Thursday, July 08, 2010

Street 'Cred for sale!

After a long day of motor officer training Dean W and I were sitting in a small room at a community college. Also present were a couple of other instructors who had worked with us all day. The rest of the attendees were present via a telephone connection. It was just as well. Nothing like a two hour meeting in a closed up room with no air-conditioning. Or any other way to bring in fresh air, as a matter of fact. The four of us were dog tired, sun burned, and pretty ripe. As Jeff Earls, who was physically present declared, consider it a bonding experience. I believe he said we all looked and smelled like Day 4 of the Iron Butt Rally.

Perhaps it was the heat and the exhaustion. Maybe it was the effect of our bodily emanations, but suddenly Dean looked at me with a look of mischief on his face. Of course, Dean looks like that a lot. That's one of the reasons we get along so well. This particular look had the added elements of triumph and discovery shining around the edges.

Dean had an idea for a new business venture. He said we could sell street cred to wannabes. As a further proof of the bad air's effects, I heartily agreed. We would sell our ground off peg feelers to those seeking physical proof of their claimed riding prowess. Part of the deal would be that these riders, in turn, send us their virgin peg feelers. We would be discrete. Dean and I would then proceed to grind these down and sell them to the next poser. It might just work. We could probably even get some sort of government "green" tax credits. Our product would be made from 100% recycled material.

As a matter of fact, the following Monday would bring a potential customer.

This a close-up of one of Elvira's pegs. As you can see, it might be getting time to replace them. Here's another look.

Being excellent multi-taskers, Dean and I were using his laptop to go online during the meeting to price new peg feelers. As you remember Dean rides an FJR, too. He was actually in the FJR camp long before me. Dean is no slouch on the tracks, either. He isn't shy about grinding away. Please note his most excellent head turn, by the way!

We were both shocked at the price of new peg feelers. There was a small discussion on whether the feelers might be made of aluminum. Ray declared that he had seen my peg feelers spark so we were pretty sure they were steel. I figured we might as well not waste our money as we would just grind them off again. That was the spark ( pun intended ) for Dean's idea.

Of course, it can't stop at the peg feelers. Other things would need to be scraped up, too. Take the center stand, for example.

Some of this scraping is simply from amazing lean angles. The last bit, though, was a mistake on my part. As much as I hate to admit it. Yes, even the legends mess up once in while.

See, the cops are in the classroom for nearly two hours. That leaves us instructors some free time to work on our lines. We'd never be frivolous enough to just go out on the track and ride for the sheer fun of it. No, it's all business. As we are, um, working, we tend to build momentum. I also swear there is never a spirit of competition or any testosterone rush. We are strictly self disclipined.

Being so self disclipined, we were riding. Faster and faster as time went on. The last turn coming onto the straightaway is tricky. Apex too early, and your line will rub against a chain link fence. Apex too late and you'll hit the fence before you can apex. The faster you go, the more precision is required. My precision was a little off. I was about two inches too far to the left on this particular lap. Nothing like solidly grinding the centerstand onto that red and white striped concrete curbing to lift your back tire off the ground. That's a weird feeling, by the way.

Elvira and I recovered and sped down the straight. The harm is when your fellow instructors see you. I'll never live it down. At least until one of them screws up.

Besides peg feelers, there's the tire issue. I mean, a true poser can't have severely ground peg feelers in the middle of two striped tires, can they? You know the kind of stripe I'm talking about. A narrow dark stripe between two wide lighter colored stripes. I believe those lighter colored stripes are commonly called "chicken strips".

Here's Elvira's front tire.

These are the low calorie version chicken strips. The back tire has zero calorie strips.

I'm using Elvira as the sales model, but Dean is manufacturing the same product. This back tire only has a few thousand miles on it. As you remember, the previous one had a nail in it so I replaced it. The tire, not the nail. ( Just in case Jack's reading ) I figure we can turn out tires and peg feelers at a pretty decent rate. Is there a market?

At the risk of yet another long post, I have to share a quick story with you to prove my point.

Dean and I were teaching an ART ( Advanced Rider Training ) class last week. One of our students was riding a black FJR, the same year as Elvira. The man told me that he had changed the OEM tires to Pilot Sport II's. He claimed the bike was a totally different bike with these tires. The guy said he could corner like crazy, now.

During one of the breaks, I took him over and showed him my mostly identical FJR. I pointed out the severely ground off peg feelers. I figured that I had pretty much reached the full cornering potential of the bike with my Metzeler Z6 tires. It might be time to consider an aftermarket shock. The guy told me that he didn't know if his bike had peg feelers or not.

That comment struck me as odd. I mean, if he was really cornering like he claimed he was, wouldn't he know?

We ventured back to his bike to check it out. Hanging proudly beneath the pegs were peg feelers. Each as smooth as my new grandson's little backside. The chicken strips on his tires were high in calories judging by the portion size.

I detected a potential customer. If one is going to play a part in the play, the correct props are essential. Dean's idea has a lot of merit, don't you think?

Admittedly, we won't get rich at it. On the other hand, job satisfaction would be off the chart!

Miles and smiles,


Disclaimer: I do not advocate judging a person's character and riding solely by scuffed tires and ground-off parts. Nobody has to have a bike in the same condition as Elvira to earn my respect. This is intended solely as a tongue in cheek poke at those who brag about their riding ability but their bike shows they are not walking the talk.

Neither should this kind of scraping happen on the streets. The photos are of professional trainers with high skill levels doing business on a closed course.


Dave said...

You missed another marketable idea Sweaty Biker cologne.

Not only should look the part you should smell like the 4th day of a iron butt ride as well. ; ) : )


bluekat said... venture...any excuse to go out and scrape up a bunch of pegs and de-chicken strip a few tires. It's a "drag", but a rider's gotta earn a livin' some way. I've heard titanium makes a nice sparkle. :)

Love the pic of riders in the corner.

Anonymous said...

I use ex-track tyres, works out cheaper, with better rubber under me.
But i get street cred where i don't deserve it!!! (i have scraped footpegs on track, but on the road thats not smart)

Dru_ said...

I wonder if I could find anyone to buy my very scraped uo center stand from my BV500 :) I've got chicken strip, but only because the side cases touch the ground before I get that much lean angle :-)

Charlie6 said...


I would occasionally lean over enough on turns to scrape the centerstand on my 1150RT, kind of disconcerting at first.

My peg feelers were scraped, just not to the extent yours are!

With my R80, the pegs are so high they don't even come with feelers or are designed to fold upwards when pressed into the ground. I believe the valve covers will scrape first!

A colleague of mine tells me they'd purposely would take new peg feelers to the nearest roundabout and just methodically circle it until they scraped the new pegs down a bit.

Of course, you'll have to supply "certification documents" saying the pegs were actually scraped by "extremely gnarly and impressive lean angles at high speed".

bobskoot said...


I have NO street credibility at all. I carry a tire cleaning kit to clean off the chicken strips, and extra feeler pegs and change them at every stop. So at first glance everything appears as new

Wet Coast Scootin

Anonymous said...

I think you and Dean have the market "pegged!"

Krysta in MKE said...

Karl says you need to include in the package helmets with damage on the back from the girlfriend whapping you on the back of the head for doing such stunts with her on the bike.
I told him I've never left a mark on his helmet...

His pegs are long gone, and the paint along the entire length of the centerstand is starting to be ground away 'cause its corners are already gone. (This is on the R1150.)

Allen Madding said...

See I missed it, I could have sold a scraped up quick-disconnect windshield (they disconnect really quick when the bike bounces on asphalt).

I think you are on to something here.


Lucky said...

I once saw an auction on ebay for ground down knee pads, so you wouldn't look like a total noob during track days.

As for my street cred, I think my feelers are still intact. Worse than that, my front tire still has those little "new tire" whiskers on the outside edges. I've thought about just picking them off, but it seems unsportsman like...

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sir:

A piece of broken brick works wonders for chicken strips on a new tire. Just runb vigorously. I have been told that the chicken strips on my tires have more white meat on them then the ones served at Howard Johnsons.

I hasve never dragged a peg in my life.

Fondest regaerds,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

irondad said...


What another great product idea! I seem to have a never ending product supply in the summer.


I'm pretty sure we could sub-contract out some of the supply work to riders of green Ninjas. It would bring a whole new meaning to your daily "grind", you know.

Hey, one pun deserves another.


I totally agree with the track versus street thing. Which is why I put the disclaimer in. On tyhe other hand, I have to admit that some of the scraping happened in parking lots.

Whatever it takes to beat the SUV to a parking spot, right?

Take care,


irondad said...


Another catalog item. Scuffed BV500 side cases. How many can you supply in the next three weeks? :)

Take care,


Dru_ said...

The frightening part is that I actually have 2 sets, both with scrapes on both cases. Even worse, all from the same stretch of road. I know, it's wrong but I swear the devil made me do it! My wife asks why I don't get them repaired, and I answer because obviously I'll just do it again :-).

It's too bad I can't get replacements anymore. No I have to be careful and that is just not allowed :-)

Dean W said...

Krista- I can verify that a glove to the helmet leaves no visible damage. In my defense, I was surprised that the (borrowed) BMW R1150GS would drag the saddlebag (one of those big Aluminum adventure things) so easy, although giggling over the intercom during the event probably did not support my claimed innocence with Spouse Unit.

As Dan noted- "professional riders on closed course". I rarely touch anything down when riding on the street; when I do it's almost always because I've got a passenger and haven't adjusted the suspension to account for the extra weight.

At the ART sessions I usually just get an occasional tick or short scrape when I hit a bump, but the police classes are a little more... spirited.

Dean W said...

All (OEM) pegs should fold up on contact with the ground, the idea is to give the rider a warning before levering a tire off the ground. Some bikes don't need to extend the length of the pegs to do that, or the pegs aren't expected to touch down often, so no feelers. Some bikes have very long peg feelers because the pegs are quite high. (The Honda RC-51 had 3" long peg feelers; new KLR650s have some that are about 2" long, which is amusing because my older model KLR650 has none.)

Stacy said...

Like Riepe, I too have never scraped a peg feeler in my life.

My rear tire has low-calorie chicken strips, but the ones on my front tire could be served at any bar in town.

Here's something interesting: I started out cornering well during day 1 and 2 of our recent 9-day trip, but by days 7, 8, and 9 I was riding like a scared puppy. I'm not sure what the problem is but I have 0 confidence now.

irondad said...


Long, long, ago, I had an R/90. The lower legs of my jeans still smell like gas from the carbs!

Scraped Boxer valve covers are legitimate stock material.

We could charge a bit more and provide a You Tube link showing the grinding process. I believe Bobskoot could show us how to aim the camera downward.


Some of us don't care about re-sale value. At least until it's too late to preserve it. I can hear your sales pitch.

"Yes, this pristine bike was only ridden on Sundays by a fussy fellow who wears pink crocs."

We'll all cry when you get three times more for your bike than we do ours!

Take care,


irondad said...


Bad pun. Groan. I'm "leaning" toward letting it slide, though.


I have better testimony to what happens when the rider does these things with a passenger on board.

It's all the beginner rider female students who say they aren't going to ride with their male partners anymore!

Tell Karl if he was a real stud, he'd scrape footpegs with the sidecar attached! Video required.

Take care,


irondad said...


Perfect! I'll add this to the catalog. Just make sure the connectors are actually still intact, will you? Squids don't want them unless they will mount on the bike, you know.


It's ok. You write awesome stories once a year. It's hard to concentrate on leaning when you're working on story ideas. That is the reason, isn't it?


I'm so surprised to hear you haven't dragged anything on your bike. BMW's must have a much stronger suspension than I thought.

Steel wool works better on the tires. It's also much less cumbersome to carry in your front pant pocket than a piece of brick. I know you are looking for a certain, uh, "image" but flat and square probably isn't what you want.

Take care,


irondad said...


Chicken strip erasure is not required to be in my club. Character counts. I have been told by many others that you are a character. So you're in.

Did you have a close call? Flashbacks? Was it the distance? Fatigue doth make cowards of us all, I seem to have heard somewhere.

I take it you returned from your trip safely. Smart money makes the proper adjustments in riding for current rider readiness. Sounds like you did just that.

Maybe we'll get a chance to chat in the next few days or so.

Take care,


Dean W said...

Stacy- I'm with Dan, I suspect cumulative fatigue.

Krysta in MKE said...

"Tell Karl if he was a real stud, he'd scrape footpegs with the sidecar attached!"

He says he's done that, but doesn't have video. Fly the chair, scrape the left peg.
(Although he also says it's kinda cheating 'cause there's the extra couple hundred pounds of the sidecar to compress the suspension.)
Those stunts (without warning me first) result in a bruised right thigh for him, since I can't reach his helmet. He likes winter, when the cockpit of the sidecar is enclosed.

Nik Hisham said...

Hello Dan aka Irondad,

I stumbled on your blog during my search for fjr peg feelers. My peg feelers have ground all the way to the pegs and I am looking to order a new pair. However, I am having trouble finding them. To make matters worse, I live outside the US - in Malaysia to be exact, and the local dealers here say that they are not able to order these parts.

I'm hopeful that you can share with me where you order them or if you know where I can get them on line.

Thanks and I look forward to your reply.


irondad said...

Hi, Nik.

Thanks for stopping by. This is the place I use. I actually got new peg feelers there this year. Let me know if I can help with logistics.

Take care,