Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dummies guide to cleaning

I ride my bike daily in all sorts of weather, and friends are always intrigued how I keep it looking like new, despite the fact it's coming up to a 4th birthday soon.  This is what I use:

  • Rinse bike with water, then use car wash (Turtlewax) in a bucket and use a cloth to get off the solid stuff.
  • I then dry it with a clean towel and let the water remnants evaporate in the sun.
  • I usually then lube the chain, and give all of the pivot points a squirt of lube
  • I then use pledge on all of the plastics - the blue one designed for hard surfaces.  It works beautifully on the fairing, indicators, mirrors, black plastics like the guards and the Givi cases and instruments. (I keep Pledge on the bike to keep my visor clean too)
  • I then use Turtlewax Ice liberally on all painted surfaces and wheels.  It leaves no residue and shines beautifully and can be used every time.  It's even good on plastics, and much easier than waxes.
  • I use wadding polish on the exhaust, and use Solvol Autosol on the more stubborn marks
  • I then get a clean microfibre cloth and buff everything up
Keeping a coat of wax (or in this case some synthetic polymer) on the bike keeps it looking clean - no corrosion.  I use CRC to clean oil and tar spots off things and I find it's the little things that matter..

It leaves me with a clean bike, but also gives a good opportunity to see if there's any fasteners loose or anything that needs attention.

I know, I should be riding and not cleaning, but when I can't get out, the bike is all the better for it.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Cleaning Gear position switch

I have a GiPro ATRE fitted and noticed that it was getting erratic showing 5th and 6th gear, often reading "0".  The neutral light was also getting variable, and it was clear that the gear position switch was playing up.  Ordered one from the US and replaced it and all was good again for over a year. (Item 40 below)

Since then it started playing up again, so I got some contact cleaner, removed the switch and sprayed it until it ran clear.  Worked a treat, and I have fixed another one the other day.  Definitely the preferred option in the first instance is cleaning it, although I have had to clean it more and more and decided to replace it.

The GSF1250 part is 37730-18H01 but I ordered number 37730-18H02, which is the later switch for the GSX1250FA with the identical engine.  Works perfectly and I am hoping the different part number means Suzuki made it more reliable.   I have not seen any GSX owners reporting issues

Regarding cleaning, Jools listed some helpful photos and is happy for me to link to them, so try this for a step by step if you need it:

Jools' post pictures are reproduced below with his consent:

1.  Undo the red arrowed bolts

2.  It will look like this.  You can just see the gear position switch behind the gear shifter rod.  You don't need to remove it - just use a long allen key or drive head.  The sensor on the front just below the shifter rod with the single allen bolt is the speedo pickup (if your speedo is playing up, check that it isn't caked with old grease) 

3.  This next picture shows the switch up close.  Undo both bolts and pull the switch gently back, being careful not to displace the o-ring

4.  Flush the switch with contact cleaner until it runs clean, put blue loctite on the bolts and replace.  Don't overtighten it.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

New levers

I was looking at a GSXR1000 the other day which had some black Pazzo style shorty levers.  They looked good.  I bought a set of shorty ones off Ebay for USD$24.90.  They arrived promptly from Hong Kong and the quality is good.  I wasn't keen on the shorty ones as my hands were a bit big, so a guy at work took them and I just got a standard length set off the same seller (Goodparts 112233).

Just fitted and they look great.  They are T6 Aluminium and look and feel like Pazzos.  Even if they wear fast, at $24.95 I can afford to go through a few sets!

You do need to swap over the cylindrical brass widget from the stock lever for the clutch master cylinder pushrod to slide into:

OK -Stop press.  If you get off your bike in a hurry to vomit (don't ask - it was viral), and in your haste knock the adjustment lever on the clutch to "1", your bike won't start, as it's just enough to not trigger the clutch interlock.  It will make you swear.  A lot.  Until you find it.  I kid you not.  Good security too!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tuneup time

I thought I'd do my own 18K service.  I took the day off work and:

  • Oil and filter (the removal tool is a must)
  • New plugs (old ones were OK, but what the hell)
  • Cleaned and oiled the BMC filter
  • Cleaned and oiled the chain and all the pivot points
  • Checked tyres/coolant etc
  • Balanced the throttle bodies.  There's 3 ways of doing this.  One is the bike shop using the Suzuki SDS and laptop and balancing tool.  The next is using the Suzuki test switch and a balancing tool.  (What I used).  In the absence of a switch or the SDS, you can apply vacuum to the IAP sensor (number 1) and lock the tube with vicegrips.  You can't just hook the balancer up without it, or it'll choke up and die.  The test switch method was easy.  Plug her in, turn on, start bike and let it heat until the fan comes on.  Remove fuel tank, connect the balancer (see below) to the vacuum lines and adjust to the no. 2 cylinder.  A big difference and a lot smoother.  A lot.
I bought a Morgan carbtune (62 pounds ex UK with free postage), and it was easy.  An investment worth having

Saturday, October 9, 2010

New GSR750

This is similar to the GSR600.  A detuned GSXR750 in a naked frame. Very nice

Saturday, October 2, 2010

GSXR coloured Bandit Heritage(check the video)

Now this is better than the usual single coloured ones.  I did like the white one shown below, the the blue and white looks sharp.  I checked out a bright yellow M109R today, and that looked quite good.  I must admit the colour scheme for the new GSX1250FA models leaves me cold.  Silver, black and blue.......

Come on Suzuki, give us some better schemes!

Bandit 1250 GT official video

OK, so it's not in English, but bikes don't speak.

Friday, October 1, 2010


I really want to make the bike stand out when commuting.  Too many SMIDSY's out there ("sorry mate, I didn't see ya").

I put some Narva Platinum H7 bulbs in.  They are a "whiter" light.  I don't think they make me see any better, but the light is more distinctive.  I also removed the small park lights either side of the headlight and replaced them with 1 watt LEDs.  They draw only 20% of the current of the bulbs they replace, but are extremely bright - almost a blue white.  I got them from:

I added some bikevis bullet lights under the fairing lower edge at the front.  They are very bright for their size.  The 4 LEDs add a "square" of light around the headlight, making it stand out a little more whilst keeping current draw minimal

Do they work?  They get noticed and cars move out of the way for me more.

Sunshine at last

Finally, a sunny day.  Got out over to the Wairarapa, which takes me over the Rimutakas.  A winding, mountainous road just made for bikes.  Got to test the gel seat for a longer ride (almost 4 hrs) and it's a lot better than the standard one.  Doesn't crush down (no pies jokes, please), and I seem to sit more "in" it than "on" it.

The Bandit rode well.  Can't fault it really.

Looks like a lot of people dusted off their bikes this morning.  The Harley crew were all out in their open face helmets and black Harley uniforms.  The sports bike riders were ignoring "no passing lines", and there were a few aggressive car driver out there too.  I just wish some bike riders would be a touch more sensible, (not overtaking on blind corners over "no passing" lines might be a start) as one day we will be facing even stricter regulation of our ability to ride.

and this is where I rode it

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Gel Seat

The factory seat on the Bandit is a bit ordinary.  It feels nice initially to sit on, but the foam is too soft, compresses and on a trip starts to cause a deep seated (literally) ache.

The options were things like an aftermarket seat (too expensive as all sourced ex USA), getting the seat re-covered and new foam in NZ (at least $500) or a Suzuki gel seat.  Rather optimistically I priced the gel set through Suzuki NZ, and almost fell over when quoted $1000 (yes, one thousand dollars) ex Japan with a 10 week delivery time.  No sale for Suzuki there!!

The answer?  Ebay.  Ex USA, as new gel seat off a wrecked bike, $187USD.  The sellers didn't realise it was the gel seat, but fortunately I was going through the pictures and recognised it for what it was.  New they are $286 on Ebay.

Took less than 2 weeks to arrive, bolted straight on and perfect condition.  It's wider, heavier and has far more robust vinyl with a heavy basket weave on the rider's part.  It is much firmer and I don't think this seat has been used much at all.  Initial impressions are that it is much higher quality than the OEM seat.  I haven't had a chance yet for a longer ride, but it's unlikely to cause the same issues with the foam compressing.

Always worth shopping around.  I just wish Suzuki NZ didn't charge so much, as all it does is drive my shopping off shore.

UPDATE: The longest ride to date has been over 4 hours and 400 km.  Much better than stock and I don't get the pain I got in the past.  A good buy. (And it's adjustable and I have it on "high")

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Foray into Youtube

I finally had a crack at posting to Youtube.  Works well, although my video quality could be better.  I'll get a better camera and do something with a commentary.  This video should give you an idea about the time I spend working on this bike.  Given it gets used daily in all sorts of weather, it looks really good.  Paint protection film in key areas and regular coating with polymer protectant wax and general elbow grease, silicone spray and keeping things clean seems to work.  Suzuki make a good product, and it's easier to keep a waxed bike clean than leaving it for ages.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Some cleaning

The rain cleared for a while, and after a ride, I thought I'd give the bike a clean.  Scrubs up quite well.  The NZ K8 touring models have the "Touring" decal on the fairing.  The K9s didn't.  The decal looks good, but is somewhat fragile.  I haven't seen these on any images of bikes from Europe, UK, Canada or the US.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A couple more


Some personal favourites needing no introduction:

Bandit side cases

I thought I'd turn the Givi V35 side bags into Suzuki ones.  The only difference is a sticker, which is amazingly hard to track down.  Here's the part number: 990D0-V35SC-LOG.



Same size and a self-adhesive fit.

I also got the red inserts for the bags, and the part number is: 990D0-V35SC-YHL

An easy fit and I also put some reflective tape behind the red lenses on the bags as it makes them light up with headlights on them

F800 abuse


Check this link.  This guy can really ride a fully set up F800.  It's a plug for Twisted Throttle, but I don't mind.  They have sold me a lot of stuff as it's cheaper to buy from dealers in the States than the locals.  It's ironic - I'd rather support local retailers, but the Suzuki markup in NZ  is obscene.  A Gel seat in the US is around $260US and less than $500NZ landed.  Through Suzuki NZ, it's $1000.  I can understand a hundred bucks here and there, but there's no reason for such a disparity.

Anyway, check this out:

Bloody weather

I don't know.  Every time I get to the weekend and think "there's a decent ride here somewhere", it's raining. Hard.  We are enjoying a major bad weather warning, rain, gales etc.  Riding home tonight, some breather had caused a several car pileup and the traffic was intense (at least I was on a bike and got through).  I am starting to go stir crazy.

Now the Bandit is out of warranty I am doing my own maintenance.  Basics anyway.  Oil and filter, chain, pivot points, air filter etc.  I'll leave valve clearances to the experts.  I guess I could do them, but with shim and bucket it's a hassle without a shim collection.  At least with the BMC filter on it I can wash that out, so most of the major cost items are do-able by me.  The oil's easy to do.

The bandit doesn't need much maintenance.  The scottoiler has meant that I haven't had to adjust the chain in over a year, and no signs of wear at nearly 15,000 km so far (not that I'd expect it).  The bike is literally get on and go, so my fiddling is confined to cleaning and adding bits to make it more user friendly.

More rain this weekend means I may pull off the fairing lowers and give it all a good clean and check frame bolts and other fasteners for tightness.  Then again I could just stay in bed.

Bring on summer!  Please.  Before I polish the bike to death.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

When it's raining.. can live vicariously at the Isle of man TT with Guy Martin.  That's some serious riding!

Fitting a Stebel Nautilus

The Stebel Nautilus is a fantastic air horn for a bike. My last 2 bikes have had them fitted and I have also assisted friends with fitting them to their bikes. They make an enormously large sound for a compact unit, and certainly make car drivers pay attention.

I have had a few people query where to fit the Stebel on the GSF1250S. The attached pics show the process.  If you remove the black fairing "inner' (the piece that Suzuki love sticking the warning label on), you will see a spare bolt hole on the front left frame downtube. Going back about 6 inches is another bolt holding a small bracket on. I use both. The way I do it is to keep the fairing on, but remove the black inner. I hold the Stebel in one hand on the left hand side, and use cardboard to get the distances and angles right. I then use steel strap.

One piece, shaped a bit like an "L" goes from the rearmost small bolt that holds a small bracket for cabling, and I bolt another piece to this "L" through to the bolt hole on the front down tube for additional strength. I have used this for 2 Bandits now, and the horn is mounted vertically and is fully out of the weather. Use Nyloc nuts or loctite.

Make sure you use a relay!
The bracket and fasteners
Looking from steering stem nut down to left

Friday, September 10, 2010

Things that make me go hmmmm...

Why do people...

..tell me I must be mad riding a bike as they are dangerous?  I know they are dangerous, which is why I like them.  If I wanted to live without danger I'd never leave the house.  I have decided that, as Simon and Garfunkel so aptly put it, I am following the river of death downstream, so I am damn well going to do it in the boat of my choice.

If I'm not getting out of this life alive, I may as well enjoy the bits in the middle.


......change lanes and indicate while they are doing it?  I can see they are doing it as I brake with my arse clenching the seat.  It might be nice that they use that little indicator stalk to indicate their intention, not their action.  Still, it must be hard for some people to do this when they are talking on their cell phone and picking their nose.


.......follow you like they are a duckling after its mother?  I saw an advertisement once that had a pedestrian following another really closely and as the guy in front sped up, so did he.  It looked ridiculous, and the ad said something like: "looks silly?  So why do it in your car?"


.....look you in the eye at an intersection then pull out in front of you anyway?  In fact, this ad always does my head in:

Drool factor

I looked at a B King today.  1340cc of nastiness.  I know it wouldn't be as practical as my bike, but what a machine.  I have avoided riding one, as it would be like having a date with Latetia Casta.  It would spoil things.  I'll just revert to drooling.

So why do I ride?

Why did I start riding?  Well it all came down to the fact that the girl I was seeing had a sister who was seeing a guy with a bike.  A Honda Elsinore 250, to be precise, and I thought it was kind've cool, and the rest is history.  If you've read this site, you'll see I have had a lot of bikes, as I enjoy change.  Some of them, quite frankly, have been dogs, but you need to try these things.  (Now this is starting to sound like my previous love life).

Riding was always a pretty solo activity, even with a girl on the back you couldn't really talk or interact until you got to your destination.  I guess I always enjoyed that.  Learning martial arts was always a personal journey, and riding really complemented it.  The thing I have always enjoyed was the zen aspects of riding.  You are in the environment, the smells, the feelings, the movement, the noises, the temperature.  You are close to your own mortality.  In the moment far more than sitting behind the TV screen that is a car windscreen.

I love the way the world turns off other than the immediacy of the moment.  No worries.  No work pressures.  Nothing but the experience and the bike. I've tried the i-pod when riding, but it's not for me.

If you've never ridden, it's hard to compare, but I imagine a lot of people doing their favourite hobby experience something similar.


OK, I know this isn't bike related, but this guy's site appeals to me.  A lot.  He has a wicked sense of sarcastic humour coupled with the ability to write like someone who's planet's sky is another colour.  I wish I could do this sort of thing without getting into trouble.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bandit pics

Some of the 1250 Bandit and GSX1250FA Brochures and pics I have come across:




GSF1250 L0

GSF1250 GT (UK Model)


GSX1250 FA K10