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Old 10-06-2014, 12:21 PM   #1
Bronco638 OP
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Questions about my '93 Climber - Need Help/Opinions

So, I now own, and have in my possession, a 1993 Aprilia Climber 280R.

It looks like I'll need to store this in my garage this winter (which I prefer) but the garage is pretty crowded. I've been consulting with my best friend who happens to teach engineering at a collage in Massachusetts. Why? Because I need to suspend the Climber from the ceiling (garage space is that tight).

1 - Does anyone know the dry weight of the Climber? A Google search found two links, both indicate the bike weighs in @ 183 lbs, dry. Does that sound about right?

2 - My left front fork seal is leaking (because I must have jammed dirt into the seal while tightening the tie-downs). Will the old "use a piece of picture film" work to clear the debris? I do plan to get new seal but was hoping to make an event on October 19 and I don't have the tools/knowledge to do a seal myself (even though I consider myself pretty handy and do have tools - I've just never done it before).

3 - The kick stand spring plate, on the inside of the swing arm, appears to be rubbing the rear tire:



I can see a very slight witness mark all the way around the sidewall of the tire. Is that the wrong plate? Could I cut that back and make another groove to retain the spring?

4 - The rear tire also seems to have worn a hole in the secondary silencer:



I'm guessing the silencer is not in the proper position (although, I see no evidence of it being dropped onto something and pushed over into the tire's path). Can I simply bend the support tab to move it over (at the top of this image):



Or, could I grab the silencer body and yank it outward? Can that hole be welded/fixed?

5 - I bought a Leonelli magnetic kill switch. Does the stock kill button simply ground to the handle bars? It's only a single wire while the Leonelli is two wires.

6 - The rear tire (Pirelli MT-73) could use to be flipped (leading knob corners are rounded, trailing corners are square). But, it has some pretty good cracks in the sidewall and appears to be quite old. Use or replace?

7 - Front tire (Dunlop) appears to have a rim lock but I'm not sure if it's tubeless or not. Rear tire is tubeless and does not have a rim lock. Is that correct?

8 - Chain does not appear to be O-ring but I see nothing on the side plates to indicate what it might be. There is a master link. Any thoughts on how to clean it? If it's not O-ring, I've had good luck with turpentine.

Aside from being dirty, it's in pretty good condition.

TIA for the answers/help - Dave.
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Old 10-06-2014, 06:10 PM   #2
2whlrcr
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I had a '89 Climber and it was in the 185 range, but felt more like 225.
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Old 10-06-2014, 07:49 PM   #3
lineaway
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The climber would make a great roof anchor for your garage. You can fix the fork seal. The side stand appears to be off an earlier year. Ride with the tires. Do not flip an old tire. Buy new when you feel like it. I ride old bikes all the time with 20 year old tires. The exhaust can be welded. Speaking of welded the mount tab is broke at the frame. Just grab the silencer and pull it out. Return the kill switch. Ever seen a real motorcycle come with one? Never put an o-ring chain on a bike designed to go slower than you can walk. Have fun as the `93 was the best year of the Aprilia.
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Old 10-07-2014, 08:45 AM   #4
Bronco638 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2whlrcr
I had a '89 Climber and it was in the 185 range, but felt more like 225.
For a moment there, 2 Wheelies, I thought you were talking about CCs....
Quote:
Originally Posted by lineaway
The climber would make a great roof anchor for your garage.
I'm thinking that suspending it from the garage ceiling won't be too difficult. I just want to ensure it doesn't fall on my wife's scooter or the hood of my truck
Quote:
Originally Posted by lineaway
You can fix the fork seal.
I'm guessing you state this because it isn't that hard. Good to know.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lineaway
The side stand appears to be off an earlier year.
All I know is that the previous owner indicated he had just welded it (again). So, it's either fragile or really has had a tough life. I do know the bike leans heavily to the left, when it's down. Which seems, not right...
Quote:
Originally Posted by lineaway
Ride with the tires. Do not flip an old tire. Buy new when you feel like it. I ride old bikes all the time with 20 year old tires.
The front (Dunlop) appears to be newer but I would guess both are more than 5 years old. So, ride 'em into the ground. Noted.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lineaway
The exhaust can be welded. Speaking of welded the mount tab is broke at the frame. Just grab the silencer and pull it out.
Mike (Tryals Shop) has indicated that he fixes the rear silencer all the time. He even has 'patches' ready to weld in. I'll do this over the winter.

Is this the mount tab that you think is broken?



I'm not sure if that's a crack or dirt. I will have a closer look.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lineaway
Return the kill switch. Ever seen a real motorcycle come with one?
Every bike I've ever seen/owned has had a kill switch. So, I guess I've been sheltered. The magnetic kill switch was in case of a fall and run-away engine. I'd just rather be safe than sorry.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lineaway
Never put an o-ring chain on a bike designed to go slower than you can walk.
I had no intentions of putting the wrong chain on, I was just wondering what I had so I knew how to clean it. It's a 520 (non O-ring) chain. So, my usual shallow pan with turpentine will do the trick.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lineaway
Have fun as the `93 was the best year of the Aprilia.
Thanks, I hope to.
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Old 10-07-2014, 05:44 PM   #5
2whlrcr
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When you get that running, you'll have to bring it out to some NITRO events and maybe let me ride it? That's the bike I broke my back on and I sold it from my hospital bed. On second thought, maybe I don't want to go back.
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Old 10-08-2014, 08:21 AM   #6
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The Aprillia was one of the heavier trials bikes produced. A major component of the overall weight is the Rotax rotary-valve engine. Very powerful, but also chunky, not being designed with trials minimalism in mind. Hard to kill though. Skinny Ryan Young took quite a few national championships on this bike, however. He sure made use of the big power!

That's a crack in the muffler mount in the heat-affected zone of the weld. That is definitely best TIG welded by someone competent. But you can get by for now if it is only on that one (back) side.

Tires wearing holes in mufflers was a `90s thing, especially after the rider fell over that way and bent the muffler in. There was too little clearance to begin with on those bikes. Perhaps when you have the sub frame welded you could figure out how to move the mount point out a bit via sub frame or muffler. Is it possible to mount the muffler on the other (outside) of the sub frame?

Fixing the muffer by welding on a plate works good, but there is also the option of a thin metal plate, bonded on with silicone 1, drilled and riveted or screwed on with self-tapping sheet metal screws. Regarding tire rub, a thin steel plate will out last an aluminum one if not thick.

As for your seal, the early Climber seals weren't the best and did have a reputation for leaking. The later ones might be better. But often a leak onto the floor when the bike is sitting or tied down is just be a little chunk of dried mud on the stanchions that has gotten impacted past the wiper seal and into the lips of the inner or pressure seal. Mud riding without any kind of stanchion rod protection is hard on seals, especially if the mud is allowed to dry on the stanchion and later you bottom the suspension.

I have not had to replace seals a bunch of times by cleaning and working a dirt spec out. I oil the stanchion and pump, then wipe, then oil, etc. I also slid a thin piece of shim plastic or old film under the oil seal and try to work the little dirt particles back out or at least to the space in between the oil seal and the wiper. I just last month did that on my KLX USD fork prior to a 700-mile dualsport ride. I was alarmed when retrieving the bike from long storage to find a small pool of oil on the floor on the brake side of course :-( I did not have the time to be rebuilding forks! I instead did the above trick and she was good for the hundreds of miles of pounding and hasn't leaked yet.

Your rear tire is really worn and likely quite hard. I'd fit a Michelin X1 (not the X-Lite) and it'll last a long time and it'll flat surprise you how suddenly you are getting traction! Sticker shock though at ~$170. There are cheaper alternatives but not better ones, in my opinion.

In the photo I see the flats worn into the edges of the plates from mud riding. Chains that look like that should be replaced, especially if you can lift yours off the rear sprocket in the middle of the area it's wrapped around the procket, say more than 1/16" then it's worn out and will wear out the sprockets faster. Non o-ring 520 chains are cheap!

The pin rubbing the rear tire could be from the rear rim being out-of-true. I doubt you could re-true the rim as is though. Seeing the corrosion on the nipples means they are likely frozen to the spokes. When you replace the rear tire you could oil the spokes from the outer side first and if that works, and the rim band isn't leaking air, you are good. Of you could remove the band, clean and lube form both sides, and maybe the nipples will move and you can true the wheel. Re sealing band and valve stem with silicone 1 isn't a bad idea anyway.

motobene screwed with this post 10-08-2014 at 08:50 AM
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Old 10-08-2014, 09:52 AM   #7
Bronco638 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2whlrcr
When you get that running, you'll have to bring it out to some NITRO events and maybe let me ride it? That's the bike I broke my back on and I sold it from my hospital bed. On second thought, maybe I don't want to go back.
I am hoping to make the October 19 event @ Pearl City (Tito's place). You're welcome to take it for a spin as it's running now (I rode it this past Saturday @ KenBob's farm). Is this THE bike that you were riding when you got hurt? Did you sell it to KenBob?
Quote:
Originally Posted by motobene
The Aprillia was one of the heavier trials bikes produced. A major component of the overall weight is the Rotax rotary-valve engine. Very powerful, but also chunky, not being designed with trials minimalism in mind. Hard to kill though. Skinny Ryan Young took quite a few national championships on this bike, however. He sure made use of the big power!

That's a crack in the muffler mount in the heat-affected zone of the weld. That is definitely best TIG welded by someone competent. But you can get by for now if it is only on that one (back) side.
I haven't had a chance to look at it yet but if it's only cracked on the back side, I'll ride it for one event and then have it fixed properly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by motobene
Tires wearing holes in mufflers was a `90s thing, especially after the rider fell over that way and bent the muffler in. There was too little clearance to begin with on those bikes. Perhaps when you have the sub frame welded you could figure out how to move the mount point out a bit via sub frame or muffler. Is it possible to mount the muffler on the other (outside) of the sub frame?
I looked to see if the silencer had evidence of an impact but it does not. So, if it fell, and I'm guessing it did, it must have been on flat ground. I will give it a yank to get it back into place (to clear the tire). For a hole that size, I'm guessing it's been in that position for a while. I will look into altering the mounting point. Perhaps it can go out outside the sub-frame but inside of the fender. I wonder if I could simply cut off the mount tab and rotate it 180.
Quote:
Originally Posted by motobene
Fixing the muffler by welding on a plate works good, but there is also the option of a thin metal plate, bonded on with silicone 1, drilled and riveted or screwed on with self-tapping sheet metal screws. Regarding tire rub, a thin steel plate will out last an aluminum one if not thick.
Duly noted. While I prefer to fix things "properly" (in this case welding), bonding with silicon 1 and/or rivets/screws might work in the short term.
Quote:
Originally Posted by motobene
As for your seal, the early Climber seals weren't the best and did have a reputation for leaking. The later ones might be better. But often a leak onto the floor when the bike is sitting or tied down is just be a little chunk of dried mud on the stanchions that has gotten impacted past the wiper seal and into the lips of the inner or pressure seal. Mud riding without any kind of stanchion rod protection is hard on seals, especially if the mud is allowed to dry on the stanchion and later you bottom the suspension.
Yeah, I read about the USD forks have the nasty habit of jamming mud/dirt into the seals. I should have known better when tying it down the bed of the truck. I've since come up with an alternate, I think, tie down arrangement that won't compress the forks (much).
Quote:
Originally Posted by motobene
I have not had to replace seals a bunch of times by cleaning and working a dirt spec out. I oil the stanchion and pump, then wipe, then oil, etc. I also slid a thin piece of shim plastic or old film under the oil seal and try to work the little dirt particles back out or at least to the space in between the oil seal and the wiper. I just last month did that on my KLX USD fork prior to a 700-mile dualsport ride. I was alarmed when retrieving the bike from long storage to find a small pool of oil on the floor on the brake side of course :-( I did not have the time to be rebuilding forks! I instead did the above trick and she was good for the hundreds of miles of pounding and hasn't leaked yet.
I know this trick and am hoping it works for me. However, I recently it tried on my XR250R and had no luck. Since I have to take the fork out of the triples to try this (film negative), it will be mostly disassembled if I have to go the rest of the way and replace the seal.
Quote:
Originally Posted by motobene
Your rear tire is really worn and likely quite hard. I'd fit a Michelin X1 (not the X-Lite) and it'll last a long time and it'll flat surprise you how suddenly you are getting traction! Sticker shock though at ~$170. There are cheaper alternatives but not better ones, in my opinion.
Yep, I'm resigned to the fact that it could use new tires. When I squeeze the knobs they don't really feel that hard but I don't have anything to compare it to either... That will be something to save up for over the winter.
Quote:
Originally Posted by motobene
In the photo I see the flats worn into the edges of the plates from mud riding. Chains that look like that should be replaced, especially if you can lift yours off the rear sprocket in the middle of the area it's wrapped around the procket, say more than 1/16" then it's worn out and will wear out the sprockets faster. Non o-ring 520 chains are cheap!
Another "winter" item that I will address. I'll most likely get new sprockets, too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by motobene
The pin rubbing the rear tire could be from the rear rim being out-of-true. I doubt you could re-true the rim as is though. Seeing the corrosion on the nipples means they are likely frozen to the spokes. When you replace the rear tire you could oil the spokes from the outer side first and if that works, and the rim band isn't leaking air, you are good. Of you could remove the band, clean and lube form both sides, and maybe the nipples will move and you can true the wheel. Re sealing band and valve stem with silicone 1 isn't a bad idea anyway.
I don't think the rim is out of true if only because that "witness mark", on the tire, goes all the way around the sidewall at the same depth. It's really quite shallow, more a rub mark than anything. I figure that if I cut off the end of that spring retaining shaft, and cut another groove, to hold the spring end, that will resolve the issue.

Can anyone tell me how to disassemble the fork, should I need to replace that seal?
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Old 10-09-2014, 09:36 AM   #8
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Not only is that weld cracked on the back side, it's cracked on the front side as well. If I had grabbed the rear silencer and given it a good yank, outward, it probably would have broken the mount. So, I'll need to see if I can get that sub-frame off of the bike and fixed.

Can anyone tell me how to disassemble a front fork?

I guess one fork is rebound and the other is dampening. Anyone know which is which? They run different weight fork oil, which is why I'm asking.
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Old 10-09-2014, 11:56 AM   #9
2whlrcr
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Don't worry, you won't have bad Karma from me. My bike was an '89.
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Old 10-09-2014, 12:16 PM   #10
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I didn't think so Mike.
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Old 10-09-2014, 06:56 PM   #11
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The side with the spring takes 5-7 wt. Each side takes 280cc and/or there is a measurement. Loosen the top fork clamps, loosen the top nut (Do not remove) Remove forks, drain forks, Remove bottom fork bolt with an air gun. Once the bolt is removed the innards will just pull out through the top. The fork tube and upper fork housing should just pull apart at this point. Now you can easily replace the seals. ( if you do not have a air gun go back to film method) It is pretty much straight forward IF you have done forks before. You could just clean the seals and change oil. But aftermarket seals are cheap. I believe they are 38 X 48 x 10. But it has been years since I`ve done one. Reply back with questions, as I just might have the info. The reason the Marzooks leaked were usually the crappy bushings and/ or the early years had no dust seal which yours does.
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Old 10-10-2014, 08:49 AM   #12
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Thanks for the info. I do not have an air gun but do have a local shop that's willing to change the seals for me. However, before I go over to them, I'm going to try the film method to see if I can't clear the debris from the seal.

I ordered a seal set from Mike (Tryals Shop). He sent me two Ariete ARI066 seals. According to their on-line catalog, they measure 35 x 47 x 7.5/10 (not sure what the 7.5/10 means).

He also told me something interesting; one fork is for rebound (with spring) and the other is for dampening (w/o spring). He also said that they use different weight oils; the rebound side is supposed to use 5w and the dampening side is supposed to use 20w. However, he recommended using 10w, in both forks, in cool weather (and perhaps in hot weather if I thought the dampening/rebound was OK).

So, if I do decide to change the oil weights, next Summer, do I simply pop the fork caps and drain the oil (and then refill with different weights)?

BTW, I do have 10w fork oil.
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Old 10-11-2014, 07:08 PM   #13
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Ok, I don't know how to replace the seals on these forks. And, the shop that I took them to has no experience with these forks either. Can anyone provide step-by-step instructions?
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Old 10-11-2014, 07:47 PM   #14
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Welcome to vintage bike ownership.
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Old 10-11-2014, 08:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bronco638 View Post
Ok, I don't know how to replace the seals on these forks. And, the shop that I took them to has no experience with these forks either. Can anyone provide step-by-step instructions?
I went back and edited my instructions. These forks are very simple. Once you remove the big allen just remove the top nut and the whole rod pulls out. Then the forks tubes pull apart. So simple that I figured them out with no instructions, manual or internet.
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