Monday, January 7, 2013

Used bikes sure are a lot of work...

     I love the used market.  Usually you can find a bike in good shape with a lot of mods you want for less than the price of new.  That said, there are a few pitfalls.  

     So far it seems I've been pretty fortunate.  The P.O. of my 450 seems to have taken pretty good care of the bike, with a few exceptions.  First, I don't think he ever cleaned the airbox.  This is the area where your engine breathes from - wouldn't you want that to be as clean as possible?  Yeah I know there's a filter to keep out the gunk but I view air filtering as a process and not a single element.   If it wasn't then why bother with a box at all?  Why not just have an air filter clamped onto the carb intake?


     Second, lets clear the air about the proper uses of duct tape.  The stuff is great if you need to temporarily secure something in a dry and preferably clean environment.  The stuff turns to crap after a few weeks or almost instantly when exposed to water.  So for the love of all that is holy, spend $2 on a proper rim strip and don't use duct tape!  When I removed the rear tire and found the crusty tape rim strip I was really optimistic that this had been done in a pinch.  Busted rim strip, miles from a shop, use tape!  Unfortunately the front was the same which tells me this was most likely done intentionally.  You spent $8000 on a bike, DON'T USE DUCT TAPE ON IT!  My guess this is probably another one of those "racing tips" that makes sense on the track, but not for real world use.  Yeah if you're changing your tires before every practice or race, replacing rim strips would be a silly expense.  I can see where tape would be a good replacement.  The key factor here is that it's being replaced often enough that it doesn't have a chance to get crusty.  Some stuff that's great on the track just doesn't work off the track.  It's like brakes.  Get a set of race brake pads and you're not gonna be able to stop worth a damn when you use em on your local trail.

     So yeah I've been busy with the new ride.  I took apart most of the body work and gave everything a good cleaning.  I swapped out the almost-new MX tires for my DOT-legal MT-43 rear and a D606 front.  While I was at it, I ditched the heavy duty tubes in favor of a couple Tubeliss.  The air filter had probably been cleaned with some nasty solvent and was starting to fall apart so I replaced it with a Uni Filter.  The chain was pretty crusty so I cleaned and lubed it in an attempt to salvage it - why you'd neglect a brand new chain like that I'll never know.  It might not last too long, it was pretty caked with goo.  I also added a couple of cheap fender bags since I tend to use those for carrying day to day stuff like my helmet bag and disc and helmet locks.  I changed the oil, a practice that everyone should do immediately after buying a used bike or car - (ProTip:  Every seller says its just been changed - change it anyway).  I've got some Engine Ice and a radiator fan is on the way to help keep the temps down in traffic.  While I have it apart, I'll do the valves and see what kind of shape those are in.  Valves are a vastly different job from the XR.  I have to drain the coolant and remove the radiators to adjust them.  Worse than that, the biggest weakness of the RFS engine are its soft intake valves, so until I can replace them with some Kibblewhites, valve jobs and removing the radiators are going to be the norm.

     All in all I'm happy with the switch so far.  It feels like it has 5x the engine and twice the stopping power of the XR.  Plus its just fun to see a KTM finally in my garage.