Showing posts sorted by relevance for query ninja 650r. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query ninja 650r. Sort by date Show all posts

Sunday, 17 November 2019

CBR900rr Aerospace Motorcycling

With the carbs sorted and the oil changed, the Fireblade sounds like the machine it is (ie: fantastic!).  On the to-do list now is chasing down some wiring issues and shaking down the rest of the bike because a monkey was working on it before and I don't trust his choices.

In working in and around the Fireblade, it's the little differences that add up to a bike 50+ kilos lighter than the Tiger and over 100 (!) kilos lighter than the Concours (while making 33% more horsepower than either).  At 195kg, the Fireblade is even 10 kilos lighter than my first bike, a svelte 2007 Ninja 650r.




The 'Blade makes lightness pretty much everywhere.  I'm particularly fond of the speedholes all over it.




When it isn't holey, it's reduced material wherever possible.  Even the rim spokes are thinned out:


Where Honda had to use material, it's the lightest they could manage...




Compared to the Kawasaki Heavy Industries bikes I've owned, this CBR900rr is a built for purpose thing that feels more like working on an aeroplane than it does a motorbike.





... and it sure is pretty.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Tiger Winter Maintenance Notes


These are winter maintenance notes for me, but others might find them handy...

Rims:   Front: 36 spoke alloy rim 19 x 2.5"  Rear: 40 spoke alloy rim 17 x 4.25"
2005 Tiger:  14 spoke cast alloy: same size (is this findable?  Yes it is!  Not rears though)

Tires: Front: 110/80-19 Rear: 150/70-17

Coolant flush.  2.8l of coolant (50% distilled water 50% corrosion inhibited ethylene glycol)
- cool engine
- remove fuel tank
- remove pressure cap- 
- unscrew bleed hole bolt (thermostat housing)
- remove reservoir cap
- container under engine
- unscrew drain plug (left side of engine) & drain (keep the old washer for flushing)
- remove lower coolant hose and drain
- flush with tap water
- reinstall old washer & plug & lower coolant hose and fill with water & aluminum friendly rad flush
- reinstall drain plug (25Nm) rad cap and bleed hole bolt (7Nm)
- put fuel tank back on
- run engine to warm (10 mins) then let cool
- re-drain
- refill with plain water, repeat running, cool and redrain
- use a new drain plug washer and torque to 25Nm
- with everything but the bleed bolt installed slowly fill with coolant
- fill reservoir to MAX and cap everything and install bleed bolt (7Nm)
- run 3-4 mins, rev to 4-6k a few times to open it up, check rad and reservoir levels

Spark Plugs:  NGK DPR8EA-9   0.8 to 0.9 gap  20Nm  (under gas tank, like everything else)

Fork oil change:  Kayaba G10 or equivalent 107 mm from top of tube with fork spring removed and leg fully compressed.  Larger riders (like me!) might want 15 weight oil.
Tiger oil change intervals.  Tiger fork oil.
Fork oil viscosity  -  More Tiger fork oil info.
Capacity: 720cc/ml  oil level: 107mm (from top of tube with spring removed and compressed leg)
Removal of forks (with body work & front wheel removed)
- one at a time and with all gubbins removed from fork
- loosen fork clamp bolts
- loosen top fork bolt while it's still on the bike (hard to do when it's off)
- note alignment of fork before removing it
- loosen lower clamp bolts, it should slide loose out the bottom
top fork bolt:  30Nm
clamp bolts top yoke:  20Nm
Handlebar holder clamp bolts:  26Nm

Brake fluid flush   DOT 4

Chassis lubricant (swing arm, stearing head, levers & pedals): Mobile Grease HP 222 or lithium based multi purpose grease.


Thursday, 31 March 2016

Evolution of Motorcycle Ownership and a Triumphant Return

Back in August of 2014 I wanted to take a more active role in my motorcycle maintenance.  At that point I'd been riding for just over a year on my first bike, a very dependable 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 650r.  I learned a lot on that bike, but it was a turn-key experience, the bike needed very little in the way of maintenance.   

The Ninja went from flat black to metallic blue and orange.  It was the last bike I rode that people commented on (I'd often get a thumbs up or have someone stop and chat in a parking lot about how nice the bike looked, which was satisfying as I'd been instrumental in restoring it from angry-young-man flat black).  The Ninja was, without a doubt, a good introduction to motorcycling, and was the king of the roost for my first two seasons.


As a first bike, the Ninja led the way both on the road and at the top of the blog.

I wanted my next bike to be one that ran because of my mechanical skills rather than one that didn't need them.  I found a 1994 Kawasaki Concours sitting in some long grass about twenty minutes away.  I quickly discovered that sense of satisfaction I was looking for.  The Concours was an eager patient who rewarded a winter of mechanical work with a rock solid five thousand miles of riding the next summer.

The Concours has offered some memorable rides, especially looping Georgian Bay and riding on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  For a bike that looked like it was being permanently parked with only 25k on it, suddenly it was back in the game, going places other bikes only dream of.

That busy season of long rides took its toll on the Concours though.  It isn't a spring chicken and after having spent the better part of two years parked before I got to it many of the soft parts on the bike were getting brittle.  I parked the Concours early and began winter maintenance knowing that the bearings and brakes both needed attention only to miss out on a late season warm spell at the end of November and into December.  I took that one on the nose figuring that's what happens when you ride an old bike as your daily rider.


The header on this blog for the past eighteen months, but running a twenty-two year old bike as your daily rider
makes for frustrations.  Time to be less sentimental and more rational in how I manage my stable.

That summer we were touring on the Concours I picked up a KLX250 to experience off road riding, but doubling insurance costs for a bike that I only managed to get out on a handful of times didn't feel very efficient.  That I struggled to keep up with traffic on it didn't support the way I like to ride.  Motorcycles are open and unprotected, but they are also agile and powerful enough to get out of a tight squeeze - except when they aren't.  The Concours was always there and the preferred ride, owning the road when I was on it.  When I went out with my co-rider he also loved the big red Connie, not so much the rock hard, under-powered KLX (he only ever rode on it once for less than five minutes).

Over the winter I put some money into the Concours, doing up the rims and getting new tires.  With the rims off I also did the bearings and brakes.  As everything came back together again, suddenly the carburetors weren't cooperating.  They're since being rebuilt and the bike should be back together again this weekend, but instead of always being there, suddenly the Concours wasn't.  As winter receded I could hear other bikes growling down the road, but I was grounded (again), even though I was paying insurance on two machines and longing to get back out on the road after an always too long Canadian winter.

The KLX was the first to go.  I'd never really bonded with it and, even though I always figured I'd run this blog with my most recent bike in the graphic at the top, the KLX never made it there; it never felt like the main focus of my motorcycling.  In the same week my son's never-ridden PW-80 got sold, and suddenly I had some money aside.


Ready to go with a new header, but it never took.

As days of potential riding keep ticking by and the carburetor work drags on, the Concours started to feel like an expensive anchor rather than the wings of freedom.  I had a long talk with my wife about it.  She asked why I don't unload it and get something dependable.  Keep the old XS1100 for that sense of mechanical satisfaction, but have a bike that's ready to ride.  I think sentiment was paralyzing me.  Hearing a rational point of view with some perspective really helped.
Many moons ago,
a pre-digital Triumph

With cash in an envelope I began looking around.  Before Easter we weathered an ice storm, but only two days later it was suddenly in the teens Celsius and bikes could be heard thundering down the road.  Meanwhile I was waiting for yet more parts for the Concours.  Online I was looking at sensible all purpose bikes that would fit a big guy.  Vstroms and Versys (Versi?) came and went, but they felt like a generic (they are quite common) compromise, I wasn't excited about buying one.

Since I started riding I've been on Triumph Canada's email list even though I've never come close to owning one (out of my league price-wise, no one else I know had one, no local dealer... pick your reason).  As a misguided teenager I purchased an utterly useless Triumph Spitfire, and in spite of that misery I've always had a soft spot for the brand (your adolescent brain makes your teenage experiences sparkle with emotion even when you're older, that's why we all still listen to the music from our teens).


A Tiger?  On Kijiji?  Must have
escaped from a zoo!
While trawling around on Kijiji looking at hordes of generic, look-a-like adventure bikes I came across an actual Tiger.  It was (as are all Triumphs I've mooned over) too expensive for me, but that Lucifer Orange (!) paint haunted me.

Another rare warm afternoon wafted by with the sounds of motorcycles on the road so I thought, what the hell, and emailed the owner.  He'd been sitting on the bike for the better part of two months with no calls.  He was going down to the Triumph dealer on Thursday to trade it in on a new Street Triple and knew he was going to get caned by them on the trade in price.  He emailed me back and said if I had three quarters of what he'd been asking, he'd rather sell it to me than give the dealer the satisfaction.  Suddenly this fantastic looking machine was plausible.


The garage is 100% more functional than it was last week,
100% more glamorous too!
A trip up to Ontario's West Coast and I got to meet a nice young man who was a recent UK immigrant and a nuclear operator at the Bruce Plant.  The bike was as advertised (well looked after, second owner, some minor cosmetic imperfections), and suddenly I owned a freaking 2003 Triumph Tiger 955i!

Most used bikes offer up some surprises when you first get them, and they usually aren't nice surprises.  The Ninja arrived with wonky handlebars the previous owner told me nothing about.  The XS1100 arrived with no valid ownership, something the previous owner failed to mention during the sale.  So far the Tiger has had nice surprises.  It arrived with a Triumph branded tank bag specific to the bike.  Oh, by the way, the previous owner said, the first owner put a Powercommander on it, and then he handed me the USB cable and software for it.  It had also been safetied in October, less than two hundred kilometres ago (paperwork included), so while I didn't buy it safetied, it shouldn't be difficult to do.  The bike has fifty thousand kilometres on it, but I then discovered that the first owner did two extended trips to Calgary and back (10k+ kms each time) - so even though it's got some miles on it, many of them are from long trips that produce minimal engine wear.  After giving it a clean the bike has no wonky bits under the seats or anywhere else.  I cannot wait to get riding it.



So, here I am at the beginning of a new era with my first European bike.  I've finally picked up a Triumph from the other side of the family tree (the bike and automobile manufacturing components of Triumph split in 1936), and I've got a bike I'm emotionally engaged with.  It might even be love!  Like the BMW I rented in Victoria, the controls seem to fit my hands and feet without feeling cramped and the riding position is wonderfully neutral.  When I'm in the saddle my feet are flat on the ground - just. Best of all, I don't look like a circus bear on a tricycle on it.


With the Concours officially decommissioned and awaiting (what are hopefully) the last parts it needs before being road worthy again, it's time to update the blog header:



What's next?  The Concours will be sold with only a modicum of sentiment, the Tiger will be safetied and on the road (it cost $90 a year more than the Concours to insure), and I'll enjoy having an operational, trustworthy machine made in the same place I was with lots of life left in it.  The fact that it was getting me thumbs up and one guy stopping to say what a nice bike it was when it was on the trailer on the way home doesn't hurt either.  Riding a tiger has a certain magic to it.

When I want to turn a wrench I'll work on the XS, getting it rolling again for the first time in years.  I'll get the ownership sorted on it (affidavits are required!) and eventually sell it without losing a penny, and then I'll go looking for my next project bike.  Maybe a scrambler Versys, maybe an old Interceptor, maybe something I haven't thought of yet.


Time for some unbridled Tiger enthusiasm!


Tyger Tyger, burning bright, 
In the forests of the night; 
What immortal hand or eye, 
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies. 
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain, 
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp, 
Dare its deadly terrors clasp! 

When the stars threw down their spears 
And water'd heaven with their tears: 
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright, 
In the forests of the night: 
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?





Wednesday, 16 March 2016

An Adventurous, Versatile, Always-on Versys

Two bikes not being used...
With the ongoing frustrations with trying to run a 22 year old bike as my daily rider I'm thinking of rearranging things so that I have a more functional motorbike stable.  At the moment I've got a KLX250 that I don't throw a leg over very much and isn't a popular choice with my pillion.  I've also got the big old Yamaha project bike that isn't getting any attention because I'm spending all my garage time working on the Concours.  Rejigging things to have a more functional stable is on my mind.

I miss having I.T. on at least one bike - having an onboard computer means the bike will self regulate and run more consistently.  Being a computer teacher means I'm not really scared of digital tech either, so I'd welcome it back.

The process might look like this:  sell the KLX, get the XS1100 operational and sell it too, and sell  the little Yamaha my son has never ridden.  In a perfect world I'd bring in about $4000 with those bikes.

What I'd be looking for is a second bike that could do basic commuting duties including two-up, would run all the time, and could ride a wider range of roads than the Concours is comfortable on.  As a road tool the Concours takes some beating (when it works).  It'll tour two up comfortably with lots of room for luggage, cover highway miles with ease and makes for a surprisingly agile back road weapon when riding alone.  What it needs is a break from the demands of being an always on motorcycle (it's twenty-two years old!).

That always on motorcycle should be light with a fuel injected/modern engine.  Of course the Ninja was those things, though it was a very road focused machine as well.  Kawasaki makes the Versys, based on the same ER6 chassis as the Ninja but with an enduro riding position.  With a few tweaks that bike could become the light-weight all-rounder I'm looking for.  At only 180kg, the Versys 650 is a mighty light, very dependable bike.

Where would I find a Versys?  They're about.  There is a well cared for '07, albeit with pretty high kilometres, for under three thousand over in Kitchener.Starting there I could build out an adventure Versys.  There are a lot of people doing something similar...


A great thread to follow on an adventurous Versys

high/scrambler pipe inspiration




LINKS

http://www.topspeed.com/motorcycles/motorcycle-news/studio-motor-gives-us-the-kawasaki-versys-650-scrambler-ar169995/picture634237.html

http://bikebrewers.com/kawasaki-versys-650-scrambler-studio-motor/

http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/one-more-versys-adventure.1078100/#post-27148119


Thursday, 8 October 2015

Mechanical Sympathy

I've always had an over abundance of mechanical sympathy.  That sympathy often spills over into full on empathy for machines.  While I derive a great deal of joy from interacting with machines, the satisfaction I get out of fixing them is amplified by this natural inclination.

My first bike was a mechanically bullet proof 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 650r.  It had been dropped and scuffed, but it didn't need open heart surgery.  I was happy to clean it up and send it on its way, and while I got attached to it, it never felt like a two way relationship.


The Concours I have now is a whole new level of commitment.  Not only did I find it sitting in a field, buried in grass, but it took me a winter of rebuilding to get it on the road again.  In my first season riding it I've put on more miles than I ever did on the Ninja (it's a much more comfortable long distance tool).

Call me nostalgic (or perverse), but getting the four carburetors on the Concours running smoothly was very satisfying.  Even though I teach computer tech, I still find the clockwork nature of mechanical parts to have a grace that digital technology is lacking.  Listening to the Connie fire up at the touch of the starter on a cold morning and clear its throat is much more satisfying than listening to the clinical hum of a fuel injector making everything perfect.

I was out on the Concours again today - if the weather's dry I'm out on it.  I'm always astonished at how responsive such a heavy machine can feel.  It fits me well, needed me to save it, and then responded to that saving with thousands of miles of riding.  There may come a time when the Connie is more trouble than it's worth, but at the moment it's what I was looking for all along.
It's getting kind of crowded in there...

The Yamaha XS1100 sitting in the back of the garage will be my first go at a restoration, but as an owned bike it isn't really what I'm looking for.  It'll be my first go at a bike purchased for restoration rather than riding.  I'm curious to see how that process goes.




In the meantime, and completely off topic, here is some nice motorbike art I saw at Blue Mountain last weekend:


Monday, 6 April 2015

Out On Me Mota!

The Connie at the covered bridge in West Montrose
Finally got out for an hour today.  Only about 5°C, but sunny.  With a sweater and my swish new jacket I was comfortable behind the Concours' fairing.  At speed on back roads you only get a bit of wind around the head.  Your hands are protected by the wing mirrors and the rest of you is behind fairing.  The Connie is comfy in the cold.

The bike feels very light once it's in motion, very flickable.  I'm coming off a Ninja 650r, so I'm riding 350 more ccs, two more cylinders and one hundred more pounds of bike, but the Concours feels quick.  It doesn't spring forward with a banshee's wail in the upper rev range in the startling way that the NInja did, but it's not nearly so peaky either.  It also has suspension more than up the task of dealing with Canadian roads.  Where the Ninja used to rattle my teeth over a pothole, the Connie manages to swallow the worst of it while still feeling very connected to the pavement.

The Concours pulls with urgency off idle, but that urgency becomes an avalanche of torque as the revs rise.  I gave it the mustard off one stop light and was shocked with how quickly 100km/h appeared.  Both bikes are quick, but I always assumed the bullet shaped, lighter, sportier Ninja would have been the quicker of the two, that stop light torque avalanche made me doubt that.  I ended up looking up the stats on both bikes.

The bikes are coming out of hibernation in Canada - like this
little jewel of a Honda with not a spot of rust on it.
The Ninja 650r does a 12.06s quarter mile at 108.79mph, the Connie edges it the quarter with a 12 flat at 109mph!

While almost identical, how they do it isn't.  The Ninja needs a lot of throttle and a glib clutch to hook it up in the top half of the rev range, and then judicious gear changes to keep you in the top four thousand RPM through many gears.  It's a thrilling, high tension rush up through the gears.  With the Concours you drop the clutch at about four thousand RPM and the motor just picks up the bike with no wallow and storms to the redline.  A single gear change gets you up to legal limits.  Where the Ninja had that intoxicating banshee wail, the Concours has a baritone bark that becomes a godlike roll of thunder.  I used to think the Concours inline four wasn't as happy a creature as the Ninja's parallel twin, but after hearing the big-four warm and in voice today I'm starting to think she just sings a different tune, but it's no less happy.

The ride was only about an hour, but I went from constantly comparing the experience to my dear, departed Ninja to wondering just what the Concours is capable of.  As a shakedown after a long winter of maintenance, it has begun the process of rebuilding my confidence in this new machine.


Monday, 9 March 2015

Emotionally Fraught Vehicle Sales

The last time I was this emotional about selling a vehicle was when I sold the last car I ever owned as a single guy.  That Mercury Capri 5.0, 5 speed was a monster, the Millenium Falcon of cars.  It was the kind of thing that you could drive from Toronto to Montreal in 2 hours and 57 minutes!  Everything since that car has been a compromise, an appliance.

Seventeen years after that Capri was sold I found myself looking at a flat black 2007 Kawasaki Ninja in a cold garage in Fergus.  I didn't have my license yet, but I went for it.  It was the first machine I'd owned in almost two decades that was a thrill rather than a necessity.  It was the first vehicle I'd owned in years that I took pictures of.

I've owned the Ninja for two seasons.  I've commuted on it, gone on long rides on it and learned how to ride with it.  On one of my first rides I realized it was able to do more for me than any car I've ever owned, maybe any car I would ever own; it made me fall in love with motorcycling.

Bikes tend to provoke a more emotional relationship no matter what the machine.  The two of you spend a lot of time exposed to the dangers of the road together.  The bike's agility and power can get you out of any number of tricky situations when the distracted people in cages don't see you.  Bikes reward competence with a wonderful feeling of empowerment.  I enjoy the exclusivity of biking as well, not everyone should do it.  The Ninja never failed to reward me for my efforts.

I went with the Ninja because it wasn't tiny so I wouldn't find it weak after getting the hang of riding.  That worked well, I'm not selling it now because it lacks in power, I'm just looking to expand my types of riding after having done the sport bike thing.  Since my son has taken to riding with me, a bike better suited to two up riding is what I'm transitioning to.  Happily, I'm as smitten with the Concours as I was with the Ninja, but that doesn't make selling it any easier.

The Ninja's 649cc engine was remarkably cheap to insure for a new rider and was phenomenally efficient, often getting more than 60mpg.  The bike has been a joy to operate, always dependable, always willing to teach me more as I got better.

I love riding, it's a feeling of freedom like no other.  As a means of centering myself, motorbikes are a Zen mechanism that put you in the moment like no other machine (other than perhaps racing).  I'll miss the Ninja, but selling it means I can diversify my biking.  The Concours will let me get some miles under my belt while still offering an athletic ride.  With the cash on hand from the Ninja I'll be looking at a dual sport and getting a bit dirtier on two wheels.









BTW:  why $3900?  Because this!

After five people contacted me, the 3rd people to see the bike made an offer and I accepted.  The Ninja is sold within a week.  Now to consider how to expand my biking options...

Dual sport thoughts...



DR350?   I could get my Mondo on!






Here's an interesting option: A Kawasaki KLX250 with a big bore kit up to 330cc.  Very light, stronger motor close to the Suzuki above in terms of power to weight ratio...

Friday, 27 February 2015

The Desperate American Cruiser

I've been reading Inside Motorcycles, Canada's Source for Motorcycle News.  Their February/March 2015 issue has an article that underlines the desperation of the American cruiser.

In it they describe the Victory Gunner as over-priced, unable to corner and smooth.  They then go on to say, "...the Gunner is a bruiser, built to lurk about town striking fear into all those fancy Euro and Japanese machines."

If 'fancy' is code for motorcycles that can go around corners and out handle this 'bruiser' in every way, then I'll go with fancy.  My tiny Ninja 650r with only 37% of the Gunner's displacement, and not even a full on sport bike will trash this 'bruiser' in any straight line competition, and it corners nicely too.  It costs less on gas, less on insurance and looks fantastic.  I'll bet it'll have less maintenance headaches too.  So far, 'fancy' is looking pretty sensible.  

I'm not sure what the Victory Gunner is bruising (other than its rider's tailbone), but Inside Motorcycles has managed to clearly highlight the desperate, reaching nature of the American Cruiser in one short piece.  This 'bruiser' is a pretty boy who is designed to make its rider feel like a dude, but not ride like one.

I welcome this 'brusier' appearing out of the shadows and attempting to strike fear into my 'fancy' (and significantly cheaper) Japanese bike.  I will be sure to reserve a little pity for the mediocre guy on the 'cool' bike who desperately hopes it's working for him.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Variations on a Theme

Trying some variations on the blog logo.  It'd be a nice idea to include the bike of the moment in the logo as way of showing when it was written.  The first logo has the 650r Ninja in it:


Now that I've got the Concours sorted, I'm trying out some headers with Connies in them:



Some more updates since mechanicalsympathy.ca and a new bike came along...