Adidas C-10’s arrived from the States

Back in August I saw this Adidas Originals promo for the new C-10 and had a “MUST. HAVE.” moment. Typically they weren’t going to be available in Europe, but that would just mean waiting for some US stores to offer them with international shipping, which happened last week! Order placed! (Sorry bank balance).

To paraphrase the legendary Ron Burgundy, “Hey, everyone! Come see how good they look!…”

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Here’s what the designers had to say…

I couldn’t help myself and had to order some fatter laces which should arrive in the next couple of days, then all that remains is to pick up the red pair! *drool*

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Anyway, back to work! Amongst other things I’m putting together a blog design that I’m aiming to launch by the new year. It’s a nice opportunity to experiment a little with things I don’t get to try on client’s sites, hopefully the internet will approve.

// Matt

Some Monday night throttle therapy

It was a nice clear evening so we went out to feed the bikes their favourite countryside flavoured b-road asphalt. At some point we’ll have to do a proper test to show just how much quicker Andy’s 1198 is against my ZX-6R, but to ball park it, “a whole shit-ton faster!” is a fairly accurate estimate.

Here’s some stills I pulled off the GoPro footage…

…I even got to try out the 1198! It’s nice! Was very conscious of the fact that it’s a £10k bike though and this reigned in the fun to an extent, but what an absolute weapon of a machine!

I may put a little edit together, not sure. It will magically appear in this space if I get around to it.

// Matt

How to enter a META alarm override code

I needed to add a new alarm remote to my bike over the weekend. Instructions for this were pretty easy to find (How to add/introduce a new Meta alarm remote) but one of the first steps is “Enter the override code from the orange code card” which given that there’s no numeric keypad hidden away on my bike or even a button to press, this had me stumped for a while.

It’s all done by counting the flashes of the alarm LED (which of course, my bike didn’t have). I had to temporarily rig one up by searching for a pair of spare wires sprouting out of the alarm loom (black/red stripe positive, black earth). Fortunately they already had bullet connectors on so I crimped some connectors onto a spare 12v LED and that gave me the blinking light I needed to enter the code.

Lets say for example that your override/security code is ‘54321’ entering the code is a case of counting the LED flashes and turning the ignition on and back off when the required number has been reached. I had a spare working fob so didn’t have to enter the code to access the “programming routine” (that’s what Meta call it).

After turning the ignition off, count five flashes of the LED and turn the ignition on then off again. Count four flashes and turn the ignition on/off, count three flashes then on/off, two flashes on/off. One flash, turn the ignition on and leave it on. You should get a confirmation of correct code entry, “bip bip bop bop” from the alarm.

Obviously remember your code will be different and can only be found on the orange/red code card that was hopefully passed on to you from the previous owner or when you had the alarm installed.

If you’re having major issues with your motorcycle alarm and need expert assistance I can’t recommend the guys at Safe’n’Sound (bikealarms.net) enough. They supplied my replacement remote pre-coded to my alarm and helped me locate the right wires when I called to ask how I enter the security code given that I didn’t have an LED. Really helpful, and even called me back to check how I was getting on.

Looks like I’m finally running out of jobs to tick off the ninja list so I’ll probably be back to tinkering with the A4 soon.

// Matt

ZX-6R presents ‘Fun with Threads’

The Ninja is back on the road and sailed through its MOT with new brake pads, chain and sprockets. After taking it for a few rides I noticed the inside of the fairings were looking pretty oily and the level was getting near minimum. Obviously I had a leak somewhere and looked like it was possibly from the drain plug bolt.

I thought I’d do an oil change, replace the drain bolt and washer and see if that would take care of it. Using my unparalleled engineering expertise I managed to do this…

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With not even a quarter turn I heard a ‘crack’ and realised I’d tightened it by mistake (oops). Winding it back the bolt head sheared off and the oil started running out with half the thread still in the bike.

Balls. Left and right is difficult when working upside down. “Oh well, I’ll just drill it out with a left-handed bit” Except, no I won’t; With the bike on just a rear axle stand it wasn’t high enough to get a drill under it so the oil pan had to come off.

For the oil pan to come off the side fairings had to come off, followed by the whole exhaust system. This ten minute job has now turned into two hours.

With the exhaust out of the way the oil pan comes off pretty easily, just a bunch of 7mm bolts removed in a cross pattern. Except using my unparalleled engineering expertise I managed to do this…

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That thread on the right poking out of the engine casing, that’s the second sheared bolt of the day. This is going well!

The oil pan itself isn’t threaded so just slid off over what was left of the bolt. At least I could remove the drain bolt now. This was pretty easy, the drain bolt was a magnetic one and the bolt sheared where it is hollow and has the magnet glued in. So I was only drilling into the magnet which was quite soft. The left-handed bit started to bite in and wound the thread out no trouble at all.

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Now I had to deal with that sheared oil pan bolt. This time it sheared because it had seized (I’d learnt my left and right by now), and with so much thread exposed what I ‘should‘ have done was gone out and bought two nuts, locked them together so I could get a spanner on them and try to carefully free it up.

Instead, using my unparalleled engineering expertise I picked up a big pair of pliers and a hammer. 20 seconds later the thread was utterly shagged (really wish I’d just gone and bought those nuts).

Plan B: Blow torch and a pair of vice grips! Neither of which I owned but £30 and a trip to Screwfix sorted that out.

I heated the bolt thread up until it was glowing red hot, this was only to help break the chemical bond of the corrosion. Obviously heating causes it to expand so I let it cool a little before clamping the vice grips on and trying my luck. No movement.

Heating up the engine casing (just to a suitably ‘painful if you touched it’ temperature, not red hot) and trying the vice grips again while it was still hot got it moving, only a fraction of a mil’ back and forth, but it was moving.

Another blast from the blow torch and some very delicate turns with the grips saw it start to wind out. This was one of the happiest moments of my life…

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Time to put everything back together! I got a couple of new oil pan bolts to hopefully avoid future seizing, a new oil pan gasket, drain bolt, washer and 4 litres of Fuchs ‘Extreme Performance’ 10W40 oil. All ordered from St Neots Motorcycles Thursday morning and were at the shop ready for me to collect next day.

New things!..

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I’m sure the reason I had an oil leak in the first place was probably down to things not being torqued to spec. so all the oil pan bolts were nipped up to 10nm, and the drain bolt 29nm (Haynes manual doesn’t lie).

Then it was just a case of filling up the oil, bolting all the exhaust back in place and getting the fairing on. Started her up and let it run for a while before going out for a test ride. Which looked a little bit like this…

Bike rides great again and no sign of any oil leaks. Lovely.

// Matt

A wet but still packed AITP6

Incomplete, unfinished interior, old knackered wheels, car park war scars and rain so hard you couldn’t see the road, but still made it to this years Audis in the Park.

Despite planning months in advance, the A4 still wasn’t ready for show day. I’ve known for a while the interior retrim wasn’t going to be finished (I’ve been putting my money into the ninja instead), but all my carbon pieces were due to arrive with plenty of time so at least the interior would be complete. Or so I thought, but despite being told they’d be done they never showed up.

Then I’m told 3 days before the show that the wheels I wanted (black 3SDM 0.01’s) were out of stock too, and apparently discontinued so I was going to have to run the old, knackered R8 reps (yuck!). Along with a handful of car park dings the car wasn’t going to be as I wanted it, but that was no reason not to go anyway.

Andy was coming along with his Votex 3.0 V6 so we booked the cars in with Ben of ‘Smart Clean Valeting & Detailing‘ for Saturday morning. Even though we were expecting horrible weather at least we should see some nice beading.

Five hours later Ben was all done, the cars looked great so we thought we’d sneak in a few photos before mucky, wet roads ruined them on the way to AITP on Sunday.

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Was the wrong time of day for photos as it was a bit too bright but still, not too shabby for a pair of 10 year old motors.

Anyway, moving along to Sunday, day of the show. It had rained through the night, the cars still looked great but the roads were horrible and our spotless cars were rapidly acquiring dirty spots but thankfully no sign of the downpour we were expecting.

Wristbands were on and we were waved through the Billing Aquadrome gates and into the AITP show area. The Audi-Sport.net stand was easy to spot and we rolled up into spaces between a B7 RS4 and a new A3 sportback. As we arrived there was a break in the rain so we had some time to go over the cars with detail spray; spotlessness restored!

By around mid-day it was really pissing down. Having gone prepared looking very uncool in waterproof shorts and jacket wondering around in the rain wasn’t bothering me too much but it didn’t leave much opportunity to take photos.

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Loads of great looking cars all over the place, the white A3/S3 with purple 3SDM 0.01’s was probably my favourite of our audi-sport stand. Rob Goodwins old B6 A4 in Iron Man ‘hotrod red’ was brought along by the new owner so was cool seeing that in the flesh.

Julian Loose’s DE urban camo B5 S4 looking good on fifteen52’s with the Dub Fiction crew, and the B7 RS4 on the Still Static stand was bloody lovely, fitment was spot on.

Was also the first time I’d seen Wayne Simpson’s yellow R8 with Plush interior retrim and hardline air install. Wish I’d been able to get a better look, but it was all pretty well sealed up thanks to the rain.

Way too many awesome cars to list them all and amazing turn out considering the weather forecast, it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as everyone thought and the sun even came out in the afternoon. Thanks to Adam at audi-sport for the burgers, and Calvin who organises AITP for putting on a great event.

Next show will most likely be Audi Driver International, so hopefully the A4 will be looking a bit better by then.

// Matt

Cookies!

Here’s an idea, how about if I visit your website and accept your cookie policy you set a cookie that remembers my f-ing preference! And don’t ask me again every time I visit your site. That would be really, really great.

If the entire internet, could please implement this immediately the world would be a better place.

// Matt

The Shop at Forty site

After getting back from Ibiza I’ve been hard at work finishing off The Shop at Forty’s website. It was launched last week, has had a few little tweaks since and is now all done for the time being.

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It’s a WordPress site using my own online shop framework that I first developed for Broken Spoke Cycles. It’s had a few nice little updates to better fit Forty’s requirements and is only a basket and PayPal link away from being a simple but fully functional e-commerce solution. I’m really quite pleased with it, and so are the clients (yay!).

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They were quite clear about what they wanted and had a friend produce all the illustrations. Really I just did what I was told and made it all work; the perfect web developer? lol :)

Happy clients, impressed customers, free cake and coffee; that’s a pretty good result in my book!

Find the finished site at theshopatforty.co.uk

Now onto the next one! This time for a local health and beauty salon. I Wonder if I’ll get roped into trying out some treatments?

// Matt

jQuery animate image opacity glitch

So I was working on a lovely little retro furniture site earlier today, adding a few animation and transition niceties with jQuery and found something a bit weird.

When animating the opacity of an image, the image size would also change by one or two pixels, appearing to flicker between sizes and ruining the subtle effect I was going for.

In IE11 and Chrome there were no issues at all, but Firefox (my preference for web development) wasn’t behaving.

All the images were 150px wide and I was scaling them down to 142px with CSS by way of the usual ‘max-width:100%’. I tried expressly defining the 142px size but it didn’t help.

It was a really weird little glitch and it shouldn’t be surprising that the fix was equally weird; define a background colour for the image.

Problem solved. Bizarre.

// Matt

Back from our Gumball 3000 Ibiza trip

The Gumball 3000 finish line show was amazing. Well worth the trip over to Ibiza, which even without Gumball would have been awesome on its own. An amazing little island with a lot more to offer than just clubs and parties, we barely scratched the surface in the week we were there.

Most of the time I was shooting the trip with the GoPro, but it’s going to take a while to put together an edit of all the footage so here’s a few stills  for the time being…

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Finally got to meet Jon Olsson‘s Rebellion R2K…

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Breakfast with the Bentley’s…

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Awesome trip! Video will be published asap ;)

//Matt

Fine British tailoring

The rare occasion that Andy and I got adjacent parking spaces made for a nice photo opportunity. His freshly washed and mine typically filthy!

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I think it’s great that despite being the same car they look so different. Definitely tailored to their owners. Though I’m very tempted to get a matching set of black RS6 wheels in time for Audi’s in the Park.

// Matt

First visit to Chicksands bike park

Yesterday was my first trip over to Chicksands bike park, and it’s bloody brilliant! I can only carry two bikes on the A4 so it was just me and Andy this time but it was awesome.

After parking up and pulling the bikes off the roof we went and explored the free to ride XC trails. If cross-country is your thing you could have fun for hours pedalling around looking for all the routes hidden away in the woods. There was the occasional dog walker to dodge but they were pretty friendly and kept their dogs under control when we passed, just keep an eye out for them.

As far was we could tell there weren’t any obviously marked XC trails (saw bit of paint on some trees, but anyone’s guess what it was for). On a couple of occasions we found other cyclists racing around the opposite way to us, so “stay frosty” for those of you familiar with first-person warfare game terminology ;)

Access to the bike park was a fiver each. From the entrance heading right will take you over to the mini downhill, 4X, dirt jumps and dual slalom tracks. Head left and you’ll find BMX and a bunch of pump tracks, along with DH and freeride tracks.

Being complete newbies we didn’t know the BMX track was a BMX track, just saw berms, step-ups and a roll-in and thought it looked fun so attacked it with the 29ers straight away. This went surprisingly well. The step-ups were tricky but it was a fun little track, and no doubt helped ease us into the pump tracks we tried out next.

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(Yes, I do feel bad that Andy’s photos are considerably better than mine. Sorry dude!)

There were three pump tracks we found of varying difficulty, one clearly a beginner track and the other two a little more challenging. We can either blame our ability or the bikes but one of them just felt too tight to tackle on a niner. The other was awesome, we were ripping around that for ages before heading off to find the dual slalom and mini downhill tracks.

The mini downhill track was just about at our level of ability other than one surprise drop-off with no chicken run. I’ll own up and admit that I bottled it and stepped down. After that I think you’re pretty much at the end of the track and need to head back up the hill to go again. We didn’t go again, we tried the dual slalom track instead.

For me the dual slalom was the absolute highlight of the day, best fun I’ve ever had on a bike (at least one that doesn’t have a engine, but even that’s a close call!). It’s fast, there’s jumps, berms, it’s awesome and to make it even better you get to race your mates!

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I could have very happily raced down this thing all day long, and think the 29er held up to the abuse pretty well. I feel like I’d have been faster over the jumps and more confident in the air with smaller wheels, but I definitely don’t need to rush out and buy a new bike to have fun on a dual slalom track.

Short clip of some guys on the dual slalom track.

Chicksands was a much better test of the new parts I just fitted and really put them through their paces. All the new gear performed great but I did find that the new Shimano ‘Saint’ pedals weren’t too grippy with my trainers. Fortunately the pins in these are much better thought out than the old DMR V12’s; they screw in from the reverse side of the pedal which allows for a larger allen head, much less likely to round off.

Rather than have to buy longer pins (as I did with the DMR’s) the Saint pins come with spacers pre-installed, removing these gives an extra couple of mm which gave me that little extra grip I was looking for. I also fitted the outer edge pins which are not installed out of the box.

Big thanks to the locals who clearly put a lot of time into maintaining everything out there. See you again soon Chicksands!

// Matt