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…
Today I attempted to make good the damaged fairing from last weekends off. The damage isn’t too bad, just a big crack and scuff on the right hand side. However the fairing brackets are bent and thus the headlights, clocks and fairing all point to the left somewhat. 🙁
Enlisting some help from the decent chaps on the FOC forum, we spent the morning removing the fairing and bending everything back. In the end there was four of us Fazer owners, all with blue bikes and having a good fettling session. It turned out rather straight forward to remove the fairing, but bending the brackets and gauging when it was true again was not. After a lot of errming, arring and lots of judgement by eye everything sits pretty much straight again now.
The clear screen on Mary’s ZZR400 was really showing its age when we bought it. It was incredible misty, scuffed and well, just not very clear. Ideally, we’d like to swap it for a nice gloss But in the meantime I went at it with some Meguiars PlastX polish. This is a fancy plastic/acrylic polish with microscopic abrasive particles, designed specifically for all kinds of plastics. Perfect for lights, screens, I even used it to good effect on my turntable lid!
Its no good against deep scratches, but it will sort out tiny scuffs and get plastic looking shiny, glossy and transparent again.
As you can see from these before-after shots, it has made quite a difference. I’m sure if I removed the screen and polished up some more it would look even better.
Trials and tribulations of a motorcycle newbie in London