So whilst I kinda prefer to write posts or make videos about a specific subject from start to finish, that’s not how my life is working at the moment, and whilst I’ve not posted that doesn’t mean I haven’t been up to much…quite the opposite, I’ve been doing loads and have loads to report on different fronts, but none of them has particularly concluded in a meaningful way yet…so perhaps this will have to be done in stages as things progress.
So for reasons best known to nobody I’m still hell bent on figuring this wheelies & drifting thing out on the 125, especially since now I *know* it can be done.
I’ve found myself a couple of quiet little spots to practice at (private property/non-road), my exhaust’s deliberately not obnoxiously loud so as not to annoy anyone and I don’t tend to stay in one spot very long either…so I’ve had a few decent little practice sessions without any complaints so far.
It’s been very fun, though quite a lot to take in and remember but generally when I go out there’s A Thing I want to try and improve at and that’s an approach which has been working so far. Slow but steady progress,
Whilst I still suck at actual wheelies I’ve been able to get to the point where I can more or less pop the front wheel up if I want to with a reasonable success rate, from both sitting and standing positions.
We get properly wheels up, it all goes quiet for a moment and then we’re back in the room. exactly what happens in the quiet bit I’m still not sure but I like it, and am using the video footage to find out more…That quiet moment/feeling is what we’re here for.
However as somewhat expected, practicing has been hard on the bike so there’s a few things which need/ed attention so I wasn’t too happy about doing more before she’d has some TLC and was in better shape.
My winter/offroad rear tyre still has a puncture and my drift/stunt practice wheel has the tyre worn square so I only have the sport demon rear left – that all needs sorting out, as well as new fork seals, check head set bearings etc..lots to do.
However, just changing to a manual chain tensioner ended up being a whole 2-week detour waiting for parts to replace much of the cooling system, and then waiting for more cooling system parts. Not entertaining or fun, but at least now the cooling system *seems* to be working a bit better and the “Yamaha Ticking” is mostly gone (there’s a video on that coming up).
I’ve even seen the radiator fan come on so we know that works too. Given things like the 4+hour non-stop run to see my friend at the coast , (with luggage) which is a pretty relentless run (for the bike), having a working cooling system is probably a good thing. Anyway..I digress.
The nice thing is that that where I ended up at, is that you can pretty much give the bike full throttle and drop the clutch and up she comes, though it’s a little nerve wracking to do that…and doing so will highlight any sub-optimal functioning of your clutch system, which results in disappointment instead of dankness. Mine showed up multiple issues – cable stiction/tension, worn clutch, poorly fitting lever. However, now the lever fits me perfectly and I can operate it with 1 finger, and when you drop it and it drops all the way and fully engages. The nice thing is that also means it pulls harder when riding and reaches higher top speed even with the wider bars so debugging that made the bike quicker overall \o/
Full throttle is also pretty repeatable, whcih ought to help with being consistent.
Wheelies-wise the “next thing” I think I need to be working on is not chopping the throttle once we’re up, since that brings it all to an end, but the thing which is stopping me from doing that is fear I’ll drop or loop the bike.
So to somewhat alleviate that fear I’m taking some steps to make sure she’s better protected in case of a drop, which is *inevitable*, and almost becomes moreso (and likely more ironically/spectacularly so) the longer I go without dropping.
Since nobody sells stunt cages for this bike (that I’m aware of) I’ve designed a little ‘cage’ to protect the engine etc based on what I’ve see from other people’s cages.
It integrates with the R+G frame sliders mounts (since I have that already and it spreads the load a bit more) and should be easily removable (e.g. to go back to full fairings for a track day). I think it will only mean I temporarily lose the boomerang panels, otherwise everything else stays intact, with no drilling of plastics. It should also give an extra couple of footholds/places-to-stand on the bike for certain types of antics.
I don’t know how well this will work but I’ve got some rubber shock mounts which I’ve seen used as engine mounts and been very impressed with in the past. I used to work somewhere where they were installed on road-building machines whose sole job it was to wobble like a mofo to level out rubble and they lasted forever and took some serious abuse.
Whether these dampers are as good I don’t know but that was also 20 years ago so maybe vibration damper technology has moved on.
My plan for the cage is that it’ll be a rigid triangle out of steel tubes which form an outer shell and provide 3 points of impact.That shell is mounted at 3-4 points on each side with these rubber mounts, along with a cross brace which also sends some of the load to the other side. The bits of the frame which stick out and will hit the pavement will get 30mm delrin/acetal “pucks” (sacrificial plastic bits) to actually take the tarmac damage (profiled and made to fit the steel sleeves on the lathe), but the rubber mounts should also further protect the frame from sudden shocks which might cause cracking or whatever.
It’s all designed to yield and flex a little so that it doesn’t get torn apart as the bike frame flexes in normal use, but the flexing helps take up the force of an impact and spreads the landing over 3-4-(5 including rear pegs?) points of contact…a bit more like a person lands than a rigid machine.
To the best of my understanding I’ve made it so that the impact from a lowside or side landing would also spread the load pretty evenly, not focus it all on the engine or whatever (which given the open design of the lower part of the frame would be easy to do).
Whether this stands up to pavement or not I don’t know, especially as I’m still trying to keep it fairly light, but I usually over-engineer things so let’s see what happens.
I’ve ordered some bmx stunt pegs for the back too since I’m not so keen on the passenger pegs as they are and I’d also like the rear pegs to provide some side-impact resistance (along with the cage etc) rather than folding up. I reckon I can adapt the bmx pegs on the lathe and make delrin pucks for the ends of those too so there are sacrificial plastics on the tail as well as the cage. The more impact points the more the load should be spread, the better I think. The passenger peg carriers will also get an additional little cross-brace or two to beef them up a little.
I already have to take the tail plastics off to fit or remove the rear pegs so it shouldn’t really even add any inconvenience, I *think* I should just be able to fit and remove both passenger pegs and reinforcements together as a single unit.
It would probably be a good idea to get (make) a 12-o’clock bar or something to protect the tail light in case I loop it right over backwards, but that’s also why I’m adding the rear handbrake (to try and prevent that). I’m going to see how the rest shapes up before worrying about that.
Then again holding on with 2 fingers, operating a clutch with index and rear brake with middle finger, whilst balancing the bike and exercising proper throttle control…might take a little bit of practice to get down 😉
I’m also going to go and get myself some better body protection – I’m old and fragile so have no problem being armoured up. My new gloves from public enemy in Australia are the first part of that and recently arrived (and are gorgeous!). I’ll do more detail on those once I’ve actually ridden with them for a while.