Saturday 28 September 2019

XT600 Tenere (SOLD)

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:

Sunday 1 September 2019

Everyday TR1 - clutch disaster and other fixes

Lately with the carbs getting closer to being set up properly an all too well known beast reared its ugly head again: clutch slip. Now I admit, I had recycled some older clutch disks from my stash as they still looked (and felt) good, but hey this engine makes a quite substantial bit of extra torque over a stocker. So I ordered fresh clutch disks and soaked them in oil to give them a fighting chance and decided to take it from there.

Well, the old clutch disks had been burned up due to slipping, but the with only five of six springs being in service...

The only explanation I have for the post shearing off like it did aside from previous damage is that I was too aggressive, when milling it down and that the vibrations caused some sort of fractures.  (Initially I also thought that maybe because I was using the stock bolts had blown the post to bits, but after closer examination of the broken bits there was still thread further down the hole, so this seems rather unlikely.)

Nevertheless, there's this engine sitting on my workbench and it kindly donated a modified clutch basket.

Because the bike was cold already anyway, I decided to re-check the valves once more as a friend of mine had recently suffered a broken adjuster and there was a bit of riding ahead of me. The valves were fine, but the plug to the alternator had (again) started to melt. Which made me bite the bullet (pun intentional) and convert to bullet-connectors and redo the section of the loom.

A bit of very thin wall rubber hose as both thermal and mechanical protection for the plugs. 

When buying the hose I finally thought about buying a proper stainless hose clamp for the engine breather, so it would stop the oily-muck from running down my engine and potentially making the bike fail next years MOT-equivalent.

Also with the space freed up under the tank I had to make a new bracket and use an R-clip to hold the throttle cable splitter in place.

Curious to see, whether the additional air-flow to the heads will result in lowered oil-temps or not, but currently it looks a lot like this could actually be the case.