Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Suzuki GSX750ESD Continues — At Last.

As projects go... this one is dragging. 
I've been doing too much other, altogether mundane, stuff rather than concentrating on the cafe. But I have a couple of weeks off now where I should be able to make an impact. I also had some business cards made recently, purely to advertise the blog, but I want to get busier on the bike before I start passing them round. The backs of them are useful as a service log too, so keep them in your wallet and you'll know when the old beaut needs another oil change.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Biketech7 and Champions Ride Days - QR 24/10/2015

Never a bad day!
Last time I was at Queensland Raceway I came off at turn four, but even that day turned out pretty good in the end. That was over a year ago. Today there were three of us heading up, plus Will on photography duties, and we were all in blue. We were there at 7.00am so had plenty of time to sign on, get the bikes sorted and kit up. Briefing was quick, and soon enough yellow group were out on a fast one.

There was some nice stuff up here today, and not many bikes make a 1290 Superduke look boring, but in our very own group of blue there was this Kawasaki H2R. More on this later.

Monday, October 12, 2015

GSX750 Cafe Racer Progress - Battery Box.

Back in the garage.
Finally got some time to crack on with the wiring and battery box. It's been bugging me for a while because I wanted the loom to look perfect, but sometimes you just need to make a start and fix any issues later. 

I'm still unsure on what sort of speedo/tacho combination I'm going to use too. I'd like two separate units to mimic the typical sixties/seventies bikes, but I have a certain budget too. The modern digital versions get very expensive when you go for quality versions. And although there's plenty of Chinese versions on eBay, do they actually work for more than ten minutes? Decisions...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Biketech7 - Holidays And Riding The BSA.

It's been a long time...
Five years in fact since I last swung a leg over this fifties 650 twin. Dad had kept it up together in fairness, with a few little adjustments here and there (which I put back the way I like), but the one thing that wouldn't come good was the charging system.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

New Wilcomoto Brochure!

Well, new to me.
Thanks to my website I still receive emails regarding the rare-as-hen's-teeth motocrossers built near Hereford. Recently I got one from a chap called David Pickard who was good enough to send me scanned copies of a brochure I don't have. Thanks mate, much obliged, now take a look at this...

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Fabrication - I take my hat off...

To people who can bash metal.
While I'm trying to make a new seat base (lost interest in the first one) to match up with the tank and tail unit, I decided to try and get the side panels in place so I knew what I was working with.
Over-thinking one aspect while knocking out another is slowing me down, but it's a learning curve I have to travel. Hey, Rome wasn't built in a day.

So, I'd already cut out panels from 3mm aluminium to fit in the side of the bike. They were a good fit and stayed in place with masking tape, but that's no good for the finished bike. I needed a method of holding them in place, and also to blend them into the top of the frame. I cut out some more pieces to hang over the frame, on rubber mounts, and set about attaching them to the side panels.

Here's a pic of the basic righthand panel. Both sides started like this, being bent to suit the angles of the frame and fitting flush.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Suzuki GS and GSX Carb O-rings.

They don't make it easy...
Whenever a vehicle is designed, it's very important for the manufacturer to use odd sized O-rings. Forget rounded-up to the next millimetre sizes, you are guaranteed that the vital one needed will be 3.67mm in diameter and 0.89mm thick. Should you, by good luck, find an identical size, it'll probably be of the wrong material. 
And don't even get me started on the old "universal" box of O-rings you can buy! These were a great money spinner for someone, but they won't actually fit anything, and you'll be left with a full box thirty years later.

So when it's time to rebuild the carbs on your GS/GSX, it's nice to know that someone has already done the hard work, and research, for you and can supply the complete set for a great price. Without the right ones, your bike will never run properly.
Robert Barr's website not only has the right parts, but also comes with tips to help you do the job. I'd already bought some of the O-rings for the GSX carbs, but the ones niggling me were the tiny ones for the mixture screws. I struggled to find the right size, so decided to buy the complete kit for US$16 delivered. Awesome service!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Biketch7 - 2012 KTM Superduke 990R Steering Head Bearings

So there's been some whinging...
Not sure if it's different for the female fraternity, but when a geezer says there's a problem with his bike, it's immediately classed as an excuse. Always has, always will be... and hell, I'll admit it, I've used it a fair bit too. 
And so it was with Dave's Superduke. Ages ago he said it didn't feel right, "It's like the front tyre is sticking to the road at really slow speeds." I thought no more of it, after all, it only ever goes at really slow speeds. Boom boom! 

I had a ride on it back then, but hey it's a Harley, sorry V-twin, and didn't really feel out of the way. But a few months later, yes just last weekend, we went out for a blast and he pulled over and asked me to ride it again...
I got thirty yards and thought 'What the f*#k!'
This thing has become very dangerous. Slow speeds, or under engine braking, and the steering went horribly tight. With throttle whacked open it was good,  but as soon as you caught up with a car and slowed down, it felt like the steering was about to lock up. Kudos to Davy for riding it like he was.

When steering bearings wear, they become loose and pitted/notchy. Because of the weight of you and the bike on the lower steering bearing, once facing straight ahead, the steering effectively locks into that position. Think of it like the spring-loaded ball in a ratchet and how it pops out when you fit a socket on to the drive. That's what happens to the bearing rollers, or balls, as they drop into little dents in the outer race.
From the rider's perspective, he/she now needs more leverage to move the handlebars from the straight ahead position. That's easy enough, but you find yourself having to put more input into the bars initially; then, as the bearings move out of the recess they were stuck in, the steering suddenly goes light and you're pushing the bars far further than you wanted. We're very adept at adapting (ooh, hark at him!) to these situations, but having to constantly counteract for these situations is a pain, and also dangerous. 
If in doubt, get someone to pull the bike over onto its back wheel and side stand, and go from lock-to-lock using the fork legs. You should feel the tight spots as you go back and fore. 
Still not convinced? Or inexperienced? Then get help from some who knows. Steering is pretty important on our two-wheeled bundles of joy, so make sure it's right.

And back to it.
So, a complete bearing/seal kit was purchased from Action KTM, in Nerang, for the very low price (I thought) of $89. That's pretty good considering they're SKF bearings, and today we set into it. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Gasket Paper.

Doing It The Old Fashioned Way.
Because my brand new, fitted two years ago, gasket broke when removing the clutch cover, I needed a new one. No longer available from Suzuki, you can find quite a few New-Old-Stock ones for sale on eBay - for the price of an aftermarket gasket set! Seriously, are they gold impregnated?

Being careful with my funds, I shot down to Repco for a sheet of the old oil resistant stuff. Just under twenty bucks, plus a further 30% discount that weekend for being an RACQ member, and I was the proud owner of a roll of Flexoid gasket paper. 

Made in England!
That's refreshing, should be good then.

Copying the original gasket, and with a little help from Stanley's knife, and Snap-On's hole punch set, I soon had something that resembled the first one. Even the bloody holes lined up!

With all that done, I had to hear it running again. It's been a while, and I want to be able to run a flush through the engine. So loom was laid on the bike and bits connected where they should be. This loom is a mess! I need to have a big clean up and remove the rubbish repairs from previous bodges. 
With battery connected, I checked for spark - all good. I filled the syringe with fuel until the float bowls were all full and gave it a whirl on the starter. The odd firing occurred and then she was away!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

What a difference...

An O-ring makes.
I should be writing lyrics, not playing with bikes. Oh well. 
The various seals I ordered all turned up quick smart from Blue City Motorcycles, in South Australia, with free postage too! Cheers guys. I also found their prices to be cheaper than most so happy with that.
I'd left the oil pump in a container of oil all week, pumping it every now and again to make sure there were no nasties inside. It looks perfect. With new O-ring held in place with some grease, it was ready to be refitted. 

Three M6 bolts hold it in place, then a thrust washer is fitted before the drive pin is inserted and then the gear can be pushed onto the shaft. Finally, a circlip holds it in place. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

It Never Rains...

But it does pour a lot!
The Easter break gave me a chance to not only procrastinate some more, but actually get a bit done on the GSX. I decided to fill the front brake lines with a beautiful blue DOT3 fluid, just so I could check for leaks and feel at the lever. The Chinese reservoir was duly fitted, and ten seconds later developed a leak from the sight glass. Tossers! 
It came off pretty bloody quickly as my freshly painted headlight switch sat underneath it. So a plastic reservoir was put on loosely while I bled them. The anti-dive units haven't held fluid for years so I was expecting problems, but the only issue was a slight leak around the banjo bolts. With a bit more tension applied to the bolts, all seems good. The lever is a bit on the soft side, but should improve once the pads have bedded in. 

Oil be fooked!
Next job was to put a new oil filter in, fill with oil and crank it on the starter to see if the oil light would go out. As previously mentioned, the wire to the oil pressure switch was 'missing' - which could spell trouble. The 'oil light' for today being my test-light mounted between the switch and the live terminal on the battery. It lit up nicely, but refused to go out once cranking. Bugger!
Could the oil pump have gone dry after all the months of sitting around with no oil? Had somebody removed the wire because the engine is fuckered? Was there more to this conspiracy? Oh joy.
I wasn't taking any chances, the sump was taken off to check the pick-up gauze.  The sump itself was full of thick, treacle-like oil and in desperate need of a clean out. Degreaser and brake clean soon had it spotless, but it's a worry that all that  was running round the engine. The oil pick-up was holding a tiny amount of carbon, but not enough to stop the oil pump sucking and pumping the brown stuff around. So, with all that cleaned up and blown out, the sump was refitted with a new gasket.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Playtime with a GSXR750 L2.

Thank F... goodness For Seven-Fifties!
They were all the rage in the '90's. World Superbikes kept them firmly in the minds of any pub road-racer. I was just starting out on the road, but wanted a blue ZXR750 with those Hoover tubes looking so bloody cool coming out of the tank. Ooh yeah. And let's not forget the rare RC30...
Local fast boys had GSXR750's and wheelied from the lights constantly, telling me about the gearbox rebuilds from continual wheelie abuse. It was music to my ears at that age! Yeah, there were 1100's, and the all new Fireblade, but it was the 750's that were racing round the track against 916 Ducatis

And then...
Everything changed. 600's got quicker, the R1 came along and annihilated the ageing 'blade. A few years later, Suzuki had a thou too and suddenly WSBK was destined for 1000cc fours as well as the V-twins. The midrange 750's started to die out - after all, they weren't wanted in terms of sales. The ZX7R hung in there for a while, but the only true sports bike to maintain that displacement was the GSXR, all those years after it's formidable launch in '85.

And what a good move by Suzuki. 
Yeah, thou's are great fun 'cause they're quick. But how much power can you actually make use of on the road? There was a time when a big bike was limited by its poor chassis. You might have horsepower, but you're going to die if you try to exploit it. Not so much nowadays. They let you get away with a lot, but also make you very lazy. Someone faster than you in a corner? Just open up on the straight and reel him back in. You end up riding around on quarter throttle thinking you're Troy Bayliss, while there's a 600 stuck up your chuffer trying to hurry you along in the corners!
Looking at the latest thou's now, I can't help thinking that all the electronic aids designed to make them faster/safer are dulling the basic virtues of riding. Launch control, traction control, wheelie control... strewth, what about my control?
Sure, gadgets are great, but go out there and get on a real bike for a bit. Give the brain something to do, you might actually enjoy it...

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Untidy Wiring? Recovering Could Be The Answer.

You can put the insulation tape away too!
It maybe considered pedantic, considering the rest of the bike at the moment, but I didn't like the white, heat resistant (?) sheathing on the wiring from the signal generator. It was torn in places, fraying and looked scruffy - not really the look I was going for (for the wiring at least).
So, with a little bit of looking around on the dock of the eBay, I found some Techflex. A plastic braided sleeve which expands when you push it together so that you can get it over various looms, hoses or cables etc. When it goes back to its original length, it tightens back up and looks great. Worth a shot of anyone's money I thought.

Here's the old covering looking a bit dilapidated. I'd cleaned it up as best I could, but some things have their limits.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Refitting HT Leads Into Nippon Denso Coils.

Misfire in the Wet? Weak Spark?
Sat under the tank, they tend to get forgotten. But the leads that take the all important spark to the plugs need to be fully-insulated. If moisture gets in where the coil makes contact with the copper-cored plug lead, your 40,000 volts will probably make its way down the side to earth, rather than putting a spark across your plug electrodes. Why? Because it's lazy and wants the easy path. Wouldn't we all?
If you've ever touched a distributor cap, or lead, on an engine with a misfire, you might have felt the same sort of kick. It's easier to find a path to earth through you, than fire a spark across two metal points that are 0.75mm or more apart, especially in a cylinder containing high pressure air/fuel mixture.
The same can be said for the other end where your plug caps are. The rubber sealing boots are falling apart on the GSX's caps, so I'm putting new NGK's on it. For the price of them, it's not worth taking chances.

So what's that got to do with the price of fish?
Well, the original retaining clips for the plug leads had long since made for the hills. When the bike came to me the HT leads were hanging in by the fact that they were completely rigid and couldn't move, and a bit of good luck thrown in. Don't get me wrong, the bike ran fine, but it would have been different in rain.

Later coils did away with the clips altogether, and came factory sealed with a resin of some sort. As much as I would like them to go back together as Mr Denso wanted, without new clips, I'm going to have to seal them in semi-permanently too.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Mighty GSX250... Runs!

Considering the state of it, that's pretty impressive. 
With water ingress obvious - the carb tops have almost rusted through, the exhaust pipes have rotted out, and the engine is severely corroded, I wasn't expecting too much from the little twin. The inlet rubbers had come away from the alloy plates that mount to the head, which made it a little hard to get it running.
But today I decided to check the compression to get some idea on the internals, it wasn't pretty. 50psi was about as good as it got. That's why, in my opinion, it's better to get an engine running before strip down, but each to their own.  Once it's running, it'll clear out a lot of the crap hanging round inside (and there was a lot of rubbish in the ports!). It puts pressure on the prison rings, which start to scrape the bores properly. Fuel/air mixture going through helps to clean valve stems and seats. All of this should help the low compression and, if it runs, gives you some idea on the bottom end. If you pull apart an engine without having heard it, you'll probably end up replacing every component inside for peace of mind.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

New Bits, Missing Bits And Dodgy Bits!

New parts are rolling in fast.
But some of the old bits seem to have done a bunk! I cleaned, painted (then scratched) a LH handlebar switch last week. Convinced it wasn't the one off this bike, and that it came in a box of Katana bits, I did it anyway. Why didn't I think it was off this GSX? The choke lever is snapped off on the Katana one.
I just went through all the pics I took of the bike and, sure enough, the choke lever is intact on the original switch - but where the f#*k is it?

I had a massive clear-out and general tidy in the garage this weekend and went through all the boxes. The switch and clutch lever have definitely gone AWOL. Oh well, hopefully they'll turn up soon.

In the meantime, new acquisitions have been turning up while I had some spare cash. Needing new master cylinder reservoirs, I went looking on good old eBay. A nice, anodised black, aluminium cylindrical reservoir was found for the princely sum of $7.55 delivered. How could you possibly go wrong?