Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Junkyard shock swap

October 2015 - I remember when I first saw the Hornet's shock the only thing I could think of was to find a way to source another one, because of how much rusty and knackered it looked. With these bikes now more than 10 years old (last incarnation of the carbed version being the 05-06 model), there was very little chance I could find a descent shock second hand. 

So err ... well I don't' recall exactly how it started but I had a spare BMW R1100S shock hanging around (since I swapped it for a great Nitron), and when laid side by side the Hornet's and the BMW's looked suddenly rather similar. So I started playing with idea I could certainly attempt a shock swap.

I had read on several forums that no other shock could really go between the Hornet's frame and swingarm. And this is something I was ready to believe. Because, not only is the space rather tight on the frame side for a shock to slide in, but the rear suspension is a basic direct frame-to-swingarm system. No fancy Pro-Link linkage, no dog bone, just a bare shock between these two. And this has an impact on the shock type to use.

But then if you take a look at BMW's paralever suspension, you will be faced with the same kind of system. It's "just" a single sided swingarm mated to the back of the frame with a shock in-between. So if the sizes look the same and the mounts look the same too, then there's no reason not to try the swap.

The first thing I did was to present the shock to the bike. One thing to notice immediately is that the lower mount is actually larger and would require some custom spacers.

On the top side, the BMW's shock requires more room to fit in. It touches the expansion bottle, but nothing to really worry about. More concerning was the shock's body touching the frame at the swingarm's lowest position. A bit of metal (but really not much) had to be ground here and there to give the shock a little more room at the top.

One of the key issues was that the BMW's shock comes with a preload adjuster and its protruding knob. There was no way the right side panel would fit again, so the knob, complete with the stem, had to go.

One other issue was that the remaining of the preload adjuster, the parts that could not be removed form the shock, was in the way of the main starter relay. The latter had to be relocated.

50 spacers later (I had to order 50 at once ...), we have the shock properly attached to the swingarm by reusing the shock's internal spacers and needle bearings.

So now, there's actually an alternative to the Hornet's shock.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Parts coming by our way

September 2015 - Some new parts arrived for the Hornet. First a BMC filter that cost less than a OEM paper one. Second is a Bitubo spring set along with 15 grade oil (that came free with the set), all purchased from Carpimoto.

OE springs and bushes compared to Bitubo ones.

The BMC is just because we needed an air filter, but the Bitubo spring set is definitely for an upgrade over the way softer OE springs. I had moded a Hornet similarly with Öhlins springs 10 years earlier with great results. This makes the bike dive much less and brakes are can be applied loads harder then.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Head bearings

August 2015 - New head bearing slotted, this project's starting to look like a motorcycle again ... almost.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Painting session 3

July 2015 - Having been unable to completely remove the sticky blue paint from the bottom yoke, the whole assembly, along with the headlight bracket, went to Max Power for a blasting. Extensive use of shot peening eventually got rid of the ugly blueish coating to reveal the bare metal at last.

Then came the masking step.

And finally, this painting session is over with nice looking, freshly painted yokes (masking tape still to be removed, though). The way these parts react even to light layers of paint is such a thing to cheer about I really wished I'd had more to do.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sunday ride

October 2015 - A little stop at a silly useless place while on a 2-up sunday ride.

I utterly love this bike whatever people think it is and even though it's not a sharp as it used to at the time of writing. The front shock is due for a rebuild with high expectations.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Bearing change

June 2015 - Let's put some new bearings in the rear wheel and sprocket holder. So out with the old ones ...

... and in went the new. It's always a good idea to start over with a fresh set of bearings, especially when you get a bike with unknown history. All Balls Racing makes complete sets of bearings with rather good quality.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Abba stand

Abba stands have been a must-have garage asset for a few years already. Hairy mechanics can't praise their stability and build quality enough. The stand displayed below is the entry-level "Superbike", but Abba has a full range of more advanced products that you can check out on their website.

We bought one recently for our projects. This certainly is the only way to check what they say about it is true. And it actually is. It's so stable !
The only 2 drawbacks I've found until now are : 
  • It's really wide. Of course wider means steadier, but it makes it impossible to use on narrow benches like mine.
  • It's a bit heavy and, combined with size, it does not make it the perfect tool on a trackday.
Don't get me wrong though, this is an excellent product and we would rate it really high ... if we were asked.