Wildgoose Chase Moto Guzzi

General Category => General Discussion => Topic started by: willowstreetguzziguy on December 27, 2014, 08:55:02 PM

Title: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: willowstreetguzziguy on December 27, 2014, 08:55:02 PM
    As I get older, I find myself asking the question…Why do things have to be so complicated? It seemed life in the past was simpler.  You would buy a product, read a few sentences of instructions, and use it. It just doesn’t seem that simple anymore.

    Recently I’ve been going back, to what seemed like a simpler time, and browsing through my collection of old RIDER magazines from 1974-1988. I liked the look, clean lines, and yes the simplicity of the bikes from that era. I loved the articles and road tests by rider Dick Bloom. (Does anyone know if he’s still riding?)

     I came upon an article entitled … “SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived” by C.D.Bohon in the August 1983 issue. I found it thought provoking. Here are some interesting quotes from that article 31 years ago! …


“… today’s twins (1983), even those made by the old guard companies, really aren’t that simple any more. Black box electronic ignitions, replaceable but unfixable, are the rule. Double overhead cams, shims, buckets, three and four valve heads and all manner of counter-balancers are all part of many a modern “simple” motorcycle. And if the simple – so-called – motorcycle is really complicated, yet doesn’t deliver the performance of the more complex motorcycles, why buy it?”

“Simplicity is a virtue of necessity”, said one engineer. “When you don’t know how to make a complicated engine that will stay in one piece, you make a simple engine. When you can’t get materials of high enough quality to last in a complicated engine, you make a simple one. And you don’t make a complicated engine because you want to, you make it because it delivers more power. And that’s what the customer wants. Always.”

“Singles and twins were kings for decades. In fact so long that many riders came to view them as the ideal motorcycle type, and any variant as a dead-end mutation…. They governed what a motorcycle should look like, the kind of power it should deliver, what sound it should sound like and the kind of maintenance chores you should be able to do…. They were what they were because of technological production and materials limitations. Crankshaft bearing, piston ring and valve spring technology, among other things, governed their design.” 

“Once the valve technology had been developed, the days of the single and twin mass market motorcycles for the power-hungry masses were numbered…. And fortunately, the technology that develops that power often solves reliability problems as well.”

“As a result, our over-complicated techno-wonders not only gave us the power we want, they are also reliable, and getting more so. And more maintenance free.” 

“But doesn’t the trend to V-twins …and singles (in 1983), don’t they all indicate a trend to simplicity?  No, for most of these bikes aren’t simple, they merely have fewer cylinders, which true in a crude sort of way is simpler.  But would you say a Honda V45 is simpler than a Cadillac V-16 of half a century ago because it only has one-forth the cylinders? Not likely.”


    Back in 1986, I sold my BMW R90S for a new fuel injected, electronic ignition BMW K75C. A riding buddy with a 1970 BMW 750 said he would never own one of those new BMW's because they were too complex to work on if something went wrong.  Interestingly enough, whenever I’d call him to go riding, his bike ALWAYS needed to be worked on. Something always needed fixed. So while he wrenched... I rode.

Any thoughts....
Title: Re:
Post by: Kev m on December 27, 2014, 09:05:39 PM
Your final example says it all.

I like simplicity, but I don't confuse modern components or certain commonplace technologies with necessarily being combined or unreliable.

Far from it, in general modern vehicles have on a whole proven much more reliable then their counterparts of a few decades ago.

That's not to say there haven't been some spectacular modern fails, just that by and large they are much fewer and further between.
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: Antietam Classic Cycle on December 27, 2014, 09:31:27 PM
   

“… today’s twins (1983), even those made by the old guard companies, really aren’t that simple any more. Black box electronic ignitions, replaceable but unfixable, are the rule. Double overhead cams, shims, buckets, three and four valve heads and all manner of counter-balancers are all part of many a modern “simple” motorcycle. And if the simple – so-called – motorcycle is really complicated, yet doesn’t deliver the performance of the more complex motorcycles, why buy it?”

“Simplicity is a virtue of necessity”, said one engineer. “When you don’t know how to make a complicated engine that will stay in one piece, you make a simple engine. When you can’t get materials of high enough quality to last in a complicated engine, you make a simple one.

Moto Guzzi proves this wrong, guess the writer had his blinders on. In '83 they were just as simple as they were a decade earlier. No electronic ignition, no shims necessary for valve adjustment, no counter-balancers. And it's not like Guzzi didn't know how to "make a complicated engine that would stay in one piece" - they'd been there - done that in the previous 50 years or so.  
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: Guzzistajohn on December 27, 2014, 09:56:12 PM
Terpsichore?
(http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/ag65/guzzistajohn/Vurtthefurk_zpsc7301228.jpg) (http://s1299.photobucket.com/user/guzzistajohn/media/Vurtthefurk_zpsc7301228.jpg.html)
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: Aaron D. on December 27, 2014, 10:00:37 PM
Simplicity is the goal of good design. Doesn't mean it's easy.

Piston engine not simple. Turbine simple.
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: Guzzistajohn on December 27, 2014, 10:44:59 PM
“Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.”
― Woody Guthrie
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: Arizona Wayne on December 27, 2014, 11:26:25 PM
When we are young most of us are obsessed with more speed and complicated motor designs to get it.  As we age our priorities change to enough speed and reliability, simplicity in maintenance.  What you are describing has more to do with a riders age than the capabilities of their MCs, IMHO.

My whole adult life I have preferred simpler designed MCs, 1 of 2 cylinder and that's all I've ever owned in 50+ years of riding.  When I saw the Japanese 4s show up starting in 1969 I didn't care how fast they were, I cared about what it would be like maintaining 4 carburetors instead of 2.  ~;

Of course some men grow up faster than others.  :)
Title: Re: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: Kev m on December 28, 2014, 01:59:59 AM
Terpsichore?
(http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/ag65/guzzistajohn/Vurtthefurk_zpsc7301228.jpg) (http://s1299.photobucket.com/user/guzzistajohn/media/Vurtthefurk_zpsc7301228.jpg.html)
Epic auto-correct fail.... I seriously need to start reading what I think I'm Swype-ing into a post. ;D
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: Old Jock on December 28, 2014, 03:36:37 AM
Simplicity is the goal of good design. Doesn't mean it's easy.

Piston engine not simple. Turbine simple.

What sort of turbine? Certainly not the piston engine's counterpart, Gas Turbines are complex and expensive, although I agree the concept is simple the execution is not.

Compressors are very complex pieces of flow dynamics and turbines extremely complex in their material science and there is a lot lot more.

Well in my world they were but that could be because of my simplicity I guess
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: Chuck in Indiana on December 28, 2014, 09:00:17 AM
What sort of turbine? Certainly not the piston engine's counterpart, Gas Turbines are complex and expensive, although I agree the concept is simple the execution is not.

Compressors are very complex pieces of flow dynamics and turbines extremely complex in their material science and there is a lot lot more.

Well in my world they were but that could be because of my simplicity I guess

A friend (now 90 something!) used to drive Constellations. He says it was pretty common to start out with 4 and end up with 3..  ;D Or even 2.  :o
I'll take the gas turbine for simplicity, even though they sound funny and smell bad.  ;D
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: jas67 on December 28, 2014, 09:44:52 AM
A friend (now 90 something!) used to drive Constellations. He says it was pretty common to start out with 4 and end up with 3..  ;D Or even 2.  :o
I'll take the gas turbine for simplicity, even though they sound funny and smell bad.  ;D

The particular piston engine used on the Constellation was a very complex 18 cylinder beast of a Supercharged turbo-compound design.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wright_R-3350_Duplex-Cyclone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wright_R-3350_Duplex-Cyclone)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbo-compound_engine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbo-compound_engine)


Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: drums4money on December 28, 2014, 10:37:36 AM

    Back in 1986, I sold my BMW R90S for a new fuel injected, electronic ignition BMW K75C. A riding buddy with a 1970 BMW 750 said he would never own one of those new BMW's because they were too complex to work on if something went wrong.  Interestingly enough, whenever I’d call him to go riding, his bike ALWAYS needed to be worked on. Something always needed fixed. So while he wrenched... I rode.

Any thoughts....


My expeience with the BSA was similar. It seemed i could never get the ride time scale to cross the plot line of maintenance while trying to stay original.  There were some periods where i thought the two aspects may converge, but it was more of a temptation.  Not a bad experience by any measure, just one i eventually got a little tired of.
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: Aaron D. on December 28, 2014, 11:37:46 AM
What sort of turbine? Certainly not the piston engine's counterpart, Gas Turbines are complex and expensive, although I agree the concept is simple the execution is not.

Compressors are very complex pieces of flow dynamics and turbines extremely complex in their material science and there is a lot lot more.

Well in my world they were but that could be because of my simplicity I guess
Oh, the turbine is much simpler, even if it took a while to get the materials right-though it took a lot less time compared to piston engines. Basically one moving part. Just one reason even short-hop commercial flights are mostly turbine powered. Jets even simpler.
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: Old Jock on December 28, 2014, 12:18:41 PM
Just one moving part  ???

Have you even looked at a cutaway of a modern Gas Turbine?

I will admit they are more reliable because they don't have a whole sledge of large reciprocating components.

Ok one last question that maybe you can answer.

If they are so simple why can a single manufacturer not develop a new one as it would probably bankrupt them and need to go into technology partnerships to develop them and if they were simple surely they'd be cheap.

Try getting a GT engine for the price of a Guzzi

Ok getting ma coat
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: Aaron D. on December 28, 2014, 02:00:36 PM
Again,simple does not mean easy. For comparison imagine making a piston engine of equivalent performance to any commercial gas turbine or turbojet.
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: Aaron D. on December 28, 2014, 03:46:16 PM
And they needed a turbine to do it. In fact they were sort of on the road to a full turbine, at least from an engineering point of view. Just like aircraft thirty years earlier.
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: lucydad on December 28, 2014, 05:29:42 PM
Ah, simplicity.  Two areas of my life tend to drive me a bit bonkers:

-- unbelievably powerful and complex and ever changing seismic interpretation software and database that I use at work built by "big blue",  just about anytime I learn basics they change the software, the interface has all kinds of weird nomenclature, pathways and hidden right click features
-- poorly designed electronics, an example the Pioneer CD/radio/satellite system in my BMW car, had the car battery replaced, and that erased all the settings, I spent about two hours trying to figure out how the oblique "Master Control" works even with the downloaded owner's manual, that piece of "documentation" is almost worthless:  my guess it is translated from the Chinese/Japanese to english and with many omissions and inaccuracies, after much work I did recover my initial settings, and I set the clock time, but I cannot get the clock to display nor access the HD FM radio bands:  can you say POS?  Yes you can.

I could not imaging being a modern mechanic working on these cars. 
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: 56Pan on December 28, 2014, 05:33:16 PM
Oh, the turbine is much simpler, even if it took a while to get the materials right-though it took a lot less time compared to piston engines. Basically one moving part. Just one reason even short-hop commercial flights are mostly turbine powered. Jets even simpler.

This is incorrect, in my opinion.  An aircraft gas turbine engine is a far cry from anything simple.  The bleed system on the Pratt and Whitney engines is complicated.  The variable inlet guide vanes on the GE engines that does the same thing as the bleed valves on the Pratt's is another troublesome thing to rig correctly.  And if it's rigged wrong on the GE's and the compressor stalls, just bring it back to the gate, take the passengers off and get the engine change crew out there. One compressor stall and the engine has to go almost every time. The pneumatic system on either engine that supplies the air con. and cabin pressurization is very maintenance intensive.  Ask any airline mechanic how much he enjoys changing the Pressure regulating and shutoff valve in either engine pylon of a B767.  Sorry to rant here, but I just retired after 42 yrs. working on these engines and I miss them like a dirty shirt.  I don't even want the SOB's flying over my house. They just_look_simple.  And as troublesome as the old radials were, there's no other sound like all 4 P&W 18 cyl. R2800s on a DC-6 full power maintenance run with the throttles at the forward stop when the water/meth switches are thrown. Now, that's mechanic's music.
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: Aaron D. on December 28, 2014, 06:20:19 PM
Well, we seem to be separated by common language.
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: willowstreetguzziguy on December 28, 2014, 07:29:43 PM
 Meeting the government's standards for environment, safety, regulations, etc. causes things to grow more complex also.
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: Robert on December 28, 2014, 09:47:46 PM
NOT trying to make an oil thread!!!!

But it took me a week of browsing various forums before deciding how to replenish the fluid in my 2005 Allison trans. 

Old Dextron(III I think) was out of patent, and thus not trustable.  New Dextron (maybe V or VII) hardened the seals.  Final solution was get REAL Allison fluid.

But as I say, it took a week to get through all the blab to distill a final answer.

Next problem is that I'll forget how/why to do the process when next time rolls around.

Similar situation for all the fluids in my 1999 and 2012 VW diesels.  (They are not the same as other cars, or as each other.)

Simplicity used to be: DEXTRON ATF, Prestone, 10-30, Brake fluid.

Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: Sheepdog on December 29, 2014, 10:45:22 AM
My 1960 BMW R-60 was supremely simple. Just about everything on it could be serviced or repaired by a fairly skilled hobbyist. However, it needed a great deal of maintenance...somet hing was required all the time. I enjoyed it and it never let me down, but eventually the desire to do more riding than wrenching overwhelmed my pride of self-sufficiency. My Vintage and my Bonneville are the compromises to simplicity that I chose...
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: jas67 on December 29, 2014, 11:00:18 AM
Not sure I follow . They were a piston engine with valves and cams .

  Dusty

Piston engines with valves, cams, and a TURBOCHARGER (turbo = "TURBINE").   ;D

Ok, back to  :pop
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: oldbike54 on December 29, 2014, 11:04:13 AM
Piston engines with valves, cams, and a TURBOCHARGER (turbo = "TURBINE").   ;D

Ok, back to  :pop


 :D :D :D :D

  Dusty
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: not-fishing on December 29, 2014, 11:42:26 AM
Simplicity is in the eye of the beholder.

Me ordering parts online to adjust my valves & change oil -- maybe 15 minutes.

Me adjusting my valves and changing oil -- maybe 1 hour because I'm slow.

Getting a co-driver and riding my 1100 Griso the 20 miles to the dealer, leaving it, going home, coming back with my co-driver in a few days to get it and bringing it home -- many hours and very complex.

I do have to spend more time working on the Griso but for me it's also "therapy" that helps my "Zen".
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: rboe on December 29, 2014, 11:45:58 AM
As troublesome as the new jet engines are; I'll wager they are a dream compared to the old multi layer radials that the airlines used.

Compare time between overhauls, fires, fluid use (if you look at the oil stains on the apron from a Connie or Super Connie you'd swear they were British made). If you look at all the parts in the old multi bank radials and their subsystems and compare it to a modern jet engine the modern engines are fairly simple - in comparison.

Many of the old engines were easy to work on, but they had to be worked on so that was good. Todays engines, one could get by with changing the fluids for a LONG time (ignoring the valves) and it work  for a very long time. See to the valves and that time goes way up.

People complain about the black boxes (and I had to replace the one on my Honda XR650L) but for the most part they are trouble free. Especially compared to points and condensors of yesteryear.

And carbs. I'll take EFI any day.
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: willowstreetguzziguy on December 29, 2014, 11:46:14 AM
My 1960 BMW R-60 was supremely simple. Just about everything on it could be serviced or repaired by a fairly skilled hobbyist. However, it needed a great deal of maintenance...somet hing was required all the time. I enjoyed it and it never let me down, but eventually the desire to do more riding than wrenching overwhelmed my pride of self-sufficiency. My Vintage and my Bonneville are the compromises to simplicity that I chose...

I think in most instances, simplicity allows one to do the maintenance but it is required more frequently as I found with my BMW R90S vs my BMW K75. On both of my K75's, the fuel injection and electronic ignition have never given me any problems.  But the R90S carbs always needed adjusting as well as the points.  On a 10,000 mile trip in 1979 on the R90S, it needed a tune-up 5,000 miles into the trip, the shift detent spring broke and left me in 2nd gear in Leadville, Colorado and the points shorted out on the PA turn pike 100 miles from home.
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: steven c on December 29, 2014, 12:39:13 PM
 One of the reasons I was attracted to Buell's was the Modern running gear with a stone simple motor, just gas and go, adjust the primary once and in a while and change the oil. So far so good.
 If you really want simplicity just get an old two stoke.
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: Rough Edge racing on December 29, 2014, 01:01:49 PM
You guys complaining about old beemers obviously never owned an old British bike ... or a Knuck/Pan HD  ;D

  Dusty
I think many guys if confronted with a kick start only bike with a manual spark retard would be like a chicken with wristwatch...
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: Sheepdog on December 29, 2014, 02:55:17 PM
The starting regimen for my Norton was like a security system...
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: jas67 on December 31, 2014, 09:47:38 AM
As troublesome as the new jet engines are; I'll wager they are a dream compared to the old multi layer radials that the airlines used.

The R4360 used on the Connie was a 28 cylinder engine, for a total of 112 cylinders on the airplane.   And, remember, aircraft engines always have 2 plugs per cylinder (redundancy), so, that is 224 spark plugs to change  :o

I imagine it takes a while to check/set the valve clearance on all 224 valves too.
 
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: faffi on January 10, 2015, 03:57:17 PM
Complexity doesn't have to exclude simplicity, whereas simplicity can also be crude and complex in its own way.

A few examples. Fixing the gearbox on a Japanese twin or single usually mean splitting the cases. Complex. But that does not happen often, if at all, for most owners because the transmission tend to outlast the life of the vehicle. But since it is simple and reliable to use and maintenance free, the complexity doesn't matter and for the user it is a simple item that doesn't warrant any concern. However, the gearbox on a Harley or an old British motorcycle, by being a separate chain driven unit, will need relatively frequent attention in order to be properly adjusted. You also have a separate unit demanding its own oil, so more to buy and think of. Then comes the time to replace chain and sprockets and the whole primary drive including the clutch must be removed to get access. So the simpler construction ends up as a more complex item.

Electronic ignition, automatic timing advancers, automatic oil pumps, alternators and starter motors - even electronic ignition - are all complex compared to the manual devices that preceded them. They are also generally very reliable and doesn't need any attention in most vehicles. They simply work.

Still, I love simplicity. For me, simplicity is something that makes my day easier. Sometimes, you need to balance the daily simplicity up against the occasional frustration. Look at a bike like the Suzuki 650 V-Strom. Whether you like it or not isn't the topic, but it is one of the most reliable and practical and versatile motorcycles on the market today. It also has valves that is a PITA to measure - let alone adjust - that even if I could tolerate to looks of the bike and bought it, the everyday good could not outweigh the horror of adjusting the valves every 16k miles. For me. Especially since it could easily have been made much simpler. But I doubt the designers and mechanics ever met or spoke through the history of motoring, which is why we are stuck with complex solutions to simple questions.

Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: faffi on January 10, 2015, 04:40:31 PM
On topic http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=854490
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: 56Pan on January 10, 2015, 06:34:07 PM
The R4360 used on the Connie was a 28 cylinder engine, for a total of 112 cylinders on the airplane.   And, remember, aircraft engines always have 2 plugs per cylinder (redundancy), so, that is 224 spark plugs to change  :o

I imagine it takes a while to check/set the valve clearance on all 224 valves too.
 

I believe the engines on the Lockheed Constellation were Wright R-3350's.  18 cyl. two rows of 9.  Later models of the ship had the 3350's with the 3 power recovery turbines.  Gave them another 500 hp.  When they worked.
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: jas67 on January 10, 2015, 09:48:28 PM
I believe the engines on the Lockheed Constellation were Wright R-3350's.  18 cyl. two rows of 9.  Later models of the ship had the 3350's with the 3 power recovery turbines.  Gave them another 500 hp.  When they worked.

My bad.    Yes, you are correct, Wright R-3350's.      For some reason, I had thought that the Super Connie had the Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major.    The Boeing 377 had the R-4360s.     Where the Connie was one of the best looking airliners of it's time, the 377 was pretty ungainly looking.

(http://www.argc-art.com/shop/image/data/Lockheed%20Constellation.series%20one.jpg)

(http://www.edcoatescollection.com/ac3/Airline/United%20Boeing%20377.jpg)
Title: Re: SIMPLICITY: Real and Perceived
Post by: LowRyter on January 10, 2015, 10:01:03 PM
This is incorrect, in my opinion.  An aircraft gas turbine engine is a far cry from anything simple.  The bleed system on the Pratt and Whitney engines is complicated.  The variable inlet guide vanes on the GE engines that does the same thing as the bleed valves on the Pratt's is another troublesome thing to rig correctly.  And if it's rigged wrong on the GE's and the compressor stalls, just bring it back to the gate, take the passengers off and get the engine change crew out there. One compressor stall and the engine has to go almost every time. The pneumatic system on either engine that supplies the air con. and cabin pressurization is very maintenance intensive.  Ask any airline mechanic how much he enjoys changing the Pressure regulating and shutoff valve in either engine pylon of a B767.  Sorry to rant here, but I just retired after 42 yrs. working on these engines and I miss them like a dirty shirt.  I don't even want the SOB's flying over my house. They just_look_simple.  And as troublesome as the old radials were, there's no other sound like all 4 P&W 18 cyl. R2800s on a DC-6 full power maintenance run with the throttles at the forward stop when the water/meth switches are thrown. Now, that's mechanic's music.

Best to you in your retirement.  It sounds like you were due.