The James Sheppard Chronicles Part 6
OK, grease monkeys! Now you at home can spend big bucks for dubious reasons and waste the last good riding days of fall swapping forks between brand names!
PARTS: over the course of the summer, while I was learning to ride, I also began piecing together the parts needed to swap the front end.
BARS, TRIPLES, FORKS, WHEEL, CALIPERS, ROTORS, BRAKE MASTER CYLINDER --
BRAKE LINES -- Russell, sourced from my local shop @ $125 CDN, in stainless steel.
FENDER -- $25 CDN: needs some filling an re-painting
BRAKE LEVER -- $40 CDN, and got some additional hoodads and doodads with it.
TAPERED ROLLER BEARINGS -- $85 CDN, for the steering head, from Dennis Kirk in the states.
EX 500 STEM, MACHINE WORK, WELDING -- $200 USD: sourced out to Andre
Now that I've lost track of the cost, we'll get down to the mechanical bits:
REMOVAL: taking off the old forks is quite straightforward, except for the ridiculously-sized allen head bolt securing the front wheel.
Surprisingly, an adequate tool is not supplied with the Kwak, and none suitable are to be found in a small Canadian town on a Sunday. So, some choice words were used as the fork tubes were removed from the triples with wheel attached. Once off, the old cones were banged out of the head tube, and we were ready to put the new parts on.
STEP 1: bearings -- the roller bearings are a snap to install; just remember to use a brass punch and drive the cones/races in evenly.
STEP 2: the steering stops need to be modified, as the Honda lower triples are quite different. Dad was hedgy about taking off the entire stops and then tapping in home-made ones, so we set upon the tedious task of modifying both frame and triple stops. Measuring from a hardpoint on the frame, we determined the distance to the fork at full lock, and aimed to repeat if with the Honda forks. To achieve this, a steep taper was cut into each side of the frame stop, and the triple clamp stops were also cut slightly. By doing both, I got the same steering radius, without (potentially) damaging the lower triple. Mucho thanks to me 'da who helped throughout (did most of the work) and came up with this idea!
STEP 3: the rest of the front end goes together simply. Be sure to double check all fork bolts and tighten them to the proper torque. Also sufficiently tighten the stem-bearing bolt -- adjusting this right the first time is enough!
STEP 4+: the remainder of the tasks are quite easy, but take time to do properly. The EX ignition can be fitted to the Honda triple with some work. The mounting tabs have to be trimmed, and the holes oversized, as the Honda mounting holes are further apart. Some washers and 2 #7 bolts, and you're set.
Both left and rights side electrical controls are secured with a pinch clamp and a plastic pin. New holes have to be drilled into the clip-ons to secure these properly. A neat trick is to use masking tape on the bar, tighten the pinch clamps, and drill the hole where the pin left an impression. The EX throttle also has to be trimmed for length. And finally, the EX speedo cable will not fit the Honda wheel, but Joy! the Honda speedo cable will fit the Kawaspeedo. You're done!
But alas, two embarrassing gaffes:
1. Do NOT listen to the Honda shop manual where it states that, "4-5 squeezes on the lever will purge the brake master cylinder..." After much bewilderment, cursing, and conversation, we started over and realized that it took between 10 and 15 MINUTES of squeezing before all the bubbles disappeared. Live and learn.
2. Use grip lock rather than safety wire on your new rubber. Overtightening will cut the grips. Heh, heh,... don't even ask how I found this bit of information out.
(Please realize that I'm new at this, so these mistakes may appear pretty stupid to some folks out there...)