Everything in its right place

Looking at my whiteboard in the shed [1], among some circuit diagrams, passwords, and general scrawl, there’s a small list, neatly tucked away next to my holiday dates for the year. It looks like this:

  • ✔ Forks
  • ✔ Air Filter
  • ✔ Plug leads/caps
  • ✔ Sprocket(s)
  • ? Head Bearings
  • ✔ Reg/Rec
  • ✔ Re-pack cans
  • Tyres
  • Oil + Filter
  • Brake Pads

I’m not normally that well organised to be honest, but, well, there’s a couple of things coming up in TRX world that need things to be just so. Just right. Firstly, I’ve got a trackday at Cadwell Park coming up – I’ve not been on a track since October last year, and for all I know the TRX hasn’t been on a track since, well, the first time I rode it, back in about 2001 or so. The trackday itself shouldn’t be that hard on the bike, but rather more importantly, a few days after the trackday, I’ll be loading the bike onto the Channel Tunnel, and heading to France for a week of rest and sunshine.

So, what’s with all the things on the list then? Well, that was all the stuff that needs doing before I set off. The forks were done a while back, and I wrote about it at the time. Other than maybe putting in some thicker oil to increase the rebound damping a bit, I’m pretty happy with the way things turned out. Certainly they’re a lot better than they were, and I’m happy that I didn’t have to go the whole hog and throw something like a YZF750 front end on there. So, what else needed/still needs doing?

Air filter. Now that I’m using the bike for work pretty much every day, I need to think about longevity (and comfort!) a bit more. And while those massive unfiltered bellmouths on the FCR41s looked great, and sounded even better, it was always obvious that the engine would last longer with at least some filtering in place. A bit of looking around turned up a lovely Pipercross dual filter, that fits just perfectly:


I have a feeling that it has richened things up a little on the carburation, but nothing untoward. And the best thing (other than hopefully avoiding ingesting small rodents) is that it hasn’t affected the induction noise at all. It still sounds for all the world like God’s vacuum cleaner when you give the throttle a vicious twist.

Plug leads/caps. I was always painfully aware that the old plug leads were just that. Old. And it’s a quick and cheap thing to replace with something a lot newer, so why not? And at the same time, replace the resistors in the plug caps with some brass rod. The plugs already have resistors in there, so there’s really no need for further resistance in the plug caps. I’ve heard all sorts of reasons as to why these are actually there, from suppressing RF interference to allowing lower octane fuel to be used. In the absence of any actual information, I put them to one side and fitted the bits of brass rod in place. And whether it was the new leads, or losing the resistors, it definitely had an impact on the running of the bike. Throttle response is now smoother, and starting is easier. Highly recommended to anyone else with a TRX who’s reading this.

Sprocket. When I rebuilt the thing, I replaced the 525 chain and sprockets with a 520 set by JT. With hindsight, this was a mistake. The chain was junk, and I ended up replacing it after about 2000 miles with a DID chain, which is lasting so much better. And the rear sprocket was a 42T jobbie, from an NX650, as opposed to the stock 39T of the TRX. On the track, this was probably fine (the bike came with a 42T when I picked it up) but on the road, the 42T is pretty short. Particularly with the low first gear of the TDM gearbox. And while this was entertaining for unexpected wheelies, it did get a bit tiresome after a while. So, I needed a 39T rear sprocket, to fit a TRX850, but 520 rather than 525. No chance. I had to get one made – stand up and take a bow B&C express, who handled the making of a beautiful, hard anodized sprocket to fit. It looks great, and it just makes the bike a lot more pleasant to ride on long motorway trips too. The 42T may get refitted for the Cadwell trackday, but I doubt it. The motor feels so un-revvy that I doubt gearing will be critical. Besides, this is a trackday, not a race. There are no prizes for first place.

Head bearings. I’m still unsure about this. For a while I was plagued with a clunky front end, and was convinced that the bearings were shot. So, I ordered up a set of taper roller bearings, and made plans to fit them. However, I ran out of time (and patience, and humour) when attempting to get the old bearing cups out, so I just cleaned up, regreased, and refitted what I had. Since then, it’s actually been OK. I’ll still fit the taper roller bearings, but that’s now dropped to the bottom of the list. Or to whenever I have enough money and time to ask someone else to do it for me. It’s a git of a job.

Reg/Rec. Yes, the old regulator/rectifier fried itself. I’m not surprised really, as it was 20 years old, and what actually happened was that the connector block started arcing, which melted everything, and led to additional load on the reg/rec:

20180509_190357 (1)

Now, in an unbridled display of optimism, I replaced the failed 20yr old Yamaha item with a 30yr old Suzuki item, because of course, Suzuki are well known for the quality of their 1980s bike electrics… (Incidentally, I was looking at the wiring diagram for a GSX1100 the other day. The wiring there is designed to only use all three phases of the alternator when the lights are on, rather than fit a unit that could cope with running with the lights off). And this actually worked for a while, until I could get another Yamaha unit to replace it with. I know, I should have bought a lovely new MOSFET unit, but the plain fact is I don’t have the money kicking around right now, so I’m making do and mending. The new unit is soldered into the loom, rather than risking another connector meltdown. Fingers crossed, as this is the one thing that worries me for the long ride across France.

Re-pack cans. Yeah. This was absolutely necessary, and long overdue. The old packing was basically some nasty old loft insulation held in place with masking tape. Classy. A repacking with the correct size Acousta-fil matting has made the thing a lot more pleasant to be around, both from the rider’s seat and I should imagine from the side of the road too. If I was ever to stand a chance of passing the noise test up at Cadwell Park, this was always going to be necessary. I think I’d also like to apologise to anyone on the A1 over the past few months who I scared.

Tyres. Yup. When I rebuilt the bike, I put a set of ex-race Pirelli Weavemasters on there. And hated them. There was no end of grip, but really, they just didn’t feel ‘right’. I suspect they were just worn badly, as Pirelli really are a good tyre manufacturer. Not my favourite though – that accolade goes to Continental. So, last time I was on the Isle of Man, I picked up a lightly worn set of Conti RaceAttack Comp Softs. And they’ve been completely transformative. The bike turns quicker, holds a tighter line, and doesn’t kick off so badly when twatting the gas over white lines and cats eyes. Now, I’ve put a good few thousand miles on them, but there’s still enough tread for the track day up at Cadwell (and as they’re softs, no end of grip either…) but probably not enough for the ensuing few thousand kms around France. So, I have a set of SportAttack 3s on order, to fit after the trackday.

Oil + Filter. No need to go into this really. The bike needs an oil change. Motul 5000 has always worked well for me, and is nice and cheap now that its been superceded by 5100.

Brake pads. The EBC HHs on there were always a stop-gap until I could get some Bendix pads. That time has come, so I need to get these ordered and fitted to give them a chance to bed in before I get to the track.


So, that’s it really. The bike has been pretty reliable, other than the failed reg/rec. And if that’s the worst thing to worry about, well, I’m pretty chuffed. Actually, thinking about it, I also blew a headlight bulb, which is a pain in the arse, as the P30T-40 bulbs are hard to come by, expensive, and I need a spare for the trip through France. Dammit.


I’ll take bets now on my crashing at Cadwell and buggering up a perfectly good holiday plan…


[1] It’s a pretty cool shed