Author Archives: bowtie6

Kestrel Evoke SL for Sale

Kestrel Evoke SuperLight 56cm

Time has come to find a new home for this Kestrel Evoke SuperLight (SL) bike.  This has been my backup bike for several years and I am not using it that much so it is time for somebody else to enjoy it.  That is why I have it now for sale.

Kestrel pioneered building carbon bikes back in the day.  I remember a friend of mine had one of the early Kestrel 4000’s and I just thought it was amazing.  That was back in the late 80’s if memory serves me right.

This is the second Kestrel I have owned.  My first was a bright red KM40 speedbike that quite frankly amazed me how fast it would go.  Unfortunately, I am old and going aero just does not work very well for me.

On one of our trips to California I found a small bike store that was going out-of-business.  I made an offer and the store owner sold me this Evoke SL frame (size 56cm), matching fork, headset, and seatpost.  I had all this shipped to me and then, I sourced the group set.

The group set is all matching compact SRAM Force 10 speed and I bought it all at the same time and had it professionally installed at a local reputable bike store.  Here are the details…

  • Cranks – the cranks are 175mm.  I’m a tall dude and I find this size works well for me.
  • Chainrings – they are 50/34.  The cassette is SRAM 10 speed, 12-26.
  • Brakes, front and rear mech are matching SRAM Force.
  • The shifters are tap up/down and work flawlessly; front one has a “trim” click-stop too.

Wheels I bought from Neuvation – they have bladed spokes and are very lightweight.  They are true and come with a set of Vittoria Rubino Pro slicks – size is 700×23.  Oh and also when I bought the wheels, they sent a few extra replacement spokes that will be included with the bike.  The rear wheel hub accepts Shimano, but currently has a SRAM cassette (see above).

Seatpost, stem and matching handlebars are all PofileDesign Cobra carbon.  The saddle is a Fizik Arionne with matching Fizik handlebar tape.  The handlebar tape is a little worn.  The handlebar is ProfileDesign Dromo.

Pedals are KEO 2Max and are flawless.  Finally, since this is carbon fiber I wanted to protect the frame as best I could, so I installed a seat-post mounted shark fin to prevent the chain chewing up the frame in case it were to jump out of the lower chainring.

I tried several water bottle cages, given the angles on the frame.  I finally found these Specialized side sliding cages worked the best especially with a tall water bottle.  So that is included too with the bike.

I am very meticulous when it comes to my bikes and this is no exception.  This bike is extremely lightweight and it is fast too.

Bike is for sale in the Greenville, South Carolina area.  Sorry but I have it local pick-up only.  If you have any questions let me know at “grant at bowtie6 dot com”.  With all the components listed, the bike is priced at $1300.

Photos (bike stand is not included in the deal!):

Ecotec Timing Chain Guide Bolt

Timing chain guide bolt cover (circled in red)

The other day, I found an article about the poor design of the Ecotec timing chain guide bolt.  Specifically, how prone the bolt is to backing out.  In extreme cases, the bolt can get tangled in the timing chain and shear off.  Needless to say, having bolt fragments fall into the timing chain of a contact engine, could potentially cause rather expensive damage.

If I am not mistaken, the 2.4L Ecotec powering bowtie6 is the same engine currently installed in the Polaris Slingshot – so if you happen to own a Slingshot, then you might want to read on…

The Fix

Amazon has the replacement bolt made by Dorman – about $20.  Here is what the label on the box looks like:

Dorman Timing Chain Guide Bolt replacement part number 917-954

The factory bolt is tiny and you get to it by removing a “plug” on the front of the engine.  You can see that cover plug in the top photo on this post (i have added a red circle around it).  Once you remove this plug you can insert a long 10mm socket and take the bolt out; be careful though because you don’t want to drop it!  This is what the pair looks like once they come out:

Bolt on the left, cover on the right…

Here is the front of the engine with the bolt cover removed:

Removed the plug…

And this is what the new bolt looks like:

and replaced it with this…

Finally, this is what the new bolt looks like installed:

Replacement bolt securely in place…

Moral of the Story:

When my original bolt came out, it was not exactly “tight”.  I am afraid had I ran it longer it would have eventually backed out.  And this would not have been a happy time.  Some things I have learned from this:

  • Replace the Ecotec timing chain guide bolt – it is cheap and it is easy.
  • If you own a Polaris Slingshot, do yourself a favor and read up about this.  For a mere $20 you will save yourself a lot of grief.
  • I wanted to show more pictures of the new bolt but I am afraid of copyright issues.  Please, if you have read this far check out the Dorman Ecotec timing guide chain bolt page.  There is a wealth of information there; even a video.
  • NOTE:  I don’t get a penny from Dorman about this  I also very seldom endorse folks.  But, I have read enough (and watched a few videos) about this kind of failure and figured it be best to do a PSA about the damage potential running the original bolt.

As always, be safe and hope all is well with you.  If you have any questions, let me know…

Mobil1 Oil in a Cheap Wine Box

Cheap wine box full of Mobil1

Mobil1 Oil in a cheap wine box?  Yes.  You are reading this correctly.  Let me explain…

Today was oil-change-day for my wife’s Equinox and my Camaro as well.  I headed early this morning to Wally-World to see what was available.

The Equinox takes 5 quarts; the Camaro takes 8 quarts.  So normally I would buy my favorite 5 quart containers but today, i found something new…  Turns out some genius at the Mobil oil marketing department, came up with the brilliant idea of packaging 12 quarts (yes a dozen) of Mobil1 in a cheap wine box.

For those of you that don’t know what I am talking about, head out to the wine section of your favorite  local grocery store and find the “boxed wine” shelf.  That is where you can find the cheap wine packaged in a heavy cardboard box holding a “bag” full of wine.  Even comes with a nifty spigot that helps dispense the product.

I am a bit of a wine snob and this is the ultimate insult for what Galileo called “sunlight trapped in a liquid”.  No matter how humble wine is, it should be respected enough to be properly bottled.  But no.  The cheapest of the cheap has to suffer the indignity of being packaged in a plastic bladder stuffed in a cardboard box.  And now, they have done this to Mobil1.

What made this worse for me was that I didn’t realize the box contained a plastic bag full of oil.  No.  I learned of this when I got home and noticed the box had a “don’t cut this box with a knife” warning.  That is when I realized you have to carefully open a flap on the front of the box, then reach in the box, grab the spigot and gently pull it out.  Then after that, diligently place the spigot it in the proper position.  Made me think of something else you have to carefully grab and gently pull out before you can put it in the right position. 😉

The Good:

All this wonderment for $49 and change.  Not too bad, right?

But the deal goes downhill very, very quick from here.  I did buy a 5 quart bottle and fortunately that jug came with a handy with a way to measure off individual quarts by looking at the tick marks on the side of the plastic container.  So I dispensed the 5 quarts in the container first, and used the empty container to help figure out how much I had to use from there.

The Bad:

And here is where the “deal” goes south even more quickly.

Dispensing expensive synthetic motor oil should not be from a plastic bladder.  You see, that spigot in the picture above is not at the lowest point in the bag.  This means that when you think you have dispensed every drop of goodness…  Think again…

Open the “empty” box and we find this…

Too much Mobil1 to waste…  But how can we get this out?

Yep.  Quite a bit of expensive oil is still in the bag.  Surely you don’t throw this away!  So, I had to get pair of scissors and very carefully open an exit for this bit of oil.  Of course, if you don’t get it just perfect you end up making a mess.  Oh and that is not the only way to make a mess…  The spigot leaks every time you open/close that valve!

Take Aways…

You might ask why I am making such a big deal out of something so trivial.  Especially when there are so many things wrong with the world today.  Well, this is an epic fail on the part of the Mobil oil company.  Just think of the thousands of folks out there that don’t read the directions and cut into the box just to have 12 quarts of oil go everywhere.  Expensive lesson (to the tune of $49) to learn, huh?

The 5 quart plastic jug is the hands-down winner.  You can use it as a measuring device (thanks for the tick marks on the side) and it is easy and convenient to use.  I suppose the ultimate solution would be to save 5 quart jugs and refill them from a “cheap wine box of Mobil1”.

But no.  There is something very wrong about fumbling about trying to pull the spigot out of that box…

Any guess on what kind of ratchet we have here?

Michael Collins

Today, I read a tweet from Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) about the passing of Michael Collins…  Another of my childhood heroes passed on today; he was 90.

Ad Astra, Michael Collins.  God Speed….

2020 Mileage Roundup

Coming to you on a rainy and dreary New Year’s Day 2021, with the previous mileage roundup for the fleet.  Thanks to the pandemic, 2020 was not the greatest to report outings for any members of the stable.  Good for saving money on fuel and wear-and-tear, but cars are made for driving and this was no fun.

I just realized I did not post totals for 2018 and 2019, so i’ll include them here for good measure.

RedRock

This is sad – my 2014 Camaro didn’t see much of the road this year.  With lockdown in place and working from home, didn’t get a chance to get out much…

2014 Camaro SS – RedRock

QuickSilver

Well I suppose this makes my AP1 S2000 more valuable…  It didn’t get driven at all in 2020.  But, I am not quite ready yet to let her go.  Have you seen what nice S2K’s are going for on BAT these days!  Yikes!!

2003 Honda S2000 – QuickSilver

bowtie6

I feel bad for poor old bowtie6.  Hardly driven in 2020.  The RedTop Optima took quite a hit during lockdown – it suffered loss of charge.  So much so, I had to get a battery tender.  I have written about it here:  NOCO Genius10 Battery Charger Review

1972 Triumph TR6 – bowtie6

Finally, some dashboard pictures:

Good Riddance 2020

With 2021 ahead, lets just hope things turn out better for us all.  With vaccines on the horizon I try to be optimistic about 2021.  Sure would be nice to be able to return to some sort of normalcy.  However, the reality is things are still not well not only here in America but in the rest of the world.

Flipping channels last night, I did get to see folks celebrating the New Year in New Zealand where according to the news, covid does not pose a threat.  I reckon folks there had a more unified and caring approach than the rest of us…  Maybe there is hope…

Happy New Year and be safe…