Monthly Archives: March 2018

The water pump is suck a silly little thing.

In reality, pushing water around an engine to keep it cool, is pretty simple and prehistoric feeling.  I know it does it’s job and I know that my motor and complete motorcycle and the designers at KTM, take its job very seriously.  But, how complicated can it be?  Spin around in circles, pressurize the fluid, shove it around the motor in passageways, send it back up to the radiators where it can transfer the heat to little fins, then air passing over those fins can whisk it away so that it cannot harm things with keeping too much heat inside the blessed powerbox.

I guess when you say it that way, it is more complicated than I first admitted.  Even though I called it barbaric at first, I guess it really is pretty sophisticated.  It generally works pretty well, until it doesn’t.  When you cake the entire motor with 20 pounds of mud, trapping in even more heat.  When you follow that up by packing the radiators full of another 10 pounds of mud so that no air can pass through the radiators dispersing the heat that the fluid is trying to transfer away from the motor.  When you then spend an hour or more just sort of idling because the race course has broken down so badly, and you suck so much at riding in really muddy conditions…  Lot’s of bad things happen.

Turns out, the weak link is the little seal behind the impeller pump.  That seal has a tough job.  It is meant to let the impeller shaft turn freely, so that the impeller can send all that hot fluid blitzing around the motor transferring heat to the air.  In addition to that, it has sort of a one way feature that keeps the pressurized fluid from getting past the seal and contaminating the oil on the other side of the seal.  Kind of a tough job for a little blue piece of rubber and metal.  In fact, the seal is the weak link.

I guess when that fluid gets hot enough, and the oil on the other side is also getting fricking hot, it just kind of gives up eventually and lets all of that fluid kinda mix together.  It results in a situation a little bit like this scene and Bill Murray’s final proclamation in the movie Ghostbusters (the real one).


I do not think I can be talked into doing another race like last years Leaf River at the end of the year.  It was snowing at the start, that turned to rain during the event and ended up in a shortened absolute mud slog that I do not think anyone other that Patrick Malarkey enjoyed.  The other races that I can remember like that (2008 Big Buck GNCC, 2008 Unadilla GNCC, 2015 Adams Harescramble) also kinda sucked.  But only Big Buck and Leaf River did actual damage to the motorcycle.

But, in the end, a new impeller seal, a new impeller, flushed the radiator fluid, flushed 5 quarts of oil through the motor to get all the radiator fluid out of every nook and cranny and it appears that it is good to go.  Not smoking any more from burning radiator fluid and the oil is coming out after running for just a few minutes looking like…oil.  Magic.

And just like that, the bike has been completely rebuilt (new clutch, new bearings on all wheels, swingarm and linkages, new rings, valves adjusted, cleaned out everywhere, suspension updated, new drive parts, new brake pads, new bars and grips, new plastic…)  Just waiting for graphics, and then bring on the season.




It is a Fat Bike, and it is a Birkie!

I did the Fat Bike Birkie, or FBB – it is really your choice.  I know I said 816 times that I would never do that, but I did it anyway.  I borrowed me up a hardtail Farley and pinned on a number, then got in a pace line.  It is a FatBike race that has drafting after all.

47km, 2900ft of climbing.  Ugh…  Painful.  But, I am not going to die at other sports this year, hopefully all the training will pay off.

It is not my video, but you get the idea.


Art and I were noting that even though we have been friends for 30 years, and we have the same basic passions, we have never done a bike race together.  I say together, in that we were both on the course at the same time, but we were definitely not racing each other as he is WAAAY faster than me.


Art was 2nd in our 50+ old guy class, I was 17th. He is WAAAAY faster than me.


The borrowed hardtail. Thanks John Riley.

Birkie Withdrawals

The days after the Birkie are always kind of empty, kind of a let down.  It is good to be at the end of winter, but when you spend so much time thinking about the Birkie and preparing and waxing and stressing and just plain living for… It feels like it will be forever until it happens again.

In the mean time, lets see the official recap video from this years race!