Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

800 S. Francisco St.
Mission, TX

Our website is all about motorcycles, especially BMW cycles. We cover rides in the Southwest and Mexico, motorcycle modifications and review motorcycle products. 

Big Bend National Pk.jpg


Filtering by Category: "Harley Davidson"

New Bike Break In Procedure

Tomas Perez

There seems to be two schools of thought when it comes to breaking in your new motorcycle engine; 1) ride it gently like the manual instructs you to do and 2) ride it like you stole it.  The standard way is keeping the revs (RPMs) under a predetermined limit for a given number of miles.  Some break in instructions allow for an increase in the RPM limit as the miles traveled pass milestones.  The second method (ride it like you stole it) is pretty much self explanatory.  Ride the bike hard and rev it to redline in the lower gears.

Break in procedures and the associated warnings are in place for a number of reasons.  First and foremost is the fact that all those parts that rub together must hone themselves in thereby creating a very smooth surface.  This process is effectively rubbing (I'm using that term rather loosely) all the peaks and valleys that the mating surfaces have after the manufacturing process.  Even if the assembly process honed every mating surface involved that would not provide any assurance that it would mate up with another part that is probably a different material and typically the opposite shape.  An engine has many examples of this, for example, pistons, cylinders, piston rings, wrist pins, crank shafts, connecting rod bearings, main bearings, and all kinds of cam components.  All these parts are rubbing together and depend on a smooth surface and a thin film of oil to prevent them from self destructing.  Engine technology and metallurgy has changed a lot since the early days but the basic principals of smooth mating surfaces still apply.

I have heard several reasons for the manufacturer's recommended procedures including that they want to make sure that a mistake wasn't made during assembly and the gentle break in will prevent catastrophic damage to the engine.  I believe the reason, apart from basic engine break in, is so that people don't push their machines to the limit for extended periods while all the moving parts are still adjusting to themselves.  In other words use common sense for example warm the engine up before pushing it, no extended redline running, no low speed wide open throttle extended runs, etc.  Each of these has a good mechanical reason for avoiding.  In addition, BMW recommends an oil change in the first 600 miles.  The main reason is metal wear.

There was a time when new or rebuilt engines would require crosshatching the cast iron cylinders in order to help seat the new rings.  Today's engine use much better materials for cylinders, pistons, and rings.  Since this material is so much harder it makes break in a longer process.  Of course the plus side is that once everything is seated in properly you have an engine that can run for many miles with very little wear.  When was the last time you heard someone complain about their engine having piston slap?

When we used to overhaul engine many years ago (cast iron block and the new thing back then was chrome rings) we would take the cars out to the highway and accelerate up to about 75MPH and then close the throttle completely until the car slowed to about 45MPH and accelerate again.  We would do this a number of times in order to seat the rings in.  This is nearly the same process that I use with my new motorcycles.

I push hard up to high speed of about 70 or 80 mph if I can.  If I have no safe way for those speeds I still do the same hard acceleration but in lower gears to much lower speeds.  Then as soon as I reach my target speed I let up on the throttle as much as I can.  For example if there are cars behind me I can't totally drop throttle but I still slow down a lot until the cars approach me again and I repeat the process.  The reason for hard acceleration is that it places a much greater force on all the piston and crank shaft parts.  Accelerating increases piston side thrust pressure and the combustion force increases the pressure on piston rings also.  The deceleration process is just as important.  When you close the throttle at high engine speed you are creating a negative pressure in the combustion area.  This negative pressure wants to suck oil into the combustion chamber.  It wants to suck it past the piston rings and even the valve guides.  This action serves to lubricate and cool those parts.  It's the breather they get after they were pushed hard in the acceleration process.  This procedure is very different from that of holding the throttle open for an extended period of time.  Doing that is never recommended - new or old engine.  That's the reason race car engine need overhauling so frequently especially drag racers.  Also note that I don't approach redline with this procedure - at least not with the RT but I did with my ST1300.

I'm not sure if this can still happen with modern engines but a caution used to be that an engine had a short time to properly start the break in process.  If not followed properly the risk of glazing cylinder walls existed.  Once this happened further break in could not take place.  Someone had to tear the engine apart again rough up the surfaces again and new rings installed.  Worn rings would not seat as fast or as well as new rings.  The rule was don't baby the new engine.  By the way, brake shoes used to glaze over also and that would render them nearly useless for stopping the car.

I'm one of those guys that never had a bike use oil including my current 2010 R1200RT.  Recommended oil changes are 6K miles but I have gone 8K miles between oil changes twice because of extended tours of over 4,000 miles and the engine has never needed oil.  The riding conditions always include high speeds, heavy loads, and lots of climbing - all conditions that increase oil consumption.

A cool 36 F in June

This is the procedure that I use.  I am not saying anybody else should use it.  As much as we pay for these bikes we should be careful with them.  I'm simply sharing what I do and why.


Motorcycle Riding in the Rain

Ricardo Perez

My Harley After 600 Mile Ride
This weekend we rode to Boerne, Texas for some service work on a couple of 2010 BMW RTs at the Alamo BMW Motorcycle dealer. It's about a 300 mile ride each way and on our way up we rode most of the way through fog, mist, and/or rain with temperatures in the high 50s and low 60s . We actually left Friday morning about 5am so the first hour and half was before sunrise, but once daylight arrived it still looked fairly gloomy with low hanging clouds and fog and rain. Our ride was fairly uneventful except for the time I got a chuck of Javelina meat on my helmet. It was fresh road kill which a car in front of me kicked up while we were doing about 70mph. The driver in front of us ran right over it and we were able to maneuver in-between carcass parts. I cleaned my helmet at the next gas stop.
Since two of the guys had service appointments we rode up taking the fast route up Highway 281/37/&10.  I used a two piece Tour Master rain gear which is about eight years old and discovered on our arrival in Boerne that the pant's inner lining was beginning to flake off so I was wet from my knees to my ankles, not a good thing in cool weather. I ended up buying new rain gear from BMW and I'll report on that in another posting.
Coming back down to the Rio Grande Valley we had more time and chose to travel via Highway 16, running from San Antonio through Jourdanton, Freer, Hebbronville and San Isidro. Traffic on this once peaceful route is now congested with oil rigs working on the new oil fracking business. As we pulled into Jourdanton's only gas stop and convenience store we entered a crazy hectic scene of trucks and pickups of mostly roughnecks and a few hunters. Those Fracking boys have literally swarmed all over South and Southwest Texas and taken hold of every gas stop, motel, and restaurant. The parking lot in Jourdanton's gas station was filled with mud from both the vehicles and the worker's boots. A temporary boot cleaning station was setup in front of the store's entrance to minimize the amount of mud workers tracked inside. The scene was surreal and our fellow rider Marcos Gutierrez said, this is how it must have looked like during the Gold Rush Days. What a fitting analogy. This fracking business is really keeping our Texas economy going, but it sure lessens some of the beauty of our rides. Now its not uncommon to see endless lines of trucks, pipelines hugging the highways and oil rig patches where once was bluebonnets. And that's not to mention the amount of debris on the road ranging from simple trash to oil pipelines, that makes for a risky ride. The price of progress!
As you can see from the photo, it's not too smart to get too close to one of those big rigs. Most of those rigs are coming onto the highway from dirt roads so their tires are loaded with mud and even if you give them a wide berth as you're passing them you'll get some mud. My bike ended up about as dirty as its ever been.
In San Isidro we saw a guy win $10,000 on a scratch-off card! Marco promptly bought a scratch-off card and asked the winner to touch his card. No Luck! I also had the misfortune of hitting a Road-Runner as it flew in front me. I was doing 78mph when it collided with me. The feathers in the above picture show them as they were stuck to the head light trim. It was a big bird and I was surprised to see it flying instead of running as they usually do. So on this short ride I had Javelina and Road-Runner either on me or the bike.
On the return ride it only rained for about 50 miles or less and my new rain gear worked perfectly. The clouds and rain were blown away by a stiff northern that reportedly had gusts up to 56mph at times. The wind was hitting us diagonally between our backs and right side as we headed South.
Here's my tips on riding in the rain:
1. If it's a heavy rain use your rain gear's head hood if you've got one. It'll keep rain from running down your helmet and onto your back.
2. Close your helmet vents.
3. Wear gloves that allow you to wipe your face shield like the BMW Motorrad All Season gloves that are water proof and also have a handy squeegee on the left hand's forefinger. It's a life saver.
4. Spray your inside face shield with some type of anti-fog agent if it's wet and cold or use the double layer shield that's made to avoid face shield fogging.
5. Take enough time to make sure your rain jacket is zipped up all the way, collar is fully closed as well as sleeve openings.
6. Close rain pants well at waist and especially on the lower leg openings.
7. Wear water proof boots. I normally use Red Wings, but when it's raining I'll use my Sidi Boots that always keep out moisture. Nothing worse than riding with wet feet.
8. Take time to check your mobility ranges. If it's cold and your layered up with shirts and jackets underneath your rain gear you may have trouble moving and turning your head as you normally do so check out how much limitations you have with everything on.
9. Careful on the road. Trust your tires if they're in good condition. A tire in the rain will still have about 80% of its normal grip so don't be afraid to lean into your turns just don't overdo it. I've seen guys taking curves in the rain and drifting into the other lane because they're trying to stay upright instead of taking the turn with a normal lean angle.
10. Watch that middle of the lane section. It can be the last part of the highway to get oil and mud completely washed off so I usually avoid that part of the lane and stick to the well marked auto tire trails.
11. Watch those big rigs when you're passing them. They can really shower you with dirty rain water, sometimes in an instant and making your vision almost zero. I'll usually speed up when passing a big rig just to be safe.
12. Keep yourself well spaced between vehicles and other fellow riders so you've increased your margin of error.
13. Try to minimize the amount of time you ride in the rain after sunset.
14. Enjoy the ride, don't let a little rain spoil your plans. We only stop if its raining so hard that you can't see, but then everyone is usually pulling over.

View Larger Map

Harley Davidson Service Woes!

Ricardo Perez

My 2008 HD Ultra Classic
My dad was a mechanic so naturally we grew up around cars and servicing vehicles.  One of my dad's cardinal rule was never buy a car that rolled off the assembly line on a Monday or Friday. That was back in the day when we would typically special order the car you wanted. Another "rule" that I've learned along the way is to never take your vehicle in for service right before any holiday. Well, I violated one of my cardinal rules and took my Harley Ultra Classic in for a new rear tire.
I dropped the bike off on Wednesday afternoon, December 28th. I use Metzelers and made sure they noted that. The Serviceman recommended doing the 40K service since I was approximately 1,200 miles short of the 40,000 mile service interval. So I said sure, and while he was at it he might as well do the state inspection, put the nostalgic type grips on, replace the brake fluid cover since it was leaking, a warranty issue, and either fix my battery operated oil dip stick which went south soon after I bought it, or replace it with the stock item.
He said that the bike would probably be ready by Thursday afternoon. I called on Friday morning asked if bike was ready and was told, "yep" just finishing it up now. Of course, we all know that's code for, "he hasn't started yet".  So I said I'd pick it up before their 6pm closing time. While I was on the phone he mentioned that everything was okay except the nostalgic grips were not available for the TBW (throttle by wire) bikes. I politely mentioned that I had asked the service guy if those were compatible with the TBW bike and, of course, he had said they were.
My wife drops me off at about 3:30pm and the guy at the counter asks me if I had already paid for the tire as he's tallying up my invoice. I hadn't paid for it and said so, adding that it must be a New Year's complimentary item. He says well it's not on the invoice expecting me to understand what that means. He then starts a phone conversation with someone back in the Parts Department and after a while finally decides to go look at the bike. When he returns he says that they hadn't put the tire on. I just dejectedly say, "that's the only reason I brought the bike in for".  He wondered out-loud if it could be done before 6pm as he looked at the serviceman that worked on my bike. He got one of those blank stares that says, sure it can be done by 6pm but what fool do you think is gonna do it. In reality, he never spoke. After another longer wait the counter guy tells me that the Metzeler is not in stock and it would take a week for it to come in. By this time I'm trying not to be an SOB just two days before New Year's Eve so I just tell the guy to get my bike because I wasn't wanting to leave it for more than a week. I really wanted to ask why they didn't check to see if the tire was in stock when I dropped it off, but figured that would only frustrate me even more so I didn't ask the obvious.
By the time I get home I notice that they didn't fix or replace the brake fluid cap as was on the work order or the dipstick. So then for the "coup de grace" I decided to look at the state inspection sticker, you guessed it, no new sticker.
Like Timmy said in the movie "Sandlot", 'I blame myself for underestimating the beast and going about this all wrong'. 
Of course, I didn't get out of there without paying about $440 for the 40K Service. Now the constant question that gnaws at me is, 'what are the odds of they actually doing what's on the checklist for the 40K service?' Gotta admit that the odds are heavily tilted towards the 'no way' side. 
Now I must admit that I'm just letting off steam; all in all my dealer is good and I must admit that they, especially the Service Manager has gone out of his way to make things right and I'm sure this won't be an exception.  Let's just chalk it up to holiday blues and better days will come my poor bike's way.  Anyway, Happy New Year!

20,000 and 40,000 Mile Maintenance
change oil and filter
clean magnetic drain plug change primary chain case fluid
clean magnetic drain plug change transmission lubricant,
clean magnetic drain plug lubricate the following:
front brake lever, throttle & cables, speedometer cable, clutch control cable and lever, jiffy stand, tour pack and saddlebag hinges and latches, shift lever, brake pedal, steering head fittings pivot shaft service and re-torque - flh - flt - fxr inspect and lubricate detachable windshield bushings inspect air cleaner, service as needed
test battery voltage & charging system output tighten battery connections, 
check electrolyte on wet cells check lighting & horn for proper operation check and adjust primary drive chain
check and adjust clutch and cable freeplay inspect engine stabilizers and mounts inspect fuel valve, lines and fittings for leaks 
clean tappet screen on big twin evo models 
replace spark plugs
check and re-torque critical fasteners 
inspect tires, tread depth & adjust pressure check wheels, 
inspect brake pads and discs for wear check and adjust rear belt check shock absorbers check air suspension for pressure and operation inspect oil and brake lines and fittings for leaks inspect brake fluid level and condition check engine idle speed and adjust as necessary check & adjust operation of throttle and enricher check ignition timing & vacuum hose on carbed evo big twin check cruise control operation
replace fuel injection filter
road test

Motorcycle Riding in Hot Weather

Ricardo Perez

Riding When Its Hot Enough To Melt Your Shoes!
This summer I decided to run up to Dallas or rather Mesquite, Texas just east of Dallas to meet up with my brother, Tomas, and fellow riders Ed Ramirez and Marco Gutierrez. They were making their way back home from a ride through eleven states from Natchez Trace in Mississippi to the Dragon's Tail in North Carolina and the American Motorcycle Museum in Columbus, Ohio. I was unable to join them for the ride, but figured I'd go up a few miles and escort them home over the weekend. I rode approximately 540 miles on Saturday and a like amount on Sunday's return ride.
Living in South Texas and riding each summer through West Texas makes us feel like we're seasoned hot weather riders, but this ride really challenged that thinking. I left Mission at 7:20am and decided to make some time so I elected to ride the Interstate all the way into Dallas. The first four hours were actually pleasant then north of San Antonio it began to get unbearably hot. The expressway spans over 300 feet wide, most of which is asphalt and cement, reflexing heat right onto you. My Harley air temperature gauge was pegged at 120 degrees, but its universally accepted common knowledge that they're notoriously inaccurate and just about worthless, but even if they're off 20 degrees it gives you an idea that it was HOT. I usually ride with my Shoei full faced flip-up helmet with the eye shield raised so I can get some air, but it was so hot that I couldn't bare to have it open so I rode all afternoon with it closed. The air felt just like a hot furnace and I actually thought that my face would burn if I left the shield open. I forced myself to drink lots of water at every stop. I started early in the morning by drinking a 16 oz bottle of water before I left the house and had another at the rest-stop, about 100 miles from home, another one in San Antonio, and a large Gatoraide in Salado, Texas followed by another three water bottles when I arrived in Mesquite.
The return ride on Sunday was hotter and this time the sun was in our faces as we rode South. We left Mesquite by 8:15am and reached Lockhart by 11:30am. A quick and pleasant first leg. We stopped at Smitty's BBQ in Lockhart for lunch before continuing home via Kennedy. By the time we reached Luling it was 110 degrees and occasionally spiking to 113.
So what's the best way to beat the heat when riding? I'm not sure, but here's what we do to help us make it through the day. The most important is to stay hydrated, drink plenty of water or any drink with electrolytes such as Gatoraide. My general rule is that if you can't pee then you're not drinking enough water. I also limit intake of beer the night before or too much coffee at morning breakfast. It's also good to have something setup on your bike that will hold a water container and allow you to drink while on the road. I had that setup, but it didn't work too well so I removed it from my handle bar, but most guys I ride with have some type of cup holder on their bikes. I'd rather stop and get something to drink.
I wear a perforated jacket which keeps me cooler, but protects me from the sun. Some guys wear short sleeve shirts, or thin perforated jackets that allow too much air flow and I think that's a mistake since the hot air hitting your skin makes your body work overtime in trying to keep you cool through added perspiration. Added perspiration means more water loss and quicker dehydration. I usually wear a long sleeve shirt underneath my jacket and ride in jeans (no chaps) and boots. I also wear a full face helmet and keep it closed when it's too hot. I'll douse my jacket with water as well as my skull cap and bandana, but those tricks only last about 10 minutes out in the heat, but it's a welcome relief as short as it might be. I know guys that put ice in their jacket pockets, guys riding with shorts under their riding pants, and guys carrying mist water bottles.
In hot weather it's important to do whatever you can to stay hydrated even if it means stopping more often than you planned. Each time we ride in very hot weather we start that debate about what's worse riding in hot weather or cold freezing weather. I guess hot weather is best in that you can always peel off layers and in winter you better start off well bundled because once you get too cold (hands) its hard to keep going without possibly causing some long term damage.