Sunday 29 Nov 2015. The Rainmaker is a goer

Over the last few days I have been putting the V-Star back together. This has come about as it has been sitting idle for a few months whilst I replaced the CDI unit (also named by Yamaha as the "Ignitor Unit") and the pick-up coil. The stock parts from Yamaha are very expensive at $1,000.00 for the CDI unit and $275.00 for the pick-up coil. So a search for aftermarket replacements found the Dyna3000 unit from Dynatek available from Northstar Yamaha for less than $400.00. A few searches and emails found an aftermarket pickup coil from Rick's Motorsport Electrics available from 2 Wheel Wholesale in New Zealand for around $100.00 Australian Dollars.

By the way, if anyone out there is looking to do the same for a V-Star 650, I can confirm that the blue wire with a yellow chaser strip on the pickup coil connects to the standard black wire. The green wire on the pickup coil goes to the standard grey wire.

By Friday afternoon the bike was back together electrically and mechanically and ran well. Saturday night was spent putting the tank and seat on and Sunday was a test ride. All was good, with a few adjustments to the gear lever height/angle and the clutch.

During this process the left hand crankcase gasket was replaced. This is great as after 15 years it was leaking just a little bit. I tried the method of using a proper gasket silicon between the gasket and crankcase cover and letting that set for a few hours and then rubbing grease all over the face of the gasket that matches to crankcase. In theory, this makes a great seal and the two parts come apart without too much bother. I have done this on the Suzuki as well and in practice it has worked well both time. This would not be acceptable to a proper workshop as it blows out the time to get the bike out of the door by days but for the home mechanic with time available it is really worthwhile.

So ... success. I will give the bike a bit of a clean and take the opportunity to check nuts and bolts and then, well ride it. Once fully satisfied I will swap bikes and put the Suzuki on the stand to make up some racks for soft panniers/saddlebags.

Just another video from Sat 7 Nov 2015

Hi everyone,

As the title says, just another video. Wanted to show just how lovely a ride can be. Its a short one, just going through Kilcoy and heading out to Jimna.

Since this video, I have attached the clear acrylic windshield and spent some time adjusting the height. Whilst it keeps the air flowing above me and thus can be quite warm, the reduction in head buffeting and insect attack on my chest and helmet makes it all worth it.

Friday 13 Nov 2015. Storage box update

As some of the regular readers may have noted, a small black box has appeared on the front lower section frame of the Suzuki. This was an experiment to provide storage for the heavy chain breaker and rivet tool and also to improve front protection. I also sought to keep costs down as an alloy box would cost close to $200.00 with no guarantee of a neat fit and certainly not watertight.

The experiment was successful but there was room for improvement.  By using a dremel, belt sander some M4 bolts and nuts, I have been able to make the box smaller, stronger and mount higher with better clearance.  Total cost to date $20.00. There was an investment in time but that would have still been required with the $200 alloy solution anyhow.

Just another video from Sat 7 Nov 2015

This footage was shot earlier in the day. The trails have a great variety of terrain, with a bit of mud thrown in as well. Between the weight of the bike (and rider) and my (lower) skill level, I was a lot slower on these trails.

Saturday 7 November 2015. Jimna State Forest and surrounds

After a bit of a false start, I met up with David (Tenere 660) and Craig (DR650) at Woodford. We had planned to meet at Dayboro however the road in from Petrie was closed and so we had a few quick phone calls and away we went.

There was no real plan other than to head north and explore, so we went along Neurem Road to just shy of Kilcoy, into Kilcoy and then onto Jimna. The area is just full of dualsport options from muddy and snotty technical tracks that are more suited to smaller and lighter bikes to wide open forestry and fire trails that you can enjoy on the larger bikes as well.

The stop at the Jimna Information Centre was very helpful. We met one of the locals, Dave, who talked us through the maps of the various tracks. They have on sale topographic maps that cover the whole area for $15.00 each. You need four different maps to cover the whole area in enough details and it is cash only, so I will be sure to bring enough cash and a large enough container to keep them safe next time.

In the morning, the tracks were a real combination and probably much more suited to the borrowed DRZ400 I will take next time. I had a bit of a moment through some downhill mud but recovered with nothing more than a minor fright and a reminder to keep concentration levels up. Later in the day the trails opened up nicely. No matter what the conditions where though, it was all good fun. Here's a video of the last ten minutes and I hope to have a few more up over the next week or so:

Avid readers will notice that I have made yet another change to the front cowl. This is a three-part cowl that works really well, it is very functional but I really need to improve on the heating and bending process to make it look good. As pictured, it is running without a windscreen, which is a must for riding through farming areas. When without a windscreen, the wind flows directly into my eyeline and the helmet visor provides plenty of evidence of this. Nonetheless, I am certain I have the dimensions and angles down to exactly where they need to be. Earlier today I added the clear acyrlic windscreen that should not pop the air flow right over the top of my helmet, making a very comfortable ride.

Another important change is the rear suspension preload. I added about 11 millimetres of preload on Friday to stop the rear from bottoming out, It was also pretty poor through corrugations. I think I lucked out as the bike certainly performed better both on road and especially off road and a check of the mud underneath confirms that there is no more bottoming out. The ride height has increased slightly but now I am quite comfortable, finally, with the extra height and the clearance gained will be helpful when off road as well.

It was really interesting to look over Craig's and David's bikes. Both are setup very well with Craig using a ruggedized 8 inch Android tablet as a GPS and David's DIY racks are very impressive. Plenty to see and take onboard from both bikes.