Tuesday, March 9, 2010

VX with adjustable rearsets?

The rearsets are finally coming together. I've put so much work into these things it's crazy.

Here's the pair of Harris rearsets I picked up at a salvage yard. I think they were off a late '90s Kawasaki?? can't remember

I decided to ditch the Brembo caliper and rebuild my stock caliper. The Brembo is nice but I already bought a rebuild kit for the stock, plus the Brembo was a different size piston.

Here's my new left-side setup:

I'm obviously missing a few pieces. These rearsets were crashed when I bought them. The toe-pegs were missing. I've got to turn new ones on the lathe as well as a new shift linkage.
The new shift linkage is going to be pretty long so I'm going with stainless steel.

Left side view. You get a good sense of the change in position. Much higher and at least 6 inches farther back.

Right side views:

Here's a little description of what it took me to make these damn things:
For starters, the color of the rearsets upon purchase was real ugly. I started by stripping the anodization using a lye/water solution. I then sanded out all the scuffs and dings from the previous owners crash, and straightened things a little. I then bought all new hardware: stainless screws and new teflon lined bushings.
I then etched them with lye again to make a semi-matte finish on the anodization. Then I anodized them at home on my home-brew anodize lab on my front porch.
Here's some pics:
Pre anodizing aluminum cleaning:

In the acid bath:Part of the setup. You can see the DC power supply on the left, anodize bath in the white bucket, dye bath to the right of that, and sealer bath to the far right. Each has to be kept at a specific temperature.

Results:Looks pretty damn good. Don't know the coating thickness but it's pretty good. Haven't scratched it yet.

The other parts you see are my shock adjusters and tail light bracket.

Don't even ask what I was thinking when I got into anodizing at home. I've got a few items I want anodized right now and I'm getting it professionally done. It just takes me too much time to setup and breakdown...

Back to the build. When deconstructing the rearsets, I screwed up when pinching the pivot in a vice while taking out the bushing. I actually squeezed the cirle into a slight oval. The shifter pedal would no longer fit and I destroyed a new bushing. I had to put it on a mill and use a boring bar to restore the pivot to a circle.

The mounting brackets: I was originally going machine these out of aluminum and just couldn't come up with a design that seemed practical since I had to move them so far off the frame and out around the swingarm. I just couldn't visualize the part, the measurements were too much and I couldn't see personally doing that much machining. Finally, a new friend Nathan, and fellow bike builder suggested steel. Well, how the hell could I bend thick steel plate? I went with the steel idea and used 3/32s mild plate, shaped it with my angle grinder and went to town. I bent it up using a press brake at the TechShop.

I took the stock footpeg mounts, chopped off the footpeg part and left the double donut. I used the original mounting hardware and frame mounts. It took me three attempts and failures on the right side alone, to get the bends right, the dimensions right and the shape right. When I finally got the right side mostly done, I fit it up and was getting flexion toward the swingarm. Too much flex! I torched the bracket, then quenched in oil. A little better, but not good enough. Then I decided to weld on bracing/webbing. My coworker and career engineer, Jim Waltz, instructed me on moment arms and where to most effectively place the webbing.
Another friend and professional welder/pipefitter, Mujo Botic, did the welding using TIG. Absolutely perfect beautiful welds.

I was down at OC McDonald's shop where Mujo works, hanging out with Mujo and John McPherson. I was standing in the fab shop and smelled barbeque. I figured there was a restaurant nearby, but lo and behold, Mujo and John setup a full kitchen in their piping fab shop and John was busy roasting pork, fish and vegetables. They proceeded to serve me lunch that blew my mind and was total gourmet. Amazing. Much thanks guys, you made my day.

Getting the alignment correct, between left and right sides of the bike was not easy. The stock frame mounts on the VX800 are not even front to back. It took a couple tries on the left-side bracket to get it right. I used the original Harris mount as a template/jig to drill the mounting holes in my new brackets.

Then sandblasting and painting. I used SEM acid-etch primer and SEM Trim Black paint. 2 coats of etch primer, with 36 hours cure time and 3 wet coats of the Trim Black and another 36 hours cure time before touching.

Ugh. That's the saga of the rearset. Now I've got a perfect leg position to match the clip-ons and can adjust as I see necessary!

Couple parting shots of current progress. Skinny bike!


Natives MC said...

Dude, those rearsets look sweet! Bike is coming along nicely. I have a question for you, recently I broke the left leg stock rearset on my VX. The piece that holds the foot peg on one side and attaches to the frame on the other. Searched all over and could only find an OEM replacement for $75. Any chance you don't need yours anymore, and would be willing to sell it to me?

Stephen said...

I've actually re-purposed this piece and don't have any spares. This is a heavy steel piece. You must have fell hard! Sorry I can't help. Try ebay for that one.

snokpelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
snokpelle said...

You anodized at home... You're al right dude!

*thumb's up*
I've never thought of that.