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Cylinder and piston health – compression check VS leak check

Compression check is probably the first thing that comes to mind when coming to check a motorcycle. Compression check is done by removing all the plugs in an engine, and inserting a compression gauge on the cylinder. The starter is then engaged, spinning the engine and the piston is producing a compression which is tested.
This is a standard check but it doesn’t really give you a clear picture about the upper part of  an engine. OK, so you’ve got a read of 165 psi in a cylinder, what does that mean? most of the times , not a lot.

A more important check is a compression leak check which checks the whole upper part of the engine. It’s done by putting the piston you’re about to check in TDC (top dead center) when it’s at the end of the compression cycle, inserting a compression leak gauge into the plug and pumping air pressure in to the cylinder through it. The compression leak gauge will then give a read of the LEAK PERCENTAGE in that cylinder. Normal leak should be 2%-8% , but what’s more important , it should be the same with all the cylinders (unless you’re checking a single cylinder engine).

Another good thing with this check is that you can easily hear the problem in case of a high leak reading and pin point where the compression is leaking from. For example, if the exhaust valve is leaking you should hear a hissing coming from the exhaust end. If compression is leaking from the intake valve, you will hear air coming out of the air filter box, or if it’s the piston rings (or piston) that are very worn, you will hear air hissing from the engine case, coming out of the oil filler cap.

Cylinder Leak-Down gauge on AMAZON.com


Power of friction – best welding possible

Here is a nice video that shows an unconventional method of welding two parts of a metal product.
What causes the welding is the high heat caused by the friction of the two parts rubbing against each other.
Look at the welding itself, it’s perfect size and shape, has no residue at all, and it’s pretty strong cause it’s welded in and out, and not just on the outer side like most welding.

Beware of fragrance hangers

Is it so hard to produce a fragrance tree that won't make a hole in your dashboard?

Some (I assume all) fragrance trees or hangers have a strong dissolvent that attacks plastic. Usually these are made to hang. But the product description doesn’t really warn you of contact with plastic but rather suggests you “hang clear of any surface” and “Avoid any contact with the face”. Useless to say, these are written in tiny letters, almost unreadable. Ive put one freshener, without the plastic wrap, in one of my Toyota compartments, and the tree literally melted into plastic.

Anyway, what’s this to do with motorcycles? Well, I’ve heard of a few riders that wanted to freshen up their helmets, they have inserted these without the plastic wrapper and on to the helmet’s inner padding, resulting in a melted padding. Useless to say that with so strong chemicals, you are advised not to put these trees anywhere near a helmet, even WITH the plastic wrapper.

The same goes to some other car fresheners and car deodorizers that come in a gel form or a sponge in a can, etc. The active ingredient is quite violent, so beware.

Here are some more horror stories involving those scented hangers:

  • “I bought one of those damn air fresheners (shaped like a little blue pine tree) from a car wash a couple days ago, and since it’s illegal to hang them from your mirror, I hung it around the plug for my cell phone’s charger cable, which as you know sits above the cup holder lid. I came out there a couple days later(after driving the car daily and not noticing anything) to see that the air freshener appears to have rubbed off the silver paint for the lid, and even left blue marks on the paint. “
  • “Ok, so I put a nice car air freshener around the shift knob, and it took the paint off the console where the freshener hit.”
  • “My house cleaning lady cleaned my car last November before I put it into storage for the winter. She gave it the feminine touch my hanging one of those cheap pine tree air fresheners off the emergency brake handle. Here is what the plastic silver trim on the console looks like after the solvents in the air freshener has eaten through the plastic.”

Aluminum motorcycle helmet – CNC machining

“But suddenly, a new contender has emerged…” (Seinfeld, The Apartment)

The new revealed BMW K 1600 is obviously aimed to withdrew the Gold Wing as the undisputed touring champion. It’s not just a big motorcycle with luggage, these we have a lot, like the Yamaha FJR 1300 or Big twins like Harley and Victory tourers.

This BMW is all business. It’s full of electronics and comfort, it’s big and spacious, and most importantly has an in-line SIX engine, that pumps 70% of it’s torque, already at a super low 1500 rpms. With 1,649 cc, it puts out 118 kW (160 bhp) at  7,500 rpm with a maximum torque of approx. 175 Nm at 5000 rpm, that’s 17 kgm of mountain moving torque.
BMW claims that the engine is no wider than an inline four. “…Compact construction and reduced width was achieved in particular by means of a just slightly undersquare stroke-bore ratio of 67.5 to 72 m”m (0.938) with a relatively long stroke and very small cylinder center distance spacings of 77 m”m.” – meaning, wall thickness between the cylinders is 5 m”m only. Engine alone weighs 102.6 kg. Yes, an inline six was not necessary for power, as a four cylinder 1600 engine would also do the job, but choosing a 6 cylinders is both manufacturing strategy and a fashion statement. In practicality, the more cylinders you have in a given engine, the more smooth its power delivery will be, so here is another bonus for choosing a six.

The K1600 is also equipped with lots of electronics for comfort, and safety as well. The head light is equipped with a servomotor in its reflector mirror which ensures that the road is illuminated to optimum effect on every bend. The servomotor automatically compensates for the banking angle of the motorcycle while cornering, directing the light cone onto the road at an optimum angle.
Electronics and features also include:

  • Warmed seats and grips
  • Tire pressure reading
  • Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA)
  • Audio system
  • Navigation system
  • Electric operated front wind shield
  • Electric locking system for luggage and docked gadgets
  • 3 mode selector to chose preferred engine power delivery (“Rain”, “Road”, “Dynamic”)
  • Dynamic traction control (DTC)

From looking at the spec chart and some photos, the K1600 is more sportier than the Gold Wing, in terms of sport-touring performance. It also seem to have a better leaning ability. It is considerably lighter and shorter in wheelbase. How will it handle the iconic GL1800 in terms of sales? only time and price tag will tell.

4/2011 UPDATE: Base pricing for the K1600GTL model is $23,000, while the K1600GT will sell for $20,900. Premium packages will raise price to $25,845 and $24,540 respectively.

Here is a little comparison spec chart I’ve made, of the BMW K1600 VS the Honda Gold Wing GL1800:

BMW K1600
Engine type:Inline six (side by side)Boxer six (opposed pistons)
Bore × stroke:72 mm × 67.5 mm74.0 x 71.0 mm
Power:160.44 HP (118 kW) @ 7750 rpm (crankshaft measure) 118.00 HP (86.1 kW) @ 5500 RPM (?)
Torque:175 Nm (17.84 kgf-m) @ 5250 rpm (crankshaft measure) 167.00 Nm (17.0 kgf-m or 123.2 ft.lbs) @ 4000 RPM
Valve train:DOHC; four valves per cylinderSOHC; two valves per cylinder
Gear box:6 speed5 speed
Overall Length:2489 mm (97.99 inches)2635 mm (103.7 inches)
Wheelbase:1618 mm (63.7 inches)1,689 mm (66.5 inches)
Curb Weight (ready to ride weight):319 kg (K1600 GT without panniers)
& 348 kg (K1600 GTL with panniers+topcase)
401 -420 kg (886-926 pounds) depending on option packages selected.
Front Brakes:Dual full-floating 320mm discs, 2-piston calipersDual full-floating 296mm discs, 3-piston calipers
Fuel:26.5 L24.98 L (6.60 gallons)
Price:20,900$ to 25,845$ depending on model and package22,899$ base msrp

The K1600 unveiled at the “Jay Leno’s Garage” show:

BMW’s new Adaptive Headlight demonstration: