Monday, December 24, 2012

Random from the archive

Circa 2005. Back then, we were waiting for our new house to be finished in a long term cottage. With the lack of any sort of workshop (not to mention a simple garage), motorcycle projects could have been stopped short but kept on thanks to cottage owner's kindness. The old farm had horse stables with a strange domed-roof extension. Despite being a rather high building, it had a low roof once inside and very narrow window holes. The owner had used it as an extra stables stall since he'd bought the place, but would have lent it for just a cleaning session. That's what I did and this is how I ended up building a 2003 Kawasaki ZX9R track bike in a WW1 bunker.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Worst throttle cable routing ever

I'm currently in the process of converting the Speed Triple to clip-ons. While normally being a rather simple operation - off goes the wide bars, on goes the clip-ons - it seems like there was an issue with the throttle cable that was waiting to be fixed. That is, even if the bike is supposed to have been serviced at the Triumph dealer, the throttle housing sticks on the bars for the first few millimeters. Nasty as you had to insist to have the grip twist a little and then more to have it come back to zero position.

Daytona clutch and throttle cables have been sourced from ebay to try to sort this out. But then, as the unmounting process had begun, I discovered the worst throttle cables routing ever ... Now look at this thing ... So the cables get out of the bars housing, go around the headstock, then dive through the frame.

Up until now, it doesn't sound that bad. But then, what is that tight turn and curvy bend ? 

The Daytona cable seems to have a more straight shape overall. and once installed really makes the difference on the throttle feeling. Long story short, now for the final result (detailed post with pictures will follow) :

(Notice the really nice and racy Renthal diamond grip on the left bar ... that's a bit of teasing for my friend Yvan :P )

Saturday, December 1, 2012


That's 4 and a half minutes of some guy going around in circles on a Speed Triple. Call that boring or mesmerizing.

No you can't have your time back, sorry.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

90 years of motorcycles

BMW revealed this rather intriguing ad promising to release a new roadster for this special 90th anniversary.

Can't wait to see the bike in full.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Rossi on 2013 Yamaha

Meanwhile (while Lorenzo is still up in the air, that is), Valentino Rossi is back on a 2013 Yamaha for a post-season testing session.

The bike is said to be turning right ...

... and left as well

Experience has it that we should all keep calm with his return to Yamaha and debut on the M1. We'll all see what it's like next year.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Metisse R1200CR

During the last decade Metisse have built some of the most eccentric bikes around. And their new R1200CR is no other. Metisse started over from a BMW R1200R and put some modified fairing and tail unit to come up with this. (source

Notice the rather unusual handlebar

If you fancy having one like this, Metisse let you chose between these options : 
- you either buy the complete bike for 19 990€
- or you pop in in the Metisse workshop with your own R1200R (preferably a Classic version with spokes wheels). In that case it'd still cost you 5 990€

Monday, November 19, 2012

Air Lorenzo

While with time I came to appreciate Jorge Lorenzo's style and commitment, it's not exactly the kind of riding that helped making up my mind.

Jorge Lorenzo highsiding his M1 - Valencia 2012

Let's say something positive : even when he's highsiding, you can witness complete dedication to the move (remember China 2008 ?).

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Random from the archive

First close encounter with the Aprilia RSV1000 back in 2004. A friend and I were looking to try out bikes when the idea to go to a local Kawasaki / Aprilia dealer sprang out. He was into the big Aprilia (of the time) and I wanted to give the new (at the time) Z1000 a spin. I remember I wasn't that happy on (literally, you sit on the RSV) the Aprilia, but with time this bike really grew in me and I've since thought several times already I would buy one one day. The one hasn't come yet however.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Royal Enfield Cafe Racer

Sooner this year Royal Enfield revealed a new bike which will complete their range alongside the Bullet. A stock cafe racer ? Brilliant ! Hey look, it even reads Öhlins on the rear shock.

The Indian-based factory has not said whether or not they will be importing this new model to the UK. Don't even mention the rest of Europe ...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Headstock damage

While making the Speed Triple more Speed'tona, converting from wide bars to clipons, the headstock revealed its dark secrets. Looking at the top yoke and frame, there's no doubt the bike has undergone at least one theft attempt.

Does it make an uglier bike ? I don't think so, nor will it make it a dead project. The top yoke will be changed any time soon anyway ...

Monday, October 29, 2012

World champ

The new world champion. Has his cool factor improved since his last title ? Yes, definitely.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


It's a Daytona, but you get the idea ...

Mono seat tail with great graphics, inverted forks, powerful brakes and beefy lower triple clamp, black frame, carbon protections, ... It's a nice tool apparently used on track.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Kawasaki Z800

More plastic ? No thanks ... The new Kawasaki Z800 reminds me of those bad motorcycle caricatures ... Please Mr Kawasaki, update your styling.

Guintoli wins WSBK Magny-Cours first race

How delightful it was to see Sylvain win first race today. After being fired mid-championship from Liberty Racing  for spurious reasons ("bad results", they say ...), Sylvain teamed up with Pata to race (almost) the same Ducati 1198R.
Rather obvious it was already, but now with Liberty Racing's withdrawal from Magny-Cours round, it is so blatant that they had money problems and put it all down on their riders ... Pitiful.
That said, Sylvain has a wonderful season ending with a podium at last week's Portimao. He' said to be riding a Suzuki in WSBK next year with Crescent apparently.

(Credits on the "arty" picture ;) )

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Random from the archive

Abstract :
The way we used to pack things in the back of a rented van for a trackday says it all on our motivation. This one's been taken in 2007 just before heading to Carole. Olivier and I had pilled up his loyal CB500 and my CBR600F4, tons of spares and our suits in a way nothing could move.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Triumph tool

Whatever the plan really is for the Triumph, I would have to be able to remove the top yoke one day or another. The main issue is that I had never looked at the headstok nut before with the idea of having to remove it, so never come to the conclusion it needed a special tool. Moreover, over the almost 20 bikes I've owned, none ever required anything but a monkey wrench for their headstock nut to be removed.

Looks like it's already been removed or more likely butchered in the past.
Ok, so if this Triumph needs one, then let's try to find one somewhere. Spending a bit of time on eBay might sometimes prove be a successful approach, and for a short time I had one of these tools for me, but was outbid in the last minutes. Nevermind, the second chance came to the form of the Triumph online parts specialist World of Triumph. Most parts for 955i models can still be had new from them (apart from options of the likes of faux-carbon protectors and fly screens which seems to have disappeared off the surface.)

The tool has been delivered within 3 days and its only 2 teeth are now ready for action.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Super Bol d'or

Spotted this very nice Honda CB1100F Super Bol d'or on a forum (cant' remember exactly where now that I' writing).
It seems to have undergone the full factory treatment with FCR carbs, lightweight wheels, swapped swing arm, a pair of Öhlins for the rear and what looks to be a Kayaba at the front.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Triumph Bonneville

Good friend Greg and I went out for a spin last week-end. We first met at the shops, since I had some parts to locate and buy. I couldn't find what I came there for, but we already had a foot in the Trumph dealer so why not to give the Bonneville a try. I must admit that was a long thought trap as I had this in the back of my head for quite a bit of time and did not mention Greg when talked about having a Saturday ride.

Anyways. I didn't know what to expect really, but utterly loved it. The ride position is relaxed, and the suspension is on the firm side. The bike is not wobbly, it's actually even stable in fast corners while being nimble in town. Engine is not the most powerful unit in the world with 70ish bhp, but it's enough to pull strongly and sounds great. And then there's the ergonomics - everything seems so easy.

Good looking motorcycle that brings fun at reasonable speed. That's certainly what I truly loved about it. Go try one yourself before telling I'm turning chopper style.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Random from the archive

Abstract :
This picture was taken back in 2004 at the Brussels Motorcycle Show. This is Honda VTR SP2 (or RC51, it depends on what side of the planet you live) in a colour scheme you don't cross very often.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Random from the archive

Abstract :
Back in 2003, I thought I'd jump from my lovely Honda CB600 Hornet on something bigger. I had been offered by a friend this 2001 Honda 929 CBR he was rebuilding. This is how I saw it the first time.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Homologation process

Today, Greeny and I went to the vehicle inspection center so to put an end to the homologation process. We had an appointment at 10am, arrived at 9.50 and were taken cared of at 10.45. Enough to read old magazines from the waiting room, much to the dentist way. 

Our turn came and the tech guy immediately said he could not go against what Triumph had put on the partial homologation notice, because they do not receive homologation instructions for bikes that had undergone the European reception process. "I guess the only thing I can do is to trust what Triumph has put on this piece of paper ...". Well, ok then, sounds good to me.

Greeny waiting its turn in the sun
All in all, it didn't take more than 5 minutes to be said the complete homologation statement would be sent to me by mail tomorrow. I guess it means I won't be allowed to ride with that british plate any longer ... too bad.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Rossi back to Yamaha

Could Rossi have already signed a contract to return to Yamaha ? Reading from several sources, he apparently has.

It all started two days ago with a piece of news in La Gazetta dello sport stating Rossi may have signed a 3 years double agreement with Yamaha : 2 years in MotoGP, then 1 year in WSBK. 
Later that day, Niall Mackenzie - former GP500 racer, BSB champion and current Eurosport consultant -  twitted something about a surprise in the blue team for next year.
Today Ducati MotoGP team confirms the break up with Rossi at the end of the season.

There are a few more things to learn from that new contract with Yamaha : 
- Andrea Dovozioso who was hopping official Yamaha support for next year might not get it and would probably have to stay with Tech 3.
- Yamaha will be back in WSBK for 2014 as an official team supporting Valentino Rossi.

Want to fast forward to 2013 ?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Random from the archive

This picture was taken in the Paris Motorcycle show back in 2003. The bike is a preproduction Voxan Black Magic. People drooling enough to accept the 15 000€ bill (which was a lot of money back then, compared to rest of the bike field) were asked to place an order on Voxan's website. As a restarting company, Voxan did not have a dealer network any more, so they imagined that (at that time) revolutionary way of selling their bike.
While being a beautiful motorcycle, the Black Magic and sporty-derived version Charade never sold enough to save Voxan.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

KTM 690 by Ruleshaker

Yet another KTM ? Tell me you don't want to try one of these ultra light bikes on a sunny afternoon on your favorite twisty road ... This one's been built by French dealer Ruleshaker.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Longer leg

With longer shocks installed, the big S needs its side stand lengthened. Guys at Metal Machines have offered to handle the job for me as it needs a bit more than 3cm of extra length welded. It surely is going to be much cheaper than an OEM part. At 180€ unmounted, a long side stand for Boxercup Replika models must be made out of titanium.

It took me a bit of time to figure out how to remove the side stand, but it's now ready for the mod.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mysterious forks

I bought that fork yesterday complete with yokes and brake calipers. It's a Showa down a Honda 929 CBR. I've read these are pretty sensible to suspension optimisation work. It will be a nice addition to the Speed Triple project. Yes, it's going to take the fork conversion way, even though it migtht take a bit of time before gathering all the required parts and finally ending up swappping the forks.

It also came with a horn and a contact swith. The latter had to be removed quickly as the seller wanted to get it back and I had no use of it. It's actually completely useless without the CDI unit on these HISS Hondas. So off it goes.

I'm surpised just how light the top yoke is. Gonna have to refresh the paint though ... and cover that Honda sign too ...