From Bruiser to Cruiser

So after a few months of tinkering here and there my Road Star is now finished and ready for the biggest trip of her life.  The list of modifications includes:

What you can see
  • Yamaha cast wheels
  • New floating rotors
  • Yamaha short windshield
  • Buck’s windshield lowers
  • Bub’s Big Willy Exhausts
  • Baron’s pillion floorboards
  • Yamaha sissy bar
  • Custom World International rack
  • What you can’t see
  • New master cylinders
  • New Barnett clutch and friction plates
  • New drive belt
  • Fork oil change
  • Engine and transfer case oil change to Amsoil 20/50w
  • Spark plugs
  • Numerous bolts, screws and the occasional clamp
  • I finished the final task of installing the new clutch last weekend which has brought me right up to my self imposed stop-work on the Road Star with only a month to go before the trip.  Last thing I wanted to do was something like an oil change only a week before leaving and stripping out a drain bolt or some other similar nightmare.

    Key items on the bike now for comfort are the windshield and lowers and my Mustang seat with driver’s backrest.  Hopefully between the two of those things road fatigue should be kept to a minimum.  With the sissy bar on I will also increase my carrying capacity with a T-bag which will go over the back of it.

    Is it time to go yet?

    Below are some pictures as I am still experimenting with the gallery function.

    Damn Weather

    Unfortunately my garage opens up straight west to the Brindabellas, and at this time of year when it is cold and raining if I have the garage door open I’m totally exposed to the elements.  At the prospect of losing yet another weekend’s worth of work I forced myself down into the garage today to get a few things done.

    The rear cast wheel is now mounted for the first time, and seemed to go on without any issues.  I will need to check belt alignment soon.  I got the transfer case oil changed, but the shop that worked on the bike last stripped the head out of the fill level bolt (%$#*), so I was forced to put in what I hope was 400ml of oil.  And finally I also got the Bub’s Big Willys installed. 

    Took a few minutes to get the bike started as it hasn’t been since June (again the cold and wet) but once it did get going the old girl roared to life with satisfying wisps of smoke from the exhaust gaskets burning in – smelt like, victory.  Due to the weather, and the fact I don’t have the rear fender on and that it is brand new rubber on the rear wheel, I haven’t been able to take her out for a quick cruise to see if all is OK.  Will have to look for a window of opportunity through the week for that.

    So that is the right side of the bike done, now all that’s left is the left side to swap out the clutch plates.  Gee, won’t that be fun.

    Oh and I might just mention that in two months today I should be in Tenterfield awaiting the official start of the Around Australia Ride on Monday 4 October.  That’s right, two months to go!

    Working on the Road Star

    Full Bike
    A complete Yamaha Road Star

    With just about two and a half months to go, I started work on the bike today.  This means I have a month and a half to get all the things finished before my self imposed moratorium on bike in September.  I need to get everything finished so I can have time to fix any major screw-ups which is why I don’t want to be touching the bike in that last month.

    Half a Yamaha Road Star
    Half a Yamaha Road Star

    So things I got up to today include removing the Bub Jug Huggers exhaust in perpetration for the Big Willys, got the rear wheel and fender off, put on a fresh drive belt and did some preventative maintenance on a number of bearings.

    It was starting to get pretty cold in the garage this afternoon so I didn’t make it as far as I would have liked to.  Here’s hoping next weekend the weather will be warmer so I can get the new cast wheel on, put on a new rear fender if I can get the wiring harness out of the old one without stuffing it, change the transfer case oil and get the Big Willys exhausts on.

    Short Update

    Oops, didn’t realise I haven’t put up any updates for a while, so to hit on some quick highlights:

    • I created a Facebook Group for the Around Australia ride.  You can access it via this link and you don’t have to be a member of Facebook to see it.  You’ll be able to see/talk to other riders and read about what we are up to.
    • The Everyday Hero Ride Around Australia Team has now raised over $47,000!
    • On the weekend I completed the master cylinder rebuild for both front and rear brakes on my Road Star.  Finally I have front brakes operating normally again (take note any ’99 model Roadstar owners).
    • Oh, and did I mention there is less than three months to go?!!!

    Time to Start Working on the Motorcycle

    So with bang on (only) three and a half months to go I need to get cracking on the work I need to do to my Yamaha Road Star.  By 1 September I want to be at a stage where all work is completed so there is no last second mishaps.  This means I only have ten weekends to get everything done which should be fine, providing I don’t mess anything up along the way. There’s a number of tasks to do including:

    • Installing my rear Yamaha cast wheel
    • Change the exhausts from my Bub Jugg Huggers to my Bub Big Willys (quieter)
    • Rebuild front and rear brake master cylinders
    • Transfer case oil change
    • Engine oil change + some fresh spark plugs – I’ll be running Amsoil the whole way
    • Install new clutch plates
    • Hook up some kind of charging system for my iPhone
    • Get the sissy bar rebuilt now that I have installed some helicoils
    • Get the steering head bearings done
    • Oh and a heap of other stuff I’m sure

    A small problem with doing this work at this time of year in Canberra is it gets quite cold.  No fun at all trying to work on a motorcycle in a freezing cold garage but at the end of the day I just have to harden up and get it done. And of course I still need to reach that $2,500 mark in fundraising for the Steven Walter Foundation – I get a little closer to each week.

    Yamaha Cast Wheels – Part 2

    Yamaha Road Star Cast Wheels Small
    My new cast wheels

    As you can see by the attached image my Yamaha cast wheels have arrived!  As mentioned in my original post on the topic I have got these cast wheels so I can run tubeless tyres for the ride around Australia.  It also knocks off another issue which is I basically get replaced bearings as part of the deal.  I just need to get a couple extra parts for the wheels and will hopefully get them mounted in the next month or two.

    But that’s not the intent of this post.  This post is for my fellow and fellowette Australians looking to get big bulky items from the US without getting creamed by shipping charges.

    The box these wheels came in was too big for USPS.com and via FedEx.com it was going to cost me in excess of $500 for shipping alone as it weighed 20kg/45lbs.  That’s when by sheer coincidence I learnt about freight forwarder Shipito.com  The short version is these guys will setup a virtual post box for you that you can give to people and vendors in the US.  They send the box to Shipito who in turn forward it on to the customer.  They don’t do it for the love, of course, but even with Shipito’s fees the cost to get the wheels from them left me with change out of $240US and I still got the wheels in five days via FedEx (the more volume you ship with FedEx the higher the price breaks).

    So there you go, Australians.  Before you give up your dream on that large bulky item from the US, or maybe you are dealing with a store that “doesn’t ship outside the continental US”, check out Shipito’s service.  I have to say I am now a happy customer.  Oh and a huge thanks to Greg F of Wyoming for the wheels and Bob S of St Charles for the cush drive.  Couldn’t have done it without the generosity of these two guys, especially Greg.

    Glenn “Toasty” Martin

    Yamaha Cast Wheels – Part 1

    It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post so I thought I would put this up to let you know the Ride Around Australia is still progressing well.

    So well in fact I have some very good news in regards to bike preparation. My ’99 Yamaha Road Star runs spoked wheels, which in turn require the use of inner tubes. This has been weighing on my mind somewhat, as a puncture with inner tubes will leave me stranded on the side of the road waiting for a support vehicle. Not too much of a drama you might think? Well across some of the more remote parts of Australia this could mean waiting for any number of hours without shade or shelter in temperatures over 40c/105f. Not my idea of fun.

    So the good news? I’ve been able to source a set of Yamaha cast wheels from the US which will mean that I can run tubeless tyres. Tubeless tyres means that providing I only get a puncture – as opposed to a tear – I will be able to use a small repair kit which will allow me to plug the hole in the tyre, and then reinflate the tyre through the use of small CO2 bulbs. These kits take up very little room and will fit nicely next to the emergency cable repair kit I have previously posted about.

    The wheels are probably a few weeks away yet and there will be a little bit of work swapping the wheels out, including new bearings and spacers. Thankfully the current tyres I have are a straight transfer so all I have to do there is get the wheels down to a local bike shop to change the tyres over. More updates once the wheels are in my grubby little hands.

    Dyno Run

    Dyno ResultYesterday a local bike garage here in Canberra had a promotional dyno day.  For $30 you had your bike run up on the dyno to see how much horsepower it’s putting out and also to get an air fuel ratio (AFR) reading.  After the rejetting work I did on my Road Star’s 42mm Flatslide at Christmas I was very keen to see how the bike was handling.  I’m reasonably happy with the attached result, it’s showing the bike isn’t overly rich (although could be a tad better in the midrange) and at 71hp it was putting out more power than I thought it would. 

    So why is this important?  Well if I was running too rich it would really add up during the Around Australia trip because 14,000 kilometres is a lot of fuel to run through the bike.  Before Christmas the bike felt like it was running fine but I was getting only 13 kilometres to the litre (30mpg) – based on that I was looking at around $1,507 in fuel allowing for a trip average of $1.40 per litre @ 1076 litres.  After rejetting at Christmas I have since gotten 19 kilometres to the litre (45mpg) – that works out to be around $1,031 @ 736litres.  A saving of almost $500!

    The attached dyno run suggests I could potentially gain just a bit better fuel economy still, so in the coming months I’ll put some thoughts into tweaking the carb further.  For the Road Star readers my 71hp was obtained with the following mods:

    • 1602cc engine
    • Kuryakyn Hypercharger
    • 42mm Flatslide carb
    • Speedstar ported Manifold
    • Dyna 3000 ignition
    • Bub’s Jug Huggers exhaust

    Oh and for bragging rights I might just mention I did 1hp better than a Harley Davidson Rocker, but was pipped at less than .5hp by a Anniversary Edition Harley Davidson Road King.

    Getting the Road Star Ready

    Floating Rotor
    Shiny new rotor

    With the trip only (only?) 10 months away I decided I would put to good use a week off between Christmas and New Years and spend a couple of days doing maintenance to my bike.

    Tasks completed:

    • installed new clutch cable
    • replaced the fork oil
    • installed SpeedBleeders in the calipers
    • fresh brake fluid for both front and rear brakes
    • new brake pads
    • new brake rotors
    • new manifold
    • adjusted the jetting in the Mikuni 42mm FlatSlide carb

    Casualties (aren’t there always?):

    • stripped the head of a bolt in the front master cylinder (drilled out)
    • stripped the head of a bolt on the rear rotor (angle grinder and tapped out with a centre punch)
    • snapped a bolt off in the top triple tree pinch bars (no action)

    All in all pretty happy with how things went.  I’ll have to be careful for the first few rides with both new pads and rotors but I’m sure the old girl has appreciated the attention.