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Key Chains That Suit You

You may have seen them. On YouTube, TikTok, blog posts, Facebook and more. These cool keychains that riders have for their bikes. I actually have one for my bike and my car. There are quite a few out there and you can pick the one, or multiple, that fit your personality.

They are KeyTails Keychains – and the quality is pretty impressive. Getting wind beaten at constant 70+ MPH and they hold together. They look cool. They talk about you as a rider without you having to say anything. The best part – they are affordable.

Even better, there are many color options available for each of the keychains. Images shown in this post are only just one of the available colors for each of the key chains.

Loud Pipes Save Lives Keychain
Loud Pipes Save Lives Keychain

Get it on Amazon

All of us riders have heard the expression “Loud Pipes Save Lives” – and it is true. When your exhaust is loud, you can get the attention of others when necessary. The horns on bikes are usually pretty weak, so a good set of loud pipes really help get attention of others. Sometimes riders say this all of the time, and for those, this may be the perfect KeyTail.

Panty Dropper Keychain
Panty Dropper Keychain

Get it on Amazon

Some women out there get very excited over bikes – and I think that is all that needs to be said on this one.

Fast as F--k Keychain
Fast as F–k Keychain

Get it on Amazon

Face it, motorcycles are fast. Some faster than others, especially when it comes to super sport. Perhaps you like to go super fast. In which case this keychain is probably perfect for you.

Braaap Keychain
Braaap Keychain

Get it on Amazon

Not sure this one needs explaining, but essentially it not only is the “sound” a bike makes when the throttle is engaged, but it means to ride with aggression and flow. So if you like to braaap your way around those twisties or like revving the bike at random times, this keychain may be for you.

One Down Five Up Keychain
One Down Five Up Keychain

Get it on Amazon

The joy of six speed bikes, you have one down and five gears up with Neutral in between. Common amongst motorcycle groups, this keychain can match your other one down, five up attire.

Four Wheels Moves The Body Two Wheels Moves the Soul Keychain
Four Wheels Moves The Body Two Wheels Moves the Soul Keychain

Get it on Amazon

Anyone who rides understands this. Driving a cage (car/truck – anything with four wheels) really is just for moving people from one location to another, where on two wheels is completely different. It is freedom. It is joy. It is therapy. So two wheels moves the soul, not just the body.

Turn Me On Keychain
Turn Me On Keychain

Get it on Amazon

Face it, a motorcycle key attached to a key chain is used to turn the motorcycle on. The motorcycle also might turn you on. In either case, this keychain can work for you.

Sportbike Heartbeat Keychain
Sportbike Heartbeat Keychain

Get it on Amazon

Sportbike riders are probably familiar with this. A heartbeat rhythm with the shape of a motorcycle in the middle, as for many, riding is life. Live to Ride, Ride to Live. If riding is life to you, then this keychain is a perfect match.

Real Women Ride Their Own Keychain
Real Women Ride Their Own Keychain

Get it on Amazon

To each their own on this. Some women love the thrill of not being in control. Others just love to be wrapped around their man/woman. Then there are those who like both ride backpack/b***h or whatever term you use for riding passenger, but also ride on their own. This keychain promotes female riders which, quite honestly, we need more of.

Real Men Like Curves Keychain
Real Men Like Curves Keychain

Get it on Amazon

This is a play on words, but face it – any rider loves curves. Riders who just like to ride straight or on the highway are their own breed and there are actually very few. One of the best parts of riding is tackling those twisties. For this keychain, if you are a man, then this is probably perfect for you. I think they need to make one for the lady riders out there.

No, Motorcycles Do Not Own The Road – Neither Do Cagers

This post is more of a rant than anything else, but it needs to be said. Motorcycle riders get a lot of hate toward them. I am not sure why, but they do. Sure, there are a few bad apples out there, but that is true for anyone. Police, doctors, firefighters, lawyers, general contractors and more, but for some reason motorcycles get a lot more hate – with the exception of police these days.

The thing is, most of us are considerate riders – though we are more prone to make a point when you screw up. Post after post on social media where a rider shares a video of a car obviously taking the motorcycle riders right of way gets flak and hate comments with one comment being the most common, “You don’t own the road.”

Well you don’t own the damn road either, and when you pull out in front of us, turn in front of us, or when you merge into our lane with us next to you – you are performing an illegal action. That’s right – illegal! When you cause somebody to have to brake or swerve, you have taken their right of way away, and that is illegal. It is called “Failure to yield right of way.” Look it up, I’ll wait…

It doesn’t matter if you do it to a car or a bike, it is illegal. It is just more fatal or catastrophic for us motorcycle riders. See, despite what a lot of cagers (the term used for people who drive cars and never ride or have ridden a motorcycle) believe, motorcycles cannot stop quickly. You are talking about two inches of surface area on the asphalt that has to stop 400+ lbs of bike plus the rider. If the bike does grip, it is easy for the rider to go over the handle bars, or actually flip over completely. If the tires slide, it is bad because it can cause the bike to low side or high side (flip the rider off rather than lay it down). So the inability to wait five more seconds for the rider to pass may now have caused a loss of life. I’m not talking about when bikes follow too close and you brake check (another entire topic), or a deer runs out and you slap on their brakes and they rear end you – that’s just normal driver error suffered by some car and motorcycle operators.

I am talking about the failure to yield the right of way. Do you ever pull out or make a turn and hear a bike horn – probably not, most are pathetic. How about the high revs of a sport bike or the growl of a cruiser revving up to let you know that you just f**ked up. Yea, you did. They had to hit their brakes – and it doesn’t matter if they have to slam on them or just have to brake where they normally shouldn’t have – that is taking their right of way and you are at fault- and yes, if an officer sees this it will most likely result in a traffic citation.

We don’t own the road – but you guys think you do. Oh, they are small and on a bike, they’ll have to deal with it cause I’ll win. Well that mentality will make you so poor so quick because guess what – most of us have cameras now. That whole mentality of pulling out quick enough to get your rear bumper around so that it would be rear-end collision making it the fault of the person hitting you is done and gone – because if you take their right of way away, you are at fault, not them – the issue was always proving it – which now with cameras we can. And yes, we can legally record video of anything we want on public road ways because it is public and it is admissible in court for both the traffic citation you will receive, the liability of damages you will receive, and the personal injury lawsuit you will receive – or worse, wrongful death.

So to any of you who rant about motorcycles not owning the road when we share a video where someone obviously took their right of way away, I say turn in your driver’s license and don’t ever drive again, because you are obviously one of the assholes who do that or would do that. One of these times a biker is going to go down because of you, you are going to laugh, then you are going to be poor and possibly in jail (yep, you take the right of way away and it results in death its involuntary manslaughter at the minimum).

Change your attitude. Look twice. Remember, bikes cannot stop quickly and they may be moving faster than they look, but not just that – don’t take someone’s right of way away whether it a car or a bike. Just wait a few lousy seconds for a bigger opening. I cannot tell you how many times people have pulled out right in front of me and there is literally no one as far as you can see behind me. Just wait for the clearing. Save a life. Save yourself from the lawsuits. Obey the law.

Remember to always look twice too. The excuse of: “I didn’t see them,” doesn’t really work in civil court when you are facing lawsuits. Also remember we have cameras, and we use them religiously.

My First Tail of the Dragon Trip

Today I was getting a bit nostalgic, remembering the first big trip I had ever done – which as it turns out was on my Goldwing. When I say big trip, I mean multiple days. It was a trip down to the Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap in North Carolina/Tennessee. When just taking the highway with no interesting scenery or detours, it would have been a straight shot at eight and a half hours and 540 miles. However, if you ride motorcycles you know, a big part of the adventure with a predetermined destination is the journey.

Beautiful Mountains
The Mountains are Beautiful

So… instead of the boring highway, I rode through the mountains making the trip take a total of three days to arrive at destination. Skyline drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway are worth a trip in and of themselves with amazing scenery and gorgeous roads for a motorcycle. I would advise against riding these roads at night because of the wild life – especially black bears. You hear about motorcycle collisions with deer often, and they usually cause quite a bit of damage. Imagine hitting a black bear.

Skyline Drive - Black Bears
Skyline Drive – Black Bears

This trip took place in 2013, back when I wasn’t as picky about ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time). When we got there it was soaring near 100 degrees with humidity around 95%. It was hot. Super hot. When riding down, I wore just a long sleeve shirt, mostly to protect my skin from the sun, and blue jeans. While riding the dragon I wore my riding jacket, but still just regular blue jeans. Today I would not do that – I would wear my riding pants, my riding boots (I wore just regular boots) and my riding jacket, and always a helmet.

Tail of the Dragon - post turn
Tail of the Dragon – Post Turn

If you are unfamiliar with the Tail of the Dragon, it is a road with a bunch of turns, 318 in 11 miles to be exact. The turns range from gentle and subtle to hairpin and switchbacks, making this a motorcycle riders dream of a road. Once you get past the other passenger vehicles and semi-trucks it is quite fun. Just make sure to ride to your ability, as it is easy to get carried away and then you will be adding your parts to the tree of shame.

The Tree of Shame

That’s right. The Tree of Shame which holds bike parts from all the unfortunate riders who lost control of their motorcycles while riding the dragon. It is an impressive site to see in person, but it will humble you quite quickly. Fortunately for me, I only scraped off a chunk of my highway pegs and even grinding a metal belly guard on my Goldwing.

Injuries from the Dragon
Injuries from the Dragon

This occurred when I took a turn a bit faster than I should and came in hot, but I held and didn’t lose control. In hindsight I probably should have adjusted my preloads, but overall this wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t embarrassing like when I attempted to make a sharp u-turn on an up hill slope attempting to go back to a spot to get a picture of a sunset. I unfortunately didn’t get that picture.

A nice thing about the dragon is there are companies like 129Slayer taking pictures of every bike that passes. When you get home from your trip you can go to their site and pull up your images and purchase them. It’s awesome.

All said and done – I’m itching to go back on my Ninja 1000SX. It can lean a lot more and would be a heck of a fun bike to take on the dragon.

Tail of the Dragon
Tail of the Dragon

Ride safe and keep the shiny side up.

I have a short YouTube video of part of the dragon. We mounted the GoPro on my buddy’s bike.

Changing the Oil on your Motorcycle

One of the most important things you can do for your motorcycle is maintenance. Part of the maintenance cycle is an oil change. In order for internal combustion engines to operation, there must be oil. This allows the friction areas of the engine to run without binding up, overheating and causing catastrophic damage to the motor itself.

Over time, oil breaks down and accumulates moisture. This is why it is imperative to change oil at regular intervals, both mileage and time. Modern synthetic oils can last longer, but motorcycle engines are delicate, especially on sport bikes where they are performance engines, which is why it is still best to change the oil at 3000 miles or annually, even when running premium synthetic motor oils.

Oil changes are one of the easiest maintenance tasks to perform as long as you follow the proper procedure.

  • Remove drain bolt and drain oil
  • Remove oil filter
  • Lube new oil filter (the gasket and threads with clean new oil)
  • Install new oil filter
  • Replace drain bolt (possibly with new washer)
  • Add new oil
  • Check level (it should be over full at this point)
  • Run bike to warm it up and have oil fill the filter and other parts of the motor
  • Turn off bike and wait before checking oil level again – it should be correct now

Any person is capable of an oil change if they have the right tools. The tools are affordable and there is nothing too costly – the oil will cost the most.

  • Oil (proper weight and quantity)
  • Oil Filter
  • Crush washer (if applicable)
  • Filter Wrench
  • Socket Wrench for drain plug (do NOT use a crescent wrench)
  • Drain pan
  • Funnel (optional, but highly recommended)
  • Torque wrench (optional, but highly recommended)
  • Bike stands or lift (optional, but highly recommended)

Performing the Oil Change

motorcycle on stands
Bike on Stands

Don’t mind the messy garage :-).

It is preferable to get the bike in the air. Bike stands for sport bikes or a bike lift for cruisers, etc is recommended. This allows you to easily get the bike off the ground and a drain pan under it.

Remove drain plug
Remove Drain Plug

Place the oil pan under the oil pan/drain plug on the bike, find the right size socket and remove the drain plug. Make sure to get the existing crush washer or gasket if there is one.

Oil draining from oil pan

Let the oil drain from the bike until it starts coming out as a very slow drip. You will see the crush washer left on the image above – remove this washer if it doesn’t fall on its own. You may choose to warm the bike up before removing the drain plug. This allows the oil to thing down a bit and come out quicker, but you still have to wait for it to drain out of the engine components since it had just run. The choice is yours.

replace drain plug and crush washer
Put a new crush washer on the drain plug and put it it back in the oil pan

You may choose to do this step before or after the oil filter. In either case, place a new crush washer or gasket on the drain bolt (if applicable, some bikes don’t require this). For crush washers, I prefer to use the copper washers that crush down as you seat the bolt. Hand thread the bolt back into the drain pan until finger tight. Then use tighten the bolt down with your socket. Use of a torque wrench is highly recommended and torque to factory specs.

remove oil filter
Remove the oil filter with an oil wrench

Remove the oil filter with an oil wrench. You can get adjustable oil wrenches for use with a socket wrench or fixed sized. Don’t use a spanner wrench as these are known to round off and crush the oil filters. There also isn’t much room to work, so the oil wrenches that go on the back of the oil filter are the best in my opinion. Make sure to turn it the right direction (lefty loosey)

oil draining from filter port
Let the oil drain until it comes to a slow drip

Let the oil drain from where the oil filter was. You should let it drain until it is a slow drip. Make sure the oil filter gasket did not remain in place as this will be a guaranteed leak if not removed.

lube gasket and threads
Lube the gasket and threads of the new oil filter

This is very important. Make sure you get some fresh clean oil and lube the gasket and threads of the new oil filter. This prevents leaking but also prevents the gasket from sticking to the motor and allows for easier removal in the future when you go to change the oil again.

Install new oil filter
Install the new oil filter

Install the new oil filter. By hand, find the center and align the threads and thread the new filter on. Make sure you do not cross-thread the filter. It should spin on easy. Screw on the filter until it is finger tight. For motorcycles, it is highly recommended to use the oil wrench and your torque wrench and tighten to factory specs. You may choose to hand tighten, but make sure to not over tighten and certainly not have it too loose. You want to spin it on until it is finger tight then give it about a quarter of a turn hand tight. Again – it is preferable to torque this down to factory specs rather than by feel. Once done, wipe everything down.

Fill with oil
Fill with oil

Now fill the bike with oil. You will want to refer to your owners manual to check what type of oil and how much. Usually there will be quantity with filter change, without and dry. You changed the oil filter, right? If not, go change the oil filter – always change it with an oil change. Then make sure you have the quantity of oil for with a filter change. Your manual may also indicate different grades of oil based on temperatures, so make sure your climate lines up with what you got and also make sure you get motorcycle oil. It is very important that you use motorcycle oil and not regular car/truck oil. Since your clutch is lubricated by the engine oil, there are special additives that are in motorcycle oil that are critical to the proper operation of the clutch. Take a funnel and fill up the engine with the specified quantity.

Check oil level after filling
Check the oil level after filling

You may have to refer to your owners manual, but typically there are two ways of checking the oil level in your motorcycle. You either check a sight class or a dip stick. In either case, you want to check that the oil is full, and in most cases it will read over full as oil has not been primed into the oil filter. As seen in the image above, the oil level is above the two marks meaning it is too full, but that is okay, because we have to run the bike yet. If it is reading low, you need to add more oil as it will be very low after the oil filter gets filled up. When checking oil, make sure your bike is perpendicular to the ground and not sitting on it’s kick stand. This is another reason bike stands or lift are useful. If you have a center stand that would work as well. Once your oil level is full or over full, start the bike and let it warm up.

Check the oil level in the sight glass

While running the bike, if you have a sight glass you may notice it drop completely from the sight glass. This is fine while running. Once you turn your bike off, wait five minutes then check the sight glass and the oil level will be at the final level. It should be between the two lines on a sight glass or in the markings on a dip stick. The best place is right in the middle of the markings. If this is the case, you are good to go and your oil change is complete. If it is too low, then add some more oil, start the bike for a bit, let it rest for five minutes and check again. Repeat as necessary. If the oil is too full, as in above the lines, you will need to drain some. This is a bit of a hassle, but the easiest way is to get a pump and pump it out of the fill port. You will loose too much via the drain plug or oil filter, and you will have to replace the crush washer if you had one with the drain plug. Always best to pump it out.

I performed an oil change on my 2021 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX and placed the tutorial on YouTube which you can watch here.

Hope this helps, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.