Friday, September 7, 2018

IN A COPPER STATE


It's safe to say that the Scrambler Ducati now holds a certain place in our family's heart - I won't forget the day that I opened a text message from my Mom with a photo of her sitting atop a brand new Flat Track Pro at the dealership, and seeing that smile on her face, I knew it wouldn't be long before that bike was sitting in their garage.  I frantically called to get the details, and assuring me that it was just a joke - it wasn't but a little while later that I was assisting in getting their car home after a deal had been struck for them to take home Dad's Mach 2.0 as part of the package.


Yellow has always been Mom's color - but some things can't be left untouched, and require the eye of an artist.  Getting a little inspiration from here and there, we all started sending each other links and photos of parts and other bikes that we liked.  A custom paint job for the FTP was on the horizon. . . it just did't know it yet.


The inception was swapping seats with the Roland Sands Design bike that fell comfortably in formation of the cavalry of motorcycles beginning to appear in the garage.  The Flat Track Pro's yellow stitching works out nicely for the retro theme of the Mach 2.0, and by trading saddles we could get a glimpse into some of the next stages.  Searching high and low, a local Cave Creek upholsterer was located and agreed to needle some time into his schedule - the result is this beautifully tame OEM look that's been kicked up a notch with a rich, golden tan inlay.


For the color scheme, something a little more subtle than the loud Ducati yellow is what Mom had in mind, while still maintaining a sophisticated and dashing quality.  While attending Arizona Bike Week, she spotted a Torc T-1 helmet in Copper Tin finish that directly collided with the vision for the Scrambler.  Mom and Dad's amazingly friendly salesperson, Nate, from the local Duc dealer put her in touch with a nearby custom painter and over the course of the following several weeks, ideas were thrown around until a date was worked out to drop off the bike for its facelift.


Early on a Saturday morning, we trekked a few towns down and found ourselves standing in front of a suburban neighborhood, two-car garage - we were in the right place, yeah?  Since Levon has more recently cut back on the amount of custom work he does, we quickly discovered that he now prefers to lay spray from the comfort of his home.  By the time I pulled up on the bike, all other parties were already standing in the driveway going over their plans for the gas tank, fenders and other fairings, while Levon continued to run in and out of his garage, snagging paint cans one at a time from the massive shelf upon which they sat to convey his concepts.


Watching the mastermind analyze and reveal his cans of dreamy, hypnotic liquid - a plan was agreed upon.  None of us could wait to see the layers of metallic flake, but next up was deciding how and where to brand the fuel tank.  After much debate and some google searches, the classic Ducati signature is just what felt right for the style everything was en route towards. 


It's all about the details.  Really making something your own means adding a piece of you - maybe it's getting involved in a project to the point where you feel the product displays something about your personality - or maybe it's exhibiting a piece of who you are that may not make sense to anyone else, and doesn't have to - or maybe it's just something that's left up to interpretation by the looker-on.  Whatever it is, your passion should mimic your complexion and personality - someone can tell a a lot about another through their output.


This project was like any other that Mom gets involved in - the outcome is nothing short of stunning.  We finally got a day cool enough to enjoy a pretty decent length Sunday cruise, and I wasn't going to pass yet another opportunity to snag some shots.  So after this past weekend's Local Jonny's lunch, I made it a point to find a spot in town to show off the Scrambler in all it's splendor.


Some of the more simple details lend a classy and nostalgic hint while. . .


. . . some of the others serve a discernible and endorsing purpose.


I'm thrilled to share this bike with everyone and can't wait to see what the next phase of her vision brings to this platform.  While roving through town as a pack, I can't help but let a huge smile widen across my cheeks and get those satisfactory butterflies in my soul as I get to share something as special as this with important people in my life.
My Mom's cooler than you.
武士道 - B U S H I D O!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

1,535 MILES PER HOUR


Since the moment the Scrambler Ducatis started rolling home, the desire to modify them has been intense.  While the 803cc engine rumbles so nicely from the factory, there's this itch to free up the system and let the true soul of the bike's heart shine through.  So it only seemed like an appropriate birthday gift for Dad: a Termignoni Sport-Line exhaust system for his Mach 2.0.  


Before we even started removing exhaust springs and loosening Allen bolts, we got the new system all mocked up to get a good idea of how everything should slide into place and bolt-up.  Luckily, Ducati provides that convenient dual-purpose shipping wrap / preparation blanket for the shiny new parts while you get ready for the install ;)


Time for the old cat and muffler to come off!


. . . And get the hardware in place, which will cradle the Termi snug in its new home.


A quick break to get up close and personal with the detailed, retro paint job on the Mach 2.0's tank.  This moto is so fun and enjoyable in more ways than just the comfortable, liberating ride that it offers.


All fitted up, we couldn't get the pipes and silencer cleaned of our fingerprints soon enough so that we could start it up and hear the music.  This system comes with a removable dB-killer which Dad chose to leave in for now.  I'm yet to hear it with the baffle removed, but I'm sure it'd be even more brilliant than the grumble which now radiates from just below your right foot.


I was a little worried that the sportier style of the silencer might not jive with the theme and tone of the Mach, but now seeing it in place I think it seems right at home.


I really got a kick out of the smaller details, like the Ducati logo you may see that's been recessed from the hangar mount.  We can't forget about the upmap key that comes along with the system as well to ensure the engine's computer is running as it should.  A simple removal of the seat, and swap the plug into place makes everything nice.

I'm not sure who was more excited for this install: me or Dad.  But it sure was a straight-forward but rewarding move.  I enjoyed the cruise out to Bartlett Lake afterwards where we stopped to enjoy the weather, and he gave me a chance to zip around on the Scrambler for a few laps down the street.  All I have to say is that I came back with a giant grin on my face.

More to come!
武士道 - B U S H I D O!

Friday, March 16, 2018

NISMO KNOWS THE WAY TO MY HEART

The power of color and the influences they have on us is an impressive thing, and isn't it interesting enough in itself that we individually choose a color that we claim as our favorite?  For whatever subconscious reason that my spirit has decided, the color blue will always make me feel a certain way that no other color can replicate or satisfy in the way this atmospheric hue does.  This explains how my subtle blue accents found their way into my car modifications, beginning originally with the blue anodized duraluminum WORK lugnuts that came with the first set of CR Kai's that I bought.  Shortly after that, it was the royal blue stitching in the custom leather armrests, door cards and knee pads for my interior, followed-up with cobalt that adorns my KEY!S Racing Deep Leather steering wheel.  And last but not least, the Hyper Blue upholstery of the Bride Zeta III in the cockpit, held firmly in place with some Dressupbolts Blue Titanium fasteners, which cradles me anytime I'm on track wearing my helemt which of course I had to upgrade with the blue mirror visor.

So it was no question that while poking around on Nengun.com and discovering that Nismo makes aftermarket mirrors for the Z33, which just so happen to be produced in 'Multi Function Blue,' that I had to have them.  In fact, I had spotted these online awhile back and while visiting Omori Factory in Yokohama, getting to see them in person confirmed that these little pleasures were a necessity.



These sapphire gems arrived safely via EMS to my front door in a matter of days from the fine folks over in Fukuoka.  It was very testing for me to not tear the package open and immediately install these, but since I couldn't find much information in my online researching (as I typically do for weeks on end before purchasing something), I thought it might be a nice gesture for the next soul who comes along and is wondering if these bad boys are worth the plunge. 


Well, I must say that if not for just simply the packaging alone, the investment was well worth it.  Unpacking the contents displayed not just the mirrors themselves, but a rather clear instruction manual (if you can read Japanese), a very handy alcohol cleaner wipe and for dessert, a hand-numbered serial number card from Nismo - Yes, apparently serial-numbered mirrors are a thing.  Nismo thought of it all.


They were almost too pretty to install on the car, but I couldn't just let them remain sealed in their package for the rest of their lives.  So I dreamily stared them down for a bit while analytically investigating their being as I overstressed myself taking photos of some damn mirrors.


Conveniently, they come prepped with double-sided tape already in place and ready for install.  I wasn't just going to run out to the car and hastily slap 'em in place though - no, of course not.  I had to go run the Z through a hand wash and make sure all the water droplets were clear, and mirrors were dry before I even thought about peeling those tape-backings off.


BOOM!  Here they are in all of their blue glory.


When the sun hits the mirrors at the right angle, the color of the glass itself changes to this magnificent blurple shade, and projects a satisfying reflection against the paint of the door.



I will say that after driving the Z around with these installed, it took some getting used to the extreme wide angle that the glass projects.  I love it though - I'm able to get a clear and full view of the cars in lanes next to me which really helps eliminate some of the terrible blind spots the 350Z has.  Couldn't be happier with my purchase.

For those of you interested, here is the Nismo Part #:
9636S-RNZ30

武士道 - B U S H I D O!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

DESERT MEIHAN PRE-MEET @ VOODOO13

I'd be surprised if by now, any of my readers haven't heard of Desert Meihan which occurred in early December 2017, so I'll skip the details of how and why this event came to be and just dive right on in.  While one of my 2017 goals was to somewhat give myself a birthday gift and allow myself to drive this event, the cards just didn't fall into place so I did my normal thing and covered the event from a Bushido perspective.  Due to the hype and excitement which really came out in the community around the replica track event, I wasn't one of the lucky few to obtain a media pass, even with a slight dab of persuasion from the friendly fellow Chris at Track Society.  However, he was super open to the idea of me still coming to the event, and generously invited me to attend the track day Pre-Meet which took place the Friday night immediately before the event at local aftermarket parts scientists, Voodoo13's warehouse.  Several of the big hitters that were going to be in attendance at Desert Meihan were invited to appear at the pre-meet so I was honored to come hang for awhile.


While heading over to the venue, I mistaken passed the entrance while I was breaking-neck to the lovely glass-in-brick windows, decorated with historic Hondas, that offered a peek inside the establishment.  After a quick 'U-ie,' I found myself inside the enormous garage that is Voodoo13.  Greeted by the smiles of a few local friends, glances from out-of-towners, and the view of Caleb Quanbeck's S14 enveloped by his friends and associated YouTubers, the realization that this event was going to be something legendary began to sink in.


A decent perspective of just a fraction of the inside of the space from when you first turn the corner coming inside.


The Track Society team really, for lack of a better term, raised the bar with this event.  I had caught Chris a couple times in the months leading up to December, and let him know I was happy to help out in anyway that I could - as loads of other local members of the community did as well.  All of the planning, promoting, advertising, thought and calculation really added up to a flawless execution.  Many of the track-workers and crew associated to making Desert Meihan happen had spent most of Friday at the track setting up and testing, then resetting and retesting, then repeating - so needless to say by the time most of them got to the shop, a well-deserved beer was in order.


There's no missing Josh's deep lime S13 Coupe fitted with Koguchi goods.





Everyone getting stoked for the festivities that the next day would bring. . . then there's Ravi.


Being on a strict timeline, Caleb had to roll out a bit early.  It wasn't moments later that we heard the sounds of V8 roars and tires holding on for dear life, so naturally the crowd went running to the bay door to get a preview.


I took advantage of the break in time to go explore a bit more, when I came across the trophies that Nick from Wild Child Innovations had prepared for the drivers.  These things left me speechless, and it's sick the amount of thought and care he put into crafting something that will mean so much to the recipients.  My favorite was the "HARD LUCK" trophy, which carried some Minion-esque quality about it.





I moseyed a little further down the lane and found Chasen's Z, looking as ready as ever to be tested against the K-Rail.


That damn PBM kit. . .


He already knows what's up.


Aaron's Ruckus sitting all by its lonesome was just begging for some intimate shots.



Super sick craftsmanship on the exhaust.



The lucky end plate on Chris' wing that didn't have a thing to worry about the next day. . .


Shouts to Night Runner, who I'm impressed has really expanded so much!


Things were just starting to slow down . . . when Dustin showed up in his freshly sprayed Cefiro.  Drawing crowds like crazy, on-lookers couldn't help but get caught in a daze.


About the most accurate shot I could get of the true detail in his paint job.



As folks began to wander off and either turn in for the night to get sleep or head out to squeeze in a few more drinks before the new day, Ravi still continued to look lost and it seemed that no one was claiming him. . .  

I was pretty pumped though that Jesse and his father invited their long time friend, Ross Petty, to come hang out for the weekend.  Getting to meet him in person was unreal, and I felt the good karma flowing after offering up my beanie to keep Kendall's head warm, when Jesse hit me with an allusive Garage Boso replacement.  I was in the mood for some sushi, so from here shot down the street in the roller skate to a local, late night spot.  The pre-meet evening was just what I needed to get in my groove and had left me really excited for the actual event. . . Stay tuned!
武士道 - B U S H I D O!