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All new for 2017

As 2017 ramps up its all new for the new year.  New bike, new parts, new experiences.  Enter ‘Mia’ the MV.  This 2016 F3 675 is the platform that I will build into my dream racebike.  Parts are rolling in and after a quick photoshoot the teardown will begin.

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New race hauler and epoxy: things to come

Sometimes the ancillary items help make or break a weekend.  In this case we were running out of room in the truck and hated playing tetris to hope it would all fit.  Enter a nice brand new 7×14 cargo trailer.  I will be spending this year building it into our perfect customized track transport.  First things first though, flooring!  I happened to have some spare blue floor epoxy from my garage left over.  with it going bad and some fresh floor in need of protecting I decided to coat both the trailer and shed before they got packed with junk for eternity.  IMG_4065

The process is pretty simply and clean plywood accepts the coating quite readily.  Liberal application of aluminum oxide provides a sure-footed surface that is incredibly tough.

Without the oxide the floor has a nice gloss sheen to it and provides a very high-end seamless look.   Now just to finish cabinets and lights and all that.

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The secret to a successful motor rebuild: Time

I wanted to make sure that the bikes would be fresh for 2016 and have a reduced chance of grenading under the stresses of racing.  Starting with Laura’s 250 I decided to do a tear down and re-bearing due to the unknown amount of street and track miles.  Also in the previous season I had over-revved it a few times on accident with a downshift while at redline.  I am happy to report that this process ended up being successful and the motor ran great for all three days at Buttonwillow.  Behind the scene however is the amount of time that it took to do what on paper was a simple bearing replacement.

IMG_4155

Nothing is ever that simple.  The motor and bearing were in surprisingly good shape.  Only the rod bearings showed any significant wear and even those were nowhere near ready to let go.  Everything was cleaned and inspected.  The sizes of bearings were noted and ordered along with gaskets, rod bolts, head bolts and piston sets.  A few head bolts had been damaged in removal so new ones were in order.  The pistons showed some scuffing and lots of carbon.  The wrist pins were tight and not smooth in the pistons like they should have been.  So I ordered a set of Weisco piston kits that came with rings and were only slightly more than just OEM ring sets alone.  Rod bolts are a torque to yield kind of item so its always good to replace.  IMG_4088
The problem is in inventory and shipping.  I knew that it took about a week to get in OEM parts and from an online retailer that would usually mean 2 weeks to my door.  This is OK except that when I finally received my shipment the rod bolts had mysteriously become wing bolts for an ATV air filter.  Days after a stern email was penned I got a response and new ones began their journey to me.  All this while I had one piston in hand.  Stock on another web-store was wrong and I had to wait for back-orders to be filled.  THREE weeks later I was able to finally source another more expensive piston from a third store and cancel the first one.  At this point well over a month has elapsed since I first split the cases and I don’t even have all my parts yet.

After three late nights of assembly I stuff the poor ninja’s heart back in its chest and crank it up.  I am rewarded with an immediate heartbeat and a bonus of no leaks.  The amount of time and uncertainty that went into this build unfortunately postponed the rebuilding of the GSX-R motor.  I will leave that for another time and another caffeine induced heart murmur.

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Fork me!

Sometimes you just have to face that you wear out parts.  Anything that slides, rotates or moves will eventually wear.  This problem only gets worse when you face the face that a motorcycle nearing a decade old is going to have a diminished supply of low milage used parts on eBay.  I got mad at my forks for not sliding well and being very inconsistent.  The problem is that there is a nearly un-replaceable bushing in the outer tube and a very sketchy supply of “totally not bent” forks in the used market.  The advantage of racing superbike classes is that I am allowed At first this sounds like a easy way out albeit not a cheap one.  Well cost wise it was spendy, but easy it was not.  Ohlins does not make full forks for the 600 class bikes.  This is OK however they are larger in diameter and 15mm shorter than the forks I would be replacing.  The larger diameter was just a matter of calling Attack and ordering the correct diameter lower triple for a 2012 GSX-R1000.  The spacing and offset was the same as the set I already had.  This allowed me to reuse the upper triple and steering stem as well as the wheel, brake rotors and axle.  The FGRT forks had the ability to lengthen from a 120mm stroke to 130mm.  This would make up for some of the length difference however the gas-charged inserts I had in the stock forks also resulted in a 130mm stroke.  So this difference would have to be taken care of with extended fork caps.  IMG_3905

Of course I COULD have purchased a set and called it good.  However I had no answer that the correct ones even existed.  So the most logical solution was of course to make my own.  This stretched my skills in terms of duplicating exacting tolerances and both internal and external threads.  I am not able to not only match the previous fork length but move it up or down as needed.  It ended up being for more work than I expected.  However I have the satisfaction of a unique setup and one-off parts wether they actually make me faster or not.

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