The Achievable Dream 5-part series - the definitive guide on DVD for planning your motorcycle adventure. Get Ready! covers planning, paperwork, medical and many other topics! "Inspirational and Awesome!" See the trailer here!
Gear Up! is a 2-DVD set, 6 hours! Which bike is right for me? How do I prepare the bike? What stuff do I need - riding gear, clothing, camping gear, first aid kit, tires, maps and GPS? What don't I need? How do I pack it all in? Lots of opinions from over 150 travellers! "This DVD will save you a fortune!"See the trailer here!
So you've done it - got inspired, planned your trip, packed your stuff and you're on the road! This section is about staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure. And crossing borders, war zones or oceans!
On the Road! is 5.5 hours of the tips and advice you need to cross borders, break down language barriers, overcome culture shock, ship the bike and deal with breakdowns and emergencies."Just makes me want to pack up and go!" See the trailer here!
Tire Changing!Grant demystifies the black art of Tire Changing and Repair to help you STAY on the road! "Very informative and practical." See the trailer here!
Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
"It has me all fired up to go out on my own adventure!" See the trailer here!
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Travel BooksMotorcycle and travel books to inspire and inform you!
DVDs - Watch and Learn!
Horizons Unlimited presents!
Achievable Dream The definitive guide to planning your motorcycle adventure! This insanely ambitious 2-year project has produced an informative and entertaining 5-part, 18 hour DVD series. "The ultimate round the world rider's how-to DVD!" MCN UK.
Collectors Box SetAll 5 DVDs with a custom printed slip case. "The series is 'free' because the tips and advice will save much more than you spend on buying the DVD's."
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TechALL bikes: "Generic" tech questions and answers. Maintenance, general discussions etc.
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As promised at the HU meet Germany this year, I’ll try to give a brief summary of the things we talked about in the workshop. Probably it will be extremely basic and not very comprehensive, but maybe it’ll motivate the one or other to take a second look at bike electrics – because after all, the basics aren’t that difficult.
!!! The post is still a draft and not even half-way done, so bear with me until I find the time to finish it :-)
Overview of bike electrics
Starting problems - where do I look?
Battery and charging problems + diagnosis
Adding accessories – what to keep in mind
Spares, tools and aids for your toolkit
Overview of bike electrics
We briefly talked about the various electrical components that most bikes have to put things into perspective. I find it often helps to simplify things down to its basic components, and I recommend you try and do that if you are stuck someplace with an electrical gremlin on your bike. Because most of the times, finding the fault will be a process of elimination.
In general, electrical components on a bike fall in one of two categories: they are either involved in generating electricity, or they consume electricity. The consumers in turn can again be divided into two categories: must-haves (required for the bike to run, e.g. the ignition) and nice-to-haves (not required for the bike to run, but still nice, e.g. lights). Components that are involved in generating electricity obviously also fall into the must-have category, as does the battery (and a bunch of cables/fuses), which is the place where all the above components come together. On the energy-consuming must-have side, we can make one more division: this is usually the ignition system (CDI, coil, spark plug, etc) and the e-starter system (if present). Because a picture says more than a thousand words, maybe the following diagram makes things a little clearer:
As I said before, finding faults is often a process of elimination, and I find it helps to think of the components in the categories laid out above. E.g. if you are having a problem that is likely on the consumer side, you could disconnect all the nice-to-haves and see if your problem persists. If it disappears (e.g. by pulling all the relevant fuses - easy to do), you may not have fixed the problem, but at least you are not stuck anymore.
Before moving on to finding faults, just a few more basic words of explanation on each of the important component groups:
The ignition is the definite must-have on the consumer side. At minimum it includes the CDI, an ignition coil and a spark plug. In addition there will obviously be a bunch of cables, and maybe some other components. In a nutshell it goes something like this: The CDI determines when the spark should fire, i.e. when exactly the fuel/air mixture in the cylinder should be ignited. Ignition timing depends on several factors, e.g. the revs, so this part tends to be a complex one that when broken will probably have to be replaced (unless you know exactly what you are doing). When the CDI triggers a spark, the signal is first transferred from the CDI to the ignition coil. The purpose of the coil is to transform the 12V from the CDI to several thousands of volts, which are required to create a suitable spark for the engine. The spark plug then is the last missing piece: the high potential from the coil causes a spark to jump across the gap at the end of the spark plug, which in turn ignites the fuel in the engine. Also more or less part of the ignition system are a bunch of switches, such as the kill-switch, side-stand switch, etc that can break the circuit and prevent ignition.
- pic will follow –
In case you don’t have a kick-start, you somehow need to get the engine going. Bump-starting aside, that means that you will want to have a functioning e-starter. As far as electrics go, the starting system is fairly simple: triggered by the starter button, the battery feeds a small electric motor. Via a small transmission/clutch system, this motor turns the engine so the spark plug can do its job J
- pic will follow –
If we were to only have a battery, an ignition system and an e-starter, we would sooner or later run out of energy. Somehow we need to replenish the energy that the ignition, the starter and all the other gadgets from lights to accessories consume, and that’s what the charging system is for. Here we have three basic components: an alternator, a rectifier and a regulator. The alternator/stator is basically the same thing as an electric motor, it is just operating the other way round. Turning a coil in a magnet (or magnet in a coil) induces an electrical current. The fly-wheel which is connected to the crank shaft and thus to the engine does exactly that, i.e. as long as the engine is running, the alternator produces an electrical current. This current is an alternating current (AC) and its magnitude depends on the RPM of the engine. As our bike electrical system and its battery require direct current (DC) of a more or less constant power we need two more components. The rectifier functions a little bit like a valve by letting electricity pass only in one direction, which will convert AC into DC. The resulting direct current still is neither smooth nor independent of engine RPM, hence there is a regulator that controls the output of electrical power to prevent damage to the bike if you are racing too fast and the alternator produces too much power for the bike to handle. That’s why the regulator looks a bit like a radiator – excess energy is dissipated as heat. By the way: on many bikes these days, the regulator and rectifier will be one component.
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Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events such as this one (18 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
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