my new (ol' but low cost) ride

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WebPilot
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my new (ol' but low cost) ride

Post by WebPilot » Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:11 pm

I got a plate and insurance last Friday and took her out Sunday for her 3rd 'shake down' run; this one legally on state roads. There were numerous things wrong with her, but it was a nice sunny day; I couldn't help myself.

She brought me home.

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I still have a hundred or so things to fix.
Last edited by WebPilot on Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: my new (ol' but low cost) ride

Post by WebPilot » Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:43 pm

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Re: my new (ol' but low cost) ride

Post by WebPilot » Thu Jul 16, 2009 4:46 am

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Re: my new (ol' but low cost) ride

Post by WebPilot » Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:51 pm

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That's a vintage Huffy 3 speed in the background of the previous pic. Gears are selected by twisting the right handlebar grip.
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Re: my new (ol' but low cost) ride

Post by WebPilot » Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:00 am

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If you ride, you'll notice something's wrong here.
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tufty
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Re: my new (ol' but low cost) ride

Post by tufty » Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:59 am

Apart from the horrible custom bike geometry, you mean?

I wouldn't worry, you'd have trouble doing stoppies on it anyway.

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Re: my new (ol' but low cost) ride

Post by WebPilot » Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:31 pm

It doesn't break my heart if you don't like her looks, T.

When I'm on it, I already get a lot of smiles and acknowledgments from riders coming from the opposing lane or those I pass on the side of the road.

Speaking of 'break', if the reader realized the the front brake hose isn't connected to the master cylinder (MC) and there is no front brake caliper mounted, you're right.

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A little history:

I found this bike in my buddy's neighbor's yard, sitting there partially under cover, beginning to rust away. I should have taken a picture of it back then; it was a mess. I thought to myself "A parallel twin, it should sound like a Triumph." The owner said the engine did run. The rear wheel was off; he used the tyre on his 1200 cc Sportster. He said he'd put a bald tire back on, would deliver the bike to my house and wanted $125 for it, with a title. I said I'd get back to him.

I went home and did some searching on the Internet. Yamaha produced this bike, a SOHC 650, from 1968 to 1983 (in the States). It was their most popular selling bike at that time, and maybe it still is. The bike was used a lot for 'flat track racing'. Parts for it can be found readily and they're not too expensive. There are numerous sites containing information on DIY XS repairs. I heard (via a wav file) one of these bikes 'starting up' and I was hooked. It went 'rump rump'.

IMO, this bike is a real motorcycle: it has a kick start as well as an electric, its engine is torquy, it vibrates, it has two carbs (no computer nor f.i.), it has an overhead cam, it has valves you can adjust, it has a center stand and this one has only 20 thousand miles on the odometer. This model does have electronic ignition.

I figured even if I don't like it when I'm done, I could sell it. So, I paid the man his money and he brought it to my house.

PLUS, I get a real 'kick' out of bringing discarded machines back from the 'dead'; not for a lot of money, but for some money. I don't think I have spent more than an additional $200 so far, and I've got it in almost rideable condition. Obviously, I have more time than money invested in this machine.

I got the bike up on its center stand and the first thing it did was start to leak (old and smelly) gas from its left carb. The rear brake 'had pedal' but the caliper wasn't moving; if you squeezed the front brake lever, the caliper would lock onto the rotor, but would not release for quite some time. It made the bike a real 'bear' to move around. So, I eventually removed the front MC and caliper.

I took the rear MC apart and found it filled with dirty brake fluid and one tiny hole plugged up. I cleaned it and put it back together, filled it with fresh brake fluid, 'bled' it and it worked again. Pads are not in too bad of shape. I've been riding the bike with only this rear operational. This is not one of my 'brighter' moves.

In the pic I had just taken apart and cleaned the front MC. I put it back on the handlebars and then decided to take pictures.

Behind the actuator lever, there is a sprung plunger assembly in the MC that is held in place by an internal C clip. The clip is deep inside the front MC body and my C clip pliers could not reach it; but a small pair of electronic 'needle nose' pliers can. However, you need to plunge the entire assembly in a can of brake fluid for a while (hours, days) until the circlip will free and spin around in its machined slot.

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Re: my new (ol' but low cost) ride

Post by WebPilot » Sat Jul 18, 2009 5:12 am

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I thought it prudent to disassemble the front caliper. Here is how I removed the piston.
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Re: my new (ol' but low cost) ride

Post by tufty » Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:28 am

WebPilot wrote:It doesn't break my heart if you don't like her looks, T.

When I'm on it, I already get a lot of smiles and acknowledgments from riders coming from the opposing lane or those I pass on the side of the road.
Just joshin' wit' ya. In reality, all that matters is that you like her. I'm currently (slowly) pulling an XT550 back to life, it's in a much worse shape than yours.

As for the 'ol "pistons out of the calipers" game, way back when, before I had a compressor, I used to ride an FZR400 (well, a 520, actually, but don't tell the insurance company that the 600 head and pistons work really well with the 400's short stroke rods). Lovely machine, but the calipers took very badly to the salted roads in a London winter, and needed a full rebuild every spring. After one particularly nasty winter, and my mate with his compressor being away, I take my calipers down to the local courier ratbike mechanic and ask him to "blow out the pistons" for me. I came back an hour later to find them all neatly extracted and wrapped up, but with plier marks all down the sides of the pistons, and a strong indication of "hammer blows gone wrong" on one of the calipers. I got slightly cross... Eventually, after a visit from my friends at the local chapter, he decided to reimburse me the cost of a new set of pistons and calipers.

Actually speaking of bikes, I need to do the valves on my VF500F2. Time to grow a third hand with 9" long fingers, 'cause I can't be arsed to take the lump out of the frame to do it.

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Re: my new (ol' but low cost) ride

Post by WebPilot » Sat Jul 18, 2009 5:53 pm

OK, T.

That's just another story of "the high cost of unskilled labor …".

Post some pics of your rides/projects.
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Re: my new (ol' but low cost) ride

Post by tufty » Sat Jul 18, 2009 7:43 pm

Well, here's the XT, as I received it (click to embiggify)

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And an end-on view, showing the horror-story bent frame

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My FZR looked like this (don't have any photos of mine to hand, in later days it had slightly modded lowers to clear the 600 collector)
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Of all the machines I've ever ridden, the FZR was by far and away the best; unbelieveably neutral in the corners, tiny enough to scream through London traffic at insane speeds, and (unbelievably enough given its small size and uncompromising racebike form) comfortable enough to tour on, two up. Once it had been "breathed on", it was capable of smoking pretty much everything out there.

The VF500 (my current ride) looks like this (again, no photos to hand)
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Over the years I've owned, variously and in approximately this order:

Honda C90 (cheap to run, but frequently stolen)
Honda CB250N "Superdream" (cheap wheels, ugly as sin, handled "like a dream")
Honda CX500 "plastic maggot" (ugh, vile)
Yam RD350LC (stupidly fast machine)
Dnepr ("Cossack") sidecar rig
Kawasaki GPZ500 (Sold as EN500 in the states, fun, slim, unfortunate habit of dropping its stator into the rotor and buggering both, plus the water pump)
Yam FZR400 (as described above)
Suzuki RF400R (the 600/900 frame with a downtuned GSXR400 motor fitted, unsurprisingly enough the combination was slightly underpowered for its impressive size, buzzed through the bars, and handled horribly in sidewinds. Hated it)
Husqvarna WR360 (Stupid, stupid, stupid, 2-stroke wheelie machine. I must have been mad to buy it)
VF500F2 & about 2/3 of an XT550 (current)

I like bikes :)

Simon

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Re: my new (ol' but low cost) ride

Post by WebPilot » Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:19 am

Yes, you like bikes, too.

I like the looks of that Yamaha. I never owned a sport bike before; they look funny with a sleeping bag strapped to them. But I'm always looking for my next bike.
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Re: my new (ol' but low cost) ride

Post by tufty » Sun Jul 19, 2009 8:10 am

If you get a chance to try one of the early FZRs, do. The 600s and 1000s are more common. A friend of mine had the 250cc version, which was utterly mental, it had an 18,000rpm redline IIRC. If you drove it hard it made a scream like some sort of tortured cat. The modern version of these bikes is the R1/R6, which is "better" in many respects, but frankly feels really tame, almost "bland".

I still rate the 400s very highly, they have a lot to recommend them. Firstly there's the power delivery, which, although "peaky" (you'll need to keep them in the sweet spot, a bit like a 'stroker) is unlikely to be overpowering - even with the FZR as stock I could lose Fireblades (which produced twice as much power, and more, for roughly the same weight) in the twisty stuff, as you could just keep your wrist twisted back, set brain to "stupid" and keep going. They are relatively cheap on consumables, too - the FZR was my daily commuter ride, and I would get about 8000km off a rear tyre; with a litre-ish sportsbike you'll be lucky to get 1500km, same for chains, brake pads, etc etc. The FZR excelled at comfort, the motor was smooth and never "vibey", and you didn't need to be so hard on the front end that the crouch made your wrists hurt. This might be to do with the length of me vs the length of the bike (depending on your height, you will probably need rearsets on any of the japanese import sport 400s, otherwise you smash your knees with the fairings), but I suspect most of it was to do with the ride itself. I couldn't feel my hands for an hour after riding from London to Brighton on a friend's Triumph Daytona, and the position felt much the same.

Yeah, I loved my little yam.

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Re: my new (ol' but low cost) ride

Post by Rossco » Sun Jul 19, 2009 10:21 am

Thought i better add my old girl in here (newest bike ive owned!)
Ex cop bike, all extras bar flashing blues.

Rossco

Edit...
Simon, i rode an FZR of a mates... NUTS!
i only reved to 12000 at first... i was then told to not go below 12000, insane.
This one reved out to 21000 if i remember correctly. Race bike.
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Re: my new (ol' but low cost) ride

Post by WebPilot » Mon Jul 20, 2009 4:45 am

I am surprised that Harley Davidson didn't try to ™ the name "Sportster". They've been pretty 'anal' about such things in the past.

The closest I ever came to owning/riding a sport bike was one almost exactly like this one back in the early and mid 80's:

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