Thursday, December 29, 2011

a few updates

Some time off over the Christmas break has allowed me to tick off a few boxes on the "to do" list.  First the supermono -- I didn't like the location of the HRC overflow bottle.  Noticing that a lot of racebikes have them mounted on the front fairing stay, I decided to do likewise.  It was a nice treat to work with proper metal tools. 
Kate works part time at a top-secret location.  It was quiet over the break, so I snuck in and used a nice shear and break to create the bottle holder.  I also used their drill press to make the litening holes in this aluminum sheet.  Foam strips are stuck to the bottle to help secure it in place -- a zip tie will be the final step to secure the bottle properly.  The extra bonus was working inside!

I also mocked up a crankcase vent system.  It uses a combination of 3/8" (case) and 5/8" (cylinder head) spigots.  Before I bought more expensive hose for the application, I tested it with some cheap hose from Canadian Tire.  There is a brass T fitting hiding in the picture on the left.

This hose has spent its life sitting on a spool in a store, and combine that with the below zero temps, turned it into plastic.  This vent filter will lay FLAT under the tail section, not sticking up like this.  At least I have the correct lengths and it should all work.  Proper hose for this application is inbound.
Also had a chance to visit MINUTE MUFFLER in Brandon.  Good karma from these dudes.  I bought a better FMF muffler from ebay to fit on the mono -- it came with a short section of stainless connector pipe in 2", with a section cut for clamping.  However the muzzy header coming out from the collector is also 2".  I took the header and the stainless collector piece to the guys there to see if they couldn't use their pipe expander to create a slip-fit onto the muzzy header.  Hey presto, and its done.  I even had a spare muffle clamp that will work -- you can see it just ahead of the oil drain bolt.  Will need to do some more tweaking and fitting to get the scorpion muffler to work, but this also allows me to take the whole shebang off again and re-fit the muzzy muffler (seen dented on the floor from my crash) if it all proves to be useless.  Best part is, they did it for free!  Might stop by with some Tim's in the next few days to express my thanks...

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Winter is no fun.  Maybe I should get into snowmobiles or something.  A trip to Canadian Tire to get a 17' ladder for 1/2 price found me picking up some striping tape...

Warmer than seasonal weather did see me put the bored throttle bodies back on the ex.  Cover went back on, waiting for spring.  That being said, I'll have some fun when the scorpion muffler is acquired from Dad -- have some neat ideas for that.  Stay tuned...

Saturday, December 17, 2011


The Throttle Bodies have returned:

This picture should give you a sense of the increase in bore diameter:
You can see the original subplate in place with the new gap around the outer diameter.  Sub plates will be removed for this application (obviously).

Also I spend the winter watching racing videos, and they often come with crash footage.  I'm not much of a crasher, but last season I raced without a chest protector -- the bks leathers I was using were too tight to include the full back protector and a chest guard as well.  I sold the bks leathers, and picked up a set of Spyke titanium leathers for an amazing price... they may clash just a bit with the green and blue of the bikes, but the important thing is they are top of the line leathers and being one size larger, they allow me to use the pilot chest protector I got as a part of the sponsorship deal last year.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

650 tweaking

Had the rare opportunity of turning a profit on some eBay buying and selling.  Bought a new scorpion exhaust system for a zx14 for $38, and flipped it for $300!!!  This "found money" has freed up the dosh to send my throttle bodies down to Zoran at Twin Works Factory for some boring.  With some dyno time, apparently it frees up 4-5 hp.  I've actually got some dyno time coming to me, if a horsetrading plan with a fella in Winnipeg works out.

As well, some unseasonably warm weather allowed me to install the slipper clutch on the 650 without freezing to death.  Aside from a stubborn cltuch nut (thankfully the impact wrench came in handy) a fairly simple install, despite the absolutely shite instructions.  I believe this was due to the Japanese being translated to English.  I'm sure I did it correctly, but I am going to call yoyodyne next week to make sure the plates are done correctly.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

radiator work

After many hours of online searching, comparing shapes of a million different rad hoses for a variety of bikes, I got a set of silicone hoses for a klx220 -- they appeared in the pictures to have the proper bends, so that I didn't have to use so many 90 degree adaptors -- the water flow would be smoother throughout the system.  I also got another ex500 rad cap filler unit, and was able to attach it solidly to the frame with an aluminum bracket I fabricated.  All the hoses clear the engine with room to spare, and the slicone construction is more durable and will hold up to more pressue.
There is still one 90 deg bend (centre of this photo) which attaches the silicone hose to the mito hose I need to use to make the mito rad work properly. 

Notice too I am clamp-free -- silicone hoses require special clamps that have an inner sleeve -- prevents the notches in a typical rad hose clamp from tearing into the outer surface.

Some pukka race kit -- that is an actual HRC overflow bottle, zip-tied to an aluminum bracket I made.  Sender for water temp guage can be seen in the background.  Not much more to be done at this point.  The new carb parts have come in, so I went with a much larger pilot jet to address the backfiring.  Hopefully that takes care of it.  I also bought a used air/fuel ratio meter.  Came very cheap -- hopefully it still works.  If it does its job, I will likely get a stainless bung welded to to the header in order to take some readings to set the machine up with some more accuracy.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

winter is approaching...

Life of a motorcycle roadracer in Canada.  Step one, make sure your tire supply for next year is secured in a nice warm environment.  Best to buy tires at the end of the season, as they are often cheaper.  Next you need to find a spot so they don't get subjected to the -40 degree (celcius) temps we can get over the winter here on the prairies.  Short of a heated garage, the downstairs exercize room will do nicely...
These include the 120/180 michelins that I am gonna try on the wider rear rim of the 650.
Next I took out the husky engine to give it a once over to eliminate any possibilities of the backfire at idle.  Timing was correct, valve gap was checked and put to spec.  With only .002" gap, I needed to buy a new feeler gauge.  Nothing seemed drastically out, but it was piece of mind to set it again.  Easy to do as well.  TDC was found by removing the clutch cover and using the punch marks to set TDC.  Gave me a chance to remove and clean the secondary metal screen filter buried into the case.  Nice to see how clean that was.  Will check valve gaps every time I clean that filter.  Makes sense to do them at the same time.
Less than a block from where I work is a Husky dealer -- no bikes, but mowers and chainsaws, I checked to see if they could order in gaskets and filters, and with some digging on their part, they indicated they could.  Cool, as I need a new water pump gasket after removing the head to check the timing mark on the camshaft sprocket.  Got a couple of spares as well.  Thus, everything now points to a larger pilot jet/richer idle circuit as the solution to the idle issues.  Unfortunately, will be a long wait until I can start the bike again.  Hopefully spring comes early!

On another note, the year-end awards were handed out a week or two ago.  Was presented with this.  A nice reward for the year.  Ended the Thunderbike class in 5th. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Here is a video of the bike running, with my audio commentary concerning what is apparently a lean condition evidenced by the backfire you hear.  Like many things, the advice/suggestions to deal with the condition are often contradictory...

According to online forums, the backfire could be caused by a lean condition, or an exhaust leak.  Of course, timing could be the culprit, which is evidenced by the very hot headers even at idle.  However, many mx450 engines do this, so glowing headers do not necessarily mean a lean condition.  There is no exhaust leak in the pipe, but the slip fit by the muffler is somewhat suspect, but that shouldn't cause the backfire alone.  Finally, nonstandard pipe and carb is no help, so the baseline to start is nonexistent.  Since the advent of fuel injection, no one stocks carb parts, so pilot jets will need to be ordered (already on the way...)  The joys of building and fabricating!!!  I'll get it figured.  Over the winter I will likely drop the engine and do a full inspection -- valves, timing, filters, etc.  Will have lots of time to do it!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

mito details

Some pics for your enjoyment.  Waiting on a $9 part to check to see if I've got the cooling system fixed.  Rad came from Germany quicker than a rad cap came from the US.  Typical teutonic efficiency.

Monday, October 3, 2011

new clothes

Had some time with an extended fall to get the new fairings mounted and painted.  Clear coat applied over the top.  Plain numbers for now... or in compliance with AMA rules...?

Also still working on the mitovarna.  Since getting the completed exhaust back from cycleboyz, have gotten it running.  Still facing a typical bugbear -- cooling.  Seems to be a regular problem with most of my projects, save the klx400.  The KTM rad sits too low, and my theory is that despite purging the system of air, I still had a vapour lock/cavitation issue.  I have seen pictures of this exact frame and this exact engine, but the radiator used was a mito rad.  A bit small, but it would be better than what appeared to be no water flow that I was experiencing to date.  So, I will simply copy what apparently works, so a mito rad is on the way.  Cycleworld did an article on a crf450 engined mito, with again some fancy plumbing but the mito rad as a base.  I found a complete cooling system off of ebay Germany, so I will see if this works better.  Hopefully it gets here soon, as I would like to put the mito to bed for the winter knowing that it runs (which it doesn) but that it is adequately cooled (not yet).  I also tore the entire machine apart this past weekend, and rebuilt it wet -- using grease, etc on the bearing surfaces.  Went together nicely, and I think the suspension as is is not a million miles off.  Still need some minor parts -- a shipment of husky-specific stuff is on the way, a jet kit from thumpertalk, and some spacers to fit the r6 front caliper.  Some brake hoses, and I welded up a tubing mount for the rear muffler.  Not seen below due to it being painted.  IF I get the mito rad to work, I will be a bit pissed, as the radiator flares on the sides of the fairing will be made redundant.  Oh well... the bike still looks pretty cool.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Round 5 Report

Weather was forecast to be beautiful all weekend, and the predictions turned out to be true.  As an extra bonus, my folks were coming out to join me as well.  Dad would be able to lend a hand in the pits, and while mom is definately not a race fan, they offered to let me sleep on the spare bed in the hotel in Gimli.  So only 1 night of camping in the back of the car -- feeling like a factory racer!
As I had wrapped up the ULGP category already (I ended up winning by 15 points) I didn't bother bringing the tigcraft -- actually, most of it had been sold off by now (more $$$ to finish the husky).  So only 3 races this weekend.
Practices went well -- the continued modifications/tweaking of the bike are making it more and more comfortable, which will always allow me to go faster with less drama.  The rearsets were huge, as I was no longer griding my boots away; however the chin fairing was developing a sizeable hole on the right hand side due to turn 4.  I guess I was getting the bike heeled 'reet over since the repaving smoothed out the entrance to that turn.  Took a bit longer, but the low 1:06s did come, sadly no 1:05s.
Race 1:  Cdn Thunder GP
Check out the video:

My apologies, I think I now can post 15min+ videos, but there was no need, I wasn't able to pass Jason at the end, so another fighting 5th.

  Race 2:  Cdn Thunder #2:  10 laps
I was most happy with this race, perhaps my favorite from all season.  A bit of argy-bargy going into turn 1 on the first lap, but I was able to get into 4th and stay there, keep Wilson on his TZ in sight the whole race, and turn a series of 1:06 laps times -- finished 6 seconds out of 3rd, and 7 seconds ahead of the 5th place rider.  A boring race, actually, but technically solid.  Unfortunately, no video... some goofiness with the camera -- also affected race 3.

Race 3:  Cdn Thunder #3:  10 laps
A weird race for me -- felt like I was going faster, but I couldn't get out of the 1:07s -- neither could Jason just ahead in 4th, but I couldn't get by him.  A race pace similar to my pace in Race 2 would've secured another 4th, but I couldn't do it.  5th by 2 seconds, half a minute ahead of 6th.  Not the greatest way to end the season, but I drove home with the realization that I have a lot of rooom to go faster, especially going into turn 1, where the most time is made up.

Overall, I finished the season in 5th place in Cdn Thunder.  Not bad for my first season "back"... to start the "whine" flowing, the other bikes and riders ahead of me have either been at it for longer, or have obviously faster machines.  Racing an essentially stock ex650 against a Buell 1200 or a GP 250 bike won't be easy by any stretch.  Somehow, however, Doug's 650 is incredibly fast and he is a talented rider.  To make things worse, Pete turned a 1:02 on the weekend on his Buell, which puts him in another postal code compared to my laptimes.  I think my season-long dices with Jason, who you see a lot in my videos and his "pipe and dyno tune" SV show the parity between our bikes.  Whine session over -- I'll get 'em next year!

Now what?  The off season is upon us.  Dad was kind enough to make another bike part delivery for me --- the 650 full fairing is now being test-fitted to the ex -- even coming from an identical bike, some modifications and tweaks need to be made.  A slipper clutch is inbound, and perhaps some new rubber.  One of my competitors tuned his sv up, and while it was a rocket, it also had a catastrophic failure in race 2 on Sunday -- as in, thanks for the oil pan, piece of case sitting in a bath of oil, style failure.  Not interested in risking that -- so the exhaust experiement and perhaps a lightened flywheel will be the extent of the souping up this winter.  That, and finishing off the Husky.  Of course, I will keep you posted with updates and pictures...                                                                                                                     

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Exhaust Questions

Since I started to build supermonos I have been curious as to the science of 4-stroke exhaust tuning, especially now since compromises can be covered up with idealized jetting.  However, in taking a look at the EX650 exhaust, it is so unlike anything I have seen before that Kawasaki either finally figured out how to properly create an exhaust, a "lightbulb moment" after 40 years of racing, or, more likely, it is a packaging or aesthetic compromise.  Basically, the whole system appears far too short in length.  The primary headers snake around a bit in order to find some length, and the old Leo Vince slip on system does a full 360 with the tailpipe in order to get some length...
Take a close look at this pic and you can see the tailpipe turning full circle!

In doing the reasearch, I stumbled across this website that is based on the famous tuner A. Graham Bell.  If you go there, you can plug in information about the characteristics of your engine (single to multi) which will then spit out the ideal header length and diameter; proper collector length; and the length of the tailpipe PRIOR to fitting a muffler or slip on.  I punched in some scnearios and proofed it against Bell's book, and it did check out.
So, how did the EX650 do?  After getting the BBDC and ATDC figures, and putting the idealized hp peak at the 9000 rpm mark here is what is suggested ( based on 1 of the 2 cylinders):

Header length:  27"
Header ID:  1.5"
Collector Length: 6"
Tailpipe Length: 18"
Tailpipe ID: 2"

Sounds pretty typical.  I went out the to the EX and this is what I measured (based on the Muzzy exhaust system I currently have mounted:

Header length:  26.75"  CLOSE!
Header ID:  1.5" (note this is the OD, but CLOSE again!)
Collector Lenght:  4" (a bit short)
Tailpipe ID:  2" (again, this is OD, but a negligable difference)
Tailpipe Length:  2" (YIKES that is short) -- that is the length of the tailpipe before it begins to expand into the megaphone exhaust.

As you can see, the exhaust is quite stubby; according to the tuning guru, I need an additional 16" of tailpipe, over 1', before the muffler should even be added.  Makes for some interesting concepts for experimenting.  Would it make a difference?  Again, with proper tuning, it should.  A smaller tri-oval muffler could be tucked away, mounted close behind the RHS peg for ground clearance.  Perhaps a project for the winter?  We'll see.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Round 4 Results

Another decent weekend -- sorry no vids as the batteries died in the camera.  AJ was out taking pics, so there should be his usual good stuff to come shortly.


Practice went well; interstingly, I went faster Saturday morning than I did all weekend (by fractions of seconds).  Happily, I got into the 1:09s on the mono -- a 1:09.288 -- actually the 12-fastest bike out in that session -- not bad.  It was a goal to get into the single digit times and I'm happy I did.  Another goal I set for myself was to get into the 1:05 bracket on the 650 -- my onboard timer indicated a 1:05.988, but mylaps claims it was actually a 1:06.083.... next weekend, then.  Most importantly, I could string together a series of 1:06s so that lowered my overall race distance time is much faster.

Race 1:  Cdn Thunder GP:  15 laps

An eventful race:  in 4th on lap 3, and 4th place rider goes down in turn 3.  His bike started to spin, and I actually glanced off the front windscreen taking evasive action.  Missed the rider and the bike itself, but had to take to the grass.  Luckily the race was red-flagged, rider was OK.  On the restart, got a great start and was in 3rd when Wilson went down behind me try to pass (he got a bad start).  Left me alone in 3rd... part way through the remaining laps, my clutch cover guard fell off and smacked me in the leg -- I spent a few laps trying to figure out what happened and lost some time.  However when I realized the issue wasn't major, I put my head down and consolidated my podium with a 10 second gap to 4th.  Happy result!

Race 2:  ULGP #1:  12 laps

Another uneventful race, except for the crazy wind.  Blowing so hard that my lap times were negatively affected -- a huge headwind down the front straight, but I still beat the other experts, although the bloody rs250 got me again.  1st expert however.

Race 3:  ULGP #2:  8 laps

Shortened due to horrible weather -- gale force winds and intermittent rain, no fun on slicks.  My main competition for the title parked his slick-shod bike, so I went out, tiptoed around to 2nd place, and therefore locked up the ULGP expert championship with 1 round to spare.  Mission accomplished.  Hopefully the Husky is a match for the 250 two-strokes next year!

Race 4:  Cdn Thunder #2:  10 laps

An awesome race against Jason.  I feel really comfortable racing against him in close quarters -- ran 1:06s nearly the entire race, and actually turned faster lap times, but he just beat me for 4th by 0.230 of a second.  Woulda loved to get that one on video -- will remember to check the batteries next round!

Race 5:  Cdn Thunder #3:  10 laps

A poor race for me overall -- went wide around another rider, couldn't make the pass stick, and Jason got by both of us on the inside.  Spent the remainder of the race trying to get by, but eventually gave up, lagged back, let the top novice racer by, and then tried to turn some quick laps in the end.  Not happy with myself, but I need to remember that a stupid risky pass is not worth a $2 trophy.

Other news:

Here is a pic of the paintwork as it continues on the Husky:
Also, I am now convinced that the total lack of aerodymics is holding me back in a closly-matched class such as Canadian Thunder. Gary from sold me a set of used bodywork, properly made by catalyst for the ex, and mimics the 636 fairing (even uses the 636 screen). Got the upper, lower, screen, and stay. Won't be here in time for the final round, but can spend the off-season mounting it and painting it to match.

The stainless J-bends came in and I dropped them off at Cycleboys -- just need the 2-1 piece and Brent can start fabricating.

Monday, August 15, 2011

waiting game begins

The "Mitovarna" is off to cycleboyz to get the header fabricated.  Doing some digging to get some of the stainless tubing -- a 1.38" j-bend in stainless is pretty rare, although I did find a 2-1 collector on ebay.  Muzzys actually sells some tubing, so I might get in touch with them... although cycleboyz might also get what they need from their source.  It gonna be weird to not have the bike to look at for awhile.  Oh well, timing is OK as I'm back to work soon, and there are 2 more races to go, plus a mancation in the works, which will keep me busy.
On another note, tail section is painted with one coat of clear, so I'm waiting on getting the stripes (NRG signs, who did the Luckystroke logo) to have those done for me.  Will apply to the tail and part of the tank, and then another coat of clear overtop.  They are also coming up with some retro-styled numbers as well, in an odd size to fit the round plates I have painted on.
Race this weekend -- round 4.  Will post results as soon as I can.  Wish me luck!

Friday, August 12, 2011

exhaust, more paint, and a wee trick part

Worked on getting the exhaust mounted up.  I just need to put the muffler and tailpipe in situ, and then drop the whole shebang off at Cycleboyz so they can do the hard part -- fabricate the 2-1 header.  Exhaust is an M4 off of ebay, for an R1.  80 bucks! Score!

Rear muffler hanger is a steel strap mockup, to be replaced with something much nicer in alloy when the time comes.  Not bad for a full carbon muffler, and should be quieter considering the likely bark of the big single.

Tank now has 2 coats of clear.  Tank protector is an old 916 carbon jobbie I had laying around.  Not sure if it will stay, as it is 98% there in terms of "perfect" fitment, but it is designed for the larger, although similarly-shaped ducati tank.

Lower fairing.  One coat of clear over the latex blue, and then the number plate was painted with krylon.  Next chance I get I'll put the second coat of clear on...

I'd seen a few specials with these new motocross rear master cylinders -- with an integral rear reseviour, kinda looks pretty cool in my opinion.  The mounting bolts won't line up with stock roadbike mounts, but since I am custom making my rearsets and m/c brackets, this should be simple.  On another note, the rear lower mount requires an m8x1.25 rose joint.  Unavailable in farmer-ville here -- standard threads only.  However I took one I had lying around, I think from dad's old aircraft stock, drilled it out (originally 1/4 fine thread) and then tapped it for m8.  Sorted!

Monday, August 8, 2011

more pics

Homemade rear stand -- made with 2 rollerblade wheels, some scrap tubing, and my mig welder.

Rearsets -- a bit lighter with some 'oles in 'em!

Tank sticker on, need to wait for a better day weather-wise to lay on the second coat of clear.