Saturday, 12 October 2019

Everyday TR1 - V-star conversion (part 2)

Now the incentive to give building a V-star based TR1-engine a shot came from the fact that I managed to get hold off a BT1100 engine for approx. a third of the usual price, because allegedly it had lunched its gearbox in a rather spectacular manner.

The rear cylinder had come off normally, but unfortunately the front cylinderstuds are covered with some black plastic tubing and if rust forms underneath it, things become unpleasant. 

The angle grinder gave the stud its final haircut. 

The lathework on the BT cylinders was actually easier than on the TR1 test piece as these are made from aluminium and machine very nicely, when the correct insert tooling (or sharpened HSS) is used.

A quick fit on an older TR1 engine case showed that they indeed fit nicely into the crankcase mouths now.

For reasons, which aren't fully clear to me either, I prefer an all silver engine in my TR1. So the cylinders had to be painted in heat-resistant paint.

While I was at it, I removed the breather hose on the camchain-tensioner cover. Originally I meant to reuse one of my old TR1 covers, but the bore-spacing is slightly different, so that wouldn't work at all. 

The fitting was helicoiled in M6 and a countersunk bolt used to plug it up.  

Next was to free the crankshaft from its current home and inspect it. In order to get the rotor's taper up to sufficient temperature, I used a jeweller's oxy-propane torch to heat it up in individual spots and make it distort ever so slightly, so it loses its grip on the taper.

A very satisfying moment, indeed. Also not the usage of one euro-cent coins to protect the crank end. (Also they are cheaper than buying little copper buttons to use...)

An almost new oilpump for the new engine. 

With the right crankcase-half off, it's time to inspect the gearbox and make some room inside the cases. 

Totally fried. 

Pushing the crank out, requires a special tool, which in my case is just some angle-iron with a few suitably spaced holes and a spacer ring to spread the load evenly on the outer bearing race. 

And finally the crank: already stripped of the oil-pump gear and the ball bearing, because it had a flat bearing ball in it and the conrods removed to inspect the clearances.

New bearing shells and pistons and rings have been ordered as the pistons had some marks on them, which made me ever so slightly uneasy and as such I decided not to reuse them. (Even though they probably are perfectly fine to use.) Once the parts the parts arrive, it will be time to take the engine out and dig into it.

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Everyday TR1 - V-star conversion (part 1)

The King is dead. All hail to the king.

My basic idea on how to overhaul the Everyday TR1's engine was sound, but in short the material wasn't. No way of looking at things  could hide the fact that the cylinders were just way out of spec.

The problem is, good (as in "within-spec") XV1100 cylinders are few and far between. Generally V-star cylinders are plentiful, Nikasil plated and very durable. And... they don't fit.

The reason is pretty simple: A stock V-star cylinder liner is almost 104mm on the outside...

... a stock XV1100 cylinder liner is less than 102.5mm...

... and the hole I want to stuff all that in is 103mm. 

Or in short: something's gotta give. Basically there's two options.
  1. Bore out the cases to 104.Xmm 
  2. Turn down the liners.
 As boring the cases would have meant removing all the bearings from the engine cases plus a rather unpleasant setup on my mill, a bit of recycled copper-pipe is fitted over the lathe jaws to prevent them from marring the bore.

The other thing that needs modifications are the camchain tensioners. V-star tensioners are thicker and closer to the tensioner, so they are a bit short and would run out of travel rather sooner than later.

An additional 5mm in thickness of the plunger should do the trick rather nicely. 

The next step was to take the engine apart to free up the crank and find out, whether the seller was honest and all the engine suffered from was a broken gearbox.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

XT600 Tenere for sale

So I bought a bike, but really I only bought it for the spares, so to be fair, this one has got to go rather quickly again.

What we have here is a 1986 Yamaha XT600 Tenere, 1VJ with a few fleas. It's got a rattly top-end and someone swapped the frame and now only has got paperwork for the original (bent) frame.


  • 51,220km on the clock
  • new battery
  • fresh oil-change
  • new front tyre, almost new rear
  • new chain
  • new seatcover
  • Austrian paperwork
  • some more 1VJ specific are available extra (e.g. a very good stock fuel tank, some more blue plastics, etc.)
  • top-end is rattly even after adjusting the valves correctly
  • paper-work doesn't match the frame 
Price: 1100€

If you're interested drop me a comment or send me a mail or simply check out the bike at

Friday, 27 September 2019

How to fabricate a LED pilotlight bulb or

or more simple: pointless electrickery.

Imagine the following situation, you have a pretty worn out pilotlight socket and because the alternator on your sidecar isn't exactly the strongest in the world, you decide to ride around on the pilotlight a lot during the day to charge the battery quicker, when you're only riding around in the city at low revs. Now a while ago, I bought a sh*tload of LEDs with push-in sockets, because that's what I use for instrument lights on my various bikes. Unfortunately my pilot light needs a proper bayonett-socket.

In order to make the original LED ba9s bulb fit, I had to grind it down in various dimensions. It would go through the hole, but touch the reflector and as such would increase the likelihood of a bad contact and or the bulb falling out, when it was pushed in.

This is one of the new LED bulbs. I bought two sets, one of this more traditional kind, with an acrylic reflector on top of it and a more modern version with just a cob, which are A LOT brighter. Also the orange dot marks which one of the leads is plus as LEDs are diodes and thus can't be hooked up either way.

Next up was a bit of lathe-work to make the actual "cup" for the led. I wanted it to be a tide slide-fit into the orifice on the reflector, so I wouldn't have to use a rubber o-ring or something along those lines for retention.

After drilling the cups and doing a testfit, they were filled with hot-glue to hold the LEDs and also give them some rigidity.

I also made sure, that the short bits of original wire and the soldering were inside the cup and the hotglue should prevent the short bits of wire from breaking off right at the board. 

And that's what it looks like, when it is installed.

The picture only does it insufficient justice. The cob-pilot light is so bright, I think I might have owned 6V-bikes in the past with a weaker mainbeam on the headlight. Of course it's not as focussed, but it was enough to see what's going on in the garage at night, with all other lights turned off. From a time-is-money point of view, it was a completely pointless endeavour of course. Such bulbs can be bought for (at the most) ten Euros and I easily spent an entire Saturday morning making the bits (let alone considering the fact that the POM-bar I turned to cups from wasn't free either. It certainly solved a problem I had, so it was worth it in the end for me. The thing I am still somewhat wondering about is, will heat-dissipation of the LED-cob become an issue? Only time will tell.

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Project outlook (or why there will be a bit of a lack thereof)

Ok, so a couple of things have come up and will need tackling.

First and foremost: I have to move out of my current workshop, which is bit of a bummer, because by now I have quite well settled in. I've got a new place lined up, but its further away, so quick jaunts to fiddle with stuff will be more of a challenge. On the plus side, it's in the country side, which means there's quite a few roads, where I can do some testrides and not bother anyone. (Except maybe for some deer and the occasional rabbit or hare.)

Second: The TR1 engine needs rebuilding (again). The cylinders were rather worn to start and I thought I would be able to get away with it. Spoiler-alert: nope I don't. When ridden normally it's all nice and dandy in terms of oil-consumption (0.2 to 0.3L/1000km), but when flogged like the engine wants to on the Autobahn, she easily exceeds the 1L/1000km mark, actually more like double that figure.

Yes you saw right, I've got another BT1100 engine lined up and those internals will go into my own Everyday TR1 engine. Making me benefit from those Nikasil plated cylinders and lighter rotating assembly. Other than that, the basic recipe with XV700 heads and decreased squish gap will stay pretty much the same. It should be an interesting build nonetheless, even though probably more for me, as it's all about those little differences. In the course of this, I will also have a look at the gearbox, because even though it works just fine, when I had the clutch out, it showed a lot of sideplay on the input shaft, so I might find some drama there as well. Also I plan to fit some springs to hold the muffler-elbows in place.

Third: The Dre-XT-Stück will receive a super-rare* Austrian XT600 43F frame and I will build a 600 engine for it. I have, somewhat by accident, acquired a XT600 Tenere 1VJ (the one from the engine build) and after testriding it back to back with the Dre-XT-Stück building a 600 engine has become imperative. (No, I can't just fit the 1VJ engine into the new Dre-XT-Stück frame as the 1VJ is a an electric-start engine and they are wider...) Now in Austria back in the day, there were only two tax and insurance classes: up to 500cc and from 500cc to infinity. This basically meant, if you bought a 600cc bike, you paid the same amount of taxes as you would on a 1000cc or 1500cc bike, which meant if you weren't a complete nutter and absolutely wanted such a bike, you would have bought a tax-saving version like the Dre-XT-Stück currently is. (This is meant to illustrate, why Austria has had some quirky small-bore versions of various dirtbikes, e.g. XT600s, DR600 and also why the KTM LC4 started out as a 500 overhere.)

Fourth: Quite simply put, I owe my dad some help on his CX500 and his other bikes to get them up to a decent standard so he can enjoy them a lot more next year than he did this season. Ironically tackling the CX500 will be one of the first of the Winter projects to tackle as really it is mostly about getting the carbs done and then work out, why it is draining the battery when parked and fitting some rear indicators and a couple of other small jobs all around the bike. All in all, maybe two days of work on the bike and she should be ready to go on the road.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Yamaha XV single carb manifold (part 1)

So, I've been to a bit of a vacation (thanks for asking, yes it was lovely) and then instantly fell ill and since have spent a bit too much time my bathroom porcellain. As such there's not quite the progress to show, that I wanted to show you, i.e. a finished first manifold.

As I have a good friend, who is (like me) strongly opposed to single carburettor manifolds on Yamaha V-twins, we decided that I would build a few different ones, ideally test them on his dyno and work out what works and what doesn't, with the intention of building a n/a setup for the turbo TR1, so I can (every now and then at least) use it on the road and not only as a very decorative coat hanger and also distribute the other remaining ones among some people I know.

So this is my Mk.1 design, an idea which I actually built (and used) on my very first turbo-setup. It's a rather elaborate design that starts off with a y-piece that is turned 45 degrees to allow for better fitment. Both runners are off the same length. It's not the shortest runner-length design possible, but at least on the first turbo it worked quite nice. (But then again, turbo's aren't particularly picky about flow, they just cram stuff into the engine and that's the end of it really.)

It sure does look a wee bit elegant with all those sweeping curves, doesn't it?

So why is this not done already? Well, I changed tubing suppliers and this one sold me bends with a different radius, i.e. standard 90ies and not "tight" 90ies for wastegate use. So I have to come up with a fixture to shorten the tubes in the bandsaw and then weld it in with the flanges.

This is the setup I built a while ago with bends with the correct radius: