Showing posts sorted by relevance for query zg1k. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query zg1k. Sort by date Show all posts

Sunday 11 March 2018

Installing LED lighting on the ZG1K Rat Bike

The mighty ZG1K modified Concours is just about done.  I've been plumbing the depths of the wiring loom working out how to integrate LED headlights and indicators into a 1994 electrical harness based on much less efficient bulbs.  Jumping into the future like that freaked out the existing flasher relay that manages how quickly they blink.  

If you're running big, old, inefficient bulbs, you get a nice steady indicator and hazard flash because those bulbs are heavy loads on the circuit.  The LEDs barely use anything at all by comparison, so suddenly the indicator relay is flashing so quickly it looks like a strobe light.

There are various ways to address this, but I think the easiest is to get an adjustable flasher relay (ten bucks on Amazon).  It plugs directly into the harness and can be adjusted for an indicator as quick or slow as you like.

I've still got to wire up the horn and headlights, but the bike is close to finished wiring wise.  I hope to be out later in the week checking off the other details and making sure everything is ready to go.  It has always been a quick bike, but now it's a ninety pound lighter quick bike.  I'm looking forward to seeing what it can do when it's finally road ready.

The ZG1K started out as a café racer conversion, but the muscular feel of the big-4 Kawasaki engine and the heavy duty frame made it look like more of a drag racer than a café racer.  Once I'd stripped it down I went with what I had.  If it had been a light weight single or twin engined machine then the café racer angle would have worked.  Had that been the case I would have gone with a finished, painted look, but once I started down the muscle bike route I started thinking it'd look better as a Mad Max themed post apocalypse rat bike.  Seeing Fury Road was how it got renamed the ZG1K Fury.

Mad Max: Fury Road isn't short on motorcycle inspiration.  The art direction in that film is amazing.

The paint on the bike wasn't too bad (it was rattle can but nicely finished and badged), but I ended up taking a sander to the tank one day and liked the result with the Kawasaki decal half sanded off; it felt much more radioactive that way.

With the old style round headlight but running LEDS and the stainless steel, drilled mounts I made for it, the bike looks old fashioned and rough but with weirdly futuristic details.  The rear lights look like they come out of Battlestar Galactica, but then the rest of the body panels (only where they are needed to cover up plumbing or electronics) are finished in some cut aluminum from the heat-shield that fell off my Mazda a couple of years ago.  Once committed to the rough look, I went looking for ways to stay consistent to it.  Ironically, the least ratty thing about the bike are the refinished and painted rims I had done before these whole thing started with a carb failure.  They never went on the original bike while it was on the road and they are by far the most perfect feature on this one that aims for imperfection.

Technical and aesthetic ideas for the custom bike were collected on a Pinterest board:

Once I've got everything together it'll be a review of all the main systems to make sure everything it tight and works well.  I'll bleed the brakes, make sure the engine is tight and dependable and then see how often I can get out on the thing.

Sunday 2 October 2016

ZG1K: A Customized Kawasaki Concours

I've stripped down the Concours to the bare bones.  From there I intend to build it back out into a cafe-racer/naked streetfighter.  A barebones ZG1000 Concours looks pretty butch:

A high intensity LED headlight
with built in indicators.
ZG1K Stipped Model  -  Click on it and drag to change views
by timking17
on Sketchfab
The brown seat will sync with
a crimson stripe.  Were money
less of an issue I'd get it custom
upholstered to run the stripe all
the way through.
The back end is going to get tidied up and topped with a cafe style brown leather seat.  I'm also researching LED light systems that will be all but invisible under the seat until they light up.

The front end is going to get a basic/minimalist light cover and a light that has indicators built in for a clean look our front (no indicator storks poking out).  The front fairing and light will be mounted to the forks.

Stripping on the Ducati Monster is
a thing of beauty.
As for paint colours, I'd like to try and take the tank back to metal and then have a crimson stripe running over the minimal front fairing, along the tank and across the minimal rear body work.  An asymmetrical design with a thick centre strip and a thinner stripe off to the right is what I'm currently thinking, though I'll see what works as the bike comes back together.  If the tank is too rough I'll redo it red with a gold stripe that matches the wheels.  Now that I say that, it might be what happens anyway.

I'm going to use the Structure Sensor scans to map out body work in 3d.  I'm also going to make use of a Dremel 3d printer to print out scale replicas of different body configurations.  These are some screen grabs of the 3d scan (which you can see at the top).

The massive twin exhausts might get modified, but right now I'm enjoying the big-guns look they have, so I'll probably be keeping it.  They help visually balance a bike that looks otherwise top heavy with that massive gas tank.

First go at a logo - I think I'm going to have to find the Kawasaki Heavy Industries
logo for this heavyweight streetfighter.

Tuesday 4 October 2016

ZG1K: Customization, Inspiration & Aesthetics

Graphical thoughts on the ZG1K customization...

I'm still working through the proportions of a naked Concours.  It isn't a delicate device...

In spite of the colourful nature of the bike, it's a muscular heavyweight.
Inspirations for this build revolve around 80's sport bikes and naked streetfighters.  I grew up in the '80s and have a thing for fully faired race bikes with blocky rear ends.  The big, bulky Concours' tank lends itself to a strong, balanced back end.

A box shaped rear fairing working off and 80's race bike vibe combined with a minimalist cafe racer look

The paint's already coming off the tank.  I need to figure out how to make a rough 3d outline of the rear body work (cardboard, wood, thin metal?) in order to begin getting an accurate sense of how the back end will look.  If I can get handier with 3d editing software I'll 3d print a few various prototypes first (maybe scan it with cardboard panels in place).

The front fairing will be a minimal street-fighter type of thing.  I wanted to go with a bikini fairing, but it's a bit too delicate for the big shoulders of the Concours.  Monkeying around in Photoshop has gotten me this far:

But this is more of a sculpting thing than a pen and paper thing.  I need to make some cardboard outlines and see what feels right in 3d (Close Encounters style).

The Mike Tyson/heavyweight feel of the Concours means I'm thinking more melee fighter than I am lightweight and delicate.

Sunday 24 June 2018

To Sell or Not to Sell

That'd get back what I've put into it and mean I've
put 15,000kms on it for free!
I put the Concours ZG1K project bike up for sale just to see how it would do.  I didn't expect a reply but got someone who is smitten with it and immediately offered me a trade worth about $2000 (a Phantom3 drone with a pile of expensive peripherals).  I took a drone training course last year and have been looking for a way to get some flight time in accordance with the Transport Canada flight planning we practiced in the course.  This would do that and also let me explore the aerial photography market first hand.  This is a trade that could end up paying for itself many times over.

Finding a trade that fits this well seems too good to be true.  In my experience, something that is too good to be true usually is.

I'm fighting that skepticism, but what I'm also fighting is some classism, morality and loyalty.  The young guy interested in the bike has the kind of online profile that makes you roll your eyes.  Every photo of him is half dressed and flipping the bird.  Which leads me to the moral quandary.  Handing this bike off to some yobbo who is likely to kill himself on it isn't something I can wash my hands of.  Then there is the loyalty.  I brought the Concours back from the dead.  We've done many long trips, including a once in a lifetime ride down the back straight of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Had the carbs not shit the bed on the worst possible day (the first day of a new riding season after a long winter off), I would have still been happily riding it today.  Had they died the autumn before, I'd have had the winter to sort them out.  Bygones, but I love that my hands brought this old thing back to life.

So here I am, with a great opportunity to make some space in the garage while pursuing a trade that could end up being quite lucrative.  That space could be filled with a new project bike and I'd be back doing aerial photography again.  There is a lot to recommend moving on this, but I've got some issues to work through first.

The classism I can get past, but the selling a weapon to someone without the sense to handle it is nagging at me.  I'd feel responsible if something happened.  As heavy as that is, what really bugs me is feeling like I'm sending Connie on to an unworthy home where she'll be abused, broken and forgotten.  The mechanical sympathy that I apply to technical work often breaks out into full on mechanical empathy.  This is one of those times.  Maybe now isn't the right time to pass on the Concours.  Maybe what I should be doing is re-energizing this project and finishing it to the point where I can eventually pass it on to a more deserving home.  (Hmm, the classism crept back in again).

Saturday 10 December 2016

Naked Connie: 3d modelling customized motorcycle bodywork

I've re-3d-scanned the stripped down ZG1000 Kawasaki Concours in order to better work out what the rear lights will look like.  You can wheel in and out and manipulate that model below with a mouse.  The scanner did a bunch of software updates which led to a much higher resolution 3d image.

I modelled it with the stock seat on with an eye to taking the pillion seat off and building a very minimal back end.  With some careful cutting I'll be able to use the seat dimensions to figure out how best to render the rear light assembly.  I've been doing 2-d drawings but they don't deal with the 3d complexities of the real thing.  I'm hoping this solves that.

Using the 3d scanner with cardboard body panel templates gives you a pretty good idea of how it will look when it's done.

As far as electronic parts go, I think it's time to get the lights sorted out.  At the moment I'm looking at some integrated LED head and tail lights to minimize stalks sticking out of the bodywork.

A single brake and indicator unit from Amazon.
Integrated LED headlamp from Amazon.

Wednesday 1 January 2020

Installing LED indicators on a 2003 Triumph Tiger 955i

I've done a few LED light upgrades on motorcycles to date, so updating the indicators on my trusty 2003 Triumph Tiger 955i isn't producing many surprises.  Unlike the Kawasaki Heavy Industries ZG1K project bike last time, the Triumph doesn't use standard automotive blinker relays, so the cheap and cheerful option I went with last time from Amazon doesn't have the same pinouts.  Fortunately, the blinker relay is easy to get to on the Tiger (pic right).

The stock, German made Hella blinkgeber 4db 003 750-36 indicator relay swaps the positive and negative terminals from the Japanese standard ones, so it isn't a plug and play swap for a cheap, Chinese relay from Amazon.

Like most relays built for standard bulbs, it speeds up when it senses a lack of resistance (ie: a blown bulb) so you know when you've got a bulb out because it ticks fast.  LEDs are so much more efficient than standard bulbs that they act like a blown bulb, so you end up with hyper-flashing where your indicators are blinking silly fast.

While looking around for a plug and play alternative that wouldn't have me making a rat's nest out of a neat wiring loom, I came across and their primer on hyperflashing...

Looking through their site, I found an indicator relay that would be a straight swap on my Euro-awkward bike.  The price is pretty much the same as the Chinese part on Amazon, but then you get stung with shipping that is more than the cost of the part (Amazon shipping was covered).  They promise that this will work with LEDs, which I'm a bit cautious about because the other ones I've purchased have a potentiometer (dial control) on them that lets you adjust to the speed you want, and this one doesn't.

It's suggested in places that you can swap the power and ground, but a number of people seem to have had problems with that on various bikes, so I bit the bullet and ended up with a $24USD bill where it would have been $12CAD (shipping included) on Amazon.  I'm hoping I'm getting a higher quality piece for all that extra outlay (the superbrightLED one has a 2 year warranty on it whereas the Amazon one didn't).  The part is on its way, so I should be able to finish the indicator upgrade in early January.

The rest of the wiring has been pretty straightforward.  The LED set I purchased from AliExpress (my first time using them - shipping wasn't quick but everything got here eventually and the prices are amazing), worked fine when the system was doing 4 way flashers, but went into hyperblinking when I indicated.  It's an easy wiring in, but again the Euro-awkward nature of the bike means it didn't have standard sized spade clips and I had to cut the old ones off and use replacements which were way harder to find than they should have been.

Your 21st Century Hardware store sells you things, just none
of them are tools or, you know, hardware...
As an aside, have you noticed that hardware stores don't carry hardware any more?  A trip to my local hardware shops was more like going to home decorating shops with lots of pretty things but no actual hardware.  I ended up at an automotive specialty retailer to find electrical connectors.  Hardware stores are now just glorified department stores.  You can't survive as a hardware retailer in a world where no one fixes anything.

Anyway, onwards and upwards.  After the Tiger, the Honda CBR900RR Fireblade project is getting the same treatment, so I'm going to have to figure out what indicator relay Honda went with.  Hopefully it isn't as Euro-awkward as the Triumph.  I've always wondered why they don't include an LED friendly relay in the LED lighting kits for motorcycles, but with everyone using different variations on the indicator relay, you'd be selling people parts that might not fit their situation.

The middle block is the indicator relay on a 955i Triumph Tiger.  It's easy to get to
with only a black, plastic cover to remove.  With any luck, my expensive LED indicator
relay will do the trick and plug right in there.

Sunday 4 December 2016

Naked ZG1000 Custom Inspiration

Some Andy Warhol-esque ZG1K shapes to get a feel for what the bike will look like:

I'm still thinking purple with asymmetrical gold racing stripes, but that might change again.

Cardboard cutouts of the side panels I need have gone to the metal shop.   I'm going to prototype some 3d models on the printer at work and see what various shapes look like before doing the final cuts in metal for the rear section.

While that's going on I've got to get the front cowling figured out, which is what led to the video...