Take me home, El Capitan!

"Gather 'round, lads.... gather 'round"...
Burt Lancaster / The Crimson Pirate (1952)

Around every other month, when I deem you are worthy, we post a new cheesy newsletter to inform the masses as to what's happening in the BMW world and of course... Pirates' Lair. How else are you going to find out?

Warning: While I do try to add a little humor in every newsletter, some of my language may offend the mild mannered, politically correct, liberal, or meek amongst us. If you are offended easily I suggest you stop reading here and look elsewhere for your written info-tainment. Basically.. "enter at ye own peril.."

FYI.. If you'd like to be notified when each new newsletter is posted, just email me with your request and I'll make that happen. Our email database is 100% secure. Stored in a lock box formerly owned by Al Gore. Never shared or sold to third parties. Never perused by the NSA.

The Latest Cheesy Pirates' Lair Newsletter: September / October 2016 Issue

Fellow esteemed and quasi-esteemed motorcyclists.... ..A famous (and slightly edited ) movie moment to start the month.....

As Ilsa and Victor walk across the runway to board the plane for Lisbon, a tear sparkles in Ilsa's eye. Rick is left standing alone on the edge of the runway. Renault chastises Rick's romanticism and 'fairy tale' sentimentality for giving an unwilling Ilsa back to Victor. Renault promises him that he will be arrested. Yet Rick still holds a gun in his pocket - until the plane leaves:
Renault: Well, I was right. You are a sentimentalist...What you just did for Laszlo, that fairy tale you invented to send Ilsa away with him. I know a little about women, my friend. She went, but she knew you were lying.
Rick: Anyway, thanks for helping me out.
Renault: I suppose you know this isn't going to be very pleasant for either of us, especially for you. I'll have to arrest you, of course.
Rick: As soon as the plane goes, Louis.
At this time a determined Major Strasser breathlessly rushes into the airport hangar and is informed that Victor Laszlo is on the departing airplane.

Rick: "I was willing to shoot Captain Renault, and I'm willing to shoot you."
Strasser attempts to halt the plane on the runway - he runs to a phone to connect to the radio tower. Rick orders him to put the phone down as Strasser grabs the receiver. The Nazi leader pulls out a gun with his other hand and fires a shot at Rick - who must in self-defense shoot him. Strasser crumples to the hangar floor - dead.....
Seconds later a carload of gendarmes pull up. In the distant background, the plane is taxi-ing and turning on the runway. Five policemen run up to the amoral Capitaine Renault who announces climactically...
Major Strasser has been shot. In a tense moment, there is a long pause. Renault first looks at Rick and then back at the gendarmes
Round up the usual suspects.
Renault: Well, Rick, you're not only a sentimentalist, but you've become a patriot.
Rick: Maybe, but it seemed like a good time to start.
Renault: I think perhaps you're right.
Then, in the fog, they watch the plane ascend into the air for neutral Lisbon.
Renault: It might be a good idea for you to disappear from Casablanca for a while. There's a Free French garrison over at Brazzaville [in French Equatorial Africa]. I could be induced to arrange a passage.
My letter of transit? I could use a trip. But it doesn't make any difference about our bet. You still owe me ten thousand francs.
And that ten thousand francs should pay our expenses.
Rick (quizzically) Our expenses?
Rick: Louis, I think this is the beginning of a Cheesy Pirates Lair Newsletter

Renault. / Claude Rains .. Rick / Humphrey Bogart / Casablanca / 1942

News and Feltercarb From The Two-Wheeled No-Spin Zone...!!

Picture Of The Month! Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse, Austria! (Click Image for a Larger View)

Every month customers send us killer photos and I see no reason to keep them to myself so what better way to say thanks for sharing than to post them in this Picture of the Month spot..

Our Sept / Oct POTM was contributed by world renowned bon vivant, Gijs .. aka Throttlemeister who also blogs from www.sport-touring.eu. He says of this spanktacular photo..."I just returned from another great ride through Germany following the Castle Route and Romantic Route to get to Austria. Then in Austria over the epic Grossglockner hochalpenstrasse (where this photo was taken) to cross the alps and get to Slovenia.

This photo was taken atop of the Grossglockner pass, at 2504m or 8215ft altitude. It may look pretty, idyllic and sunny, but this particular day it was flipping cold at about 2C or 35F with gale-force winds. The last bit to the top with the full brunt of the wind hitting from all sides depending on where you were, was tricky at best. As usual per last couple years, photo taken with my trusty Fuji XT-1. I used my 23mm lens, which worked out quite nicely to separate the bike from the background and keep typical wide-angle distortions limited near the edges of the frame."

If you would like to contribute your own"worthy" shot for our newsletter, here's what I'll need. First.. just email me 1 or 2 of your best digital shots. It'll need to be at least 1024x768 in size or larger and preferably A. Of any late model BMW .. B. In focus... C. No GS's for Gods sake.

---------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------

BMW Factory SOS Coming Soon! For the 3 Hour Tour Gone Bad...

Those sick, misguided individuals who've been reading my cheese filled newsletters through the years know by now that I am NOT a tech junkie except for perhaps when it comes to radar detectors. One of my pet peeves has always been BMW's insistence on making things complicated just because they can as if they are going out of their way to show the world they are technologically superior. I once saw an interview with Eric Clapton where the interviewer was pointing out the fact that he doesn't seem to play as fast as he did during his early career. Clapton thought about it for a second then said... (and I'm paraphrasing from a bad memory..). "As I've evolved musically, I now understand that it's just as important to know when to play s l o w as it is to know when to put on the speed. It's about knowing what's necessary to achieve your objective. Speed without reason is superfluous.. Just showing off." I'd like to think Mr Clapton's comments are analogous to the point I'm trying to make..

I've bashed BMW both privately and publicly about this since I was a baby. These days most mere mortals can't even work on their late model BMW and for all I know.. that may be the German's game plan. Personally, I'd rather have dependable, proven simplicity rather than a flux capacitor that breaks down every 5 thousand miles and/or costs $3000 to replace should it go bad... High technology is NEVER a factor when I'm looking for a new motorcycle. Perhaps I'm in the minority. Perhaps I'm not BMW's demographic. Perhaps I was a Luddite in a past life..

With that said, I just saw some hi-tech news ( Fall 2016 issue of BMW Motorcycle Magazine) that I actually think is a great idea. Soon, starting in Europe, some BMW Motorcycles will be coming from the factory with a "Intelligent Emergency Call System" or .. eCall. A covered button (on the right side handlebar) which in case of an emergency will either manually or automatically send out the bike's position data to a BMW Call Center to initiate a rescue.

I've Dropped My Bike and I Can't Pick it Up!

The eCall system (which works via multiple sensors and a mobile phone network module installed on the bike) takes 3 scenarios into account. Scenario #1. Automatic triggering due to a bad fall or collision. The rider will be taken care of via an audio connection until help arrives or if the rider can not respond.. help will come automatically. Scenario # 2. Automatic triggering after a minor drop or fall with a 25 second time delay. The rider can cancel the call by pressing a button if it's just a minor incident. If he does not cancel the call for help, rescue will be initiated automatically. Scenario #3: Manual triggering where the rider can call for help for other riders or even auto accident victims who need help. BMW says that the "eCall" system will not be triggered by stationary drops, low-speed accidents with no other traffic involved, pot holes, or off-road riding.

So there you have it... Technology that actually makes our dangerous sport better without compromising the dependability of the bike or the purity of sport. I'll imagine that in the not so distant future, this feature will come standard on every motorcycle and riders will come to take it for granted.. I'll also surmise that in that same not so distant future, old codgers like myself will look back and say.. "I remember, dag nabit, a time when motorcycles didn't even have emergency call service.. If you crashed.. you just had to wait around until somebody happened by.. or you just bled out on the side of the road.." IMHO this "Intelligent Emergency Call System" is truly.. one small step for BMW.. one giant leap for motorcycling.

---------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------

Mythbusters: Do You Really Need to Replace Your Helmet Every Five Years?
Source: Bikeminds / Kirsten Nelson

In one of our recent cheese infested newsletters I posted an article called Helmet Impact Performance Proven to Hold Up for Decades that pretty much confirmed what I'd always thought.. That helmets do NOT deteriorate as quickly as urban myths would lead us to believe and you do NOT have to replace them every five years like some manufacturers suggest. I caught some flack from a few readers for even suggesting such a thing as if it were heresy to even question the subject. One outraged reader actually picked up the phone (like our forefathers) called and asked .. "how can you be so irresponsible?".. I calmly explained that it took many years of practice and dedication to master my technique then reminded him that the last helmet study was done when Richard Nixon was president and James Taylor's "Fire & Rain" was the #1 tune in the country. Times have changed. Testing techniques have improved. Apparently my argument fell short as the next words out of his mouth were.. "The power of Christ compels you!" Geezz...

Bikeminds just posted another article on the subject of helmet replacement that pretty much agrees with the aforementioned, but with a slightly different perspective. They still recommend that you replace your helmet every 5 years or so, but not because it's no longer safe, but because helmet technology is advancing in leaps and bounds due to advances in materials, designs, production methods like computers, cell phones, and/or hearing aids. They simply think that a 5 year old lid is simply inferior to modern gear. As I'll no doubt be chastised yet again for bringing this up, ... read the article for yourself and make your own decision. The following is from the Bikeminds article by Kirsten Nelson...


"There is a piece of motorcycle wisdom that often comes as a surprise to riders new and old. Helmets expire. Five years after a helmet was made, whether it saw daily use or lived in your closet, you should assume a helmet is past its prime, and it should be replaced. Manufacturers cite the five-year limit, race and track organizations won’t let moto pilots fly without a fresh lid and instructors wouldn't hear of handing out old helmets to new riders. 

So why is five years the limit? Which part of a helmet silently and menacingly deteriorates past the point of use, even while it sits on a shelf? The answers are complicated——part myth, and part fact. But one thing is true. The five-year replacement advisory always comes back to the Snell Memorial Foundation. Asked about the five-year limit, helmet manufacturers tend to point to studies conducted by the respected not-for-profit safety certification outfit, which was established in 1957 by Dr. George Snively after the tragic death of race-car driver William Snell ". Read the full article here....

---------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------

A Practice Guide for Braking - 13 Step Guide to Perfect Practice
By Nick Ienatsch

I've been riding for 45 years and consider myself an above average rider. My credentials... Growing up, "A Twist of the Wrist" was my bible. I have over 500K accident-free miles on my resume. Besides the obligatory street miles, I've attended Keith Code's California Superbike School, made hundreds of blazing passes on the Tail of the Dragon, and done dozens of track day weekends. One absolute fact I've learned after all those miles is that the really, really fast guys are the ones who have the best braking techniques. It's NOT only about horsepower, the size of your cojones, how well the bike handles, or how quickly you can get up to speed. Superior braking techniques will get you down that twisty road or around the track faster than a rider who is all about throttle.

Last week I found the following well written article by one of my long time moto-journalist heroes and former racer, Nick Ienatsch who is currently writing for Cycle World. The article is very informative on the subject and theory of braking and how to improve your skills with practicing drills. No way I wasn't gonna share... That being said.. the following is from Cycle World's on-line Ienatsch Tuesday feature from March 22, 2016....

"Last week while standing on the Inde Motorsports Ranch asphalt watching riders approach during the Yamaha Champions Riding School (YCRS) braking practice session, it occurred to me how poorly most riders brake. To be more precise: how poorly most riders perform during an emergency stop. Very few even get close to the bike’s maximum stopping potential until well into the drill." Read more..

What's New at Pirates' Lair?

1. News on our Kawasaki Versys 1000 Stealth Backrest Project Update: Finally progress.. We successfully tested our Versys 1000 demo backrest kit last week and it was all good.. We've figured out virtually everything except how to keep the cost down and we're working on that. Sargent Seats found a material matching the wierd-o-rama oem seat material. Its akin to sharkskin. Smooth, but rough. The angle of the backrest is the same as our Concours 1400 version so we lucked out there.. Basically we're having to slightly modify our Concours Stealth backrest and raise it up by about 1/2" to clear the oem seat. In order to raise the rack platform we're having to produce some spacers in the form of 7" rails that go underneath. Those rails will bolt to the oem rack then our Stealth rack will bolt to the rails. Done.. Install, like virtually all our other backrests, is a one beer job taking under 10 minutes with basic tools and intellect.

We had hoped to keep the price to $415.US like almost all our other backrests, but the cost of producing those rails will add to that number.. By how much? Not sure yet. We are looking at all options. If all the planets align.. our Versys 1000 Stealth backrest should be available in a month or so. Soon, my friends... Soon.

Coming Soon!

2. Speaking of backrest projects... six months ago I would have told you that our BMW R1200RS Stealth Backrest project was dead as disco. I'd looked at it for almost a year and just simply wasn't happy with what my pea brain was coming up with. I shelved the project in utter defeat and moved on.. This week it's not only back on the docket, but I think we'll probably have production pieces by as early as this fall.. Chalk it up to an unexpected epiphany... Very excited about this one..

3. Here's some good news for the K1200RS crowd who are late to the party... While most manufacturers are discontinuing products for the venerable RS, Verholen of Germany just added a few.. or I should say.. resurrected some once discontinued items. They have just re-expanded their line of barbacks from just the 33mm kit they've been selling for the last 7 years to now offer 50mm and 80mm risers. Keep in mind that if you go longer than 33mm you may or may not have to install a longer brake line. We have them here... Why punish yourself...unless you are into that sorta thing.. We don't judge here..

4. We've added the entire Remus Exhaust product line to our website. BMW, Ducati, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki, Triumph, and Yamaha. We have these drop-shipped from the importer's warehouse in California. And while they last we're giving away a FREE Pirates Lair tee with every exhaust sold...

5. Military Perks: If you are a veteran or currently serving in the military, effective immediately Pirates Lair is including a FREE Kickstand Pad with every order. You will NOT see these listed on our website. Our kickstand pads are made of authentic black thermoplastic with the legendary Pirates Lair logo emblazoned on them. We hope our service men and women around the world take us up on the offer. This is our humble way of saying "Thank you for all you do, soldier." Just let us know at the time of order and we'll add one to your shipment.

6. While the R1200RS headlights are a thing of beauty, can you imagine what it would cost to replace one? Be afraid! As of this week we now have Cee Bailey Headlight Protectors for the 2014+ BMW R1200RS. Hedge your bets against the randomness of nature with these aircraft quality grade acrylic covers. Each order includes (2) pieces. They install easily and securely with the 3M Dual-Lok fasteners. Easy on/off for cleaning. Protect yourself.. or not.. The question is.. "Do you feel lucky? Well.. do ya punk?" Here is what they look like..

7. We just discontinued our Honda ST1300 Stealth Backrests... Demand had slowed since the bike was discontinued a couple of years ago... One of my favorite designs...

8. NEW PRODUCT - Been looking for some soft saddlebags for your S1000RR or S1000R that don't fuck up the looks of your bike with butt-ugly bracketry? I don't blame you. Look no further than the SW-MOTECH Bags-Connection Blaze Sport Saddlebag System. The system features mounting arms that quickly attach to the motorcycle and then slip into channels located on the backside of each bag. These arms ease installation and support the bags to prevent side-to-side movement and potential contact with the exhaust or rear tire. The mounting arms detach quickly to retain the beauty of the motorcycle when the bags are removed. Sweet!! Check out our on-line video showing the chimp-easy install. It's truly impressive. We offer one kit for the BMW S1000RR '12-'14 & S1000R '14-'16 and one for the 2015-'16 BMW S1000RR. Waterproof inner bags included.

Click Here To See More... If You Dare!

I-BMW Rally Event News : 2016 / 2017
NOTE: I-bmw.com is not an "official" sponsor of any of the following posted events. Event participation is the sole responsibility of the attendee. Motorcycle riding is potentially dangerous and can result in personal injury or death or lots of velocity awards.. You and you alone are responsible for your own safety. Ride within your own ability. It's called.. "personal responsibility."

The 17th Annual I-BMW Deals Gap Rally: October 6-8th, 2016

Where: Tapoco Lodge
Nearest town: Robbinsville, NC
When: October 6th-9th, 2016 [Thur-Sat] Check out Sunday
Reservations: Direct 800.849.2258

The Tapoco Lodge (near Robbinsville) site of our first 9 or so DGR's and last year's rainfest will again host the 2016 event. Hopefully without any hurricanes spoiling the fun. The newly renovated, upscale Tapoco has reserved (20) cabins for our motley group and this year with cheaper rates. Woohoo!! All cabins for 2016 range from $159-219 a night and many will have new hot tubs for 2016. Be sure to mention i-bmw group when booking. Amber and I will be there. Neither of us will be wearing panties.

Alternate Lodging in Robbinsville, NC. Microtel Motel or Fontana Village Resort
Closest BMW dealer: Eurosport of Asheville, NC

Cancellation Policy 2016: In the event of cancellation 30 days prior to the event, guest will be charged for one night. If the cancellation is outside of the 30 days, there will be no charge. This policy will be strictly enforced in 2016 and is non-negotiable. Savvy?

...and don't forget... Pirates Lair will be offering your choice of either Pirates Lair tees or $25 gift cards to anyone who achieves a "velocity award" while in transit to or from DGR 2016 .. If we don't reward bad behavior... who else will?? Arrrrrrg.

We're baaaaaack!

The 3rd Australian I-BMW Rally: March 3-7th, 2017 New!

Currently all details including detailed maps showing the daily routes, lodging, etc... can be found at I-BMW.com

Basically.. starting in the town of Tumut, NSW, Australia on the Thursday 2nd March afternoon/night.. Why those dates? Victoria Labor Day Weekend is the following weekend and is a bike and hotrod show in Bright, and the World Superbikes is scheduled for the previous weekend (24-26th Feb). This should give us the same riding as last year which was clear roads with the minimum of “fuzz/Leos” about. Starting and finishing the rally in Tumut may present an opportunity to unload some gear for a few days for some long distance riders, and will also work for anyone that wants to “trailer” their bike to the rally. The weather…… could be cold mornings and warm afternoons like the 2015 Rally, could be 36 Degrees every day like the 2016 Rally. More importantly we hope it doesn't rain..

Motorcycle rentals are available out of Sydney and Melbourne with quite a few BMW's on the menu. Costs are about $200-300+ a day plus insurance, deposit etc. Be a part of (hopefully) a new tradition.. and watch out for the 'roos.


How-To-Survive On A Motorcycle

Our last two contributions were for our HowTo Survive The Tail of the Dragon page. Check out #21 & 22 sent in by old geezer, Bart Lee. Could any of our tips save your life? Dare you not look?.

If you'd like to help others by contributing a How-To-Survive On A Motorcycle, How to Survive Deals Gap, or any How-To link.. First... check out the tips we already have and if you have something new... just send to me and if it's worthy... I'll add it.

Pirates Lair Sacred Archives

We get a lot of requests for specific articles and/or reviews I've written in the past. Rather than fry my aging brain trying to remember where they are on our multi-hundred page website, I have decided to list the "worthy" ones here. Most of the links are to past newsletters.. Some are to full web articles. Remember, I'm no expert on anything except perhaps cunnilingus so the opinions within the archives are only my own. Saavy?

BMW How-To Section

We have 2 new contributions this month. Check out
K1200GT Clutch Removal - BMW Procedure contributed by Bernardo of Las Varillas, Argentina. He's a regular poster and bon vivant over at I-BMW.com. The second How-To is contributed via YouTube by James Wright-Roberts.. Check out his BMW K1300S Coolant Change (Vacuum Method.) Thanks guys..

Click For Larger Image.. If You Want a Chub..

Pirates Lair Cheesy Newsletters .. Past Issues