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Looking for a buzzkill

QI am having a bit of a vibration problem with my 2009 Yamaha FJR1300. After about 50-60 miles of highway riding at cruising speeds (6580), my right hand goes numb and both legs up to my knees have a numb sensation. The right-side mirror gets quite blurry at these speeds, too. 1 bought the bike new and broke it in according to the owner's manual. I have taken the bike back to my dealer and contacted Yamaha's main office but have gotten no results or satisfaction. I've been riding for almost 40 years, and the FJR 1300 is the first motorcycle I've ever ridden that had this problem. Have you heard of any other such complaints with this bike? Brian N. Fletcher Largo, Florida

A I've logged many miles on the various iterations of the FJR since the bike first appeared in the States seven years ago but have never encountered a vibration problem as severe as the one you describe. There's no doubt that, despite its engine being counterbalanced, the FJR gives off a bit of vibration felt through the usual contact points—handgrips, footpegs, seat—but I've never heard of those vibes being strong enough to cause extremities to go numb.

There are a few possible causes of this phenomenon. If the fuel-injection throttle bodies are not properly synchronized the resultant slight differences in combustion values could result in marginally greater vibration at certain rpm. The vibes also could be a byproduct of engine-mount hardware that is insufficiently torqued. Or, more seriously, it could be that the stack-up of manufacturing variations in your particular engine has resulted in an exceptionally high level of vibration. While the first two possibilities could easily be remedied by a dealer, the third one would need to have the involvement of Yamaha Motor Corporation. If your dealer is no help, you may have to be more persistent in your attempts to contact Yamaha.

There's even another factor to consider: you. In an extensive study

conducted by General Motors during the development of the C5 Corvette in the middle 1990s, the engineers found that the human species has a very wide range of sensitivity to vibration. While certain vibration frequencies have virtually no impact on some people, other people are significantly affected by them. The study determined that age, weight, bone structure, even gender can play a role in the way in which any given individual might react to certain vibration frequencies and amplitudes. Chances are that this is not a factor in your situation, but it's still something to consider, given that the FJR 1300 is not known for having such an adverse effect on its riders.

One way to be more certain is to somehow arrange a ride on another FJR1300, preferably a 2009 model. If the same numbness occurs when you ride that bike, it would seem that you and the FJR are not a good match.

The dogs of wear

QI recently bought a 2006 Suzuki SV1000S that just turned 11,000 miles. It runs great except for one problem. When I shift into second, it sometimes jumps right back out into neutral, especially if I shift quickly, and if I accelerate hard in second, the transmission skips, almost like some teeth are missing. When I ride more conservatively and shift normally, there is no problem and the transmission works perfectly. Is there an adjustment in the shifting linkage that could fix this problem or is it going to require something more extensive? I hope it's nothing too serious because I spent most of my extra cash to buy the bike.

Tom McAllister

Lakeland, Florida

A I don't have good news, Tom.

In all probability, the second-gear shift fork is bent and gouged, and the engagement dogs for second have likely been rounded off. Repairs will involve removing the engine and splitting the cases to gain access to the transmission gear cluster. The cases on the SV's V-Twin engine are split vertically rather than horizontally as on inline-Four engines, so the job requires removal of the heads and cylinders—a complete teardown, in other words.

This kind of transmission damage generally is the result of repeated harsh and/or poorly executed shifts. When a transmission is shifted, the faces of the engagement dogs for the affected gears initially bang into and bounce oft'of one another for a tiny split-second as the dogs fully engage. This is especially so during a first-to-second shift, where the difference in the speed of the two mating gears is greater than it is during any other shift. Why? Because in virtually all transmissions, the ratio gap between first and second is greater than it is between any of the other gears. If the shift is made cleanly, which is the case when done properly, that initial impact is small enough that it does no damage to the dogs or shift fork; but if the shift is botched or brutal (poorly timed power-shifts; clutchless shifting without matching road speeds

Tool I ime

You can't do much work on most motor- ric Hex Bit Set (part #ME38HBS; $22.95), cycles these days without encountering goes from 2.5mm to 12mm. The 10-piece socket-head (Allen) and Torx bolts and Torx Bit Set (part #TS38TBS; $29.95) runs screws. These types of fasteners tend to be less prone to damage during removal than are slotted and Phillips screws; and because their toolaccess surfaces are internal rather than external, they can fit into tighter spaces than hex-head fasteners that require clearance around the outside to allow room for a socket.

But cheap Allen and Torx tools are not a good solution; they often are a sloppy fit into the bolt or screw, and their material sometimes is barely harder than that of the fastener. Either condition can lead to the fastener getting rounded out, turning what might be a simple job into a drawn-out, agonizing ordeal.

CruzTOOLS (www.cruztools.com) has tried to deal with this dilemma by producing three Allen and Torx Socket Bit Sets that are high in quality but reasonable in price. The 10-piece Inch Hex Bit Set (part #IN38HBS; $24.95) has bits ranging from to inch. Its metric equivalent, the 8-piece Met-

from T10 to T55, including a T27, the most prevalent Torx size used on later-model Harley-Davidsons.

In all three sets, every socket uses a inch square drive, and each set comes on a steel socket rail with a plastic handle on one end. That makes them simple to store in a toolbox and easy to carry to the job. Plus, all the sockets' sizes are marked with a large laser imprint, so they're easy to read, even for codgers who can't find their bifocals.

These socket bit sets are comparable in quality to most brand-name equivalents yet cost less, especially considering that you get more bits per set, along with a handy tool rail. And like other high-end tools, the CruzTOOLS sets carry a lifetime guarantee.

Okay, so technically, what you see here are not "tools"; but these LiteLoc Rim Locks from Motion Pro (www.motionpro.com) almost qualify anyway, since they promise to reduce the likelihood that you'll have to use actual tools for removal of either of your dirt-bike's wheels to fix a flat caused by the abrasion of a rim lock against a tube.

Rather than being made of aluminum or steel and rubber, the LiteLocs are molded of a high-strength nylon composite material that's exceptionally light and highly impact-resistant. The front Loc (part #11-0058; $17.50), for 1.40- and 1,60-inch-wide rims, weighs just a little more than an ounce, while the rear (part # 11 -0060; $18.99), for 2.15-inch rims, weighs just 2.4 ounces. The con toured inner is designed to protect the tube from abrasion against the lock, and the five angled ribs on each side pinch the tire's bead securely against the rim. The LiteLocs are held in place by a beautifully machined tall aluminum nut atop an equally finished beveled washer that's radiused on the bottom to fit over the curved center section of the rim.

Motion Pro claims that its testing has proven the LiteLocs 10 to 20 percent stronger than conventional rim locks, despite being considerably lighter. I can't substantiate that claim, but do know that most of the company's principals and employees are avid off-road riders who rigorously test every product they develop. Given their excellent track record, I find it hard to argue with them.

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