2015-04-24

Malaguti Spidermax - Personal Log

 
2015-04-24
Thinking about the right color for my grey Spidermax.
Home in Valencia, Spain with the same state flower as Florida - the orange blossom.
So you can guess what the main color has to be - orange of course,  with a dash of grey as contrast to better show off the gorgeous Malaguti design.







2015-01-21
Got my RS Spidermax today.

She runs like the GT without modifications.
So far not paint shaker or angry Sea Lion, but then it was 10 degrees Celsius on the ride home, maybe when it  gets warmer... (fat chance, my Dr. Colt Conversion will be the first mod I will do.)
Overall it is like a new bike but with some minor blemishes in the paint.



2015-01-13
My old Spidermax is in a worse shape than I thought after a second glance and I will put up a status report of her sorry state in a few weeks. Then I decide if I restore her or just use her for the spare parts.

The Malaguti Spidermax is getting rarer to find (at least in Spain) and I saw some interesting 500 RS pass me by while still being on the island. A couple days I saw an offer of a grey one here in Valencia. The Spidermax was reduced from 3800€ down to 3300€.
I had a look at her today and while I could not fathom why anybody in his sane mind would use grey for a Spidermax (it is one of the 4 "non" colors what made the Spidermax just sit in the stores) I bought it for 3000€ inclusive the paperwork and a couple months of warranty. So this blog should live for 5 or more years and tell about my Spidermax adventures,

I have not decided on a color if I stay with my red or if I go with a bright orange (RAL 2005 or 2007), since Valencia is on the costa azahar what means orange blossom coast and the home of my both Spidermaxes in right next to orange groves.




2015-01-12
Our container took a while longer and in the second week in January my Spidermax arrived and rolled down the 1.5 meter high container with the help of a wooden board and 4 pair of hands. The Spanish hacienda wanted to have 200 Euro for bringing her into the country. I could live with that.



2014-11-22
The story of my red Spidermax will continue in 2015. She will travel in our container with all the other meager posesions to Spain and we will have her back hopefully before x-mas. In  the 10.5 month here on the island of horror she got sandblasted by 50 km/h winds, covered with ocean spray and since she had no cover but full sun every day, the paint looks absolutely awful.

2014-8-27
Live is full of tough choices. We are leaving hopefully soon this, very unpleasant to live on, island and go to Spain. My Spidermax is now over 7 years with over 70.000 km. Technically she is OK, but the sun and abrasive wind here were not kind to the exterior. To bring her to Spain will be around 500 € including tax. The value of the Spidermax should be around or a bit below 2000 € if I make her pretty again.
So I was thinking about trying to sell her here and always wanted to try out a Burgman 650 and there is a good selection below 4000 € in Spain.

If you are interested, I share with you my scary findings and my conclusion.
If you own a Suzuki Burgman you might want to do some serious research, start with the links below, or if you don´t want to know, do yourself a favor and stop reading now.

 

...and I really was looking forward to get the 2007 Burgman 650 in red with 45638 km for 3495€ and would have gladly payed the 275 € for one year warranty.
After I found what I liked, I did some serious research the last weeks in English, Spanish, German and what ever Google could translate for me.
I was introduced to the primary spline failure, the infamous bolt stopper issue, failing locks, premature worn out bearings among other failures. 
The consensus in buying a used 650 was, that you should avoid any Burgman 650 below 2005 to 2006. The year is not so important as is the model number since you can find a K5 with 2006 registration. So to be on the safe side I was looking for a nice 2007 or younger Burgman 650 Executive.

Then I found some complaints about the Suzuki (claimed lifetime lasting) belt failure.
Working my way again through a lot of several languages forum posts I found a shocking pattern.
From America through Europe and the rest of the world the belt from the Suzuki Burgman 650, no matter what time they are build and including the new Burgman 650 L3 are prone to failing with often repair costs between 2000 and 3000 € or $.


broken belt from a Burgman 650 ( when I look how thin the the 2 belts are I wonder why it even lasts 50.000 km)



Getting most of the stories available in several languages, this CVT failure is sometimes the end of the bike since often the repair cost is near the value of the bike (2006 and older).
A new belt is in the 400 to 470 € range and the labor to change it is way over 1000 € (often double).
Since Suzuki even in the new styled 2013 model has the same belt with no possibility to check without several hours of work the Suzuki 650 made the top of the list of bikes I do not want to own.
Also it looks like the quality what was "made in Japan" is deteriorating. (see my test ride of an AN400 further down)
OK, there are a lot of people who are happy with their 650 and a bunch of them never had a problem.
I wish them well and hope it stays that way.

Since Murphy´s Law has a fixed contract with me and if there are Gremlins they sure will stop by my electric, electronic or mechanical contrivance. So I rather save myself the trouble and stick with what I know.

In conclusion, I like my Spidermax where I can check the belt by just using my finger tip in a second, or need to open a few screws and see the belt within one minute, or in 15 minutes have the belt changed and my rollers replaced.
With my new setup, the Dr. Colt Conversion, that will be all 30.000 km or so and will cost me below 100 €.

I will still try to sell my Spidermax here and if I do, she will be replaced by another Malguti Spidermax from Spain. If nobody wants her, then you can watch her here reaching the 100.000 km before 2016 is over.

So this blog will be in use for some time to come and tell you:
"All about the Malaguti Spidermax"

Burgman 650 vs Malaguti Spidermax front view



Malaguti Spidermax vs Burgman 650 rear view







2014/08/24
My Spidermax has now close  to 73000 km.
With my new Dr. Pulley 4 slider setup I am quite happy and so far had never a time where I needed more spontaneous acceleration go get away from a situation.
Since 2 dogs entered our live we are using more the Peugeot 306 cabrio than the Spidermax to joyride.


 As you can see it is a full time job just to teach the little girl driving out of the garage without scratching the Spidermax ;)
But she is doing quite well with using the mirrors.

In our 6 years with the Malaguti Spidermax there was only one time when she did not bring us home and then it was corroded battery contacts from a new battery I had stored for quite a while back home. They prevented a proper charging.

I was trying out another color but after 6 months in our brutal sun the metallic paint changed for the worse. (I always paint the side front panels last since they are the most complicated with the masking tape.)
After that I went back to my favorite rojo vivo (living red) 2.50€ a little spray can.



***
After some playing with new colors including yellow and red with fluorescent green I found a cherry red what is more berry red and I liked it quite well. But I wanted something more to look at, it should be sporty and elegant at the same time. I remembered the first corvette who was available in red and white. My "new" Spidermax might have a white stripe from front to end.


***

In August 2012 I decided to try a Burgman K8 to see if  we would like her as a Spidermax replacement. It took less than 5 minutes to notice the unstable low speed handling, the horrible slow acceleration, I had the feeling that my knees were under my chin (compared to the Spidermax sitting position) and the back seat did not like the short test at all. I guess with the 16" wheels, the awesome low and crawl speed handling and my transmission conversion I am just too spoiled...

***

Since Malaguti is out of business there is no one who orders the 150/70-16 and 120/80-16 tires anymore in bulk. This leads now to long waiting times to get spare tires. I had to wait 2 months to get a rear and front tire.
To prevent this for the future, I ordered already two more rear tires. Since the rear last around 10000 km and the front around 25000 km that should last me for the next 30000 km and by then - who knows.

***

RIP Malaguti


Malaguti 1930-2011
Yesterday I was checking to see how the current crisis in Europe is affecting Malaguti. With deep sadness I found that Malaguti closed the factory permanently in October 2011. What I could make out from the Italian translation is that 17 to 20 people will stay for a few years to take care of the spare Malaguti parts.

I was just thinking of getting a newer Spidermax, since after passing the 50000 km mark my Spidermax is developing some problems, like the leaking water pump (2014: fixed itself and is OK since 3 years), the occasional cold start noise from the starter clutch? (2014: have not heard that for 2 years) , the engine noise got louder (replaced exhaust seal and it is quieter now)  and some other age related things (2014: nothing what is important and too bothersome).
After seeing there is no Malaguti anymore, I have to rethink of getting a newer Spidermax since it is already a pain to get the  tires.

We have winter now here and that means temperatures in the morning can be around 15 degrees c. On some morning starts I notice a short metal noise (grinding?) when the starter clutch tries to disengage. This only happens with a cold engine in the morning. Since I had a bad starter clutch experience with my Aprillia Pegaso what resulted in a total destruction of the starter clutch I think I will need to open the engine and have a closer look. Since the water pump seal is in the same area it will then get changed too.
Piaggio MASTER engine 500cc starter clutch (sprag clutch / freewheel  / flywheel)
a new starter clutch (Aprillia Pegaso / BMW F650)

destroyed starter clutch

The movable clutch rolls of the starter clutch are held in place by a metal O-spring. Over time this spring gets a bit worn out and does not retract the clutch rolls fast enough. This is when the trouble begins. At the first signs there is an easy way to fix this, just take out the spring, shorten it a bit and twist it back together. If you wait as long as I did with my Pegaso it grinds the clutch rolls round and desintegrates the smaller parts to metal flakes you have in your oil.

area where the defect starter clutch grind away metal

***

When I messed up the thread from the driving pulley I replaced the nearly new rollers with the unused 4 ones to get the maximum time before another change is necessary. As usual when I change rollers I alternate the grooves they are rolling in.
Funny thing is that the Spidermax now runs a bit higher kind of like with the 2.5 mm washer but with a V-max from 171 km/h instead from 169 as clocked from the digital instrument and the factory 8 roller setup.
I am now riding 98% 2 up and do a lot of high speed highway km. The Spidermax runs very often in the 7000 rpm band (close to rpm max). My consumption is now constant above 5 liter per 100 km but the performance, response and acceleration is on an all time high.
I changed the oil change interval to 5000 km and the filter to 10000 km.
So until there is a noticeable change I will leave the transmission alone and be very happy with what I have now and gladly accept the bit higher price I have to pay at the pump.

***

Ups - Yesterday while riding I tried to figure out when the rear tire needs to be replaced. Let´s think, the first one at 10.000, the second one lasted 17000 until the rubber was gone and now I have 44000 on the dial. Oh my time flies when you having fun already 17000 on the old tire, time to order a new one.

***

OK, I got nearly new rollers,  belt, a new clutch, adjusted valves and with the new speed limit here I am seldom above 110 km/h but my consumption with 2 people on board is still around 5.2 liter at 100 km.
My Spidermax runs great and the throttle response is awesome, with nearly 44000 km on the odometer everything is fine, she is just a bit more thirsty than she was before and I have no Idea why.

***
Passing the 40.000 km my Spidermax is still going strong, without any problems and after adjusting the valves she runs smoother and the gas consumption dropped again a bit.
All my modifications like the parking brake, foot rests, colt conversion, radio etc. are still working flawless and most satisfactory. Even my spray can paint job still looks good except for the lid of the top box what has some sun damage and needs a re-spray.


***

I started a new blog about Home Cinema.
If this might interest you come and see me at:


Home Cinema: 25 years imax@home



2010-11-3 Smooth operator
My Spidermax feels like she is fresh from the showroom and on her first ride out. The new rollers, belt and now also the new clutch make for one smooth riding experience. That combined with the Canary Conversion and the, slightly modified, silver  transmission noise dampener in place (see the end of this post) is as good as it gets.

***

Finally Malaguti sold the last Spidermax.
The GT model like mine I am talking about. It was kind of embarrassing how long (over 2 Years) they had both models next to each other.
Now they are offering only the RS500 with the nicer styled trunk area (kind of like I painted mine) and the different nose plate. Except for some restyled tupperware and the Euro3- instead of the Euro2 norm engine it is the same bike. Sadly still no exiting colors, but then that makes it easy to go for your dream color in a respray...

2010-10-20 20:10
How things can change when you keep trying...
After installing new rollers and a new belt the 3 mm washer suddenly makes a big difference. I think the old belt was scraping too much and canceled out the improvements.
And now I am even tinkering to get the torque and power exactly there where the Colt Conversion could use a boost - in the lower speed areas. I had no idea with just changing some simple things the improvement would be so drastic. And all you need is a 60 cent washer and changing some parts which are already installed in your transmission.
WOW

2010-9-22
Since the 3 mm washer mod does not show noticeable improvement  with the Colt or Mustang conversion I was thinking about trying a 4 mm mod. But since I not have a 4 mm washer I will just combine the old 2 mm with the new 3 mm, check if there is nothing scraping and then will see if this will make a difference.



2010-09-19
Changed back from 6 to 4 rollers yesterday because my new rollers did not arrive on time (as usual here on the island) and the belt was scraping to much on the transmission case because of the 3 mm washer mod.
Having driven with the 6 roller Mustang conversion for 1050 km and now back to to 4 roller Colt there is such a big difference in response and instant acceleration. So for all of you guys out there who think the 15-16 gram rollers are a blast, you have no idea what your bike is really capable of.
There is a noticeable difference in response up to 130 Km/h (80 mph).



The footrests are now permanent in use, I had no idea that they would make such an impact. If I wear boots I could stretch my legs straight and rest the heels in front of the footrests.

Also just test installed a MP3 player with AUX input into the radio to see if I like that handling better then the buttons of the radio, since all functions can be operated just with the thumb while the hand stays on the grip.


... just back from a trip into the mountains, the handling is much better but I remembered now why I did not do that in the first time. The output from the MP3 player is not high enough (not loud enough) and the quality of the sound quality is much better from the radio mp3 player.
Now I recalled that I did that test stationary when I decided where to put the radio.
Damn you old age and CRS-syndrome.

2010-09-17
I really liked taking  the picture from the Spidermax in front of the awesome graffiti wall.
The baby tinkering with / riding the engine is just hilarious and the rest is some very creative work.
Reminds me a bit of Snoopy:

One of Snoopy's most famous alter-egos is as the World War I Flying Ace (first appearance, October 10, 1965), often seen battling his arch-enemy, Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron). When assuming this personality, Snoopy would don goggles, a flying helmet and a scarf and climb on top of his doghouse, which he claimed was a Sopwith Camel.

If you like it too, here is the whole wall for you to enjoy.



2010-09-08
I was thinking about if footrests would work out for the Spidermax.
So I installed a test footrest and it turned out that the leg shield is in the way of extending the leg too much.
It works well enough for the front part of the foot.
Today I rode a while in the twisties with just my heel on the running board and it felt quite nice to extend the leg a bit, so maybe I just make a little extension with some metal...

... and talking about the twisties, the Mustang conversion (6 rollers) did not do too well today with rpms in the 3000 and lower 4000 band up the mountain curves. The paint shaker and wheel flapper ware present and the transmission got quite warm and smelt that way too. Mind, it is worse with the original 8 roller setup but hell - I miss my Colt conversion.
Just ordered a set of original rollers from Piaggio and they should be here in a couple weeks.

There is also a big difference in passing power. Ripping open the throttle, the Colt conversion jumps in most conditions instantly to the 6000 rpm band (where max power meets max torque) while the Mustang conversion goes much slower from the 5000 to the 6000 rpm band. I feel less in control about how the engine behaves with the Mustang conversion and I rather stay behind a car than passing it as I would have done securely with the Colt conversion.


2010.8.29
Having changed to the Mustang conversion for a few days now, I remember what made me choose the Colt conversion in the first place.
I had totally forgotten about the 3000 to lower 4000 rpm band. This is where the Multi-valve Advanced Super Torque Engine Range 500 has the "charm" of a old diesel with the performance, noise and vibrations.
This band is passed, in a to short to notice time, with the Colt conversion and nearly never used during normal riding conditions.
So you get a much more smoother ride, the engine purrs happily while the unused anti-flapper wheel is getting an identity crisis.
You can test that for yourself, just find a empty space and roll along with 3000, 3500, 4000, 4500 and then 5000 rpm. Listen to the sound, feel the vibrations and listen to the noise what the belt makes on the anti-flapper wheel. You will notice then above 4500 the engine runs smoother and reacts much better of a suddenly full throttle then in the lower rpm.


2010.8.27
The last few 100 km I noticed that my rpm´s were getting a bit higher and my consumption was rising by 5% also my top end was in the 140th and not 160 as normal. Also my rpm band shifted 500 rpm higher from 5000-7000 to 5500-7500.

Now if you read the blog so far you know that I was tinkering with the roller weights and that my 500cc only runs on 4 instead of 8 rollers. The first 4 rollers I swapped after 10000 km because the plastic was a bit deformed. These were also the rollers that had the plastic in a better shape than the other 4.


The plastic got a bit stressed in my 8 rollers Woody-Steel test. The wood got slightly compressed and the plastic was a bit like Odo the shapeshifter.
From the other 4 rollers 2 had plastic in worse shape the so I swapped only 2 rollers.

After now 6000 km more the weakened plastic was a bit deformed that it was a bit flatter on the contact spots.

My hypothesis is that if I had not knocked the covered side out from the plastic and had not weakened the inside then the plastic would not have deformed.

To test this, I will order 8 new original rollers from Piaggio in the original 21.5 gram weight and will try another test run for 5000 km to see if I am right.

Until I get the rollers I have switched to the Mustang conversion (6 rollers) and already had my fair share of missing passing power.

Having gotten 3 times the recommended life out of my rollers and putting them through the ordeal I did, I can not complain at all.





2010.8.12
When I tried to check if my brake pads were still OK some 5000 km ago, I noticed that the rod what holds the pads in place was loose and was already out of one hole.
I just padded it back in with a hammer carefully and forgot about it.

BIG MISTAKE

Last Sunday my Spidermax did not want to go even the engine was running, So I assumed my transmission belt was broken, but when I engaged the combi brake there was no braking power.

Two failures in one, what a way to start a ride.
On closer inspection I found a brake pad wedged between the brake caliper and the wheel while actually blocking the rear wheel and the brake was leaking fluid.


The red arrow points into the gap between rim and brake disk where the pad did slide in.

As you can see the metal from the pad where the rod holds it in place is quite bend.
It resisted getting unbend, so I had to drill the hole it a bit wider so the screw can pass through.
I finally located a fitting screw and secured it in place with 2 self locking nuts.

That took care of the blocking wheel but the brake did not want to work properly. Since the brake fluid was already 4 years old, I decided to change it to get rid of any air in it.
After that it worked better but still a bit on the soft side.
Some 100 km later all is back to normal.

9 comments:

  1. If you want to talk to me or comment / have a question to a post, use the comments box at the end of the post. No need to register or log in.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Please,someone of fórum speak portugues or spanish? Tanks. Flavio.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, I am a proud Spidermax owner in Belgium and recently I made some scratches on the spidermax rs500 emblem on the left side. Could anyone tell me where I can buy this emblem. I googled it already but cannot find it on the internet...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congratulations on Your new Spider! I am glad You stick with it since Your blog persuaded me to buy one myself. I am picking up my GT version next weekend and it is a mint - 2007 first owner with only five thousand km on the clock (hope to get it for just under 2.500 €). It is the same colour as Yours (ashy gray mat) and I have to say I love this colour. Therefore having RS just like Yours is like a dream to me ;) I also like RS in white very much, so no harm for me in terms of Malaguti colours. In my opinion Italians knows about style and design. Ofcourse it is just a mater of taste. Previously I had Honda Helix in red and i changed it to pink, with its chrome trim it really was a headturner ;)))
    Regards
    Leszek from Poland

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Leszek, that is a good deal. Enjoy one of the best handling scooters around and after you find out she is a bit slow for take off, think of the Dr. Colt conversion to make her a truly outstanding bike.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Joe,
    first of all, congratulations to this really great blog!
    I got to this blog incidentely in Winter 2011/2012. After reading your articles I decides to buy a Spidermax. I had a special offer for a brand new Spidermax. Exactly EUR 5000,-- with shipping to my residence (near Munich, southern Bavaria) from Berlin. After Malaguti stopped manufacturing
    lately before, there was a outselling for Spidermax (no RS). Was manufactured in 2010.
    After the first 1000 km I changed to Dr. Colt conversion and I was absolutely impressed!
    I also changed the Maxxis tyres to Pirelli Sport Demon.
    Very good performance in the Mountains (Alpes) and the engine runs in the mid range like a four cylinder engine. Now in winter time I dismounted all the cvt for a check-up.
    Everything looks like new and no traces of wearing or overheating.
    Belt is like new. Except one thing...
    The plastic coating of the four rollers is damaged caused of poor plastic quality, but it is not broken.
    They look exactly like in your article of 27.08.2010.
    So I changed to six Malossi HT-Rollers, 16 gr. each. Now I have 10 gr. more totally.
    Next week will be my first ride after winter time. I also had to change the rear tyre for a new
    Pirelli. Life was short, only 4000 km!
    I also noticed a slightgly bleeding of water pump hole during non-driving winter time.
    I will see what will happen with it.
    Your new RS seems to have the same colour like my Spidermax (Titanium flat).
    Bad choice. Spotting with high pressure water cleaner (even cold water) will make the lacquer fly off. So beware of doing this. The reason is obviously the lack of second lacquer cover.
    At km 2000 on speedo I changed oil to Shell Helix Ultra Synth 10W-60 (or other brand).
    The viscosity at 100 degrees celsius oil temperature is double as high in comparison to 10W-40
    or 15W-40!
    Oil consumption till now - none!

    That it for today with my Spidermax experience.

    Have a nice weekend.

    Armin from Munich area.




    ReplyDelete
  7. Armin thanks for your lines,
    did you use the original rollers or did you buy Dr. Pulley slider? for your 4 roller/slider conversion?
    I can not recommend any of the Piaggio rollers (the little round one´s not the 2 wheeled one´s) for modifications since they changed the material in 2008.
    Oil is not a problem with these higher rpms, I am back to cheap oil since 40.000 km and change the oil all 5000 and the filter all 10000. it is easy to remember since I do it after a look on the actual km counter.
    I put a picture of Dr. Pulley sliders with 5000 km in the 4 slider setup in the RS post.
    Keep me posted about the 6 roller Malossi experience.
    And I am envious for your riding location (Alps)
    joe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Joe,
      sorry for the long lasting reply! Did only drive 2000 km this season. Accelaration is slightly lower as with 4 rollers Colt conversion, but have lower rpm. In June me and some friends had a trip to Tyrolia/Austria. Not so far from my home. We take the highest road you ca drive there named 'Zillertaler Höhenstrasse'. It is 2000 m above sealevel, 50 km long and has hundrets of curves. Many motorcycles and only me with my Spidermax. We were very fast and had no time to enjoy the awesome sight. After about 30 km I heard an ugly noise and noticed an dark blue left front brake disc. It got so hot, that the disc scratched the bow inside the brake caliper. Right side and back side brake worked well (combined).
      Due to this, I have to remark, that I changed the front organic brake pads (Ferodo) to
      sintered EBC Pads last wintertime. Bad choice, because of smaller braking surface of the
      pads. So I have to stop the fast riding (a Honda CB 1300 and a BMW RT 1200 were in front of me, but were not able to loose me) and drove downwards slowly.
      At home I changed the left front pads to the original organic Ferodos. The left disc works well now and was not to be changed. This wintertime I will change all pads to sintered TRW. They have the better quality. Shortly after this trip to Austria I noticed the motor check light. I measured all the electronics and found out a charging voltage of 18 Volts to battery. Much to high. So I changed the original faulty rectifier (made by Ducati Energy) to a noname cheaper chinese one. It works well. Battery is also well. The original rectifier was built in the middle of the year 2006! My Spidermax 2010 (I believe so). I also changed the original lambda sonde made by Marelli because surface was white and to lean. I changed it for one made by Bosch.
      In coming wintertime I will open transmission housing to check the belt and the 6 Malossi HT-Rollers. I am also looking for an aftermarket exhaust muffler. The original is very heavy by weight and has an ugly noise. Back tyre of my Spidermax is nearly half down!
      Water pump bleeding is not noticeable.
      Dear Joe this season I have not to report anything else. After checking the inside of transmission housing I will report furter on.

      Kindly regards from
      Armin of Munich area

      Delete
  8. Thanks Armin for the exhaustive post. I enjoyed it. Could picture you on the 'Zillertaler Höhenstrasse' chasing a Honda CB 1300 and a BMW RT 1200. ;)

    Had the same that metal screached on metal when the front brake pad got too much worn down.
    Now checking the brakes is part of the monthly optical inspection.
    I too did not put more than 2000 km on my Spidermax this year.
    Will measure the voltage since my check engine light comes on once a while on the RS.

    Looking forward to your findings inside the transmission.
    Allzeit gute fahrt
    Joe

    ReplyDelete

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