Thursday, August 27, 2015

Airbox and carbs (part 1)

January 2015, we're keeping on stripping the bike to its bones. The engine had started rather easily earlier in late December, but having been stored in damp conditions and bean let standing still and unridden for an unknown period of time, the carbs are due for a good clean. So off the airbox and ancillaries to give way for the carburetors extraction.

Now that's a dirty arm ... compared to the freshly cleaned engine

Carbs removed and ready to be sent to the likable and knowledgeable people at Max Power. They will strip them for inspection before plunging the whole in the sonic parts cleaner.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Loom operation

There really are very few things that I hate about working on a motorcycle. Electrical work is definitely the first to spring to mind. In all those years tinkering on bikes, I'm still anxious by the simple thought of having to deal with anything that comes close to a wiring loom.

We're in December 2014 and there's a Datatool alarm system to remove on a previously unloved Hornet 600. A quick inspection of the extra cables reveals they've been soldered rather than vampirizing the loom - the former is actually far better for the bike as it's much more reliable and certainly delays the development of the inevitable electrical Gizmos. Of course the system could also have been plugged, which would have been even better, but it would have required a bike-specific set of plugs and cables that I suspect Datatool do not produce actually.

Well, does removing the alarm system requires an iron solder ? Yes. And is there any place to plug that tool down in that dark place called garage ? No. So off goes the whole loom up to the flat's wooden floor (only protected by a mere flattened cardboard) for a soldering session.

This is the loom just as dropped off the bike. Notice the black datatool brain on the left. 

A datatool alarm is attached to several electrical components. On the battery, of course, on the ignition start relay, on the CDI, but on your signals relay as well. And it also comes with its own fuse box.
The extra fuse box
Some cables may simply be cut, but require the mandatory insulating tape before thinking about using the loom again. Others have to be unsoldered, separated and soldered back together.

It's cut so close from the CDI's main plug ...
The one from the starter relay
Tumor removed
Right, now for the clean and fitting the loom back

Friday, August 14, 2015

A long and rather uninteresting post for the memories

If you ever get the chance to restore a motorcycle, you are most likely to find yourself in the middle of a disassemble process. Noisy dried out bearings, flaked paint, rusted tank, cracked rubbers and other leaking gaskets are all the kinds of reason that would certainly require to put the whole bike apart.

With all the bolts out, you could always try to trust your memory in order to remember which goes where and more importantly what all the cable and loom routes are. But the thing is your restoration process might carry you a little further than you'd initially planned. They always do ... And as time flies while you're waiting for your parts to come back from the painter or your NOS parts to be delivered, memories of the neat details for when everything will have to get together again just fade.

Now, you could also take a whole bunch of pictures as reminders of what you've been removing and how and where it should go back on the bike. It's a nice trick provided you happen to think about taking pictures before the disassemble actually starts ... But if you do, you're rewarded with a collection of photos of your bike at the most unusual angles. Ones you're very unlikely to look at once the rebuild is over, ones like these.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Low inertia generator kit

Spotted in Performance Bikes back in August 2014. I really wish one existed for one of my bikes, they look cool. Or maybe I should think of a total loss ignition ...

Thursday, August 6, 2015

eBay bargain = new project

Back in October 2014, when wandering on a well known auction website, an offer caught my attention. This was about a damaged repairable 2001 Honda 600 Hornet that had covered around 25k miles and which seemed like it could look good with really little efforts. 

I had one of these in 2002. It was fun and taught me a lot about riding a motorcycle with its wide bars, revy engine and featherweight feel. Seeing this bike in blue (just like mine) brought a lot of memories :  from the day I went to catch it with a friend, to the thousands miles covered on rides and meetings. It never let me down (well except from a snapping clutch cable that I fixed on the road side) and had good laughs on it.

Anyway, after a couple of days observing the auction, the price stayed rather low and there was suddenly the possibility of having a Hornet again. I placed a bid and won at ... very little money. I won't mention the price as it was really a steal. The pictures below are when we took delivery west of London.

From this post on, the story of this bike will be related here, from the strip to the complete rebuild (still not finished at the time of writing this one), from the discovery of an overall really tatty bike to the sometimes unnecessary salvation of hidden parts.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Welded plug

Oh no, the faux-O2 sensor plug has gone again. We're back in May 2014 and the R11S is making a rattle noise again after losing the meral-resin made center of the said plug for the third time ...

Time for a definitive fix : a weld. The plug hasn't failed since.

Sunday, July 12, 2015


Some inspirational pics from Practical Sportsbikes

Grumpy's GSX R 7/11 
A Rothman-esque VFR 750 RC24 from the classifieds

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Like the Exxon Valdez stranded on a shore

Picture this : one day (way back in March from what I can remember), you just get out of your bed happy because it's one of those days where you can go to work on your motorcycle. No prim appointment, no drive-through shopping, no kid to drive around ... just green lights all the way.

So there you are, whistling in the lift on your way down to your underground parking lot, light hearted ... just to discover the unthinkable terrible truth when sliding up your garage door : your bike is laying on its side in the middle of a huge oil spill spoiling your toolboxes and other part containers ... like ... like the Exxon Valdez stranded on a shore vomiting its brent over local animals.

I think it took me almost 2 full minutes staring at the scene to realize what was in front of me that morning. The R11S had escaped from its stand overnight and fallen hard on the ground breaking the left engine cover open and letting 3 liters of rather fresh oil pour out from a huge crack. Some days ...

A new magnesium cover from NOS and some new oil later, the bike is on its wheels and working great again, but it's without mentioning the 2 hours spent bent both knees down wiping up the supertanker slick. It's rather rude for the R11S calling it a supertanker, as it's way lighter than you'd think, but you certainly better get the idea and full picture that way.

OK, it was already damaged before the fall ...
... but now it has a huge crack

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Back in september 2014, while looking for a new project I spotted this tweaked first gen GSXR 750 on a well-known classified site.