in New England?