Ikea $0.60 Helmet Hook Hack

I was searching for a place to hang my helmet off my bike. This is especially useful at the Singapore-Malaysia immigration borders where I’d need to remove the helmet for proper identification. Some people choose to hang the helmet over the mirrors, but I don’t like that as it may inadvertently adjust the mirror angles.

And then I chanced upon some spare s-hooks purchased from Ikea. Enter the Grundtal S-Hook! $2.90 for a pack of 5pcs – and boy! Are they useful!

That’s less than $0.60 each!

For starts, they make a perfect handlebar-end helmet hook! Continue reading “Ikea $0.60 Helmet Hook Hack”

CB400X LED Aux Brake Light Installation

Safety has no compromise. In my recent 2,000km tour to Thailand, I experienced one of the heaviest downpours when traveling along the Malaysian North-South Highway (NSHW). Visibility was so bad that many vehicles had their hazard lights blinking as the crept along. I had a riding buddy close behind me, and over the Sena Bluetooth comms, I queried…

“Hey JC, I’m gonna lightly hit my brakes. With my tail lights turned on, can you help me take a look to see if the OEM Honda CB400X brake lights are obvious enough, or do you think I should add an auxiliary brake light?”

I tapped on the brakes lightly and intermittently.

“You should add an additional brake light.”

The CB400X brake light connector.

Continue reading “CB400X LED Aux Brake Light Installation”

Wiring up for power on the Honda CB400X

Having recently purchased the Honda CB400X, I’d love to have the option of adding on electrical accessories. I have previously wired up my Pulsar 200NS and added a relay and a fuse to help isolate the circuit from the rest of the bike’s electrical system. The main reason being that if an add-on accessory fail and short circuits, you don’t want it to affect the bike’s other electrical system.

While researching on how to wire up the CB400X, I realised that Honda has already included a fused ignition-on feature built into the bike! No messy relay needed! And this is done via the 4-pin MT090 options plug found underneath the seat.

Schematic of the power wiring on the CB400X

Continue reading “Wiring up for power on the Honda CB400X”

Wiring USB Power on my CB400X

My very first DIY mod on the CB400X – wiring up for USB power!

Now, I’m super-dependent on my mobile phone (who isn’t these days??). My iPhone 8 is not only my communications device, but also my GPS navigator. With the screen kept on and GPS active, it takes a huge toll on the phone’s battery. Ideally, it should be hooked up to a USB power source to keep the battery charged.

I’m still awaiting for some other electronic accessories to arrive via mail order. Meanwhile, I’ll need to keep my iPhone happy. So I did some research on how best to tap a 12V source only when the ignition is turned on. Turns out that Honda has an Options Plug tucked neatly underneath the seat which provides a source of 12V (always on) and 12V (only available when ignition is on). Perfect!

Location of the Options Plug where a 12V (ignition on) source can be tapped.

Continue reading “Wiring USB Power on my CB400X”

Pulsar 200NS Rear Monoshock Settings

The Pulsar 200NS comes with an adjustable nitrox-charged monoshock rear suspension. Although the damping is not adjustable, the spring preload is.

At my recent tour to Betong, and because I was riding with a group, I realised that when it came to corners, I seem to hesitate quite a bit more than the other bikes. It could be a case of chicken, or that my Pulsar was the most underpowered bike. But when I was discussing this issue with a fellow biker, he suggested that it could be due to the suspension setup of my motorcycle.

The Pulsar 200NS rear gas-charged mono suspension comes with NINE (9) levels of adjustment settings, with 1 being the softest and 9 being the hardest spring preload. The factory default setting is a very soft level 2. While this may be suitable for most “average sized” solo riders, heavier riders (like me) or riders with pillion and / or luggage should increase the preload for better damping.

Level 2 – the default rear shock preload setting on the Pulsar 200NS.

I tried borrowing various suspension wrenches from various people, but unfortunately Continue reading “Pulsar 200NS Rear Monoshock Settings”

Pulsar 200NS Engine Oil Anomaly

This is crazy… At the Sunday Morning Ride, I was just talking to a fellow biker about carrying an extra bottle of engine oil for a long trip. And when I returned home after the ride, washed and waxed by bike, I realized that my oil inspection window was… EMPTY!

I had initially thought it was still “warm” after the ride and allowed some time pass to allow the oil to flow back down. But checked the oil window the next morning, still empty – no matter how I tilted my bike. 🙁

So I thought the high RPM run on Sunday might have something to do with it. No external oil leak was observed. So my worst fear was an internal engine oil consumption – aka oil “burning” up. Was it an engine gasket issue? Perhaps a valve oil seal failure? But it was only 17,000km since my engine was rebuilt in Chiang Mai, and I’d be very disappointed if an oil leak or oil consumption occurred.

As a temporary measure, I added Continue reading “Pulsar 200NS Engine Oil Anomaly”

Detailing the 200NS Exhaust

Yes, I’ll admit it. I pamper my ride. A lot. And it isn’t just my motorcycle. I do that on all my previous cars too.

The 200NS comes with a black-painted exhaust header instead of some shiny stainless steel. It’s been some months since I painted the exhaust header on my 200NS, and there are some new signs of very, very light corrosion. I’ve had good experience with Rustoleum’s High Heat paint on the exhaust and still have more than a half-can remaining.

Rusty exhaust header on my Pulsar 200NS during my 2016 SE Asia Tour.

I recall someone asked me if the exhaust stays black (forever) after the Rustoleum High Heat paint treatment. While I would love for it to be the case, the truth is that I will have to periodically repaint it. Well, that person subsequently mentioned that it was too much of a trouble for him and he was really looking for a more “permanent” solution. Dude! It doesn’t exist! Even polish and wax have to be periodically re-applied! Unless, of course, your machine is a showpiece and remains perpetually in display and not used at all. Continue reading “Detailing the 200NS Exhaust”

WD-40 as a motorcycle chain cleaner

Motorcycle chain cleaning is an essential maintenance procedure on all chain-driven bikes. While everybody have their favorite chain cleaner, the topic of the suitability of WD-40 as a chain cleaner (and as a chain lube) is amongst the most controversial ones in chain maintenance chats. Some swear by it, while others swear at it.

The biggest concern motorcycle owners have on the choice of cleaning fluids on their o-ring (or x-ring, or z-ring) sealed chain is the effect of the fluid on the o-ring itself. The 0-rings serve as a seal that locks lubricating grease between the pin and the roller of the chain, significantly increase the chain’s useful life as compared to non-o-ring chains. Any deterioration of this rubber o-ring will allow grease to escape and contaminants such as dirt, mud and other yucky stuff  into the tiny crevices inside the chain, leading to a drastically reduced chain life.

The idea that WD-40 reacts with rubber, swelling, softening and making it brittle has been debunked. MC Garage produced an excellent video to demonstrate this:

Still not convinced? Continue reading “WD-40 as a motorcycle chain cleaner”

Adding a Voltmeter to the 200NS

I’ve resisted this modification for awhile. But after reading reports of failing regulators / rectifiers (RR) and stator coils – not just on the Bajaj Pulsar 200NS, but not an uncommon failure on almost any motorcycles, I’ve decided to add a voltmeter to the bike so that I can keep a constant eye on the health of my motorcycle’s electrical system.

By the way, did you know that the number one cause for RR and stator coil failures is NOT the addition of electrical accessories, but rather a bad battery? The typical electrical loads additional (reasonable) accessories demand from the bike’s electrical system is usually very, very well within what the electrical generation system can handle. But when a battery goes bad, and if a single cell within the 12V lead acid battery shorts (a typical 12V battery has 6 cells), this draws a significantly increased amount of current from the bike’s electrical generation system. This large current draw puts a tremendous strain on the electrical system until something – typically either the RR or the stator, or both – gives way and burns up. So remember this – periodically replacing a battery BEFORE it goes bad is good preventive maintenance for your bike’s electrical system. And this is one reason why I choose to replace old batteries instead of waiting for them to go bad.

The (hopefully) waterproof mini voltmeter.

Continue reading “Adding a Voltmeter to the 200NS”

Front sprocket gooey grime (again) at 800km

With a new chain on, I decided to take a peek at my front sprocket.Some of you might have remembered that I performed a deep cleaning of my front sprocket only about 800km ago. And so I expected it to be relatively clean now. But when I popped open the sprocket cover…

Accumulated blob of grim at the bottom of the removed sprocket cover.

Eeew! Yucks! Phhht!

There’s a MASSIVE blob of sticky, gooey grime at the bottom of the sprocket cover! And when I dug around the sprocket shield further… Continue reading “Front sprocket gooey grime (again) at 800km”