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ST-1100 News, Issue #007 -- Relay Wiring

April 15, 2011

ST-1100 News - April 2011

Welcome to the April edition of the ST-1100 News.
In this issue:
Wiring a relay
Tyre balancing

If you keep cutting corners, you'll end up in a circle - Unknown

Relays - do I need one and which way is up?

One of the most misunderstood items in automotive electrical work is the relay. Many electrical installations are done without using one; and in some cases this is absolutely fine. But in other cases I've seen installations done using wiring which is far too small for the load which the wires are carrying. This can cause the wiring to heat up - and even burst into flame - not the sort of thing you want to happen to your pride and joy!

In order to reduce the size of wires needed, a relay is a very useful invention. Not only does it reduce the electrical load on the switched wires, but a relay can also ensure that when your ignition is switched off, all your farkles are non-operational - an ideal situation if you have to leave your bike unattended. Little boys in particular love motorcycles, and especially switches on motorcycles!

The exception to the above is the hazard warning lights relay - this relay is permanently powered even with the ignition off.

For a general description of wiring a relay, I've done a write-up based on the installation of my own auxiliary driving lights. The page can be found here: Relay Wiring

Tyre balancing - some thoughts

Although new tyres are generally balanced by the dealer before fitting them to the bike, several owners have contacted me regarding issues described as a "wobble" at various speeds. The ST1100 is apparently more susceptible to tyre imbalance than other tourers (according to the technical manager at Avon - how true this is I'm not sure). Some owners have had issues with the new Avon Storm 2 tyres - others have experienced a wobble when using Bridgestone.

For some time I've been aware of a different way of balancing a tyre. Simply by inserting ceramic beads inside the tyre itself. There are several advantages to this; due to opposing centrifugal and centripetal forces the tyre will balance itself appropriately no matter what the speed, or the state of the tyre wear. From several reviews I've read, owners who have actually fitted these beads are extremely impressed with them.

I intend fitting them to my own ST1100, BUTÂ… the disadvantage of these beads is that they're not recommended for tyres which are plugged. And one of my tyres has a plug. So this operation will have to wait until I fit new tyres - which, going by the current wear rate on the Storms, will be some time yet. I did, however, purchase some for my other vehicle, an old Land Rover.

So if you're having an issue with a steering wobble, you may wish to consider removing your current wheel weights and fitting these ceramic beads, just to see if it makes any difference. The relevant website is here: Dynabeads.

April Tip:

Balancing (no, not tyres this time!)

If, like me, you tend to carry a lot of extra stuff in your panniers, it may be time to carry out a review of what's in there. Do you really need to carry it? And secondly, is the weight evenly balanced?

I like to keep my right-hand pannier empty, so that I can put my helmet in it when parking the bike. However that means the left-hand pannier is full to the brim with all sorts of other stuff. So I had a clearout! And by using a bathroom scale, I was able to make sure that the weight is now evenly distributed between each pannier.
Now the right-hand pannier contains my roll of tools and puncture repair kit - this still leaves plenty of room for my helmet.
The left-hand pannier contains the electric tyre pump, a small towel, and security chain. I moved the jumper leads to the top box (well they're quite light).
Discarded items include a spare pair of gloves, and an old (and a bit bent) manual tyre pump.

Keep the shiny side up.


In the next issue: Highlights of some FAQ's - messages I've received through the contact form. Some make interesting reading!

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