Sunday, September 5, 2010

no excuses

For all intents and purposes, the ex is ready to roll... no comprimises with tires, exhaust, suspension, etc... all that is left is the fine tuning and me getting up to speed and to grips with it. 
The Muzzy exhaust came in earlier this week, and was quite easy to install -- just headers and the muffler -- 5 bolts in total.  Fired it up -- sounds pretty rorty... might be pushing the db levels at some tracks.  When I went to mount the bellypan the headers and collector pipe (as short as it is) fouled on the pan.  Spent another couple of hours cutting out a section of the bottom of the bellypan, and riviting in an aluminum relief panel.  The end result is still oil tight and should work OK.  The muffler fits well within the rear cutout and looks pretty stealthy.


Mom and Dad stopped in for a visit on their way west -- Dad played "mule" duty and hauled in some proper slicks (Michelin 250s from Motorace) as well as a few Versys parts for the swingarm conversion -- swingarm pivot axle and rear axle and adjusters, so that should help with finding the other hardware for installing the new rear end.  The Michelins can be a PITA to install, especially if they've been stacked on their sides (like they all have), but with some massaging I was able to get the beads to seat.

As I said, mechanically, there should be no issues with the bike -- everything works, nothing is compromised, all that's left is optimizing things like the rear shock (it may not be set up for my weight), and getting used to the bike.  I really hope the "experiment" that is the decision to go fairingless works out OK.  The streetfighter look is not something I am really keen on as streetbikes, but I still wonder if a full fairing is necessary on a 65 hp bike -- it is the balance between aerodynamic streamlining and coefficient of drag.  Short of a wind tunnel, I've go no way to prove my ideas.  The truth will be in my right wrist, next weekend.  The final round of the year is on the 11/12 weekend, and after my refereeing duties wrap up on Saturday, I plan to get in as many laps as I can on both bikes on alternating sessions on Sunday.  Hopefully my improved fitness will allow me to ride all day.
On the 'mono front, one of my long-term goals has always been to fit a FCR carb to the engine.  Google drz/klx400 and 39 FCR and you'll have hours of reading on the benefits of fitting this to the S/SM bikes (the E model got it stock).  I am still certain the 40mmCV I have right now is an improvement over the 36mm carb that came standard.

I was able to source this item on eBay for a good price -- I've also found a reputable page describing some jetting settings.  This is a popular carb, fitted to many models of MX bikes; therefore, aside from assuring its a 39mm, I will likely have to switch out some jets to get the carb to run properly.
Another fabricating problem is going to rear its head as well -- back in late 2008 when I was modifying the tank to work with this frame, the underside of the zzr250 tank was adapted to suit a CV carb.  In general, these carbs are "shorter" from top to bottom and so I modified the tank to suit.  A buddy of mine has a DRZ400 SM bike, and bought his own 39mm FCR.  There are no clearance issues fitting this carb to the stock bike, but I noticed at the time that it appeared a FCR would not fit under the modified ZZR tank I built... so with all mods, there is often a carry on effect.  This might mean a new tank!

ZZR250 tanks are a dime a dozen in the UK, but very rare in NA -- they were only sold in Canada... and, the only one I've seen in a year is stuck on eBay for a very high price -- fair enough, its new, but not what I need.  Again, in the quest to "lose weight", I did some research:
  • 1 gallon of fuel = 8.33 lbs! 
  • So if you put 2 gallons of gas into your bike for a 15-30 mile sprint race, you are carrying around at least an extra 8 pounds of ballast.
  • Gimli sprints are even shorter, the tight track results in lower speeds, with less fuel demand
  • A KLX400 single gets "great" gas mileage!
So, likely any new tank would only require 1 gallon of volume -- I would just need to remember to keep the tank full... and save more weight!
The plan now is to find a decent quality 1 gallon fuel cell -- go kart racers have these in aluminum or even plastic.  I'd prefer the alloy, but we'll see what I can find for a reasonable price.  Mount it in a suitable location, and then cover up the sharp angles by gluing pink foam insulation to the tank, and then cutting, sanding, and shaping the big block into something resembling a fuel tank.  The pink final copy is then covered with epoxy resin and fibreglass, sanded, and then painted like any regular tank.  About the same work as modifying a stock steel tank, but with the anticipated result of a lighter tank (albeit with less volume).
Finally, on a sad note, many of you know Peter Lenz was killed at the Indy MotoGP.  I have a very loose connection to the fellow -- I emailed and spoke with his dad awhile back when I bought some of his old bodywork -- the tail section on the 'mono was some of his old stuff.  I bought it used with some crash damage, and I had to admit I was a bit jealous of the kid when I was prepping the piece for painting -- the underside of the tail section had a really neat professionally-made decal with his name, number, and a pile of sponsors.  A real pain to remove!   Looked pretty cool and I was jealous of the then 12-year old.  His passing reminds me again how my life has been one big stroke of luck/Lucky Stroke in comparison.  The only consolation is that he died doing what he loved to do, by no mistake on his own.  Pretty cool legacy for a 13 year old.

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