CBR900RR Bits & Pieces

1997 Honda CBR900RR parts, but I’m buying too many online when I’d rather buy them locally.  For someone who would rather support local business, I’m frustrated at the lack of competent parts people.  Canadian Tire needs to do better.


Fram oil filters:

The oil filter for the CBR is a fairly common filter – but the big Canadian Tire in Guelph didn’t have one… or anything else I needed.  It’s things like this that force me online to purchase when I’d rather just purchase locally.


Strangely, the Walmart across the street, the only place I can find the Mobil 1 oil Triumph calls on for the Tiger, had an oil filter for the Honda.  Not a great weekend for Canadian Tire.  You can’t really brag on having 200,000 parts if your sales rep can’t find any of them.



Winter flushing oil:
This is what I’m going to put in the Honda over the winter as it gets sorted.  In the spring I’ll do a flush and go with Mobil 1 synthetic.


The only place I can find the Mobil 1 is at Walmart – it’s the only time I usually go there.  Since I’m already there for the Tiger, I’ll go for 7 litres and do the Tiger and CBR with the same super-oil.  Running the Mobil 1 in the Tiger has stopped any oil burning in it.  It’s good stuff.


K&N Filters for CBR900:
https://www.knfilters.ca/honda/cbr900rr/900/1997
The HA-9092-A air filter is a strange thing – I thought the filter element would pop out of the plastic, but it’s a single (expensive) manufactured piece.  Finding these is tricky.  You can find cheap, paper filters for about $40 a go, but I found the K&N on Amazon for $120CAD, so that’s going in and getting cleaned regularly.  That should pay for itself within three changes.


I’m not in a place where I’m going to put the front end back together again and pop in the replacement LED when it comes in this week.  With the replacement carb from NCK Salvage in hand, I’m going to try and rebuild as much of the Honda as I can over the long weekend (it’s Thanksgiving Weekend in Canada).


The Strange World of Dash Bulbs:


12v 1.7W wedge dash light is the warning light bulb needed for a ’97 Honda CBR900RR.  These are hard to find – Canadian Tire was no help and the girl at the parts desk in Guelph couldn’t remember the numbers for parts, so I gave up on trying to find them.  I want to buy locally, but with that kind of floor help, it just isn’t happening.


I found LED replacement lights that should last better and use less electricity in the process on Amazon.


This light search led to a crash course in bulb sizing.  The dash lights on the CBR900RR are T-5 Wedge 12v 1.7W bulbs.  T5 means it has a 5mm base.  In this case they’re 1.7cms long on that 5mm base.  The LED should be cooler, use less electricity and be brighter.

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1971 Triumph Bonneville Motorcycle Restoration: the baseline

 Baseline photography for this 1971 Triumph Bonneville restoration project:

According to Low Brow Customs, this means I’ve got an A (January) E (October 1970 – July 1971) and was the 9125th 650 twin made that year (00100 is the starting number for each grouping so this was the 9225-100th motor made in the 1970-71 batch).
The frame was tricky to pick out – one of those sites mentions that the stampings are sometime very thin and this one’s barely there – our best guess is AE07050, which would put it in the same month/year as the motor, which seems promising.

The chopper stuff has started to come off and the bike is up on a wooden base on the stand in the back of the shop.  

Next up will be taking the tank off and beginning the GREAT DISMANTLE OF 2021!

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Riding In The Rain: A ride into Algonquin Park in October

 Deerhurst Resort to Algonquin Park and back again, chased by the rain.

Algonquin Park in the rain at the height of autumn colours. The Theta 360 camera held up but I eventually pocketed it when the deluge become too heavy.  The camera is mounted on a ball mount on the handlebars and set to fire automatically every 10 seconds.  Photos captured in the Theta camera app and then modified/enhanced in Photoshop.

This is the raw photo out of the camera. The fixed lense doesn’t collect a lot of light, so on a dim, rainy day like this the image is quite muddy.  I brought up the shadows in Photoshop and the result (with a bit of cropping) is the same photo above.

If you’re curious about how to put together on-bike photos, check this how-to out.  It’s also available on Adventure Bike Rider Magazine’s site here.  You can pick up a simple 360 camera for a couple of hundred bucks.  Fully waterproof ones (which I obviously need) start a bit higher.

I got into this with Ricoh’s Theta way back in 2013, but Ricoh has been stingy about support and won’t even offer me at-cost options for educational use.  Looking around recently, the Insta360 offers some interesting combinations with next generation 360 imaging, though it’s very video focused and I prefer still shooting.  Gopro also has the 360 Max, though it isn’t as aerodynamic and therefore might not be the thing to put on a bike in the wind, though I’m willing to give it a go.
Gopro goes out of its way to support users and especially ones who advertise for them on social media.  I wish Ricoh were so forward thinking, but they aren’t.  I’d suggest the Gopro if you want to get into 360 photography.  It’s remarkably easy to set up and the results look fantastic.  You should give it a try.

Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

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One To Add To Your Ontario Rides List: Huntsville to Rosseau to Port Carling

https://goo.gl/maps/ss7VMTaf1LVey7j76

If you’re up in the Muskokas, this is a nice ride.  It’s about 60kms through Canadian Shield/lake of the woods on some very non-southwestern Ontario windy roads.  It started off overcast but then the sub broke through and painted the already incredible October Ontario fall-colours with a nuclear paintbrush.

The Concours and I managed it in about 90 minutes from Huntsville to just outside of Port Carling.  The road is in reasonable condition (for Ontario) and it’s never dull.  The initial bit on Muskoka Road 3 is a nice warmup, but it’s the 632/7 from Rosseau to Highway 118 that really pops!

It sure is pretty in October…

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Your 2017 Motorcycle Road Rally Schedule

 It’s on this year and this time it’s a four event season! If you’re anywhere near Ontario hop on your bike and come along for a great day of riding: Sunday June 11th, Saturday July 22nd, Saturday August 19th and Friday October 13th. Pick your day(s)!

 

Last summer my motorcycle buddy Jeff and I did our first long distance motorcycle scavenger hunt/rally, it was a blast! We spent an exhausting, hot, August day covering more miles than anyone else. Our lousy trip planning skills aside, we had a great day seeing all sorts of hidden spots we’d never seen before.  I just found out that Lobo Loco is back for 2017, and bigger than ever!

 
The idea of this kind of rally is that you begin from wherever you are at 8am with a gas receipt to set your starting place.  From there you find your way to gps points shared with you a week before.  Different places are worth different points depending on how hard they are to get to.  You can go after themed stops to try and get the highest points in a particular category or go for the rally win by planning out a route that collects you the most points quickly.  Or you can just take it easy and pootle about, enjoying the camaraderie that is infectious in an event like this.  You’ll be seeing a lot of other competitors on your travels.
 
Last year Jeff and I decided to ride out of the cities because neither of us really like riding in the urban pall.  We rode along miles of country roads through scenic little towns all the way to the shores of Huron before working our way back to Brantford, arriving with three whole minutes to spare.
 
We did it on our big adventure bikes, but the parking lot at the end of the race had everything from a 200cc Yamaha to massive Harley v-twins, and everything in between.  There is no ‘right’ bike to do this sort of thing on.  There is no ‘right’ way to plan your route (though we missed top score by thousands of points, so I don’t really know what I’m talking about).  We had a great time doing our high mileage country route.  Others had a blast cashing in on close together points locations in the Greater Toronto Area.
 
 
Whatever you like to ride, however you like to ride, you can customize the Lobo Loco Scavenger Hunt to how you want to do it.  We ended up being the only people to make it to the bee beard for huge points because it was in the middle of nowhere and was only happening for about half an hour (no one else was crazy or quick enough to try it!).  Our half assed approach got us the top bee keeping score and the longest ride iron butt award.
 
If you’re looking for a single day event that is both fun and will show you new places you’d never otherwise find in your own backyard, the Lobo Loco Rally is your ticket.  The first ride this year (the WTF Rally) happens on Sunday, June 11th.  Here are the specs from the website:
 
WTF Rally
“Weird Things Found”
… or something like that…
Sunday, June 11th, 2017
This is our first of 4 Events for 2017.  We’re going to start the season off with an easier and fun Scavenger Hunt Rally.  You’ll be rolling through the back roads of Southern Ontario stopping to take pictures of some of the most bizarre roadside items, signs, or places… things that will make you say, “WTF?!”
8 Hour Rally – Remote Start
​8:00am Start
Start ANYWHERE in Southern Ontario.
The Finish Line is in Woodstock, ON
Scoring begins at 3:00pm
Time Penalties begin to accrue at 4:00pm
DNF if not at the Finish Line by 5:00pm
​ALL YOU CAN EAT DINNER BUFFET and AWARDS BANQUET begins at 5:30pm
 
​$80 per Rider, or $100 for 1 Bike – 2 Up Team Riders
 
I’m aiming to be there.  Hope to see you at the buffet.  Sign up here.
 
The stop in Lucan had us wanting to return to get some garage art…

 

Over an hour on sand and sand covered pavement getting to a single stop on the shores of Lake Huron was our biggest navigational error (too much time for too little reward).  Even then, it helped get us the iron butt high mileage award and it was all part of the adventure.
 

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Taking My Motorcycle Restorations to the Next Level

Heavy rain all week made Beaver Valley a
muddy mess.  The Tiger waded through it all,
spinning it’s wheels in the deep mud but
always getting me down the track.

Sunday was a long ride up north to clear my head after another week of pandemic teaching where they pile on extra work going on two years into a pandemic and then reduce your ability to do it.  The trusty Tiger was on song and we sailed and sailed, up past Horning’s Mills and through Creemore before tackling the Grey Highlands.  I was timing the ride because I had a meeting!

Last week I joined the Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group and then connected with their Facebook page (that part is free – if you’re into old bikes I’d urge you to join up!).  By dumb luck the admin who accepted my FB group request happens to live nearby and has a lockup ten minutes from where I live.  He asked if I wanted to see what he had kicking around in terms of project bikes I could buy.  That CVMG membership is already paying off!

Four hours and three hundred kilometres later I rolled up to a farm just south of town and met Brian and his lovely wife Terry.  We drove down to his storage containers out of sight at the back of the farm and he unlocked a hidden magical kingdom!

The bike I think I’m going to do a full ground up restoration on is a 1971 Triumph Bonneville.  This year was the first oil-in-frame model.  There are benefits to this model that suit me, the main one being that this bike has a taller seat than other Bonnies.

The bike in question has been partially ‘choppered’ with a big sissy bar and king/queen seat.  It also has long front forks – someone was on their way to turning this into some kind of Easy Rider homage, but it won’t stay that way.  I’m not stuck on the stock-at-all-costs angle but I like motorcycling for the dynamic feel of it and a chopper isn’t about that.  A modernized custom that stays true to the original look but makes use of the bits and pieces that will make this classic a bit more dependable is where I’m at.

Fortunately, Brian has lots of stock spares which he’d include with it so I’ll be able to strip it down and begin working out how to put it all back together again without having to start from scratch.  When I pick up the bike I should also be getting some tupperware boxes full of additional parts.

Classic Bike Magazine had a great issue in June about Steve McQueen, On Any Sunday and desert racers.  McQueen himself did a Bonneville desert sled back in the ’60s.  I like the stripped down scrambler look of that kind of bike, though I’m not going to go all knobbly tires and brown seat with it, but a simplified, high piped Bonneville for the road?  That’s something I could get into!

I’m going to have to wait until after Thanksgiving Weekend to get my hands on it. I ‘ll also have to figure out how to get it over here, but I’m looking forward to my first deep bike resto after successfully putting a number of early retirements back on the road again.  This one’s going to be an engine out, frame up restoration, Henry Cole style!

Back to stock? The ’71 was the first of the oil in frame Bonnevilles and an odd duck with
a tall seat height, but it was also a handsome thing!

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Environmental Marketing

Out for a ride the other day, I had a hybrid car driver go off unprovoked about how un-environmental motorcycles are.  My son and I were two-up on my 2010 Kawasaki Concours 14 when we pulled in to a stop and got unsolicited advice from the ignorant.

There are lighter bikes with smaller motors that get significantly higher gas mileage, but the Connie does a fine job of moving two people through the world using amazingly little in terms of natural resources.  It also has a virtuous manufacturing history compared to many other vehicles, especially ones that move on lithium power.

This proud-Prius driver got his back up when I suggested that my bike gets better mileage than his dual-engined hybrid (it does – his AWD Prius gets 52/48mpg on its city/highway cycles, my C14 is currently averaging 4.5 litres/100kms mostly two up, which works out to just over 52mpg).  That Toyota, like my Kawasaki, is made in Japan by unionized workers who are paid a living wage to build world-class machines.  Being Japanese, they also both lean heavily on locally manufactured parts.  More and more vehicles are being built in developing countries, which can be a good thing but can also be an excuse to force labour on people who could never afford what they’re building.  Globalism doesn’t like to show the off-shore slavery that makes it run.

Where I think our two vehicles diverge are in the inherent compromises in the design of that Toyota.  Lugging around two seperate drivetrains is incredibly inefficient.  It’s impressive that the hybrid drive has evolved to the point where it can post the mileage numbers it does, but it’s still having to lug around a gas tank and gasoline powered motor in addition to batteries and electric motors.  Other than the much-vaunted fuel efficiency, the cost of maintenance must be miserable.  By comparison, the efficient shaft-drive and motor on the Kwak are designed to do hundreds of thousands of high-efficiency (or fast if you prefer) miles without any of that overhead.

The most onerous (and hidden) part of that mechanical overhead are the lithium batteries in that hybrid.  I teach computer engineering as my day job and I’m well up on our medieval battery power development.  We are stuck with poor performing, environmentally bankrupt, chemical battery technology from somewhere in the late 19th Century.  Instead of addressing the immanent climate emergency by producing smaller, more efficient vehicles, we’re using electric and hybrid electric as an excuse to produce slightly more efficient behemoths.

Lithium batteries are a nightmare.  From a safety standpoint they are a potentially explosive disaster and from a power to weight ratio they are next to useless, but they’re the best we have.  The nightmare gets worse though when you look at how we’re managing lithium production in a world that desperately needs more of it.  As you’d expect, transnational companies with no real oversight are abusing developing countries (as they have since colonial times) with aggressive economic tactics in order to strip local peoples of the natural resources beneath their feet.  International mining concerns ferment government instability in order to ensure cheap access to in-demand resources.  Money likes to condense where it already exists and the electric car battery market has all the hallmarks of blood diamonds in terms of the distribution of wealth involved.

There are a lot of advantages to electric vehicles and I hope to get into them sooner than later, but these early adopter vehicles are being driven by and for the privileged wealthy and are mined and manufactured by environmentally and socially bankrupt transnational companies chasing dollar signs (as it has always been).

If you’re all about leveraging your privilege in order to wander around with your chest out bragging about how much you care about the planet, do a bit of research first.  There is a darkside to rushing electric vehicle sales before we’ve worked out the tech that amplifies rather than resolves our resource shortages.  The immanent climate disaster needs solutions, not a shell-game where old white guys get to tell everyone about how much they care by driving overweight, compromised designs based more on marketing than actually solving the coming crisis.

That same day we filled up before riding home.  I put $28 of premium in to fill up the bike.  The guy next to me pulled up in a new hybrid F150 pickup truck that looked bigger than a house.  He proceeded to put nearly $200 of gas into it.  I asked him how far that’d get him and he told me about how the hybrid electric was so efficient that he’d get about a thousand kilometers to the tank.  I get just shy of 500 to a tank on the bike, so for what he put in I could cover 2000kms.  I know this is apples to oranges as that pickup could do things the bike can’t, like carry loads, except this one with its never used bed and chrome wheels wasn’t carrying much of anything, and therein lies the real issue with this hybrid fad; instead of directing us to use less (which would actually help us deal with the climate emergency), hybrid technology is being used by car companies to justify an unsustainable habit of ever larger and improbable vehicles.  If we could all do more with less we might just make it out of this mess.

The Corvette owners club rocked up at the gas station then.  The new Vette goes 0-60 almost a fast as my decade old Connie while using twice the fuel.  With only two seats it makes a more direct comparison with the bike in terms of functionality and usefulness.  The plethora of old white guys who hopped out of their new Vettes all spent 12 to 15 times what I did to buy their toys, the difference is that my gasoline powered recreational decisions aren’t burning a hole in the world.

If you really want to help out, get smaller and use less – riding a bike is a great place to start.  Your other option is to keep playing into the enviro-marketing games until we’re all watching the world burn to the ground around us.  I won’t go into how charging all these electric vehicles on our already overloaded and vulnerable electrical infrastructure is going to poke holes in other aspects of life.  We need people to change their minds about what green is, and the first step isn’t to throw technology at old habits, it’s to do more with less.

Some Research on Battery Powered Vehicles  (in case you can’t be bothered to do it yourself)

https://www.varsity.co.uk/science/20401

Starving arid regions of their drinking water to feed the world’s insatiable appetite for lithium?  If you know where the technology comes from, it gets difficult to stay on that high horse.

“The ethics of electric vehicles is far more complicated than the expensive car adverts and glowing newspaper headlines would have us believe.”

https://www.thoughtco.com/lithium-production-2340123

Lithium production is a messy business.

https://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/201208/backpage.cfm

Lithium development has stalled and initial optimism is fading.  You’re not going to be preplacing your worn out lithium batteries with something better in your EV any time soon – but you will be replacing them with yet more lithium.

https://www.ford.ca/trucks/f150/f150-lightning/2022//?gnav=header-trucks-vhp

Instead of immanent climate disaster modifying our driving habits and producing smaller vehicles that use less of everything, we’re leveraging electric vehicles to keep churning out excess.  When people plug in behemoths like this we’ll end up having to turn on coal powered hydro plants just to keep the lights on.

With Ontario spending hundreds of millions to cancel carbon neutral electricity production, we all appear more than happy to simply hide our carbon output rather than actually reduce it.

https://www.energyvoice.com/renewables-energy-transition/158058/bmw-i3-ad-pulled-due-misleading-electric-vehicle-claims/

Car companies are selling environmentalism hard, even when what they’re selling isn’t.

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Winter Motorcycle Diaries

I’m waiting on an above freezing day to do the coolant flush on the Tiger (it needs to run to circulate coolant and doing that in a closed garage in freezing temperatures isn’t a good idea).  After that I’ll be able to put it all back together and aim it at the door for the first possible ride when the snow eventually clears.


In the meantime, Jeff’s airhead adventures continue.  The old BMW is in pieces and this week we took the biggest lump over to a local metal shop to get it bead blasted down to the metal.  I’m curious to see what this industrial process does for the BMW engine which looks like a piece of industrial art to begin with.  DK Custom Welding is run by former graduates of the high school we work at.  Their shop out in Salem is a magical place.

The air cooled lump prior to an industrial quality cleanup.

They have a full service metal shop at DK Custom Welding out in Salem.  

Lots of interesting lines and asymmetrical details on the old air head.

A wide variety of classics were getting restored in the shop – they’d done a lovely welding job on a new floor pan on one 60s muscle car.

In other motorcycle news, Triumph Canada had a fantastic sale on some of their clothing, so I jumped on it.  Sturgis Cycle delivered it wicked quick and it’s some really quality clothing.  At the price I feel like I stole it!


It’s the depths of winter, probably about as far from a ride as I get, but MotoGP is testing in Sepang and their winter programming is always interesting.  Last week I saw their video on Öhlins and how motorcycle suspensions work, which was very insightful.  The amount of punishment a motorcycle shock takes in a single lap when ridden in anger is astonishing.  I’d rather be punishing the new fork oil in my own shocks, but at this time of year I’ll take what I can get.

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The Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group

The Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group: https://cvmg.ca/JoinUs

“The Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group (CVMG) is a not-for-profit organization aimed at promoting the use, restoration and interest in older motorcycles and those of historic interest.”

Sounds like my kind of people!

I just joined.  I ran into them at the Toronto Motorcycle Show in 2014 but never followed up, I have now!

Being a member would allow me to participate in classic trials events with the Southwestern Ontario Classic Trials Group.

I’m sure there will be other connections to be made, more to come!

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The 2021 Dream Stable

 Some selective motorcycle wishes for 2022:

TRIALS RIDING ON A BUDGET!

1986 Yamaha TY350 Trials Bike

about $2600CAD

A well looked after old bike that comes with lots of spares.  It would also let me tackle the Ontario Amateur Trials Association’s season of events and get my head around trials riding.

APEX TRIALS RIDING!

2022 GASGAS TXT RACING 250

$8900CAD

This is the accessible option in GasGas’s competition range of trials bikes.  It’s a lightweight, 2-stroke competition machine that isn’t quite as mad as their 300cc beasts.

OWN A DREAM CLASSIC!!!

about $25,000

This is a tricky one!  Old bikes are vanishingly rare in Ontario so I’d have to go overseas for this pre-war Triumph Tiger 100.   It’s £12,000 ($21k CAD) and I’d need to get it shipped over this way which would probably add some more thousands on there in terms of shipping and duties.

OWN AN EASIER(?) CLASSIC!

$?
It’s not for sale so this isn’t exactly an easier classic, but it’s local and it’s a lovely 1961 BSA.  I’d have to convince the owner to sell it and I’m not sure what it’d need for the road, but it looks fantastic!


BIZZARRE WINTER PROJECT

$2000 (but I’d offer $1500)
750 GSZ 750 F with 42k kms on it.  Not asking much and it’s ridiculous, but I like it for that – it’s a full 90’s colour commitment!  I’d actually like an 80s Katana but they’re hard to find.  It’d be my first Suzuki!  I like the organic shapes, but it’s a heavy old bus for the power output.

A MORE BIZZARRE RUN AT A KATANA

¥ 69,878 clip-on set
¥128,667 Katana body kit for SV650
————-
¥198,545   (that’s about $2300CAD, maybe $3k with shipping/customs)
You need a 2016 or newer SV650.  The new ones are $7500.  A lightly used (5200kms) 2018 with some nice extras is $6300.
With a $10k CAD budget I could create a modern special as an homage to the classic Katana.  A bit more on top would get it a period accurate paint job. It wouldn’t have that big air cooled work of art on it though.

2004 HONDA CBR600 F4i TRACK BIKE

$2500 (I’d offer $2200)
It’s been dropped and has some scratches, but I’d want it to track ride so I don’t care about the aesthetics.  It’d get stripped down and ridden only on track.  It’s only 167 kilos to begin with and I’d take even more off.  This one’s only got 32k on it.  It’d get lightened up and mechanically sorted and then do what CBR600s do best – take corners at speed.
I still need a vehicle that could move this stuff to where I need it, but that’s another story.

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