Adding a Pelican case to an XJ600 Part 1

The aftermarket for the XJ series of bikes is slim to none in the US market.  There are factory racks and engine guards but they're as rare as hen's teeth.  Needing to be able to carry my laptop and other items in weatherproof and secure manner, it was time to improvise.  The rear sub-frame has four mount points for the factory rack, two sharing the mounts for the grab handles and two further towards the tail.

Yamaha was nice enough to mark the drill spots.

The Pelican case is too large to be mounted directly to the bike.  If it were, the seat would be almost impossible to remove.  Plus, it would sit at a downward slope towards the tail of the bike and look a bit odd.  So, to raise the case off the tail, I bent some 1/8" x 1" aluminum stock.  Originally, I had a very fancy idea and made a cardboard template. 

However, I ran out of room on the vice and talent. So, I was forced to simplify my design into a Z bracket. 

Here you can see the rough mounts sitting on what will become my rear rack.  In true Penny Tech and scavenger fashion, it's a wall mount that was going to be thrown away at work.  It fits perfectly between the to raised lines on the bottom of the Pelican case.  

The bottom of the mounts will have a slot milled out instead of a hole, that way I can fine tune the location and the corners will be ground down. Originally, I planned to mount them this way: 

But I'm concerned about the strength of the mounts since they're facing the same way. I don't want the case to get shoved back or forward and bend the mounts.  So, I changed the mock up to this:

This may require that I bend the center mounts and shim the ones towards the seat to make it as close to level as possible.  I'll know more once I pick them up from getting the slots milled and holes drilled. 

In part 2, I'll mount the rack and see how it all lays out.  


Full circle.

After all my lusting for various bikes, everything from a dual sport DR650 to a stripped down 883 EVO, I've found myself back where I started.

Sleeping in my garage is none other than my first real bike, the 1993 XJ600 I sold back in 2012.  It's a bit odd to move backwards, technologically speaking, from a big 1200cc, fuel injected bike but I'm glad to be back on two-wheels. 

I'm working on adding a Pelican case for waterproof and lockable storage, along with some smaller saddlebags.  There is a laundry list of things I want to upgrade and or replace, such as a full LED conversion, new bars and a DIY steering stabilizer.  

My riding time will be mainly restricted to commuting and the occasional getaway but right now is time to focus on Family.  Plenty of moto related adventures are in my future.  I think it's finally time add a Ural Gear Up to the garage.  By the time I have the money saved up, I might actually have the garage cleaned out.  


Irrational lust.

Even though I won't be bike shopping until spring 2015, that doesn't stop me from browsing and burning up brain cells thinking about what I want out of a bike.

My budget will be limited to the $2000 or below range and there are plenty of great bikes that tend to sell in that price range.  However, there are only a few that pique my interest.  Mainly, the KLR650, DR650, Honda Hawk GT and the lowly little Buell Blast.  Ultimately, it's the Blast that I keep obsessing over.  Even with all it's supposed flaws and shortcomings, the idea of a shaky thumper that you can toss around like a bicycle is very appealing.  (Plus you add, great brakes, almost zero maintenance and +60mpg and that's pretty sweet.)

Thinking about all the negatives does nothing to change my mind.  It did however, make me realize that as much as I want to be rational and choose the reliable and trouble free bike, I most likely won't.

I want soul.  I want a  more visceral experience.

Maybe I've been brainwashed into the Cult of Buell because if I had the money, I'd be all over another Ulysses.


Indiana's 'Dead Red' Law

Indiana House Bill 1080 (Adjourned Sine Die)

  • Proceeding through intersection at red light.
  • Authorizes the operator of a
  • (1) motorcycle
  • (2) motorized bicycle
  • (3) motor scooter
  • (4) bicycle; 
  • Approaching an intersection that is controlled by a traffic control signal to proceed through the intersection on a steady red signal under certain circumstances. 
  • Makes corresponding amendments.
  • Completed Legislative Action 
  • Status: Passed on March 27 2014 - 100% progress
  • Action: 2014-03-27 - Signed by the Governor

**Takes Effect in July 1st, 2014**

The 'Dead Red' law as stated written, is attached in PDF form so you can have a copy in writing for yourself and hopefully not the officer who just stopped you for running a red light.  'Dead Red' Law PDF

I know it's time to hit the road and put some miles on the motorcycle. Have you ever been stuck at a red light just waiting for a car or truck to pull up behind to so they can trigger the light? Now Indiana has joined 15 other states (Arkansas, California, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Virginia) have ABATE (American Bikers Aimed Toward Education) also supports this legislation that they say will help operators of motorcycles, motorized bicycles and motor scooters when trying to proceed at a stoplight with no traffic signal detection. I read a statement by Jay Jackson the Executive Director of ABATE Indiana he said "In the past these people had to sit there indefinitely or violate the law."
passed in their own variations the 'dead red' law. Some include bicyclists, some don’t. Some require the motorcyclist to wait one minute, some two minutes and some just a reasonable amount of time.
“In the past these people had to sit there indefinitely or violate the law,” said Jay Jackson, executive director of ABATE Indiana, an advocacy group for Hoosier motorcyclists.
Read more at http://fox59.com/2014/05/01/state-launches-new-motorcycle-safety-campaign-ahead-of-new-red-light-law/#fAQyCoc2Kf6U4MDa.99
“In the past these people had to sit there indefinitely or violate the law,” said Jay Jackson, executive director of ABATE Indiana, an advocacy group for Hoosier motorcyclists.
Read more at http://fox59.com/2014/05/01/state-launches-new-motorcycle-safety-campaign-ahead-of-new-red-light-law/#fAQyCoc2Kf6U4MDa.99

We do have to be very careful the people who are in those metal cages (cars) are probably not going to understand why we can go through and they cannot. I have been reading a lot of comments from the public on the law. Some of the comments I liked were "So when a motorcyclist thinks its clear and guns it and gets smacked and tossed off his bike and the car had the green light, whose fault
is it? With this new law, why is it I see the fatality rate of bikers, mopeds going up!! SMDH", "This is the most stupid thing i have saw in a long time does the law apply for car and trucks also does it also mean if they blow through a red light it automatically there fault for a accident", "If they can do it why can't cars? I've sat at red lights at five thirty in the morning with no traffic coming or going an I have to sit and wait for five minutes but a bike doesn't have to", and "I guess our new lesson is to teach lack of patience on the road for motorcyclist. Isn't that discriminatory for other vehicles". 

Personally, I am a big fan of this law being passed. I have a couple of lights out by my house that never get triggered unless by a car or truck. I even have one light that doesn't get triggered by a car when in a turn lane unless another car is turning in the opposite direction. While on the motorcycle I have tried every position on the road to trigger the sensor with no luck. I have even tried the traffic light triggers for motorcycles, again with no luck. Hopefully this will not cause more problems than good and people don't abuse the new law.



Upcoming Events:

Just a reminder that Indy does have some motorcycle events that happen quite regularly. I'm sure I forgot some, but these are the ones I try to attend.

Vintage Bike Night at the Steer-In
  • First Thursday of every month 6-9pm
  • Steer-In 5130 E. 10th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46219
European Bike Night at the Brockway Pub
  • Every Thursday Night 6pm-2am
  • Brockway Public House 12525 Old Meridian St. Carmel, IN 46032

Indy Mile AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National
  • Friday August 8, 2014 Gates Open 2pm
  • Indiana State Fairgrounds - Hoosier Lottery Grandstand 1202 East 38th Street Indianapolis, IN 46205 

Red Bull Indianapolis GP
  • Sunday August 10, 2014
  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway 4790 W. 16th St. Indianapolis, IN 46222


Indy Mad Max Run - Sunday April 27, 2014

In a not so distant dystopian future, there will be the Inaugural Mad Max Run around Indy in the Spring of 2014. This is the ToeCutter's Gang ride (motorcycles only),  dress in any way that is reminiscent of the apocalyptic characters of the Mad Max movies. So grab your Mohawks, leathers, chain mail, furs & sports equipment for the craziest ride of the year.There will be awards too for the most apocalyptically dressed.

The ride starts at 11am to different destinations around the industrial wastelands of Indy and eventually end up at one of the breweries for lunch and a beer. The ride is free and at your own risk.


Good Customer Service is hard to find and so are good gloves.

Good fitting gloves are tough for me to find.  Most are too loose or have short fingers.  During the holidays, I spotted some nice looking leather work gloves that looked thick enough for some light motorcycle riding but yet thin enough to actually be useful as work gloves. They're made by a company called Stone Breaker.  I passed them up a few times because I've bought a lot of crappy gloves in the past and didn't want to make that mistake again.

Finally, I decided to pick them up but they were down to one last pair of Mediums.  The index finger on the right glove is twisted counter clockwise but I bought them anyway.  I was browsing around the SB website and found their quality guarantee.  So I sent an email to the customer service team asking if they could be repaired or swapped out for a new pair.  One of the CS Reps emailed me back, apologizing for the issue and wanted to know where to send my new pair of gloves!

Really?   I really didn't expect that response!

I just read that the CS Rep I was corresponding to is actually the owner of the company.  Very cool!

Once the weather breaks and I get back to working in the garage and around the house, I'll post a long term review on the Rancher gloves.