Friday, August 27, 2010

Aftermarket products

I'm the worst person to ask about aftermarket shi... umm products. I've had to fit hundreds of items over the years, on cars and bikes, and it's rare to find something that actually fits properly. From exhausts to clutch cables, brake shoes to gasket sets – there's usually always something that makes me groan because of quality or it takes literally hours to get something to work properly because it's a cheap copy!

So why do we fit them? Not by choice generally. At work it's because the customer has asked for it specifically or the dealership finds it easier to get something from a local factors. At home, it's usually because the only items you can still buy for an old bike are being made again by a new supplier.

Occasionally, I buy something that is just perfect! I forgot to mention the latest edition to the fleet, a 2005 DRZ400E with supermoto wheels. Cracking little bike, but still restricted by its rubber snorkel fitted in the airbox. Literally two fat fingers would have filled the opening!

The modification? Remove the snorkel (easy on the “E” model) and fit an upjet kit from JD Jetting in the USA. Ordered up from their site, I awaited delivery. It wasn't long before I was ripping open the package.

Immediately I was hit by the quality of the kit. The box it came in spoke volumes - sound lame? Well in my opinion, the overall package is important. It gives you an idea on what to expect when fitting the parts. Inside was a plastic box that held the two needles, four main jets and detailed instructions on how and what jets to fit depending on your altitude and riding temperature/humidity.

So what was it like to fit? Tank and seat off, unscrew the top of the carb (two 3mm allen bolts) and then a 4mm plug to remove for access to the needle. So easy! I used the blue needle from the kit and, because the temperature is lower at the moment, set the circlip 4th groove from the top. Dropped it in, refitted the 4mm plug and then the carb top. Sorted.

The main jet was a little more difficult and I thought the carb might have to come out but, with a little bit of manipulation, slackening of the inlet rubbers, taking the top subframe bolt out and removing the float bowl drain plug, I was able to weasel a new 162 main jet into place. That was the worst bit but I got it in!

So with it all tightened back up nicely, tank and seat back on, petrol tap turned on and choke out, it was time to hit the starter button. Success. Cheap modification that helps the bike breathe properly and perform as it should. A lot more fun!

Maybe aftermarket products aren't so bad after all – well some of them!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Valvoline Superbike Hot Laps!

I've just been gifted a "hot lap" on the back of Glenn Allerton, Aussie superbike rider and all round top fella!  It was on his "wet" race bike and what a buzz!  The venue - Queensland raceway and round 5 of the Australian Superbike series.

The Valvoline sponsored Honda Fireblade.  Down about 10 - 15 BHP on the "dry" bike but still around 180 at the wheel!  With extra bars mounted to the tank for the pillion, I had to hang on as tight as possible when accelerating and push hard when braking.  

Can't really describe the experience - it was just awesome.

From left:  Brett (team manager), Ray (another lucky pillion), Glenn Allerton and me.

Yep, we weren't hanging around.  In fact, around 8 seconds off race pace.  Pretty cool!

Dave, the top geezer that sorted out the ride!  Thanks mate, I owe you on... hundreds!

I'd write more but was left speechless and smiling!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Best biker breakfast!

If you're in the Gold Coast, Queensland then you need to get yourself up the superb (as in bend after bend) road to Lower Beechmont.  

Close to Nerang (or Canungra if coming from that direction), you'll get to see fantastic scenery including views of Surfer's Paradise and the ocean or the Hinze Dam just below the mountain.

Back to the point of the title!  Laurel Cottage is in the middle of Lower Beechmont and serves up fantastic food, coffee etc. and all at great prices.  It must be reasonable because I eat there every weekend!

Check out and try it for yourself.  Great grub, great roads and great weekends!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chain sizes

Sometimes confusing, I had to check this up myself when a mate mentioned the chain on his R6 was a 532.  I looked it up and thought it should be a 525 but a conversion is also available to make it a 520!  So which one and why?

A quick look through Google found me a small article on EK's brilliant website which I've shamelessly copied and pasted.  After all, don't fix what ain't broke.

What’s the difference between 520, 525 and 530 chains?
The numbers indicate a chain’s dimensions, tolerances, minimum tensile strength and other specifications, using a system instituted by the Japanese Industrial Standards Committee. The JIS standard is very similar to chain standards developed by ISO, ANSI, DIN and others.
The first digit (4, 5 or 6) denotes a chain’s pitch – the center-to-center distance between chain pins. Originally these numbers specified pitch in eighths of an inch (i.e. a 400-series chain had a pitch of 4/8, or 1/2 inch), but now metric dimensions are used. A 400-series chain has a pitch of 12.7mm. A 500-series chain has a pitch of 15.875mm. A 600-series chain has a pitch of 19.05mm.
The second and third digits indicate the chain’s width, measured between the inboard surfaces of the inner sideplates. An EK chain ending in ‘20’ measures 6.35mm between the plates. If the number ends in ‘25’ or ‘28’, the dimension is 7.94mm. If the number ends in ‘30’ or ‘32’, the width is 9.53mm.
Because wider chains are typically stronger as well, the second and third digits also indicate a chain’s strength, relative to other chains with the same pitch. Higher numbers correspond to greater strength, i.e. a 525 chain is stronger than a 520. This additional strength is achieved through increased roller diameter, pin diameter, pin length and plate thickness.

Spot on!