The Bonnie is Back(er)!

As I began riding the Bonnie to work, it started running OK only some of the time. It would stumble and stall sometimes when it was cold, but not always. I was reminded of the old saying, 80% of fuel problems are electrical. I have learned that the pickup coil and the ignition coil can be problematic in the new Bonnies.

So, I took it apart again.

This time,

[Read more…]

The Bonnie is Back!

After a (too) long wait, the 02 Triumph Bonneville T100 is back on the road.

Oil tight and running well

With the combination of:

  • cartridge emulators in the forks
  • roller bearings in the steering head
  • jetting and intake changes (more mid)
  • rev limiter change (8500 vs 7200 stock)
  • brand new flexible carb boots and slides
  • ignition remapping (more mid)
  • braided lines with new fluid
  • new top end gasket set that keeps the oil in the motor

the thing is transformed.

It pulls cleanly from the bottom all the way past 8K without a hiccup and the mid-range is completely different – really grunty.

I’m very happy that it all worked so well together.

Next, a seat I can spend more than 1/2 hour on without my bits going numb and some new tires.

I’ll get the GoPro glued on the helmet, run the bike around some corners and post a video.

Stay tuned.

Restoring the World’s Ugliest Motorcycle – Part Phoenix

How about that! All it took to raise the Madura back from the dead was selling it to a retiree who spent countless hours working on and replacing parts on the carbs to get them in shape and to futz with all the related plumbing. Here’s a photo of the bike and it’s proud new owner at a bike show in Santa Fe this year. I should have taken a video so you could hear how smooth and quiet it runs. Nice darn job, Stan!

Stan and Madura

Restoring the World’s Ugliest Motorcycle – Part Fin

The Suzuki Madura project has languished on the bench for more that a year. It seems there is always something else more important or urgent to finish. I just couldn’t work up enough enthusiasm to get it going. Even though three close friends have owned the bike before me, it doesn’t motivate me as a motorcycle. The engine’s nice, but everything else left me flat.

Therefore, the bike and its constituent parts are getting bundled together and offered out to the public as a “project.” It’ll be priced very low and I’ll advertise in an couple of places where enthusiasts of these types of motorcycle are lurking. It’s time to find this baby a new home.


Restoring The World’s Ugliest Motorcycle – Part 2 — Red, Really?

I figured the carburetors need a lot of help because none of the slides or linkages move. Once on the bench, I started taking them apart to dip them in the cleaning tank. I figured it would be even easier working on these as opposed to ones that hadn’t been touched because it was only about 10 years since the last rebuild. That’s not what I found.

Carbs and cleaner [Read more…]

Restoring The World’s Ugliest Motorcycle – Part 1 – Evaluation

This project bike has the distinction of being voted “The World’s Ugliest Motorcycle” — a 1986 Suzuki GV1200 Madura. But, as the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and to this beholder the bike is, well, OK… it’s butt-ugly. It appears to be leaning forward, backward and straight up all at the same time. The silly unnecessary covers everywhere, 60 flattened spokes on each wheel, inexplicably hexagonal frame down tubes, goofy flip on the rear fender, sit-up-and-beg buckhorn handlebars, a curvy aluminum sissy bar and ray gun slash-cut mufflers. It’s like it was designed by multiple, unfriendly, perhaps drunk “stylists” — not motorcyclists, that’s for sure.

Side of Beauty

All of which would make the project easy to dismiss. The problem with this bike is that hidden under all the ugly are a bunch of positive attributes. It’s got a 1200cc water-cooled V-4 motor with about 100 horsepower on tap. Hydraulic tappets and a hydraulic clutch are unusual and nice. A shaft drive and single shock progressive suspension make the rear end more appealing. These are the underpinnings of Suzuki’s successful Cavalcade touring bike. Darn you, conflicting impulses!

Digging into this restoration results in expected, though disappointing conclusions. [Read more…]

Need More Storage? Look Up!

Quite Organized

My garage is small and I have a lot of stuff. I needed to maximize the use of the floor space. I realized there was a bunch of unused space above the garage door and above my head to the ceiling. From that realization came a new rule that drove the planning decisions: “Everything that can be off the floor should be off the floor.”

Garage Left 4-25-09 [Read more…]

$30 Motorcycle Lift

Ramp Bonnie

Working on a motorcycle hunched over when it’s on the floor works for a little while, but there’s a good reason professionals use lifts to get them up higher. It’s much easier on your body to get your bike closer to where you can be more comfortable sitting or standing. However, those lifts are expensive.

I’ve built a stand that gets my motorcycles a little further off the floor to make them easier to work on. [Read more…]