Kickstand Upgraded

After doing my fork swap, the Virago was much lower. The old kickstand was now too long, so the bike was almost standing straight up… which was scary! Until today, I had the bike tied up just in case a wind blew or my kids touched it and it tipped over.

Today, I chopped out about 3/4″ of the kickstand and welded it back up. Now it’s much better, and safer. I’m very happy it’s done.

1983 Yamaha XV750 Kickstand 1983 Yamaha XV750 Kickstand

Fork Swap Complete!

This was an amazing day, because I was able to finally finish my fork swap! This winter was COLD, so it seems like I’ve taken forever to get this done. But today was the day.

First, I had to make a spacer/bushing for the top clamp of the triple. I had ordered a bigger piece of aluminum to do this:

R1 to Virago Fork Swap

Someday I’d like to get a real cutter… cutting through 1-7/8″ of solid aluminum with a hack saw will give you a work out!
Cutting Aluminum Cutting Aluminum

I hadn’t done any boring yet on my mini lathe, and today was the day. I bored it out to fit around the steering stem.Custom Fork Swap Bushing

Here it is, all complete! It’s not perfect, but it’s perfect for what it needs to do.
New Fork Swap Bushing

Here it is installed.New Fork Swap Bushing

This was exciting to get this all put together. Very satisfying to have done it all myself, and I feel good about it!R1 to Virago Fork Swap

Once I got the wheel on it, I was able to push it out into my driveway to get a quick profile shot. It certainly rides much lower, it almost feels miniature… just with the clip-ons and the lower suspension. New R1 Forks on 1983 Yamaha XV750

Now I’ve got to shorten the kickstand, because it basically is standing straight up… and could easily tip. Then, my next big step will be to fabricate the subframe. Wahoo!

Fork Rebuild

This weekend was spent in San Francisco on a lovely vacation with my amazing wife. We had gotten enough points on our Southwest card that we got a couple of free flights. That always helps when deciding to go on a vacation.

Since we were going to be here anyway, I decided to head over to Moto Shop for a little class: Fork Seal Replacement. I had never done these before, and the R1 shocks I was going to put on my Virago were leaking a bit… So tada, I scheduled the class!

Moto Shop is great! A little shop in South San Francisco that offers space and tools for the rider to come in and do their own repairs. They offer the classes too to teach you anything from a basic oil change to an engine rebuild.

Bay Area Moto Shop

They brought in Chuan from a local fork tuning shop here in SF, and gave me a one on one class. It was great! He did the first fork, then I did the second. He was very patient, and answered a lot of questions as we cleaned them up, and put in the new seals and oil.

R1 Fork Rebuild

I’m excited to have had this chance to rebuild these forks. I really could have done it by a service manual and YouTube videos, but this way I got a bunch of tips and tricks from a guy who does this all day every day.

R1 Fork Rebuild

Now I just need to pick up a couple tools so I can do it by myself next time! Thanks Moto Shop for a fun part of my vacation to San Francisco!

Satisfying Sigh

Deep breath in… and ahhhhh. :)

Yes, today I was able to finally get my new steering bearings on my steering stem.

Going back to February 9th, I actually had tried to put this together with the original bearings, and I snapped the bearing race when I was pressing it on. I was so frustrated with it that I just didn’t post anything here. I immediately ordered some new bearings from All Balls Racing, but I was dreading snapping these guys too.

Today, I put my steering stem/yoke into the freezer, then I put my bearings into the oven at 250 degrees and cooked them for a while. Once I had my press ready, I pulled in my steering stem and put just a tiny bit of grease on it (hopefully to help it slip on). Then I got my bearings from my oven and slipped them into place. I used my old bearing race as the piece between my bearings and cast iron fitting (because my new tapered bearings would’ve been damaged if they were pressed directly into the cast iron fitting). It was handy to have.

Wahoo! Success! With some force, the pieces came together and are now one!

I then put the upper race in place, then worked on the lower race. The lower one was difficult to get it in straight at first (even though I chilled it, and heated up the frame). Once I had it set straight, I used the steering stem and bearings to help press it in fully (just by tightening at the top, and occasionally tapping with a hammer on the bottom).

Now I’m ready to do the top. I just need to make a little spacer so that the R1 top clamp will fit with the steering stem. Anyway, I’m close. I just ordered some new aluminum so I can turn down this spacer.

I’m very excited!

Virago R1 Fork Swap

All Balls Steering Bearings

Virago R1 Fork Swap

2013 Autorama

Every the Autorama comes in February/March to Salt Lake. This is always a fun and exciting show to go and check out because there’s so much craft and talent to see. This year there were no shortage of great cars. The motorcycles were mostly accessorized and airbrushed Harley’s, but there were a few very custom choppers.

This year I was mostly drawn to the raw metal rat rods. I enjoyed seeing the chops, welds, and the way they’re pieced together. I appreciated not having all this work covered up.

It was a fun date night with my wife as we wandered through crowds of pin-up girls, master mechanics, hot rodders, and other people I always wonder where they come from. Here’s some of my favorites from this year.

1970 Boss 302 Custom Tail Green Camaro Chopped Rat Rod Baby Orange BMW Chopped Garage Batmobile Audi R8GT

Still… Waiting for Spring

This has been a very long and extremely cold winter for me. I’m ready for spring to come and share it’s warmth with us. Roads without ice, green and flowers, birds chirping, the roar of motorcycles, etc! I’m ready to get on my bikes again and release the build-up of tension the winter has delivered.

This video came at the right time, and made me smile.

WAITING OUT WINTER from Andrew David Watson on Vimeo.