Another sunny day means another photoshoot.
Final post for a while as away from home and am still waiting for the carbs to return. Just a photo dump of the project as of beginning of October (2016).
So even though I haven’t really written almost anything about it, I ‘ve done quite a bit of work on the electrics on the bike which I thought I would review for you while waiting for the carbs to return.
So some of you may have noticed that near the beginning of the project I was using a yellow battery. I bought from eBay which worked fine but recently I purchased this bad boy (also from eBay)
“Shido Lithium Ion 36W Battery” as you can tell by its name, is a lithium ion battery which means it is as light as a feather and apparently puts out much more power to turn the bike over. Also has pretty lights 🙂 I also picked up this little gadget that I have fitted into the underside of the subframe which flashes (looks like an alarm flash) so I can see what charge is on the bike (red.. yellow.. green..).
If I’m still not sure, this £3 dial shows the real voltage of the battery. As I couldn’t find a place I was happy to mount it on the front dash (I will come to the details on the changes to the front dash later in this post) I decided to mount it next to the fuse box (logical)(no pictures of it mounted yet).
Again, some of you may have noticed I relocated the fuse box to under the new passenger seat of the R9 subframe as I can quickly access this with a key (whereas the main seat needs an alan key).
Working my way forward on the bike we come to the coils. So I have already shown you these in an earlier post“Post 14” . I will just leave some pics of them on the bike.
(Pics Coming Soon)
If you have seen my build before, I made a post a while ago about how I bought this amazing speedo “..” and how this my perfect speedo… bla bla bla …
Yes this is an amazing speedo and would be great on any bike but in my opinion it does not look right on a street fighter. It’s too big for a bike that is meant to be about minimalizing and looking aggressive.
So the speedo I went for was a Dan Moto – Nano Dash.
Not sure how it will work out as haven’t used the bike yet but it fits nicely in the brace on the handle bars and works well with the look. Still need to add the speed sensor and calibrate it but will do that later when I tackle the front brakes.
The RF900 hand controls looked…in a single word…tired. However, the design was an even bigger issue – very much of a certain era, with those sharp angles and button shape. I felt like it need an update to complement the speedo and Brembo RCS Cylinders next to them.
The left hand controls are from a 06 Bandit 1200 . As always, bought from eBay. Much better looking and was fairly easy to match up the correct wires. Also has a hazard button which could come in handy 🙂
The right hand controls are from a 02 Hayabusa . Originally I bought the right hand controls from another Suzuki (can’t remember which model) as there was no throttle casing on the controls. This was because I was planning to add a quick throttle.
I can still do this in the future but for the moment I am using the standard throttle and cabling which will probably suit my riding better.
So the head light has been quite obvious since the bike changed direction to become a StreetFighter. Its call a YAMAHA MT03 bought from (?) with a pair of mounting brackets that I had powdercoated to match the rest of the RF.
I will also be buying a LED bulb & converter as the post on the rfownersclub forum has shown how much better they are.
NO ALARM YET… will be looking to add a Thatcham alarm once I get the bike running.
Some proper images of the Akrapovic headers on the RF900 StreetFighter in all its glory.
BUT WAIT… THERE’S MORE…
I have the final pièce de résistance to complete the perfect exhaust….
Honestly, I found this a little while ago but was saving it for when the bike had the exhaust on properly.
Can’t wait to hear it running but the carbs are still being rebuilt with Rob at Hampshire Motorcycles.
I had already previously moved the RF900’s thermostat but didn’t really write about it. Many people who choose to turn the RF900 into a street fighter don’t bother to move the thermostat from the mount point on the outside right hand side of the frame, which in my opinion looks nasty and a little lazy – other people have proved that it looks so much better moved under the tank. Moving the thermostat was probably the only thing that I succeeded to do during my first StreetFighter build attempt.
Some people say there isn’t enough room under the tank for the thermostat. I had made it work before (although it did rest a little on the breather case) and with this build and the new stick coils – (more on that in my next post) I had plenty of room to work with. I could even use the mount points from the old coils to make a proper bracket for the thermostat.
One thing you may have noticed is that I have changed the black end of the thermostat. The original RF900 thermostat has a right angled connector to connect the radiator. With the relocation and new bracket I found that this angle was too sharp to produce a nice flow to the radiator. So I used the straight connector from the GSXR1100 – which fit perfectly to the RF900 thermostat.
It seems that the pipe work for the new black end is a little smaller that the original part but I don’t think it will affect the cooling performance especial as in the UK the weather rarely gets very hot.
Cap needs painting
Overflow bottle. Always a good question – what to do with the overflow bottle on a street fighter? The RF900 overflow bottle was originally attached to the subframe under the big arse fairings. It is not the best looking part to come from a Suzuki.
Therefore, a new water bottle was needed. Found this one on eBay. Not sure it is perfect but will do for now.
Mounting point will most likely be near the radiator but will have to decide exactly where nearer the first run.
The newly painted engine will also need some pretty new water hoses, mostly for aesthetic reasons but the old hoses had a lot of crud in them and were pretty tired after being on the bike for 17 years.
Radiator needs some work… not sure what to do.
May look for a new one (saw one on eBay for an RF900 – £450!!!) or get it reconditioned as others have done on the rfownersclub. If it cleans up nicely I may be able to hide most of the broken fins with the new RF900 Radiator grill.
So it took a month but the engine is finally back and looking amazing. List of things done:
and last (but not least) a new windowed clutch cover for the RF900. Looks amazing but I feel like the hub cover needs some colour… just not sure how to accomplish that.
Putting a newly painted engine in a powder coated frame single handedly was not an easy task.
Done and looking rather nice.
OK, so while the engine is being repaired I have a bit of a confession, I lied a little bit. I said that after I broke my engine I didn’t touch the bike till the beginning of 2016. However, the desire to work on the RF actually struck in early December 2015.
I was looking at others’ StreetFighters on customfighters.com and decided that if the engine was more than I could deal with (and it was) at least I could make some progress on something I could do – the petrol tank.
Back in 2013, feeling that the petrol tank didn’t look right on the bike (it had a Grand Canyon style groove all around the edge) I started work on some much needed modification (see Post 16). Coming back to work on it that December, I quickly realized that, due to my lack of experience in bodywork, an amateur DIY attempt on the most visible part of bodywork left on the bike wasn’t going to cut it.
As you can see from the images above I began again to work on removing the gap and creating a nice smooth flow to the body work where it meets the frame.
So I couldn’t fix my engine and I couldn’t finish the tank to a standard I was going to be happy with (I was feeling pretty useless). Overall, I guess I just really didn’t want to spoil all the hard work I had put into the rest of the bike. So I called a local company Fix Auto Petersfield who agreed to do the work, remove the gap and even prime and paint the tank for me!
My original goal for the tank was to make it look like carbon, in order to match the subframe fairings. My research showed that the best way to achieve a carbon look (without an actual carbon tank) was to get the tank carbon skinned. This involves sanding the tank down, priming it with an adhesive and laying a sheet of real carbon fiber over the tank, which is then built up with layers of resin to protect it and give it a realistic carbon effect. This should last better and look more realistic than a hydrographic carbon effect.
Fix Auto Petersfield agreed to fill the gap and prime the tank ready for the carbon skinning (which they couldn’t do for me). I collected the tank on Christmas eve and looking very smart, ready for carbon skinning.
See the next post for some better images of it on the bike.
OK so I’ll admit it – it’s been a long time since I’ve updated my RF900 StreetFighter blog… a very, very long time. But there’s an excellent reason for that…namely that I haven’t actually done much to my StreetFighter….
However, last summer (2015), I have finally pulled my finger out and did some work. And I have finally got around to sorting out my website , photos and written up some of the progress to my StreetFighter.
First step, getting rid of dust covers (Summer 2015).
And then tiding up electrics, as the RF900 was such a fat arse in comparison to the new R6 subframe.
After a little bit of fiddling to get the correct fit, the Akrapovic Headers now fit in the RF and looking great (sorry for lack of good images). As this project became a StreetFighter with no fairings to hide the headers, so I am so glad I went with the stainless steel exhaust system (and the fact it’s an Akrapovic is just the icing on the RF 🙂 )
(I will talk about the overflow bottle later)
The carbs are in dire need of some TLC (after sitting unused for the best part of a 3-4 years) but before sending the carbs off for rebuild, decided to try and start the RF900 and see if it was still running after it’s long hibernation!
Why do I never make life easy on myself? Being an idiot, I tried to start the RF using just the trickle charger. Unfortunately, I was ignorant of the fact that the trickle charger does not produce enough power to actually turn the engine over. Convinced that the starter motor had broken during its long rest, and I bought another second-hand from eBay and tried to fit it.
Unfortunately all I managed to do was shear both the starter motor bolts and swear a lot.
I took the engine out of the frame to make some room for me to get a drill in and remove the bolts, only to drop the engine and break the waterpump hose connector….
To top it off, in an effort to salvage some kind of productive work from this series of disasters, I tried to remove the bolts whilst I had the engine out and broke my brand new diamond drill bit off inside one of the bolts…
Absolutely furious with myself, I stopped before I broke anything else and didn’t touch the bike again for about 6 months.
Skipping forward to the beginning of 2016 and enough time has passed that I have calmed down and have some more money in hand. Time to try and get the RF900 back on track to be a StreetFighter (and not just an ornament that friends ask me when I’m going to finish).
After searching eBay and rfownersclub it seemed that a “new” engine would be cheaper than the cost of removing the sheared bolts and buying a new water pump (the water pump alone was £150!!!).
But, after nearly 6 months of looking for an engine and nothing appearing, it seemed that progress on the RF StreetFighter was once again stalled. Then my patience paid off and a “like new” water pump appeared on eBay for £40!!! I decided not to wait for a “new” engine to come up and to work on fixing my mistakes instead.
NEW PLAYER HAS ENTER THE GAME … well not quite but I felt that I needed help, both to get the bolts removed from the engine and to fit the new waterpump. I figured it was also worth getting the engine checked over to make sure nothing else was broken. After 17 years, the engine was looking a little worse for wear – it could do with a cleanup and a new lick of paint. So, I reach out to a Southampton based company, Hampshire Motorcycles, that I had contacted before about upgrading my front brake calipers (to match the Brembo rear calipers) – I’ll touch on that topic in a later post.
After a great conversation with their mechanic Rob, who was great – really knowledgeable and understanding about what I was trying to do (recommended for anyone who needs work done in the area), I came up with a job list for them to complete and at the end of July (2016) I took the engine and carbs down to Southampton for work to begin. Rob explained that if they couldn’t get the sheared bolts out then a new engine would be needed.
All that was left to do now was wait and hope that the damage I had caused was repairable.
I have been hit by a bit of luck. As most have noticed from the photos, the bike was still lacking an exhaust system. I could have just put the standard one back on but it seemed like a shame to skimp by doing that. The other options where a Yoshimura system I had found in Germany or an Akrapovic system for a GSXR 1100W which will fit the RF 900.
Both options needed large finical backing but I really wanted the Akrapovic which would mean finding just under £800 🙁
Over a year of praying to and watching the fleebay gods (along with alerts to keys words) I got lucky.
The standard oval Akrapovic exhaust was pretty broken but could be made in to a stubby if needed, however I really wanted to find a carbon hexagonal Akrapovic exhaust to put on the RF 900 so wasn’t too worried. I also can’t really complain seeing that I got it for £120 and the headers were spotless apart from needing a really good polish!
So that’s what I did. Sent them to a small father / son company in Southampton called Tuck & Son
Really pleased how they turned out seeing that they looked quite bad when I got them.
Hope to have these fitted and some more updates soon.
So, very little progress on the actual bike due to current working situation but have had a few parts come.
I decided not to flake out and have bought myself a Brembo RCS clutch and brake cylinders.
Also, to the delight of many on here , I have decided that I would to streetfighter this project for the mean time.
The work I was doing on the fairing and the headlights was coming along but as many pointed out it was looking a bit too large for the bike. It would have also been a lot of work to the to make the fairings fit and give them the “Taylor” look and I have this giant urge just to get out and ride.
So, as some may know I am currently doing an MSc and have had to cut down on hours at my part-time job and time spent on the bike due to the sheer amount of work.
I hope to start working on it again this summer (2013) but there are no certainties and it may take a bit longer. Anyway the sun was out and I thought I would get some pictures to look at while I in the library staring at a computer screen.
So I did some research that provided some very interesting results. Many of you know that the RF and MK1 Bandits share a lot of parts but the bandit is a much more popular bike for modifiers and streetfighters. This means that there are more upgrades for the bandit, some of which can be taken across to the RF.
Bandit Mk1 Brembo rear conversion Kit from MHP , call for the best price …
Need to sort out the brake line. May need a longer one…
Currently working on the tank. I’ve never been a fan of the nasty lip around the edge of the RF tank. You don’t see this on modern bikes, so I will be getting rid of it with some chemical metal, sandpaper and a lot of time and hard work.
Progress so far…
I bought the coolest speedo I could find (why not?)
To be honest I had been looking at these for a while and eBay finally spat out a very nice price. Ladies and gentlemen, I present the Translogic Microdash 3. God it’s good looking…
So we’re back outside and and I’ve bought some stick coils off a GSXR750 K6/7, along with a damaged wiring loom which I have cut the plugs off.
I am still currently working on the electrics but hope to get the wiring sorted out soon. Talking about electrics, I have also found my new speedo…
I’m was also starting to think about the front faring and, as with the RF tail, I have nothing against the RF front looks but I wanted something a bit special and different. I decided that I would take inspiration from this concept…
Still too ordinary? Little bit.
Also, after all this effort and customisation, I didn’t want it to look just like a Hayabusa. If I wanted something that looked like a Hayabusa, I would have bought a Hayabusa.
Time to mix it up a bit. I decided to change the air ram areas into the headlights.
Spring was in the air, and with it I was being kicked out of the house and back into my chilly workshop. However, I had made good progress on the front fairing and electrics. I was tired and couldn’t be bothered to get off the chair, so this is the photo I’ve got for you guys.
eBay we salute you.
I was inspired by the work of RFOC t0m541 who discovered that GSXR1000 k1-k4 rear sets would fit the RF. This meant I could fit these bad boys. Got these off eBay for a 1/3 of the price of a new set, not sure about the colour but could not pass up on the deal as I could sell them again if I needed. Once again the photos do not do them justice; these are spotless.
Paint scheme still undecided.
However! Found some really cool carbon fibre fairings for the tail and a rear hugger for the swing arm from a company in Ukraine and decided that I would go for it. Looks really nice, photos do not do it justice.
Well it’s time to start making this build look like a bike again.
One thing I love about building a project is that you get to buy so many new parts. It makes it feel like Christmas morning every time the post arrives…
New rear disk.
New Renthal sprockets plus Tsubaki Sigma–XRG chain.
Got me some new rubber, and new bearings here, there and everywhere.
Workshop in the winter was giving me frostbite, so I moved the operation inside. This did not make me particularly popular but it did mean that I didn’t have to worry about bashing newly powder-coated parts on a concrete floor.
See below for the frame, sub frame, swing arm and shock together.
I was putting the rear sprocket using a set of Pro Bolt Anodised Aluminium nuts (swish) with an old torque wrench when I realised I had set up the torque wrench the wrong way round and, as a result, my work had destroyed the nut and the thread on the bolt. Sigh…
Anyway new bolt and nut (more expense…) and rear wheel is done.
Now on to the front end and another tasty buy. As I said, I was not sure on raised bars and have decided that I do prefer the look and feel of the clip-ons. So I treated myself to these beauties:
Don’t powder your forks…
Frontend on. I will just say to anyone who is thinking of powder coating their forks, don’t. It’s not worth the hassle, they’re a bastard to get in without scratching them. Took my brother and I ages to painstakingly get them in there but because the yokes need to be so tight they will mark the powder anyway, meaning that they can not be moved up or down without showing the scratches.
Installing the Engine (Solo)
As I had no help this evening, I had a very interesting time installing the engine… cough, cough; but I got it in finally and without scratching the powder… Yay.
Master Cylinders vs Clip Ons…and the Clip Ons are down and out
Trying some other bits and pieces on. Came across another discovery, the master cylinders will not fit on the new clips ons. This is a pain as it means more expense but does allow me to get new radial ones. I can hear the word Brembo in my head 🙂
Also installed the VIN plate. You can also see some of the damage from installing the forks.
Along with the other parts, I also got my forks powder coated. I haven’t yet mentioned the forks on my bike but as you most likely noticed they were not standard.
The conversion to GSXR1100wp USD forks was done before I bought it and I believe instructions on how to do it can be found the RFOC somewhere (I will add link if I find it). As well as refurbishing the outsides, it was a great time to change the internals to progressive Hyperpro springs which should hopefully full make the ride even better.
I also cleaned and polished up the tops as they looked tired and would have ruined the look of the newly powdered yokes…
Time for paint! Off we go:
I got a quote from Jim at http://www.archerpowdercoatinglimited.co.uk in Portsmouth to do everything in the pictures below (too many to list) for £200.
Paint Job, Round #1
It wasn’t until I got everything home and unwrapped the bubble wrap that I noticed a couple of things:
2. Poor finish on both rims
I immediately took them back and Jim redid the swing arm. Unfortunately Jim explained the rims were made from cast alloy and the powder coating process causes air bubbles in the rims to pop and give the effect seen in the photo. After 3 attempts to re-coat the rims I still wasn’t happy. He finally tried something called a wet coat (?) which seemed to sort out the problem and gave the same finish as the rest of the parts (forgot to take pictures of finished rims.. oops).
Say hello to my new shock absorber.
I believe it’s off a GSXR1000 K8 (which would make it 10 years younger than the RF 900) plus it has an upgraded spring from LRS-MECH (which is only down the road from me). Having the load adjuster built into the shock also helps with the reduced space in the new subframe and tail swap, which is streamlined but a bit cramped.
It fits! (phew)
Had me worried there for a second – but I can run a piece of card between the spring and swing arm when it’s fully extended.
I was really pleased with the work. I used a Gosport company, Bespoke Hants Fabs. Chris, a biker himself, was a really nice guy and the total cost of £200 was reasonable for new mount points, new tank mounting and putting new metal tabs over the frame where the old subframe was cut off.
I bought some rental bars and a Dan moto mini speedometer which I plan to hide in the brace. I am still torn between the raised handle bars versus clip ons so I want to get an idea of what both look like with the new tail swap before powder coating.
Hello my pretty…
I personally think the frame and the lines look a lot better now with the smooth curves.
Now everything had been taken off it was time to call the surgeon. Although I never minded the tail of the RF, I wanted a new look for my custom RF and therefore it had to go…
Used pen to mark off the parts for surgery…
(Don’t want to accidentally cut anything else off!)
Grab the tools…
(remember safety first)..
…and set to work
RF bobber anyone? 😉
And then there was none….
The stand: Figured out pretty quickly that a proper stand was going to be needed, so I picked up an Abba stand and footrest adapters so I could work on both ends without worrying about it falling over.
(p.s. worth every penny)
Bye bye mysterious, nasty lumps
With the subframe gone I could now get an idea of the mock up for the new subframe and tail.
Definitely a 2 man job, so got my little brother to help out…where does the new subframe go?
A few pictures before it was picked up for the welder.
(For anyone interested, check out the BMW 2002tii in the background – our father-son bonding project.)
By now, it is possible that any RF lovers amongst you are just reading in fear as to what crimes I may commit against the Suzuki.
Yes, I am the guy who restricted a 120bhp motorcycle, yes I am going to rip my bike apart. This is your warning – I love the RF but I am going to make it my own and some of you may want to stop reading now as the rest of this thread is rated C for custom.
So lets get this RF undressed…
Found a cheap tail off a 2007 R6 2c0 on eBay. Most of the mount points on the fairing were broken (not said in the description, was very angry) but the subframe was good so I kept it.
Just seeing what it might look like… : ) . Very exciting.
Back to disassembly…
New Part Alert! Bought an Mk1 Bandit swing arm with a R1 brace welded on, from eBay.
Aaaand, back to disassembling…
So 3 years on, me and my Suzuki RF 900 were a little older, a little more bashed up and perhaps a little wiser. Here are a few pics to remember the last days of my trusty RF 900, pre-build.
And on to the new and improved…
Proud owner of my first bike – the Suzuki RF 900. Time to capture this moment forever with a few photos of our first days together…
A short video of the bike running. Unfortunately, I had a bad camera at the time and the picture quality is piss-poor – I’m trying to do something about that and will upload a walk around for the Suzuku RF 900 when I have something semi-decent to show you all.
What to expect: A picture-heavy guide to my StreetFighter journey, and my best attempt to explain my work as best I can.
If you have any questions, or want me to clarify anything – give me a shout – I’m more than happy to add more information or respond to any queries.
Why a StreetFighter?
(And a bit of background on my Suzuki RF 900)
My Suzuki RF 900 was bought in Sept 2009, after spotting it first on eBay and then finding the seller, suzukib, on the RF Owners Club. I was looking for my first bike after doing an intense course with a great company up in Borden – M&C Motorcycle Training – and was running into problems searching for my first motorcycle:
1. Money: Mid-degree and any money I had was being spent fairly quickly on nights out and academic books.
2. Insurance: I had been to several dealers who had shown me trail and enduro bikes but I really wanted something a bit sportier (actually I wanted a older GSXR or a Fireblade). 19-year old guys are uninsurable apparently. Instead of motorcycle insurance quotes (even on 400-600cc cruisers), the figures made it look like I was asking for a quote on a Ferrari!?
3. Size: I’m a big guy (6’5″ and heavy – let’s just say that me and that BMI weight index thing aren’t on talking terms), so trying to find a bike that fit me comfortably, and without looking like a clown tricycle with me perched on top, was proving slightly difficult.
When in doubt, eBay.
Searching for cheap motorcycles on eBay brought me to suzukib’s Suzuki RF 900. On to insurance, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was only around £300 TFT. Even more surprising was that the price for the Suzuki RF 900 was the same as the Suzuki RF 600!
So I immediately called and arranged a viewing. Within 3 days it was on my drive way.
The ink was only just dry on my motorcycle driving license, so a test ride was out of the question as I was still restricted to 33bhp. Pretty daring but I made the call and put my trust in suzukib, who assured me everything was running perfectly. After a full service and fitting of the restriction kit, I had my first ride. My confidence in suzukib paid off.
“RESTRICTION? SACRILEGE! This kid’s a fool!”
Is what you were thinking right? Putting a 120bhp motor down to 33bhp…
Well, for the 2 years of my restriction I got to ride my Suzuki RF 900 and I adored it. And after the 125cc of my training, it seemed like a bloody rocket. I had only ridden 125cc during my training it seemed like a bloody rocket. Sure, after a little while it was noticeable that it had no real power over 8k revs but seeing that I used it mainly to commute to uni and short rides around Hampshire this didn’t bother me too much. As soon as I hit the 2 year limit however, I immediately unleashed the beast. To be honest, after picking her up from the garage for my first unrestricted ride, I opened her up on the slip road onto the A3 and almost shot off the back!
Skipping ahead to May 2012…
For many years I had been watching other builders like martinrf900r’s build, uglyamerican’s and a number of custom streetfighter on customfighters.com and decided that, now I had a part-time job and some money, it was either time to sell my bike and get something newer or make it my own and rebuild it. After much thought (actually really not that much) I decided that there was no way I could give up my Suzuki RF 900 – despite the fact that it was getting tired, paint was worn, the decals were scratched and a previous attempted at painting the wheels and swing arm with spray cans was starting to chip away. I was also having electrical problems with the starter solenoid and clutch fuse wiring which needed to be replaced.
Anyway I decided that if I was going to do it, I was going to do it properly.
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