Red Dog and Me

This is an on-going dialog between me and a certain motor scooter, namely a 2009 Piaggio MP3 500 that came to live with me in October of 2009. I've named the scooter Red Dog and as yet have not determined its gender. In the past when I've named boats, bikes, and other like characters I've thought of them as feminine due to their behavior characteristics. Red Dog I'm not so sure about...we'll see. Update: OK, Red Dog's a girl...with an attitude

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nov 4, 2009 HotGrips for freezing fingers

OK so when it comes to cold I’m a bit of a wuss but I don’t care, cold is not my deal. HotGrips are the thing to have in my book, they help stave off cold stiff fingers and that’s a safety issue on a bike. I’ve already installed them on 3 other rides and love the darn things so I ordered up a set for Red Dog. They arrived promptly and this morning I set out on what I figured would be a simple install.

Right from the get-go I ran into a snag, the Allen screws holding the bar end weights on and ultimately the original rubber grips were refusing to budge. Fearing the worst I called the dealer in California and his tech confirmed it, they’d been installed with some sort of Locktite product thereby guaranteeing they weren’t going to come off easily, if ever.

He had several suggestions ranging from heating things up with a butane torch to cutting the grips off so I could more easily access the screw threads. None of his suggestions sounded good to me as nearly all of them might result in damage to the underlying plastic throttle sleeve. I posted a problem inquiry on the Piaggio users’ forum and decided while waiting for responses I’d ride into town and see if an auto mechanic I know could get them off.

This turned out to be a good idea as he dug into his bottomless kit of exotic tools and came up with a set of Torx screw extractors, one of which worked perfectly. He had both screws backed out in less than 2 minutes and I was on my way home.
At home again I set about removing the original rubber grips. Evidently there’s a consistency at the Piaggio factory; they’d used plenty of what appeared to be contact cement holding them on so it was out with the pointy knife and off they came. Once done I followed the instructions for preparing the handlebars by sandpapering the surface. This makes for a better glue bonding and things finally started to go smoothly. The grips went on and have been left to set up overnight.

In the mean time I located the variable heat controller up high on the dash where hopefully it will be out of harm’s way from the front suspension action. I’d been cautioned by several forum members to keep that in mind as they’d learned the hard way by losing switches they’d installed too low.

The wiring is already in place and ready for final hookup tomorrow after the glue for the new grips has cured. Following the paths of others I’d located a relay with a switched power source of more than adequate supply and tapped into it.

Ain't this fun?

Nov 5, 2009 Postscript

This morning I finished the wiring and the HotGrips work great. I also took a run to town and found new metric Allens in the correct length for the bar end weights so that's resolved.

Now I'm ready for the next project, the electric vest controller. It's scheduled to arrive tomorrow and should be a fairly straight forward install (where have you heard that one before?)

Film at eleven....

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