The clock was ticking. The Strom just turned 17,000 miles, and while it was running fine, that’s a couple of thousand past its recommended valve inspection. Long experience has revealed the first check normally requires no shimming. Still, while some riders push the limit, I find riding on borrowed miles less enjoyable. It seems I just can’t put the image of the whirling valve train pounding itself to powder as I crank down the interstate.
The actual procedure on the Strom is pretty straight forward; its hybrid gear/chain drive configuration means that if adjustment is needed, the cams can be removed in seconds. That is however, after contending with acres of plastic and the attending assortment of tabs, any of which are just begging to be snapped off at the slightest provocation.
I think there is a purpose to the jigsaw like quality to the panel fitment; the lack of exposed hardware is a thing of beauty, and the engineers obviously spend a lot of time to achieve it. Personally, I could live with more exposed Allen bolts; the resulting industrial quality might prove to be a marketing tool. In any case, I was able to remove the tank fairings with nary a plastic casualty.
Digging in, I should have snapped a picture of the K&N as it was pretty well packed with crud, much of it left over from the Dalton no doubt. The most unique artifact was a fully intact dragonfly lodged in the intake horn. I wonder what he was thinking as he got sucked into the hurricane-like vortex.Chief, our loyal Rottweiler mix, had been supervising the proceedings. His reaction was to try and eat the unfortunate critter.
The front cylinder checked right in the middle of the range, so I let it be. In the rear, both exhausts and intakes were close to the limit, so broke out the handy Hot Cams shim kit. I always try and have all the parts needed on hand to avoid delays, but somehow I neglected to order the smallest, but most critical item. No problem, Dennis Kirk had it on my doorstep within 48 hours.
The exhausts came into spec easily. One intake however, gave me fits, requiring removal and replacement of the cam five times. Now this job takes a bit of addition and subtraction, but it ain’t rocket science. Had I been dealing with an inline four such as the Bandit, pulling the cams that many times would have been a major hassle. At any rate, I finally got the desired reading and buttoned the top end up. New plugs are also part of the deal, the Strom calling for a weird looking dual electrode job.
Paying homage to Murphy and his law, I always elect to start a freshly tuned motor sans body work. Inevitably, there will be some leak or forgotten doohickey requiring another round of plastic removal and attending tab destruction. Not this time though. One punch of the starter and the v-twin roared to life; just a bit of exhaust smoke from excess air filter oil burning off. After the warm up, I wrapped the throttle. Whoa, the response was much sharper, kind of like when the bike was new. I doubt the improvement was from the valves, as they weren’t that far out. Nor could it be the new NGKs, as the original plugs looked fine. No, I think the improvement has to be credited to dislodging of the dearly departed dragonfly from his final resting place. And had he not met his untimely demise, oh the stories of the road he could have told!