Baby Gets New Shoes, Seasonal Confusion and Grosjean Numbers

Oh, God, am I ever ready for Spring.

We’ve added a fourth motorcycle to the collection, have the youngest member of the clan with a new Motorcycle Operators license, and all 38 inches of Snowzilla and the resulting snowbanks have finally melted off.

We’ve even seen a 70 degree day.

So, being Maryland, its time for the proverbial worm to turn.


If you are a motorcycle tire that was installed on a motorcycle when it was manufactured in 2002, we can assume that, even if you have lots of tread remaining, you have effectively died of old age.

And that likly occurred some time ago.

And that is exactly the situation Young Finn finds himself in, with a 2002 motorcycle that he acquired with 1800 miles on its factory installed OEM tires.

So being a good motorcycling dad, you take tools in hand, man.


Having BMWs as one’s customary motorcycle, one can incorrectly assume that all motorcycles have centerstands.

News Flash! They Don’t!

And a Buell Blast certainly don’t.

So I needed to discover the joys of a swingarm stand.

I love Harbor Freight. Yes I 29 Bucks Do.

I also love how involved Blast Owners are with their rides. Thanks to their owners’ forum, I know that the best tires for this motorcycle — for which there are very few choices available — are Pirelli Diablo Sportbike tires.

In motorscooter sizes.

The Blast, you see, has 16 inch wheels at both ends, in an all-out effort to produce a low saddle height and low center of gravity.

And 16 inch tires for motorcycles are pretty thin on the ground.

With some new motorscooter-size Diablos internetted and in-hand, we pulled the wheels of the Blast.

The nicest thing about a new motorcycle, is that virgin fasteners have not been molested and otherwise violated. The Blast, in addition, is the most puppy-friendly motorcycle I’ve ever worked on. The belt-drive rear end, unlike chain drives, has a fixed axle position with no adjusters. One removes the rear axle, pushes the wheel forward, and pops off the rubber band.

Done. Wonderful.


So I threw the wheels and new tires in the truck, and headed up to Fredericktown Yamaha / Triumph. If I haven’t said it before, I’ll say it now — Richard Riley is the coolest and most personable guy I have ever encountered in the motorcycle business, and his shop is one of those biker hangs where you just feel compelled to be.

I don’t own a Yamaha and am not actively plotting — Super Tenere? — to own one, yet, but I buy anything moto I can from Fredericktown, just to make sure I’ve done everything I can to help ensure they’ll hang around.

Their service department has always mounted tires for my K-bike, meaning they’ve mounted a lot of tires for me. While I’m minimally competant with the tubed ties for my airheads, the Blast has tubeless types, so it was off the Fredericktown.


The next morning we went back to the shop to pick up the mounted tires. I’d rolled my K bike outside to make enough room to work and to create some buffer just in case gravity got frisky.

While we were out there, Nature got a little frisky.

A fairly serious looking snow squall blew up, and even though the likelihood of it amounting to anything was slim to none, it was still somewhat spiritually jarring.


What was even more jarring was to come back to the shop to see the KBike wearing some.


Snow notwithstanding, getting the Blast back together was pretty straightforward. Once the tires were mounted, we repressurized the brakes, confirmed they worked, and then dropped the hydraulic jack and the swingarm stand.


After the snow left, we have ridden on the Diablo Scooters, and they have lighter than the already light turn in, stick well and hold a line well, and well, they’re actually made out of rubber.

What’s not to like?


Work complete, Finn rolled the Blast back down the driveway far enough to allow me to roll the snowy Kbike back into its assigned garage bay.

When I got the Fat Girl back up on the mainstand, I noticed that my odo was displaying a Grosjean Number. GNs, for those of you who have not previously heard the term, indicate any arrangement of digits which provoke an emotional or analytical response in the observer.


“Wonder how I didn’t notice that?”

God, am I ever ready for spring.

And we’ll see you back here in 11,111 miles.

If not before.



4 thoughts on “Baby Gets New Shoes, Seasonal Confusion and Grosjean Numbers

  1. Just an update… got about 100 miles on the DIablos and the front tire has developed a split running lengthways on the shoulder of the tire and looks to be cracking in the center groove around the whole circumference of the tire. Looks like a belt delaminating — tire completely defective.

    Not exactly confidence inspiring. Especially since these tires actually had heavier service ratings than the OEM Dunlops. The OEM Tires were 50 front / 60 rear and these Pirellis are 52 front / 65 rear.

    Hope this was a fluke.

    • Oh, routine stuff…

      If you’ve pulled a wheel with disk brakes, I always retract the pads by prying them apart, to make it easier to remove and reinsert the disk rotor. In the case of the Blast, you need to retract and then actually remove the pads. Things are so tight in that 16″ wheel that the pads need to come out to remove the caliper.

      Anyhoo, with the pads retracted, if you just hop on, ride away and then go to apply your brakes, you don’t have any, cause your pads are still retracted. =8-o

      So I repressurize the system by pumping the lever or pedal until the pads are back up against the rotor surface again.

      Skipping this step is not something you’d do a second time. 😉

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