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!