Wednesday, December 26, 2012

If There's Any Doubt, There Is No Doubt. "Ronin"

Great film, and that line makes perfect sense.
It's a restoration. The idea is to use as many of the original parts as possible. You clean, repair and do what you need to make them good again. That's what it's all about.

But this is Brakes!

If you're at all worried about the condition of your brake lines, fit new. Don't hope for the best. I'm going to clean the GSX hoses up and see how they look. They're old and, once fitted to the bike, will be checked under pressure. Any bulges or leaks and they're heading for the bin, but for now we work with what we've got.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

GSX750 ES Rear Caliper and Master Cylinder Rebuild.

New Parts Have Arrived!
The caliper is still waiting patiently for its new rubbers and pistons. It's ages since I painted it so even I'd forgotten how well they'd come up.

Suzuki GSX Rear Caliper Rebuild Kit.
First step was to make sure there was nothing stuck in any of the holes - slight discolouration of the drillings isn't the end of the world, and with a quick wipe it was time to fit the seals. Always check that the seals you fit don't have a taper - sometimes they need to be fitted a certain way.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - Just Brilliant!

Less than a week of ordering
And I have a well-wrapped parcel of '83 GSX750 bits. A week might not be quick to someone living in the UK or US, but living out here in Oz that's pretty damn good. And they're based in Britain!

World's End Motorcycles supply parts for all bikes including the ones fast turning into "classics". Holding the hard to get stuff that keeps you mobile, such as brake caliper and master cylinder repair kits, fork stanchions through to gasket sets, camchains, sprockets and... it goes on. Their easy to use website lets you choose between pattern and genuine parts too.

So when your local bike shop isn't interested in something over ten years old, and you need parts quickly, but you don't want to pay the earth for them, try  

(Quick post, but needed mentioning.)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Can Someone Invent Me A Spray?

To clean the crud out of fins... and leave them black and shiny.
The engine is usually the most favoured of the restoration process. It's the bit that does the most, it's the life of bike - well it's just more exciting than the rest!

But I've been putting this off. The old GSX has had a hard life and hasn't seen much in the way of cleaning. Hence the ant's nests in the cooling fins, coupled with years of oil build-up and finished off with what looks like a couple of laps on a motocross track. Yeah, it's a mess.

Ok, a steam cleaner/jet wash might have got a fair bit of it out, but that wasn't possible at the time. So, we're back to manual cleaning of the motor.

The tools.
Toothbrush, Scotch pads, WD40, petrol, carb cleaner, screwdrivers and other metal-pokey-stick things. And a compressor. Strewth, sounds really professional. Oh well.

First thing's first, cover all ports and oil holes with rags etc. to keep the debris out of the important bits. I want to try and keep this engine in one piece, only to remove covers for repair and inspection.

Digging the major stuff out with a screwdriver and then blowing it clear with an airline can get you to a stage where you can use a toothbrush or Scotch pad in the gaps. It's slow, messy work but with plenty of solvent, the oil soon starts to break down. And a compressor and air jet makes it easy to blow out the crap from the crevices. Job's a job as they say... somewhere... probably.

Right hand side took a hit. Not yet removed the cover...

Bolts wrapped with masking tape filling the oil cooler feed/return holes.

Slow work, but a definite improvement.

Camchain tensioner hiding beneath thirty years of grime.
Various nests litter the fins. Would have been nice and warm!

Bodgett and Scarper let loose with hammer and chisel.

We're starting to see an improvement. Doing as much as you can with a Scotch pad is good because it'll also key any paint surface, preparing it for another coat if needed. I'm not going to go too mad on the finish because this motor may still have to be stripped. I'll just have to wait and see.

Banjo bolts? Or banjo players?
A brilliant invention, the humble banjo bolt allows you to secure pipes where a liquid, or gas, has to pass through. Now, care must be taken not to over-tighten them (because there's a bloody hole right through the middle of them), but the biggest issue with them is allowing the pipe to twist when the friction of the bolt head is too great. Like in the picture below.

See the angle of the oil lines? You see this a lot, whether metal lines or rubber. When tightening a banjo bolt, either insert a screwdriver by the side of the pipe to stop it turning with the bolt, or turn the pipe back slightly so when the bolt is torqued the pipe moves to the correct angle. 

In the picture below you can see both pipes hard against the inlet rubbers and the left one almost kinked at the bottom. Not good.

That's more like it.

So, a little more progress in the garage, and a pleasant surprise to see the starter nice and clean under its cover. A few more hours should have the engine looking reasonable.
At this point I think a wire brush in a drill over the crankcases to give the brushed alloy look, leave the barrels and head in black and polish the outer covers and rocker cover. Yes, I know the ignition cover looks like it's been attacked with an angle grinder! Bear with me.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Queensland Raceway - What to expect on your first track day.

Biggest fear?
I've been talking about it for years, but still hadn't done one. Why? Simple. Breaking my bike. 
Yeah, I didn't want to drop it and write it off, and I know the road is a dangerous place, but you tend to ride within a different set of parameters, known limits. On the track anything goes, go as fast as you can and try to keep it upright. Harder than it sounds.

Then Will, of Billeigh Photography fame, tells me he's doing a track day with Champion's ride days on his new FZ8. This sparked a new interest. And another mates too apparently, because then Dave also took his R6 up to the QLD raceway for a day's thrash. So it was time to bite the bullet.

$190 later and booked in with Dave, who was keen to do it again already, for the Saturday. There's a choice of groups with red for beginners, green for slow intermediate, blue for fast intermediate, and yellow for FAST baby!

At Dave's advice I took green. His first track day was in red, but being able to overtake a fair few riders, chose to move up a level. Good advice.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Well, The Rolling Stones Said...

"Paint It Black."
The components are taking shape. The smaller parts are getting a lick of satin black, while the wheels have been treated to a high gloss. If I'm honest, when it comes to colour, I'm going on gut feeling, and what shapes me everytime I'm treated to a new cafe racer/custom on the internet.
Who knows what it will look like when finished - and who cares? That's one of the things I like about rebuilds, personality. It's what you do, because you can.

Enough drivel, what's been going on this week? 

I needed to get the brake discs looking better, or newer. I cleaned off the old paint, rubbed them down and masked the bits that do the stopping. In case you were wondering, the centres of the discs are sprayed with heatproof engine paint because the normal stuff just won't hack it. If you want to spruce the braking surface, use a block and rough emery cloth. These came up pretty good in fairness - rolling stoppies coming up.

GSX750ES Brake Discs

They came up like bloody new (near as dammit).

And now the wheels.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Just Spent A Week In The Vinegar!

Nah, it ain't jail slang.
The bottom yoke, or triple clamp depending on where you're from, is a pain in the ass to clean because of the strengthening sections cast in at the factory. Too difficult to get a wire brush in, too much like hard work to use emery cloth and I don't have access to a shot blaster.


Monday, July 16, 2012

How To Paint Aluminium... And Get Great Results!

Ferrous, Non-ferrous - Easier, Harder?
Steel's great - you just can't kill it! OK, so the thin stuff might rot through, but the meatier components can be wire brushed, emery-clothed, dunked in acid, even kicked around with steel toe-caps, and still they're ready for another lick of paint. Quick dose of primer, chuck on a top coat of colour and everything's cool.

But Aluminium (or Aluminum if you're American), is a different story.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Pirelli Diablo Rosso 2 Review

I want new tyres for every ride!
With about 150 km's on the new boots, I'm impressed. The bike feels like its awesome self again. It's probably the same thing we always feel when new tyres are fitted, but today I'm happy!

Pirelli Diablo Rosso 2
Tyres don't seem to need running in anymore.
Back in the nineties, the magazines warned you everywhere "Take it steady for the first hundred miles as the oil in the rubber is forced to the surface."
Hmm, whatever's going on in there nowadays doesn't seem to matter because these babies just work from the off. Knee down no problem ten minutes from the shop. Of course, it's always in the back of your mind that you'll slip on the first bend, but not once did they cause any grief.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Michelin Pilot Road 3 Review

Good enough for fast road?
Considering Michelin themselves don't recommend these for a sports bike, they did pretty well - 7,500 km's well in fact.

Yet again, the sides have worn out well before the centres, testament to the harder compound in the middle, but to get that sort of mileage from a GSXR1000 is outstanding!

Pilot Road 3 looking unused in the middle.

Can it hold it's own against stickier alternatives?
In all honesty, I'd put it down to the rider. A few blasts with some quick riders has proved how good they are. Only occasionally spinning up the rear out of a bend, it's incredible how much grip is at hand. The front is much more rounded than modern sports tyres (Power Pure looks almost pointed), and shows in its mellow lean speed. This left me with less confidence - a feeling that got worse the more they wore. 

They can be hustled, but maybe not in the same way as the Power Pures fitted before.

Fast sweeping bends tended to leave me uneasy on a rough road surface - something I'd not noticed so much with previous tyres. The front always gave that vague feeling when tipped right over at high speed. But it's not a sports tyre, was never described as such so the only geezer to blame is me!

GSXR1000K6 with Pilot Road 3's fitted.

And what do you expect from something that lasts nearly twice as long? They don't look as good as an all out sports tyre. in fact they're pretty ugly, but  easily capable of all the knee down fun, stoppies and wheelies you can handle. 

So do the sums and take your choice. If you're quick, and ride a full-on race rep, you'd probably be better off with a sticky, almost smooth, sports tyre. But if you're touring, commuting, and like the odd fast section, then these things are perfect and will last ages!

Would I use them again?
It's time for a change. I don't like the tread pattern and want something slightly more sports orientated. Three of us need tyres at the moment so we're all going to give the Pirelli Diablo Rosso 2's a shot this weekend. 
Again, they're twin compound, but smooth outer edges which should help combat the scalloping effect - the result of rebound problems when leant right over? 
Having just read a review on Visordown, a new ZX10R using the 3's on a race track had exactly the same issue. The grooves are wide and probably not matched well with stiff suspension, leaving you with a smooth, rounded trailing edge and an untouched leading edge. Shame because there was plenty of life left in other parts of the tyre.

Look at the sides and see how the trailing edge is worn down, and the leading edge is sharp.
Time to lay down another $400!
This is going to be a cool test. Three bikes - CBR600R, R6 and my Gixer 1000 - all to be fitted with the same tyres on the same day. No excuses, last to wear them out buys a brew!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

It Really Doesn't Take Long...

To Strip Down A Bike.
Within a couple of hours you can reduce most bikes to their individual components. But be methodical, don't rush and use plenty of WD40 on the rusted bits (even heat if necessary). You want everything to come to pieces without being trashed. 

A rusted bolt probably needs a little assistance so don't just use your biggest spanner and round off the head, strip the thread or, worse still, shear it off completely. Take your time now and it'll make it easier, and cheaper, when it's rebuild time.

She ain't winning no beauty contests, but once all this scaffolding is removed she should be a lot lighter. Wrong clocks fitted though. Probably changed when it passed the millionth km.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Suzuki GSX750 ESD Stripdown.

I'd owned it a week, time to get it apart.
Stroll on, this bike has had a hard life! The forks are bent and pitted, the rear suspension hasn't seen grease since it left the Suzuki factory, and the swingarm pivot (16mm thick!) was actually sheared off. 

But that's enough about the good points!

Time to get the camera out and start ripping it to bits.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

GSX750ES - Cafe Racer?

A Penchant for the Hardest Projects
Before the DRZ was even picked up - yes, sold on eBay - a new bike was on its way to me. An '83 GSX750ES from a breakers that I decided to put an offer on one night while perusing the motor bicycles of, yes you've guessed it, eBay.

Next morning I get an email asking me to pay. Pay for what? What the hell have I bought now? Oh yes, it's all coming back, happy days!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Vintage Ads Are The Best!

Raw, No Gumph, just Pure Sales!
I love the old posters and magazine ads the bike manufacturers used to use. Advertising as it should be - basic, attention grabbing and to the point.

Check out some of these beauties.

More soon, these deserved to be shared.

Friday, April 13, 2012

GS400 Brake Master Cylinder - Strip Down. Part 2

Slowly, but surely.
The piston was seized, but with a little heat, WD40 and leverage with a screwdriver, we had movement. Unfortunately, the rubber dust cover got mullered in the process, but such is life. Hooking out the little wire clip exposed a plastic washer and what was left of the dust cover.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

GS400 Brake Master Cylinder - Strip Down. Part 1

Is it salvageable?
More to the point, would you want to? 
The elements have infiltrated every visible component and it looks ready for the bin, but these are my favourite type of projects. Too simple to just throw it away, so can life be breathed through this part once more? I'll give it a whirl.

Time for WD40, heat, hot water - might even break the hammer out!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Do You Own a Bike Business?

And need a website?
With most of the public now looking for services online, before any other medium, a business website is pretty much mandatory. Where else could you advertise your services and products so cheaply? After all, once the website is up and running, internet hosting fees are negligible.

As a bike nut, copywriter and now delving into web design, I'm offering to put your business on the map for under $500, including domain name and hosting!

Suzuki GS400 - Possible Cafe Racer?

One Rolling Chassis, One Blank Canvas.
With an issue (read hatred) of cutting up a perfectly good frame, I've always steered clear of "chops". Built your own frame? Brilliant, love it, but a classic bike that's been ruined, or butchered, isn't my cup of char. Standard sells, and motorbikes should be cherished - but hey, that's just me.

But, when all that's left of the bike is the frame, forks and wheels I figure there's a certain amount of leeway available. So the latest addition to the garage is a bare bones, back-to-basics '79 GS400 (with no engine). Hence the blank canvas.

Are you seeing the potential?
Yeah she's rough, but doesn't that make it all the more worthwhile? Next stage is to edit the photo into a drawing, and start sketching the shape of the tank and seat hump. An engine wouldn't go amiss either. 

Perfect! Time to pick up a pencil and start designing the parts that need to be bashed out of steel.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Some Restorers "Fix Up"... Others Do This.

It ain't about the money.
A successful restoration can be best described as wasting hundreds of hours, spending thousands of pounds, and finally ending up with something that's worth a fraction of what it should be.
But we all need a hobby, and the enjoyment you get from repairing and restoring machinery can only be understood once you've actually tackled it. The day it all comes together more than makes up for the cold, angry nights in the garage where you wished you'd never started.

Excuse the repeat of a couple of these photos, I thought this restoration was worthy of a little more publicity. It's the last of the Model 30's, a 1958 600cc twin (actually registered in '59), and is now pretty much perfect. (It's a real shame I don't have access to the before pics, because it was a nail!) Anyway, to the bike.

Restored by Allen Vaughan, with a little help from me, the complete job took about a year or two. The results speak for themselves, enjoy the pics.

AJS Model 30