Guess I shouldn’t be so depressed about the airhead fleet- I’ve now got two out of the three running. Dragged out the R65LS the other day and it still looks like a rat bike but runs fine. I cleaned up and relubed the clutch release mechanism over the winter and on my ten mile test ride I couldn’t make the clutch slip. The hack’d GS was given a different treatment- parts degreaser sprayed into the clutch housing with the engine idling and clutch disegaged, had a bunch of crud drain out the bottom. Haven’t been able to make the clutch slip either during a test ride, and seems to vibrate less. Perhaps a clump of excess HondaMoly 50 grease was stuck on the clutch disc?

Automatic update, heavy metal division- Volvo trucks has popped a couple more versions of their XE ultimate MPG package with mandatory Volvo automated manual tranny. First up was a Mack version of Volvo’s 13 liter engine package, with a useful upgrade from Volvo’s anemic 80K GCW rating to 88K. Here in the midwest a bunch of states are giving out permits for 97K and even 99K in winter, so we find a mere 88K GCW rating laughable. Across the border in South Dakota where up to and beyond 170K is legal, they’d laugh an 88K rating right out of the state. So clearly pitching to the Canadian market, Volvo pops a 16 liter engined version of the package, with a whole 500 horses rated to haul 65 tons metric, which figures to 143k for the metric impaired.

So if you want a Volvo or subsidiary Mack product to haul your 60 ton or more “train” in Canada, South Dakota, or Michigan Volvo Truck  offers a confusing array of mechanical bits and cabs that if you could get them all together in the right truck would make a hell of a high GCW workhorse. For a start, the 500 horse 16 liter engine in the highest capacity XE package ain’t worth the bother- you can get several hundred pounds more payload with the lighter 13 liter 505 horse engine. But at the Canadian weight limit of 63.5 metric tons, that don’t even quite meet the old 8 HP/ton power requirements in Europe. Never mind the fact that in both Europe and North America today 10 HP/ton is considered barely adequite. So the 550 horse 16 liter engine option might be a better choice. There’s even a 605 HP 16 liter option, but it’s only available in Mack’s Titan model. But there’s no sleeper cab option for the Titan, and Canada is a kinda big country- heck, up there even the railroads run dorms and beaneries in isolated areas for their crews. Meanwhile, back in Sweden Volvo is pimping a 750 HP 16 liter for Sweden’s mere 60 metric ton weight limits… OK Volvo, how come you’re saving all the good bits for the homeland? As a stockholder I’m getting more than a little peeved.

Back to bikes… This weekend I’m doing “due diligence” on acquiring my first Guzzi, a Quota slated for sidecar duty. As if a gearhead was ever capable of “due diligence” when it comes to motorcycles…