Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The current project...

Oh CRAP…. Not ANOTHER project….


The retro 80’s dream bike


God I am old as dirt.

Off to an auspicious start. A wad of parts appears and vauge notions swirl in the dark murkey depths of me ‘ead.

Love the red rider BB gun…

So… Some assembly reqired. A braced swingarm, 17” wheels and somehow I am going to put an ’02 front end on this beast. Somehow…. Still working on the final details….

It rolls… that’s something. Look at those yellow wheels… ew.

As you can see. Assembly continues. It’s like legos. Kinda fun… sometimes a pain in the ass because that ONE piece you need is hiding under the stove in the kitchen or behind the couch in the living room….

Is it called a mock-up because it mocks you?

Have yet to resolve small details of ’02 suspension fitment…. Looking more the part- yeah?

swoopy” it’s not….

So I have fitted an ’86 limited replica tail and an NOS seat purchased from MY LOCAL DEALER… how old is THAT vinyl? Wow. It was woth asking. On Ebay you’d pay a couple hundred bucks… it was less at the dealer. Funny… Going for the retro style. It’s not a current model…. Would your grandma look hot in Victoria’s Secret? I didn’t think so- you dress appropriately for your age….

Another angle of grandma… and there’s that dartboard again….

When I get further along and actually bolt things together I’ll post more tech geek info. Right now if you sneezed near her she’d fall into a basket again….

Not too many MONTHS LATER…..

OOOOOOOOooooooh it’s been awhile…. But much progress has been made….. Where to begin…. Hmmm…. Well…..

I installed a 2002 front end as per the ‘plan’ had to have a shim machined for the upper triple clamp. Bolted on beautifully. Threw on a set of adjustable levers I had from my ’02- (I love these things!!!) totally modern feel up front now…

In the grip of the demons clutches….

The clutch was replaced – more fun with the clutch pushrod seal. It was missing a few small parts so I made about 15 trips to the local dealer (Eureka Motorsport Center- shameless plug- these guys are good to me- thanks ;) to order $2 parts one at a time…. (lucky they like me) I had to find a 1100 clutch cover (deeper than the 750 cover I had that I naively assumed would fit) I installed a ’02 bandit 600 countershaft cover/clutch actuator (‘cuz I always prefer cable) which has a speedo pick-up for the countershaft- bolted on the sending unit and as soon as I can figure out where to source an appropriate electronic speedo from I’ll have a working speedo-

It says there are 6 but really theres 5…

There a steering damper that fits onto a boss on the frame but I had to have the clamp machined for a proper fit. Looks and works fine so far. Its acting as my steering stop which is not ideal but I’m gentle with ‘er in that way….

Everyday it’s a little closer…..

I built a nutty battery box to fit a Honda CBR600 battery (smaller lighter etc etc) under the tank along with all of the rest of the electrical components. It’s tight fitting the carbs in but it all works sweet….

The battery box in all it’s rattle can black glory….

The air filters are particularly tight but nothing rubs and it all fits. You can see the lower front edge of it in the pic below as well as the starter solenoid chillin’ discreetly… I love it when it all works out- the only down side is if I want to muck around with the Vance and Hines Power Pak I have to lift the tank… oh well… no biggee….

It’s tight packaging- I call it Mass-centralization ;)

I converted the ’02 throttle to work with the 87 cable so now I’ve got a ¼ turn throttle and the feel of a stock 02 gixxer at the controls.. which I like. I had two sets of carbs. 1 from a later model 92-ish gixxer and one from an earlier bike 86/87…. I tore both sets completely apart and decided to use the later model carbs in part due to the fact they have 2 fuel inlets- figured more o’ that at full wonk is good yeah? I had the later model carbs almost completely re-assembled with all the factoy correct air-needle-idle settings and jets when I discovered that some FUCKING TOAD had “tuned” the carbs by smacking the throttle butterflies with a punch… (in search of a better idle?? I have no idea why you would do something so head-in-assinine) SOOOooooo strip them back down and back to the early models- fine- no biggie.


Dropped a Dynojet kit in to suggested settings It RUNS!!!!! Jettings a little off- raised the needles a ½ step and it’s better- idles fine and seems to run strong on top but she’s got WHITE plugs and a stumble at 5-7000 rpm- I am figuring it’s a little lean in there so I am going to raise the needles another ½ step.

Another view of the front end…. MMMMmmmm yummy…..

I think with the Power Pak some tweeking is needed for the jet kit- I am running it on one step up from “street” so it’s a little more aggressive curve. On top it lifts the front wheel exiting corners and slides the tire on the gas…. It’s gonna be a blast when it’s dialed….

It’s got an upper fairing on it now – but here it is in first test ride almost impounded glory….

Oh and just a fun side note—It was registered as a “non-op” and I ripped it around the block after I got it running (how could you resist) and the POLICE OFFICER who lives around the corner from me happened to be leaving for work at the very moment I wonked on the throttle in first…. So BWOOOP BWOOOP…. Pull over… No plate (it was lost before the bike was mine), no registration, no insurance, didn’t even have my license on me… Potential BEND THE FUCK OVER AND WAIT FOR THE TOW TRUCK action… BUT this Officer was a bike guy. And he knew the dude I bought the frame and motor from:

Me: “I bought this from John Doe”

Cop: “You didn’t buy that from John Doe- Not all of it anyway.”

Me: “No- I bought the parts with numbers from John Doe- the frame and motor- It’s mine- I swear. It’s registered to me- It’s on non-op I JUST got it running 5 minutes ago….”

Cop: “You kow I could really screw you…”

Me: “I know- I really appreciate your understanding and lienency….”

He ran the numbers and sent me home around the corner with my tail between my legs…. Nothing like feeling totally squidish. I mean we all have squid moments but fuuuuuuuuck. That was UGLY…. Oh well lesson learned. Next day was insured and sporting a fresh plate and tags from el DMV-o. Rockin the hood legal-style now!! Props to EPD for their continued understanding and support of the local riding scene- they’ve always treated me pretty well…..

More developments as they occur…. Slowly….

Well.... times change.

It's gone now... but before it left....

Rambling on….

A 1986 GSX-R Odyssey

I bought it on ebay. It was advertised as “for parts or restoration”. It was $950.00. It cost $500 to ship. Total $1450.00. Was it worth it? Pheeeeew…… well, we’ll see. The Gixxer arrived in reasonable shape- as advertised at any rate. It was certainly in need of some love- though I must admit- it had been well stored- it was no ‘coastal shed’ bike. Arizona and So-cal warm air for this grand ol’ gal. The list of parts needed/ parts missing wasn’t to bad… no throttle, no air filters or airbox, cracked (as in TOASTED) upper fairing, horribly useless and completely rotten tires and a smattering of miscellaneous brackets and bolts. A bit more ebaying and most of the needed parts were found.

The arrival…..

It’s got yellow wheels. I can’t abide them. It is also afflicted with a sad case of the over-bling. The red windscreen has got to go. Someone spent a fair amount of time and energy covering EVERY oil, brake, battery and fuel line with stainless weave. No ACTUAL stainless lines, simply useless bling and an ass-load of little hose clamps. NIIiiiiiice. Ghetto Royal. They also chromed the clip-ons, sprocket cover, and, unfortunately, the GSXR 1100 fairing and headlight bracket. I say ‘unfortunatley’ because they failed to realize that there are actually a few small differences between the 750 and the 1100 bracket which render them NON-interchangable. At least if you want to run the stock gauge cluster… Oh well. Whomever did all the chroming must have been responsible for the single WORST cosmetic modification that can be inflicted on a sporting motorcycle. The POLISHED upper fork triple-clamp. Polishing this part has probably been responsible for more UFO sightings, sunburned eye-lids, and retinal burns than any one cares to admit to… Dumb move. Unless you live and ride underground. I am getting it powder-coated black yesterday.

The obvious lack of air cleaning apparatus…. A minor issue… easily remedied…

Some genius also painted the front and rear rotor centers yellow to match the wheels…. WITHOUT removing them from the wheels. Bonus. Just for fun I test fit a mostly-complete set of blue/white body work. I descide I will run this when I have it completely sorted mechanically. I love the blue and white. In the mean time- I yank the carbs and give them a thorough cleaning.

Looks good huh? Yeah……..

The dart board is what I throw things at when plans go awry…

I charge the battery and install a throttle and air-cleaners while I’m cleaning the carbs, then - fill it with some 10W-40 and a bit of premium unleaded. Oh, boy. It takes awhile but it finally coughs and spits and fires… it doesn’t want to run. Surprise, surprise. I finally get it to run for a few minutes and then shut ‘er down and do a plug check. BLACK. Waaaay rich. Hmmm. Also there is a disturbing puddle of oil forming under the engine as well as several alarming trickles from the top-end. ‘For restoration or parts’ is starting to sound like parts… BUT never say die, right? I dig in….

Life during wartime.

I discover all kinds of lovely things. First I find a hairline crack at a case bolt near the rear of the case. I descide that JB weld will do until I feel REALLY bored in the winter months. Once I am into the motor I find there is a stripped tappet lock nut- only three out of four valves in the number 1 pot were actually opening and closing. I find that someone used about a QUARTER TON of gasket goop on the RUBBER valve cover gasket. It’s RUBBER dude. Chill. They also applied the same theory to the head gasket… which since they RE-USED a bent and battered head-gasket could almost be mis-construed as a savvy move, almost. SO, needless to say- new-so-clean-so-fresh head gasket, head re-torqued, valves adjusted, stripped nuts replaced, valve cover saved from being embalmed in sealant and we’re ready to try firing ‘er up again. I have also taken this opportunity to fit black wheels and some fresh(er) rubber. Replaced a few other miscellaneous missing bits.

Pretty huh?

Now we’re getting it… I can taste the love… It fires without too much trouble… running flat tho’… I muck about with the carbs- adjust the needles a bit and realize the vaccum ports for the emission system are wide open. I close them off and BAM. She’s crispy and happy. Sounds decent. Wow. I rip ‘er around town for a few minutes pull back into the driveway. Ok the motor feels Ok… but the fork feels like it is made out of 2X4’s. Ruff- and it’s got a cracked pre-load cap on the right side. I flinch at every pot hole- visions of springs embedded in the eye-socket will haunt my sleep. It’s late and I am tired- I go inside the house. I come back out in the morning and ‘My- what a large puddle of oil you have grandma’. F**K. I take me about 20 minutes but I finally track it to the clutch push-rod seal. Jesus. Ok. $3.50 part. No biggie. While I am doing that I’ll fix the forks.

Don’t drop anything into that slot in the middle… just FYI.

The first test-ride- pre fork repair and still marking it’s spot.

Some 5wt Bel-Ray and a little time- HOLY CRAP. I wish all fork overhauls were so gratifying. An hour and a half and the front end is transformed- now the back feels like poop. LOL… can’t win. So we’re oil-tight- the forks are on and I take ‘er on the maiden voyage- to work. 10 miles away. Yes- I did hit 120 on the way… felt alright. The back tires a bit roached tho’ slides ALLL-over. Every corner… kinda fun though- I feel like a GP star for about a minute.

Looking ok for a 20 year-old bike…

It’s even shiny-ish!!!

Working on aquiring that back tire… and fine tuning the carbs… for now- it’s my daily transportation…


I rode it for 4000 mile this summer with the blue and white bodywork but I’ve gone back to red and black. Now I am riding to and from school….

I love the look of this body- but I am using the red for winter…. and repairs….

A new rear tire!!! YAY!!

Miles of smiles behind this bubble….

The most current look…