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Archive for December, 2007

December 18, 2007

The saga of a “high riding” JT1 Mini-Enduro

What’s your creative re-use of vintage bikes?

By Tim Chelli, national manager for product compliance, Yamaha Motor Canada

My interest in motorcycles started with mini bikes – the Briggs and Stratton powered variety. The variety without suspension, transmission, clutches or brakes. Oh, they had brakes all right, a band wrapped around the rear rim hub that tightened as a lever was depressed when you stepped on the brake pedal!Enduro ad

That was around 1971, the same time Yamaha introduced the JT1, known as the Mini-Enduro (see ad here). Now, that was a real motorcycle! Not like the 1969 Z50 with its fold up handlebars… the JT1 was a miniature motorcycle! How cool was that!

I never did get one though… not until a generation later, when my son David was ready to ride. I retrieved it from a barn near Stratford, Ontario. Yes, a mouse had made a home in the airbox, and it needed a total restoration. Yamaha had all of the critical parts, though – even 20 years later.

David enjoyed that JT1, but eventually he outgrew it, so it ended up stored in the shed at our cottage for years.

Then, a couple of years ago my friend, Art (he has a background in the restaurant business where anything goes as far as décor) suggested I hang the JT1 minicycle from the ceiling of my cottage. That’s what I did, suspending it by chaiJT2 minicyclens from the rafters, so whenever I enter the cottage, it reminds of the joy it brought my son and my never-ending desire for one as a youth. (See photo, right.)

Btw, the JT1 seems to have a real cult following. The Indy driver, Roberto Moreno, also had one as a youth, and I ended up meeting him at the Toronto Indy. Roberto got free tickets for my son and I, in exchange for some of the old parts we removed from our JT1 bike when we restored it.

Oh, and just so you know, my ceiling-art JT1 is not for sale! Long may it hang in the rafters of my cottage!

Where do you store your vintage bike(s)? Is one doubling as your coffee table? I’d love it if you’d send in your photos of unique reuses for bikes!

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December 13, 2007

Can the C3 scooter keep up with the BWs?

By Chris Anderson, service shop technician, Yamaha Motor Canada

It’s amazing how a preconceived notion – for example, that one thing is superior to another – can be shattered when one actually experiences it. The following is a case in point.

Twice in the past month, I’ve had to go downtown for appointments and deliveries. BWs 2008To save money, I like to sign out a scooter from my employer, Yamaha Motor Canada instead of taking my car. (In Toronto, scooters and bikes park for free at any meter, and in designated parking lots.)

My first trip downtown, I picked out the 2008 BWs scooter (aka the “BeeWee, right). It’s still a two-stroke unit, but this year it has a catalyzer built in to the exhaust to reduce emissions. It’s always been a favourite of mine because of…

  • Performance: It’ll do almost 70 kph right out of the box.
  • Cargo space: I can drop my full face helmet in the cargo under the seat, lock it and walk away.
  • Fat tires: Perfect for negotiating streetcar tracks.Yamaha C3 2008 scooter
  • Fun: You can’t ride this scooter without smiling!

My surprise came on my second trip downtown, which followed the same route as the BeeWee, but this time I chose the Yamaha 2008 XF50 scooter (right, also known as “C cubed” (C3). It’s new, still 50cc, but four-stroke, fuel-injected and liquid-cooled. It has the same fat tires and lots of cargo room, but I thought, “there’s no way it can keep up with the BeeWee!


What a rockin’ little beastie! The C3 generates the same smiles per km, but it tackles the big hills better than the two-stroke and for some reason, the C3 seat is more comfy than the Beewee, too.

The C3 never went below 53kph going up the same hills that slowed the BWs down to just under 50kph. (I know this sounds slow, but it’s rare to break 65 in downtown traffic.) I only found myself slower than the traffic flow twice, and I was usually able to pass dump trucks and buses no sweat.

Next trip downtown, I’m taking the “C cubed” scooter!


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Posted @ 8:45 am in Commuting,Scooters,Travel Stories,Yamaha Insights   
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December 11, 2007

Welcome from Carolyn Hay

Carolyn HayHi, I’m Carolyn Hay (but you can call me Cal). I’ve been working in the marketing department of Yamaha Motor Canada since January 2004. My main focus at work is developing the creative behind the company’s brochures and point-of-sale materials.

I like working at Yamaha because I feel like I’m part of something I believe in. Not only do I get to work in the motorcycle industry, but it’s one of my treasured hobbies. I feel very fortunate that I have combined the two.

I recently rode my first bike home for the first time – my very own 2007 YZF-R6 (in dark-grey). I’ve wanted an R6 for seven years now!

Ever since I bought it, I’ve been wearing a grin ear to ear every day! Now I’m counting down the days until April when the roads clear and I can launch into my first full season season with my R6!

My hobbies include anything that burns gas. I grew up around classic muscle cars, the drag track and car shows. When I discovered motorcycles (in 2000), it was just an addition to my other moto-passions.

I am blogging in this space to share my personal stories of motorcycling, including great roads I’ve found and my bike “firsts.” I hope to hear back from you, about your own biking adventures! 🙂 Cal

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December 6, 2007

Growing up moto – but not with cycles

How I discovered bikes and never looked back

By Carolyn Hay, marketing representative, Yamaha Motor Canada

Growing up, I was always surrounded by classic muscle cars, rail dragsters, big blocks, and four-speed manual trannys. Not too often would you find a motorcycle among the crowd.

But then, one hot July night back in 2000, something changed all that. I was at work when some friends came by to coerce me to go to a superbike race over at Mosport the following day. At that time I was like, ‘what’s a Superbike?” I was reluctant, but with a little convincing, I went.

I found out that motorcycles are a whole other world! And that was just the beginning. That summer I put in plenty of seat time as a passenger. It was official… I was hooked!

Then I decided, why should I leave all the fun to someone else? I didn’t want to be the passenger any more. So I went and got my motorcycle license in 2003. The natural progression was to get my own set of wheels, and it was the Yamaha R6 that I had fallen in love with!

The first time I got to sit on an R6 was at the Toronto Motorcycle Show back in December 2003. (Yep, that’s me in the picture (right). Pretty funny, I know… the look of pure concentration on my face is good for a laugh!)

The very next day, I applied for a marketing position within Yamaha Motor Canada.

The last four years have been a blast… now I ride R6s – heck, R1s even! But the sweetest was yet to come…

October 17, 2007 was an extremely exciting day for me; you see, I rode home for the first time on my very ownCarolyn Hay and her R6 2007 Yamaha R6!! (That’s me with my baby, right.)

No more begging for loaner bikes at work… no more Sunday mornings waking up and just WISHING I had my own bike!

The ride to work will never be the same… or to anywhere, for that matter!

What I want to know is, am I going nut’z or is this normal?

– Cal

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December 4, 2007

Welcome from Bryan Fil

Hi, I’m Bryan Fil – “Woodzee” to my friends. (I was actually born as Woods, and the nickname stuck after I crashed into the woods in a downhill ski race and dislocated my hip.)

I’ve worked at Yamaha Canada since December 1999, currently as the General Services Coordinator in charge of fleet and property management. That basically means I maintain and supervise all our company vehicles and events trailers, and I’m responsible for anything that goes wrong in our buildingBryan Fil (except computers).

I like working at Yamaha because of the passionate people. Also, if I’m ever frustrated about something in my life, there’s always a new “toy” to check out. This always takes my mind off of the problem and all I think about is just riding. Sort of a reminder of why you’re working hard….so you can play later!

I currently own and ride a full race-ready 2006 YZF-R6, a 2002 YZFR6, and a 2003 YZF600.

My first bike ever was a 1989 RZ350, and I’ve owned a full race-ready 2000 YZF-R6, and a 2001 YZF-R6 (both I sold).

My hobbies include amateur road racing, watching road racing, wrenching on motorcycles, soccer, and spending time with my friends and family.

As a blogger, I think I can offer a good perspective as an active participant of track/lapping days and a licensed road racer – showing the highs and lows of this environment, from personal successes to hard failures.

I also ride as much as possible away from the track when family time permits, so maybe I can shed some light on that side of sport riding as well when I blog.

I expect there will be some crossover into the sport bike category, because of my street bikes, when I’m blogging.

And there might be the occasional post about other stuff – such as the ice racing I’m hoping to get into this winter, and the fact that my oldest son is getting to the age where he may be getting into dirt bikes (which means I need to get there, too!)


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December 2, 2007

Motorcycle Storage Tips: Why

Shhhh – Don’t disturb the sleeping baby!

With the plethora of information out there regarding storing a motorcycle for the winter, I would have thought not much else could be said, but still I am constantly asked questions about this subject.

Sometimes the conversation starts easily enough with me asking if the rider has finished for the season yet, or are they going to squeeze a few more days before they put it away?

It is an innocent question.

If they are finished and we’ve had no ice on the roads, then the chances that the bike will get put away with any road salts stuck to the aluminum cases is much lower than if you go late into the cold weather.

Those salts are a common danger to the large amounts of exposed aluminum found on the average motorcycle, and if there is any chance of some salt being left on the surface, you’d better spend some time giving it a bath or suffer the results of chalky and flaking finishes in spring time.

In other words, the process changes if the bike goes away early or late.

But often the reply comes back “I have a place to put it, and I’ll just fire-up the engine every couple of weeks to keep everything OK”.

I can definitely understand the logic behind this thinking as it is the way many engines are kept in a state of readiness. It’s just faulty logic for motorcycles

On the good side, firing up the engine every so often keeps the fuel from sitting in the fuel bowl and becoming stale and gummy if your ride is carburetted. And (if the bike is run long enough) the battery will get some charge back in it from the spinning alternator.

But on the bad side, if it is not run long enough, the power taken from the battery to spin that very cold engine will not get replaced and the standing voltage becomes diminished. And as the partially warm engine cools back down, the condensation that reforms each time will begin its corrosion attack in the places you just can’t see.

Even if you warm the engine right up to full operating temperature, the problems continue. Some byproducts of combustion are acidic – mostly from the sulphurs in the fuel – and these acids will migrate to the oil. And because the oil has been distributed around the engine while running (you hope) there is barely a surface inside that doesn’t get touched by the acids.

That’s the main reason for getting the used motor oil out and fresh stuff in at the end of a season.

780skb.jpgMy 2 cents? Follow a full storage procedure right through to the end. Many Owners’ Manuals will have good storage instructions. Once it is put away for the season, leave it there until you are ready to start riding on a regular basis. And keep in mind the roads will be salty and slippery and the riding skill set will be rusty.

Got a question about storage? Just ask and I’ll try to answer as soon as possible. Cheers. DS

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