Monday, 26 September 2016

Naked Connie

I put the Concours up for sale for a very reasonable $1200 and immediately got a bunch of low ball offers.  After a week of talking to cheap idiots I pulled it back off Kijiji, this bike deserves better than that.  I sympathize with people who can't afford the hobby, but I never agreed to support that charity.

Jeff's recent adventures with getting an old bike to modify into a cafe racer got me thinking about what a naked Concours might look like.  The ZG1000 is based on the Ninja sport bike (one of the reasons it's so agile), so as a donor bike it has a lot going for it.  I wasn't the first to wonder...

It shows how clean  you can make the engine and wiring without all the plastic covers, not radical enough though.

That's more like it!  The logo is a bit heavy handed though.  The rear seat frame is a bolt on piece.  Shortening the bike doesn't even require cutting.  The front end on this is also what I'm aiming for.

Love the paint on the gas tank.  It makes me look forward to stripping mine.  No airbox and exposed air filters are sweet.
Stripped down but looks half finished.

Front and rear fenders are sweet.  Suspended seat and tail look a bit awkward though.
I'm interested in a single seat saddle, not so much for a bobber look, but for a historical connection.

I stripped off the front fairings, mirrors and windshield.  That has to be about twenty pounds right there.  At the back I removed the pannier frames and the rear tail light assembly.  That'll be another easy ten pounds worth of odds and ends.  By the time I'm done, this bike will be an easy 100lbs lighter.

The entire rear frame that holds the panniers, seat and rear light assembly is bolted on under the seat.  Removing it seems pretty straightforward.  With the rear frame gone, the Concours starts to look more like a streetfighter than a sport tourer.  With the back end gone it was easy to remove the rear tire and get into the shaft drive which has been leaking.

While I was stripping things down I removed the bar risers, which lowered the controls a couple of inches and further lightened the bike.  With all the plastic and back end metal work off, the bike has already undergone a dramatic diet.  People tend to pick smaller, lighter bikes to cafe, but as I'm neither small nor light, the Concours makes for a big, muscly and quiet unique power cafe racer project.

With everything in the process of a strip down, I was easily able to get the back wheel off and uncover the shaft drive axle.  It's been leaking, but some research on CoG (the Concours Owners Group, which I just re-upped my membership on) suggested that a leaking shaft drive can be the result of over filling, which it was.  I'm going to clean it all up, fill it to spec and then keep an eye on it before I go all crazy tearing it down (which looks like a hassle because you've got to heat parts to get them apart).

I'm hanging on to the Concours because of some magic moments on it.  The sound of that engine at full song is exceptional.  The thought of giving it away after all the work done grates on my nerves as well, especially to some tool who is just looking for a handout (one guy, after trying to talk it down $500 then complained about the state of the fairing - screw him).  Had I sold the Connie I'd have gone looking for a bike I could strip down and customize.  Hanging on to the Concours means I'm doing that with a low mileage bike full of new parts.  One that I'm already really familiar with.

Since I'm not depending on the Concours to be my everything bike any more it can become a blank canvas, which is what I was looking for in the first place.  A stripped down, restyled Concours isn't going to be a Concours any more, but it is going to exploit that big Ninja engine and nimble handling it already had.  Best of all, I get to hang on to those fantastic gold rims, and build up a custom around them.  Much better that than my resurrected ZG1000 going to motorcycle welfare.

Even the instrument cowl is a big, heavy old thing.  I'm aiming for an analogue speedometer and then a
microprocessor controlled LCD screen.

Don't know if I'll keep the Ironman theme, but I might, it's eye catching.

Someone somewhere might be looking for just this thing!

All that weight hanging behind the rear wheel will be gone.  The Concours always felt frisky for a big
bike, I can't imagine what it'll feel like with all that weight gone.  A custom LED tail light in in the planning.

I'm going to take a note from Jeff and see if I can sell off parts others might need for their complete
Concours in order to help pay for the bits I need for mine.

Bar riser still on to the left, the one on the right is a couple of inches lower.
With the mystical, multi-talented Tiger on hand, the Concours can take its time becoming a specialist.
It seems happier with that prospect.  So am I.