MOar stuff for the FZ9! Penske shock, Stoletec ECU Flash, Sw motech rear rack, HID 55 watt light..

I’ve been lazy…sorry saving up for a decent post on the FZ.

Big ticket items are:

  • Penske Shock from Stoltec.  After getting thrown out of the seat a few times, I figured, that in order to enjoy the bike to the fullest, the rear boat anchor needed to go.  Nick had a deal on for the members of the FZ forums, so I distracted my wife, and paypaled away.  Shock should be here at the end of the week.  Install is straight forward.  Tank does need to come off but I’m not worried.  More on this later.  Ok.  Install took all of 45 minutes.  It makes things damn easy when the rear is elevated, that way there’s no pressure on the swing arm.  Tank had to come off to facilitate the install.  The shock is a beauty.  I slapped it in, installed the remote reservoir, and went for a ride.  I’m not a super aggressive ride, but on most days, I know my way around a corner.  The biggest complaint with the FZ rear shock for me was squat, and wallow.  You could not hold a decent, and purposeful line through a corner.  Now, with the new shock (which I have not really fiddled with) the ride is sublime.  Controlled, yet not too firm.  No wallow, or squat, just a nice predictable line.  Yes it’s a lot of money, but instead of faffing around with a different shock (zx10, or zx 636), this is meant for this bike, and more importantly for my fat ass, and simply works.
  • Stoltec ECU flash.  No matter what you do with the FZ, the fuelling is less than decent.  Engine braking is huge.  On my tenere, I don’t mind this at all, it’s handy for a bike that size, and very good off road IMO.  But on the FZ, it makes the bike difficult to ride.  That and the fact that the throttle is very twichy.  Nick offers a very decent flash for the FZ, smoothing out all the crappyness that the factory left the bike with.  I removed it (underneath the tank) and shipped it off.  After having several small heart attacks, when USPS lost the ECU for over a week.  It finally made it’s way to Nick’s place.  He turned it around quickly, and sent it back on it’s way.  Re-installed it, and again, money well spent.  The driveability has gone up big time, and the fun factor is up too.  Again, best money you will spend on this bike.
  • SW motech Rear rack, and givi adaptor plate from Twisted Thorttle.  After faffing around with a shitty luggage set up on my last trip, this was a must.  Yes it’s not the best choice, but out of all of them, it actually looks decent.  The rack went on without too much trouble.  Instructions were good, and clear.  I bought the givi adaptor plate for it, and went for a ride with my 45L top box.  With the mirror wideners, I have a clear view of what’s behind me.  The box is out of the way, and presents no issues at speed.  This is by far the safest way to go (lockable, and waterproof).  I’ll mostly be riding the FZ to work, and parking it up for the day.  My Klim pants fit nicely in the top box, so I don’t have to sound like a fat kid in corduroys walking to work.  Yes the box is enormous…but with it off, and the adaptor plate off, the rack all by itself, actually looks decent.  Works for me.

The enormo box. But for the intended purpose it should work very well indeed. 25L tank bag, adds to the bikes flexibility


The office. Radar, heated grips, hardwired GPS, and MRA touring screen. All working and fitting well.



  • HID 55W 4500k kit from DDM tuning.  The stock headlight is OK.  The more visible I am, the better off I am.  Kit should be here towards the end of the week, write up and pics to follow.

Small items:

  • Fender extender.  The stock fender is too damn short.  It throws up all sorts of shit up on the rad.  Fender extender went in.  Blends nicely with the stock gray fender, used the two way tape, and the plastic pop rivets to install it.  Easy peasy.
  • Mirror wideners.  These are expensive items ($75) or so.  But that said, they are very effective.  Nice clear rear view, and no more elbows in my mirrors.
  • New rear tire (front is on the shelf for now).  The rear Dunlop was toast at 3700 km. No cords showing, but zero thread.  Metzeler Next went on using my brand spank no mar tire changer.  Easy enough.  Tire looks tasty, will report on how well it works later on.  Below pictures of the new tires and rack, without the adaptor plate on.

Mirror wideners visible, and useful. Tire looks tasty, and with all the shit laying around on the roads, should work well.


June 2014 Update:

So it’s been about 1500km on the shock, ecu flash, and rack.  Overall, the best bang for buck, has got to be the ecu flash.  Bike is ridable, predictable, and smooth.  No more lurching and funny business.  Well worth it.

The rear shock transforms the bike.  Handling is steady and secure.  No more wallow or squat.  It’s expensive, but well worth it in my opinion.

The rear rack has made the bike useful.  On cooler days, I leave my helmet and gloves in the top box, lock it and forget it.  I don’t have to bother with a backpack or bungee nets.  Yes it’s not the prettiest thing, but damn useful.  With the addtion of the mirror wideners, I don’t even notice the bag at the back.

HID kit.  I decided to shelf this. Instead went with a ultra bright 55w bulb. Plug and play. The HID would have been better, but due to the fact that the bike is naked, there’s not much room to manouver with the extra wiring, and what have you.

Metzeler next.  Rear tire has tons of grip, and a great feel.  Front tire was just installed at 4500km.

So at 4500km the bike has not failed to impress me.  It is simply the funnest, and comfortable bike I have ever ridden.  No real mods planned, in the future.  Ride and enjoy it I guess…but that Yosh pipe keeps calling my name…

FZ9 Add ons. MRA Vario Touring Screen, free-ish muffler mod and damn near free seat mod

Right.  So the below write up is thanks to some good guys over on the various FZ9/MT09 forums.  I’ve expanded on some of the ideas for clarity, so if others feel so inclined can follow.

So my three biggest gripes about the fuzzy9 are as follows

ONE: Lack of wind protection.  Yes I’m fully aware that it’s a naked bike, but speeds above 120 km/h are a literal pain in the neck.  Problem solved with the MRA Vario touring screen from TT.  The spoiler is adjustable and does an excellent job of keeping the wind at bay and the bike usable out on the open road.  It works for my 5’9″ frame. The fitting it was a snap, and it fit with the stock turn signals nicely, making them look smaller, and less gawky.  Screen sorted.


IMG_9790-2 IMG_9792-2

TWO: Seat.  After my quite enjoyable 3000 or so km on the 9, the seat basically broke my fat ass.  It’s a roomy seat, not too grippy or slippery, but the slope.  Good grief.  Based on a post from one of the FZ9 forum members I replaced the stock seat bumpers (roughly about 3/8″ to a 3/4″ bumper) with little effect.  When I got home, I went one further with the cheap, or in my case free seat mod.

Here’s what you need:

  • A grout sponge.  I scored mine for FREE! Yes when you have connections like I do, you can get free shit, like grout sponges.  Thanks Fred, you’re the best man.
  • A upholstery stapler gun for re-fastening the stock vinyl seat cover
  • Patience, and time.  Don’t rush it, because you will screw up your stock seat cover, and then need to get it fixed by a professional seat upholsterer guy or gal.
  • Small flat blade screw driver, and side cutters to cut the stock staples

Here’s what you do.  Put the seat on a flat clean bench upside down.  I Only removed the staples about halfway up the seat.  No need to go any further.  Take your time pulling out the stock staples.  Once done, pull off the stock foam (mine was held in with about 4 or so staples).  Take your FREE sponge and place it length wise on the seat (front to back).  Your free sponge will go between the seat pan, and stock foam.

stock seat pan

stock seat pan

stock seat foam height

stock seat foam height

grout sponge in!

grout sponge in!

Replace your stock foam, and staple in place.  Take the stock vinyl cover, and pull it over the front of the seat.  With the vinyl pulled firmly start stapling the seat back.  Keep the staples as high up inside the seat as possible, this will prevent them from going through, and piercing the seat vinyl on the other side.  Take your time, and it will come out pretty decent.

This will eliminate the slope of the seat, and make the bike a lot more rideable.

THREE: Exhaust.  There’s not a lot wrong with the 9’s stock exhaust.  Yes it’s heavy, but it’s down low.  More importantly it’s able to survive the zombie apocalypse.  Two things are keeping me from pulling the trigger on an aftermarket system:

  • one, price.  Sorry, but to have to drop $900 on a full system that needs to be repacked every 10,000km or so is simply not my thing.  I love a good aftermarket exhaust like the next guy, but there’s a better way (read: CHEAPER).  A nice man from S.L.U.T (Salt Lake UTah) found a way around that.  Moar of that below
  • Since the bike will be used daily, I need it to be fairly quiet, but not too quiet.  Waking up the hood at 545am is not a good thing.
  • As mentioned above..repacking the aftermarket can.  This thing is under the bike, getting crapped on by both wheels.  It will see a lot of action, and will need attention.  The stock muffler needs a wipe, once in a life time.
  • Cost.  Hell if this mod does not suit your taste, after you’re done with it, leave it, and move on to a aftermarket exhaust, or chop your stock headers past the OD sensor and go for a slip on.  If you play your cards right, it will not cost you much.

What you need:

  • A welding machine, or better yet a buddy that you did some work for, and now he’s doing the welding for you for FREE!
  • Some 2″ OD pipe  (18 gauge or 16 is perfectly fine)

Here’s what you have to do:

  • Remove the muffler from the bike
  • Take off the three allen screws that hold the finishing tip on
  • Cut the stock pipe at the second weld (closest to the muffler).  Don’t be a muppet and cut it flush with the muffler (as I have done) thus creating a whole lot more work than really needed.
  • Clean up the cut, and weld on roughly 6″ of pipe.   You will need to squish the end of the pipe to resemble the finishing tip opening. Tack it in four places Fit your finishing tip to make sure the whole thing lines up.
  • mark up where you want the tip cut off, and errmmm cut it off.
  • As mentioned before, I was a tool, and cut the pipe past the weld.  This basically cocked things up, and made it difficult to do the welding.  We ended up cutting the 2″ pipe about 3-3.5″ away from the muffler body, and not bothering to have the exhaust tip coming out of the finishing tip.
  • I reinstalled the whole thing, took it for a rip, and I’m pleased.  The sound is louder, and deeper.  You can hear the bike run, as intended.  No heat issues to speak of, if the current set up annoys me.  I’ll go down to the local crappy tire (automotive store to you non canukistanis) and buy the next size smaller exhaust pipe, fit it into my current exhaust pipe, and have the tip exiting out as per OEM set up.
Don't be a muppet and cut it like I did.  Cut it square at the second weld!

Don’t be a muppet and cut it like I did. Cut it square at the second weld!

the new opening

the new opening

mark the tip for cut off

mark the tip for cut off

after much fiddle!

after much fiddle!

Stock muffler?  maybe, maybe not...

Stock muffler? maybe, maybe not…

FOUR: Tank size.  Nothing I can do with this one.  I have a good tank bag, that mounts/dismounts easily.  I’ll mostly be a city bike, so the tank range doesn’t bother me.  It didn’t bother me in California, so we’re good there.

California take two.

Having had enough of winter it was time to put the bike on the trailer and head south.  I decided on southern California, as the weather has been the driest in years.  So dry in fact that they are having a drought.

Captain Pin-it (Willy on his oh so slow 2013 zx14r) is coming with.

The FZ is prepped.  Radar, and GPS are wired in and ready to go.  I only managed a few days of riding here, before winter set in.  So I’ll be dropping the oil before we leave Lake Elsinore, as by then the bike should have right around 1000km.  Front fork springs, and the oil has been changed, and upgraded to a 10w oil, and springs for my weight.  Rear spring will most likely be maxed out, and rebound will be increased.

We will take two days to get to Lake Elsinore, unload at Kmac’s place, and go riding.  Most days will see anywhere from 350km up to 650km.  The bulk being canyon and twisty roads.  Cannot wait.  Below are the rough routes that I have laid out for each day.  They might differ a bit, but the general idea is there.

Below are the planned routes weather and road conditions permitting.

Saturday March 1st route: not actually what we rode, but close.

Sunday March 2nd route: Definitely not what we rode, due to the weather.

Monday March 3rd route: More or less what we rode.

Tuesday March 4th route:

Wednesday March 5th route:

Thursday March 6th route: TB updated

Friday March 7th route: TB updated

We set of as planned on Thursday.  The drive down was tiring but decent.  Managed to slog it out to St. George Utah.  Friday, set off early, and after putting up with LA traffic on the I15 we made it to our hotel in Lake Elsinore to a Monsoon.  Man it was coming down.   I have not seen wind and rain like this in a while.  What a way to start the holiday.

Drove the 6 minutes to Kmac’s place to get acquainted, and shoot the poop for a while.  We said our hello’s and laid out a plan of action for the weekend.  The weather was looking none too good.  With nothing better to do, I made like I was old and went for a nap.  Nap over and done with the weather cleared a bit, and the rain was gone.  Still overcast and shitty, I decided to unload the fuzzy9 and take it for a spin.  Got call too.  Managed a slow but satisfying 20 km on the bike.

Saturday.  Rested, and feeling better, Willy decided to take the day off riding and visit a friend in Orange County.  I meanwhile geared up and rode over to Kelly’s to have a coffee, and do some fiddling on the bike.

It’s interesting how people meet.  Back in the day (think 90’s, 2000’s) this would be tough to pull off.  But now in days, you PM someone on the forum, and throw an idea out there.  A parking spot turns into a new riding buddy.  The world is a strange and small place, but it’s full of great and welcoming people.  Needless to say, we got on like a house on fire.

Kelly and I shared a laugh at his wife’s uncertainty of a couple of strangers driving half way across a country or two, to park up, have a coffee, wrench on their bikes, and go riding.  Total strangers.  Luckily we all share the same sickness: motorcycles.  And that I think makes us all decent people.  Funny enough, my wife asked me the same question, and I gave her the same answer.

10 am rolled around, the clouds went away, and the sun came out.  One thing left to do.  Go riding.  Kelly informed his wife of his intentions, promised he would be back for supper, and we were off.  It’s like being 9 all over again.

Kelly set the pace, and the course.  Having never ridden with him, within the first 5 miles, I knew that I would like riding with him.  the TC must have been off on his Tenere, because the front wheel kept coming up  🙂


Kelly enjoying the day




Rain in the desert. Rare sight


The Iron Door. Neat


A lot of dollar bills

IMG_9664-2 IMG_9665-2 IMG_9667-2   IMG_9671-2 IMG_9673-2

He got some gas, and we headed south east into the desert.  Weather was ok for the most part, the pace was slow at first with all the crap and branches on the road.  Stopped for a great lunch, and headed out to the desert.  The scenery was out of this world, and the riding none too shabby.

Here’s where things got interesting.  We’re going down the road, and for some reason, Kelly starts throwing the white elephant around back and forth…..gas, or the lack there of.  Sure enough, he runs out.  No problems, I still have lots, and there’s a gas station 2 miles away that will do the trick.  Not sure if everyone is familiar with the fuzzy9, but my wife called it a girl’s bike when she first saw it in the garage.  Nothing feminine about it, just the fact that it’s a bit small, and short.  So, how do two grown men look on a small motorcycle?  Pretty damn funny.  Gay pride jokes aside, we set off.  Easy shifting, slip the clutch.  2 miles further down the road….disaster, The pump was out of order.  So we continued on.  For another 20 or so miles.  We pulled into town, greeted by a downpour.  No matter.  Kelly procured a 1 gallon jug of water, which he proceeded to further flood the gas station flower pots, filled it up, and we finished up our detour.

That done with, we had a laugh, took some pictures, and headed back.  All in all a kick ass day, with a bit of a laugh thrown in.  Photo evidence below 🙂

20140301_172541 20140301_172559

Sunday.  Willy got his ninja out of the back of the truck, and we set off for Big Bear, or something or other..  Ended up riding through town, on the free way, and up a twisty road, #18 out of San Bernardino.  It was damn twisty, busy and fast.  By the top, the fog was so thick that we couldn’t even see the set of lights at the top of the hill.  We promptly chickened out and turned around.  We regrouped in town, and while having some GPS issues, we decided to go buy a paper map.  Well, that’s all fine and dandy, but now in days no one sells paper maps any more.  Trust me Willy tried, in 7 different shops.  We decided to head across town to the ocean, in hope of getting away from the rain.  This was not to be.  Long story short, we ended the day at 3pm with Mexican food and beer in Lake Elsinore.

Monday.  We packed up our ghetto luggage, and got the hell out of dodge.  Incidentally, Willy’s dodge was safely parked up at Kelly’s place.  We tried our best to convince him to ride up with us to Ojai, but the man would not budge.  No matter, we squeezed in a ride to the local Kwak dealer, and hardware store.  Took the freeway there, but more importantly, took some wicked twisty roads back to Kelly’s place.  Here we swapped bikes.  I climbed on the white elephant, and Kelly took charge of the fuzzy9.  Now, to all tenere owners, take no offence here.  I’m not only a member of the forum, I’m also a big fan and owner of a blue tenere (fastest color you know).

Coming from the FZ9, and clambering on to the Tenere, is an eye opener.  The two are so different, it’s not even funny.  The Ten felt familiar fairly quickly.  I explained the different power settings to Kelly, and left him in the B setting (slowest and softest).  He promptly started enjoying the bike, and I followed suit on his bike.

We made it back. Kelly was kind enough to help us with our oil changes on both the scooters.  We left Kelly to his chores, and set off towards Ortega hwy.  What a treat.  I’ve ridden this highway before…to be exact the night before, in its entirety there and back.  In the day it’s a hoot.  What followed was even better.  Lane splitting is awesome!  You Cali guys and gals have it good.  You can make rapid progress in heavy traffic through town.  We mostly stuck to the 1 through town, but decided to hop on the freeway to join speed things up.  I hate the free way, and the FZ does not make it any easier, with a shitty luggage set up (see pics), and no windscreen.  I swear, I have arms like a orangutang, and a neck like popey.  Made it to Ojai in the evening to meet up with Tim aka Tomato city on his minty blue ST.

Ortega hwy at night


Ghetto luggage…check.


Another shot of Ortega


Willy on hwy 18

 IMG_9677-2 IMG_9675-2

Tuesday’s Route:

We headed out of Ojai NW towards the coast.  150 was the first road, and a treat.  The rest of it up to Lompoc was pretty decent.  I’m missing a road that we did between that and Lompoc.  Did stop into Solvang which was a cool little town.  Very Danish.

IMG_9712-2 Onto Lompoc, and the coast.  Now nothing mind blowing up to this point, but it got better.  Much better.  Old Creek Road out of Caycoos was an absolute blast.  Smooth technical.  Once we reached the intersection, Willie decided to turn around on the next bit of road as it was bumpy and a bit crappy.  Tim and I continued on.  Interesting Road, but it’s where old asphalt goes to die.  No matter still enjoyable.

Back on 1, we turned left on 46, decent, and back down Old creek Road.  From there we were on the 41 which was pretty decent.  Again, things got great on 229.  It was a narrow twisty, perfect condition race track.  It looked custom made.  We made a small detour to feed the small FZ tank, and did the whole lenght of 58.  Wow, is all I can say.  The west end of 58 is tight, technical, and a demanding.  After which it opens up to all sorts of fun.  Long 3 and 4th gear sweepers, straights, and hills so sudden it feels you’re on you’re own personal roller coaster.

Since we could not take hwy 33 back, we needed to take I5 back to Ojai.  What a PITA.  More on how the bike handles the highway later.  Made it to Ojai, after a very long 750 km plus day.

Wednesday, the day of the grease ball sandwich.  Route: Tim sat the day out.  Willie and I hopped on the bikes and took the bikes to Malibu for some canyon riding.  But first things first.  Willie had some fun on tuesday, and killed his front tire (OEM tire that came with the kwak, at 12km it was ready for replacement).  Kelly was kind enough to find us a dealer that would help us out.  Thousand Oaks in ermmm….Thousand Oaks, hooked him up with a michelin front, for a resonable $130, plus $54 for install.  Talked to some local guys, had a laugh, attempted to straighten my triple trees that I never set straight after my fork swap-no dice.  We got on with it, and went to Malibu.

Roads were out of this world.  Scenery wise, amazing.  Road wise, brilliant.  It’s all a blur now, but we stuck to the less travelled ones: Stunt road 🙂 Latigo Canyon Road, Mulhollands famous turn, and look out, and many others.  Much fun was had.   More on the bike later.

Half way through the day it was time for lunch.  We decided to eat healthy, and found a Vons (Safeway) by the sea.  Over to the deli counter I went and ordered a seemingly healthy roast chicken bacon avocado sandwich on ciabatta.  TOP TIP!.  When your sandwich is being made, stay close so you can instruct the fellow behind the counter what you would and would not like on your sandwich.  As you can already tell, I failed to give the man some guidance.  So there he goes, cuts the ciabatta bun in half, while the chicken is being baked in the oven. So far so good.  Next while I was a distance away paying for said sandwich he proceeds to take out the 1 litre mayo squeze tube, with no less than FOUR nozzles on it.  He then squeezes the lights out of it, and puts a very generous helping of mayo on the bread.  I was out of reach and was unable to stop the spreading of goo.  He then took the mayo saturated bread, and stuck it in the oven…..why? what for? so the mayo turns to fat, and grease.  Perfect.  It gets better.  The bread was then taken out, married to the chicken breast, lettuce, bacon and tomato, and more mayo was applied…seriously?.  I know I should have sent it back, said something, refused, but by this point I was waiting for 10 minutes, in full gear, helmet, and a very heavy tank bag, and quite frankly I was hungry.  I decided to eat the mayo wonder.  What a mistake.  Not only did it taste like crap, it made me feel even worse.  so next mayo for me.

The rest of the day, save for a possible road side redecoration, and a massive headache was good, very good.

Thursday’s Route:  Angeles Crest has been closed for years from the east end.  The bulk of the good riding is from the west end.  All good stuff except the dreaded freeway. Again more on that later.  TOP TIP.  Just because a port-a-crapper is clean, does not mean that it has a supply of avialable toilet paper.  Thank god for Starbucks napkins.

Friday’s Route.  Through Malibu again, picked up a few canyon roads, and onto the 1.  Some great lane splitting was done, and we managed to stay off the freeway entirely.  Ortega to Lake Elsinore.  We loaded up, and headed out of town…slowly.  I hate LA traffic in a car/truck/bus/semi.  Give me a bike any day.

Bike and Gear review

The bike.  After a very happy 3300km in about a week, here are my thoughts on my FZ9.

First off.  For the price that I paid for it, this is the bargain of the century.  That motor at sea level, and for that matter at any elevation is incredible.  It pulls everywhere in the rpm range.  B mode is the smoothest, but still jerky, especially with on/off throttle inputs.  A and STD mode are very snappy, and make the bike quicker still.  This thing bounds like an eager puppy, on crack.  The performance was a bit blunted up at 7000 feet, but still pulled like a mother.  I’ll see how the rest of the season treats me, but it’s very likely the ECU will get sent off to Nick at stoltec for a reflash.  Suspension: for everyone bitching and moaning (possible owners/existing owners) you can realistically get only so much for $8700 CDN! Yes Yamaha could have spent an extra $700 and passed the cost on to us, in turn saving us the hassle of doing it ourselves, but truth be told, only 5% of all FZ9 owners will be able to push the bike to 90% of it’s potential, the rest of us will enjoy the bike as is with a few personal tweaks to suit our riding needs. Besides, working and fiddling with a bike is all part of the experience.

That said, the competition (stree triple R rang in at $11500 USD over at  thousand oaks dealer, which translates to about $13500 CDN!  That’s five grand difference.  I would factor maybe about $1500 for suspension work front/rear, stainless steel lines $100 and you still have about $4000 in your pocket, and a whole lot more torque in the motor).  That still leaves a lot of room for improvement, and it can be done over time.  The only plus on the street triple is the ABS.  The motor is nowhere near as good as the FZ, and I think the Yami would be more reliable vs the brit bike.

I digress…  the suspension is just OK.  I improved the front end with springs set for my weight, 10w oil, and the preload/rebound set half way (total cost $100).  For what I need it for, and to my abilites (OK rider) the front was good.  The rear shock left a few things to be desired.  It wallowed too often, even with the rear preload at the second highest setting.  Rebound was wound right up.  Again, I will finish off this season on the bike, save up my centavos and spring for a better rear shock ($850-$1200 depending on model needed).

Tires.  My bike came with the Dunlop D216’s I belive.  I aired down to 32/28 psi cold (front/rear) and the tire did very well indeed.  It gripped everywhere, and there was not much chicken strips left.  At 3300km, I am down to the wear bars, but should manage another easy 2000km out of the rear.  Front is fine for probably 10km.

Ergonomics (seats, handle bar etc.. etc..)  Well after this trip, the seat is broken, no scratch that, my ass is broken.  The seat was ok.  towards the beginning of the trip, I replaced the stock front rubber bumpers with a higher set.  This helped a bit, but the slope of the seat is too steep.  I will execute a foam upgrade with this one, using the grout sponge trick posted by one of the Forum members.  I’ve seen better, I’ve seen worse.  Wind protection.  SUCKS! What did I expect, it’s a naked bike.  At the end of Tuesday, the last bit of freeway was killer.  I talked to myself, sang, did all sorts of silly shit to keep myself hanging on to that bastard at  120 km/h.  Incidentally my MRA sport touring screen arrived at Kelly’s place on thursday, the day before we were leaving.  Timing is everything.  Controls and display.  I was skeptical about the speedo.  It’s quite dinky, but after a week of use, it worked ok for me.  Not ideal, but it will work.  Stock bars worked well for me as well as all associated controls.  Brakes. I upgraded the stock front lines to SS ones.  At first they felt odd.  The initial bit was not really there, quickly followed by a quick stop.  I’ll make sure that there’s no air in the lines this weekend.  Fronts were very good, and the rear was adjusted for my riding (lowered) and felt very good.  No issues with lock up unless you were really trying.  Exhaust/Intake noise.  Stock exhaust is quite under acceleration, but the intake has a very nice noise to it.  On decel the exhaust sounds pretty decent.  I hacked off the tip from the stocker today, and removed the restrictor (past the second weld).  New tip is going on this weekend.

TPX Radar/Garmin Zumo.  Both worked very well, and I would recommend both.  The Zumo made my life easy, as I preloaded all my maps, and guided me in the right direction 95% of the time.  My only gripe with the Zumo 350 is that you can download a google point, but not a whole laid out map.  Why the hell ony one point?  If you’re going to go to that much trouble, let us download the entire map the we made on google, a program that’s actually works, and the interface is easy.  No one wants to use base camp.  What an absolute piece of software garbage.  Designed by Satan, and co written by Hitler and Stalin.  TPX worked, and it’s handy to have.

Oxford Heated Grips.  No you don’t need them for california, but…I rode with my summer gloves only for the entire trip, and I simply moved the temp up/down as needed to stay comfy.  Good stuff.

SW Motech GS Tank bag (25L) and new lock ring.  Great piece of kit.  Holds everything except your pet monkey.  Buy it you will love it.  Easy on and off (trust me, you will do this a lot)

To sum up/re-iterate:  Great bike for the money.  Best motor I have ever ridden.  This includes the greats (cbr900rr, gear driven non v-tec vfr, TL-S, various ducati’s) stu-pendous.  Yes there are faults, corner cutting visible, but nothing that can be fixed with a small-ish budget.  The tank is a bit of a dud.  200 km of hard riding and you’re looking for gas.  As the bike was breaking in, the total trip average rose to about 5.5L/100 km (43 MPG) for a theoretical tank range of 254 KM.

Upcoming mods are the seat, sw-motech rear rack, and that’s it.  Ride the bike.  You could sport tour with a decent rear bag, and the new screen should work a treat (report to follow).  Day to day around town, this will be the go to bike.

I’ll post up more pics tonight, meantime between time flickr link:


FZ9 Fork spring swap tutorial and how not to.

Well, the springs showed up from SToletch, thanks Nick.

Below is a brief write-up on how to pull your stock springs out, drain or replace the oil, and to put it all back together.

Tool you will need:

  • 14mm Allen Wrench for the main axle
  • Assorted allen keys for the pinch bolt, and the fork triples
  • Various spanners of your choosing
  • 24mm socket for the fork cap
  • Fork spring compressor (check ebay: traxxion dynamics, best $45 you will ever spend)
  • Fork Oil Level syringe tool
  • A beer, after the work is done.

Usual BS disclaimer.  It’s a write-up on how I did the forks.  I have no book to go by, so I’m guessing half the time.  I can’t even put my bike on the rear stand without dropping it.  😦

Anyways…Crack all your bolts/nuts prior to lifting the front end up.  Loosen the axle pinch bolt, axle, take your calipers off, and take some tension out of our pinch bolts.  Don’t loosen them all the way.

Insert your front end lifting device here.  Front stand, a phone book under the engine, pet turtle, some tie downs off the rafters…whatever, as long as it’s safe and solid.


Remove the fork and place it in the vice


TOP TIP!  crank the preload part way down, so your socket can sit nicely on the top cap.  As a precaution, I wrap some tape around the top nut, not to bastardize it the first time.  Once you reassemble the fork, there will be no force to overcome the next go round.  Crack the top cap with the 24mm socket.

After using my spring compressor to compress the errrmmmm…spring, you will need a 17mm for the top cap, and a 14mm for nut.  Remove the top cap, plastic spacer thingie-mabob and set it off to the side.



I didn’t know the initial volume that the fork takes.  I took out aboot 400ml.  No Matter.  Stroke the damper on the right fork leg till as much of the old fluid comes out.  For a proper clean, undo the bottom allen key holding the cartridge in the fork.  I did not do this, as there was really no need.  I just wanted to put in the .90 spring, and as much new 10W oil as possible.

Moving on.  Spring out, put your new 10W oil in.  Pour in about 400-500ml, and then use your home-made oil level to measure out 148ml out of the fork leg.  As Nick said, no need to know how much goes into each fork, as long as your level is accurate.  Stroke the dampener to get all the air out of it.  Once you have good resistance, you know it’s got oil in it.  Once done, insert spring, tie a tie wrap to the end of the rod, pull the tie wrap through the plastic spacer, and put your spring compressor on.  Compress spring, and thread your top cap on.  Use your 24mm socket to set the top cap snug.

Re-insert fork.  Repeat on left fork, which is even simpler still.

Torque values used are approximate. I pulled these off my Super tenere book, pretty sure they are close.  If you know the exact numbers, post up, or leave me a comment.

  • Main axle 60 FT-LB
  • Main axle pinch bolt 20 or so FT-LB
  • lower triple clamp 20 FT LB
  • upper triple clamp 26 FT LB
  • Brake caliper bolts 28 FT LB
  • Right fork leg level 147-148 mm from the top of the fork tube (fully compressed spring out)
  • Each leg takes approximately 500ml of fluid when empty

FZ9 Electrics and other bits..

I’m a total muppet.  I usually drop my bikes sooner or later.  My adventure bikes get dropped, because I ride them through streams, over rocks, in gravel, on grass, mud you name it.

Some how I managed to drop my brand spank FZ doing zero KM/H.  I am truly gifted.

It seems that once I get anything new, I must put a dent, scratch, or paint chip in it…immediately.

Last year it was my VFR that fell on my wife’s brand new car (sorry sweetie.  I’m a tool).   This time around I was putting the barely ridden FZ on the rear stand, when one of the stand’s attachments slipped off the spool.  Down went the bike (on the right hand side), I wasn’t able to catch it completely but slowed the descent significantly.  Unfortunately, as the bike was going down the stand got in the way, putting a nice scratch in the swing arm and rear wheel.  Looks like I may need to go out and get some purple paint, to touch up the wheel.  Otherwise all was well, no damage.  On a  positive note, I finally found a place for my orange BIKE sticker.  🙂


Today’s install consists of:


  • Oxford sport heated grips
  • TPX radar detector wiring
  • TPX rader LED warning light
  • Bark buster one sided hand guards
  • As mentioned above, a brand spank BIKE UK sticker  😦
  • Gerbings Heated vest plug in
  • Stiebel air horn/compressor install

I’ll start with the oxford grips.

Nice product, couple of small complaints.   The connections that are moulded onto the grips, have to be brought way down to allow the clutch and the brake to be able to pull both levers all the way in.


Instructions say to turn the grip up, but if that was to happen, you couldn’t pull your brake or clutch in all the way. I do have some Chinese levers on order, they may fit better

Not a huge deal, something to watch for.  The other issue is the connector that comes from the heat controller is friggin huge!  God I thought I was back in the 80’s again.  No matter, all of it fit on the bike nicely.  Or so I thought.  I originally placed the oxford box on the battery thinking that there would be enough room between it and the seat..Nope!  Fat chance.  So I had to mcgrubber it and move it under the tank.  My OCD will drive me bananas, so I’ll probably pull the tank again tomorrow, and fit that in a better spot, probably under the tank.


Not a lot of room here. Oxford junction box will need to get moved under the tank. There wasn’t enough clearance between the seat and battery. Too bad, as it was the perfect spot. Notice the very large connector. Good grief.


mmmmm….crimp ons!

I installed the controller on the Bark buster hand guards, with the provided hardware.  All the cables (heated grips, heat controller, TPX wiring and LED wiring) was routed on the left hand side of the bike.  You need to undo the three screws that hold the air box down to get everything in and through.  I used a short piece of speaker wire to pull things through.  The left grip didn’t need trimming, while the right had about 1/8″ taken off just so it would not interfere with the twist grip.  The connections to both grips, and the wire going to the oxford controller were done on the right hand side


Pull String ready


All wires pulled and tie wrapped. Spare wire will get installed into left intake for future use

Also keep in mind that if you like the bark busters to sit low, watch your full lock to lock, as in a low position it will hit the tank at lock.  I rotated the bars a bit forward, and set the guard to my preferred height.

TPX Radar wiring and LED Light.  I’ve used this radar for about a year, and quite like it.  It has the usual K, X, and Laser, front and rear facing.  The LED Light is a nice addition to have, as it draws your eyes to the radar immediately.  I still have to order a ram ball mount system that will go off the left side mirror.  As it turns out, I found a nice piece of stainless steel metal kicking around that would do nicely as the radar bracket.  I installed it on the second nut of the left mirror, drilled some holes and it’s done, and doesn’t look half bad.  I also ran a spare wire to the left hand intake, in case of any future electrical do dads that I may want to install (12V plug in for the phone/ipod)

Stiebel Air horn and compressor.  Usually I mount these as a unit.  They come as one piece.  Trumpet and compressor glue together.  You can actually split the two, install the compressor under the seat (fits ok), and the trumpet went underneath the alternator cover.  I still need to buy a decent 90 degree fitting to clean up the tubing.


Some finger pointing at the compressor. Fit is ok.


Spare wire pulled


Finished product

All in all a good day except the dropping of the bike.  Oh well.