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Old 04-16-2010, 12:17 AM   #1
Hawk Medicine OP
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Heres an Update on the Hot Rod R90!


Maybe I should have consulted with an astrologer before beginning the bike project involving the 1976 R90/6 that I call the R90/HR (Hot Rod). During all the years that I rode the bike but left it alone, it ran flawlessly and never let me down until it finally just wore out but during the reconstruction and restoration, I've encountered problem after problem, numerous delays and several disappointments.

Firstly, an update.

I started with this:





And after a long gestation period, sent the bike out to have the engine rebuilt. Then, after a lot more work, it ended up looking like this:






The bike was delivered from the mechanic in the Fall of 2008, several months late. I loved the bike but I also immediately started having serious problems with it. An electrical system failure, oil leaks everywhere, high oil usage, no horsepower, a locking rear brake, unseated rings, bogus charges in the invoices... The list went on and on.

I'm not going to get into the mis-assembled carbs, the incorrect swing-arm bearings, the pistons rocking in the bores, the rings that never seated, the damaged crank shims or any of the other problems. OK? I want to fast forward to the present, because the bike is currently under rapid reconstruction, using the 81 R100 engine from my failed R100RT-to-Cafe Bike project and a few more new and Vintage parts. IMy goal is to have the bike finished by the first of may, spend a few weeks doing shake-down runs and then take it to the BMW Nationals.


+++++


This is kind of a lesson in not throwing anything away.

After the demise of the RT's chassis, under the hands of a ham-fisted fab guy, I tried several times to sell this fine running 40K engine. I even offered it, carbs and all, to a guy for $600 just to get it out of my garage (!) but it just sat there, taking up space. I guess that the old saying "Everything happens for a reason" is true because just when I needed an engine, there it was! An unpolished jewel in the rough, awaiting a little TLC, a chassis and some fresh oil to do service once again!




******


Here we are today. The R100 mill is installed already, along with a good trans and the airbox and top-cover from the RS I broke up a few years ago. See? Now we have an oil cooler and freshly rebuilt 40mm Bings! Yes, I committed the sin of polishing the carb tops but after a two or three days soaking in Pinesol, the bodies came out so clean, that I couldn't resist some cheap bling. If this bike was a chick I'd probably dress her in a tube top and a miniskirt!




*****








******



You might also note the chromed choke housing. That arrived along with a set of chromed fuel line connectors, in the box with the 38mm Dells I bought and rebuilt last year Aint I lucky? It's kinda kool if I say so my-own self!





++++++



Now heres something nice... I dropped in to make an appointment with Dave Gardner to have my new top-end installed and guess what he had? A near mint R90S 33:11 rear end, with perfect splines. Not only that but for an extra $50 he threw in the instruments! Now I have the correct speedo as well.





******


Because the engine is set-up for an electronic tach, I'm going to have to have the face from the mechanical unit swapped onto a later R-100 electronic tach but that shouldn't be a big deal. Expensive? Yes. Problem? No. Money solves all problems!






And no, that rear end didn't start out nearly that clean! It took an afternoon of hand scrubbing and polishing to get it to look like that but I didn't have to take it apart to get it looking nice. If anyone wants to know how to get those kind of results, I'll be happy to take a few photos and post an explanation of how I do it but you can get it done without a blasting cabinet. Just be ready to get wet and dirty.

Tomorrow, the new Lazertec tires will be in, so while I have the wheels off, I'll swap rear ends and once I have that stuff back together, I'll open up the front cover and install a new diode board from Motorrad Elektrik, along with the Omega ignition that was in the R-90 engine. After that, if I have some more energy, I'll wheel the lift into the driveway, get out the brushes and Pinesol and give the engine a thorough cleaning.

As usual, I'm under the gun, because a week from Friday, the bike has to be delivered assembled to Dave in SF, along with the new top end parts. It'll return a couple of days later sporting it's new 9.5:1 Nikasil top end, fresh big valve heads and a vintage CC Products Supertrapp exhaust system.

Hopefully the I-talion rear sets that I ordered from Omar's will show up this week, along with some new choke cables and a few service parts coming from Hucky's and I'll be able to get those thrown on too.

I have my hopes up but we'll see how things go. This has been a long haul, so stay tuned!
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Old 04-16-2010, 06:07 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by mymindsok









I went with the pre '78 shifter too. I like the cleaner look but shifting does seem a bit rougher. I may not be used to it yet though. Know where I can get another one? The one I bought has a bit of a worn end (inside tranny).

I polished up my choke on a buffing wheel, came out like chrome but it is oxidizing a bit. Easy to bring back though. Your chrome one makes the rusty cable ends stand out though.

I dismantle mine, pulled the wires out of the cables, clean, lubed and polished the metal ends with a Dremel wheel. It's smooth as silk now and all looks brand new.
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Old 04-16-2010, 11:14 AM   #3
Hawk Medicine OP
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Yeah, I always dismantle and clean mine every so often too. They're always full of dried grease and road dirt.

Old cables look like crap once you've cleaned something else but they'll be gone shortly and right now the accent is on getting everything ready and operating so that the tuning process goes well. I'm kinda glad that the PO chromed this part because chrome isn't nearly as labor intensive to maintain as polished aluminum is.

I've always wanted a clean, nice looking bike but keeping one that way can be a challenge. If you like to ride anyway.

PS: Those /6 shifters are all over the place! I might have a spare but why not place an ad on IBMR? With all of the blown /6 trannys in the world there must be hundreds of those shifters laying around in moldering card board boxes!
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Old 04-17-2010, 05:15 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by mymindsok
PS: Those /6 shifters are all over the place! I might have a spare but why not place an ad on IBMR? With all of the blown /6 trannys in the world there must be hundreds of those shifters laying around in moldering card board boxes!
That's a good idea. I got mine from Boxerworks, maybe it was the only one they had but it was worn a bit too much and possibly is the cause of some shifting vagueness.
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Old 04-17-2010, 07:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasper ST4
That's a good idea. I got mine from Boxerworks, maybe it was the only one they had but it was worn a bit too much and possibly is the cause of some shifting vagueness.
The early one-piece chrome shifters? There's no way it could be responsible for shifting vagueness. I believe the ones with the linkeage had more leverage and took less effort, but that's about it.

As long as the seal doesn't leak, it's working - and swapping for another won't make any difference at all.
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Old 04-17-2010, 10:00 AM   #6
Hawk Medicine OP
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Yeah,

I was thinking the same thing: "How could a direct lever shifter be vague?" but I didnt want to start anything. Not yesterday anyway.

I've always found that the advantage of the lever is that you can feel exactly what the shifter mechanism is doing. OTOH, the linkage type shifters feel smooth and quick and thats probably is because of the greater leverage. I never really thought about it...

Sorry if Nathan sold you a worn-out shifter (Mine works fine after 34 years of hard usage.) but if I was you (And I'm not!) I'd be talking to him about that little detail! If hes as honest as some folks claim, he'll make good on it. If not, IBMR is your friend.
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Old 04-17-2010, 10:12 AM   #7
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Glad to see the old-style cast aluminum starter cover and aircleaner, it just looks right.... but if it was me, I would also swap over the old peanut valve covers. To me, those peanuts bespeak vintage more than any other one detail!

I rode my R100 with the 33:11 rear end, it is a really nice gearing arrangement that gets the revs way down on the road, but the engine has plenty of grunt in the low gears as well... you're gonna like that!

Lookin' good!

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Old 04-17-2010, 11:54 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by mymindsok
Yeah,

I was thinking the same thing: "How could a direct lever shifter be vague?" but I didnt want to start anything. Not yesterday anyway.
The end that goes into the tranny is worn a bit. My '78 end with 170,000 on it looks new. Having never had a transmission apart, and never likely to, I don't know how the parts mate so I don't know how critical it is. It is a bit different in shifting and likely solely due to the direct vs. linked shifting. Nathan has Boxerworks? That doesn't sound familiar, I may have gotten it from another airhead parts place then. But again, I'm not saying the part doesn't work, I don't want to spread false rumors.

I'll keep my eye out on a pristine example and see if it makes any difference.

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Old 04-17-2010, 11:47 PM   #9
Hawk Medicine OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bpeckm


Glad to see the old-style cast aluminum starter cover and aircleaner, it just looks right.... but if it was me, I would also swap over the old peanut valve covers. To me, those peanuts bespeak vintage more than any other one detail!

I rode my R100 with the 33:11 rear end, it is a really nice gearing arrangement that gets the revs way down on the road, but the engine has plenty of grunt in the low gears as well... you're gonna like that!

Lookin' good!


Thanks for the complement! I've been working on this thing every day and my goal is to have everything done by Thursday night. I think I'll make it.

Yeah... I like Peanut valve covers too despite the fact that they're noisy as Hell. Somewhere I have a set of brand new Peanuts and an almost mint set of these CC Products "Cool Covers". I really don't think that the Cool Covers are very pretty but they're one more piece of unobtanium to bolt onto the bike from time to time.




************


Today, I swapped the rear ends losing the 30:10 and installing the 33:11. That 33:11 has less than 20K on it, so the splines are perfect! OTOH, just a thousand miles ago I had new splines put into the 30:10! Now I'll have to build another bike to use that rear drive!

After that was out of the way, I reinstalled the wheels, shod with new Lazertecs. Ive wanted to try a stickier tire for a while now but What a disappointment..! I ordered the tires in metric sizes, assuming that they'd be the same size as my usual ME88/lazer combo but when I went to pick up my wheels last night, I noticed that the tires were in domestic sizes. 100/90/19 and 120/90/18. Now, when the bikes on the center stand, both wheels are on the ground. I called Cycle Gear and they're gonna figure it out on Monday, satisfaction guaranteed. I give than all of my accessory business and they take good care of me. I never thought that getting Airhead tires would ever become a problem. Whats the world coming to?


*********


Around Noon today the Post Man delivered a box containing my new tool tray including the now NLA fitted rubber lid and as if that wasn't enough, another box arrived from Omar's with my new rearsets!

Mr Morton at Omar's and I had discussed the rear sets at length and he guaranteed me that instructions would be included.


These are the instructions:





******
I read through the instructions. Then, knowing that I was well prepared for any eventuality, I opened the plastic bag, poured the parts onto the lift and ripped into the installation.



The install is pretty straight forward on the shifter side but just like with a Ferrari or when wooing an Italian woman, there were several "adjustments" that need to be made. Firstly, the shift rod, which is pre-bent, needed some vice/hammer time to bend it into the correct shape to work on a BMW.



Then I tried to install the Omar's supplied shifter lever. I easily pulled the /6 shifter out but when I tried to insert the new one, it was no go. It would only go about 2/3 of the way in and then it would jam and refuse to come out. It turns out that the stock BMW part is a couple of thousandths smaller in diameter than the after-market part. Drats! Now it turns out that I have two of his shifter arms that are over-sized. I guess Omar and I are going to have to talk!

After trying to pray the incorrectly sized part into place for a while, I had an idea! I dug out a dead R100 trans and removed the shifter arm. Then I put it under the drill press, drilled straight through the back of the ball-fitting and through the ball, cut off the ball end, cleaned up the sharp edges and "viola!", Custom shift arm! After that everything hooked up perfectly and appears to work fine.

The brake side installation could be a problem for guys who aren't familiar with the brake pedal/actuator/stoplight-switch mechanism but even with having to make a few adjustments to my modified switch, it all went together easily. I did have to to assemble, dismantle and reassemble everything a few times to get it working perfectly but it went very well.

(Hint!)

If you decide to follow my footsteps, once you have the stock brake arm out, use a wire brush on a drill, to polish up the inside of the brake arm tube. The new parts are a close fit and any dirt or rust in the tube will cause your brake lever to hang up. Clean the tube and grease everything lightly.

Heres the new doo-dads:







I'm aware that the brake pedal looks "different" and compared to the traditional Tarozzi or Raask set-up it is but when you sit on the bike, the placement of the brake pedal is about perfect and it's dead simple. Nothing to get out of adjustment, nothing to break. Someone did some very good thinking when they designed these parts. At $295 + shipping, these are a very good option compared to buying overseas. I placed my order on Tuesday evening and had it in my hands four days later. I call that good service.

Check em out here: http://www.motocicliveloci.it/ingles.../pedane_uk.htm

But buy your rear-sets here: http://omarsdtr.com/BMWsfair.html



******************

Tomorrow, I'll go into the front of the engine and install the electronic ignition and a new diode board. I'm also going to take the opportunity to clean things up and do a complete inspection.
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Old 04-18-2010, 02:36 PM   #10
Max Headroom
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Ken, those rearsets look stunning.

My only concern is the angle of the shifter arm, 'cos it looks awkward. I may be wrong but it looks to me like you'll have difficulties selecting 1st, and changing down from higher gears.




My guess is that the shift selector you are using is probably for a late model GS or perhaps a Roadster/Mystic. You may need something on a more upright angle:

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Old 04-18-2010, 03:45 PM   #11
Hawk Medicine OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Headroom
Ken, those rearsets look stunning.

My only concern is the angle of the shifter arm, 'cos it looks awkward. I may be wrong but it looks to me like you'll have difficulties selecting 1st, and changing down from higher gears.

When I took the photos last night, the adjustment nuts on the shift rod weren't tightened and the rod twisted a little, so it looks weird through the wide angle lens. I actually noted that but didn't want to wander back out to the garage, take another photo and then go through the loading process. Thats what I thought after first reading your post anyway!,

This afternoon I went out there and checked everything again. You're right. That shift lever is angled pretty far forward. Too far? I'm not sure but a short search of the shelves yielded a shifter arm from a different R-100 trans and comparing them all, you're correct, the first one I installed is very different from the other three.

The strange thing is that the shifter rod l;ength matches the first arm., not the supposedly "Correct" ones. If I use a more vertical arm, I'll have to re-thread or re-bend the shift rod or the foot pedal will be too high. I'd rather go for a re-thread over the bending because the more angle you have in the bends, the weaker the rod gets. Thats bad, as in undesirable. It looks like I'll be taking some measurements this evening and dropping by my local machinists shop tomorrow morning!

I'll let you know what I come up with next but at least I have a couple of days to futz around.

Maybe!
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Old 04-21-2010, 08:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasper ST4
That's a good idea. I got mine from Boxerworks, maybe it was the only one they had but it was worn a bit too much and possibly is the cause of some shifting vagueness.
Hey Jasper:

I had a short chat with Matt at "Boxerworks" today and mentioned your bad shifter.

Please take my advice and give him a call. Matt says that he has at least six of those shifters on his shelf and if you bought it from him, he'll happily exchange it for you. Quit complaining, call him and report back .

Thats an order!
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Old 04-21-2010, 08:34 PM   #13
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Thanks again for the heads-up Max!

That shifter looked worse and worse every time I looked at it, so heres what I did to solve my problem. Just follow along and by the time you get to the end, you'll learn what I learned!

I've had a lot of experience screwing around with Airheads but that somehow doesn't always translate to my being confident about my wrenching skills. Therefore, I ducked into the garage a couple of times to look at my Rear-set installation, before hitting the sack. Sleeping on a problem is always a good thing to do! Then, Tuesday afternoon, I dug into my stash to see what kind of shifter arms were in my transmission collection.


******************


There were two transmissions on my shelf that had come from R-100s and used the linkage-style shifters, so I pulled both of those and also took a minute to dig out two the two shift levers that came from Omar's. One came with some Raask rear sets and one I bought from for another project but never used. I tossed em all on my work bench and took some measurements and photos.

The first shift lever that I installed was angled pretty far forward but the rear-sets went together almost perfectly. The other two factory/stock levers from 80s R-100s are angled forward some but are much closer to vertical and the Omra's levers are set up 90 deg/straight up. If I was going to install any of these levers, there would have to be some adjustments made to the rear-set's mechanism and I absolutely did not want to have to make an emergency parts order to Oma'rs.

All of the factory BMW levers shafts measured about 15.90 mm give or take a half thousandth while Omar's parts both measured 15.95. The extra .005 mm being just enough of a difference to keep the after-market parts from sliding into the transmission and that made em paperweights. Now I knew that I had a couple of good parts but for some reason I still wanted a choice, so I drove over to Randy's Design and Machine, showed the proprietor my parts and he promised to have the shifter turned down and ready for pick-up by Tuesday AM. 15 minutes later, (just as I was pulling into my driveway!) Randy calls me on the Cell: "Your parts ready if you want to pick em up!". Great! Back onto the freeway, over to the West side of town and $10 later I had a good part. On the way home, I stopped at Sears and bought a Chinese made Craftsman Tap and Die set for $89.00.



Now, I'm going to show you exactly how I did my reinstall, so pay attention!



Firstly, here are the two "Omar's" levers. The one on the left has been re-machined to the correct size, while the other one is a stock part but What I really want you to look at is the welding. As you can see, the welding is pretty crude on both of em and there was obviously no real effort expended to clean the parts up. The last time I bought one of these it cost me $35 and for that kind of $$$ I expect better. If you can, find an original BMW shift arm to work with. There must be thousands of these laying around.





**************


Once resized, the lever fits perfectly but looking at it, I knew it wasn't going to go on my bike!








************


Now, check this out! This is a stock BMW part. It's a forging, so it's very, very strong and will look right, even though the ball end won't work with my rear sets. Heres how I solved that small problem.




***********


First, I chucked the lever into my drill-press vice and drilled through the back of the ball, using a series of stair-stepped bits. Once I reached a size that allowed the link-pin to just slide through the hole, I quit.






When I turned the lever over, twisted the ball off of it's stem and ended up with a part looking like this:



Finally, after a couple minutes workout on the grinding wheel and the wire brush and I had a nice clean part, with the remnant of the post serving as a bushing.





******************


At that point I test fitted everything and found that the rear-sets hooked up fine but the foot pedal was way to high. That meant that the shift rod needed to be shortened. Thats where the Tap and Die kit came into play.

I checked the fit of the special nuts that came with the kit. These nuts have a recessed bore on the tapered end, that covers cover the unused portion of the threads. Thats important for keeping the super-clean look that we're after!







My estimates combined with some "Kentucky Windage" told me that I'd need to remove about 5 mm of rod on each end, so I clamped the shift rod between two blocks of hard wood to protect it's polished surface, dug out the correct sized die and threaded 6 mm more of the rod on each end. Then I cut the same amount off using a cutting disk in my dremel tool and finished te cut ends off with a light wire brushing.














**********



The last thing I did was to reinstall the shift rod. It took several trial fittings and adjustments to assure myself that both ends of the shift rod were parallel and the bar was flat. Then I hooked everything up and adjusted the pedals height. Viola! Now the angle of the shift arm is much closer to that of the foot lever's pivot, the shift rod ends are dead straight, the rod is flat and the shifter appears to be working flawlessly and with authority.



****************



Except for adjusting the foot levers height with my riding boots on, I'd say this job is in-the-bag!



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Old 04-22-2010, 01:41 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by mymindsok
Hey Jasper:

I had a short chat with Matt at "Boxerworks" today and mentioned your bad shifter.

Please take my advice and give him a call. Matt says that he has at least six of those shifters on his shelf and if you bought it from him, he'll happily exchange it for you. Quit complaining, call him and report back .

Thats an order!
I checked my records and I didn't get it from there but thanks for the heads up, I think I'll give him a call and pick one up. I shoulda went there first!
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Old 04-25-2010, 01:27 AM   #15
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Well, here are the last few updates till next week.

I think that I mentioned that I ordered a set of LAzertecs for the bike but got the wrong sizes, right? So on Thursday morning I got a call from Cycle gear telling me that the correct tires were in and ready to install.



***********************



That meant another afternoon with the bike looking like this!






***************



Pulling the wheels off again was a little disheartening but a couple of hours later I had the wheels back and this time not only did they look better but the bike now sits on it's center stand as God intended.

The other side of the coin was that I was now firmly behind the 8-Ball. I had a list of chores to accomplish by my mechanics Friday afternoon cut-off date or he wouldn't be able to schedule getting the bike finished for several more weeks. Therefore, out came the coffee pot, on went the stereo and I set about getting stuff done.

I won't go into a lot of details but between 4:00PM Thurs and 2AM Fri I did the following:

Reinstalled the newly shod wheels
Removed the shells and installed the air filter
Cut and installed new gas lines
Reinstalled and cabled-up the carbs
Polished and installed a different set of carb tops
Installed the Omega Ignition system
Rerouted the under tank portion of the wiring harness
Swapped the diode board
Reassembled and remounted the gauge cluster
Installed the Browne style side stand
remounted the tank
Installed the mufflers
Transfered the insurance policy to the new frame

After all that, it was 1:30 AM so I got out all of the boxes containing the new top-end parts and the Supertrapp system, placed them by the door, check my inventory three times and hit the sack. I was tired but pleased that I had accomplished all of my homework. I was also out like a light!



**************



Friday dawned late ( ) but once I was fully awake I loaded the bike and my pile of expensive parts and drove into San Francisco. While I like SF it also reminds me of why I fled NYC and further, why every time I move, I choose a smaller place to live. Endless 'neighborhoods', traffic up the wazoo with crazy Asian chicks driving BMWs through a maze of crowded freeways, surface streets and industrial Borroughs. Every tme I go there I thank the Great Spirit for my Garman Zumo GPS!

One kinda fun part of the drive is crossing the city on Devisadero St. I don't think that it's the steepest street in San Francisco but I do think its the longest and 2nd steepest! It also has maybe five cross streets with 4-way stops, before you reach the summit. It's fun on a bike but it's a whole other thing to traverse in our little 5-speed S-10!



***********************



Anyway, I made it to Dave Gardner's place just fine and after kibitzing for a while, we unloaded the bike and spread my parts out on his workbench.






*****************



Dave and I went over everything, then he wrote up a work order for me to sign....





************************



and I said goodbye to my bike for a few days.




*************************



If all goes well, I'll be able to have Donna drop me off next week and ride the bike home!



********************



Then it was back across the city, up one side of Divisadero and down the other to RT-101 and home. I'll close with a snap I took while crossing Devisadero going East. I couldn't capture the sheer steepness of the street and still drive the truck but those houses should be level and thats the San Francisco bay in the background!





I know that they didn't shoot the famous chase scene in the film "Bullet" there but they could have and it gives me an excuse to add the poster from one of my favorite films!





See ya next week, when we'll hopefully be able to test-ride the bike with it's new top end installed and then I'll be reinstalling the "S" fairing and gauges, along with a set of my new side braces, before giving the bike a thorough cleaning and a paint touch-up. I'll also be looking into finding a better or more stylish seat.

Will it be finished after that? I dunno... There have been so many ups and downs with this project, along with changes in direction, that I'm not counting on anything. I just want to ride this sucker!
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