Inflating, Gluing, Sketching And Shielding

This week I got a new mic for my GoPro!

I also finally made a start on re-covering Sylvie’s seat.

I’ve recorded another video this week, should you care to watch it:

I cleaned up a bit first, then put Scarlet on the centre stand and brought out my trusty second-hand air compressor to inflate her rear tyre.

My tripod mount for the GoPro broke, so I repaired it with some 5-minute epoxy.

I measured up the old seat cover for Sylvie.

I used a chalk marker to make a rough outline of the original seat cover.

I realised that this wouldn’t be big enough, and marked around the original line.

Having learned from previous experience, I measured the final size against the existing seat before cutting out the final shape.

I decided to sew the two pieces of non-slip matting together before measuring and cutting the final shape, so the seat cover is on hold again for now.

While the audio quality on the external mic was reasonable without WiFi on, there is unfortunately a common issue with GoPro Hero cameras where enabling WiFi causes horrible audio interference when using an external microphone. This is somewhat problematic, given that remote control for early GoPro cameras is via WiFi only.

I decided to disassemble the mic and check if it had any shielding. It didn’t, of course!

I tried applying aluminium tape to the insides of the external mic to shield it before reassembling it, but it made no difference.

I even made some progress on getting the sockets back in their places in the large set too!

That’s all for this week. While I made some progress on the minor tasks on the bikes this week, there’s still a lot more to work on!


Toppling Tools, Sorting Sockets And Changing Covers – Shed Spring Cleaning Continues!

This week I was hoping to start re-covering Sylvie’s seat. However, when I opened the bike shed I found that the pegboard had fallen over and all my spanners were spread across the shed!

I stood it up again but it’ll need some sort of stand before I spend the time to organise it this time, as I don’t want to keep repeating the process indefinitely.

I’ve recorded a video of this week’s adventures in the shed from this point onward, should you care to watchit:

I picked up some of the larger spanners and set about sorting the small sockets. The small ones on the right below are Imperial sizes.

The metric ones covered the top of this small box.

For want of permanent home, they went into a zip-lock bag.

The Imperial sockets followed their example.

I found a serviceable bike cover in the shed that was going unused, so I covered the Fizzer with it.

The old one had become a victim of the elements, so it was disposed of.

That’s all for this week. While I didn’t make any progress on any of the bikes again this week, there’s still a bit of work to go on the clean-up!

Revisiting Sylvie’s Seat Cover Triggers Shed Spring Cleaning, While Scarlet Looks A Bit Flat

This week I was hoping to make another attempt at recovering Sylvie’s seat. However, when I opened the bike shed I immediately decided it was time to clear out the shed again instead as I’d let too much stuff gather in the doorway!

I also noticed the pegboard ws looking a bit bare, so I set about sorting the mess out.

Most of the spanners had accumulated at the entrance on top of a parts box along with an assortment of other tools, sprays and old parts.

The sprays went onto the spray can shelf.

The grease and o-rings went back on the shelf below.

The assorted washers and velcro cable ties went on the shelf below.

The cap went back on the Inox can.

I have a space for spare wheels that had a gap in it.

The spare CBF250 wheel hadn’t made it back there, so I rectified the situation.

The wheel had been sitting on some scrap cardboard, so that was relocated too.

The box for my grandfather’s large socket set had lost almost all its contents.

I spread the corrugated cardboard over Scarlet’s seat and tank and transferred loose tools and parts onto it to keep them at waist height.

Returning to the socket set, I flipped the plastic tray back up the right way and referred to the diagram on the lid to start replacing its contents.

The long socket wrench was on top of the tool pile, so it was returned to its rightful place.

Next, the spanners were transferred to  the cardboard and sorted.

After sorting, the spanners were returned  to the pegboard and neatened up.

I started sorting the larger sockets next.

These nwer sockets aren’t part of the old set and are usually hung on the pegboard by their tags.

These older sockets were returned to the set though!

I could almost see the parts box by this stage, so I became more motivated!

The small spark plug socket found its way home too.

The smaller socket originally came from several sets.

This thick rubber glove had been separated from its mate, so it was moved aside too.

The next layer of parts was 2 old CBF250 chains, so I set these aside with the old sprockets

I scooped up the smaller sockets and random other items and tools and found that quite a lot of the random items were not bike-related.

The larger sockets with tags were returned to the pegboard.

The pile of tools got steadily larger as the random items were set aside and moe sockets joined the pile.

Meanwhile, the top of the parts box came gradually into view.

A couple of the tools were from onboard toolkits, so they were set aside.

The zip-lock bag was used to keep the tools together temporarily until the full toolkit was in all in one place again.

A few more pieces made their way back to the socket set.

Finally the top of the parts box was free!

I removed some of the rags from inside it and sealed the lid properly.

I moved it out of the door way to the back of the shed and put the old chains and some of the rags on top of it.

Finally the entrance of the shed was less cluttered!


I looked more closely at the remaining items in the doorway.

Amongst these items were another small socket set and a can of electrical contact cleaner.

The contact cleaner went on the shelf with the other sprays.

The socket set went with the smaller sockets and some parts were returned to it.

The non-slip matting I had intended to make a seat cover from this week was left with the remaining tools.

I found a spare CB250RS clutch plate set on the floor too, so that was set aside with the tools for the next stage of clean-up.

The staple gun was left with the non-slip matting to remind me to work on Sylvie’s seat. next time I look in the shed.

Scarlet’s rear tyre was looking somewhat worse for wear, so that will need attention soon too,

Looking for a few more small items to clean up, I found two of my JIS drivers and several other screwdrivers on the end of the workbench.

The JIS drivers an spare Philips head screwdrives went in the bottom drawer of the toolkit,

The yellow-handled Philips screwdriver went back to its place

Finally I cleaned out the clutter from the top section of the toolbox and closed it up

Now that the entrance to the bike shed is less cluttered, I’ll hopefully be able to get on with working on bikes again!

While I didn’t make any progress on any of the bikes this week, I’ve found plenty to keep me busy as a result of the clean-up!

That’s all for this week. Once I’ve cleaned up a bit more, I’ll have another go at re-covering Sylvie’s seat, take a look at Scarlet’s rear wheel and keep investigating the electrical gremlins with Erica and Scarlet.

Sylvie’s New Groove – Part 2 – CBF250 Chain Replacement, How Not To Rivet A Chain, And Precise Chain Tensioning

In last week’s post, I had completed fitting Sylvie’s new sprockets and rear wheel and put her under cover for the night.

The next day, I had me trouble getting the new chain properly fitted.

The Ognibene chain was already the correct length at 106 links, and came with what I assumed to be two rivet-type links.

I fed the chain through the rear chain guard as I hadn’t bothered removing it.

I put Sylvie in neutral and looped the chain around the front sprocket and back to the rear sprocket.

I unpacked a new rivet-style master link from its zip-lock bag and confirmed all parts were present.

I fitted the rear o-rings to the pins and pushed the link through from the back, fitting the front o-ring and cover plate.

Having a brand new chain tool, I expected no trouble riveting the chain.

The new chain tool came in pieces and unfortunately came with no instructions. The pieces were labelled, so I assembled them in what seemed to be the most logical order.

Unfortunately after quite some time attempting to rivet the chain, I discovered that the riveting pin that seemed to be made of a softer metal than the chain links I was attempting to rivet. After bending the pin to the point of being unable to change pins in the chain tool and making no progress on riveting the chain, despite multiple further attempts using the tool in every logical configuration, I ended up taking to it with an angle grinder Suffice to say I won’t be buying another cheap chain breaker/riveting tool any time soon.

I ended up re-using the clip-style master link I had used to temporarily fix the old chain, although I used the new o-rings with it.

On closer inspection of the other new master link supplied with the chain, I found it was also a clip-style link. By this stage I just wanted Sylvie working again for the following week, so I left the one I had fitted in place.

I adjusted the left chain tensioner nuts until the chain was at the recommended minimum slack of approximately 20mm and measured the length from the rear or the swingarm to the end of the thread with Vernier calipers.

The distance was just  over 27mm.

I adjusted the right chain tensioner nuts until the end of the threaded rod on it was the same distance from the rear of the swingarm.

Once I was satisfied that the the rear axle was as close as possible to perpendicular to the chain, I set my large torque wrench to the specified torque and used the 17mm socket to turn the axle against the nut.

Finally, I replaced the front chain guard.

I’m pleased to report that Sylvie has been much more responsive when taking off from the lights, overall power has improved and gear changes while in motion have even been a bit smoother!

The next priorities for Sylvie are a new rear tyre and re-covering the seat. Hopefully they’ll be in an update in the near future.

That’s all for this week’s update. Next week’s entry will most likely be a return to one of the project bikes.

Sylvie’s New Groove – Part 1 – CBF250 Chain Tensioner And Sprocket Replacement

I got a parcel last week, far earlier than expected.

Inside the outer bag was a tough bag.

Inside the tough bag were the new chain and sprockets I had ordered from the UK only a few days earlier!

I checked the spare rear wheel I had for Sylvie and found the tyre was more worn than the one I was thinking of swapping it with!

I gathered every tool and spare part I though I would need and got ready to remove the chain, rear wheel and right chain tensioner. From the left, spanners in 24mm, 17mm, 14mm and 12mm sizes, a spare chain tensioner, small socket wrench with an extension bar, 10mm and 8mm sockets, small and medium standard screwdrivers, new Ognibene o-ring chain, new AFAM front and rear sprockets in standard sizes for the CBF250, WD 40, Inox, lithium grease, my new chain tool and Vernier calipers.

I started by loosening the rear axle nut.

The 24mm spanner was used on the axle nut.

The 17mm spanner was used to hold the bolt end of the axle.

After slacking off the axle nut, I unlocked the steering and straightened the handlebar.

I then put Sylvie in neutral and raised her onto the centre stand.

Next I used the 14mm and 12mm spanners to loosen the chain tensioners.

I turned the rear wheel until the master link was visible and prised off the clip with the medium screwdriver.

I took the faceplate off and pulled the link out from the back.

I gave the old chain a cursory clean to inspect the overall damage.

After cleaning off the worst of the grime, the chain seemed to be in relatively good condition apart from the obvious wear near the ends where the broken master link had been.

I cleaned the outside of the front chain cover with Inox lanolin spray as it is kinder to plastic than WD 40

Next I removed the cover with the 8mm socket and extension bar.

I put the cover aside with its bolts and the mounting bracket under it.

I put Sylvie back into first gear and cleaned up the front sprocket and the outside of the transmission with more Inox spray.

I switched over to the 10mm socket.

I then removed the front sprocket mounting bolts and rotated the retaining plate to to get it past the splines on the drive shaft.

After removing the sprocket I cleaned up the rest of engine casing outside the transmission.

The old front sprocket had a fair amount of wear.

I unwrapped the new sprocket for a comparison before fitting it.

Fitting was of course a reverse of the removal process.

While replacing the mounting bolts, I realised I’d forgotten an important tool when laying out all the tools before starting.

This was of course the small torque wrench.

I set the torque to the specifications from the manual and tightened the bolts.

I set about removing the rear wheel.

With everything loosened, I realised I had forgotten to remove the nut for the rear brake lever. The right chain tensioner had some badly stripped thread too.

I screwed the nut back onto the connecting rod for the brake pedal so I wouldn’t lose the spring.

I removed the rear brake assembly from the wheel and inspected the shoes for wear before placing the wheel on a soft rag with the sprocket facing up.

I realised at this point that i had forgotten another important tool – A large socket wrench, extension bar and 17mm socket.

I loosened and removed the nuts in a star pattern, then removed the rear sprocket.

The wear on the rear sprocket wasn’t as bad.

As with the front sprocket, I unwrapped the new rear sprocket for a direct comparison before fitting it.

I removed the right chain tensioner from the swingarm.

Here it is with its replacement below.

I decided to clean up the rear brake lever connecting rod while the wheel was off.

While I was at it, I cleaned up the right side of the swingarm.

Much better!

Here’s a closer look at that stripped thread. Pretty nasty!

The replacement part ready to grease.

I coated the replacement with a good layer of lithium grease on both sides.

It slid in easily and held itself in place quite nicely.

By this stage it was getting close to dinner time, so I sped things up a bit.
Returning to the rear wheel, I realised I had forgotten yet another tool – my large torque wrench!

I fitted the sprocket, then set the torque wrench to the specified torque and fastened the nuts in the same star pattern I’d loosened them in.

I quickly cleaned up the rear axle bolt.

I cleaned the left side of the swingarm, reassembled the rear wheel and moved it into place.

I cleaned and re-greased the left chain adjuster and slid it back in.

I greased up the rear axle bolt liberally.

I realised I’d almost forgotten to reconnect the rear brake lever rod.

After sorting out the rear brake, I pushed the axle bolt through.

Finally, I replaced the bracket for the wear indicator and moved the bike under cover again.

At this point I called it a night and went to buy something for dinner.

I got the chain fitted the next day, but I will cover that in next week’s post!.

Erica’s Still Not Sparking – CB250RS Ignition Troubles

This week, I spent some more time on Erica’s electrical system.

I tried kick starting her a few more times with no luck, so I decided to check the spark plug.

While the plug was a little dirty, it didn’t seem too bad.

I checked the spares box and found another plug to test with. Unfortunately this plug was in worse shape than the one I’d taken out!

I decided to try it anyway.

while replacing the plug lead, the cap came off altogether! I pushed it back in as hard as I could and tried starting Erica again.

I still didn’t have much luck with getting a spark, so I decided to use some contact cleaner to get the soot off the better of the two plugs. The result was far better than expected!


I still wasn’t able to get the engine to kick over, although the compression sounds good. I decided to cut my losses and clean the other spark plug before giving up for the day.

I’ll have to find the spare spark plug coil and lead in my spares collection, although I’m thinking the battery might be too far gone to salvage. Hopefully I’ll have some time to test out this theory soon.

More Work On Erica’s Electrics But She Still Won’t Start

This week, I had some time to work on Erica again.

The first thing I did was take another look at the battery I’d taken from Erica and tried to rejuvenate. The electrolyte was looking quite low in some cells again, so the battery may not be salvageable. I topped up the cells with demineralised water again just in case.

The smart charger at least showed a usable voltage after topping up this time, which seemed like a good sign.

The battery cage has seen better days, as there is a surface coat of rust on it. I’m not too worried about that at this point, that will be a cosmetic issue to fix later.

I decided to clean the battery terminals before refitting the battery.


The battery once again seemed to have enough charge, so I replaced in its original location.


I unlocked the fuel filler cap retainer and added a few litres of fuel to the tank.

I put the seat back on top and tried kickstarting the bike a few times.

I wasn’t able to get ther to fire up and there was still no activity on the lights, so I reconnected the charger and tried the key in the Park position. To my surprise, the tail light came on! There’s clearly a bit more work than I thought to be done with the electrical system.

Finally, I slid the rubber for the kickstart lever back on, as  I;d left it after never fully removing it some time ago.

I’ll have to go over the wiring diagrams a few more times and order some replacement terminals before I tackle re-soldering the missing wiring inside the headlight – while I’m at it I’ll give the switches and fuses a thorough check as well.