Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Been an interesting month... first, the political rant.  I am streetbikeless AGAIN!  As much as I enjoyed riding the 636 to work in March (earliest spring rides ever!), as soon as July rolled around, the need to ride the bike essentially dried up.  These two summer months see the focus shift -- work around the house (bathroom and fence this year) and maintaining/modifying the race bike.  The black kwak sat unused for nearly 3 weeks.  On top of that, I was paying the stupid insurance fees that mpi charges, to have it sit idle in the garage.  So... I sold it.  I think I should swear an affidavit to Kate that I will not buy a streetbike again until I have quit racing.  Another option would have been to cancel the insurance, ironically during the two best riding months, and reactivate it in September.  Realistically, the amount I ride on the street doesn't justify the expense.  Racing is the focus, and the amount saved on insurance is quite tangible.  Also, the sale of the bike (for exactly what I bought it for last October -- score!) helped pay for the bathroom.  Manitoba Public Insurance, is anti-motorcycle, and that is that.

Continuing on with the rant, the oil cooler project is stalled right now... I am currently on Sandwich adapter #4!!!
1.  The first sandwich adapter, from Glow-Shift, looked to be OK, but the two oil line fittings were 3/8 pipe thread, NOT 3/8 NPT.  There is a difference, and no one appears to make a 3/8 pipe thread to 6-an adapter fitting.  No go.
2.  The second adapter fitting was from Earl's, so it was a good name.  However I gambled on he filter housing size and... lost.  Too big to fit in the confined space of the ex650 oil pan.  Obviously meant for a car.  Dammit!  Strike 2!
3.  Adapters 3 and 4 are currently inbound.  I have thrown even more caution to the wind and have ordered another model from Earl's, as well as one off of eBay that had some dimensions listed.  The eBay one might still be a bit big, but the Earl's one I hope should work.  I had planned to skip this round of the local championship anyway (July 28-29), so the bike not being ready is no big deal.

Hopefully, either the 3rd or 4th time is a charm.  Alex Hutchinson and an eBay seller from the UK have both been more helpful than the entire hotrod industry in North America.  Can you tell I'm a bit exasperated???

So this is how the bike sits as is.  You will notice the wheels are missing -- off to get powdercoated.  Could not stand the metallic burgundy/red any longer.  Justified by the sale of the 636 -- racer's logic.  Also, note the woodcraft rearsets.  After being sponsored by them for a year, I have finally gotten around to getting these fitted.  LHS went on a treat, but the right hand side...

The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice the lack of rear brake pedal.  The woodcraft brake pedal design fouls on the versys swingarm.  All of the versys - modified 650s are in the UK, and they don't use woodcraft stuff over there (at least to a large extent).  So this screw-up was somewhat surprising. That meant another solution, so I dug out the thumb rear brake from the old tigcraft supermono and fitted that.  It actually works quite well on this application. However, a 20 minute job turned into a day of fabrication!

And as I am sure you can guess, the thumb brake, once installed, fouls on the.... pick one:
a.  Fuel tank
b.  Dash
c.  Upper fairing ear near the screen
d.  Upper fairing near the tank

Correct answer:  d.  So after painting the fairing to match the rest of the bike, I had to attack it with the dremel tool.  A steady hand and some trickery with the masking tape resulted in a decent bodge and not a lot of stripped paint.  Again, "bolt-on" my butt!

You can see the fairing, new (used) screen and "intake to nowhere" on top of the next project -- at least this pic makes me smile.  The plan is to rebuild this xs650 into a cafe racer with some of my students this winter!  I have some big plans, involving the high school, hopefully cycleboyz, Winnipeg Technical College, and some others.  I will start a separate blog to cover the progress eventually.  Big thanks to blog follower and super dude Greg D for the awesome deal on the bike.  Two boxes of parts not pictured!  Note bathroom paint can!

Last picture is the undertail I have fabricated.  The R1 tail section had a little swoopy scoop that originally separated the two undertail exhausts, but on my application left a big hole for dirt and crud to get at the ECU, and was a bit dirty aerodynamically-wise.  Some light cardboard and three coats of fibreglass later, I have this.  I didn't spend too much time finishing it with bondo -- didn't want it too heavy -- and it will likely get hammered by stones in short order anyway.

So hopefully the next post will show the smooth installation of a custom oil cooler for the er6 and ex650.  Cross fingers!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Oil Cooler

In order to keep the temps down somewhat, I've started the process of engineering and fitting an oil cooler system for the ex650.  It has been a bit frustrating at times with a few false starts, but I think I am at the point where I can post some information.  For what its worth, I've burned some metal together and started cutting holes in fibreglass!  After a false start regarding the cooler itself, I've settled on this one -- a ducati cooler from an S4r -- a bit sexy looking with the neat curve to it, it already has a mesh guard installed.  As you can see it has two rubber mounts to it as well...
I've already fitted the adapter lines that I got from Earls.  To note, the cooler takes an M14x1.5 threaded fitting -- so I got 2 of those (uses a crush washer to seal against the cooler), and the two hose fittings.  I am going with an6, as that is typical with bikes (approx 3/8") and what is used on the Ducati.  Note the threaded boss on the top of the cooler -- its an m10x1.0 -- a very fine pitch which is a standard brake bango size, but there are few if any bolts or plugs to use to seal the hole.  My hope is that a koso oil cooler temp sender, in that thread size, will both plug the hole, and can be used with my koso dash guage for water temps to get oil temps as well.  That is, I would just unplug the water temp lead and use the oil temp lead.  However, my worry is that the sender might be a tapered thread -- will it properly mate into the hole?  Cross fingers!

The next step is to find a suitable mounting location.  As I've been whining about for awhile, there is no room or adequate location to put the cooler behind the front wheel.  Again stealing an idea from Ducati, I've decided to put the cooler in the nose of the fairing.  This is the location of the greatest air pressure, so even a smallish front duct should provide enough air flow to the cooler to keep it cool.  The old Ducati 888 World Superbikes had the cooler in the nose of those bikes.  The trusty stock steel fairing stay that I am now using with the stock pattern bodywork allows me to weld attachments to it.  Dusting off the acetelyne welder, I started with this t-mount:
This is just tacked in place. 

The ends of the "t" have the rubber shrouded expansion fittings normally reserved for fairings.  As you tighten the nuts they expand and have a nice friction fit inside the tube.  The design means that the cooler can't "fall off", but I will safety wire the bolts to be sure. The cooler rides on rubber mounts. 

Dad strongly encouraged the use of rubber mounts all around, so I fabricated a lower stay out of aluminum that uses a rubber saddle from a piece of something that I refused to throw out.  Good thing, as it fits perfectly.

Thowing caution to the wind, I also cut a "mouth" into the front fairing.  I also glassed in a bit of a short tunnel to clean it up a bit and direct some of the air towards the cooler.  I am not sure how long to make the tunnel, as it is still in early stages and I need to clean up and reinforce the matt I used to get the shape.

This actually looks somewhat OK!  The tunnel still needs to be cleaned up and another layer of fibreglass added... it has even helped strengthen the fairing itself.  The plan was always to paint the upper  "gulf blue" anyway!  The oil lines will run up from the sandwich adapter placed behind the oil filter, up the RHS of the bike and rad (left as you look at this picture) and into the cooler and back.

So, the pessimistic Irishman in me cautiously states, that,

1.  IF the sandwich adapter isn't too thick,
2.  IF the Yamaha Raptor filter (shorter by about 1" to accomodate the sandwich adapter) isn't too tall,
3.  IF the koso temp sender fits in the hole on the top of the cooler,
4. and IF I can get the lines properly cut and fitted...

It should work!
Elsewhere around the globe (OK, in the UK), hot-rodding ex650s continues.  For your pleasure...
This is from David Bell's website.  I think he is racing at Scarborough in this picture.  Anyhoo, you can see the following:
Custom bodywork that appears to be an original design; what looks to be a larger R6s radiator; ram air -- note the scoop that extends under the lower triple clamp into the airbox; and an exhaust of unknown manufacture.  Cool!

And finally, Dave Pearce of Tigcraft continues to send me pics of his various creations.  He's finished a Yamaha-based moto3 racer, and the ex650 machine he's been working on is complete... he sent it to me titled, "Parts bike"... right!
From what I can see:  R6 forks and swingarm, triumph 675 wheels, custom bodywork (based on a tzr, I think) cental fuel tank (under a dummy cover), fireblade tail section.  Of course, the custom frame, and note the ram air system -- the carbon scoop goes through the headstock directly into the airbox.  Custom exhaust, custom radiator (thicker core)... apparently the engine makes 91hp!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hot under the leathers!

A motoGP-style weekend!  4 solid days at the track, between the Chris Peris school and round 3.  Headed to the track on Wednesday, for 3 nights of sleeping in the car/riding and racing on the track. 

It would be hard to summarize succinctly the Chris Peris experience.  In a word, it was excellent.  Pretty neat to share a track with the likes of him and AMA pro Jake Zemke.  Also along for the trip was Ben Waters, a dirt tracker and a rider I have also read about in Roadracing World magazine.  Basically, my form needs work, some of which may be a result of how I have the bike set up.  If I was doing anything right, it was looking though the turn -- otherwise my head position was wrong, I was not getting off the seat, and I wasn't trail-braking.  A lot to work on then.  Lots of laps, lots of strategy, lots of information, and lots of fun.

The race weekend went quite well.  I was busy most of the day on Saturday with trackday students -- in all I likley turned over 100 laps -- albeit the majority at a slower pace.  Practice saw me get into the low 1:06s, and I started in 4th spot by nature of my standings in the series. 

Race 1:  Canadian Thunder GP (15 laps)

Doug got his jackrabbit start as usual and took off in the distance.  Cam slotted into 2nd, with Jason in 3rd and me close in pursuit.  Within a few laps 2nd-4th had gapped 5th place, and so we began our own private battle.  I did a few 1:05s in the race, and first got by Jason going into 1, and chased after Cam.  I got by him at the end of the front straight, and put in a bit of a blocking pass in turn 1 again, as he is so fast there.  This happened towards the last 3-4 laps of the race, and I consolidated the 2nd place, but not by much -- Jason was right on my tail, having also got by Cam.  Podium!

I spent the rest of the day on track with the trackday novice group, filming and offering tips and suggestions.

Race 2:  Canadian Thunder #2 (10 laps)

This was the first Sunday where there was new riders on Sunday, so I was unfortunately unable to get in any racer practice that day.  Despite turning many laps, none were close to "at speed", so I decided to grid at the back for the first race of Sunday in order to get my head back in the game.  A good idea really, as it allowed me to try and apply some things from the school -- one of which ultimately made the difference in the next race.  I diced a bit with Rico and Greg, and once past them, turned some low 1:06s again to get my reference points back.  I passed Steve on the last lap as well, allowing me to finish 6th after starting 14th.

Race 3: Canadian Thunder #3 (10 laps)

Another ding-dong battle for the bridesmaid's spot between Cam, Jason, and myself.  From the first corner, I was in 3rd -- Cam had an issue which allowed me to move up one place, and Jason chased me the whole way -- he was always close -- I never quite saw a wheel, but I could hear him the whole time.  Doug had scampered off as usual, and on lap 7 or 8, Jeff Stokoe on his TZ250 came past as well (not for place -- he's in Novice). 
I realized in the previous race that Greg and Rico would pull me easily coming out of turn 5 -- they went into the turn in 2nd gear, while I took a wider line in 3rd.  However, in a tight pack, the lower gear allowed them to accellerate much better and gap me before turn 6.  When I had some clear track in the previous race I practiced going down another gear -- it didn't cost me any time from what I could tell, and my drive down the back straight was much better.
This came in handy as on the last lap, Jason and I had to split Francisco, who had bike issues and was being lapped -- Jason was able to take advantage of this, getting by me on the entrance of 5 -- I then did a bit of an outside-in move, and used the stomp of 2nd gear to pull alongside, and ultimately get far enough ahead of Jason to make turn 6 before he did.  I held him off at the line, but not by much!!!  Another 2nd place finish. 

I'm now currently 3rd place in the standings, mere points ahead of Wilson.  The battle is heating up.  I've got some suggestions about improving the cooling of the ex from other racers (aside from an oil cooler) -- I hit a peak of 131 celcius on Friday -- TOO HOT!!!  I'll work on getting those temps down and report back to you all.

Monday, July 2, 2012

New Sponsor

Lucky Stroke Racing is now sponsored by Vortex.  Click on the link to the right to visit their site.

5 figures!!!

Over 10,000 people have visted my blog since Feb of 2010!!!  Thanks for your support and interest!!!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Rebuild almost complete

I'm a seat pad away from having the cosmetic refresh complete on the ex650.  Doug had kept all of his old hotbodies stuff from his ex650 racing days, so I took advantage and grabbed the bodywork off of him.  While that took place, I set about stripping the paint off of the oil tank (there was no leak), and priming and painting the new tail section and repainting the front and rear fenders. 

As you can see, it looks a bit like someone spilled a paint pallette on the machine, with the blue, black, orange, and burgundy wheels (with a green chain!).  I guess I don't look at the bike while I am riding it, but a few less colors would be nice.  Maybe I'll do something with the wheels over the winter.

I also finished the rearset plates.  I put some more time into these ones, with a bit of swoopyness happening here.

As for the cooling, I'm gonna try to mock up an oil cooler.  This mocal unit will fit under the front fairing stay, tucked into the nose of the bike.  May allow for some ducting to take place as well.

The woodcraft lever guards did their job last round -- saved the cluch lever, and also my left hand, no doubt!  Big news is that this upcoming week/weekend is the Chris Peris school.  Stay tuned for a full report -- apparently Jake Zemke is to make an appearance as well!