Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Stripping a fatty

The stripping process has begun last week. As always with this sort of operation, it may bring its own kind of nice surprises and disappointing finds. One rarely come without the other and there's no reason a 15 year-old green panzer would make an exception to the rule, as clean as it may look.

So off goes the fairing. The engine looks clean, so is the radiator. Unfortunately, the reason to this is that the latter has been repainted. So has the frame in order to cover what looks like a nasty solvent damage.

Right side, no real fuss. The cooler still looks too clean, but the rest is aged reasonably, down pipes included, and period related.

Up front, with air intake covers removed, the cowl shows a cracked light mount. It's worse than I imagined while still being fixable. It's not in the priority list anyway.

Finally, I found a way to shave some weight out of this old fatty. There's at least 1kg of rust packed in the tool set.

Front wheel shows signs of leaking fork seals.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Jake Holden's ZRX1224R Pikes Peak racer for sale !

Check this ad if you're after a neat bike. Real Pikes Peak contender and not one of the slowest !

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Honda NR750

Came across these clean pics of the super rare 8-valved oval-pistoned Honda NR750. Enjoy !

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Leaky front end

Among other thingies here and there when buying project Green Panzer, there was a leaking fork seal on the right leg. It wasn't that bad at the time of pushing the bike on the trailer in order to bring it home. But now that is sits on the bench, there's a big oily spot growing right under the brake caliper and I noticed the left inner tube was starting to feel greasy as well.

The front end needs a full rebuild anyway. And as later posts will show it's only just the beginning of other nastier finds. Hey, it's a 15 year-old fatty after all ...

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Think Motorworks

There was the photo below attached to the last Motorworks promotional email.

If you're into a BMW project, especially into a airhead one, their huge stock and precise knowledge might come handy at some point. They were to me several times already, even though the project is an oilhead. Motorwoks would also be a useful address if you own a hexheads as they offer a full range accessories for recent flats.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The 2 scales trick

Weight is a sensitive topic when working on a ZX7R. There are loads of forum threads around the web quoting dozens of ways to address the heaviness issue with solutions ranging from "buy another bike" to "put yourself on a diet". Now there are some really interesting posts about how to really shave a couple of pounds out of a ZX7R, but you have to know where you're actually starting from.

I knew too much about the bike's real weight before buying, but I'm seeing this as challenging and am pretty sure there's potential to make this green Panzer tank behave. So to size up progress, I bought these 2 mechanical scales last week.

Then the work began. I put the ZXR on the bench, then on paddock stands to have both wheels raised enough from the ground to be able to slide the scales underneath.

With the scales positioned, it was time to measure out which, being alone, turned out to be a tricky operation. I had to lower down the front, then the back while trying to keep the bike up straight but my own weight away. Next time, I'll opt for a simple solution.

Time for the real figures now. The scales measured the bike's weight distribution as being settled this way :
- 112kg rear
- 107kg front
And that's being without a battery and with a drained fuel tank. So with a additional 4kg battery the ZX7R sets a new record high of 223kg. There's room for improvement so let's start the diet plan.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Honda RC45

While on family visit last week, there was this Honda RC45 parked in front a house near my brother-in-law's. First thing I did was jumping out of the car to snap a picture of it before it disapears while family members were looking at me incredulous.

What are the chances to spot a nice RC45 quietly side-standed nowadays ? To be honest I stuggled to explain the rarety of this kind of encounter not knowing what it should be compared to. I just realize that I still would today to people out the motorcycle scene.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

New toy

The place on the bench couldn't be left empty for too long. After some time thinking about a new project, I went to see a couple of bikes, mainly sportbikes from the 1990 era. I seem to be stuck there, somewhere between 1992 and 1998. The more motorcycle-related things change, the more I want them to stay as they were back then. Modern, electronically-tempered motorcycles are not that much appealing ... 'til I change my mind, that is ...

Em ... long story short, I found this very nice and low mileage 1998 Kawasaki ZX7R. It's amazing for how little money this old glory can be bought nowadays. Yes, I know I've read this and that already : it's heavy, doesn't have the top end of a GSX-R, it's way too much green, and on ... But the thing is I've always had a soft spot for ZX7Rs and there's certainly potential for a nice build.

Did I mention this is the 20th motorcycle I own since I started riding in 2001 ? Wanna ride this one ?

Friday, November 22, 2013

No, thanks ...

We're heading fast to Christmas, but really it's no excuse to fall into that.

I did receive the offer for these slippers in a promotional email that also suggested a motorcycle-shaped cake pan. Please Santa, I haven't been that bad this year.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Extra ball

Just 2 days after the first pair of Dunlops arrived, a 3rd tire was delivered to my door ... Strange as only paid for one set.

I'm now with a free spare front. Not a bad operation this.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Marquez who ?

Now who is this racer on the foreground of this Johann Zarco picture ?

(From 2013 Philip Island round, credits on picture)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

PocketNC 5 axis milling machine

I know someone around that wouldn't mind hosting such a nice milling machine in his workshop, though he might find it a little small ... :P

Find out more on The Kneeslider.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sold !

The Speed Triple is gone with a new owner last week. Other plans got in the way of keeping this bike any longer and since it was in a rather ready state it found someone interested rather quickly.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Trip to The Netherlands

Last week, I rode the R1100S to The Netherlands, to have the Rapid Bike fuel injection module set up by Dutch specialist Ruud Fredriks, founder of Tovami. How a sunny and sweet ride it was. I mostly took A roads, but there were areas where the landscape was absolutely beautiful and hopefully where only B roads were available.

Just a few miles before destination, I stopped by a town map to make sure I was where I intended to.

When I arrived, I wasn't really impressed with Ruud's shop. I even thought it was closed. But then that was before I pushed the door ...

Ruud's shop is clean and organised. There was a BMW HP4 on one bench waiting for a new set of clutch plates. The story of this bike is that it's being raced in the Dutch Superbike championship (as well as IDM). Ruud has spent half of the time praising for the HP4 technological advance and build quality. He's prepared the one you see below himself by working on the electronics (making the ECU think the rear wheel is smaller to change the traction control's behaviour, for instance).

I've spent 2 hours with him that felt like 5 minutes. Ruud is a very knowledgeable person who has dozens of racing and riding tales to listen to, like the one about this dyno room he's built himself.

Ruud also builds his own kit like this battery-powered air-fuel ratio tool he once took in an airplane to check if his setup of  the plane's old Bings would work up there. Would ...

Now to the RapidBike fiddling part. He put the R1100S on the dyno, tweaked the map for every rev range and throttle openings and only stopped when he was happy with the result. He managed to build a map that provides a nice flat torque curve (where the standard one has a flat spot around 4500rpm) and helped bringing the power figures up to 101BHP at the rear wheel (compared to 98 standard at the crank).

The ride back home was great. The bike sure pulls stronger. I said that already, but this R1100S came to the point of being the best bike I've had in all these years. Now that it's well set up in the engine department, the major improvements made in the suspension area can really be felt and are definitely to be considered as the bike's best upgrade.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Headstock bearings

Some pics of the headstock bearing change on the triple. A rather easy operation ... well provided you can put a hand on the Triumph special tool to remove the top nut. I would recommend either buying one online or replacing with a hex nut if you're planning to keep your triple for a while.

Old top bearing
Guess ? Yeah, new top bearing
Lower bearing (upper part)
Lower bearing (lower part)
If you're looking back in the archive, you will probably notice that the lower bearing used to be a ball bearing, whereas the one displayed above is a roller bearing. That's because Triumph have supposedly upgraded the roller bearing with a newer designed ball bearing. The problem is that it's harder to fit on the steering stem compared to the "old" ball bearing. Someone in the Triumph community mentioned the All-balls bearing kit as being a quality set, so I ordered one containing a nice and easy to install lower roller bearing.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Ducati 1199 Panigale R Superleggera

Is the name self-explanatory enough or should it be even longer ?

- Hey man ! What's this bike you're riding ?
- It's a Ducati 1199 Panigale R Superleggera [breath]
(Credits Asphalt & Rubber as the picture shows)