Tuesday, 26 July 2011

VFR750 Super Motard nears completion

 I went for a 240km road test on the VFR on Saturday with Frank.- 80 km freeway, about 100km back roads (twisty bitumen), 40 km in urban areas and even 15 km on gravel. 

The bike is fantastic - really comfortable.   No headaches, arm ache or numbness in my fingers.   Handling is superb - even on the gravel it is controllable despite the big back tyre and the suspension reasonably compliant.

Frank was on his Suzuki DL650 V-Strom and was clearly better off on the gravel, but I don't think I will have too much trouble riding around Australia on my VFR.   Fuel economy wasn't great at 17 kms/litre, so I will have to watch the fuel stops on my trip to make sure I don't run out.   I don't really want to carry extra fuel.

Next step is the big screen and I am getting special brackets made for the Zumo 550 mounting.  The tank bag fits nicely and I still have full steering lock left and right.

That's it for now!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Brackets sent for powder coating

The big question is: Will they come back in time for me to ride this weekend?  Maybe not, but it is 'freezing' anyway - so that might be a good excuse NOT to go for a ride.  Am I turning into a wimp?  Maybe!  13 degrees celcius and a bit of rain and maybe hail and I am not keen on  leaving the fireside.  Anyone else have trouble getting into all the wet weather gear these days?  It can be exhausting. I am jealous of all you guys in the US of A right now.  At least you have summer.

Have a great weekend,  Tony

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

VFR750 adaptation - raised handlebars, controls, electrical & seat

Hi all,

Got the bike back today from the upholsterer.  Very exciting!  Alan at OzTrim (Ringwood, Victoria, Australia) did a great job. The rider's seat height was built up at the front about an inch, dropped at the back about an inch and chopped backwards as far as the base would allow, then the rear rise rounded to be comfortable on the lumbar spine and buttocks.   I also asked him to raise the front of the pillion seat so it was more horizontal for two reasons: 1. so the pillion doesn't slide forward into the rider; and 2. So that it will easily support my Gearsack when rotated forward, which I do on long trips.  That leaves my Givi Topbox nearly empty to safely store my helmet and other goodies out of sight when I stop somewhere.
I think the seat looks great AND in the short ride I have had, it feels fantastic.  With the bars raised I am finally pretty comfortable on the bike.  The pegs are possibly a little high, but not uncomfortably so.  Just high compared to my Yamaha TDM900.  But I can stand flat-foot on the ground sitting down and that is very comforting because I want to go around Australia on this bike.  That means gravel and off-road - but obviously not really rugged stuff or the fairing will be destroyed!
 I bought Ventura bars from New Zealand and installed all the controls as you can see below.  The box is our special display for developing the cruise control software - completely interactive in changing parameters in our software 'on the fly'.  Looks a bit ugly, but works a treat.
 Here you can see the prototpye 'risers' Steve and frank designed for me.  They are made of 2mm thick mild steel, but we have 3mm made up ready for powder coating.  These are strong, but for around Oz i thought we would make it a bit more durable - just in case.
We have not had to cut or modify the bike in any way.  Brake and clutch hoses are simply replaced with longer ones.  Same with the choke cable.  The throttle cables were a bit harder.  The opening throttle cable uses a new one from a Honda CB1000F.  The closing cable has an extension to the original to reach the throttle spindle.  The opening cable reaches our cable interface unit mounted behind the left hand side of the radiator which allows us to seamlessly connect our fully electronic cruise control to the throttle system - see below:

Electrical connections were easy.  We have all the matching Honda connectors, so we just made up two patch harnesses to join the existing switch-block harnesses back onto the main harness.  Neat, tidy, functional and non-destructive!

The handlebars lie just about in-line with the top of the screen, so it will be interesting to see how much wind protection is afforded.  Don't know yet!

 Top view of the risers showing the 'dogbone' between to strengthen and stiffen them.
 The photo above shows the attachment to the top of the forks.  Rod Tingate (Tingate Racing, Wonga Park, Victoria) did a beautiful job of bronzing his clamps to our risers.  The risers were laser cut by New Touch in Clayton Victoria, who do all our bracket work for our cruise controls - www.mccruise.com.
 I bent the mirrors down a bit so that a clear view can be had just below the bars - it works pretty well.

In case you are wondering why I left bar sticking out beyond the rubber grips, I am still deciding what to do:  I tend to support my right hand on the end of the bar because the cruise control is doing the work, so an inch of bar and then the standard bar end weights should work quite well while leaving my hand close to the brake in emergency.  I always have the rear brake to shut the cruise down anytime I want in any case.

I am very happy with progress.  Just need to get the powder coating done, talk to Peter at Screen for Bikes about a bigger screen and devise a stiff wire loop to restrain the throttle cables away from the ignition key housing - they tend to jam.  The yellow nylon 'whipper snipper' cord works fine, but I think I can do better!

That's it for now - hope you like it!


Tuesday, 5 July 2011

VFR750 phoenix rises!

Ever had a bike you REALLY loved - but couldn't ride anymore 'cos it hurt?  That was me with my 1993 Honda VFR750.  That's me at the Phillip Island GP Circuit back in 1994 cresting what used to be Lukey Heights.  Love everything about that bike - but just can't ride 'head down, bum up' anymore.  Neck-aches, headaches, sore wrists, numb fingers and hands - parasthaesia coming from my neck.  That's what happens when you drop bikes.  C'est la vie!  But you still want to ride - right?  Well.......I bought a TDM900 Yamaha and it is GREAT and I have fiddled with it more than a bit (that's another story), but I still missed my VFR!  So much so that I bought another one last year - a 1993 model, reasonably cheap.  Only 25,000 kms on the clock and I just LOVE that motor! BUT I CAN'T RIDE IT!  A one hour ride and I need 4 weeks at the chiro/physio!  Bloody hell!  Now what?

Well, that never say die Aussie attitude came to the fore and I nearly have my beloved VFR to a point where I can ride it without greasing the palm of every medical practitioner in the State.  I should get it back tomorrow to start taking some preliminary photos.  Still have to pretty it up a bit with some powder coating, but the bars are now high, all the controls work and the seat should be brilliant - that's being done today.  That just leaves the 'highway pegs' to go......Yes - I know you purists will say 'How could you bastardize such a great bike - but hey!  If I can't ride it, what's the point?  So I opt for the pleasure and make it look as good as it can.  And actually I don't think it looks half bad - but you'll have to wait for the pics to judge for yourself.  Now if I can just get a touring screen.........