New closure panel and heatshield

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid headlight/dashboard closure panel AP8168916 in CADI finally got around to finishing off the new closure panel (AP8168916) and seat/tank heatshield (AP8117201 – now unavailable) using the 2mm rubber sheet I bought a few months ago. A single 500mm x 500mm piece is enough to make one each of the panels at a cost of about £4 per panel. Compare that to the list price of Aprilia replacements – £15.58 & £22.48 each PLUS VAT!

Next I’ll have a go at part AP8158254, the shield that fits over the two front lugs holding the airbox to the coil mounting plate. Mine split (at the lugs) years ago and I can’t find it anywhere to make a template from it, so I guess I’ll keep looking for a second hand one on Fleabay that I can use as a template instead ……. unless anyone has a spare they’ll loan me to make a drawing from?

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid closure panel AP8158254

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She’s let me down!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid broken keyWe called into a fuel station about 20 miles from home just as a thunderstorm was rolling toward us over the Gran Sasso mountains. It rumbled away as the sky drew ever darker while I filled up a 5l gas can for the mower and topped up the Capo’s tank. All done, time to head on ……. except the ignition wouldn’t turn. One look and my heart sank – 2/3 of a key winked at me from between my gloved fingers. Yes, the other third is still in the fuel tank!!

Long and the short of it, Jan drove over with the spare and I was on the road again. I have to say that 20 miles heading home under a pretty pissed-off thunderstorm is not really much to chuckle about, but it did remind me of the last few weeks in England! Once back in the barn, time to fix the problem. Stripping the cap didn’t help. The barrel looks like it’s fitted once and fitted for life, so no getting the bit out that way. OK, maybe a locksmith can do the job, but at what cost and what state would the lock be in afterwards? A replacement Aprilia cap (AP8104529) then? A quick search shelves that idea – €277 you have to be bloody kidding me! So how about aftermarket? Well it looks like Oberon make a nice key-less cap for £79.99 that fits. It looks good and folks seem to like Oberon quality, so maybe that’s an option. I’ll think about it.

Anyway, for now I’ve refitted the cap and it opens/closes just fine with the broken key. Tomorrow I’ll get a couple of replacements cut from the spare and mull over what to do next. Meanwhile lessons learned:-

  • Carry a spare key or squirrel one away somewhere on the bike – Andy (Beasthonda) gave me a good idea on that one – cheers Andy!
  • Give the key a once-over every now and then with a magnifying glass … maybe I’d have spotted the cracks starting you never know.
  • Replace the key every few years with a new one …. this one was 13 years old, so no real surprise that fatigue had set in by now.
  • And no matter how short the journey or how sunny it is when I leave, throw a set of waterproofs in the (empty) panniers. You never quite know!

Oh and as a parting word …. thank-you to whoever was watching over me on the last couple of big trips. Breaking a key then would have been a real ball-breaker that’s for sure! 😕

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Motrag radiator guard – UPDATE

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - Northern Italy as day breaks!The Motrag radiator guard has been on the Capo for about 6 weeks/4,600 miles. In that time it has been through driving rain, blazing sunshine and a temperature range of 7C to 35C. Not exhaustive, but a reasonable range of conditions and mileage on which to update the original review.

I don’t know about your Capo, but mine has always had a bit of ‘character’ when it comes to engine-temp versus ambient-temp. Below 25C ambient, the coolant will read a rock-solid 75C day in, day out. But as soon as the ambient temperature begins to rise above 25C, so will the engine-temp. By 35C outdoors, the Capo will run at no lower than 78C AND get hot under the collar when stationary far quicker. Quite understandable and besides, it has done it from day one and never changed – even when the coolant has been!

So how did the guard fare?

  • Quality: Superb! It looks as good now as when fitted. No corrosion or stone damage to the powder coated mesh that I can see.
  • Fit: Adhesive pads are still firmly attached to the radiator after undergoing wide temperature variations and vast amounts of rain!
  • Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Motrag radiator guard / protectionAffect on cooling: With ambient temperatures below 30C no noticeable difference in day-to-day running. Above this temp, a slight increase (approx 1-2C) was noticed along with slightly reduced time to fan-on when stationary. However I’m talking a change that was deliberately being looked for and based on years of experience on my Capo ‘as standard’. The fact is the difference is subtle and hardly noticeable at all and most certainly NEVER causes an issue.

Conclusion: This is a quality product at a good price that does the job intended and (to my eye) looks jolly nice as well. Protection, durability and aesthetics for under €70 can’t be bad in my books …. and if your reading this Manuel, bag up another one please for the second Raid! 😀

motrag.com – Radiator guard €64.95 inc. tax

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Growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional!

It seemed like the remaining miles were clocking up painfully slowly although the cruise control was locked at a solid 80mph (130Kmh). Here we are then, the Capo and I heading back to the UK and currently passing through Verdun, a section of motorway with bends and hills – certainly a touch more interesting than the bland featureless flat-lands of Northern France that’s for sure. Finally the odometer clicks over one more mile and we’ve done it – 100,000 miles!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid 100000 milesI pop the hazards on and roll to a halt on the hard-shoulder. The traffic is light and I’m only stopping long enough for a quick photo, I know I shouldn’t, but this one’s a biggie!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid 100,000 milesWe’re not the first by a long chalk …. Capo’s around the world have hit 100K miles since the late 2000’s. One in Italy did 125K+ and one in the USA 135k+ and there are others most definitely. But the number is low and I’m proud that my Capo and I have joined this small band of owners that have proved the reliability and longevity of our wonderful bikes. As I write this, the Capo now shows 102,698 miles and is all set for a bit of TLC after the ceaseless battering of rain it endured over the last three weeks. Along the way it gained a new MOT, a set of Anakee Wild tyres and a fresh pair of Brembo 07BB2035 brake pads for the rear caliper. In return it ran faultlessly, even in the face of rain the like of which I’ve not come across in many a  year.

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Wonkey headlight!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid headlight adjuster screwLast year the tester at the MOT station didn’t like the slightly low headlight beams (set to offset loaded panniers) and wanted to raise them. Unfortunately I think he raised the left-hand to the point of possibly unseating the ball at the end of the adjuster screw from the reflector. Friction alone on the other pivots probably only holding it in place to his satisfaction. About a month ago the same headlight went out of vertical alignment a little, then  finally the other evening, suddenly dropped completely (and very noticeably!) so the low-beam was now tripping over the front wheel!

First check – bulbs out and try to move the reflectors up and down. Right-hand no movement – fine, left-hand very wobbly, plus the adjuster unscrewed completely by hand. So, headlight out as it’s far easier to work on.

Remove the rubber gaiter and bulb and a visual check of the reflector mountings is possible – they looked OK, so I cleaned up the adjuster and applied the lightest wipe Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid headlight reflector adjuster socket and clippossible of grease on the ball to help it seat more easily, I honestly couldn’t have applied less if I’d just shown it a photo of a grease tub! Then screw in the adjuster and kept going (very gently!) a half turn at a time once it had seated against the reflector socket. I also used a little brass-tool to help pull lightly) on the reflector mount to help the process. I guess I went about three full turns before the ball made a loud ‘pop’ and dropped into position. I don’t know which was more relieved – the stresses in the reflector or my pulse-rate!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 headlightOnce the day was at an end, it was time to set the beam height …. the manual quotes 90% of the bulb height from the ground at 10m distance while sat on the bike. I did them one lamp lit at a time, then double checked with both lit and also checked the horizontal alignment at the same time. Total time about 10 minutes and hopefully a happy MOT guy in a few weeks time!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid rubber shield for dashboard lower and headlight 8158255Buttoning it all up went OK, but it was obvious the rubber dashboard lower/headlight shield has finally seen the best of its days with numerous splits starting. So a template was drawn, then reproduced in CAD and some 2mm rubber sheet ordered from Flea-Bay – cheaper than Aprilia, who want over €60 for the same part (AP8168916)!

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The Artful Bodger

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid AMP TE Connectivity Superseal connectotsOK I’ll come clean. I’m a bit of a closet bodger – there I’ve said it. Let’s be fair though, the art of bodging is a skill in itself. A well carried out bodge, with novel and outlandish use of alternative materials to affect a successful repair or upgrade is a beauty to behold. But then again a bad bodge will bite you on the arse quicker than a rabid badger having a rather bad-badger day.

So what did I bodge? Well the LED’s in the Capo’s binnacle might be nice and bright but the wiring behind them certainly wasn’t! Of course a lifetime of working with electric/electronics gives one a certain feel for the bodge to be enacted – why use a decent connector when twisting the wires together and slapping on a bit of insulating tape works just as well …… right?

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid AS7, Sparkbright and dashboard autodimming LED's

To be fair it was a temporary solution until I’d got hold of some connectors, except I kept forgetting and one thing led to another … And in the blink of an eye, a couple of years had gone by! Last week however, good old Motrag came to the rescue (again!) with a box full of 2 and 3 way Superseal connectors. I really do like these – 14A rated and waterproof (IP67) compared to the Molex items dotted around the Capo that are 5A and most certainly open to the elements. The only downside is that they are Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Motrag Superseal crimp toolmore bulky than the Molex so you can’t cram as many into a tight space!

Of course a cunning and artful bodger could fit these without the correct tool to crimp the connectors, but I yielded to common sense – besides Manuel had put a nifty set of crimping pliers in the box as well! Now all the panels are removable with a mere flick of a locking-tab, no longer do I wish for an extra appendage to assist in separating wires/tape while juggling with the panel. Sheer bliss! Here is a copy of the Superseal installation manual.

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Lidl and EN13594:2015 ….

Lidl Level 1 motorcycle summer gloves - 2016The local Lidl had a few bits of bike gear in the other day. Some open-face helmets, casual jackets and summer gloves. The gloves are marked CE and had a symbol on the label that I’d not seen before. Below it is written EN 13594:2015 ……. so when I got home I looked it up.

Most of the information initially came from French websites, where it seems motorcycle gloves are going to become compulsory items to wear in the near future and could well use this as the minimum standard allowed. It turns out that EN13594 involves a bunch of tests – burst/abrasion etc and is graded as Level 1 or Level 2. Level 1 must be abrasion resistant for 4 seconds and knuckle armour (if fitted) absorb 9Kn (5J) of energy. Level 2 doubles the abrasion resistance to 8 seconds and halves the energy transmission. The legislation appears to become mandatory in 2018 but can of course be complied with now, so expect to see gloves appearing throughout 2016 with these symbols on the labels.

EN 13594:2015 motorcycle gloves

So back to Lidl …….. Here’s a budget store selling approved and tested (Level 1) summer gloves for €15.99 ( approx. £13)! OK, they are entry-level approved, but hey at least they are tested to some standard, unlike the vast majority of gloves I looked at on various UK mail-order websites. Who’d have thought it! 😀

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On a roll ……

With the rear indicators looking wayyyy better than before, it was inevitable that I’d end up casting an eye over the fronts. As mentioned previously, the Mana indicator stalks are too short to fit at the front …… but with a spare pair of standard stalks to hand, I could at least see if it’s feasible to cut them down.

This is the end result and I like to think it has been a success and complements the rears, so here’s how I did it. Hopefully it’ll be of some use to you if you decide to shorten your own.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 modified front indicators

I used a Dremel to cut the stalk at the two points shown in the picture below, then carefully flatten both surfaces as these are going to be bonded back together – so flat and square to each other is the order of the day! This removes approx. 24-25mm of the stalk.

Then I used a piece of aluminium tube (8mm OD x 6mm ID x 50mm) that I pinched in the vice to make it very slightly oval – not too much mind. This was then press fit approx. 35mm into the main section leaving 15mm exposed. The short section was then bonded onto the exposed tube. Using a syringe I also ran adhesive down the gaps between tube and stalk, this ensures that both sections are well and truly bonded and the aluminium tube also provides some extra strength to the whole assembly.

Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid cut down front indicator stemAprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid shortened front indicators

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To the Mana born

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid with Mana indicatorsDeep in the bowels of the Motrag box of goodies are a pair of indicators for an Aprilia Mana – identical body, lens and bulb as used on the Rally-Raid and standard capo 04-onward, but with a greatly reduced stalk length.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - Mana indicators & Hepco Becker pannier latchWith only very minor modification, these can replace the existing long-stalk indicators on the rear of the Capo, unfortunately they are too short to replace the fronts as well. The mod is so subtle the old indicators can be refitted no problem. When fitted the indicators have much greater clearance from the pannier latches, which makes removal/refitting the pannier easier and they are now well within the width of the pannier rail –  so dropping the bike (not a recommended pastime!) should greatly reduce the chance of a broken rear indicator.

Simply pop off the lens (one screw), prise out the reflector/bulb assembly and disconnect the two wires. Now remove the screw/nut/washer holding the stalk to the mudguard and ease it away while wiggling the wires out. Now the first of two minor modifications are required.

The indicators are held in place by the screw/nut/washer AND a tab that hooks behind the mudguard itself, except on the Mana stalk the tab is too narrow. A quick bit of work with a Dremel soon has that sorted (open gap to approx. 4.5mm). Now the second modification is to extend the slot in the mudguard ( extra 5mm) where the screw passes through. This mod does NOT affect refitting the original indicator as the footprint of the stalk is identical in both cases, so the slot extension is covered by the base of the indicator irrespective of which one is fitted.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid with Mana indicatorsOnce sorted, simply reverse the removal stages – slot in the new stalk and fasten up the screw, nut and washer. Re-thread the two wires back down the stalk and attach to the connectors on the reflector, then screw the lens back in place. Now repeat on the other side, then bask in the warm glow of a job well done, in fact a cold beer goes down a treat about now ….. Ahhhh Mana from Heaven! 😀

NOTE: The indicator bodies are LEFT and RIGHT handed, look at the recess between body and lens – this is the drain and needs to be on the lower edge. I’m not saying I put them on the wrong way round or anything so numpty, perish the thought! 😳

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid fitted with Mana indicators

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Review – Motrag ETV1000 radiator protection

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Motrag radiator protection/guardYesterday a whopping 15Kg parcel of goodies from Manuel at Motrag turned up. Although the box was bursting with new toys, I just focused on the one part I’d really been waiting for – the lovely stainless-steel radiator guard. I know Motrag have had lots of interest in this, which stands to reason with the Touratech guard no longer available. The only other alternative seems to be one from Ebay that could easily be copied for an awful lot less money – after all, it’s only aluminium mesh with a rubber strip and held on by zip-ties.

This guard is made from glass-shot V4A stainless-steel (equivalent SAE316 for harsh environments) with powder coated aluminium mesh bonded to the frame and weighs in at approx 750g. It is held in place by two Scotch ‘Dual Lock’ adhesive fasteners at the top of the radiator and the two fastening points that the ‘cooler spoiler’ (AP8139628) mounts to at the bottom.

Installing the guard is very straight forward …. remove the crash bars & cross brace (if you have them), side panels and spoiler panel. I also removed the tank while servicing the bike which does make access even easier, but isn’t strictly necessary. Give the radiator a good clean and take a few Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Motrag radiator protection/guard & fog lamp bracketsminutes to carefully bend back any fins that have been damaged by stones or jay-walking deer. Then clean and thoroughly de-grease the top of the radiator on both sides. The guard has about 1-1.5mm clearance either side when in position – I used a couple of split pins as spacers to make sure the guard was nicely positioned. Do a dry run so you get it located just right and then when you’re happy – whip off the adhesive pad protection and fit the guard for real.

Next up, I had to bond a couple of spacers onto the clips where the spoiler/guard mount –  these take up the space between clip and the new guard. They can’t really be fitted when reassembling the spoiler as access is difficult – hence bonding them onto the clip first. Motrag will be supplying the adhesive in the kit! I gave it 1/2hr to dry, then began the rebuild – crash bar cross-brace, tank, panels, spoiler and finally the crash bars themselves ….. another 20 mins tops.

So, the verdict. Easy to fit with no modifications required. The fit is superb and the stainless frame is nice and stiff, so no worries about vibration induced scuffing of the radiator. As always, the Motrag attention to detail – fasteners and instructions is 100%. If there iAprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Motrag radiator protection/guard & fog lamp bracketss a negative anywhere to be found, then some may question the weight … to me the Capo is a big old lump anyway, a few extra grams won’t snap the frame!

Of course aesthetics are a personal matter, but to me it looks good and is definitely in keeping with the spirit of the Rally-Raid. That just about covers fit and form, but what about function? Well I admit I’ve yet to turn a wheel with the guard in place, but I know Motrag put plenty of miles on a pre-production one and had no problems, so I’m confident it’ll work just fine. But just to be sure, I’ll post again in a few weeks when the Capo has another 3-4K miles on it.

These guards are on sale now over at motrag.com for €64.95 including tax. That’s about half the price of the Touratech guard before it disappeared off the website!

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