Saturday, November 29, 2008

New Clip-ons!

I spent hours at the salvage yard going through old clip-ons to look for ones that would fit and meet my aesthetic ideals. I came up with the 2006 Suzuki SV650. The clamps vary from 41.5mm to 40mm when fully screwed down. This should work perfectly on my 41mm shock tubes. One of the handlebars is totally intact, the other is a bit screwed up. I can deal with the damaged section.

Here's a shot of the new clip-ons. You can see where I've been filing off the protrusion that slotted into a hole in the underside of the SV650 steering stem head.

Redesign of the tail section - post 1

Here the first of sequentially numbered posts on my redesign of the tail section of the bike. First was the tail chop. Now I'm looking at how to affix brake-lights, turn signals, under-tail, license plate and the small bit of body work that goes on the tail end.

I made these brackets yesterday out of mild steel flat bar stock.

I'm going to upload my sketches of the rear end of the bike as soon as I can scan them.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rear Wheel Bearing

I got to the point of installing my rear wheel bearings today. I didn't want to drift them in as that went wrong for me last time. So I built myself a little bearing press installer thingy.
I cut a square of aluminum from 3/16ths stock I had, and I also cut out a circle that is just slightly smaller than the out bearing race for the front wheel bearing. I drilled a 3/4" hole in both of the aluminum pieces.

I'm using a nice bell reducer coupling that I bought for pressing in the rear wheel bearings. I also bought some 1/2" all thread and cut it down to size. I double-nutted one end and use a single nut on the other end to tighten it down. Works great. No hammering.

Suzuki recommends installing the right bearing first. The right bearing should be seated completely against the seat. Then you install the spacer, then you do the left one which actually doesn't touch the bearing seat. I greased the entire inside of the wheel where the spacer sits, even though I have sealed bearings. I didn't pack it with grease, but I did put a thin layer all inside. It can't hurt and can only help.

I like to spray my hands with a silicone lubricant before working with heavy grease. This keeps the grease from getting down in my skin and makes washing up much easier.

I used Fuchs Silkolene Pro RG2 Synthetic Grease. This is similar to standard NLGI #2 lithium grease, just costs more.

Step 1: Apply a thin layer of grease to the bearing sleeve and seat and inner sections where the spacer goes.

Step 2: Place bearing on wheel.

Step 3: Setup my new press tool.
Step 4: Drive bearing in slowly, keeping even progress.

Step 5: One bearing down.
Step 6: Grease spacer, apply grease to inside of wheel hub.

Step 7: Press in left bearing using same technique. What's important here is that you don't press out the right side bearing. This bearing doesn't touch the seat, but rather, rests against the spacer leaving a small clearance. If you continue to drive in the bearing without having the right side bearing secured, it can press out the right side bearing, taking up the gap on the left side, and creating one on the right side.

That's about it. I very carefully removed any burrs, bumps and uneven spots from the bearing seats and spacer in preparation for this, using sandpaper and a utility knife. You can quickly cause more harm than good with the utility knife if you don't be careful.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Front Disc Brake

I was debating getting the inner section of my front brake disc powder coated to match the frame. I started stripping the black paint that was on there when I got the bike. I decided I liked the all metal look of the disc, so I sanded out the scratches and buffed it to a shine. See below:

I spent about 3 hours on this. I'm quite satisfied with the results. In general, the bike will be yellow, gunmetal gray, and silver like the wheels. I will be having some parts keep their natural metal look, and some parts powder coated a gray to match the paint job. I'm thinking of getting a select view pieces chromed as well. I'm wondering if I should spray the rotor with a clear coat (the non-braking surface of course)... Maybe that will keep the metal from rusting or oxidizing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rear Brake Line

I finally got off my butt and decided to order up new o-rings, seals and bolts for my front and rear brake calipers. I'm going to have the calipers powder coated to match the frame as well.

Again, I was closely analyzing the stock setup with the rear brake and found something I don't like: those ugly brake line clamps and that horribly welded hoop on top of the swingarm.

Since I won't be having passenger pegs, or a passenger seat for that matter, and I'll be routing the exhaust angled up on the right side of the bike, above the swingarm, AND I'm switching to stainless steel braided brake lines, those clamps will be in plain sight and too big to effectively clamp my stainless brake line. After an hour of figuring out a new mostly hidden route for the brake line, I decided to remove those ugly things.

Cut off, ground down and sanded:

You'll notice the swingarm looks pretty bad. Tomorrow I bring it down to get a fresh blast and powder coat, along with my front forks and a couple other random pieces. Same color as my rims.

You might wonder how I'm going to route the brake line?

I thought about running it inside the swingarm but decided that drilling 2 - 3/4" holes was to intrusive.

I decided to simply run it through the "torquielink" bracket, and on the bottom of the torqielink bar itself, right to the caliper as seen in the photo below:

Small bracket or clamp will be welded to the bottom of the torqielink bar to keep the brake line snug up against it. It's a small aesthetic gain, but all of these minor changes will add up, you'll see!!!

Steering Stem Head Mods

I'm back to work on the bike finally, and after much deliberation, have decided the cleanest, meanest look for the bike will be clip-ons. The only problem is, if I don't use standard handlebars, the top fork clamp (steering stem head) is left with 2 ugly protrusions right in the middle, right where I'm looking down. Since I'm going for a super-clean, super minimal look with the bike, I'll have to do something about this.

Now, I can either have a piece custom made (too expensive), adapt one from another bike (too much trouble), or get rid of those stock handlebar mounts. I joined a DIY machine shop recently so now I have access to many excellent tools that allow me to make the mods I want.

I started by clamping up the steering stem head in the mill and removing the protrusions:

Next step is to enlarge the remaining hole to make a ledge to set a fill piece in. I'll have to learn how to use the rotating circular table thing to get this done right. Once I have a ledge, I'll mill a circular piece that sits on the ledge, flush to the top or slightly raised. The remaining crack will be fill welded and then milled off to a clean finish. I'll then take it down slightly more by sanding to end up with a smooth surface. Media-blast, then powder coat and you will never know they were there. Voila, no more stock handlebar mounts.

I need to do a little research and find out if fill welding this piece will weaken it. I definitely don't want to weaken this piece as it is under significant strain. If fill welding won't work, I'll have to figure out another way of filling the gap with something that powder coat will stick to...

Alan from the vxlist turned me on to some adjustable clipon handlebars called Convertibars. I've done a lot of research and these seem like the most flexible and cleanest looking set of clipons.
find them at:

See photo courtesy of

Sequential update starts here:

Yesterday I milled out the hole in the triple clamp, in preparation for installation of the plug.
I used a 3/4" 4 flute end mill and went down 0.15 inches deep. I'm using 3/4" aluminum round bar stock to make the plug.