Friday, July 25, 2014

Johnson Canyon, North of Bozeman Montana

I'm visiting Bozeman Montana and brought my KTM.
Yesterday, I had a great ride at Johnson Canyon! It was about 25 miles there and back, and the loop at Johnson Canyon is about 10 miles. The loop starts pretty easy, but near the top becomes pretty rocky and narrow. Again, a bit tougher than I like, being alone and traveling far from home (San Diego), but it was a fantastic ride. The meadows near the top were covered with flowers. And at the very top there was some kind of butterfly bonanza going on, there were hundreds of them flying around. An incredible experience. Frankly, I'd rate the whole experience as one of my best rides ever.
The deceptively easy beginning of Johnson Canyon:

This is a shot at a camp spot early on the Johnson Canyon loop:

Near the top the path became very narrow. Not single track, but tight for an atv and very rocky. What's with all these rocks in Montana?! Stuff like that scares me as going down is much harder than going up, at least for me. A couple turns were tight and there is are drop off at the edge of the path where recovery would be impossible. Somehow I never think to take pictures of the hardest stuff... I guess I'm too busy being scared!

Then there is this is a meadow near the top of the loop. Just a fantastic field of flowers! Still some snow in the peaks in the background. This is near 8000 feet.

I didnt take any pictures at the very top, what I now call "Butterfly Peak". I didn't think I could capture the experience like that, so I just enjoyed it.

From the top down was a workout for me. I just don't have the confidence to let any speed build up going downhill, and those trees on the side of the trail look unforgiving!
And, uhm, are those scratches on the trees bear sign? Gulp. I'm hoping those were made by a passing atv, but many of them seemed too high and not really on the trail side. I ate my energy bar quickly and go moving again.
Another shot of the trail:

Once out of the canyon it's an easy ride through the farmland back to Bozeman:

Here is a link to the track: on google maps

Friday, July 11, 2014

Twin Air Bio System Review: I'm not happy.

I got this because of the idea it's "bio - friendly". Supposedly that means you can wash it with water with their special soap. I bought the whole kit: As the Twin Air site says, "The system includes BIO Liquid Power filter oil (1L), BIO Dirt Remover  (1L), a cleaning tub with cages, an oiling tub, gloves and contact cleaner."

A new filter is $29 on Amazon. Not cheap. I paid about $80 for the "cleaning and oiling kit. So financially, if you can clean the filter three of more times, it's cheaper to clean the filters than to replace them. And filters get dirty quickly on a dirt bike, so you need to replace your filter often. I bought two spare filters in addition to the one on the bike and planned on cleaning them in batches when dirty. The Twin Air Bio System Kit has enough cleaner and oil to do 5-10 filters, depending on how you do it and how clean you try to get your filters.  I got about 5 or 6 filters cleaned and oiled before I used up all the cleaner and oil. If you want to do a good job it takes at least an hour to clean a filter, and then it has to dry at least an hours (overnight is best) before oiling. And then the oil needs to dry at least a couple hours (again, overnight is best).

I've used this "Twin Air Bio System" kit about four times now (sometimes I cleaned two filters at a time).  If you are willing to spend an hour cleaning your filters, you can get them "mostly" clean. Use smoking hot water and all the detergent they recommend, which is a lot (100ml detergent for 3 liters of water). For two filters I used 6 liters of water to mostly fill the bucket and 200 ml of detergent. Squeeze the filters in the boiling hot water  and soak and then do that again every 15 minutes. Repeat until "kind of" clean. But an hour to clean the filters? And then you have to dry and oil them of course.

And I'll note; the top cage in the kit, that is supposedly used to keep the filter submerged? Doesn't work. The cage just slips up the inside of the bucket and the filter floats to the top.

I'll also note this bio cleaner is caustic. Meaning it will burn your skin. Gloves and protective eyewear are required. And it smells pretty sharp too. Be careful!

"Bio": What does that mean? It requires gloves to handle the stuff! The MSDS says: "Do not allow to enter sewers/surface or ground water." "Must not be disposed together with household garbage. Do not allow product to reach sewage system."
So what am I supposed to do with the gallon of this stuff that remains after every filter cleaning?

Here is a picture of the inside of the filter after TWO separate one hour cleanings with hot water as per the directions. All those green drops are oil left behind after the cleaning.

And here is a closeup of a patch of oil and dirt at the edge of the filter I just coundn't get out no matter how much I scrubbed.

Here is the outside of the filter, it still has some oil in the seams but it looks OK:

Filter after drying for 24 hours, oiling and drying 24 hours again:

After installing the filter, if the bike sits for a week I find green spots under the bike from dripping filter oil. And it's really tough to clean off the frame tubes. I really do squeeze all the the oil out of the filter I can and I even press it between paper towels. And then I let it dry at least 24 hours before installing it. But it still drips when the bike sits:

The kit comes with a special smaller tub for oiling the filters. The idea is you can keep the tub full of the oil between uses. However, the tub lid cracked. This oil contains volatiles, to keep it thin to spread throughout the filter. But the cracked lid will let the volatiles evaporate and escape, leaving you with oil that is too think to be effective.  If the kit had been used a lot or was many years old, I'd accept the crack. But it's only a year old and has been used only 4 times.

So the negatives:
- if you want a really clean filter, it takes work. Say an hour, and it won't be clean like new, just mostly clean. You will still have oil stuck on the filter in streaks and at the edges. And then add 2 overnights to dry the clean and then oiled filters.
- it's caustic. Be careful.
- the top cage in the kit doesn't really work to hold the filter submerged.
- "Bio": total BS.
- Drips out of the filter while the bike is parked.
- Lid cracked.
- How do you dispose of the caustic and oily cleaning solution after use?

I'm sick of this stuff. It doesn't work well for me, takes lots of time and is caustic.

Maybe I'll try "No Toil"...