Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Allen Bolts and Bodges.

Oh the abuse!
It seems the older the bike is, the more damage she takes from Bodgett and Scarper Esquire. A familiar sight on the GSX engines are the large-capped Allen bolts holding down the rocker cover. Nice and shiny when new, chiselled to death several miles down the road. 
I'm on a budget here and there's no way I'm forking out for new bolts when I don't really know how good the rest of the bike is. Anything to help them would be good. 

Here's a pic of them with engine still in bike, note the chisel mark in the centre rear bolt.

The centres of the bolts are visibly rounded. A 6mm Allen key will undo them, but is a very slack fit. Although we can never make them exactly like new, we can do something to help. Fetch the hammer.

1) The raised edges are what we want to try and knock down again. Try and brush the hammer across the bolt as you hit down - as if you're pushing the metal back into the hole.

2) Here you can see how loose the Allen key is in the bolt.

3) Hammered down flat. You'll probably need to tap the Allen key into the hole after hammering. This should give it a nice hexagon again.

4) Much better fit. It won't be perfect, but it's a hell of a lot better and doesn't look so bollocksed!

5) Next, it's back in the drill for a spin up against some rough emery cloth, 240 wet and dry paper and, finally, 320. Finished off with a rag and Autosol will soon have it looking respectable.

But some of these are bad!
Two of the bolts in the GSX cover are smaller in size, and must be harder to remove going by the chisel marks! They get the same treatment, but the hexagons are pretty worn on these two. Not much can be done with the abuse on the edges bar for filing and polishing. They're hidden under the tank to some extent so all should be good.

Big improvement huh? 

At a quick glance you'd never know, and that's what it's all about - trying to make something good from a previous owner's learning curve. Right, what's next?

The rocker cover needs more work, but all in good time. Bolts are looking so much better than before!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Black Animals Special Bikes

Dirty Bastards? Excuse my Italian.
Just like great bikes, great friendships evolve, sometimes from the last place you'd expect, and the old 'two-wheeled bond' is always good.

So who are the Black Animals?
A drunken coming together, mixed up with incoherent chat about building a bike from scratch - probably. But no matter, it was the start of something good and Dan, Mirco and Giovanni began to tear down some unlikely tourers as they began to knock some cafe racers into shape. 
When I say unlikely, I mean old Gold Wings and GSX750ES's (who in their right mind would try and cafe race one of those?), but that's exactly the spirit we need to see in the custom scene. A love of anything two-wheeled, a not too serious attitude and the ability to sink several beers/wines while doing it. (Actually, that's probably the entire custom scene.)

Dan, drunk, again. Trying to ride a Gold Wing van.

Mirco first got in touch with me because of a common interest, the old GSX750ES, yes we both own one (it's just that mine looks like it's been run over by a cement truck, twice). So, with formalities formalised, I was invited to share in the madness that is the Black Animals on Facebook and now enjoy their antics from Italy everyday. Not just great taste in bikes, but music too! Think I need to visit - more wine vicar?

The projects so far

Mirco's GSX750ES

GSX750ES and a cool looking workshop.

Strewth, even the tank is still in good nick.

Mirco trying the GSX out for size.

GSX750ES tail piece. Very impressive!

Dan's Gold Wing

Heavy Metal!

Wish my forks were as straight as that!

Blasted alloy looks so cool!

Great contrast, love those cases!
Giovanni's GSX750

So, why Black Animals?
I was baffled, but then I don't speak Italian. Dan explained:

"this is a lost in translation, as the "black animal" in italian is like saying "dirty bastard" or something like that"

That, my friend, makes it crystal clear and will do for me. Check out their antics at Facebook today.