The ’83 RZ... Let’s begin!

Naturally, I started with more parts gathering... Well this build was hoped to be something that wouldn’t take forever to complete, so with that in mind I needed to get as many parts as I need on board before I actually pick up tools.

First up I sourced a set of brake caliper adaptors...

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Making them fit wasn't all plain sailing, not least as the RGV Showa forks are not exactly well made... hmm...

(these pics are a a bit of a montage of right and left....apologies for that)

The problem is this flashing, which causes the bracket to not sit flush and hence is half a cm out at the other end!

A quick sand off with a dremel with a sanding roll in it and the calipers fit like a glove.

Next job was to place my order with Quality Works for the tail.

For those not wanting to read back... The tail... I did this photo edit as I was a bit worried about the language barrier, the pic did it job well.

Ok, not really progress, probably more of a side task for this bike, and one that 'almost' proved it's results...

The big news was that I finally found a SpeedoHealer version 4 (known from now on as the SHV4 LOL!) locally that wasn't full price - for some reason I just didn't want to pay the $125ish asking price for one, crazy really I know, I just was finding the whole R1 dashboard project expensive enough I think...

The SHV4 I found came with two looms (one for a Kawasaki and one for a Yamaha, and the Yamaha loom was new) and cost about half what a new one costs, ie justa bit more than the Yamaha loom.

So, naturally I wanted to make sure it and the dash, and other R1 parts worked. I’ve had this dash since very early 2010 (a few hours after midnight actually, long story..) and it remained untested, although I had cut down the loom and labelled everything, plus I had also tracked down the speedo sensor and water temp sender/sensor.

NB. I have to advise anyone thinking of doing this conversion that you should really think if you must have this dash, it's not a cheap thing to do... Estimated prices with post: dash $150-200, sensors $50-100, R1 top loom $75, speedohealer $125... and I still need to buy the $45 unit (+post) to double the output from the Zeeltronic for the tach. If I said it would cost you $500 and you still have to make a bunch of brackets to do this, then you might consider something like a Koso (not quite as well made, but some models are much more modern looking of course) for half the price better value... or just fit a Vapour or somesuch for $150 all up... just saying...

Hmm... anyway... bargain prices, or not, aside...

About this time the FRP Tail arrived. It really does look good. It is lightweight and very well made.

{Documentary mode} So what is FRP? Well from my research FRP is a very catch all name. Taking the words from the acronym and extrapolating, it means a plastic that is reinforced with a fibre. That fibre can be something esoteric like aramid or carbon, or simple good old glass, i.e. GRP, and in fact GRP is term scientifically under the heading FRP. Science lesson over... {/Documentary mode}

When fondling my tail... Who hasn't wanted to read that line on a family friendly website?! Anyway... I can report that it is very light, maybe sub 1kg. From the smell and the fact there is a what looks like white coat on one side, like you get with GRP, I would say that it is glassfibre based, rather than a traditional 'plastic'. What I will say is that it is very high quality. It is defo not something handlaid by a fume addled ciggie smoking leathery looking bloke in a cold shed like the parts we all bought back in the 80's LOL.

In fact sighting it down the side its very smooth even tho the thickness is minimal, usually GRP is all over the place when you view it down the side, especially on long runs. The front has underside clips to attach to the bike using the OEM side panels grommets.

Next to land were the brake levers...and how nice are these for sub $30 landed??

The news is that it doesn't quite prove what I had hoped... Everything was connected and does what it should but the speedo won’t show a speed on the dash with me spinning a sprocket past it on a drill. Ok, that worries me less after a chat on the forums where I was reminded me about the 3mm airgap to the sensor V’s the speed the drill needs to run... while avoiding touching the sensor with the sprocket-in-the-drill at full chat would be a worry!

What I do get is a demo speed on the dash when the SHV4 sends one to it, and the SHV4 in test mode flashes a 't' to show the sensor is sending it a signal when I run the drill over it. Since all the other tests for the speed sensor and the dash work, I think it’s just not enough pulses to show a speed on the dash with the drill, fingers crossed!

So why considering the cost did I really want to do this dashboard? Well I do enjoy the wiring part of a project and this is a quality dash. It also helps that this dash is one of the most well known and well documented RD/RZ fits and that helps, it also has all the features I need for a bike to ride where I live, i.e. Digital speedo readout - too many cops and cameras in this city for guesswork, tach not red-lined at 15k like the 600 models, digital temp gauge, possibility to program oil warning/maybe run fans/fuel warning and mileage on reserve with the thing later. Plus... I had a 2001 R1 new in 2001, I liked the dash... I knew it, even saw 260+kph on it at the ‘ring and trusted it, plus it is an easy to read and understand unit. So I figured it was a part I wanted on a bike at some point, and here it is... lets hope I can make up the brackets and get it all full working without further cash investment.

Had an interesting discussion with the Police. After an aborted attempted to buy an off road bike that appeared to have a stolen engine in it, which later turned out to have been the subject of a Police Auction and yet still hadn't been removed from the stolen register, I got chatting to a case officer about the problem of how to check parts instead of whole machines, the upshot of this (and a cheeky comment) was that I luckily had a couple of my spare frame and engine numbers run through the systems to make sure I wasn't going to waste my time on these projects as if they appear stolen when you register the bike, it will be forfeit in full... even if you only bought a frame or bare cases, and its up to you to prove what you got and then did to it. The law here is pretty clear on this stuff, and while you may not get prosecuted for a crime as such you stand to lose your work and the money you invested, sure you can talk to the insurance company about buying it back, but who needs the hassle? I know I don’t!

Luckily everything came back fine, which was a relief, so much of my stash of engines and frames is ex-wrecker stock or from ebay that you never really know. Sadly the local coppers don't offer a service to check parts with numbers, only whole bikes using the new (clunky!) PPSR system (always click the link that shows the PDF database return else you don't get any results guys!), so I got lucky and I'm grateful to the officer who helped me.

My concern is always that a lot of the parts for our bikes could have sat in sheds on farms or on wreckers shelves for many many years and some could have missed the new laws where wreckers have to pass numbers in to the cops, and we all know of farmers that were happy to buy a run about for use on their land for cheap from a passing dodgy bloke back in the day... all in all it doesn't bear thinking about if you've laboured for months and then you lose your pride n joy cos a set of cases were stolen in 1987 :(

So, upshot is that my bare cases (bought from ebay) and bare frame (gifted from a mate that pulled it out of a skip outside a wrecker, yeah don't ask, they were closing down apparently and he had to be quick so worked thru the night to raid the skips they were loading parts into... I said I didn’t need to know.. but I did worry LOL) are kosher... so this build takes another step forward. :)

This prompted a bunch of discussion on the forums.... It’s interesting the differences in the way things are done in different countries, and here it’s even different between the states, not just for registration, but also for what any registration office will help you with. In NSW the local system used to be called REVS, it was free and checked VINs for NSW and VIC. Then we lost that as a new system called PPSR came along, which is the front end to the (national) NEVDIS system, it costs $3.50 (or so) to run a VIN, but it is an unforgiving system, if you get a character wrong or use the '-' or other character when it doesn't expect it (and who knows what got plugged in over different states and different years) you don't get the hit you want and just assume everything is fine... until a few days after you paid your registration monies there is a knock at the door...

The biggest problem we have here is that a person only has paperwork for a vehicle when it is registered. Once that lapses the papers are good only for kindling, they don’t ‘live with the vehicle’ like everywhere else in the world. So we have no proof of ownership of anything with a lapsed registration, mental I know! Of course once something is stripped for parts it becomes harder as engines may have been mismatched to frames before an event (like being stolen) befell them.

Amusingly we are also legally bound to return old numberplates once the rego is out, and having lapsed plates in your garage is an offence and of course there are plenty of bikes with their plates still firmly attached when you look at ebay listings, especially those used on farms and in garages that havent had registration for years. This law came about because until last year there wasn’t any way of distinguishing a vehicle with rego to one without until the cop looked at the sticker on the screen or manually checked as he/she was driving. That all changed with the new traffic car system where plates are read automatically and alerts are instant for the driving copper who then stops the car on the road sans rego. Here rego is only possible with CTP (3rd party insurance) so no rego = no insurance... Of course its all muddied as in QLD you can register without insurance and then drive in NSW... sigh... when will governments learn?!

Anyway... When I first started messing with bikes here, back in 2007, I went to the local registration office (It was called the RTA back then) and no one wanted to help me run a frame number. They said go to the cops. The cops said ‘no as well and told me to go to the RTA. Hmm, thanks... In the end the RTA admitted they could check and did it for me when they realised I wasn’t about to leave, but it was a favour. Since then PPSR has come and has the potential to help, but if you run an engine number (you need to run it as a frame number of course) and then a different frame number of the frame you are putting it in, thats $7, and don’t forget a non result doesn’t mean anything, you could have got some characters wrong, or the data hasn’t been updated yet.

Lots of people just don’t worry about this stuff and build a bike and find that they can register it with no hassle, and in fact I don’t think that many of our bikes were stolen back in the day in Aus. It was very different in the UK, where the LC was the most stolen bike of all time in its day and the RD range topped the charts for most of the 80s, like the Sierra Cosworth (for those that remember that car) I'm surprised these days you can buy one that wasn't at one time reported stolen.

All that talk of cops and the clearing of my numbers had me excited so I had to pull the car out of the garage to grab some things behind it, so had a bit of fun with the ‘83... I decided to introduce some of the parts to eachother and see how they got on, check out these first date pix...

This is the engine that will go into this bike. I bought it off ebay from a wrecker a while back. It arrived having been just jammed in a box that was too small for it and had no protection. Luckily it didn't get smashed cases in the post, phew. I thought it seemed heavy and then when I removed the drain plug I found out why, it had arrived (over?)full of very fresh looking oil, so I think someone serviced or rebuilt it and then managed to kill the crank on the right side, perhaps they got an air leak or didn't jet right - that's what happened to the original motor on my F1 as the DPO "rebuilt it" (term used very very loosely on that one as I saw no evidence of it, unlike this one) and then drilled holes in the airbox 'cos it would be faster man!', but then didn’t upjet. I say that as the oil pump weeps clean looking red oil, so I suspect that still works fine. The pistons look almost new and are Wiseco 59.55 (I think) so it was on its last bore for a two-fiddy, and I believe that someone did the top end and then killed it only a few miles in. Shame, but good for me as it seems someone spent some cash on it at least, rare for an engine from a breakers yard!

Obviously since then its sat gathering dust, some before I got it, some after...

The next new arrivals for this bike came in the form of a set of Samco hoses and a set of case screws, both from Yambits, who are cheapest for these from my research. What I did find annoying is that even the Samco hoses have blue for the inner of the 3 layers. why are all these hoses for our bikes like that?!

The screw set is stainless and cheap as chips for what they are, Ive used them on my other builds and been happy :)

The next arrival was a fully rebuilt and tested oil pump from Arrow in the UK.

People have been impressed by the service offered by Arrow and so I took the plunge and I'm a bit blown away by what landed. Talk about a clean and new part... the pump is a thing of beauty, not the lump of junk I sent him. Nice work indeed!

Here is a rundown

Frame: '83 LC2

Wheels: RGV VJ22 (17" front and back)

Swingarm: RGV VJ22 'banana' with NK conversion kit

Rear shock : Japanese Domenstic Spec RGV VJ22

Forks: RGV VJ22 with Japanese Domestic spec all alloy triples, same as SP

Font guard: RGV (incl OEM inner brace)

Front brakes: Brembo 4 pots with 1 pad per piston, RGV 5/8 master, CNC brackets and levers

Rear Brake: RGV VJ22 complete

Engine: 350cc YPVS, uprated bearings, crank not decided yet, Shift Pro, Wicked clutch pusher, new/billet covers

Exhausts: Hydroformed Gibson Stainless pipes with Alloy Toomey Silencers

Cooling: Economy Cycle uprated rad, SAMCO Silicone hoses

Fuel system: Standard LC2 airbox, OEM 350 31k carbs

Ignition: Dynatek coil & Zeeltronic PCDI-10V

Dashboard: R1, SHV4 & Baker ATSD

Wiring: TBA... watch this space!

Rearsets: TBA but using Raask hardware

Tailpiece: QualityWorks FRP

Headlight: OEM LC2 with Mini angeleye

So Hopefully that helps! There are plenty more cool and exciting parts to come on this one, plus lots of parts that I just didnt get them all out today. :)

To be continued....

Well I said that and then had to buy an ATSD to double the Zeel's output signal for the R1 tach. I bought the multi adjustable version in case I ever needed the feature, it wasn’t much more money so what the hell... hmm...

After my debacle with the 2 alloy big radiators I bought out of the UK I decided enough was enough and I wanted to deal with a sensible supplier the next time, and so I contacted John at Economy Cycle, always a good bet!

John's box landed today... and these look very nice indeed! Big thanks to John for helping Jason (these are not all mine) and I out with this box and especially for the great wrapping!

It had to be built, and that took a while but next thing I know out of the blue  I get this photo from the seller, too funny!

So I'm thinking the process is done by vacuum in a mould, especially when you see the uniform nature of the layup on the back.

The tail came with an extra piece, a sort of thicker built square 'lid shape', this is to rest on top of the frame rails under the seat part to add strength to the area where you rest your weight on. This will need something like some rubber car door trim I think and then some small holes to add some cable ties or something to keep it in place. Easy to do but needs a bit of thought.

According to the seller and my initial looking, there is nothing to affix the back half to the bike from what I can see, interesting... Seller doesn't appear to be worried by that, and of course the rider is sat on it in use, but I feel it should be mounted solid so I will work on that. In fact, like the rest of you reading this I always thought I would need to play a little with the fitting of any aftermarket piece of bodywork, and I had planned to spend time to fab and fit some fixings and maybe some rubber blocks inside as knew i would want to get the part how I want before paint.

So, while I wouldn't say this is something for the beginner to order, paint and fit, the quality is absolutely there and its a nice part, and of course, its just what I wanted for this project... Smooth and clean. :)

FYI, Dealing with Qualityworks was fine. The owner does not speak fluent English, but we muddled through and his English is way better than my Japanese, which would only have netted me 2 beers and directions to the train station, or perhaps a hovercraft full of pink eels, who knows. So my advice is that if you want something on their site, give them a go. The owner is up for international sales, takes paypal and his postage is good value. If he is reading this, I thank him for his help with this purchase!

Ok, Some QnD pics on the frame of my 85 F1, since the 83 is just a frame right now:

.... not bad for something that started out as a free frame and me seeing and collecting parts when they came available :)

First job is to get that flywheel off. As you may remember I’ve been caught out before with rusty flywheels, they don't need to rust much to trash that fine thread.. lots of cleaning now started before I end up trashing another tool in one of these...

Got the nut off the flywheel, cleaned up the threads and fitted the tool, and then spent the rest of the day heating it and using a hammer, spanner, WD40, a bunch of sockets and my electric impact driver and much swearing (a much maligned workshop tool) to achieve.... nothing. Sigh...

After a bunch of reading online it seems that the best penetrating fluid can be made at home, its an ATF/Acetone mix. I made some up and applied liberally...

After a few weeks I finally gave in to this flywheel.... Luckily the OEM stator bolts were fitted so I got my trusty 10mm spanner in there and undid them then cut the heads off neatly with the Dremel, then with a pair of needle-nose pliers I got the rest of the bolt shanks out.

This meant I could at least dismantle the motor. Which I did right away to get it off my bench. I was very pleased with what I found inside the transmission, as everything was in great condition, exactly what I suspected when I originally dropped the oil.

The shift drum and forks are the best I’ve seen for a while, really nice condition.

While cleaning up the cases I made use of my new bearing removing tool.

Using it on the clutch actuator bearing on top of the cases took me about 3mins, 2.5mins of heating with a heat gun, 30secs to setup and hit with a hammer... To think of all those other hours I’ve wasted on these...

Its been a firm favourite for visitors to my garage, almost everyone asks if they can buy it, and its even been on a road trip up to a mate’s place to help test fitting parts for his bike. I keep telling prospective pickers that I am going to use it, and making good on my word, I now am...

My first plan was to strip the screen out of it and see if I could bring it back to life. One thing that all these suffer from is yellowing (browning when it gets bad!) due to UV, which of course we have in spades in Aus so all bikes with screens that have been in the sun have terrible yellow hues, some have become a deep even brown sadly. Eventually the sun dries the perspex up and cracks the screen and its all over. But under the dirt this one seemed very original, the 31K and other texts are bright white (in fact even the sticker is on the inside of the cowl, yeah it's 'that' good!) so it was worth a go.

It started easily enough, I easily undid all the OEM fixings... When can you say you last did that on one of these bikes? But then the rubber trim was stuck to the screen with some kind of superglue (as per OEM) and that resisted my efforts to remove it, and I had to cut it off and the scrape the lumps off the screen, not ideal.

The surface was a bit lumpy from some DPO’s overspray (the thinners in it melts the surface) and a few light marks from storage. Considering it's been stored for years that wasn't surprising, and who knows what happened to the bike it was on, there is only a little damage to the paint on the cowl, so maybe it led an easy life, who knows...

I had hoped that a quick wash might leave it at least able to be looked through, but that was not to be; It was still a pretty solid brown colour. Damn...

I picked up a set of PWKs from a UK KR1S that was offered locally that had been on an RZ500 so they have 137.5/40 Jets but do have the 'coveted' N68X needle. While I need some jets more suited to the 350 they are a nice set of used carbs with only dirt and slide wear to see at first look.

Being excited with my purchase I carried on and dug around in my carb spares and pulled out a brand new set of angled tops from Allens that I got when doing the F1. I'd forgotten I’d got those, but post for 2 sets was the same as 1 so I just got extra, knowing they would be useful... The next thing I found was the OEM KR1S chokes from my F1 carbs (it runs a remote choke now) and then even better I found a spare TZR/DT/RZ500 choke control pull that just needed a clean up. This was all going quite well I thought.

After a forum post where a forumer (thanks Seahorse!) discovered his clutch issues were not to do with the plates, but rather his springs I went through my collection of what I thought might be usable clutch plates and springs. I found enough frictions and steels that were in spec to make a clutch, in fact the ones in this motor were fine as well, basically a new clutch had just been fitted before the bike died of Chronic Crank Disease.

Next I looked at my stash of PV servo motors. All of them had a sticker on them where I had written 'noisy'. Hmm. Figuring that they were scrap anyway I pulled them apart and with the gears out the motors were all quiet, so I lubed up the geartrain and back together they went - yes you have to be dexterous to get it back right as the gears drop out when you first open them if you don’t go it gently. My hot tip is make sure the seal is in the groove, then build the gears on the side with the pulley, then line up the pulley cut out to fit the potentiometer and then carefully mate the two halves. Running them as per the manual after proved they were quieter, and you can run them backwards if you reverse the + and - on the connector of course. Don’t do the tests with any cables connected, you will break them...

Still excited about the impending engine build I also boxed up some of my cranks to send to an engineer in Victoria who offered to build me up a usable unit from the debris I send him. 2 of those cranks felt fine and one that had an obvious blow up. After a chat about the scrap once he had checked and measured what I had sent he suggested I would get one usable crank from the lot and true to his word I received back one good crank built from the best bits of what I sent him. Price was minimal ($150 all up) and while it's perhaps not a 'beautiful shiny brand new' crank like I am used to, it is clean, timed and has been checked over by an engineer. Not bad at all considering I really just assumed that old cranks are lumps of scrap that were taking up room in my spares boxes and yet there was gold lurking in the box. Cant argue with the value, and I will say a huge thanks to Link! If anyone in Aus is looking to use him, I would recommend giving him a call, he has a thread on the 2 stokes downunder forum.

....but the story wasn't the same in the crankcase where the cylinders had obviously been off this engine for some time and all sorts of dirt was in there. It cleaned up, but wow it was nasty.

With my time (and my cash) being spent on my other projects (XT and LC421) in order to get them closer to being finished I still wanted to do a little work on this bike along the way, as we all know that every little job you do takes you forwards. In the last few weeks I painted the engine cases when there was a nice warm day in between the damp wintry conditions we get at this time of year.

With that done I really need to decide what top end this bike will have. I thought I had a usable top end, but it seems I forgot that I needed to get one of my sets of 350 cylinders bored to fit the pistons I got with them, I'd forgotten that, it has been 2 years since I bought them of course... Anyway, while I mull that over I was looking around the garage...

Regular readers may remember this bikini fairing...

Time to start polishing... I wish I had various grades of polish grit like a decent bodyshop would, but I don't. Like most normal people I have bodywork polish, metal polish and plastic polish, so I used the last two as the metal polish is more abrasive than the plastic polish which also has properties good for plastic type parts of course.

I taped off the edge of the matt back on the underside and the white text on the top with electrical tape - I prefer that for jobs like this, its nice and thick and wont grab the well adhered OEM paint and pull it off. This meant I wouldn’t polish away the text and the edges of the black.

Part way through... >

Next to arrive was a custom bracket to locate the RZ nose cone bracket on the RGV triples. Its a neat solution for lower mount, the top will take some thought of course.

So I was playing with my new bracket and found I needed to clean up the flashing of the casting on the alloy (yes the Japanese spec and SP RGV got alloy!) lower triple.

After a bit of a play and a test fit I have this... still need some top mounts....

All that talk of engines had me feeling like I was getting off track so with a short reality check I got back to the chassis of the bike with a vengeance by looking at the suspension.

On the LC421 I used the RGV forks as standard, but I wanted to upgrade them on this bike. The reason being is that from the people I've spoken to and the things that I have read, plus a little of my own experience I believe that the OEM RGV forks are fine for an upright bike, but that if you're going to put more weight over the front end when using clip-ons, you are probably going to want to uprate the fork internals. My theory was proven when I found that the RGV was designed with a rider weight around 60kgs... Therein lies the problem, and I’m sure like me, you also wish you weighed that too! But I 'may' weigh a little more now that I’m no longer 18 and living on beer, snack foods and my wits... er...

My plan was to use the Andreani kit as this is the best bang for your buck it seems as the RGV guys love ‘em. I had done a lot of research, but as yet I hadn’t actually got the kit in my hand, that needed to change... And since I don't like to mess about, er, more like I got lucky and found an unused kit for sale locally that weekend... what a stroke of luck!

There only seem to be a small number of options for upgrading the VJ22 forks. Obviously top of the tree is dropping yourself and the bike into a specialist suspension house along with a set of the coveted SP forks and getting the experts to custom set the bike up just for you. But sadly, not all of us have race team budgets and really for a road bike you don't need to do that as the suspension needs more range really. So, I retreated to the affordable options... The most well known of which is the kit made by the Andreani Group who are the Italian dealer for Ohlins and suspension partner for SBK championship, so have the right pedigree with this stuff. They worked with The Tuning Works in the UK to improve the kit, and TTW has sold a lot of these kits to the RGV boys.

While the base (preload only - as set by the OEM top adjuster) Andreani fork kit has now been superseded by a fully adjustable cartridge kit that has also added over 50% to the cost. Sure, the new fully adjustable kit is nice and I was tempted, but as I said above, I'm not racing an RGV just road riding an RZ, so I felt while the adjustable kit was cool, it was overkill for my use. Plus, for that money (and selling your existing RGV forks) you could probably buy something newer and tricker with multi adjustment and fit that instead of trying to modernise 30year old technology. Just sayin’....

But I digress, reading around the net the consensus amongst the RGV boys is that while this base model kit does not offer any extra adjustment over the RGVs original external preload and fork oil weight/height, it does improve the standard settings by using firmer spring and more damping and that is what I feel is needed on my RZ project.

So, I've now got the base Andreani kit in my hands. It consists of a new set of springs and two new damper rods which look to be very nicely made.

OK... While I’ve been quite decisive about the look and feel of this project I’ve not been so good with the motor...

I've been mulling over my engine options... But I will say, one thing I have decided is that this will be my last RZ project for a while. Yes, I know plenty of people with more RZs than me, but when you bear in mind I have the 421cc LC and also the 350cc F1, 'realistically' (a term I’ve found that ladies use for a subtext that reads “you’re mad”) I've come to the conclusion that I just don't need another one... Well not for a while...

So... Choices...

While it might seem the following rules should apply:

1, if you have 350 cylinders, you will never build a 250.

2, reboring and buying pistons for a 250 is the same as a 350.

And of course, the rule of thumb that:

A, if your mate has built a 443 to go bigger than your 421, you should really do something close to 500...

But I had an interesting chat with a local lad who has a Japanese spec 250 with a few mods (pipes and airbox). He has been riding with guys on 385’s and reckoned he didn't have too much trouble keeping up on the twisty roads, it was only on the straight bits where the 385 showed its metal. All interesting stuff... and food for thought.

I will say that I've never owned or ridden an RZ250. I believe that it has 48bhp or something I think... none to shabby, compared to the 350's 59ish... And I’ve only met one guy who has ever tried to upgrade and tune a 250 in recent years (in the UK in the early 80s lots of guys did due to the learner laws but not post 2000) and not just whack on bigger cyls, maybe I could be the guy to build a 250 that has standard 350 power by fitting better pipes, ignition and carbs... er... maybe...

So, something to think from these options:

X, I do have a ready to bolt on 250 setup with good PVs, a rebore and new pistons, carbs, intakes etc etc...

Y, I also have a full top end setup for a 350 that just needs a rebore... I have the pistons already.

Z, or I could go mental... and build something huge, but I don't really have the budget if Im honest.

All I can say is to watch this space to see what I do... And no I wont stroke a 250, the hassle of finding pistons and the cost of porting the smaller cyls would be a financial mistake I fear when I have 350 parts in my stash.

And so... Well, to be honest, If you were very picky you might say that it's still not totally perfect as when you hold it to the light and look through it close up you can see occasional very very light scratching from sanding and road rash and the odd chip from stones over the years, plus there is a bit of gentle 'age hazing' in the perspex on the curve if you catch it in the light at the right angle, but that's all 'very up close', and you never get to do that when its on the bike as you look down on it with the sun above, not through it, and so in use it will look very clean and shiny, or so I think...

I had hoped that a quick wash might leave it at least able to be looked through, but that was not to be; It was still a pretty solid brown colour. Damn...

So time to sand with some well used 240 (keeping well away from the applied text) and the water became very yellow and I could see the browny/yellow colour coming off in the sanding 'dust'. After a gentle going over I could see that the screen was actually not that bad, while you could clearly still see that the body of the screen was more yellow than the edge that was under the trim, it was looking better already.

Next some 400, then 1200 and a bunch of time with hands in water, we have this... >

You can still see its kind of brown, I just hoped it didn't go too far into the perspex...

And then after more hours and hours of hand (I felt that a mop would generate too much heat) polishing while watching TV gets you to this point:

For those that don't know this kit. Here are some snippets from when I was researching...

TTW says on their product page:

The high performance cartridge internal kit from Andreani racing, advanced piston and shim stack configuration for the RGV.


- 10% harder (They mean stiffer I think! Ed) springs

- New precision ground/hard chromed damper shafts

- New piston head 7075 Aluminium, anodised & machined with revised oil flow.

- New shim stack, dyno tested and configured

- New by-pass spring for sharper transition

Interestingly after many hours of googling I had found no bad reviews or harsh words about the kit. Most seem to assert that it's great bang for buck on an RGV. The only thing people didn't like early on was the translation of the Italian instructions, tho even those with little suspension experience found the job doable. The instructions are much improved now.

Some more info from the net:

RGV250uk froum advice:

"The cheapest and easiest option is to fit an Andreani kit. I fitted one in my bike and it totally transformed the front end. Much stiffer forks and vastly improved dampening."


"When I spoke to Chris Taylor of K Tech he thought this was the next best thing to a fully adjustable SP fork."

MCN Advice page:

"At the front end go for a cartridge conversion kit from Andreani. They cost £250-300 and they will sort the front-end’s tendency to dive for the centre of the planet when you touch the brakes. In fact, if you are on a budget, do the front end first."

And elsewhere:

"The RGV has a relatively low tech cartridge; the damping is taken care by 19.5mm steel piston, 2 shims and a wave washer by-pass valve. The Andreani kit replaces the steel piston with a modern alloy 7075 piston with more controlled oil flow. The piston is machined to create a better shim seal, the shim stack is replaced with 4 shims to create a cone shape giving a wider range of speed sensitive rebound damping. The compression bypass shim is sprung loaded for faster compression/ rebound transition. The original damping rod is replaced with a new ground and chromed rod that ensures less friction through out the stoke. Harder springs rated at K.6 [Hmm, Interesting as Some sellers state 6.5kgs] are included as is genuine Ohlins fork oil.[1]"

Note: For people in the EU it seems you also get free fork oil supplied with the kits, but not when you get these shipped further afield.

Of course, when I build these forks I will have in my hands one set with and one set without the upgrade. That means I can back to back test the forks on the LC when it's registered. I’ve never seen anyone do that test on a non-RGV or any bike with the more upright seating position. I can also do the same test on this ‘83 with clip-ons as well, but to be honest I feel I already know the answer to that....

As an aside, the seller mentioned that he had heard that if you adjust the springs next to the damper valve you can adjust the fork, but I haven’t found any info, or replacement springs online, so maybe that was a red herring, anyone with more info on that please do contact me.

Interesting I found there were 2 versions of this kit, I think of them as the pre and post 2010 versions. FWIW Sean from TTW said: "old kit up to 2008 not sure when it was released, then a new kit totally re-designed for 2010". Externally the only difference I could find was the English instructions were better post 2010, but there are obviously other changes as well to the product as its 'all new'. So get the later kit if buying used, the box clearly states 2010 on the label of the newer ones.

Another point of note is that these kits are said to be configured to your weight. The kit I bought came from a guy that looked to be much the same height and weight as me, which was lucky(!) and something to think about if buying used.

Next up I received a set of fork seals, wipers and inner bushings for my gold RGV forks which I know leaked as there were used as ‘stunt forks’ when building the LC421 while I rebuilt the silver ones. I wasn’t sure if the bushings needed doing but figured I would grab them as they weren’t huge money at <$50 a set. I think we get used to that sort of thing being available and cheap and yet for many bikes you just cant get them, or they cost a fortune. i.e. with the (ex-KTM) WP5060 forks on my XT the only way you can get those parts if to buy a full rebuild kit from KTM/Husaberg, and its $200+ a side!

A kind chap sent me a rear light bracket that was sourced from his local Japanese bike breaker in South Australia. That was cool as it’s getting harder to locate a decent (un-cracked) one of those for an early YPVS now and the only one I had sported a braised repair (see pic). The un-cracked version is much more sturdy and quickly was built into a rear light unit for test fitting of the bodywork, the new-to-me bracket will be stripped and painted later.

It’s a little known fact that these fit the RZ engine without modification, you will need longer bolts over the flywheel due to the design and there are a few holes you wont use (LC middle-of-chain-mount and the hole for the clutch cable) but these are easily plugged with short bolts to look like they are being used as a fixing point and I may yet use it for holding a speedo sensor if i can make it work.

The reason I like these is that they are alloy and nicer quality over the nasty RZ's plastic version. They amusingly have a seal on the outside edge for the shift shaft and offer a better mount for the shifter since they run a plain bearing like the one in the engine case there as well. Should give a better shift feel...

I had a few snatched parcels of time away from other projects and decided that in those between times I would work on the bodywork of this bike in between a few other jobs as it’s always a slog.

Firstly, I pulled the belly pan from the garage rafters and filled the repair I did ages back and then sanded it a few times in very soapy water as I could smell the spooge emanating from the panel in the warm water. I de-waxed and washed, cleaned with thinners, sanded, washed, sanded and washed... and washed some more and it looked and smelt much better, but bodyshops must hate these panels off our oily bikes!

I then hit it with a coat of plastic primer and then some high build. Would need a few more coats and a sand back when its dry of course, but I was hopeful it will look ok when done... not bad for a $25 OEM panel.

I recently bought a spare LC (flywheel side) engine cover for this bike and it arrived a while back but it was dirty and needed a full repaint, today was its day and I spent way too many hours with paint stripper and sand paper before it got a coat of VHT, I know its not strictly necessary but its a good oil/fuel resistant paint as well as shrugging off any heat.

I also cleaned up the bracket holding the chain flap and repainted it as well.

I also welded back on the rear tab for the oil bottle... why-o-why did Yamaha build that tab from cheese?

Bizarrely I actually cut this one from a non complaince'd frame I was given, so it has already survived the blast/powdercoat process once already!

So, while it’s the correct tab, let's see if it survives the blasting and coating process this time round... Maybe my welding will be the key to it’s success.

(you might not like the welding but its strong and hidden, and not that much worse than Yamaha when painted LOL! - Its also welded on the back as well of course...)

No one locally had a spare it seemed and while I do know that I can buy one abroad, even a new one, but by the time it was bought and posted it would be $50+. And.... What would I do with the old one?

So in true 'what the hell' fashion I opted to repair it. I found an old Rego holder with the same type of plastic and set about making new lugs. Not easy as I needed to keep adding molten plastic to the stubs I made as the lugs are very thick. A quick grind back with the Dremel and I have this.

For a while now I'd been looking locally for another oil bottle as the only one I had for this bike was actually the original one from my F1.

Regular readers may recall that it was (over)sprayed in silver, had a silicone seal nozzle lodged inside it and both the mounting lugs were broken off.

One snapped off lug and the 'fix' the DPO used (a drilled hole and a piece of wire) is clearly shown in this picture. Niiice...

Next up I wanted to dry build this bike before I had the frame coated as I want to do a few more interesting things to it and hate ruining the new powder after. So I set about test fitting the rear suspension conversion. This is a kit from NK Engineering but came with no instructions (as I bought it from a guy who fitted it but never finished the bike) other than some photos of it fitted that he and kindly forumers sent me. 

I eventually worked the fit out from the old 'net plans hosted here now: RGV on YPVS Plans and my own trial and error. Then got the B&D Powerfile out and ground the nut down to 5mm and drilled the nuts through to 10mm. Everything now fits properly. Phew!

Ok I appreciate me adding tabs to oil bottles isn't very sexy, so I thought Id give you guys a treat... Sometimes you just think 'JFDI...!'... So one thing led to another, and before I knew it I had a roller...

I started out bolting on the triples, flipped the frame over on the carpeted (they came with house LOL!) floor, built up the rear suspension and added the rear wheel and then slipped in the forks and like working on a bicycle I then flipped the lot back over onto its wheels...

...Instant Roller!

All in all, no, it's not 'beautiful' (It could be sanded and cleaned up a bit more of course), but it's strong and will work well, plus it's hidden in use anyway. But, best of all I've saved myself some storage space and of course, the trouble of trying to make the hard decision to chuck an old RZ part away!

....and proved that almost most anything is savable if you want it to be...

Nosecone was repaired and primered. The black on the back/ inside was done and in this pic just needed a final sand before the white. I should add that the nose cone fought me quite a bit with old paint lifting and other hassles, but eventually started behaving. The old accident damage wasn’t too bad once the surrounding paint was taken off as it was just gravel rash really. I did have a bunch of splits to contend with, but you expect that with these panels as the shape means they crack almost anywhere, but especially the mounts. Same with any panel I guess, as that is usually the stress point in an accident rather than anything else.

Made a long overdue visit to a mate's place a few hours from here and had a wonderful day out chatting about bikes and looking at his projects, he has a much nicer shed than I do, that's for sure!

Came home with some goodies he had put aside for me, a set of OEM RGV clip ons to replace my butchered units and also a 350 YPVS head, so the decision is made now... this bike will be a 350, standard stroke...

'What?!?!!!!!" I hear you cry... well, yes I do already have one of those, but.... money is tight, as always, and building this bike from what I have is desirable, I already have a refurbished standard crank, I have pistons that will the 350 cyls after a rebore to match them, giving me a usable motor. I already have a set of clutch plates and set uprated / standard springs, plus all the seals and bearings needed so it’s a nice cheap thing to do.

So... Engine decision made!

Time to get back on with some bodywork....

I had been very slowly working on the bodywork for the bike, a back burner project if you like. There are actually very few pieces when you have a single lump of tail, just the bikini fairing, front guard (RGV) and the bikini bottoms, ahem I mean belly pan...

All needed a few repairs but were really in very good condition:

- The belly pan as mentioned above was bought for $25 from a bike breaker. It had been DA sanded and fillered, quite why I don’t know as it didn’t need filling. I mentioned before that it had then been used on a bike like that and was covered in spoooge, but neglected to mention that it also had silicone sealant on the inside of the hole at the front where someone had probably fitted something like a mesh grille. That was horrible to remove. It looked ok after a clean up fine but was cracked across both side mounting holes.

- The bikini is the one everyone has seen before that was hanging in my garage for year and came from an old racer who removed it to go racing. It had some light rash on one side from a crash and 3 small (1cm), 2 splits at random points round the edges and one in the middle at the top of the light hole.

- The RGV front guard came from another racer mate who fitted 'race glass' to his bike and had it lying in his shed, it lived in my garage rafters for years, occasionally falling to the ground (oops), it had a few stone chips but no splits. Amazing really considering its age and the height it had fallen from over the years.

I did a test paint on the belly pan of the new white pearl, I was a bit blown away as it looked really great and the panels were quickly all primered awaiting for a good day to be hit them with their new colour. The next good day the belly and the front guard got a first coat of the white. Happy days.

A mate came round and we looked on in something approaching awe (or alarm, I’m not really sure). I felt the RGV guard and the bikini fairing just didn't work how I wanted, but the more we talked and the more we looked at the lines of the bike, the more I got used to it.

As we were calling it a night I took this last photo of the new bike popping its nose out of the workshop. I reckon it looks superb, very Ducati Monster!

Ok, its not a real roller as the suspension is missing some bushes but the main aim of the game was to test some of my ideas and parts with a dry build, this is a mock up of course, before I get too far down the track and can't change and add things, i.e. when the frame has been powder coated. Some of these parts are actually ‘mock up only’ parts and not everything you see here is what will make it to the final build.

The bikini cowl got painted with both the white and satin on the top (My OEM painted one looked more satin than matt so I went with that). And yes the joins are ‘OEM (crappy) quality’ as they are hidden under the screen. No really, the OEM paint was a bit shoddy under there, you could see the rip lines on the tape! And you can again now I’ve done it...

Ok, yes its really just a mock up and the rear suspension doesnt have any bearing collars in the swingarm pivot, the steering bearings are a mistmatch of the ones that came with the frame and some old ones removed from the used RZ triple clamp fitted to a mate’s bike, and there are no tank rubbers. The rear light is bolted on properly tho... just so you know i'm not totally bodging...

What is interesting is that this bike rolls and steers amazingly. Sure there is no weight in it yet, but considering the wheel bearings came from a long dismantled Japanese bike and the steering bearings were old parts from different bearings it’s all a bit amazing. Makes you wonder why we replace everything... not that I won’t keep doing that, but it does make you think.

I got bored one day so polished my head... I should really reword this...

Leaving the tank debacle for a while I decided to focus on a few other tasks:

1, the steering stop... its mostly made, just needed testing and welding on.

2, the headlight bracket lower mount. I bought one (its further up this page) but thought I’d investigate making one to see if i could improve on it. I made it and it didn't look right at all to me, the headlight was too low in the triples. In the end I settled for flipping over the bracket I bought to lower the headlight and bikini fairing a little (about 3cm) and it looked much better. I think I didn’t flip the bracket before as the top edges of the OEM bracket almost lined up with the triples when I originally fitted it, so I assumed it was designed to fit like that. I actually don’t mind making up some more brackets for the top edge as I will need to create a platform for the dashboard anyway, but I guess it was wasted time really.

So, to cheer myself up I pulled the bike out to see what it looked like

Pulled out the Flywheel for this motor and luckily found I had a Stator that I’ve tested in the past that works together with it. So that's another couple of boxes ticked.

While in my wiring box I pulled out all my looms. Hmm... lots of good loom stuff, but I didn’t find an obvious 83/84 loom in the box so Ive decided to buy another one, and ‘cos I don’t learn my lessons (Do as I say and not as I do), I ordered an aftermarket loom for the bike... Needlessly to say, This didn’t work in my favour and I really do only have myself to blame. Aftermarket looms and my own advice... why didn’t I take it????

So in the ebay ad for the aftermarket 31K/L loom, Andy at Yuniparts states:

"Please note that we have not included the 3 pin plug to connect to switch/generator as this would have added another £2,000 to the set up costs! As this loom has already been the most expensive, to date, we felt that it would be better to keep with bullet terminals on this one item."

So... I was ok with that. I figure I can probably find one.

People asked... Yes this paint was from a can and with no sanding as yet. It’s a White Knight Touch up, one of the ones that matches powdercoat in colourbond colours, this one is 'pearl white', tho I will say that it’s not very pearly to be honest, it’s more that I didnt want an overly bright 'appliance white' colour on this, and this is a bit greyer, but that could just be my primer undercoat showing through...

Do I recommend this paint? Well, I think you should make up your own mind. This bike was planned as a bit of a budget ‘racer style’ build and I had always wanted to see if you could paint a bike from cans and do it well enough. I can only relate my experience with this, you need to decide if its right for you and your build.

Ok, my thoughts on this paint. I would say that this paint is fast drying to the touch, but heavier coats and runs feel a bit 'rubbery' for a long time after and you can smell the paintwork still eek’ing fumes for weeks after painting. This is no problem for me as I will sand these out down the line when the paint is fully cured, but it does make me wonder how long the paint will take to fully dry and if you wanted to paint your bike and apply decals the same week and rush everything back together then this maybe isn’t the paint for that process. What I do like is that its not a full glossy paint, the tin says 'satin' but it’s not dull enough for a satin, it is more glossy that that. I would think its more like 90% glossy, this means the paintwork isn’t so over the top like a full on new glossy white paint job would be. I also like the fact this paint adheres well with coat build up and applying extra product is very forgiving, even tho it will sag if you over do it. I also like the fact it will spray on and blend with what is already there to even out the surface and doesn’t leave too much of a dry surface, especially important when painting something the size of a fuel tank on a warm day with the can at a distance, in fact you can see it go on quite dry and then when you next look at it a minute later its gently blended in with what is already there, the solvent doing is job etc. This drying out is always an issue with cans as they just dont ship enough product to paint large surface areas properly like a real spray gun would. The can is wasteful though, you get a lot of paint all over the place, and if you shoot a few cans you will need to sweep up dry flecks off the floor after, or you would leave foot prints!

I have already tried other Acrylic paints over test sprays and even on just painted (with this paint) tests it sits on there and doesn’t crack or react, so it seems a stable base. I did lightly sand and repaint the belly pan as it had too many runs as it was first try with this paint and it responded well, the colour is less grey on the second coat and gentle sanding was fine after about 2 weeks, thicker coats require longer to go hard for sure. I haven’t tried to see how it reacts to fuel yet, but I was always hoping to clear the tank in something fuel resistant anyway. All in all Im happy with it, with the reservations mentioned above.

Next up I put a coat of white on the tank. It’s not bad and looks great from a few paces, but I can see the occasional sanding mark (not enough sanding prep for sure) and of course I have some small sags to take out (where I went a bit heavy with the paint) and a little hazing where its picking up the edge of the filler below in one place, Ive seen that before and hopefully this layer of paint will help cover that up for the next coat, filler sinking (sucking in paint and looking like its sunk) is the devils work. Ok, so that said I always expected it to need a little more TLC and another coat.

Bizarrely, and I thought probably because I’d been moving them by using the brake I noticed that the gold fork legs (that I used on my LC421 build for mock up where they leaked) were performing the same trick again. Hmmm, very Annoying... they sat right way up for ages in my workshop and didn’t leak, so I assumed like I did before that it was seals as they glisten around the seal. But... after a quick feel around I realised it was the crush washer and bolt under fork (hidden by the axle when on the bike) that was that issue, the bolts were actually loose! A quick scrabble around and the leak is gone. So check that if yours leak...

The bodywork continues.... I painted the underside of the tank with a view that the top would get done soon after, weather allowing. Good progress.

However, I also decided that since I have it, I am going to paint a normal bodywork for this bike as well. The side panels are done, but the duck tail (heavily repaired unit originally from my F1) is fighting me with reactions to the OEM paint. Its flaking on the feathered edges and lifting as there is still some OEM paint on the panels. Its a slow process to rectify and its much better to remove all the OEM paint if you can, Ive since done and primered a set of LC side panels with about 10 layers of paint that had to be slowly removed and they’re already in a box waiting for a build while this thing just fights me. hmm... I wish there was some kind of spray sealer/barrier available, I’ve never found one though.

I also painted the underside of the tank, the top will hopefully be done later this week or early next week, all being well.

Since I decided to do normal bodywork as well, the side panels are done, but the duck tail is fighting me with reactions to the OEM paint. Its flaking on the feathered edges and lifting as there is still some OEM paint on the panels. Its a slow process to rectify and its much better to remove all the OEM paint if you can, Ive since done and primered a set of LC side panels with about 10 layers of paint that had to be slowly removed and theyre already in a box waiting for a build while this thing just fights me. hmm...

Side panel pics; ok not perfect like a Pro would do, but they were much cheaper. I will clean the edges up when the paint has fully setup. If I was doing these again I would shoot the white then the black, I did these the other way round and would suggest it wasn’t ideal. Anyway, not too bad for a couple of repaired mismatched OEM panels and a paint fresh from the can (polishing should improve them). Looking again I would say that actually they look worse in the pics than in the hand... not often you get to say that about home done paint.

How fast can you say Brembo? not as fast as I can stop this bike from speed I bet!

So.... Without further ado... I actually fitted front brakes to this bike and they are the best brakes I’ve ever had on an RZ, and maybe even any bike...!!! They should really be on the LC421 but that bike is running an OEM speedo drive and the wide caliper interfaces with the speedometer cable worse than the 6pots that bike currently wears.

Anyway, even with pretty much 'brand new' pads on worn disks with a bit of rust ghosting they can only be described as ‘mental good!’. One finger with light pressure is all it needs to get what you want from them, more would be wasteful. I'm sure this setup is way to powerful for an RZ really, but wow... Just ‘WOW!’....

After all my woes with bleeding the LC421’s Tockico 6 pots I wasn’t expecting a walk in the park, but these were very easy to bleed (anyone who has bled the 6 pots will know what I mean) and right away even without getting all the air out of the lines I could feel that they would perform well, with the air gone... well....

I know there re some who don’t like to read back so I’ll fill you in on these, spec is: OEM RGV 5/8” master cylinder mated to Brembo 4 pad calipers. Like a lot of Brembos you usually see these calipers in gold and they are sometimes confusingly called Goldlines, but that term was coined for the older version and have 1 pad per side, I have a black version (yeah, more confusion!) of that caliper on my XT500 Supermoto. These calipers have 1 pad per piston and were the top of the range for road bikes until the radials came out. These were off an Aprilia RSV Mille R and had done only 30km when I got them, and the story is that the guy rode home from the shop and then fitted a set of uprated racing calipers he had already bought – overkill perhaps considering how good these are but his loss was my gain! I may yet fit the OEM Brembo master that came with them as well just to have the full RSVR setup, but for now, light 1 finger braking here we come.

I also fitted Wezmoto lines to this bike. He does lines that are ADR approved, are stainless with stainless banjos and come in a range of colours... And he will add length for no extra money. I chose black and +5cm for this set as I have flipped the bars. Money well spent, they are great kit.

Amusingly, a mate dropped round and tested them and grinned. Without prompting he tested them again before he left and grinned at me as he did it. They really are ‘that good’.

Back to the tank..... getting it’s second lot of side dent filler after the disaster of the chemical metal.... And then a few coats of high build primer...

I email Andy and ask if this is what he expected since it’s not mentioned in the ebay ad or if there even should there be some kind of terminal block here or are they wires from some other block that maybe got missed. He emails me back:

"Hi Jon, just had a look myself at this loom, and can see the wires your talking about, and they do look like they should be on a connector block, black /black/white is usually the connection for the engine kill switch, maybe you could match this with wires on your switchgear? or maybe swap the connections for bullet type to suit? not to sure why our manufactures missed these blocks off, they probably could not obtain this particular block to match the yamaha connection system on these classic machines."

So the guys in the loom factory ran out and just kept making them without the connectors, that’s just great! 

After then looking through the wiring diagrams and ebay switch gear and looms at the connectors I found that he was right, it's the kill switch. I emailed and told him it was a bit annoying as now I had to source two connectors as I didn’t want to cut things and fit bullets. I’ve since had no reply or offer of any kind of refund or replacement or to track down the missing connector for me. I reckon that’s pretty shoddy... It’s not the end of the world, but it’s not what I signed up for.

So there you have it, chalk another one up to ‘do not use an aftermarket loom unless you really want more work...’. I know 31K OEM looms are thin on the ground and expensive, but trust me, buy OEM....

I had also been working on the fuel tank and cover the first part of work off in the F1 pages as I had considered using the tanks for this bike on that build. Flip to that page if you wanted to see it before it was stripped. I decided to fill the larger dents and the welding marks with metal filler as I don’t like how bodyfiller can hold water like a sponge, and the chemical metal/jb weld/permatex etc etc products do not, plus I read that they also resist fuel and oil as I guess they have a closed structure. Long story short; don’t do this. I spent ages adding layers, then added normal body filler, primer and was just ready to paint it when I left the tank in the sun and the surface bubbled! It seems the metal-type fillers dont fully dry (or take a long time) and this one lifted, taking all my work with it! Not happy...

Oh and before anyone asks, the reason for filling back in the dents rather than bash them out was that I had already lined this tank a while back. Advice to anyone else lining a tank they will paint later is to remove the paint first and pull out the dents before you do the inside, as once you’ve done the liner you cant hit it with a hammer or you will compromise the liner.

So, this is where I got to before I had to strip all the filler back off...

When the loom arrives I can see the 3 wires cable tied together for the missing 3 pin connector block, I get that.... but next to it are two more wires (black and black/white) that are also cable tied together, they have female bullet terminals which looks like they should also be sited in a connector block as they have no shielding. I don’t have an original loom or any switches as yet, so cant check what they are or go to easily. Hmmm....

(Original and parts hoarders look away now....) - Cutting down the rear fender....

The biggest issue with doing this on the KR1S version, instead of more generic single units like the ones fro say a KX85) is that they came handed. Thats great for adjusting when on the bike, but for the spigots it causes an issue as one carb has the vac take off for the fuel tap, the other doesn’t. If you want to use that position for the spigot then you need to pull the existing vac take off spigot out (mine would not actually pull and needed to be cut off and then drilled, thank you Mr Dremel you are a star!) and then plug the hole and start again as the hole is quite a bit too large for the oil flow. I plugged the hole with an M6 alloy bolt (drill n tap the carb for M6, epoxy the thread and fit the bolt. When set, cut it down and file the top smooth to get you a virgin start point like the other side).

The spigots came from Scottoiler, M5 threaded versions, they do M6 as well, I could have used them, but M5s are that bit smaller.

Time is always in short supply when you have a bunch of projects on the go, but I followed my own advice and began stealing a few minutes now and then to advance each of my projects whenever I could... and with that plan I managed to fit the oil injector spigots in the PWK28 carbs from a KR1S.

I then had a play with the bodywork and the roller, along with the dash to check for general fit.

Leaving the paint to cure I moved onto other things.

I managed to pick up an OEM throttle cable for sensible money online, and received the Scottoiler barbs for the PWK oil injection conversion. I already have the angled tops and a forumer sent me some jets and stuff too, so my carburation was pretty much sorted, I just needed to buy some OEM airbox rubbers and Banshee reeds.

I had another play with the brakes. I was using a Nissin 5/8 master and while the brakes were good enough to have me playing at rolling the bike in the garage almost daily (what do you mean you don’t do that stuff?!), if I’m honest the brakes were a little grabby as you let go. It could be that that master piston seal was past its best, or it could have been the size wasn’t perfect for the calipers, either way it wasn't as nice as I would have liked and of course it was not showing any signs of getting better, these things rarely do, so I was looking for another 5/8 master...

Then a box of parts for a local mate and I arrived from forumer in the USA and in the box was much the same looking Nissin master, but it was 14mm... knowing my mate wouldn't mind I quickly fitted it to my bike and the brakes were much better. Still one finger braking but less grabby. It could be that the master was locking on just a little as the piston was dragging, or it could be the size as I said. Either way, it all looks the same, but I’m happier with the brakes, they still feel 'modern sportsbike good' like they did when I first fitted the old master but of course they also don't drag now. Chatted to my mate and he was happy to swap for my old 5/8, he will rebuild it anyway so any issues were not a worry.

I also had a play with the TDM850 dash which the forumer had sent to me. He and I agreed that it is very cool as it has its roots in the same style of units fitted to the later RZ N models, but is of a higher quality and while more plastic it is also more classy in its looks and also its alloy cover. I’ve already worked out a way to wire it up so the tacho works, yes even on a 31k/LC2 loom which has no electronic tacho. I also may have sorted out a plan for the speedometer drive as well, as its offset on these speedo units, not a straight-in fitting. A few hours of sleuthing for sure, but I’ve got a wiring diagram sorted in my note book now to meet the LC2 loom and even think I’ve even sussed adding the oil light. A good day’s work.

It was at this point that I had a very bad day. Remember the painted tank that just needed another sand and a last coat of white before decals? yeah me too... I’d been a bit of an idiot and this is a cautionary tale... Don’t hang exhausts up in your garage.

OEM LC pipes weigh about 10kgs each, if one decides to jump from its hanger it will do quite a bit of damage if it falls on your mostly complete F1 that is wearing your freshly painted ‘83 tank as ‘a safe place’ away from all other bikes so that it could continue to dry in peace.

The upshot is that the tank is now dented again. Not happy.

I had a good look inside the tank with my scope and I didn’t see much (if any) real damage to the liner. I had expected a big hole and lots of flakes, but no. If anything there was a small split in the liner, but it was very small and on the top surface (the ceiling, if you will) and that seems to be it, phew! Ok, now I’m not stupid enough to believe it will be ok just because its on the top side of the tank...

So, since I have another tank sealer kit on hand I decided to inject a little more of the epoxy into the crack and cover the area well enough to effect a decent seal. Ok, that's not a perfect fix, that would involve stripping the whole lot out and starting again, but considering our climate and that it’s not exactly a rust fest at this time of year and the fact this is on the top inner surface, so is more solid that the lower parts of these old tanks, and that I can seal it fully over the top, I decided I had nothing to lose really.

I cleaned out the tank with pro prep and flipped the tank over, then used a small hyperdermic with a hose attached that was taped to my scope camera arm, this was inserted it through the fuel tap hole (which is a great way into the tank to get to this point) to inject epoxy into and onto the offending area.

I then started filling the dents on the outside.... talk about Deja Vu! Naturally I had to again re-profile everything and once more primer the tank.

Built up the now repainted plates into footrests with the pegs and pedals, and onto the roller.

I snaffled some Raask rearset footplates from the UK, they came by boat... cheap, but very slow of course. I only needed the plates as a helpful forumer had already sent me the footrests and pedals, they were only missing the control rods. Originally i was going to create my own plates for use with those pedals, but these came up so I snapped em up as they are 'period' and they function as they should.

I immediately stripped off the old black powdercoat to reveal the clean cast alloy inside... slightly less crude a casting than the LC ones I have, but still pretty crude that being said. You can tell these were being done a few years later than the LC ones for sure, In my mind’s eye I see that Mr Raask's kids had got a better handle on sand casting by the time these were made in their sand pit. Ok, not true (as if you believed that!) but their finish does make you wonder!

A quick hit with some paint and Ive a set of good footplates, here are some detail pics.

Ok, with a level playing field between the two carbs you can now get onto drilling for the spigots, ie drill for tapping to M5.

Once you've drilled the carbs about 3/4 of the way through and tapped them for M5, drill a small hole for the oil to enter the inlet charge. A great philosopher (RIP mate!) once wrote[1] '... the entry point into the carb should be 1mm for standard engines or 1.2mm for tuned engines, this is what I was told by someone who knew what they were talking about but cant remember who. The standard RD carbs have a 1mm injector hole & it was suggested a 1.2mm hole for tuned engines to get a bit more oil in, apparently the size of the inlet hole matters, maybe it regulates the oil better.'

So, I drilled mine with a 1mm drill and cleaned up the hole on the underside (where the fuel mixture flows). Then glued in the spigots in with the same epoxy (apply sparingly) and tested that the small holes were still clear, which they were. Phew! job done!

This time round I think it’s probably not quite as nice a finish straight outa-the-tin as I was erring on the side of 'less is more' to avoid runs, it’s got to be cleared anyway, so no big deal about the surface as it will be flattened of course.

Should also add... I said before that this paint was quite soft. While it will set nice and hard, it does take a while - I would say months, not weeks. At this stage all the panels were ‘sandable’ before a 2nd coat, but I decided to leave them a few months more to ensure the evaporation of all the solvents. Cans... gotta love em.

Still, this has been a refreshingly cheap job, Ive only used less than $100 worth of these cans so far (and thats buying from local DIY giant Bunnings!), and about the same in primers (from SCA and Repco, I always buy good primer, not the cheapo stuff, you wont get longevity with $3 paints...

....a few months later, on a nice warm day (30deg) with very low humidity (<30%) I couldn’t ignore the top coats needed on the nose cone and the (RGV) mudguard any more. I sanded any runs or dust particles in the finish and then flatted out the whole job, then after a bit of masking blew them over with the tins to give them a top coat of colour.

Ok.... Got that Deja Vu feeling? I know I have....

Here is the old OEM ducktail section I mentioned earlier. This was the one originally fitted to my ‘85 and was totally trashed. In fact most people would have not bothered repairing it as it was ot only covered in the usual layers of paint and decals, but was cracked right through in many places  with lots of missing tabs including the whole front section on one side.

Ages back I started rebuilding it by welding it all together as an exercise in learning how to weld plastic, figuring who cares if i killed it as it was a pretty dead part anyway.

It come out pretty good after many hours of work and when I found it again I figured it may as well get painted for this bike. This is the first coat of white and it does need a little rectification, but not much.

Again not a bad finish from a spraycan, but of course I will still needed to flat these and polish them, tho I will probably clear all the panels. I'm starting to think I might want this bike to look 'wet', maybe thats a bridge too far... we'll see.

Should also mention that I’ve been using a Pro-Choice Sprayers half mask with A1 and P2 filters and while nose up to the job you cant smell anything even after unloading a whole can on something. Amazing technology and saves you from brain damage etc. Its also a very comfy mask too... probably the best I’ve ever worn.

Sometimes even the usually ‘uncool’ bits and bobs that you need for a build can be cooler than you think and since I’ve used these before and like them, when I saw that Motobatt MB5.5U batteries were on sale so grabbed one for this bike and one for the LC.

Without turning this into an advert (as they certainly aren’t paying me) the new ones have removable terminals and the ability to put them on either side of the battery. Thats great for their production as they can make less distinct battery designs and still cover all the fitments fitments, but also very useful for those of us running a lot of electrics on our machines as well. I say this as you get an extra place to add both + and - connections and being able to using both of the terminals allows better placement of the connections as well as not overloading a single terminal.

Ok, that’s where I am at right now, there will be more updates as and when I have them...

In recent times I’ve not written much about this bike as I’ve been concentrating on the other projects for a bit, but I got the cylinders back for the reborer and he said he was happy with the quality of the Cruzin Image pistons, said they seemed good for the price. Sure they aren’t Woser/Wiseco or anything like that but compared to ProX and the like they seem pretty 'on par' to me.

Cleaned up the threads, scraped and pulled the last of the exhaust/inlet gaskets and dressed the inlets flat, including the raised thread ends pulled by some previous oaf; anything to get a good seal in this area - will vac/pressure test this motor anyway of course.

Since this project is one thats firmly set in the future, things can change a bit over time... time and time again... if you’ve been reading this page you’ll know its a rollercoaster and I’ve always been keeping my options open.

One of the things thats always been an option on this bike is the dash. One plan was to use the R1 dash, another was to use a TDM dash and another was an N model dash which is like the TZR unit. 

It’s the last of those options I've been working on more recently as I had access to powdercoating equipment with a nice semi wrinkle satin finish which for what I wanted was perfect for this dash as it was a resto-mod project in its own right with trashed paint, no printed legends and was twisted. This was fitted with new decals of course. The plastic rear cover had broken mounts which I remade by plastic welding in new washer shaped pieces and tidying up. The clocks were chosen from the best of what I had in my spares and refurbished as required, including cleaning the dials and glasses, then repainting the tacho needle. These were fitted to the dash plate with some NOS cushions I found a few years back, they were hard to find then, nowadays they would be just impossible of course... It also needed the 4 top hat rubber grommets for the back nuts which are really stupid money for such a small and simple part, but needs must so they were procured.

Then it was into the box. Squirreled away for later....

Of course.... The indecision about this project continues...

I realised suddenly that this could well be my most ready to ride bike... {noise of needle hastily removed from record!} "What?!" you ask... and you're right...

With the bodywork mostly painted even tho this bike has a rusty looking frame and engine in pieces and it’s basically living in boxes, I could in a day or so build it into a runner, not least as it has good tyres, suspension and rebuilt brakes, dash(es!) etc etc... Ok it would take longer as I’d have to paint/powder the frame and other parts, but you get my drift...

The problem is that I would be better registering it as a standard bike under the new historic registration system as its much cheaper than the normal rego here, but I can’t do that with the RGV front and rear mods. They only accept 'in the day' mods. hmm... So with that in mind I’ve been looking at fitting OEM forks, wheels, swinger, brakes etc etc. Another change in direction... sigh...

With this in mind I bought what was sold as a front end for an ‘83, only it turned out to be LC not ‘83. Tho the wheel and brakes were right, so it wasn't wasted and I'll sell on the forks and triples. Actually I did have a set of ‘83 forks, but they need to be re-chromed, I could do that like I did to the LC forks, but I’d rather not if I could find a good set as thats the cheaper way. A few weeks later I negotiated a set of good used stantions. I just needed to get the parts all in once place and renew the seals and fit everything together.

The next task was to pull out the rear suspension parts and I found that the smaller H-arm collar is now NLA. Other parts are NLA as well, but by buying from norbo and yamaha I would be able to make that work... A generous Canadian forumer donated a used-but-ok H-arm collar and I just needed to refurb some dogbones (a mate and I have been 'working' - term used very very loosely - on that problem for years). I still needed to sort a shock of course and I bought a YSS unit from Yambits, but I realised that I don’t have a rear brake for an ’83/4, I did have one but sold it to a guy who needed one. ooops.

I also didn’t have an early dash... and the chances of finding one of those was very slim but the same guy who sold me the front end had one but it had been sold. The buyer flaked and I was offered it, great news. It needed some work, ignition surround had been removed, reset button was lost and the inner white plastic was trashed, plus if I’m picky (ahem) the speedo was quite faded and foxed, but it was a great start, no one could argue different.