Progress report

I have been struggling with writing blog posts of late for a variety of reasons.  Firstly, I am working from home far more often.  This deprives me of most of my “train time”.  The half-hour commute (each way) is a golden time for me to catch up on things (such as writing blog entries and professional development AKA “coding for fun”)  It seems strange to gain an hour a day at home, but lose this time, but that is the natural evolution of my day. – When I am at home and finish work, I do things that I can do at home…  When I am on the train, I do things that I can do there.  With less options available to me on the train, my time tended to be more focused.

The second reason the blog posts are irregular, is that the restoration project on the RGV is taking up a lot of time and effort.  I have some admissions to make: I am not much of a mechanic, so mechanical tasks take me longer than they really should.  Also, the garage is a place where I “potter”.  It is a form of relaxation and as such, inordinate periods of time are required to achieve any real progress.  I have also been trying to stick to a monthly budget.  – This restricts the rate of progress I make on the bike.
Most of my work is guided by the experience of others.  The earliest model RGVs are now over twenty years old and there are plenty of enthusiasts (a large proportion being in the UK) who frequent an RGV forum.  I have yet to really come a problem with my bike, that someone hasn’t experienced before and written about on this web site.  It really is a fabulous wealth of information.

So, what have I been up to?

The swing-arm bearings for the bike felt fine, so I did not disturb them.  The dog-bone (linkage) bearings for the swing arm were not.  After losing several hours and inventing several swear words, I took the part to a local mechanic to press the blind bearings out.  I lack the specialised tool to remove them, and the “drift and hammer” technique to bash them out proved fruitless. I felt somewhat justified when I went back to collect the part, as the mechanic had found them far harder to remove than he was expecting!

Knick-knack paddy whack, give a dog a bone!

Based on discussions found on the site, I purchased a GSXR 600 rear shock absorber for the bike.  There is some question as to whether the spring will be too “heavy” to allow the correct range of motion, but track bikes do tend to be sprung more heavily than road bikes.  One forum member posted the measurements he took after fitting the same part. Weighing approximately the same as I do, he was able to set the suspension correctly, so I figure I have a sporting chance too.

Thing on a spring!  One of my favourite games on the C64

At the moment, I am in the middle of performing a top-end rebuild for the bike.  The bike still felt like it had good compression, but I wanted to check the condition of the cylinder barrels and it had been a long time since it had a “freshen up”.  Nothing comes un-done easily on a bike engine last touched ten years ago.  I have learnt that the hammer drill setting can be used as a substitute for an impact driver… sometimes…  At other times, it has led me to my other discovery, that a Dremmel is a good tool, for cutting new screw heads in a screw with a butchered head…
There is no end of “bling” that you can purchase for an RGV.  This also means, there is no end to the amount of money you can spend.  I am still managing to avoid the trap of spending money on good looking parts that do not help finish the project – but I do have my eyes on a couple of items. 😉
I am however reaching a point where I have a tough decision to make.   My budget is currently “in the red”.  I allocated myself a monthly spend, and I am about six weeks ahead of that, at this point in time.  Even using mental arithmetic and not trying to be precise about the budget, I can see that finishing the bike on time and on budget will be a story that belongs in the “fiction” section of the local library.  Going back to my New Year’s Resolution, that means I should be planning on taking the VFR out on the track.  But, to be honest, I’d rather spend the money that would cost, on “finishing” the RGV this year.
I use the term “finishing” loosely, as I said, there is no end of “bling”…

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