Thursday, December 1, 2011

My newest current favorite thing

Hiya! November was a helluva month to be sure. Between keeping the joint from burning down, wrangling a cranky old guy, making some parts (not nearly enough) and building on a few bikes....not much time to update the blogo like I should've..

With that out of the way here's a few more pics of my current new favorite-most-important-desperately-needed-gotta have it motorcycle.

This is a remarkably straight and clean 30 yearold bike and I stole it for less than it is worth!

If you know anything about Yamaha's XV series, I'm certain it's the Virago you know or perhaps the newer V-star line.
The RH however never carried the Virago name or thankfully the 80's disco-chop styling either. What we have here is a standard non-chopper layout, chain driven V-twin UJM. 
UJM = Universal Japanese Motorcycle.
Relatively comfy
Relatively good handling
Relatively good power
Relatively overweight

I love a good looking engine and this works for me; clean, uncluttered and simple. Hidden ponies abound in this mill too. For the short term modding the OE mufflers for less restriction and adding pod filters with the appropriate jetting and slide mods is shown to yield ~10hp and similar gains in torque(as seen in several owner's groups and online articles) and stepping up the ignition can only help too.

Essentially two xt/sr500 top ends on a single crankshaft with great oiling and a good stout gearbox. Though very little 'performance parts' are available for the XV family, there are options: XT/SR top end parts can be had by the bucket load including hi-compression overbore pistons, big valves, aftermarket cams etc etc. Long term plans call for the internals from the V-star 1100; they will all but drop in yielding 1067ccs with vastly improved electrics, a lighter crank and lighter/stronger rods. The V-star guys have some pretty interesting hop-up parts too. Pipes can be had but I'll make those, as well as specing out my intake system around a pair of VM38s or possibly some flatslides. Some of the V-star guys are pulling well over 100hp/110ft-lbs!

Another reason I dig this's a Lego-bike! The seat-frame unbolts and you can build nearly anything you want to bolt right up!

Not my bike or my shop but you get the idea
Like every 80's streetbike out of Japan, at it's best it was squishy and way too heavy. Now it's squishier and just as chubby. Both things that can be addressed with relative ease. Just wandering around the bike with a semi-critical eye tells me that there's conservatively ~50lbs of useless flab that can be lost before having to replace anything structural or otherwise critical.

As far as curing the squish, I have a boatload of parts on hand for this. Initially I'll swap the front end out for a 40mm Showa fork set from a K75. This set has emulators and racetech springs that were sources for the slightly heavier Kaybike. These should prove to be a vast improvement over the wobbly spaghetti forks this bike came with. I'm sorry but 36mm forks no matter how good or who made'm are gonna flop and wallow on anything heavier than 350lbs. The Showas have BMW's snazzy looking and well designed OE forkbrace and triples and the stem is easily within conversion bearing range.
To shore up the rear I've got a gorgeous Ohlins shock that was set aside for the Triumph but I've since gone with something else and Ohlie is just sitting there on the shelf getting dusty. invariably some doofus will whine about my putting a shock of this caliber on THIS bike. Fuck'm....
It'll need a more suitable spring and I'll be machining a fresh bottom clevis that will yield an inch or so worth of lift out back to help quicken the steering response.

As far as aesthetics are concerned, while this IS a lovely very clean example of this bike it's still a wee bit dated. The first two things anyone notes are the horrible dead-weight veg-o-matic wheels which are cast from the most lead like aluminum I've hefted before. These wheels are heavier even than the XS850's 7 spoke cast rims...and that's saying a lot. 
The other major visual issue with this bike for me is the firmly packed bratwurst seat and to a lesser degree the rear fender. 

The wheels will be relatively easy to deal with and will assist in dropping weight; XS650 spoked rims can be fitted up nearly as a drop in. However I don't have any XS650 wheels to spare, what I do have is a pair of spoked rims with excellent tires in the correct size from a 76 Honda. Rooting thru a bearing book shows me that a simple swap will allow these to fit the Showa axle specs up front and the rear will slot right on with a wee bit of work on the swingarm flanges. Nice. Add to those a pair of 320mm CBR1k discs I've been saving along with some very tasty Tokico 6-piston calipers, braided lines and the radial master-cylinder taken from an R1 track toy and this thing will stand on it's nose. The eventuality is that I'll swap to a disc/spoke rear hub and some black Excel alloy hoops for it's final act. 

This 'first phase' should yield a sub-425lb, 70-ish horsepower, composed and good handling all around bike. 
The wacky shit starts later......
Built by the incomparable Sepp Koch

I have no idea who put this one together but what an outstanding job! You can see it's based on the OE upper frame and swingarm too!
I believe this one is Herr Koch's work as well(noting the header) in a modified Norton(via Rex and Cromie McCandless) Featherbed. Neato!

I do love that fairing.......
hey look....someone stole my 'phase one' idea.....bastard. Glad it works though!

This is much closer to my final goal for this bike. Under 350lbs, 100hp/110ft-lb, taught, fast, unique. Gimme.....
This one is just plain clean!

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