01-15-2012, 08:45 PM
Racing Like a Noob
Joined: May 2007
Well, I had hoped that the team would start chiming in with some of their racing thoughts by now....I guess here's a little push for them
Today I went down and picked up the motor from Gary the local Honda master technician, who did me a solid and rebuilt the motor off the books in his home shop, thus saving me tons of money. I provided the parts, and he did the rest. The motor was in good company inside Gary's tiny shop, as an old TL250 waiting patiently for some of Gary's attention.
I then drove over to Lonnie's shop. My goal was to get the motor in the bike so that we could move on to other things. We got some snow over here on the coast, and more on the mountain pass, so no riding/training for us this weekend. But Ray called me this morning and said the swingarm is ready to mock up so we can finalize our chain tensioner solution.
I guess it would be good to start with our plan for the bike.
The motor had sustained some serious damage during the last season of racing but was miraculously still running decently when it was torn down.
It was rebuilt 1mm over stock. The carbs will be rebuilt and then any other issues that need to be addressed will be as needed. I foresee some new coils and wires, but otherwise, mechanically, the bike will be pretty much stock.
Alex from Konflict Motorsports stepped up last year and did an amazing job with our vintage SL/MR forks. They were about as good as they could be considering their inherent limitations. I had purchased YSS shocks from Klaus at EPM last year and they worked out great. This year we are making some improvements to the suspension and I had hoped that YSS would be able to step up their support as the shocks we needed were going to be damn expensive. They never got back to me. But Alex did.
I bought a set of vintage 1985 XR600 forks and front wheel combo and brought them to Alex to set up for us. He worked some magic, adjusted the height to fit the dimensions of the SL and swore me to secrecy on any other details...
The good news is that this gives us a vintage disc brake in the front. After more than one close call during a transit section last year's M1K, I will be happy to have some real brakes up front. A rider was hit by a truck last year riding a transit through a small town...the police wave you through an intersection, but cross traffic does not stop Will be nice to be able to at least slow down in a reasonable amount of time.
(trust me, you won't recognize those forks when Lonnie gets done with them)
As you can see from last year's start, that double leading drum sure is cool and vintage looking, but throwing out a bag of rocks on a rope would've stop the bike faster than they did.
Alex also agreed to help us get our rear suspension set up with some sweet, custom-made shocks from Race Tech. He promises me that these will be works of art, and by the sounds of them, I am sure they will be. It'll be about 3 -4 weeks for these puppies to get on the bike...so we'll all just have to patiently wait
We are going to add about 2 inches of travel to the rear and are extending the stock swingarm about two inches to help accommodate this. Ray is welding up a masterpiece and once it is powder coated, you would have to really know SL's to recognize it as anything but stock. We will be running the stock rear SL350 wheel and brakes. I will not be able to run the bike in any AHRMA events after this...but I decided that the safety advantages of the modifications outweighed that. Plus, I plan on getting a vintage trials bike for AHRMA events!
Back to today. So it was just me and Lonnie today. We pulled off a sidecover from one of Rick's spare motors to use on the race bike. The oil pump cover bolt holes were stripped out on the original one, so we are just going to clean this spare one and use it. Lonnie will do wonders and it will look amazing as always!
I mounted the old swingarm and one of the struts so we could wheel the bike around as we wanted to clean it up while the motor was out.
Then back in the shop and we man handled the race motor back into the bike Damn that twin is heavy!!
We decided to leave the stator cover from last year on the bike since it has its own story to tell. That cool anodized looking gold patina was caused by the motor being super over heated during the first day in soft sand. It started out as silver as the side cover
I buttoned it all up and mounted the tank and seat up just to stand back and look at it. The plastic front white fender is one from a MR250 and might be used for training/prep rides. The stock aluminum one will be the one on the bike for the race. This makes Lonnie cry because the MR is a bolt up to the new forks and the SL fender will require some modifications to work.
Imagine what a mono-shock SL350 would look like ....
I have also decided that we will probably run the stock tank and have auxiliary fuel cell options. I just love the way the bike looks with the stock SL tank that I cannot see running anything else on there. I just love the looks of this damn bike and I think it is going to even look better with the new swingarm and shocks!
Also, since we got to keep our same number, I'm going to keep the last year's custom side covers and numbers that Lonnie made.
Tomorrow: Luke is coming down and Ray is coming over and they will be finalizing the swingarm and chain tensioner/guard mod and then Ray will finish welding it up and then its off to the powder-coater. Hopefully the "collar" we are having machined will be done early this week. It will allow us to use a standard XR600 tapered bearing in the bottom of the stearing head. The top tapered bearing that fits the stock SL stem also works for the XR stem so we will just be using that.
I ran grip puppies last year and I would not race a vintage twin without them. These bikes vibrate and 1000 miles is a long way to hold them handlebars. Might also work for them fancy modern KTM-moter sickles too
Just what is in Luke's silver box...