So this past Saturday, 8/21/10, I got up and felt the need to ride up into the Sierra Nevada’s as it had been a month since I put some serious mile on the K13. (Refer to 1000 mile ride if interested: http://www.k-bikes.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22290)
I decided to ride State Rt. 4 (Ebbitts Pass -named after John Ebbetts, el. 8,730 ft/2,660 m, is a high mountain pass through the Sierra Nevada range in Alpine County, California), then south down State Rt. 89 (Monitor Pass - el. 8,314 ft. / 2,534 m) and then back west up and over State Rt 108 (Sonora Pass – el. 9643 ft/ 2,933 m).
Rode over to the Livermore, Ca. BMW dealership and purchase a quart of 5w-40 Syn oil as I had just added a ½ qt prior to leaving home. One quart total since the 600 mile service. (Oil consumption is worthy of another thread to be started later.) Miles on bike at departure: 4730.
Left the dealership at 10:30 AM and headed east on 580 then past Manteca and over to Escalon and then back roads up to Hiway 4. Traffic was actually pretty light and the temps were in the mid 80’s, but there were clouds over all of Sierra’s. Hmmmm, possible thunder storms later in the day. Hope not, but I did pack my rain gear.
Ok, now to the “De-accelerations, Idle Issues”. Over the past couple of months I seem to notice that on occasion when downshifting the motor wasn’t idling down like it should. Primarily noticed on 4th to 3rd or 3rd to 2nd downshifts under firm braking, and a couple of times it even buzzed up a little. A first I thought it was me and sloppy throttle management but that is not the case.
Two of passes (Eddetts and Sonora) drop down to a one lane road and are steep (20-26% grade) with several miles of tight 180 deg. switchbacks. Definitely 1st gear, 2-5MPH stuff if there’s another car in the corner coming at you. Going up the grade and into a corner the issue of the high idle was not as noticeable but when I crested the summits and heading downhill the bike was carrying too much speed into the corners even though I was OFF the throttle. The bike needed extra braking to keep it slowed down enough to make it through the turns. Normally the real tight corners would be taken in 1st or 2nd gear, setting up each turn with a little braking and then using engine compression and no to little throttle coming through and exiting the turns.
I’ve ridden these passes before on several different bikes over the years (carbureted and fuel injected bikes). They’re fun roads but not when the bike won’t idle down. About halfway down Ebbiitt’s Pass I stopped and let the bike idle in neutral for about a minute then quickly “blipped” the throttle to about 4-5K RPM and made sure it was brought back to the “closed” position. The Tach / engine would immediately drop down to 2K and settle there for a second or two and then take a couple of seconds to drop to 1.5K and then down to idle at 1 - 1.1K. Shutting off the bike for 5 –10 minutes or a 20 minute break for a gas stop in the town of Walker didn't change the high idle condition on de-accelerations. Riding at 60-65 MPH I would shift down through the gears using the “gears” and “engine braking” to slow the bike down. No high idle latency. But when I would try it with braking and keeping the engine in higher PRMs, drop a gear, immediately off throttle, pull in clutch and the RPMs would drop to 2K, float there for a second and start dropping off. Off throttle, clutch in the bike should drop to “idle” in a flash!!! None of this 2 - 4 second delay crap! The local dealership is closed on Sunday, Monday so I’ll give them a call on Tuesday.
As for the rest of the ride, it was great. A few rain showers coming down Ebbitts, , but not quite enough to get out the rain gear. By the time I got to 89 / Monitor Pass I was almost dry. Down on 395 it was windy, but not dusty, just an occasional tumble weed. Over 108 / Sonora Pass temperature got down to 58 degs and up on top the clouds were pretty dark and grey.. Fortunatley just a few light showers on the western side.
Rolled into the garage at 9:04 PM with an additional 403 miles on bike. As for the “De-accelerations, Idle Issues” I’ll keep you posted.