Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been battling with a niggling issue of wobble from the front end. I’ve had the wheel re-balanced, kept checking tyre pressures, but never really resolved it. I was about to dismiss it as my large top box and rear tyre starting to square off. However throughout my front tyre has always needed a bit of air each week.
This last week however, it quickly became apparent that I had a slow puncture. My old Metzeler Z6 tyre was nearly a year and half old and showing only a couple of mm left, so I ordered a new tyre, whilst I could still ride about. That was until one morning I found it totally flat. Hoping I could pump it up enough to get to garage, I found air hissing out of the valve like crazy. Yes, the valve, there was no hole in the tyre – Doh!
After a quick trip to Halfords to pick up a valve tool, it turned out the valve core was super loose. Quick tighten and the tyre held up well. Hmmm, but what to do with the new tyre on order? Decided to swap anyway, the old Z6 would have only last a couple of months and I was keen to try out the new Z8. Ultimately, on two wheels we need as much grip as we can get, it’s a false economy running rubber until the very end.
Moral of the story, got a slow puncture, check the bloody valve first!
The new fairing for my Fazer 600 arrived the other day. I have opted for a pattern part, GRP version from CWC (Cars Wants Change) in Poland. As you can see the fairing arrived unpainted with just the white gel coat finish. So my daughter offered to paint it for me. Not 100% it’ll be a good colour match mind… It was far more cost effective than a genuine Yamaha part and first impressions are good, nice smooth finish in the main. Just a couple of edges that will need a bit of sanding prior to spraying.
Over the next week or so, I’ll get it painted up proper at a local spray shop and then fitted. I don’t think I’ll be able to do a particularly good job with rattle cans at home. Finally, once I’ve stuck on some decals and the Yamaha badge, it should look indistinguishable from a genuine Yamaha fairing. Of course, at a fraction of the price; £125 compared to £500. At that price, it won’t be such a tragedy if I drop the bike again!
CWC make all kinds of pattern fairing, rear huggers and other body parts for all manner of bikes (and cars). Do check them out
With the weather rapidly turning colder, winter will soon be on us and out comes a bike’s worst enemy. Salt.
Spread on the roads to tackle ice, it literally eats our bikes, accelerating the oxidisation of ironwork causing your downpipes, frame and anything else exposed to rust and disintegrate before your eyes. Now is the time to take preventative action to tackle this problem.
ACF50 is an amazing product you can just spray onto your bike, totally covering it (just stay away from brakes), whence it will leave a protective film that halts any existing rust and preventing further rust. And so, at the weekend I gave the bike a good clean, removing a lot of the grime and dirt, then completely doused it in ACF50.
Recently I splashed out on a new Motad Venom complete exhaust system for my Fazer. Comprising of a stainless steel downpipes, nice oval end can and all the trinkets for fitting. Motad have their factory located in the heart of the black country up in Walsall, which is nice to know as supporting local trade is always preferable. Motad sell their products direct through their ebay shop or their website, and in either case you can get a better price than going through a reseller. I ordered their full exhaust system; downpipes, gaskets, link pipe, end can and necessary clamps/brackets. Motad offered me a good price in exchange for a write up on this blog. The whole lot arrived quickly in a lot smaller box than I was expecting, but dismantled the system is not as large as you first perceive. On opening, I had a box full of shiny goodies. All packed well, everything needed for installation included and a short set of instructions for fitting.
This is the first time I’ve tackled the fitting of downpipes, but after consulting my Haynes manual, some guides on the Fazer Owners Club forums and various other websites, it didn’t seem to difficult. Here are the steps I followed.
Busy morning sorting out the airbox on Mary’s ZZR400. It had a bad seal where the underside marries up to the top of the throttle bodies, a gaping space along the rear edge. This has been causing running issues at high speed, where the ram air setup needs to be pressurised to ensure the floats let the right mix of fuel and air into the engine. Without the necessary pressure the fuel mix has been far too rich.
I picked up a new airbox on the off chance the current one was slightly warped. I also got a new duct seal, as the old seal was very squashed and not doing its job. Swapping the box over was mostly straight forward, with only removing/replacing the tank and getting the ram air ducts at the front lined up into the box being particularly tricky. All went well until a fuel line split – doh! Just at end near the clamp onto the reserve valve, so I was able to shorten it and make good. Phew!
Since borrowing Mary’s ZZR400 this last week or so, I noticed a few niggles with it’s running that I’ve been trying to address. Firstly the front brakes were sticking a little and secondly the running has been a bit on the rough, loud and underpowered side, especially at high speed. To tackle these issues I called up on the skills of Tim (‘Scorch’ on LondonBikers.com), who offers a mobile motorcycle repair service.
Tim popped over to went to work on my bike, whilst I was parked up at work myself. Very handy indeed. He quickly set to work on the brakes, found one of the pistons was a bit gunked up and air in the system. In a couple of hours he had the lot stripped down, sorted, new fluid in, bled and working well.
After my incident last week when some idiot not paying any attention ran into me, I had to spend sometime fixing up the Fazer and getting it road worthy again. There was quite a bit of damage, but thankfully all cosmetic. The fairing was scratched and cracked, the fairing brackets were bent badly, screen snapped off, belly pan was crumpled, crash bobbins almost snapped off, broken mirror, broken indicator and bent Givi rack and snapped Givi mounting plate. Obviously I am working with my insurance to claim for as much of the damage as possible. However in the mean time my priority has been emergency repairs to make the bike usable again. I want to avoid taking a courtesy bike as liability is still yet to be assigned.
To celebrate one full year of riding since passing my DAS test, I’m kicking off a little competition to win some handy goodies useful to all bikers out there:-
First Prize: NikWax Leather Care Kit. Featuring leather cleaner, leather restorer, aqueous wax for footwear, glove waterproofer and visor water repellant. Ideal combination to see you through wet weather. I reviewed this leather care kit earlier in the year.
Second Prize: Can of ACF50 anti-corrosion spray. Halts existing rust and prevents new. Perfect for protecting you bike through the winter.
At the weekend I started my first attempt at spray painting. Mary’s ZZR400 was missing a small piece of the tail fairing. We managed to source this off ebay cheap, however the part was the wrong colour. So how hard can it be to spray paint it the right colour?
I started by giving the item a really good sand down with some 800 grit wet/dry paper, washed and dried it. I then sprayed it with primer (pictured). Slowly building it up coat after coat, with about 10-15 minutes between them. After leaving 24 hours, I then sanded it gently with some 1200 grit wet/dry paper, washed dried it, then set it up for spraying the top coat. Working in a similar fashion, building up the coats. Things were progressing well until the piece fell off my cardboard stand and got a pile of newspaper stuck to it! Doh!
Start again. Will let it totally dry and sand it down and have another go…
Trials and tribulations of a motorcycle newbie in London