Friday, October 28, 2016

Tank and rear cowl repairs

September 2015 - This below is how our tank looked when we bought the bike. It came with a large ding on the right side but no dramatic sign of rust. The tank pad though is one ugly thing that looks so 2001.

And these are the scuffs on the rear cowl. Again no drama, no broken lugs, just a few scratches here and there.

So both of these parts have been added to the paint list ... though no painter had been contacted at this time yet. We ended up calling a friendly guy that was starting his own business and needed some references. I must say that was a bit of a gamble and we didin't know what to expect, but the guy looked trustworthy and we shook hands.

Then we had two stress calls. The first when the painter said he couldn't find the proper paint that would match the provided color code. The second one when he said he did know the technique required by the specific 3-layers Haiti blue paint. He later said he'd learn on our parts ...

Fast forward, the parts came back in a new deep and shiny blue dress. Stickers were sourced from Bike Stikers (or The Image Works, if you like) applied directly over the paint and varnish, but that will be ok and I'm rather happy with how they look.

In the end, there is a sign that I should never have worried in the first place : the amount of care the painter would put when handling the parts from his car to mine. He even sent a satisfaction survey a couple of days after delivery. Who does that ? Contact saved for future use.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The mouse, the motorcycle and the boat

I was looking at my daughter's work the other day and discovered she recently passed a logic test. She's only 5, but she did rather well. But then, getting though all test's pages, I came across this one which is definitely something to cheer about.

Not only is there a motorcycle on this test, but my little one did not choose it as being the odd one in the list ... preferring to chose that strange looking boat, rather than a cute little mouse or this very nice example of 1990s sportbike finesse. Good job little one !

Now if you are a motorcycle addict like me, then it's now long since you've clicked that picture to check that bike a little closer. Just in case this could be based on a real model ... Guess what ? It is and it does help putting a date on the logic test ... Has logic evolved since the 90s ?

Let me know if you found the same as me ;)

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.