Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Acerbis tank installed on the DRZ.

Today consisted of doing a little more inventory and getting the Acerbis tank installed and plumbed.

The purpose of the Acerbis tank is that it's larger than stock.  The stock tank is 2.6 gallons while the Acerbis can hold 3.7 gallons thus extending the range of the bike by about 50% compared to stock.  It equates to about another 40-50 miles depending on mpg at the time.

Here's a look at the install of the old tank. Seems to be 1/4" line which is smaller than stock 5/16" fuel line but looking online many haven't had an issue with it. Still, if I'm going to re-plumb it, I'll do it with the right size fuel line.

The Acerbis fuel tank presents an issue in that it has petcocks on the downward portion of the tank on both sides of the frames. This is nice because you don't get any fuel trapped on the right side of the bike requiring you to go through the procedure to access the "Secret reserve" by laying the bike on it's side. You can leave one petcock off and you have a reserve should you need it. It does present a plumbing challenge though, because you'll need to run two lines and a T pipe to bring them together. 

I also needed a new fuel filter and 5/16" filters were a bit of a challenge to find, hence why the previous owner likely went with the 1/4" line and filter. I grabbed up a reusable filter from Emgo anodized black for a decent price, but it's a little on the large size. Still, careful cutting of line got it all in there and working. There's a slight bend in the system due to having a smidge too much fuel line and having a hard time getting the line on the connectors, but it'll work.

 Nice shiny clamps that'll get dinged up in no time finish it out. They were cheap so I went with them. I'm not worried about the lines coming off anyway, as hard as they were to get on.

Mostly buttoned up and test started, all is working well.

I also did a chain/sprocket inventory so I can fiddle with gearing to get it where I want it. Looks like stock gearing is on there right now.

Sunstar 47-520 rear sprocket
RK 520 chain
14 tooth front sprocket

Sunday, September 24, 2017

First time spectating flat track racing

Earlier this year Sony decided to drop BeIn sports from Playstation Vue thus bringing my viewing of WSBK and MotoGp to an end, for now. In the process they also removed all recorded races from the cloud dvr so I couldn't even watch the ones I'd recorded. Boo!

So, one night I'm fixing dinner for the family and nothing of interest is on TV so I look at recorded shows and within my "Motorcycle Racing" folder is some AMA Pro Flat Track races. It's motorcycle racing so I pop it on to run in the background while I attend to my various tasks. I start fast forwarding to get past all the pre race talking so I can see the actual racing. As I'm zipping through I see a quick screen of an interview with one of the lady racers. I go back because she looks familiar, like a girl I knew who did amature road racing that I helped her set up her website. Figured maybe she made the jump. Nope. she was tall and this girl is short and her name wasn't Shayna Texter. Still, I watch a minute or so of the interview and then zip forward to the races.

Now is when my jaw hits the floor. I'm always one to cheer on the women who jump in and compete with the men but most times they are usually a mid pack run. Not Shayna, she whoops all the boys on the track. Over the next few weeks I catch a few other races and her win that I saw wasn't a fluke, she's on the podium, if not the top of the podium pretty consistently. I still don't completely understand all this flat track stuff but my interest is piqued. I wonder if there's any flat track racing happening near me in Dallas Texas anytime in the next year so I can check this out in person. Holee crap, they are coming to TMS in September. I pencil this in on the schedule with the family calendar moderator (my wife) and make plans to attend.

About a week or so later a guy on Two Wheeled Texans put up his reserved seat ticket up for grabs for free, with the only stipulation being that it go to someone who has never been before, and that they have to write up about the experience. I can totally qualify for both of those and he was kind enough to forward me the ticket.

Saturday comes around and I know I have to be there about sixish for the races. This works well because son has a soccer game at noon and wife has a training class to attend for work in the morning. As I'm sitting around the house at 2:00PM I finally find the schedule of events and see the pits open prior to the races so I get ready and hop on the FJR to ride across DFW in the 97F heat. One stop right before so I can buy me a reasonably priced gatorade to slug down before going through the gates and I'm there. I make my way through various Harley Davidson displays and out and around to the back of the track to the pits.

The pits resemble something slightly larger and slightly more organized than a motorycle track day. Not very many manufacturer semi trucks but a whole lot of vans, trailers and easy ups. Clearly not as much money being thrown at this event and really comes down to folks who just want to race and love it. Riders have tables set up and are signing pictures and handing them out. All of them are very approachable and chatting with their fans. I don't really collect autographs, and have no idea who they are, and also never know what to say to these folks other than "Um, yea, uh, that's a nice bike" I start taking pictures of bikes, because I love bikes and want to look them over later. I don't know whose bikes I'm taking pictures of so I'm taking them all figuring I'll maybe know a few names by the end of the day.

As I'm making my way down I spot my target. Shayna's booth. Holy crap, apparently I'm not the only fan, she's got the longest line I can see out here, so I get in line and wait. A few minutes later she agrees to let me take a selfie with her and she hands me her autograph and I'm on my way. Goodness she's cute, and as someone who has been teased about being short all my life, she's short even for me. I take a few pictures of her CRF so I can show them to my CRF riding son later.

Don't mid the ugly guy in the picture, she's way better looking than I am.

Lots of grom and Z125 pit bikes too.

And every motorcyclist loves a good pile of tires.

Now, as a road racing fan, I've been through the pits on various occasions and I have to say that at Flat Track racing, the manufacturer representation is quite the opposite of what I'm used to. Harley Davidson and Indian are the predominant manufacturers. In fact, they appear to be the only Factory racing teams here at all. I had grabbed my Yamaha hat on the way out the door and was wearing it while walking the pits. Nearly every guy racing a Yamaha noticed my hat and would call out to me. Kind of freaked me out a bit, but I chatted with one of the guys.

Even a Harley Davidson sponsored Yamaha. Now I've seen it all.

750 Twins class is mostly Harley and Indian. I had to go look things up later but apparently while road racing tends toward the SV650 finding the Ninja 650 not as suited to the event, flat track loves those Ninja 650 engines. There's a bunch of them out there. Reasearch shows you can buy two Ninja engines for the price of an HD racing crank, so I can see the popularity. There's also a lone Yamaha DT-07 there as well.

The 450 single class is composed of 450cc dirt bikes. It seems that Honda is the bike of choice with a bunch of them. There's a handful of Kawasaki's and Yamahas, hence the excitement from the few racers to spot my hat. There's two KTM's, a lonely Husqvarna and oddly, zero Suzukis. I walk the pits twice looking for some but can't find any. Having a large manufacturer with zero representation is very odd to me for sure. The Yamaha guy I chatted with said they just aren't fast enough by comparison on Flat Track racing. Maybe there's something to it. Certainly flat track performance isn't important to anyone but HD and Indian out here anyway, with the big four concentrating on other racing.

Nothing like a privateer last minute clutch change in the pits with privateer equipment.

I go find the location of my seat and then head to the concession stand to be ripped off. I almost cave on a corn dog till I see the one the lady in front of me gets. $5 for a 4 inch corn dog. No thanks. I get a $5 32oz Lemonade and enjoy it a ton in the heat. The cup and ice afford me free refills of water without having to wait in the long lines again.

The dash for cash six rider race at the beginning was interesting. One guy lost a chain when coming out onto the track and he had to run back and get it off the track and then head for the pits missing the money race. There were some other pre-race activities but soon enough the heat races started. They struggled with the track conditions trying to get it ready after qualifying earlier in the day, but it was apparently still wet and kind of slippery to the riders. Coming out of turn four in front of the stands the bikes looked like bucking broncos. It must take a crazy person to get out there and flog these bikes like this.

Right off there were a couple of names I recognized from road racing. Larry Pegram stepped out of the announcers booth to fill in for injured Brad Baker on the Indian Scout FTR750. Also present was Daniel Eslick who didn't end up making the main event.

With the heat races going I have to tell you that the starts for these races are insane. Instead of a staggered start they line up like motocross racing. Elbow to elbow across the track in three lines of starters. The starts and first set of turns are interesting to spectators to say the least. During one of the heat races the rider second from the right caught a small wheelie when launching and banged bars with the guy next to him and both went down in the crowd from their line. We all jumped up in horror because the second line, also elbow to elbow had nowhere to go but over top of them. Another two riders went down and thankfully the third line was able to avoid the pileup. The red flag came out and for several tense minutes none of the riders moved. Eventually they all were able to get up and move off the track to the pits on their own power, one guy with a significant limp. A few even were able to restart the race after some off track bending of parts to get them back into shape.

No pictures of the crash but an example of the start.

Then came the heat race with Shayna Texter. I finally discover that she is quite the crowd favorite because the cheer that went up as she took the lead, you'd have thought she just won the main event. She led the rest of the way and it was good for a heat race.

Interesting that the bikes for the main event had to be pushed out. If you are good enough to have a mechanic they push the bikes out for you. If you are a low level privateer you push your own bike in full gear so you can be out of breath before the race even starts.

Finally time for the main events. The 450 race was the more exciting of the two. The lead 750 twins took off leaving the interesting racing behind them with the top three well separated. I was watching the battles further back when the leaders caught up to the lap traffic and it got hard to follow the leaders of the race with them all around the track. The results were far more interesting than the actual racing though. The race was won by a privateer Jeffrey Carver beating the factory HD team as well as the giant Indian factory team. Jared Mees had been crowned champion via points at a previous race and still came in second place. Third place went to privateer Johnny Lewis. His bike was supplied to him earlier that day for the first time in practice and had been on the showroom floor earlier that week. Not bad to put together a bike to beat most of the factory big boys in such a short time.

The race to watch though was the 450 singles. I knew by now the crowd would be pulling for Shayna and the race did not dissapoint. She started the race third in championship points and a win from championship leader Kolby Carlile would secure his spot in first place, but he'd have to fight for every point. The whole race was a battle of passes and repasses, and side by side racing as Shayna wouldn't give an inch. Eventually she pulled off the win to a huge response from the crowd and she moved into second place in the championship points race. She needs to win the last race and Kolby to pull off a 17th place to move into first so second is likely where she's going to finish.

I had a good time and thankfully the bikes aren't really all that loud so next year I'll likely be bringing my son along for the fun. After that all that was left was to navigate the traffic on my FJR out of the track and then deal with the craziness of a Saturday night ride across the metroplex. I'm sure that maybe some of those crazy flat track bucking bronco riding racers think I'm the crazy one.

All my images are here -> 2017 AMA Pro Flat Track Racing at TMS

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Digging into the DRZ400E

Today I started digging into the bike to deal with a few things. Also trying to take note of any mods that have already been done to the bike so that I am aware of them and can check them off of my "To do" checklist if they were on there.

 First up, off comes the seat and yes it's dirty but that's clearly the 3x3 airbox mod. Should be breathing very easily now and I'll bet that since it's running well, the carb has a jet kit installed. I'll confirm that at a later date.

Next up was to hook up a battery tender pigtail to the battery so I can use my battery tenders to keep .  I picked this up at O'Reilly's around the corner so it was convenient.

Verified the bike has a skid plate.  Not sure of the brand but it's pretty stout.  Has a few dings and even after hitting it with a pressure washer it's still discolored and dirty, but who cares. I did find one of the mounting bolts was missing so I'll be picking up a new one.

Lastly I decided to do the "Starter clutch and stator bolt lock tite mod."  Older models of the DRZ have had issues with the bolts backing out and damaging the stator.  Later models Suzuki put lock tite on them.  Common fix is to pull them and put your own lock tite on them.  Since this is an older bike I figured I should do this.  Thankfully all bolts were snug in their places so no damage done.  Pulled them all and gave them a drop of lock tite.  More oil came out than expected so I made a mess, which is expected of me.  But now at least I know this one is done.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

2001 DRZ400E Build Sheet

I'll keep this up to date as I document what modifications have been completed on it.

Digital Guage
Computer Trail Tech Vapor 752-301
Surround Light Dashboard Trail Tech 022-PDA
Case Shields
Clutch Side CFC Clutch Cover
Ignition Side CFC Ignition Cover

Monday, September 4, 2017

DRZ Cleanup and shakedown ride.

Got the bike home from Houston on Saturday evening and then went with wife and kiddo to dinner and bowling.  Sunday was cleanup day.  I pulled the DRZ out of the garage to inventory and address a few issues.

It has a pretty cheap lighting kit installed to make it street legal.  This will see an upgrade in the future as I figure out what I want to put on it.  I don't want any of the alien look stuff that is out there on the market so I'll be doing some research on this.

The aftermarket Acerbis headlight is street legal with hi/low functionality but is very dim.  Also has a crack in it so that'll go.  So will those hideous turn signals.

The tail light is rather dim and the brake light only activates with the rear brake, so that will be remedied.  Also, the chrome turn signals have got to be swapped out.

Hahahaha, that mirror is absolutely useless and only good for passing an inspection.  I have plans for a set of DoubleTake mirrors to go on there.  They are cool and mount with RAM mounts so you can use them on the road and when you hit the trails they swing down and out of the way.

Next, the 16 year old stickers were showing their age.  The clear on the outside was separated from the printed section and had water or something in there making for an interesting pattern but still pretty nasty. That's supposed to be solid black

Removing stickers, especially factory installed old ones can be a pain.  First of all, when you try to peel the sticker off you usually just get the clear part...

Yea, that's pretty nasty under there.  This stuff is usually adhered to the surface pretty well and will take about a gallon of goo-gone and some heavy elbow grease to remove.

However, the gentle use of a heat gun can make this job much easier.  Set the heat gun on low and heat just till you start to see the sticker bubble a bit, then wipe with a shop paper towel and the sticker will mostly wipe away.

The remaining glue left behind is easily cleaned up with a squirt of goo-gone and a paper towel.  Afterwards you can see that there's clearly some discoloration after 16 years.  The tank is being swapped anyway so no big deal, but still looks better than it did and it's now ready for new stickers if I choose to go that route.  I'll make a decision on the fate of the other stickers after the tank swap.

After some time spent with the power washer she is all cleaned up and is a good blank canvas for me to build my ADV bike off of.

Monday came and MJ and Jakob had been begging to go riding.  With the KTM still down, the DRZ meant we could all go riding together.  Loading the truck with all three bikes and gear for all is now a challenge.  I shall be tackling this challenge soon with either a hitch hauler or a trailer or both somehow.

We hadn't been riding since spring and had planned to now expand out of the beginners area for Jakob and MJ today, but skills were rusty and the other trails proved to be difficult with the deep loose sand in all the corners, so they brushed up their skills in the beginner area and had fun.  The heat of the day was on us quickly and we are looking forward to cooler temperatures.

The DRZ did pretty well for a big heavy bike in the sand running dual sport tires.  I nearly dumped it on multiple occasions but managed to keep upright through the day.  I've got some motivation to get the KTM put back together for sure.

Closing out this report with a photo that says it all. Finally, all three of us out riding together. Good times today and good times ahead.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Picked up another DRZ

Previously I've owned two other Suzuki DRZ400's in the Supermoto form which is when you take a dirt bike and put smaller street oriented wheels on them with street tires. Suzuki sells the DRZ in SM form direct from the factory. They are formidable weapons on tracks and roads where the straights are short and the twisties are tight and plentiful because their low weight makes them handle very well and overcome their low power. Sadly, that does not describe the roads around here and as such the bike was't being ridden much.

I'd been tempted by the ADV bug to get out and explore the places where pavement ends and a DRZ could do that. I figured I'd pick up some inexpensive dirt DRZ wheels and swap out the ones on the SM and be good. After all, those wheels should be plentiful thanks to the folks forking out for supermoto wheels, right? It was not to be the case. I was looking at $800 for some crappy wheels all the way up to $1500 for new wheels. No thanks. On top of that, the DRZSM I owned had a lot of suspension mods for the street that I'd have to swap out and it had a very expensive exhaust that I didn't really want to drop onto rocks somewhere out in the middle of nowhere. For the cost of the swap alone I could pick up an entire used dirt model DRZ. Thus, the Supermoto went away and I started the research.

Decision made I started keeping an eye on the for sale ads. This little gem popped up on the Two Wheel Texans page down in Houston.

This is an E model which means it comes with the carburetor that most folks swap onto their S or SM models as it is smoother and provides more power.  The carb will run you about $600 for the swap but this one already had it, and was priced right.  It's 16 years old but Suzuki hasn't updated the tech or design in about 18 years so functionally it's the same as a brand new one.  This one has seen limited use over the years thus was a good one to go and grab.

We had a family event planned in Houston in a week and a half and the seller agreed to hold the bike for me till I could come down. Little did I know at that point that Mother Nature and Hurricane Harvey would have other plans for me.

Hurricane Harvey came ashore near Corpus Christi and then moved up and parked over Houston dumping at times up to 6 inches of rain per hour and a total of 50 inches before it moved on after almost a week. Much of Houston was flooded in one of the worst flooding incidents in US history. Needless to say, our family plans were cancelled and picking up the bike was a no-go.

I kept in touch with the seller who was hunkered down watching the water rise up to his house.  Thankfully the water never came into his house and they were spared for the most part.  I kept an eye on the maps and as roads started to open up gas began to become scarce.  Panic set in for the public and made things worse.  On top of that a chemical plant caught fire near the seller's house causing many roads to be shut down once again.

Saturday of labor day weekend came and I had a window of opportunity so I jumped in my truck and headed south.  I took back roads away from the bigger towns and travel corridors and had no problems finding gas for the truck, which had been a worry for me as my truck won't hold enough gas to get to Houston and back.

On the way I got a text from the seller saying he'd just been out and there's water on the roads but it's not deep and to just go slow.  Thank goodness for his text and this truck in front of me or I'd have been tempted to turn around.  As it happens, thanks to the fire at the chemical plant, this is the only way in or out of his neighborhood.

On the right of that photo is a farm, not a lake.  I had to travel several roads that looked like this but eventually made it to his house where the DRZ was waiting on me.

I took it for a quick test ride and found that others in his neighborhood were not so lucky and many were busy gutting their houses because of the flood damage.  Houston will have a tough recovery from this hurricane.

I mentioned to the seller that one of the first modifications the bike was going to get was an extended range fuel tank.  I saw a light bulb pop on and he went and dug through his shed and came out with this tank and offered me a killer deal on it that I happily accepted.

That tank will give a little over another gallon of gas extending the range of the bike to hopefully about 160-180 miles on a tank which is needed in some remote areas I'd like to ride this bike.

We exchanged money and paperwork and I was soon on my way home via I-45 and made my way back to the DFW area with no issues.