cbr-rrrrrrrrrrr build

So since it’s complete crap outside, I figured I would write some stuff down about my cbr900rr build.

It started about two, maybe three years ago.  I saw a 98 cbr900rr listed on kijiji in Red Deer and decided to go have a look.  As far as bikes go, this was one sad example.  It looked mistreated, dropped on all sides, wheelied so hard that the rear tail light had a scratch mark on it (too far past the balance point??)

So the guy was asking $2800, 40xxx km on the bike.  Rode the bike around the block (not faster than 2nd gear) I told him I would give him $2000, he told me where to go…we settled on $2500.  Loaded it in the back of the truck and took it home.  Called Aleks on the way home to ask for forgiveness, as I bought yet another bike…I love my wife.

below the pile in all of it’s glory

cbr before

Got the bike insured, and plated, fastened some of the bits that were not quite on, and took it for a drive.  No real issues with it, besides the fact that the fairings were ruined ( I took the front fairing off, the fairing stay, headlight etc).  All in all, mechanically sound, cosmetically screwed.  The end of season was fast approaching so I made a plan, and it went like this:

  • Remove all plastics, except the rear end.  Repaint bike, fix dents in tank.  Original plan was to use a round 8″ bucket for a headlight.  This was on for about a year and a half then was replaced by a LSL yamaha mt-03 knockoff light from germany.
  • Lose the front end, replace with proper 929 or 954 front end.  Thus gaining a 17 inch front rim, Upside down forks that actually did something.  Onto the front end attach some dirt bars for an upright riding position.  Done deal.
  • Do the mechanical bits that were probably not done in a while: check valves, coolant flush, oil flush, check air filter

As far as I knew, the above was the plan I was going to ‘stick to’

So the easy parts went well.  Sourced a 954 front end (forks, triples, discs, calipers, axle, cbr1000rr fender from Edmonton).  Front rim was sourced from a guy in the neighborhood, who assured me that the front rim was straight.  Well after a few choice words, about his assurance, the front wheel was straightened, new tire installed, and the front end swap was complete.  Bike was painted a gun metal gray which turned out nice.  The tail section  was painted to match.(all plastics were replaced, found through the cbr forum)

Well, so here I was, around December, with a complete bike.  Mechanical done, carbs done, exhaust on, front end done, winter not done.  Shit.

I decided to keep going.  The RR’s were relatively easy to customize.  The front end pretty much went straight in, no fuss.  So on to the rear end.  Single sided swing arm (sssa) from a VFR.  I Did my research. I needed a  93-97 VFR swing arm and rim, and I was off to the races.  Found a swing arm, and gorgeous powder coated rim.  Good price, took the pieces home, and proceeded to work on the rear.  Old stuff came off easy, new stuff went on.  No problems..right…WRONG!

The sssa bolted right up, I had to make a small spacer to align the sssa with the front sprocket, otherwise good to go.  Only problem is that the rear shock on the RR is attached at the top of the swing arm, the sssa that I had attached at the bottom.  OH EXPLETIVE DELETED!

Made a few phone calls, and it turned out that I had a 90-93 VFR sssa, not a 94-97.  Luckily Richard B had a machined linkage kicking around his house that he kindly sent to me.  After some fine tuning, the sssa was in, stock RR shock went in with no issues.   Happy days.

When I previously brought the sssa home, I took it apart, as I didn’t know how old it was.  Gave it a nice kerosene bath, lubed all the moving parts, and re-assembled.  This is a properly neat design.  ELF the company that started building the swing arms, built them for endurance racing.  The idea was, that on long races, the racer could pull in, raise the rear end, and swap out the tire easily.  The chain adjustment was very easy as well, using a single 17mm pinch  bolt to tighten/loosen the swing arm, and with a large C spanner, move the wheel back and forth on an eccentric lobe of sorts.  Very clever.

So, here I was, everything put together, new sprockets on, chain on, rear wheel on.  Bolted everything together…and lo and behold, the rear wheel is seized.  What the hell is going on here?  The rear rim would spin freely up to about 30 foot pounds of torque (on the giant 45mm nut!).  Anything over that, and it was stuck solid.  Well honda book tells me, torque should be right around 120 foot pounds or so, and that’s about right.  How the hell would 30 ft. lb hold back 120 hp??

So off to the honda dealer to investigate.  We finally figure out that the giant washer just under the big ass nut is flared.  meaning that when it’s new it’s bent out, but as you apply the 120 odd footsies of pounds to it, it flattens out and acts as a lock washer.  Great, i’ll have one…sorry sir, they are a special order, and are currently back ordered.   Heh??! ok, here’s my money, call me when it comes in.  Several decades later it shows up.  So like a kid on christmas morning, I haul ass down to the garage, install the new washer, torque it up to 120 footsies, and shit fuck piss!  it’s still not moving.  What the HELL IS GOING ON?!

At this juncture, I had a brain wave.  I took the bike off the work bench, put it on the garage floor, and what do you know, it moves freely.  success!

So the bike is back together, new front end, new rear end, happy days.  No wait, not so fast.  Take it out for a ride, all is well, below 80 KM/H.  Any thing over that, and it seemed like it was dying out, not getting enough fuel.  Weird.

Now, I’m no carb guru, in fact I’m a bit daft when it comes to carbs.  the cbr was the first jet kit I have ever done, but I followed the instructions to a T.  I promptly handed the bike over to my buddy Richard B, and he sorted it for me.  Turns out that since the bike is gravity fed (no fuel pump).  At higher speeds, the wind pushes hard enough on the airbox, that it actually pushes the fuel back in the carbs.  He cleaned up the openings around the engine and airbox, which made the problem go away pretty much entirely.

There was a few other things that went on the bike.  Yosh exhaust courtesy of ebay (tucked and raised, thanks to yours truly, and a dewalt sawzall.  Properly welded by Dave6).  Corbin seat from ebay.  Adjustable rear sets from ebay, from the industrious little fellows from China.  Very nice units, but they didn’t quite give me enough leg room.  So I turned to Dave6 again for help.  He did a beautiful job by welding on, and machining/tapping new holes to move the entire assembly down, roughly by 1.5 inch.  Big difference.

The bike is not an everyday ride.  Mainly limited by utility.  Extremely fun bike though, quick too.  I’m amazed that an inline four has so much torque, the thing wakes up right past idle, and goes like the clappers till red line.  Front suspension is sweet (especially after I changed the oil in the forks).  The upright bars, corbin seat, modified rear sets make it more comfortable than my vfr (peg to seat, seat to bars ratio only).  Wind protection is non-existent, since it’s a…naked bike.

So here’s some shots of the finished product.

IMG_4971 IMG_4973 IMG_4974 (400x267) IMG_4974 IMG_4977 IMG_4976 IMG_4975

I have been doing odds and ends on the bike.  I removed the crap LED Blinkers that were on it, and replaced them with the 3m LED lights,  I’ll take pics tomorrow if I’m not busy.  Also the MT-03 head light looks nice, but actually puts out zero light, and the light it does put out, points vaguely in the sky.  Since I ride my bikes to work in the summer, I decided to put more light on the road, by installing a spare set of Denali D2 directly under the lower clamp.  They are bright, at low beam, at high beam, they are retna burning bright.  Perfect.

May update: So a while back I had a retarded idea.  I was going to go down to the local honda dealer, trade in my cbr, and my vfr, and trade up to a 2011, or 2012 cb1000r.  Love the look of the bike (except the headlight) and the ABS would be a nice touch too.  Well after talking to a few people about their experience at the dealer, I gave up.

The little amount they would give me ($2500 for the VFR, about $3000 for the CBR) is a long ways away from the 12 grand they want for the CB (side note: it’s not new, 1200KM executive demo…wonder if that makes it better 🙂 .

So having given up on that, I decided to sort out the CBR’s annoying fueling issues.  A windy day, or speeds over 120km/h would make it lurch, unless you were on the throttle.  That’s all fine and dandy when you want to be on it, but going to work at 545 am, in traffic it gets wearing.

While sitting at work I had a lightbulb moment.  I went home, broke out the 3 inch painters tape, and taped up the opening between the tank and frame.  From the front pretty much to where the frame splits into the triangle, and went for a ride.  What do you know it work.  Fan-tastic.  Off to HD for some draft stop.  picked up a small roll of 7/8″ or 1″ wide draft stop c/w sticky on one side.  Lifted up the tank and filled in the 1/2″ gap that was there.  It’s been perfect since.

On a side note, I picked up a new windshield for the naked beast, limo tint, with an odd ball shape to it.  does the job well, no complaints, pics to follow.


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