Sunday, March 28, 2010

16. What's goin' on?

Many things goin' on, and have found that time slips by so quickly. Haven't updated the KX project since March 8th, but that does not mean no work has taken place. Actually, quite a few things have gotten done while catching up on the SX series over the weekends.

For example, one of the local shops held a sorta' tent sale, I was instructed to be there early as a line begins to form at around 8 am. I showed up and found myself fifth in line, waited for an hour to pass and the doors to open, when they did the masses poured in. I will be honest, prices where low, if you wanted selected youth or outdated clothing, energy drink emblazoned paraphernalia, or cheap Chinese riding gear. Ah, what a huge disappointment, not one single hard part to be found, no wait, I did find Renthal unbreakable levers for $30. I made a dash to the vendor.

"Show me the Renthals please."

"We don't carry Renthal, but we do have these, they are the pioneer of the unbreakable lever."

"These" turned out to be something that looked like they came off of my dad's 1967 Triumph, aside from the fact that they had some strange geared, levered knuckle joint so as to be unbreakable. Over this u-joint was a strip of dry rotted old inner tube. No self respecting rider would mount this crap to his bike.

"Isn't that false advertising, saying Renthal levers and you don't have them?"

"No, it is the only banner I have, and I do sell levers for $30. You want one or what?"

"No thanks."

The whole "sale" was really a joke I think, much like the dealers themselves. Walking into a dealership these days is like walking into an 'Old Navy' or 'Gap' for "bikers". An avalanche of clothing spills out as one enters these new cycle emporiums, all walks of the bike world are not immune. Fifteen years ago when I worked at a dealer we had hard parts galore, ones you could touch and fondle before buying. I walked into that same dealer not long ago and couldn't find part one while shoveling H-D vests and pants out of the way. Same goes for the sport bike crowd and the MX as well. I want to see parts, and things I can bolt on that will make my ride lighter, faster, and more aesthetically pleasing, "Rockhard" and "Mobster" energy drink underwear ain't cuttin' it for me.

So, when another dealer was to hold a similar sale I growned and prepared for another dismal showing. But, to my surprise and joy, 85 percent of the sale was hard parts, and lots of um. The prices where excellent too.

The KX project has a number of items on the "replace" list, and I hoped to tick a few off. I spied boxes of green plastics, but what were the chances of finding 1989 KX plastics, 100 percent none I found out. I was prepared for this though, and after digging into a number of crates full of body work I came out with something I needed. A 2001 KX 125 Polisport front fender, and yes it works. A little further prospecting and up came some Maier fork/brake gaurds, these being from a '89 KDX 250, yes they do match up perfectly to my 125er.

Ten bucks, perfect.

No holes, how do I attach it?

Start measuring.

I think I have seen that pick before.

Measure once, drill twice.

Looks right.

Start drilling already.

There they are.

Don't use the largest bit first, start small.
Measure the grommet and drill hole to match.

Hope it works.

And for all you smarties, I do know which way the grommets go, see next photo.

That will do.

For those of you who noticed the donate button, I had hoped to race the KX project this year, but alas, it seems my hopes have been dashed. Unemployment does not agree with spending money on the project, I would rather eat and live, but I still want to race. So if any of you feel like helping out, a little in the pot goes along way. This is a budget racer remember, thanks.

Next time, maybe some more painting or cleaning, it all needs to be done.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

15. True

Well, what can I say. Three times I have set out to update this post, but lacked focus.

Letting the bearings chill in the freezer I readied the tools I would need to drive them home. A deadblow hammer, a socket that matches the outside race of the bearing and snapring pliers.

Cooling shrinks things, which is good, so my bearings had shrunk. I could not discern by how much with my naked eye, but I placed the first onto/into the hub and rapped it home via the socket making sure to seat it all the way home. A flip of the wheel, and not forgetting to drop in the inner spacer, I drove tight the second bearing, then a pinch of the snapring into its groove and the hub was nearly complete. I squeezed in the seals and slid the axle into place. Done.

After cleaning, polishing, painting and lacing up the front wheel it was time to true it. Let me preface this story with two points: 1. It is terribly difficult to true a wheel, false. Many of the new breed of rider has been mislead by money grubbing dealers, and shops, into believing wheels are some sort of item that the cosmic bodies must be in alignment to service. Not true; I only wish that these kids would take some time to actually work on their bikes, to understand how and why the work the way they do. So many of the younger riders I come in contact with answer the question of "how did you fix that?" with "I dunno, the guy at the shop said he did sumthin' with it, and now it works". And at $80 an hour, ouch.

I have come across a few who do work on their machines and it seems to me they get more out of the riding, the lifestyle of motorcycling. I know I do. For all you who wonder, and read the forum postings telling you not to build and true wheels, just try it, it can be done. If you need any help, many people are out there ready and willing, myself included.

Point number 2. I forgot what it was after preaching so vehemently.

As of right now I do not have a large shop, or even a small shop in which to work, each time I tinker on the KX I must unpack all my tools and equipment along with any of the parts I will be working on that day. Sooo, I don't have a truing stand set up, but forks or a swingarm will do just as good, as this is the front wheel, the forks would do the trick. A word to the wise, make sure all is secure and tight, that goes for forks, axle, pointers or gauges, you do not want any movement or shifting.

I placed the fork legs into the triple clamps and laid them across an old shop chair, tying all together and making double sure that no movement would be possible. I used a pick secured to the fork leg as a read out gauge, (in the photo I used a rubber band to hold the pick, which I forgot to snap as work commenced, zip ties and tape were used during actual work.)

The rim needs to be the same distance from the pick all way round. How do you achieve this? By tightening or loosening spokes, for example, if the rim is 1/8th of an inch AWAY from the pointer, the rim needs to be pulled "in". To pull this low spot in, start in the center, and work out, of the low area by tightening the near side spokes. If tightening the near side a half turn, loosen the far side spokes a half turn.

To remedy a high spot loosen the near side spokes and tighten the far side spokes, work slowly, using 1/4 turns and be patient. Something that helps with spoke adjusting is to make sure when building the wheel to use a lube on the spoke threads and nipple seats. This will prevent hours of cursing in the future when it comes time to service the wheel, which you will need to do. The wheel must also be round, not an egg shape, so make sure of this with another gauge. Flopping around the track on oval wheels ain't cool.

Once I had all secured it took about fifteen minutes to true the wheel. I had to make sure that each spoke was tight by giving them a tuning ping, all was good, I'll check them on the first ride and adjust accordingly.

At some point in the near future I will finish off the front wheel by mounting the rim lock, tape, tube and tire.