Monday, December 26, 2016

CBR600's, Trackdays and Relearning.

600's...Taking a step back?
There was a certain criteria I was looking for when downsizing:
  • Lighter bike 
  • Better brakes
  • More fun
I've never owned a 600 before, it's always been about big bikes, more power and all the hype that goes with it. But... having tried Smithy's GSXR750 (probably the best of both worlds), I wanted something that was easier to throw around and enjoy on the track. First go on the CBR was all I needed, it was like a toy. A very fast toy.

Queensland Raceway.
I've said it before, but this track is scary fast! Glenn Allerton currently holds the lap record at around 1.08 minutes on a BMW S1000RR. And I can mooch around in the 1.24's— snail's pace when you look at it like that. 

And when you turn up at the track and see this, you realise you're about to see some real talent. Glenn Allerton and Wayne Maxwell out playing in yellow group. Think I'll stick to blue.

And how would the little CBR fair amongst the 750 and 1000 of Messrs Smith and Wadwell, on their Suzukis. Well, in a straight line, not very well at all. 

The first thing that hit me was how many gear changes were needed, still leant over. When I usually exit turn 3 on the 1000 I have plenty of time to consider going up another gear. But now I was finding myself having to hook my left foot back under the lever because i was hitting the limiter, losing time every lap. 
Going down the front straight I was also having to make a concerted effort to watch the rev counter because, again, I'd hit the limiter each time! Big learning curve.

The first session was about getting up to speed again. Too long between trackdays, and a new bike to boot. The fear of turn 4 is still firmly lodged in my brain and I found it hard to go round there at anything above walking pace (that's what it felt like). And Bryan quickly followed up with "That's what it looked like!"

With the Yamaha and Kawasaki race teams playing here today too, there was a lot of talent to watch in the yellow group, including the aforementioned Glenn. He makes it look very easy to push out 1.09's. One of the kawasaki's went down into turn 1, during the second session, so we had to wait for ambulances etc. to come and pick the poor fella up. His bike was completely mullered/torn apart.

Wayne Maxwell pulls up by my CBR for some tips... from his crew.

The afternoon is where I pick up speed, every time. But Bryan's pace has picked up immensely since I last did a trackday, so he was disappearing in all but the final session. Going up against Pat on the 171BHP GSXR1000 was ok in the corners, but a waste of time down the straights. He eventually let me go in front and left me to it (felt sorry for me).

Bryan then puts in a 1.24, now the heat is on. That's the quickest I've done on my 1000 and his 750. It's going to be hard to pull that out on the 600!

Being dragged around is a big thing, go out on your own and you end up braking way too early and go in much too slowly. Follow someone and you're always looking for places to get in front — it helps. As it was in our final session. Because he waited for me to warm my tyres for a couple of laps, it was much easier to hang on behind. The horsepower difference between the 600 and the 750 is around 30 big ones, but you can overhaul that quite easily if you're on it. 

Final session of the day, we finished on 1.25's, not too bad for a horsepower needy track. There's plenty of places for me to make up that lack of speed, the main one being bravery. Lakeside will be a more even challenge with any luck, but let's wait for some cooler weather.

Pretty consistently slow. Ready to race below.

Overall, Smithy has upped the pace immensely. Pat doesn't care and will use whatever means possible to say goodbye. I've got what I wanted, something to make me faster in the turns, but now I need to practise it. The CBR is a cracking little bike, great on the road too. And easy for my 72kg's to throw around rather than the Gixer working me over.

Seriously folks, that bike is fun!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Kawasaki Versys — from the Latin phrase...

Stone me guv'nor, what a bike!
Does any Japanese motorcycle manufacturer make a bad bike anymore? Like sports bike tyres, there are great ones, and superb ones, but not many crap ones. And so it is with today's test mule.

The Kawasaki Versys 650L ABS
I've been a big fan of the ER6-N for a while, mainly because I liked how the shock was mounted on the side. No, I haven't ridden one, but did try to lose one on the road a long time ago. And after I worked hard through a series of tight mountain bends, I managed to drop him a few metres... on a GSXR1000. So I thought it must be a pretty capable bike. It is, and the Versys?

Well, having been a big fan of the Paris Dakar inspired trailies from years ago, the Africa Twins, Super Tenere's and DR BIG's all left a lasting impression so I do like these current trail/sport bike configurations. Sat up high, in comfort, with all the important whirly bits working away metres below you. A bit like the Titanic in its heyday, ok maybe a different cruise liner, but you get the drift.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Alpinestars, Arai's and Peter Stevens.

For proper service and cock-on quality.
After the palaver I just went through to buy a bike through Team Moto, it was a pleasure to deal with a company that actually have helpful staff. 

Deciding I needed new kit, with my current Arai ticking over the seven year mark and stone chipped to death, I took a look through eBay. I soon found a new Arai Vector 2 I liked, along with Alpinestars' gloves and boots. Best of all, some of it was on sale!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Oil Filter Review — The True Cost!

Be afraid!
How do you really know what you're getting when you screw on a new oil filter? That little canister has a big job to do considering it's trying to protect your several thousand dollar engine. 
For those lucky enough to have a cartridge-style filter, most of these questions won't apply. You can see every part of the new filter element, you can eyeball all the components on the engine. You can clean out the housing to your own impeccable tolerances. You fit it into the engine using the original manufacturer's components. Boom, you're done.

But what about the spin-ons?
  • Does the material filter out all the nasties? And to what micron?
  • Does the anti-drain back valve (rubber washer) really stop the oil flowing back into the sump?
  • Does the bypass valve open at the specified pressure for your bike?
  • Is the filter element sealed correctly within the canister? Hmm...
The news.
Take a look around the net and read about filter reviews, the good, the bad and the downright ugly. I've been a mechanic for a long time and screwed on thousands of filters. And as long as they screw on, happy days. You get the odd leaker, or bad thread, and that's to be expected with a mass-produced unit.
But it's all fit and forget. You never look inside one, and don't know if it's done its job. In a garage, it's all completed in minutes. You don't look at the oil that comes out, couldn't care less about the old filter and send the vehicle on its way for another 20,000 thousand miles (or less, as the case maybe). And that's the harsh reality. You're relying on the fact that the filter is a quality component.

But when an engine fails, can you prove it was the filters fault?

Thursday, September 1, 2016

2011 CBR600RR Review — I've Turned.

You meet the nicest people... on a Honda.
The last Honda I owned was a '91 CBR1000FL, she'd done a few miles, had a few cracks in the fairing but that old beauty took me round Europe, in comfort, with no worries at all. The old timing tensioner mod was the only real engine work it ever received. I traded it on a new Hayabusa in 2000, and stuck with Suzukis ever since.

I've owned the GSXR1000 K6 for seven years now and it's been absolutely superb. No real issues, just general wear and tear, and it's still as quick as ever. But my last stint at the track on a Gixer 750 made me realise how much extra weight I was fighting with, not to mention the power I could never really get down (I'm a wuss). It was time to trade. 

A quick road test on a 5,000km only (honest guv), 2013 model GSXR750 with squared-off tyres at Team Moto soon put me off — for the price they wanted anyway. No history or books whatsoever, it was in desperate need of some tyres with a round profile, but they weren't interested in putting any on. The whole experience was disappointing to be fair, and I walked away... until I tried a 2011 CBR600RR Tri-colour, and within fifty yards of the dealership I was in love! Holy F*#k this thing is nimble, light, smooth with a gear shift I could barely feel. Want... now.

A process started, which could only be described as painful. In vehicle salesmanship, as with any type of sales, there should be a bit of effort from the people who are trying so hard to get that, well, sale. They should go that extra mile, make you feel like it's an easy process, put your mind at ease. Not at Team Moto it would seem, going through ten hours of labour would be easier. But it's done now and hopefully remains a distant memory.

Enter the CBR600RR.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

KTM Duke 390 - First Ride Of The Uncrashable.

Less is more, much more.
He's been trying to get me to ride the 390 for ages. I'm a bit busy. 
He said its cornering speed is unreal and fast guys on ZX636R's and GSXR1000's are getting left behind (miles behind). Yeah, but I'm working on the GSX. 
He finally convinced me to ride all of the Yamaha MT range. Ok, now I'm in the mood.

I haven't come back from a ride shaking for a while. That was fun, a hell of a lot of fun. 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Suzuki GS550 Petrol Tap Overhaul.

Vacuum taps were once state of the art.
The day you upgraded to a bike with one those new-fangled vacuum taps things was a momentous occasion indeed. No more did you fumble with the petrol tap every time you started or switched off the bike. It was nothing short of a miracle!

But like anything, it can go wrong and some people are put off by trying to fix it. A diaphragm and O-rings are pretty much all there is to it, so this is a quick tutorial on how to fix it. Bearing in mind I've actually taken this tap off the tank four times since painting it, to try and get it to work correctly. It's been a pain, but today I think I nailed it. 

Also, number two carb needle valve could be leaking slightly and allowing it to flood the cylinder when left a couple of nights. Had the petrol tap switched off correctly it wouldn't have been an issue, but if my brother's sister's aunties' nephew wasn't my second cousin I wouldn't be in this palaver anyway. What?

Friday, July 29, 2016

Yamaha MT-07 First Ride.

A wise man once told me...
That fifty brake horsepower was enough for the road. And I agreed with that... to an extent, but just like forty years-old is the new thirty, I think 70BHP could be where the real fun starts. 

With 200BHP on tap now from the big sports bikes, big power is becoming slightly irrelevant — yeah, people were saying the same when 135BHP was a big number. But you can't get the power down without using drive-modes, traction control, wheelie control etc. It's hard work stopping them, turning them and can be very embarrassing when little commuter bikes make short work of them through the twisties. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Yamaha MT-10 First Ride.

Transformers, or bikes in disguise?
I guess I wasn't that impressed, initially, with the photos I'd seen of the new (all-conquering?) Yamaha MT-10. It looked too big, and the headlamp assembly/bikini fairing all seemed a bit out there. Definitely a move away from its simpler, smaller siblings, the MT-09 and MT-07.

So when a good mate of mine brought his brand new (just delivered) bike out for a blast on the weekend, I was surprised how good it looked in the metal, especially in these colours. The first thing that came to mind was Transformers, and if it had turned into Optimus Prime and whacked me in the fizzog I wouldn't have been surprised. Maybe they have a new movie on the way and this bike's the star. Who knows?

It looks evil and savage, but actually pretty cool, just what I needed on today's damp roads... not. 

I've got to hand it to Mike, he buys a lot of bikes, and always asks me if I want to have a ride on them. Usually I'm busy and decline. Today I was busy again, but Suzuki projects could wait. I kitted up quickly and gave him the key to the Gixer.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Lakeside 2/7/2016 — Tyre Warmers and Giant Killers.

GSXR1000 vs GSXR750 (with tyre warmers).
It wouldn't be a trackday if we didn't top up with Wild Bean coffees on the way, so the Coomera BP garage was the first stop. And with one of their bacon and egg toasted sandwiches heartily disposed of, we were ready.
'Twas early morning. The sun was on the rise and catching the moon fast — just like an old GSXR1000 on cold tyres against a newish GSXR750 with warm boots — yep, about a lap in and it's all over. But more on this later.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

GS550E Paint — And Now The Lacquer.

2000 Grit Wet & Dry
After a good flatting with soapy water and the old P2000 grit, the paintwork was looking smooth and, well, dull. Taking care on the curves and edges not to rub through the red, you're aiming for paint that is uniform all over without any orange peel. 
The scary part is taking your nice shiny paint finish and ruining it. 
But if it worries you, just run water over the paint and watch how it shines again — that's what the lacquer will do.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Gilbert's Cylinder Head Service — Gold Coast.

Skimming, guides, seats, porting... 
Having had several car cylinder heads overhauled by Paul Gilbert since being in Australia, I knew the service and quality was exceptional. That's no bull, they come back like a new part, and I was pretty amazed — especially for the cost.
So when I needed a couple of shims machined on the GS550, I dropped in to see if he could do them. No problem he says, come back in a couple of hours and they'll be ready to go. 
Once we got talking I realised he did a lot of motorcycle work too, and he showed me some of the heads he was currently working on.

This is one of two Rocket III heads that were being ported, one for a supercharger. He said that although he has a flow bench, the ports are now so big on this 2.3L engine that he's had to use someone else's larger version to check the flow. That's going to be one quick Trumpet!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Fast From The Past — Awesome Place!

While perusing the internet the other day for a Paulo Tarozzi fork brace I, quite luckily, happened across this place — Fast From The Past

And I found they are an absolute goldmine for old race bikes, cafe racers etc. because they carry those quality parts that are hard to find. Often you find a shop that only carries certain items for a few bikes, and my GSX often comes up lacking.
But here, a fork brace for the GSX750ES is just one of hundreds of different types available, all at realistic prices. And, once ordered, it was delivered to me in Australia in around a week. Nicely done.

How retro is that box? Love it!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

I'm Seeing Red... Monza Red.

Amateur paint jobs.
Because I just wanted the GS550 to look good enough to go back on the road without any fineries and, because I'm too tight to pay the extortionate prices needed to get someone to spray it professionally, I'm doing it with aerosols. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

GS550 - Fitting New Points and Condensers.

Fitting what?
Contact breakers, remember them? It appears that many of the younger mechanics coming through don't really know what points and condensers are. Maybe they don't teach them the basics of ignition systems in college anymore, maybe they take no notice because they've never had to fit any.  Probably the latter.

Maybe I'll start with how they work.

To get a spark to fire across the spark plug's air gap, we need a pretty high voltage (20,000 - 30,000 volts), for which we use a coil. Everyone's familiar with those, but just how do you get a spark out of one?  Without electronic jiggery-pokery CDI and transistorised ignition systems?

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Charging Systems — More efficient, and a cooler engine.

A clever update and worth sharing.
Firstly, I can't take the credit for this because I read about it on GS Resources forum, but here's a cracking little modification you can make to your bikes that are running the old style shunt regulators. But first a bit of history.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Stripped Threads... And How To Fix Them.

Doing it in situ.
There will come a time when, if you like to dabble with old vehicles, you will happen upon a damaged thread. And, to be fair, it can be an absolute bastard!

One minute you're tightening up a bolt into an alloy housing, the next the entire thread comes out with the bolt. And you usually only find out during reassembly and most of the work is already done. This is sod's law... par for the course... and a proper pain in the 'arris.

But there is a way. Fret not. You might not even have to strip the component completely if you know what you're doing, although that wasn't the case with this Trident:

Sunday, May 15, 2016

2016 KTM 350EXC — Greasing the Joints.

Swingarm first.
It's brand new, done 200 km's but the general advice out there is to rip out the swing arm and re-grease the moving bits as soon as you've picked it up. Same applies to the steering head bearings.

Waste of time? Let's take a look.

Monday, April 25, 2016

How to change your camchain... or timing chain if you prefer.

I'm picking on the GS550E.
This bike was a very cheap project and, although I should ignore it for the time being, I keep delving in and doing different things to it. I already made up a good set of carbs for it, got it running, rebuilt the rear master cylinder because it was dripping etc. and then I decided to check valve clearances. Oh, and also bought a camchain for it because it sounds like it's stretched to buggery. 

So rather than strip the engine and, consequently, end up replacing all of the worn or moving parts, I'm treating it as a "repair as necessary" to get a better idea on engine condition — hey, it might yet be useable. If money is no object to you, just rip it apart and make it as new, but if you're doing things on a budget, then this could be ideal for you.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Crap You Need To Know When Buying A Secondhand Motorcycle.

The BikeTech7 Guide to being a Punter.
Here's a collection of abbreviations and descriptions to help you out when you're buying, or have already bought, a secondhand motorbike.

P.O. — Previous Owner. 
Will very likely soon be known as butcher, bodger, tosser, or worse once you begin to work on your newly-purchased motorcycle. They probably talked the talk at the P.O.S., but unfortunately very few have walked the walk, and those little intricacies only show up once you get it home. Marvellous.

P.O.S — Point Of Sale.
This is usually a point of great happiness for the new owner, and a point of utter elation for the P.O. He will be struggling to hold a straight face as he counts out the readies and dreams about getting down to the pub for a couple of swift halves. Once you ride that bike out of his driveway, any previous mention of warranty, help or even basic friendship is null and void. You are now on your Jack Jones.

P.O.S. — Pile Of Shit.
Yes, it's a clever abbreviation this one and could mean two things. Right after the first P.O.S., you become familiar with P.O.S. number two. Riding out of the driveway and there's a nagging doubt in your mind as you become familiar with a braking system unfit for a pushbike, and the steering ability of a shopping trolley run over by a cement truck. But it all fades to oblivion because "the rebuilt motor has got some go in it". Whoop!

Rebuilt Motors.
There is a fair chance the P.O. was being completely honest at this point. The engine, or motor guv'nor, has indeed been taken to pieces and then rebuilt. 
However, no parts were changed during this transaction because it would've cost an arm, leg and probably his old boy too, so it was slung back together with the old parts and flogged on to the next unsuspecting punter. Hopefully, and if you're very lucky, it'll get you home... this week.

"I'll bloody kill meself on it!"
This guy is fast, and should've been racing. He's had more police chases than you've had underwear and needs to sell it before... he bloody kills himself. A quick look at the tyres will give you some indication of his incredible pace. They'll be fucked... in the middle.

"Not for the faint hearted."
It was once a quick bike... twenty years ago, but time hasn't been kind to this fella. Under delusions of something, he will harp on about how fast it was and how he can still overtake an R1 on the back wheel without even using the clutch. It was pushing out 147BHP at the wheel, back in the day, but he just can't put his hands on the dyno sheets.

"The parts are here somewhere."
Sometimes a bike comes with spares — awesome! 
You really want the oojamaflop valve to put back on at a later date, and he's adamant it's in the garage. "It'll show up and I'll send it on" he says reassuringly... you will never see that valve. He will throw it in a skip rather than send it to you. Forget about the valve, it's gone.

"Only selling due to family commitments."
His three-legged dog has to go in for its fourth hernia operation, the wife wants a new car or the kids have an expensive drug habit. Whatever transpires at this point will probably be a lie. Best not to ask. Put your hand up to his face, say I'm not interested and try to check out the bike as best you can. 
If, as you ride away, a bandaged-up, three-legged dog strolls by with two lines of coke on his back being chased by some fucked-up kids, you might've picked a good bike after all. Happy days.

"I tuned it myself, it'll pull one-sixty."
It wouldn't pull a pram. He's banged on a Chinese K&N air filter but left the jetting standard. The "race can" is just the original with its internals removed by jack hammer, but it will run fine on choke... for a while... until the valves burn out.

"It's all there, just needs putting together."
It's not all there, and some of the parts that are have been damaged beyond repair. Very often used in conjunction with another little gem we call "Easy restoration". This, of course, is utter bollocks. It would be easier, and more pleasurable, to chop off your old boy, whack it in a slice of bread and call it a sausage sizzle.

"Perfect for learner rider."
It doesn't go quite as well as it should, in fact the engine is knackered. Grandma is pulling better standing quarters on her invalid carriage, and looks better getting there.

"Regretful sale."
The only regret here is gonna be yours.

"Serviced regularly" or "Over-serviced"
Of course it was. It's had a couple of oil changes and the plugs were out once. The sump plug threads are only stretched because the P.O. had no idea how to tighten a bolt. But he did insist on using genuine supermarket oil "because they're all the same".

"Must sell, moving interstate."
Because as soon as this little beauty is sold, he's going to put as much distance between him and it as is humanly possible. It could also be a double bluff so you don't come back to his house asking for a refund.

"Always garaged."
On February 29th... without fail.

So there you have the, slightly tongue in cheek, sceptical guide to buying bikes. Buyer beware people. 
Now who wants to buy a mint, one-owner GSX750ESD with low miles and fully-rebuilt set of carbs? And it ain't for the faint hearted.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Suzuki GS Engines — Checking Valve Clearances.

Basics — why do we need clearance?
In an ideal world, the combustion chamber in an engine would be completely airtight during the compression stroke. However, due to basic mechanical inefficiencies, there will always be blow-by somewhere. But by keeping this to a minimum, your engine is able to produce good power. 
Possible ways for the air/fuel mix to escape could be via the piston and rings, through a failed head gasket or the valves in the cylinder head. Because we're dealing with valve clearances today, we'll stick with those. 
In modern engines, the poppet valves in a four-stroke engine are either machined perfectly to form a seal against the 'seats' in the head, or lapped in with grinding paste to match them together (older engines). Springs then hold them tight against the seat and, voila, no air leaks. 

Suzuki GS550E. In this pic you can see the two camshaft lobes above their respective bucket and shim. The cam cap is removed because some clown (previous owner) stripped a thread — in fact they mullered a few of them and decided to replace them with some coarse-threaded bolts! Marvellous.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Queensland Raceway with Champions Ride Days — 28/2/2016

Hot day at QR.
Considering I wasn't that bothered in going to this one, and only made my mind up at 4.00am on the day, it was a cracker! Good old Bry picked me up and we stopped for the obligatory Wild Bean coffee on the way. All signed in and even scrutineered before 7.30, much to the dismay of one of the guys checking the bikes. Never mind, a bit of cheek from Bryan about doing some work soon had him smiling, or grimacing — it's a wonder it passed! 
Will and Leigh, of Billeigh Photography, were already here and set up with a table, chairs and various other luxuries. It seemed rude not to make use of the facilities.

The car crew were all out on track doing laps and then... well, looking under bonnets. I took some pics of the bikes in the meantime while we waited for Dave to arrive.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Mikuni CV Carbs — Great Tip For Seized Pilot Screws!

The GS550 needed carbs...
A previous post of mine described the making up of a bank of carbs from a spare set I bought. My originals had been broken by a previous owner and laid out in bits in a cardboard box. The carbs I got hold of were from a GSX750 — same bodies, but the pilot system was slightly different and the jets, obviously, were all the wrong sizes. But no matter, it proved that the GS would run... just not very well.

Because I want to put it back to standard, using the original airbox and filter, a good set of carbs was still on the wish list. And a couple of weeks ago, a bargain on eBay saved the day. For seventy bucks delivered, I had a very clean set for a GS650 on the way to me. Could not believe my luck!

It got better too, because once apart, the jets tell me that they were off the 550 after all. A strip, clean, new o-rings and we could be in business. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Omnia Racing Headlamps... Cool Quality.

A BIG thumbs up!
I saw a CBR600 street fighter doing the rounds on one of the forums lately and, to be fair, it was a nice build. What really stood out for me was the headlamp — not in the "cheap, Chinese, badly-finished rubbish" type of way, but more "Buy Me Now! I am the quality you look for" — so I asked the owner of the bike where I could get one. 

As he looked at me, I could see his face contorted with pained expression. He gave a quick glance over his shoulders to check for eavesdroppers nearby, and he slowly whispered the words Omnia Racing... I looked behind me, was about to ask more, but he was gone.

So I started looking online. Based in Italy, with an impressive website full of expensive bike exotica, they also had an eBay store and I found just the unit to set off my GSX in a way that would somehow complement the odd-shaped ESD tank, along with my crudely knocked together tailpiece. Sort of.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Frayed Clutch Cables, And Making New Ones.

When you alter anything from standard...
Inevitably something must change with it. The clutch cable was way too long since I've dropped the handlebars down, and although I'd managed to 'lose' some of its length, it wasn't quite right. 

But it worked; until it frayed. So I bought a kit to make a custom one myself. 

Having seen the job done by Gordon at Lucas Motorcycles, Ross-on-Wye loads of times over the years, I figured I knew all the tricks of the trade. Whenever I had a cable issue on my bikes as a kid, I'd be straight up the dual-carriageway to Ross and he'd make one for about ten quid. Bargain, and that was at any time up until 9.00pm everyday of the week... the guy was a legend!

So if you have an issue with cable length, an odd bike or the original part is too expensive, take a look on eBay and check out the kits available. This one came from the UK and is a quality bit of kit, nylon lined for smoother action, oo'er missus.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

DANGER! Scared Of Using Engine Flush?

Skeptical, or concerned?
You will find different opinions on using engine flush from every mechanic out there. Some say never use it no matter what. Others put it in at every oil change.

So why the difference in opinion? What are the pros and cons?

Valvoline detergent-based engine flush.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Bloody Exhausted! (I'm so funny...Suzuki GSX Humour).

Link Pipes Done.
With the merge collector done, I needed to make the links to the reverse cone mega's. I decided to cut up loads of little sections of stainless pipe to get the correct angles for the link pipes. I could have done it with fewer, longer sections but decided the "loads of welds look" was the way forward. Maybe, when you know how to get the pretty colouring of welds to work for you, but it looks like a jumbled mess now. 

Still, it's on and the bike sounds bloody great! And it was a good experience too, giving me plenty of ideas for the next go, and that's how we learn. I've been wondering how the bike would sound for ages, and I'm not disappointed. You can hear it in a video at the end...

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Petrol Tanks, Filling Dents, Priming... Meh!

Not my favourite job if I'm honest. I spent ten months prepping cars for paintwork a long time ago, but I think the very little I actually learnt has slipped away to oblivion. The guys I worked with made it look so easy. 

I'd spend hours applying filler, rubbing it back, going too low and having to start again. They seemed to be able to perfect it in minutes. But, alas, the tank I wanted to keep in bare metal has just too many dents and marks for me to be happy with it. So, I decided to break out the filler. 

First job was to get the bottom ready for primer. Once painted I can refit the fuel gauge sender and tap, and double check for leaks before spending hours on the top.

Flatted with 360 grit paper, it was soon good enough for some filler primer. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Exhaust Fabrication on the GSX750 Cafe - Part 1.

It's simple.
All I need to do is make a basic two-into-one link pipe to join the downpipes/headers to the reverse-cone mega's. The headers are made of mild steel (possible GS1000) and, in my wisdom, I decided to make the link pipe out of stainless. 

Because it'll look awesome!

The first thing that struck me was how hard it is to fit all that into the space I had left. Ideally, the collector would have collected a little closer to the front of the bike, but I'll work with what I bought on eBay (for the right money). 

The pipes arrived painted in some sort of grey, but rubbing it back slightly with 400 grit wet & dry had them looking great. Not bare metal, but more rough and ready, hmm... well I like  them.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Greasing The Suzuki Speedo Drive.

Funnily enough... grease dries out and goes hard after thirty years of getting mashed in a worm drive, but how do you get the speedo drive apart without ruining the seal? Once they're put together, it's nigh on impossible to remove it — and you can't buy the drive complete now, let alone get the right seal! 

So, after a lot of messing around with a spare one I have, I decided to have a stab at getting it apart with minimal damage. I came to the conclusion that a 2.5mm hole drilled through the body of the drive itself would allow access for a small punch to tap out the seal. If all goes to plan, a small dab of silicone in the hole will seal it up once finished. Job jobbed.

Just turning the tabbed washer will tell you how bad it is. If it stops, gets stuck and generally feels tight, it needs to be stripped, cleaned and greased. Leave it and the tabbed washer will fail, maybe even the worm drive and gear itself. The drive in my ESD has had the tabs brazed back on at some stage. And this spare drive has quite a bit of wear on the inner tabs where it fits into the gear.

Whatever happens, it would be good to take a look inside and see what can be fixed. With a centre pop first, and then very slowly with the drill I had enough room for a small punch to tap on the back of the seal.