Cruiseman's Beef Jerky Reviews

Beef jerky is one of my favorite things to eat when on a long road trip!

GL1800 Videos On Demand

Cruiseman videos now available On Demand!

Doran TPMS Review

Cruiseman reviews the Doran TPMS

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

ECU Reflash

Boosting your Goldwing's performance


If you own a 2012 or newer Goldwing or F6B you may already be familiar with the annoying "stumble" that can occur when your bike is cold. Basically, this is a loss of power that can occur before the engine is completely warmed up. It is not only annoying, but potentially dangerous. Imagine leaning in to a turn, applying the throttle and nothing happens. Without the momentum necessary to maintain gyroscopic integrity, you could drop the bike. And, some owners have reported doing just that!

Even though scores of owners have complained to Honda, they apparently are not going to do anything to address the issue. Since this problem really only began showing up on the 2012 and later Goldwings (and F6B) it was surmised that Honda must have altered the programming of the ECU (Electronic Control Unit), most likely to meet stricter EPA standards. I don't claim to fully understand everything the ECU does, but it basically is the computer brain that controls the fuel/air mixture of the fuel injection system, ignition timing, and other stuff.

The ECU on the Goldwing is technically non-programmable. However, Don Guhl of Guhl Motors recently figured out a way to "hack into" the ECU and re-program it with modified maps that can alter the way the bike performs. Guhl offers three different program options for the 2006 and later Goldwings. The first option basically gets rid of the stumble and is the most modest program, the second choice is a bit more aggressive and should deliver performance gains along with better fuel mileage. The third is the most aggressive offering the highest level of performance. However, Guhl recommends the use of Premium fuel with the third option.

WARNING! Having your ECU modified will void your Honda factory warranty. Of course, it would only void your warranty for damage to your engine that could be related to the re-flashed ECU. So, if your final drive fails, that would still be covered.

If you decide to have your ECU re-flashed, you will have to remove the ECU from your bike and ship it to Guhl Motors. Once they receive it, they should be able to ship it back to you the same day. The cost of the re-flash includes overnight shipping. In my case, I shipped the ECU overnight on Tuesday and had it back in the bike on Thursday evening. The cost for the service is $375. Also, Guhl promised to return your ECU to the factory program for free if you decide you do not like the performance.

To remove your ECU, you will have to remove the left side of your shelter. The ECU is located on the left side of your center glove box unit under a rubber strap. I have a video that shows how to remove the top shelter on my DVDs or, you can rent a single On Demand video showing how to do this (see below). I have a free YouTube video showing how to remove the ECU (watch YouTube video).

RESULTS

After spending nearly two weeks with my new re-flashed ECU from Guhl Motors I now feel qualified to report on how the Goldwing performs. I just returned from a 738 mile trip to West Texas (and back). And, while the bike does not perform any differently cruising down the highway, I wanted to know the impact on highway mileage, if any.

I should point out that I only have about 80 miles of in-town riding on the new ECU, not really enough to give meaningful mileage figures.

PERFORMANCE

Let's get one thing out of the way right up front: The low-speed stumble is gone! The re-programmed ECU drives a stake through the heart of one of the most annoying, and unsafe, characteristics of the 2012-2014 and F6B Goldwings. I have the Level 3 reflash, which is the most aggressive program.

For the first time since I have owned my 2012, my bike felt like my beloved 2007. Throttle response is greatly improved and it just seems to pull stronger throughout the RPM range. I have seen charts that show a 3 to 5 horsepower increase, but it feels more like a 10-15% improvement.

Even with the most aggressive program, Guhl claims that very conservative modifications have been made to preserve the reliability of the engine.

GAS MILEAGE

Guhl Motors recommends Premium (93 octane) fuel with the Level 3 program, mostly for increased performance and mileage. On my recent ride to West Texas, I decided to run Premium (93) on the outbound leg and Regular (87) on the return leg, then compare the results.
 

Premium Gas (93 Octane)

Fill Up Miles Gallons MPG
1 139 3.44 40.36
2 103 2.40 42.83
3 115 2.72 42.28
Average 41.82


Regular Gas (87 Octane)

Fill Up Miles Gallons MPG
4 116 3.09 37.54
5 103 2.58 39.98
6 148 3.69 40.06
Average 39.19

As you can see, there is a 2.63 mpg increase with Premium fuel. However, driving conditions on the return leg (Regular gas) were a little different. It was about 10 degrees hotter outside and I had a much stronger headwind.

I went back into my Fuelly (Fuelly.com) records to compare with my March trip to Amarillo. The ride from Dallas to Amarillo is roughly the same distance and similar road conditions. On that trip I averaged only 38.92 MPG. So, even after the Guhl re-flash with Regular gas, my mileage has improved.

Granted, this is not a scientific mileage measurement, so I am not prepared to say that you will improve your gas mileage with the ECU re-flash. But, I am prepared to say that I don't think my mileage is any worse than before, and performance is definitely improved. If you are looking for better mileage with only a modest improvement in performance, you may want to consider the Level 2 program from Guhl.

CONCLUSION

Because a modified ECU has the potential to void your Honda factory warranty, I cannot in good conscious recommend the modification. However, I am glad that I did it on my 2012 Goldwing. I am convinced that the low-speed stumble is a dangerous characteristic of the 2012+ Wings that Honda refuses to address. The ECU re-flash from Guhl Motors definitely solves that safety concern. For more information, contact Guhl Motors at www.guhlmotors.com. Make sure to mention that you read about it from Cruiseman's Garage!

If you have had your ECU modified, please post your results to my Facebook page.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Twisted Core vs LDComfort

What you wear can affect how well you ride


Staying comfortable not only adds to the enjoyment of the ride, it may also increase safety. When you are focused on your body's pain or discomfort, you are distracted from paying attention to traffic or road conditions. Motorcyclists spend a ton on aftermarket seats, backrests, highway pegs, etc., in an effort to improve the comfort of the ride.

There is a growing number of clothing products that claim to increase rider comfort. I wanted to see for myself if any of the claims were true.
 

The Testing Environment


Each of the products below was tested during a 738-mile roundtrip ride from DFW to Midland, Texas, in July 2014. Ambient temperatures ranged from 79 degrees in the morning to 96 degrees in the afternoon. I should also mention that I am 6'-2" tall with 35" arms, a 42" chest and 33" inseam. I weigh 178 lbs. During this test I was wearing an Olympia AirGlide 3 mesh jacket, Olympia mesh riding pants and an HJC SyMax III helmet. My 2012 Goldwing is equipped with Baker Hand Wings which I use in temps above 90°F to increase airflow to the arms and chest. I also have a vent in my V-Stream windshield for additional airflow.
 

LDComfort


Since I first became involved with the Goldwing forums, I have read about how LDComfort products could keep a rider cooler in summer riding. My first experience was a few years ago when I received a pair of the LDComfort riding shorts for my birthday. Last year, I also acquired the LDComfort long-sleeve mock turtleneck undershirt and helmet liner.

The LDComfort products are made from a stretchy "spandex-like" material and only come in black. The shorts are unique because they have very few seams in places that could cause discomfort when seated. LDComfort is designed to be worn tight against the skin, acting sort of like a second layer of skin. The company claims that the design of their products can regulate the body temperature in any type of weather. The theory is that they can keep you warm in the cold and cool in the heat.

As temperatures increased during the ride, I used a spray bottle to wet the sleeves and chest of the mock turtleneck during a fuel stop. When the air flows through the mesh jacket, there is a definite evaporative cooling effect. In fact, if you wet the garment in temps under 90 degrees, you may get cold. You can get the same cooling effect by wetting your skin, but moisture on your skin will evaporate very quickly. The LDComfort material holds the moisture longer, extends the evaporation time, and allows the cooling effect to transfer to your body.

As the material begins to dry, the cooling effect will wear off. However, even when completely "dry", the material does the job of wicking perspiration which will then evaporate and provide some cooling. So, even without wetting the garment, it will increase rider comfort in hot weather. In 93-degree temperature, I found the wetting technique to last roughly 35 minutes before the garment dried out. Of course, these times will vary based on humidity and how much air passes through your riding jacket.

My only complaint with LDComfort is the fit of the mock turtleneck. The sleeves on my size Large are at least 2 inches too short (see photo above) and no Tall sizes are available. This becomes an issue when arms are outstretched reaching for the handlebars. Of course, if you do not have ape-like arms like me, that would not be an issue.

The LDComfort Long Sleeve Mock Turtleneck sells for $56.98. The Men's Riding Shorts sell for $44.94. The Helmet Liner style I have sells for $24.50.

For more information, go to www.LDComfort.com
 

Twisted CoreTwisted Core


Unlike LDComfort, Twisted Core offers both Summer and Winter base layers. They also offer full-length "pants" which I wore underneath my Olympia mesh riding pants.

Twisted Core claims to combine multiple fabrics with strategically placed melt-resistant zones, technical mesh to maximize air flow and help regulate body temperature, moisture wicking, anti-microbial and UV properties that protect and keep you dry. Flatlock seams and tagless technology eliminate irritation by reducing interior fabric bulk and unnecessary tags.

The construction of the Twisted Core products is impressive. The material is much lighter than LDComfort but offers good compression. I tested the Summer Base Layer Shirt and Summer Base Layer Pants. The Large shirt fit perfectly, and had longer sleeves than the LDComfort.

The shirt has compression material in the forearms to improve circulation. A lighter material is used in the upper arms and shoulders to maximize airflow. I'm not sure if it is a gimmick, but it seems to work. I found the Twisted Core garments to be very comfortable. As soon as I put on the Twisted Core long-sleeve top, my skin felt cooler. It is actually kind of strange, but nice. Unlike the LDComfort, the Large long-sleeve shirt fit me perfectly with enough sleeve length to cover my wrists (see photo at left).

The wicking properties of the material did keep me cooler, and I felt like the compression properties were quite impressive.
The Twisted Core Long-Sleeve Summer Base Layer Shirt sells for $59.99. The Summer Base Layer Pants sell for $49.99.

For more information, go to www.TwistedCore.com
 

IS THERE A WINNER?


Both products helped me stay cooler in the Texas heat. Wetting the LDComfort material provided extra cooling for up to 35 minutes before drying out while the same effect with Twisted Core only lasted about 20 minutes. However, once the material has shed that moisture, I felt cooler in the Twisted Core. I should also mention that Twisted Core does not recommend wetting the material to improve cooling. Also, the Twisted Core was all-around just more comfortable. And then there's the sleeve length issue with LDComfort (for me).

Both LDComfort shorts and Twisted Core full-length pants were comfortable. The LDComfort helmet liner is a must-have to keep the head cooler and prevent perspiration from soaking the helmet padding.

For my money, Twisted Core is the way to go. I will be wearing their summer wear on all my warm-weather rides from now on. The LDComfort helmet liner is also a permanent part of my gear regardless of temperature.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Brake Service Update

Brake Service Update

For those of you who own my Goldwing Basics Maintenance DVDs or subscribe to my On Demand videos, you are probably aware of the MotionPro™ Mini Bleeders that I use in the video to bleed the brakes and clutch.



The Mini Bleeder is a great tool because it is three-tools-in-one. It is a socket, a wrench and a one-way check valve. When the bleed valve is opened (¼ turn), it allows air and old fluid to exit the valve when the brake or clutch lever/pedal is depressed, but will not allow air and fluid to return when the lever is released. This makes bleeding the system a one-man job. However, the Mini Bleeder is not without its problems. The attached socket wrench handle makes it difficult to attach to a bleed valve in a tight location. For example, on the right side of the Goldwing, you have to remove the brake caliper in order to attach the Mini Bleeder to the top bleed valve. Also, when bleeding the clutch, you have to remove the canister bracket to have enough space to attach the Mini Bleeder socket wrench.

Another option is the MotionPro Hydraulic Bleeder (shown below). This is a one-way check valve that sits between two pieces of clear tubing. This is a better solution as it does not require that you remove the right-side caliper to place the hose over the upper bleed valve, a big time saver.



However, this tool is also not without its problems. I found the tubing included with the tool to be slightly too large (inside diameter) to remain in place on the bleed valve tip. There is an included metal compression clip, but it is virtually impossible to access the clip in tight places to work it over the bleed valve nipple. One solution is to rig a smaller diameter flexible rubber hose in between the check valve and bleed valve. Why MotionPro does not include a smaller diameter hose in the first place is a mystery.


Here you can see the larger hose is almost read to slip off the bleed valve. A smaller I.D. flexible hose will correct this issue. MotionPro should include a smaller I.D. hose in the kit.

There is another solution that many Goldwing owners swear by; Speed Bleeder.



The Speed Bleeder is basically a replacement bleeder valve with a one-way check-valve built into it. Why all bleeder valves are not made this way to begin with is a mystery. To use the Speed Bleeder, you must first replace your existing bleeder valves with the Speed Bleeders. I have added a video on YouTube that shows how to install these (watch the video).


Watch the video

Once the Speed Bleeders are installed, you simply attach the rubber hose, which is supplied with the optional Speed Bleeder catch bag, open the Speed Bleeder ¼ turn, and pump away. Unlike the Motion Pro Hydraulic Bleeder, the hose that is supplied with the Speed Bleeder catch bag is the perfect size to fit snugly over the bleed valves.

After testing all three tools, I have come to the conclusion that the Speed Bleeders are the easiest way to bleed the brakes by yourself. It will cost about $50 to replace the eight bleeder valves on your Goldwing, but well worth the investment in my opinion.

You can order Speed Bleeders online from Shinhopples. You will need to order 8 Speed Bleeders. I also recommend that you order the Speed Bleeder Recovery Bag and Hose.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Becoming An Ambassador For Motorcycling

Like it or not, people judge the entire sport of motorcycling by how they observe you when you are out riding. Whenever you throw a leg over your bike, you become a representative for the entire two-wheel community. Are you a good ambassador for the sport, or, not so good?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Veskimo Personal Cooling System Review

Staying Cool When You Ride

Veskimo Personal Cooling System

I don't personally buy the whole "man-made" global warming notion. But, when I am riding in the summer, especially in the South, I begin to wonder if there's not something going on! Riding in 95+ degree temps is not only uncomfortable, it can be dangerous. A rider can quickly become dehydrated leading to disorientation, dizziness, or worse. On two wheels, that spells disaster.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Tips on Buying A Used Goldwing GL1800

One of my most popular YouTube videos! This guides you through the process of what to look for when you are in the market for a used Honda Goldwing GL1800

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Preparing For A Road Trip

Prepping For A Road Trip

Is Your Bike Ready?

We are getting ready to take the Wing on a multi-day road trip from Dallas to Las Vegas, and perhaps on to Lake Tahoe. We could be gone for two weeks or longer, so we want to make sure the bike is ready for the long journey.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Doran TPMS

I was excited when I learned that Honda was including tire pressure monitoring (TPMS) on the 2012 Goldwing ABS that I purchased in 2011. I was less excited when I learned that the system only alerts you when a tire is low, and does not inform you which tire is low. In addition, there is no indication of the actual pressure inside the tire. Yet another oversight by Mother Honda. I suppose the factory TPMS is better than nothing, but it is far from elegant. So, when the opportunity presented itself for me to install, video, and review the TPMS from Doran, I was pretty stoked.

Included in the Doran system is the monitor, which is a bit bulky, but feels and looks to be very well made. The monitor is the only piece of the puzzle that must be wired to the bike's electrical system. Basically, it is a receiver that monitors the two wireless transmitters and an LCD screen to display alerts and other information. A remote flashing alert light is also included. The kit includes two wireless transmitters that can be mounted either inside the tire using the provided replacement steel valve stems, or outside in place of your plastic valve stem caps. If your motorcycle has rubber or plastic valve stems, Doran recommends that you replace them with the provided steel valve stems before installing the transmitters.

The kit includes everything you need for a successful installation on virtually any motorcycle. A mounting ring and base plate are provided for motorcycles with round handlebars. Or, the monitor can be mounted using double-sided tape to any flat surface. There is also an external low tire pressure alert light that can be mounted anywhere allowing you to mount or store the main monitor out of site, say, in a saddlebag or glove box. Of course, you would only be alerted when a tire drops below a specified pressure, but then you could pull over and retrieve the monitor for additional information.

A well-written and illustrated user guide is included along with cable ties, alcohol wipes, etc.

INSTALLATION

If your motorcycle has rubber valve stems, or even valve stems with rubber mounts, they should be replaced with the steel ones included in the kit. The transmitters are just heavy enough to cause your rubber stems to flex and wear when the bike is being ridden. The transmitters can be mounted inside the tire, or on the outside replacing the valve stem cap. Of course, if you choose to mount them inside your tires, you will need to break down the tire so that you can replace the valve stems and install the transmitters. CAUTION if you use any sort of stop leak gel or liquid in your tires, this could ruin a transmitter. I use DynaBeads in my tires for dynamic balancing, and have never had a problem with the factory TPMS, so I assume there would be no problem with the Doran.

Doran transmitters

Since my 2012 Goldwing has factory TPMS, I already have solid metal 90ยบ valve stems, I was able to simply remove my valve stem caps and screw on the Doran transmitters. Each transmitter has a unique 3-digit number code that must be used when you program the monitor. This is how the Doran monitor is able to distinguish between the front and rear tire.

The first step for me was to decide how and where I was going to mount the monitor. I decided to mount it using 3M hook & loop fastener which is stronger than Velcro and waterproof. Of course, you could use double-sided tape, but that is more permanent. I mounted the Doran monitor to a bracket which I made that mounts to the top of my clutch reservoir. There are plenty of aftermarket brackets that would work perfectly. A less elegant installation would be to simply stick the monitor to your fairing, not my idea of a good install. Another option is to install the monitor inside the glove box and mount the small red remote alert light in plain view. If you are alerted to a low tire, then you could pull over, pull the monitor out of the glove box and see which tire is low.

I wired the Doran monitor to the ACC terminals on my fuse box so that the monitor is only ON when the bike is on or in the ACC mode. There is no need for the monitor to be drawing power when the bike is turned off. I ran the wire along the left side of the bike up through the left glove box then up the left handlebar post to my bracket. I used cable ties to secure the wire to other wires. However, a simple installation could be to wire the monitor to the ACC power under the left glovebox.

Next, I installed the two transmitters on the valve stems. I did not install the remote red alert light for reasons that I will mention later. The monitor includes a red low-tire warning light, so the external warning light is really redundant when you mount the monitor where it is visible. However, if you were to mount the monitor in your trunk, or glove box, then the external lamp would be useful.

A cleaner installation would be to have the sensors installed inside the tires using the provided steel valve stems. However, that would require me to trash my factory TPMS, so the external mounting was my choice. If you do not have a factory TPMS, you could easily have the new valve stems installed with your next tire change and have the sensors mounted inside the tires.

The kit comes with some sensor "locks" which are rings that can be mounted to the valve stems to prevent someone from stealing your sensors.

One more thing to note: the transmitters are heavy enough that I suspect they could throw your wheels out of balance. I use DynaBeads in my tires, so this was not an issue.

Note for trike owners: Doran makes a system specifically for trikes.

PROGRAMMING

The user guide does an excellent job of explaining how to program the monitor, so I will not go into the details here. You basically enter the 3-digit codes for each transmitter so that the monitor knows which tire is the front and which is the rear. Then, you can program the base PSI for each tire. Doran recommends that you use the factory recommended tire pressure, however, I keep my tires at 41/41, so that is what I entered. Whenever the pressure in one of the tires drops by 12% of the base pressure, a red "low tire" light will flash on the monitor. If you connect the remote alert light, it will also flash. In addition, the LCD will display the pressure and which tire is low. Very cool.


CRUISEMAN'S TIP

You can increase the battery life of the sensors (if you mount them externally), by removing them during extended periods when you are not riding your motorcycle. The sensors go into a "sleep" mode when they are not depressing a valve core, this saves battery life!

WHAT I LIKE

  • Very well made
  • Easy to install
  • Monitor lets you see the actual pressure in each tire
  • Monitor alerts you when a tire is too low
  • 2-stage alert system

WHAT I DON'T LIKE

  • Monitor is thick and a little bulky
  • Buttons on monitor are hard to press with gloves on
  • Batteries in transmitters cannot be replaced*
*Doran claims the batteries are expected to last 3 to 4 years.

SUMMARY


The Doran TPMS system is everything the factory TPMS should be. Even if you have a Honda factory TPMS, the Doran is worth the investment. If you do not have factory TPMS, it is a no-brainer.

For more information on the Doran TPMS, go to http://www.doranmfg.com/motorcycle-tire-pressure-monitoring-systems.htm






Monday, February 17, 2014

Elect Me And I Will Lower Your Taxes!

Now that we are coming upon another elections, the lies will begin lying about lowering taxes. Some Republicans in Texas are already touting how they voted for the biggest tax cut in Texas history. Huh? I have lived in Texas for nearly 50 years and my taxes have never gone down. A few years back, when Rick Perry was elected, they voted in some bill that lowered the state property tax rate, but the counties simply re-valued the homes at a higher market value, so the net taxes never decreased. What a scam. These guys talk about wanting to lower taxes, which I agree is necessary to stimulate the economy, but they don't have a clue as to how to replace the lost revenue.

Granted, if taxes are truly reduced, the stimulative effect on the economy would result in more tax revenues down the road. We saw that happen under Reagan in the 1980s. The biggest tax revenue problem we face in the US right now is from outrageously high unemployment. There are fewer people making money from which to take tax dollars. Of course, these unemployed not only use the services of government that the rest of us pay for, they actually drain resources as they collect unemployment, welfare, disability, etc. It is a double-dip, of sorts.

But, there are ways to significantly cut taxes and increase revenues almost immediately, without having to wait for the stimulative effect of lower taxes to take effect. It is something I am surprised no politician has proposed. So, if you elect me as your Mayor, Governor or President, here is what I will do to lower your taxes. I like to call it, "naming rights."

Think of any major sports stadium in the USA. The owners usually use tax revenues through a bond election pay to build the stadium, then end up owning the naming rights, which they sell to a major corporation. There's 3Com Stadium, AT&T Stadium, American Airlines Arena, the list goes on. Corporations are looking for creative ways to extend their brand to consumers. So as your PresGovMayor, I will lower the cost of vehicle registration by giving you the option of having a license plate that bears a corporate logo. I will charge, say McDonalds, $35 per license plate to have their logo, or Ronald Freakin' McDonald printed on your plate. In turn, by having that logo appear on your license plate, I will reduce your cost (your tax) by $30. My county or state nets $5. We will have multiple corporate sponsorships from which to choose, or, you can pay the full price and have no logo. OK, that's one idea.

Next, why don't we sell off the national parks to private industry? Certainly Disney could do a better job of managing Yellowstone than the US Government. I would do a long-term management deal with Disney, Six Flags, you name it, to operate the parks under their brand. They would still remain under the ownership of the US Government, but let private industry run it, and pay for the right.

But, I am just getting started. Your child would not be attending Andrew Jackson High, or Alamo Junior High if I were governor. They would be attending AT&T High School! Why not let corporations pay millions to name a school, then reduce everyone's property taxes accordingly. Even if I did not give up naming rights to the school, I could have a corporate sponsor for the schools and allow them to put their ads for their products all over the school. Even the teachers would wear AT&T logos on their polo shirts. Why not? The kids are being bombarded with advertising anyway. Of course, in a perfect world, the schools would all be privatized anyway.

I will do the same with our roads and bridges. Why not have a section of highway re-named "American Airlines Way" instead of having it named for some crooked-ass politician? You let me do that, and I can further reduce property taxes and gasoline taxes.

You think this is crazy? This country is more than 17 trillion in debt, so their way is not working. Why not give my way a try. I am not only telling you that I will lower your taxes, I am telling you how I am going to do it. When was the last time any politician did that?