Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Well that wasn't quite as easy as I thought

So the bike has now arrived after quite a bit of stuffing around and alot more time than expected.  First of all the PO promised to drop it off to a bike shop in Ballina so they could fix the brake, fit some blinkers and put on a new rear tyre.  After that it should have been roadworthy and I could then ride it home to Newcastle.  After a week or so of it not being delivered I realised the owner had a bit too much other stuff going on.  The bike shop offered to go and pick up the bike for a fee so I figured that was a good idea since I was just taking the word of the owner so far.

So I get a phone call from the owner of the bike shop who has driven up to pick up the bike.  He sounds a bit pissed off and isn't too positive on the bike.  Turns out he got booked for speeding on his way up - not my fault and he was still helping me out.  He listed all the things wrong with the bike and told be that he wouldn't pay anything like what I was paying for it.  He suggested that the bike would need at least $800 work to get it rego'ed.  I rang up the owner and told him that it wasn't looking too good and that I wasn't keen on a bike that needed that much work.  2 minutes later I had a new price that was good enough for me to go with.

So at this stage I had a bike that I liked the sound of.  I'd saved enough money to be able to afford the repairs.  And I had an adventure planned to ride the bike home.  All good.  Then I get a call from the shop.  The quote comes to a bit over $1600 to fix up the bike for rego.  Once they got it back to the shop there were a lot more little things that needed doing and the parts were almost half the price.

It needed the whole front brake rebuilt, two new tyres, a chain and sprockets, 3 new blinkers (at $30 a pop!) and then the front forks rebuilt.  Most of the labor was being taken up with things that I can happily do myself and that just ticks me off.  It's not the shop's fault, though the quote has come in at double the original amount, as this is just a bit of an old neglected bike.  The only solution was to fork out the money to have it delivered home and just do the work myself.  The shop put on two new tyres and got the thing running and I ordered all the other bits and pieces from the States.  Turns out the nice O ring chain that I had left from the DRZ is a perfect fit for the XL.  That alone saved me a heap of cash.

So now the bike has been delivered.  The spare knobbly tyre went missing on the trip and when I got home the bike was leaning against the house as it had no stand.  Other than that it was all pretty much as expected.  A bit rougher in some areas, but obviously not abused, just a bit neglected.  Should come up really well.

Now I just have to wait for the parts from the States and then have my adventure once it's registered.  And you all know how much I hate working on bikes : )

This is what the bike looks like right now, with me half way through fixing a few things... How retro is that front guard?  A cool old look, but not really what I'm after.  It wont last too long :)

So here's the famous RFVC 600cc engine.  That cover on the side of cylinder head is for what is referred to as the Burp chamber.  There is a small fifth valve in the head that is triggered by the kick starter, which allows you to kick over the engine with much lower compression as it escapes through the valve into this chamber.  Honda later realised it wasn't worth the hassle and most guys just disconnect the cable anyway.

 How good do these tyres look?  Apparently they are similar to what the BMWs use and are meant for 70/30 road/dirt so they should suit me.  Now all I need is to track down a much smaller front rim, possibly a rear off another bike and have that ready to go for when I wear the front one out.  That said, I've only ridden about 500m so far, so it might take a bit.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Decision made...

So I've been looking online, cruising the forums and auction sites trying to find what I'm after.  I came across a really sweet KLX400 with a set of motard wheels last week and after bidding to my max it went up another $400.  It's kind of a strange feeling bidding on a bike that you want, but hoping you don't win it 'cause you know you have better things to do with the money.  With a bit of tricky accounting I could buy a house with the money I would have spent on that bike.  Anyway, as my wife keeps telling me, there will always be more opportunities.

A couple of days later I came across this.  It's an 83 XL600R which is the beginning of an era.  It was the first time this engine was used and it was still being put into new Hondas 'till 2009.  That is saying something.  This has a new piston and rings and about 25000 ks but that has all been on a farm.  I did a heap of reading over a couple of days and decided that this is a good alternative to the newer DRZ.  A little simpler.  A nice long production run, so lots of parts.  And not too flashy so I wont mind cutting it up a bit to make something unique.  I might even pick up a spare one if one comes up, but don't tell the wife.

Anyway, I rang the guy up and after a bit of a chat we struck a deal over the phone.  He's going to drop it off at a local motorcycle shop to get it ready for the ride home from Ballina.  If it isn't too hard I might even get the blue slip sorted before the trip and rego it.

The really nice thing about this bike is it's basically the same as the one at the end of my last post.  I don't really want to go with the fiberglass tank that he has on his, as emptying it after each ride sounds a little too much.  I'll just keep an eye out for something a bit nice and see where to go from there.

Maybe I'll start with the headlight and tidying up the front end?  I even have a stealth trailtech dash left from my old DRZ (pictured above) which  I should be able to get it all working with the XL.  I'll just have to get an oil temp sensor instead of the water one for the DRZ.  Maybe I'll get some newer suspension too... the much newer XR front and rear all seems to bolt in.  Also, there will be a weight loss program...  So many ideas and so much to do.

Do you like this headlight?  It's the same as the one that is on the Tracker on my last post

 Just came across this review.  I hope I can say the same in 2025 : )

Friday, September 24, 2010

Where to start...

I've just turned 30 and I've owned bikes on and off my since I was about 14.  The problem is that I never get them quite the way I want them and if I get close I seem to get a stupid idea in my head and sell them.

I tracked my last bike down over a 3 month search and ended up with a really nice low ks DRZ400e with a motard wheel conversion on it.  I then put on some really nice accessories and brilliant exhaust from MRD and sold it.  I've missed it a lot since then, but I did sell this one for a good reason.  We had just had our first kid and I wasn't riding it and we really needed the money.  Then I got an office job about 2 months later, and I could have used the bike, since I no longer had to haul tools to work each day.  Only problem is the money is gone, or should I say 'reallocated'.

We've made it another 4 months now with only one car and my gorgeous daughter is 6 months old.  It's time to get another bike.

I thought about stupid little bikes like the Madass and the ct110 Postie bike as they are cheap to register and run.  But they don't work for anything more than commuting (even when you mod the hell out of them like the one below) and that isn't going to satisfy me on a sunny Sunday arvo.  I need more power and I need something that I wont be too embarrassed to be seen on.  I also need something that wont need heaps of money to keep it running and that I wont cry over if I do drop it while doing something stupid .

After deciding against the European bikes (too expensive to fix) and bikes with fairings (would cry if I dropped it) I'm down to two options and both have their pros and cons.

Option 1 is the DRZ400 again, but this time get the SM version.  It has nicer suspension and brakes and will take the left over parts from my last bike.  It is a bit underpowered but I can get the FCR39 carb and a set of hotcams from the US for not too much money - the Aus dollar is great at the mo.  The problem is that it is about $4K for one with quite a few ks on it and then I would have a hard time doing something really unique with it.  There are lots of these around already and they all look black on black with variation in stickers.

Options 2 was inspired by this - XL600 street tracker.  If you follow the links you can find his blog on here and the pics are great.  I really like the cut down style of it - the fact that it looks like a tank, an engine and a seat on wheels.  What do you really need to make a motorbike a motorbike?  It is based on a great engine and a simple frame.  I know how to weld and this is just the excuse I need to stop being so scared of getting everything wrong and to just get in there and have a go.  If I stuff it up and it looks ugly I can just start again and try something new.

What to do...