Weekly Roundup: Just One Thing That Bugs Me Edition


The Mighty $1,800 Literbike-For-Old-Men is proving to be quite the amusing thing. Two weeks ago, while I was off driving around in New York and Monterey, my co-owner did a complete service on the bike and polished it up. I bought some inner fairing liners; he bought a Yoshimura carbon-fiber slip-on. Total cost of the bike is now in the $2150 range. It just rides so well that I had to give it a twenty-mile late-night run last Tuesday, with the result that you see here: a fly that was Ram Aired through the SAI vents in my Arai RX-Q into my glasses just as the speedo climbed past the 120 mark. It felt like a mild slap to the face.

There’s no way we’re going to be satisfied with just one FZ-1. The question is how we should rectify the situation. Another first-gen FZ-1, in better shape? A lightly-used second-gen? One of the leftover 2014 models cluttering Cycle Trader for $6500 plus tax and title? Talk about first-world problems.

While I ponder the future of my 998cc Yamaha stable, why not check out all the stuff that helped pay for it?

My brother’s two regular features, Ask Bark and Bark’s Bites, each had strong response from the readers this week. I can’t adequately express my pride at how quickly Bark has developed into a crowd favorite. I had to really twist his arm to get him to start writing a few years ago. He’s now basically a franchise-level player in the online autowriting game. Anybody who hired him would see a significant uptick in traffic as a result.

I also participated at TTAC this week, asking readers to weigh in on a controversial Tesla video, opining a bit on unnecessary GMC trim levels, and taking a shot at quasi-intellectual clickbait.

For Road&Track, I offered a modest proposal to Volkswagen and wrote a road test of the Lexus RC-F super-coupe.

Check back this week, as I take a brief break from Yamaha-part shopping on eBay to take a shot at figuring out why the coil in my home air conditioner keeps icing up.

22 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: Just One Thing That Bugs Me Edition”

      • Ryan

        Great! I guess I’m a relic (at the age of 36) but I like to read stuff on actual paper on occasion and decided to subscribe to Road&Track mostly to read your stuff there. Looking forward to the article.

  1. Davis

    Likely your AC charge is low…. That’s the number 1 cause of coil icing. Unless of course you are one of those people who doesn’t change furnace filters on time….

      • jz78817

        home refrigeration/air conditioning units don’t usually have recharge ports on them, unlike car A/C. all the connections are soldered, and when it’s charged at the factory the fill tubes are crimp-welded shut.

    • tom

      2nd Davis; ,ow on charge due to a leak. Other possibility (if filters are okay) is the evap coil has a restriction.

    • dal20402

      I had the frozen-coil issue in my DC house. Turned out to be caused by low refrigerant, which in turn was caused by a manufacturing defect (hairline crack) in the condenser. Getting that fixed under warranty was a fun adventure.

  2. jz78817

    barring any airflow problems in your air handler, the usual cause of evaporator icing is low refrigerant. It might seem counterintuitive, but low refrigerant means the pressure drops too much in the evaporator and it gets too cold. Thus, ice.

    • Shocktastic

      This. In addition, my HVAC contractor told me that late spring or early summer is the busiest time of year for her as the first hot days hit. By late summer her crews are done troubleshooting existing systems & only the die-hard cheapskates and new arrivals are calling her for new system installs.

  3. Tim

    So my brother owned a first gen FZ1 (like yours) and I had the next gen FZ1N. Great bikes both, though of course the newer one is better. I remember my friends trying to sway me towards the Triumph Speed Triple 1050 but really, compared to the FZ1, it is just slow.

    I really enjoyed that bike until an errant taxi began an impromptu game of chicken that we both lost (won?). These days I ride a M109R but I still recall my Yammy with fond memories. Good luck with getting your second one. You know you deserve it.

  4. Athos

    +3 on your A/C needing some gas. When they recharge it, make sure they top up some compressor oil, as the leaked refrigerant takes some of it. Otherwise, depending on how discharged it was, you will be looking at a compressor replacement in some months.

  5. Yamahog

    If the most appealing part of the FZ-1 is the deal, and you can’t find another, it might be worthwhile to consider a 1250 Bandit personally I think the motor is more sweet (but probably slower around the track) than the FZ-1. The Honda 919 seems to be a better deal than a fuel injected FZ-1 too. Though there’s a lot to be said for having two examples of the same bike.

    • Jack Baruth Post author

      The 1250 Bandit is more like a competitor for my CB1100 in terms of simplicity and approximate speed potential.

      There’s a fellow with a 919 at my office who keeps refusing my attempts to buy it…

      • yamahog

        Out of the box the bandit is pretty close to the CB1100 but once you start throwing $$$$ at it, the Bandit can become quite the handful. I’ve ridden once (a 1200 with a jetting kit, exhaust, and yosh cams) and it made 120 hp at the wheels but it was the most playful 120 hp bike I’ve ever rode because its torque peak was around 4-5k. Though it’s a terrible choice for speed on a budget.

        I’ve been talking about it with my friends and we can’t think of a faster bike / $ than the first gen FZ1. Even CBR900RRs are more expensive in comparable condition, and the TL1000R isn’t as fast outright (though when rider skill enters the equation, the zook might be faster in the hands of a rank amateur) but it’s not as cheap either.

    • Yamahog

      By the way, I really enjoyed your review on the RC-F.

      I’ve been a big fan of yours ever since I read about you tracking a Camry, and I have to commend you for getting the performance factor of Toyotas. Categorically, Toyotas aren’t ‘fun to drive’ but they’re very competent at speed and especially for drivers at my skill level (i.e knows generally where the performance envelope is but doesn’t know how to approach it gracefully) the smoothness and predictability means that I can be a little more confident behind the wheel especially in traction-adverse conditions and the consequence for a mistaken input isn’t manifested in spiraling out of control.

      That said, Toyota’s stability control paradigm is crap and the first thing I cut in snow storms is the stability and traction control which seem to try to straighten the car out even if you’re in the middle of a corner.

      Living in Minnesota, I drive through snow storms maybe 20-30 times per year and my RWD Lexus with its N/A V8 and excellent snow tires is very nice to drive. I can easily get around people who are dangerous and I don’t have any problems on any surface.

      I wouldn’t claim that they’re the best or even pretty good. Just that I’ve found they work for me. On a beautiful summer day without speed limit enforcement, I’d rather drive almost any other car. But most of my miles are spent in traffic and something reliable with a good sound system and no frustrating rattles / quirks / cost of ownership fits the bills.

      Besides, I got bikes when I need the speed 🙂 The way I see it, if I drive a clinton era Toyota and keep growing my career, I can eventually get a ZX-14 and an attorney to beat the speeding tickets.

  6. Economist

    As the previous owner of an 1982 Trans Am (black over gold with t-tops), let me tell you that it was definitely all show and no go. The hood scoop/power bulge wasn’t even functional. Mine had the 305/3AT and had all of 145 hp from the factory.
    I’ll be damned if it didn’t look good, though.
    Also, a Honda 919 was the first motorcycle I ever truly desired.

  7. DeadWeight

    It’s 99.999% NOT LIKELY to have anything to do w/your furnace filter.

    The reason your AC Condenser coils are freezing over is due to approximately a 97% chance that your system has developed a very slow refrigerant leak.

    You will need a competent and honest HVAC technician with a proper set of upper/lower gauges to test the system at the unit (probably in your backyard, about 5′ to 10′ from your house, and then locate the source(s) of the slow leak(s) in the insulated refrigerant line (insulated with black, polyurethane-type foam) and various couplings that runs to your air plenum.

    Odds are that there’s only one spot it’s leaking slowly at, and odds are that it is leaking at a coupling point.

  8. Widgetsltd

    Regarding Bark’s Bites: I’ve finally found a situation in which leasing makes sense for me. I’ll probably lease a (heavily subsidized) Fiat 500e next year, so that my wife can drive solo in the carpool lane and thereby shorten her lengthy commuting time. We just have to wait for the carpool lane construction to finish…


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