I Helped A Stuck Rider (And Had Another Shed Cleanup).

This evening I had to make a stop for fuel right after work, as I’d hit the reserve level on the way to work.

After getting most of the way home, I saw a rider stopped on the side of the road. I pulled over and asked if he was ok. He thanked me for stopping, and let me know he’d run out of fuel and his reserve wasn’t working for some reason.

He lived not far from my home and asked if I could give him a lift near his house so he could organise to come back for his bike. I agreed, and was just reorganising my luggage to make room  for a pillion passenger when he let me know his reserve was working again and he’d got the bike started.

He asked if I’d mind riding behind him to the nearest petrol station to make sure he got there without further issues. I agreed, of course!

He waved me on just before the last set of lights before the petrol station and yelled out one more “Thank you!” as I passed and turned off towards my suburb.

No photo or video unfortunately, as I stopped using the GoPro on my daily commutes a couple of months ago!

Earlier this week, I’d realised the shed was getting cluttered again, so it was time for a cleanup!

I started with the stray spanners, hex keys and and gloves on Erica’s seat.

The stray cardboard was next.

The spanners should have been here.

I put Erica’s battery on to charge, so I can start her again later and have another look at the electrical system. I needed somewhere to put the air tools and old brake lever, too.

The remnants of flat-pack shelves were getting in the way too.

I left a fair bit of clutter behind after soda-blasting and even had trimmer line I’d left on the floor.

All a bit of a shambles, really…

Not to mention the random cardboard with recently-replaced parts somewhere under it!

There was a bit of a gap on the shelf that needed filling, so the cowl I’d used as test piece for blasting went back there.

The new air hose and tyre gauge fit nicely over the pole on these shelves.

A few spanners went back in the right places on the peg board.

A layer of soda dust was wiped off Erica’s seat.

Sylvie’s old headlight was rescued from the cardboard.

The CBF250 headlight was boxed and the air tools were stacked under the blackboard. The spare dented CB50RS tank will be sand or soda blasted another day, so I decided to get it off the floor while I was at it.

Tucked away neatly on the shelf again.


The older ones were cleared from under the trickle charger and Scarlet’s seat cleared of soda dust.

Sylvie’s old side panels and bar ends were retrieved from under the cardboard.

I bagged and tagged the bar ends.

The side panels and bar ends found a home under the workbench, near boxes containing similar parts.

The old brake lever went in the box with the headlight under the chalkboard.

The air tools were stacked more neatly and the warped veneer panels that once were the back of a shelf were put under the boxes to flatten them again.

Stray cardboard was removed and the floor was finally visible again!

The sand blaster spec sheet and troubleshooting guide were put somewhere they’ll be found again.

Almost lost under here was the mounting pin that broke off one of Sylvie’s side panels.

I made room for the blasting gun on the peg board.

The mounting pin was left near the side panels so as not to go astray again.

The tub of blasting sand found a home on a shelf.

And some random parts were left on the clipboard for visibility. THe top one is either a fairing mount left behind from Nix or a random mounting washer from one a CB250RS headlight bracket or instrument cluster.

The tags from the replacement side panels went on top of the old ones to remind me to re-tag them.

All in all, the she is slightly more organised than it was when I started!


Sylvie’s Carb Is Removed And Ready For A Rebuild

This week, I finally managed to spend some time working on Sylvie’s carburetor.

The first step was getting to the carburetor, which meant removing the seat, side panels and tank.

After removing the side panels, I made sure the fuel tap was set to the OFF position before attempting removal of the tank!

I removed the front fairings from the tank to prevent damage to them while the tank is not on the bike.

After removing the tank, I disconnected the main fuel lines from the carburetor.

The single electrical connector was next to come off

Followed by the choke cable

And the throttle cables

I loosened the connectors on the carburetor boots to the airbox and engine, then tried to maneuver the carburetor out,

The mounting bracket for the throttle cables got in the way, so I removed it.

Evidently I was not  turning the carb the right way, as after removing the mounting plate, I noticed the idle adjustment looked a bit bent. I removed it too.

One more twist…

…and the carb was finally out!

By this stage, it was getting late, so I made some room in the shed and moved Sylvie so I could put her away for the night.

I updated Sylvie’s to-do list while was in the shed.

Finally, I put Sylvie and her parts away for the night.

Today, I set about disassembling the carb and cleaning it – more on that in my next post!



CB250RS Parts Transplant – Sprockets, Chain, Side Panels, Mudguard And A Fuel Line

This week, I started with removing the rear wheel from the donor bike and salvaging the sprocket from it.

The sprocket and the wheel it came from…


And the sprocket after cleaning up with degreaser.

Next was the rear wheel from the “recipient” bike


This sprocket looked a lot worse for wear.


Almost like a saw blade compared to the donor one!

One of the bolts from this wheel had a 13 mm nut on it. I cleaned all 12 mounting bolts and nuts up with some degreaser and picked the best-looking ones

While the wheel isn’t in the best shape, I figured I can put a new tyre and new sprocket on it ready for when the bike needs a new chain. I put the better sprocket on the wheel as it had the better tyre before taking a short break for lunch.

After lunch, I compared my three front sprockets. I opted to use the right-most one as it had the least wear.

I cleaned up the primary drive shaft before fitting the sprocket.

The sprocket and the locking plate in place, fixed in place with the mounting bolts.

I opted to re-use the spare chain for now, after a liberal coating of “rust buster” spray.

Adjusted the chain tension, tightened the axle nut and fitted a split pin.

I popped the side panels in place and re-fitted the front mudguard.


I removed the front brake caliper from the “donor” bike and placed it in my bench vice to have another crack at loosening the stiff screw on the rear cover.

It chose not to cooperate, so I brought in the heavies – a small sledgehammer and traditional impact driver of the style from the days before they were all motorised. The recalcitrant screw soon saw the error of its ways!

Getting back to the chain, I realised the rear chain guard was a bit warped, so I retrieved the one from the “donor” bike and gave it a once-over with Inox.

Fitted and looking good!

The lower front chain guard was next. I fitted the plastic one too but I must have been getting tired by this stage, as I seem to have forgotten to take a photo of that step!

The helmet holder that matches the ignition, fuel and steering locks went on next, but was only fitted loosely as I’ll probably switch all the locks with Scarlet’s later.

Finally, I cut a fresh length of fuel hose to replace the piece that had been broken off prior to the parts transplant.

I haven’t started the bike again yet, I’m saving that for next week!

Scarlet Gets Some Attention At Last


I haven’t posted  any updates on Scarlet in a while for personal reasons. This doesn’t mean I’ve done nothing with her in the last 12 months, however!

Although I haven’t written about it previously, I have replaced the head gasket, adjusted the valve clearances, replaced the regulator/rectifier with a brand new aftermarket one and replaced the clutch friction plates and finally filled her up with fresh oil..

I also took my usual amount of photos as I went along, so these will be added in future posts.

Last weekend I decided to try starting Scarlet again, since she hasn’t been run for over a year.

This of course meant swapping the known working battery back from Eric again.20170129_093745 20170129_093805 20170129_094200

I had to open the cover to Eric’s tool compartment, as the top of it was  blocking the battery.


Scarlet’s looking great but the battery that was in her didn’t seem to be working.


I pulled the battery out to see if it was the problem.

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This is not a healthy-looking battery!


Swapped out for the one that I know works well enough to start Eric.

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Off with the seat to check wiring connections.

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Nothing obviously wrong here, so off came the tank to check further along the wiring loom.


Fuel tap to the OFF position


Disconnect the fuel line…


Pop off the left side cover…


And finally remove the tank!


Here’s the aftermarket regulator/rectifier. I’m not sure if it could be the source of the electrical problems.


Also looks like this clip has seen better days!


I reconnected the original reg/rec temporarily to see if there was any improvement. No change to the lack of neutral light, even after several kicks of the starter.


I figured I may as well at least replace the cable clip, so I grabbed the spare one from Bruiser.


It looked a little thirsty, so a squirt of Inox was applied and the residue wiped off with a rage.

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I gave her a bit more of a polish with Inox and found the summer heat was getting a little too intense, so I put her back together and called it a day.

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I’ll need to spend some time checking over the electrical troubleshooting section and wiring diagram again. I have some ideas on where to start, so will test my theories before next week’s update.

My Third Annual Start And/Or Ride A CB250RS Day

For many Australians, today is a day of celebration. For most indigenous Australians, it is a day of mourning.

For me it is both, yet neither.

19 years ago on this day I had the saddest news of my life.

RIP Mum. 

In light of this, January 26th has been my Annual “Start And/Or Ride A CB250RS Day” for the last few years.

Today, I got Eric to start again for the first time this year and confirmed that Scarlet’s battery is still in reasonable condition.

I gave Eric a thorough look over to confirm everything I already knew about that needs attention, and discovered a few things.

The fuel tap leaks when in the Reserve position and drips onto the engine. Not ideal, considering the small tank capacity. This was a new discovery.


While the left muffler is complete, the right one is only a header pipe (hence the exhaust note when starting him). This one was already on the list, and I’ve found a likely aftermarket bolt-on candidate.

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Another known issue -the right side panel is missing, so I borrowed Bruiser’s to cover the battery for now.

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His mirrors are currently on Sylvie, so he’ll get them back when Sylvie’s are replaced.


The fork seals are leaking terribly and the fork oil probably needs changing, or at least topping up. This was another new discovery.

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The front brake master cylinder has no fluid whatsoever and could use a better cover.. While this was on the list, I’d forgotten about it.


The lights don’t seem to work at all, the rear tyre is flat, and last of all the rear of the frame has been chopped by a previous owner who was planning to turn him into a cafe racer or bobber. These are also known issues.

I’m thinking the best course of action at this stage is to remove Bruiser’s engine and transfer Eric’s engine and all the working parts onto Bruiser’s frame.

It’s also way past time I gave Scarlet some attention, so expect more vintage Honda updates in the near future!

Jack Takes His Battery And Goes Home As Sylvie Gets A New Face

Last Thursday, the last of the not-just-cosmetic parts for Sylvie arrived – a brand new battery, the meter housing, and some replacement mounting screws.



I wanted Jack up and running again to return to his current owner, so I installed the new battery that evening.

The parts I need for this were the replacement mounting screws for the right side cover and of course the new battery!

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Off with the side cover..

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Jack’s battery out…

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… and the new battery in.

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New screws fitted on the right side panel.

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Looking good!

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Quick check that the meters and lights seem to work – all good.


Off with Jack’s side panel.


In with the battery…

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And back went the side panel.

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Quick check of the meters and lights, and I was done for the night.


On Saturday, I moved on to the speedo housing.

Here’s the new housing, ready to fit.


Here’s a recap of the external damage.



First order of business was to remove the headlight to allow access to the speedo housing.

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Next up, removing the bottom half of the housing.


While the bottom housing was easy enough to remove, the top part needed a T15 Torx driver. Fortunately I had one in my toolbox already.


The top looks ok, and the meters still work fine…


…but the bottom seems to have come adrift a bit?


Old housing on the left, new one on the right.


Whoops! I almost forgot the Honda badge.


There we go!


I decided I’d try repairing the damage with epoxy putty.

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Unfortunately it set too fast and didn’t hold, so I had to remove it.


J B Weld to the rescue!

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I taped it down for a while.


Then I fitted the new housing and she’s almost good as new.

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I studied the exploded parts diagram and tucked in the rubber insert that had been dangling from the cabling.


Headlight back on and she’s done!


I decided to use some of the black duct tape I’d taped down the meters with while the J B Weld was setting to cover the holes in the seat until I get a chance to re-cover it properly.


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Then I decided to strengthen the temporary toolkit bag with some of the tape so it will fit where it’s supposed to go.

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A simple fix until I get a replacement toolkit bag that seems to work quite well!


Sylvie’s been running well with the new battery and I’m pleased to find that the meter housing no longer rattles at all. While I still have a few plans for Sylvie, all the major work is done so it’s time to return to the other projects for a while now that I have a reliable daily ride…

On a related note, Jack went back to his new owner on Sunday. Jack’s owner will be using him for the Provisional rider course and MOST test on Wednesday, as his other bike is a bit big to reliably pass a skills assessment on.

After that, Jack will be back on the market. If any local readers are looking for a learner-legal bike or an economical commuter, let me know!

November’s New Acquisition – Fred’s Fizzer 400

Back in November, I had decided I wasn’t buying any more bikes until I had a shed to work on them in.

I was kidding myself, of course!

Through a thread on my favourite motorcycle forum, I found a 1992 Yamaha FZR400 going cheap. The original pics from the seller showed a bike with half the fairings removed but carefully put aside.

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Carbon fibre exhaust…

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Redline zone starts at 14K. This looks somewhat familiar…

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Tyres look decent and the brakes have been serviced with EBC replacement parts, it seems…

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Fairings in reasonable condition…

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A replacement exhaust manifold was thrown in as well for some reason…

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I contacted the seller and went for a closer look.

After talking with the seller for a while and hearing how much he had enjoyed riding the bike and being filled in on some of its history:

  • The bike had been low-sided at slow speed after the fairings were removed as he’d preferred the look of it naked.
  • He’d made a custom insert for the air filter.
  • He had been planning to replace the exhaust manifold with the spare one (from a different model Yamaha 600) to eliminate the EXUP but never got around to it.
  • Battery had been replaced with a sealed one but was flat as the bike hadn’t been ridden in over a year since the registration had expired.
  • He’d removed the rear mudguard, welded up a fender eliminator and fitted mini LED indicators at front and rear.
  • Tyres and brakes had been replaced shortly before the rego expired
  • He was selling to raise cash towards accessories for a brand new Triumph!

I offered him 10% less than his listed price and we had a deal.

There were a couple of logistical issues with getting the bike to my place:

  • The bike wasn’t running or registered and therefore couldn’t be ridden away.
  • The bike wasn’t Learner & Novice Approved even if it had been running and registered.
  • The extra parts would have been difficult to carry on the bike.
  • My car at the time wasn’t set up for towing a trailer.
  • My trailer wasn’t registered.

Luckily, the seller had a bike trailer and was keen to make room in the garage as he was expecting delivery of his new Triumph the next day, so he delivered it to me!

The mandatory “just bought it” photo:


The next day, I hooked up some jumper leads to the car and gave jump starting a go. I took the opportunity to give the electrical system a quick test as well and was most impressed with the result!

Cut to several months later, I now have a day permit organised to take it for a roadworthy check tomorrow – provided the battery charges enough overnight…

More specifics on the repairs to follow!