SOLD: 1985 Honda VT700C Project Bike

20120929-213420.jpg

SOLD

Oden Motor Shop has 1985 Honda Shadow VT700C for Sale! This is a great project bike with 32,000 miles on engine. It’s running and has good compression, but needs new head gaskets, carbs cleaned, fluids changed, and some TLC.

It has a minor dent in the tank, which is repairable, and the tank is free of rust. The are other minor cosmetic issues, but it is a complete, working bike. Used parts are readily available via eBay, and Oden Motor Shop has a small inventory of parts for this model as well.

The tires still have at least 10,000 miles left in them, and the bike is still a smooth ride. It comes with a clean title and Honda Service Manual. The price is $899.00, or Best Offer.

All sales are final, but as with all Project Bikes supplied by Oden Moto Shop, it comes with 90 days of email shop support.

For more information, please email curtis@OdenMotorShop.com.

20120929-213349.jpg

20120929-213407.jpg

20120929-213430.jpg

20120929-213439.jpg

20120929-213447.jpg

1984 Honda Shadow VT700C Brain Transplant

The electrical system on my project bike, a ratted-out 1984 Honda VT700C, is giving me nightmares. I’m in the process of replacing nearly every electrical component on this bike, including the wiring harness.

Between eBay and OEM replacements on Amazon, I’ve pretty much managed to get everything I need, except for one major component: the ignition control system.

In fact, on the 1984 VT700C has three separate boxes controlling ignition. I’m not really sure what each box does, but here’s what I need:

2 x IC Ignitor (red label) TID12-11 A ME9, mfg. Hitachi, Ltd.

1 x ICU-06 ME9, mfg. Hitachi, Ltd.

I have no clue what those numbers and letters mean, only that the replacements I can find are just as suspect as the boxes I gave on hand.

In researching this problem on HondaShadow.net, I came across a reference to a Czech company that has some experience making replacements for these old black boxes.

The company is Ignitech, and they have a wide range of programmable ignitions. Of course, getting the right ignition means emailing photos of your existing mess of wires and parts. But these guys have a reputation for getting it right, so I’m going to give it a shot and have them build me a new ignition system.

Stay tuned!

20120816-173924.jpg

20120816-173940.jpg

20120816-173953.jpg

20120816-174010.jpg

20120816-174023.jpg

20120816-174038.jpg

Melting the Parts-cycle

I knew rebuilding a 1984 Honda VT700C was going to challenge my meager skills, but I didn’t expect to be stopped in my tracks by a bad stator that refused to separate from the clutch cover.

At first I thought it was just an issue of leverage: it’s hard to get a solid grip the stator in one hand and the clutch cover in the other. I did manage to get what I felt was a good grip, and proceeded to twist and tug and turn and tap (and maybe bang a little), but that stator didn’t budge.

I got online and surfed the forums for a clue as to where I was going wrong. Did Ibmiss a hidden bolt? Did it pull straight off or thread onto the case (the new stator seemed to be finely threaded). My usual go-to site for the VT700C, HondaShadow.net, was silent on the issue.

I was tired, frustrated, and seriously considering parting the rest of the bike out on eBay. Then I did what I should have done five minutes after figuring out the stator was stuck: I called Big Daddy for advice.

He took time out of his shop renovation project (new drywall, new shelves, and an actual ceiling instead of bare beams) to listen to my problem. I texted over a few photos of the stator and clutch case so he could see the fresh batch of heartache I’d managed to find.

But, of course, Big Daddy had the answer.

He told me to head down to Autozone and pick up a can of CRC Freeze-Off, which is designed to dissolve rust and other muck that can cause bolts, screws and parts to bind together.

I picked up a $5 can of CRC Freez-Off (and another $50 worth of tools I don’t really need but probably will some day).

Back in the garage, I used the Freeze-Off ti liberally soaked the rim of clutch cover where the stator attached. I could see the grime dissolving and rinsing away at the edge, but I was skeptical about it actually penetrating deep enough to unlock the part. I started tugging and twisting and pulling again, but nothing happened.

I read the back of the Freez-Off can again, but paid attention to the instructions to “wait two minutes’. So I sprayed again and waited.

After two minutes, I got my grip on the clutch cover and stator, and I started twisting and wiggling. After a few seconds, I felt the stator shift a quarter of an inch on the clutch cover. I started pulling and wiggling some more, and with surprisingly little muscle, the stator popped right off.

CRC Freez-Off delivered on its promise once, but I had another test for it to prove if this was just luck, or if it actually works.

The clutch bolt where it attaches to the clutch slave cylinder was so stuck I was worried bout stripping the bolt if I put any more muscle (or body weight) into it. So I used the CRC Freeze-Off again.

It took a couple of applications, several minutes of waiting, and a little more muscle than the stator, but I managed to loosen the bolt from the clutch slave cylinder without stripping it or hurting myself.

So, CRC’s Freeze-Off gets top accolades from Oden Motor Shop.

New Photo Gallery: 2012 Rolling Thunder – Ride of the Patriots

Ride of the Patriots is a lead-up to Rolling Thunder put together every year by Patriot Harley-Davidson in Fairfax, VA. About 6,500 riders gather together in Fairfax to ride a police-escorted parade rout to join up with about half a million more Rolling Thunder participants at the Pentagon parking lot.

Video: Ride of the Patriots – Rolling Thunder 2012

This was my first year to participate in Rolling Thunder, the annual event that honors our veterans and call attention to America’s POW/MIA. The demonstration is open to all motorcyclists, and starts at the Pentagon, with a trip around the National Mall. This year, according to “scuttlebutt” floating around at the event, there were about 475,000 participants.

Since I had no previous experience riding in Rolling Thunder, I decided to start the day with the Ride of the Patriots, a “small” group of about 6,500 bikers who meet along Highway 50 starting at Patriot Harley-Davidson in Fairfax, and then ride a police-escorted parade route to the Pentagon.

Line up started at 6:30 AM, with departure planned for 9:00 AM. I managed to make it over to Patriot by 7:00, and already the line of motorcycle stretched back more than a mile.

Walking the Line

I parked my bike, made a few new friends, swapped tales of cross-country adventures and motorcycle maintenance, made use if the facilities (i.e. the woods lining the road, since the line to the Port-O-Potties was a bit long) and then decided to hike up to Patriot to hear the presentation given by even organizers and local officials. I made it within about two-hundred yards of the dealership, but the packed crowd prevented be from moving any further.

On the way back, I decided to take a little video of the line of motorcycles stretching down the road and over the next hill.

The video stops at my bike, but the line of motorcycles goes on at least another mile.

There was a lot of waiting that morning, but when a parade of bagpipes marched by, I knew it was time to saddle up.

The Road to the Pentagon

I’ve ridden in small groups of riders, but never more than four a five, each of whom at had ridden with before. This was my first time meeting these people, and it was my first time riding in parade lines. I knew riding out to Fairfax that morning that I was in for a challenge, but the scope of this ride was pretty intimidating. I felt confident I could maintain formation and ride my lane, but I had no clue as to the experience level of the riders around me. One wrong move from anyone ahead could be disastrous for me and the few thousand people behind me.

Fortunately, I didn’t bite it or make any stupid mistakes to create a hazard for those behind me. I did see a few riders nearly wreck trying to give high-fives to onlookers, and I nearly ran over a jay-walker. Seriously, who tries to illegally cross a road while thousands of police-escorted motorcycles stream by? It was like Frogger, but I was the log about to crunch the frog. I won’t say I was’t tempted to hear what kind of crunch he’d make, but I knew the rest of the crunch would include me and a few hundred close friends.

Regardless of the one or two morons, the test of the ride was awesome.

The cheers from the people lining the parade route was extremely uplifting, and I grinned the whole way from Patriot Harley-Davidson to the Pentagon north parking lot.

We joined hundreds of thousands of other bikers, parked tire to tire in quarter-mile long rows, shut down our engines, and baked for the next few hours.

Going to the Extreme In a Small Way

20120726-123620.jpg A few years ago, I remember seeing “pocket bikes” everywhere. When I watched Freddy Rodriguez flee a zombie infestation on a diminutive crotch rocket in Planet Terror, I realized that the mini-bike has moved from fad to cultural phenomenon.

A few months later, I wasn’t overly shocked to one for sale in AutoZone, or to see mini-biker gangs participating in local parades.

But last spring, I was a bit alarmed when my four-year daughter found a pink pocket bike at Toys R Us and demanded it for herself. This wasn’t a wimpy 12v toy; it was a gas guzzling 50cc death machine with disc brakes and a chain drive.

So, of course she wanted it. It was just her size, after all, and pink!

But what few parenting skills I have kicked in, and I firmly told her: “You have to learn how to ride your bicycle first. Without training wheels.” I couldn’t fault her for the years and ensuing fit: she’s not the first Oden to cry over a motorcycle, and she wouldn’t be the last.

So, on another trip to AutoZone, I ran into a gentleman on what appeared to be an undersized sports bike or an oversized mini-bike. Apparently, there was an unserved niche in the motorcycle market: Extreme Mini Racers (XMR).

The first motorcycle I rode myself was a 50cc Suzuki dirt bike. This little monster was a serious motorcycle, but it was designed as a trainer for kids, not a real racing platform.

But these XMRs, with street tires and 110cc engines, are definitely targeted towards adults (a term I use loosely here) who have more spare cash than common sense, but not much of either. In other words, I want one!

New Photo Galley: 2012 European & Classic Motorcycle Day

I had the great fortune of taking my family out to the 2012 European & Classic Motorcycle Day. It was a beautiful (but warm) summer day, and I could have asked for a better way to spend it than wandering around a field of antique motorcycles.

Finger vs. Table Saw

In a match-up between a table saw, who do you think the winner is? My dad taught me at an early age to be extremely careful around power tools, especially his table saw.  When I was a little kid (and even into my early teen years), I would avoid even going out into the garage if I heard the whine of my dad’s table saw. I had a fearful respect of the tool that could turn a rough length of treated lumber into a anything from a fence post to a plank for the backyard deck, or even into a couple pirate swords for my big brother and me  (although mother was never fond of these particular creations).

But when my dad was at that saw, I was always careful not to disturb him. I could easily imagine his thumb flipping away from his hand along with a scrap of board. I even think blood was shed on the Altar of the Power Saw on one or two occasions, but this were usually just from flying splinters. Fortunately, my dad still has all ten fingers.

When I was old enough, even though I was a bit fearful, he taught me how to use that table saw, and I eventually became fairly adept at cutting whatever he asked without wasting a good piece of wood or losing a digit. But that uneasiness is always there when I hear the whine of a power saw.

But all that could change.

I recently came across a video on YouTube of the SawStop. In a nutshell, SawStop saws can detect the difference between wood and flesh by measuring the conductivity of the material being cut. When flesh is detected, an emergency stop is triggered, and the blade is halted within a few milliseconds, fast enough to prevent serious damage to whatever appendage happens to have found its way in the path of a spinning blade.  Of course, the emergency halt mechanism destroys the blade and the “crash cage” that absorbs all of that energy,  but the $60 replacement cost is probably worth at least one finger saved.

The video below illustrates the sheer awesomeness of the SawStop.

Father’s Day is coming up, and I’m thinking hard about getting one of these gadgets for my dear old dad, who taught me how fun and dangerous power tools can be. Then again, I’m a dad, too. And Father’s Day is coming up.

Learn more about the SawStop at SawStop.com.

I Brake for Working Brake Lights

100_0114I was first alerted to a problem with the brakes on my bike when I started slowing down to make the left turn into my neighborhood and was suddenly assaulted by a blaring horn an obscenities from behind me. The guy driving the express delivery truck must have been pretty mad, because I could hear him clearly over the rumpling of my Screamin’ Eagle, and inside my half-face helmet. I made a quick check of my turn signals (I new I hadn’t forgotten to press the left turn button), and everything checked out.

A few minutes later, when I was back at home, I ran through a quick check:

  • Did something fall off my bike and hit the other car? — No. Everything was where it should be.
  • Did I have anything offensive written on my clothing?— Nothing that would elicit more than a disapproving glare from my grandmother (then again, she was very open minded and tolerant).
  • Were my tail lights out? No. When I pressed the footbrake, it all lit up.

But…

I check the brake again, using only the handbrake, and tail brake light stayed dark.

When I took off the break lever, the pressure-pin on the brake switch (which the brake releases when depressed) was stuck in its housing. No amount of coaxing could get it out.

So I headed down to Patriot Harley-Davidson in Fairfax, VA, and picked up a replacement switch for about $30.00 USD.

I was a bit nervous about replacing the switch myself: I can turn a wrench and change oil, but electrical troubleshooting is a bit beyond me. But the replacement switch came with good instructions with lots of drawings, so I decided to go for it.

Removing the brake lever was a simple task, since I’d already done it to check out the problem. Removing the electical switch housing and getting in to the bad switch proved challenging because my wiring is run inside the handlebars, and there really was no slack.

The brake switch was completely burnt out and had melted itself in a locked position. I had to gently muscle it out of the housing.

When I go the new switch in, I found that the release button (the part the brake pushes in and lets out to trigger the brake signal) was jamming. I loosed the screw holding the switch in to give it a little play, and jamming ceased to be an issue. I suspect this is what cause the earlier brake switch to burn out.

After some close wiring work (at least it was close to me), I got the new switch in and screwed and bolted everything back together.

When I tested the brakes using the hand lever, the brake light lit up instantly.

Hopefully the express delivery guy appreciates my effort and won’t drop my packages in the mud.

DC Motorists Get Free Ride (And Parking)

DC riders and other motorists are enjoying free parking in the District today as the city observers Emancipation Day, April 16, 2012. DC Public Works will enforce traffic violations, but expired meters and residential parking restrictions will not be enforced. Learn more at the DC Department of Public Works website.

20120416-092909.jpg