"Damn phone ... just when I sit down to ..." ... "Hello?!
"Dude! I gotta ride! Could you drop by and give me a hand putting my bike back together?"
"This is, I assume, the one you crashed at Willow Springs exiting turn 2? The endo? Lots of bent and broken stuff? That one?"
"And when you say "drop by", you do realize that it's a three hour drive don‘t you?"
"Uh, well ...", obviously searching brain for a glimmer of justification for so outrageous an imposition, "You're the only guy I know that could do this in a weekend, or at all for that matter."
Damn. He nailed it. Sometimes I hate salesmen. Scratch that. Most of the time.
Sigh. "You still got that solo saddle and the bars I made for you?" Damn wheels are turning.
"Yeah. What you got in mind?"
I know there's a shiteating grin on his face. "I'll pull a sultan and see you Friday." Wait for it ... "Don't ask. I'll tell you when I see you. Have a lot of Gorilla tape and zip ties on hand. Gotta do this right."
So it started.
Take an ‘02 asphalt 919, strip it down a bunch, ride it on the street, then take it to the track. Get ever so slightly inattentive while exiting turn two and run wide. Drift into the marbles and leave the pavement going about 90. After that it’s all over but the embankments, ditches, an odd looking plumbing fitting jutting out of the ground for some unfathomable reason, and physics converting considerable kinetic energy into large parts bills. The worst was the very bent tail section, thankfully past the point where the two bracing tubes weld to it. Had to cut it off.
Let marinate for about 9 months as the excuses pile up inexorably and work on it grinds to a halt.
Finally, after I had given him a solo saddle I bought, oh, I don’t know, about 30 years ago and never used, and the first set of bars Thar Engineering sold. Let further age for only a couple weeks, and make a phone call. He already had a new alternator cover installed and had a new front master cylinder and stainless lines still in their respective packages. All the electronics and relays and fuse box and starter relay and a wire harness as big around as an elephant’s trunk were jammed into what was left of the plastic under tray, creating a very ugly mess back there, and of course no seat whatever. Things were a bit better up front, but still a bit disconcerting.
First, the rear.
The $64,000 question: what to do with all the electronics? All the original mounting points are gone and there’s that harness … after briefly toying with the idea of wrapping it all with black duct tape and sticking it, uh, somewhere, he did a search for a suitable container for it. Came up with a heavy leather fork bag that he bought years ago and didn’t use -- and the ECU, relays, and connectors fit in quite nicely. All that was left to do is strip the wrapping off the harness and route the wires to fit, pull all extra wire forward, bundling it up and stuffing it in a frame reinforcement. It really looked pretty good. Now how to mount it to the bike? There are two loops for the original bag mounting straps which was the only practical mounting, but with no fabrication equipment available we started looking through his fairly well equipped tool box until I saw a set of long handle allen wrenches and decided the two largest ones would work with the long legs inside a pair of sub frame braces and the short in the strap loops. Cool!
Now for the seat. Again, with no fab equipment -- pad the tank mount with duct tape and literally tape the seat on. It looks very backwoods farm engineering.
Now for the taillight. Forget the original. Went to a relatively close motorcycle accessory store and found absolutely nothing that would come close, so went to Pep Boys to browse around -- and there it was: a red two bulb truck marker light. Perfect. Since the bag has a Velcro strip on the back we used that to attach the taillight. While we were there also found a pair of Navigator halogen mini driving spots that would serve for headlights. Total investment: $36.71. Back to work.
This is a bit easier. Mounted up the TharBars. Installed the new master and brake lines, and spent 9 minutes getting it bled out. Eliminated all the headlight brackets, turn signals, the left side handlebar switch housing -- pretty much everything that isn't needed for operation. Mounted up the spots to whatever we could find and wired them up so both are on at all times, but still cut off when the starter is engaged.
A picture of the adjustable bars:
Spent the next couple of hours gorilla taping and zip tying things and called it almost ready to fire up.
By now it's Sunday morning and he desperately needed to ride, so we topped up the oil (much of which was lost through the shattered alternator cover in the crash) dumped a gallon of fuel in the tank, and fired it up. After 10 months of sitting it lit off in about a second. Gotta love Honda's engineering.
No mufflers. Pretty much not remotely street legal. Old heat cycled Dunlop racing tires. It just rained so the roads were wet, dirty, very twisty, and just generally motorcycle unfriendly. Off he went with tires smoking ("Gotta warm them up!") and exhaust blaring. Surprisingly, he returned some 20 minutes later talking about adjustments to the bars (they're quite adjustable) and raving about how light and flickable it feels now. Understandable considering it's about 80 pounds lighter than a stocker. Way oversprung in the rear, but tolerable.
I'd say as a first attempt at a srtreetfighter it came out pretty well! The tank is next. Not quite sure what we're going to do, but with JB weld and duct tape who knows?