Hope there are enough of us out there to keep this thread going…
Yep, I meant rebuilding the engine, top end anyway. Two strokes tend not to last as long as 4-strokes simply because it’s so busy in there. 1,000km for the break-in is pretty standard, running your engine up a mountain before your piston rings have seated is a definite no-no! The reason that so many rebuilds fail, especially here, is that they give you no details (other than go slow for 1,000km) on how to break in your motor. Over the last 13 years, I have rebuilt my engine at least ten times and changed 4 different heads.
The secret to a good break-in is simple. You want to slowly torque the engine where you can access it’s powerband without stressing your new rings. Simple right? The easiest way to do this is to only let your engine go in it’s powerband in 3rd gear and then only slowly. Then upshift into a high enough gear that the engine is doing almost nothing in order to let all of those minute peices of metal wash down to the bottom of the engine. This alternating stress, coast routine should be done for at least 300km before you take a passenger or head for the hills. In all honesty though, 80% of your ring-seating is done in the first 50km, the rest is for reliablilty…it’s even possible to underrev to the point where the rings will ‘glaze’ and fail to seal! The result will be a motor that is way underpowered and has no powerband to speak of. If you break it in hard, it will run like a bat out of hell for about 40% of it’s normal life span and then keel over.
The sad fact is that the vast majority of arrivals to Taiwan have never ridden a motorcycle, hence the scooter preference. It seems a rite of passage here to have some sort of limb-deforming accident! The worst part is that they want to ride like the locals, who have had a lifetime of experience and that kooky Taiwanese 6th sense that lets them survive life-threatening situations. “That guy just turned out in front of me!” is a saying I hear alot when visiting someone in the emergency room.
I have no excuse for riding without a helmet in the old days, always wore one in the states. But there’s something about having the wind fly through your hair…Damn!
Would have recommended Yangmingshan 15 years ago, but now it’s so crowded on the weekends that you’d be too busy dodging cars to enjoy it. There are a few backroads up there though that still might be worth checking out…
Jung-hen opening again? That would be so cool, as the Puli-Huehuanshan route is really getting too built up to be enjoyable, by motorcycle or any other way for that matter. Was up there in June and was astounded by the post 9/21 development. What a mess! The ride down to Hualien fantastic as always though, too bad I was in my truck.
Jiufen is worth a visit. You can access it via the mountain road (Taipei-Fulong) I mentioned before. Almost needs to be done on a semi-shitty day to appreciate it’s beauty though as it’s one of those misty mountain-top kind of places. On the road up there, you have (on a clear day) an amazing view of the entire north-east coast, from Yehliu to Suao and also Kweishan Dao.
If you guys are heading up north by bike, by all means let me know…I’ll do my damndest to join up…You’ll be passing close by my place, I live on a mountain top myself. Stop in!
If you can tell me how to do the map thing (computer idiot, sorry) I can put some of these backroads to paper for your enjoyment.