Friday, March 29, 2013

More work

It wasn't the Easter Bunny, but a few more items have found their way to me.  Some of them are minor items.

For some bling, I bought a PSR oil cap, and replaced the solid swingarm pivot with a lighter aluminum hollow item.  This is the rear axle from a Triumph 675 -- got it for 10 bucks off of eBay, and will work on any ex650 from 06-08, and the newer ones as well.  Saves .75lb!

 I wondered if part of the handling problem I had with the front end last year was fuel sloshing towards the front of the bike.  With an oddly-shaped tank, and never more than 2 gallons, I wondered if it led to the forks being overworked.  To prevent this movement, I bought some fuel foam and set about jamming the tank full of it.  It will be interesting to see how it works, but not having 14 to 20 lbs of liquid weight shoved forward under braking will be beneficial, regardless.

New thumb brake -- got a deal on it.

Rear axle sliders -- got these on sale as well, and want to protect the versys swingarm from any damage in a crash.  Might be a bit of overkill with the spools as well, but I prefer grinding polyurethane into dust, rather than aluminum!

Reminders -- hopefully start-up can be soon!  I need to confirm the radiator is water-tight!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

New Skins

A box full of goodies arrived from Pilot Leathers today.  Couldn't wait to try them on.
As you can see, all of the sponsor patches as requested were sewn on, as well as my family nickname, "beans".  It is so nice to get into a proper fitting suit.  Room for a chest and back protector, but without too-long arms or tight legs.  The knee pads on the inside of the suit actually stay where they are supposed to.  I can get in and out of it without greasing myself up, or wearing a skins style under suit.  The knee sliders are actually where knee sliders are supposed to go.  I was pretty nervous/excited to pull them on for the first time, and thrilled that they fitted as advertised.

This is Pilot's top of the line suit, which was custom-made based on sizing specs I provided.  It isn't too difficult, as Kate simply took the measurements with a proper measuring tape, and I included 6 pics of my body profile as well.  As you have read, they then send proofs of the design for final approval.  The butt is baggy standing up, but in a racing crouch, it takes up the slack without strangling your neck.  For the additional cost (which is nominal, all things considered) it is worth it, unless you are a normal sized, off-the-rack person.  I am not.  Collin and the crew at Pilot are awesome to deal with, and patiently answered my several emails.  I can't recommend them highly enough!  Click on the link at the right to check out their site.  Can't wait until I get to try them on the track!  Note the correct race number font AND the Piston Broke Racing logo!  Do I look like a factory rider or what???

Monday, March 25, 2013

A bit more work...

Still horrible weather, even for this time of year.  Nearly 20 below overnight!  Patience, grasshopper...
In the meantime, I've done a bit more work with the bike.  Fellow (retired) ex650 racer Cynthia sold me a shark guard for the rear sprocket.  Not a great photo, but you get the idea.  A safety device made mandatory in a lot of racing organizations, in order to prevent digits from being sawed off in a tumble... your fingers would be gone in seconds if they got caught between the chain and the sprockets.

For those of you who are fans of "Optimus Prime" (from the Transformers) this might look familiar.  I played with the old KTM Superduke race fairing I had and fitted it to the 650... a second attempt, but I think this will provide more protection than the number plate I had on previously.  I used the same mounting hardware, and re-positioned them to suit.

Head on view... I had some leftover fake carbon vinyl wrap leftover from the bellypan, as well as a set of numbers.  I've removed the thumb brake to replace it with another model.  The vinyl didn't lay down perfectly by any means.  Despite the angular shape, there are still some gentle compound curves which lead to quite a number of creases, especially towards the top of the mask.  However, I plan to fit a wee KTM flip-up screen which should cover them up, and add a bit more wind protection.  To damage this in a crash, I would really have to try hard.

This is what it looks like close up.  I strategically photographed a smoother area on the mask.

I've also boxed up all the parts required for Falicon to do a number on the crank... piston kit, rods, and the crank.  Will ship out the parts tomorrow.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Not Daytona

Well, this past weekend was Daytona.  Special this year in that the TPL crew were back down there, helping out with Jake Zemke (who led at one point and then retired) and new AMA rider Jordan Imrie.  The press whined about the cold temps (not freezing, but still not ideal for fast laps) while up here in the Great White North I saw this out the front of the house.
Yep, winter is still here in March.  As Kate and anyone who will listen has heard a hundred times, on March 16, 2012, I rode the 636 to school.  Granted, I don't have a streetbike anymore, but this is a bit much.

With not much to do on the bike (while I still have some tweaks in order, they can wait until warmer weather) I set about working on some shop items.  With the new rear shock, there is a likelihood I will need to play with the ride height.  Obviously the rear end needs to be suspended, but not by a typical swingarm lift.  And with the Arrow exhaust (and most under-engine systems for that matter) the task of jacking up the rear necessitates removing part of the exhaust system.  A simpler and easier solution involved some 1" square tubing from Canadian Tire, and a section of leftover 1 1/4" tubing.  The round stock is 4130, but it was an off-cut, so I didn't feel too badly about using it on this project.
This is what the end result looks like.  I ended up using the mig welder as the gas welder was at the high school for work on the Cafe Racer project.  I was out of practice, so the welds are not my best.  And just using unshielded wire meant a lot of spatter.  However, they will hold.  When it gets warmer I will paint them to prevent rust.

They fit over the solid Woodcraft pegs, and match the height of the rear wheel up on the stand.  So, after sliding them on the pegs and removing the stand, hey presto!, you have got the rear end elevated, independent from a swingarm stand.  The front wheel is still kept in the front end lock stand (a cheap copy of the baxtley stand) for extra security.  If someone was swapping out shocks, changing a spring, or adjusting ride height, this is the ticket.  It will join me at the track while I get the shock set to my liking.  Total cost, $30 in materials, plus a couple of hours in the garage.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Talking Heads

I think I just dated myself with that musical reference... at least I am on a road to... somewhere.  The postman dropped off a heavy box from Blighty yesterday... my tuned cylinder head has returned from RLR performance.  You may recall a previous post wherein I described my decision to send the ex cylinder head across the pond to Rick Leddy.  He performed the requested service, including a cylinder head job (intake, and a slight shave to bump up compression), Kent cams, valve shims, valve springs and titanium retainers, and a new set of valves.
This is what the stock intake port looked like before I sent it.

Here it is returned, with the intake manifold matched to improve flow.

The Kent cams have slotted gears, in order to perfect the valve timing.  I need to do some research as to what the best "numbers" are.

The answer might be in here -- haven't gone through it yet.  Look like I might need to beg or borrow a degree wheel!

I've heard in other news, RLR are going to build a CBR500 for John McGuinness to race in this year's Isle of Man.  If the information is correct, I think Rick has his work cut out for him... but if anyone could succeed, it might be them... they do have two Lightweight TT wins already, with McPint on the VFR400.

RLR have a lot of other tuning options available, for the ex650 as well as other bikes.  Check out their site at:

Again, due to the expense of these engine mods, my hope is to have this engine fitted and ready to roll for the 2014 season.  Unless I win the lottery, I don't have the time or funds to put together the bottom end to my ideal goals right away.  Next stop... Falicon or Yoshimura?

Oh yeah -- have you checked out the counter?  30,000 hits!!!  Be sure to vote on Rossi's fortunes in MotoGp this season as well.