calling all book hunters!

I'm trying to track down: "From the Battle Returned" by Nikolai Zhuravlyov. It's the story of Roza Yegorovna Shanina (Роза Егоровна Шанина), a WWII Russian sniper. I checked eBay and Amazon but no luck. My Google-Fu turned up squat.

Any ideas?


practice session

The deal with the cool little house on 1.88 acres fell through. Amanda and I decided that our offer was all that we wanted to spend on that particular house. So, we continued the search and toured another house we've had our eyes on. This one is much more us and even bigger with a 2 car garage! (or as I look at it, a multiple bike garage and shop)

We made an offer and they countered with a slightly higher price but still willing to pay $1500 of our closing costs and let us keep all the appliances. We're going to take it, I'm just waiting on the money man to call me back. Kinda crazy, we're getting a house!

It was one of those things where you walk in and your mind says, "this is my house", well before we even made an offer. The guy that lives there has some Suzuki sport bike, a ton of crazy horror movie action figure/statue thingies and he's an EMT. Hell, we share a good amount of interests. The house was built in 1930, it's 936 sqft with a 2 car garage. It sits on a flood plain but that's ok, life gets boring without a little risk! (see if I say that again if it floods!) The important thing is that we really like it and it's in our price range. Plus, it's still close to work and friends. There won't be any fun days of shooting guns in the backyard but that's what Sharky's compound is for!

I'll keep you updated....


I got hired on at the Hospital, not as high as I hoped but better than my contract position. Tomorrow I start all the insurance paperwork and have my orientation on Monday. So, now that I have steady employment, RedQueen and I started house hunting. We found a cool little 1950s house that sits on 1.88 acres. It's still a relatively short drive for us but not surrounded by houses and idiots. The asking price is a bit out of our price range but not too bad. We're going to make an offer tonight, start low and work up. Hopefully they'll take it. But I don't think it will fly with the owners.

I hate dealing mortgage lenders, salesmen and bank crap. It seems like no matter what you do, it's gonna screw you one way or another. I know part of my negative attitude towards it is due to my lack of knowledge in the area. I just don't want to end up spending too much a month and we don't have any money left over after buying food and gas. Sure, we have a cool house but no money to improve it our enjoy our hobbies. That would be worse than renting. But renting just throws money away. And I sure as hell want out of the area where we're living.

This house is quiet and peaceful. You can look out back at the 50+ acres of protected woods and know that you'll never have some vinyl village back there. We've seen tons of wild birds and even deer. The house is small but bigger than our apartment and has tons of potential. I'd even have a nice garage for the bikes and tools. The roads are nice and curvy and have tons of tree cover. It's just a great area. But I'm worried about money and what will be left over after the bills are paid.


beautiful weekend for a crash course

Over the weekend, RedQueen and I completed the MSF Basic Rider Course. It was very educational and a lot of fun. It was great to see people go from barely being able to "power-walk" a bike to completing tight weaves and nice sweeping turns. I was definitely nervous about the class but it all turned out really well. I'll be going to the DMV tomorrow to add the "M" endorsement to by license. RedQueen needs to get her permit and hold it for 30 days before she can get the endorsement. But that will all be taken care of after the wedding which is coming up at the end of May.

In bike news, the Frankencycle is now up at Shorkey's tucked away in the barn with all the other project bikes. I'm not getting rid of it, just don't have the room until we buy a house. Then it will come back home and be a nice winter project. When Shorkey came down to pick up Frankencycle, he brought down the 1977 Yamaha RD400c. It's in great shape but needs the standard tune-up from sitting for so long. I know the oil injector needs to be replaced, along with the fork seals. I can't wait to get that screaming 2 stroke fired up and on the road. But before I get to tear into the RD (no project name yet), we'll finish the 350. I swapped my rear shocks over from the 450 but we still need a tank. The red & white tank was rotted out and didn't fit but my 450 tank is too long. We'll have to search for one that's "just right". I might try to finish up the carbs this weekend, nice easy work that can be done at home.

Last week the mailman brought the fork seals, brake pads and caliper kit. Getting bike parts in the mail is like mini-Christmas, I love it! The piston doesn't need to be replaced but we might as well do it while we've got it apart. After the carbs, forks and brakes, there isn't much left besides tires. Currently the electric start doesn't work but the kick is just fine. Also needs a new set of bars but that can wait until it's up and running. It's gonna be a kick ass scoot. I'm not sure what direction RedQueen is going to take it. Maybe a cafe? Maybe a rat? Stock perhaps, or some mix of the 3?

Here's the new bike:


The 2nd death of Frankencycle

After another couple of days of shop time, we've declared Frankencycle dead. It's not permanent though. I'm putting it on the back burner while we finish RedQueen's CB350. It seems the valves suffered a bit of damage from improper timing. The timing was spot on before the one and only test ride. Rumor has it the 450's used to jump teeth and throw the timing off. Seems to be the case with mine.

So, smoked valves and maybe damaged pistons. The fun just doesn't stop with this project! It's like an abusive relationship. The bike promises to run but never comes through. Meanwhile, I suffer emotional abuse and the occasional busted knuckle.

After the wedding in May, I'll dig into Frankencycle and see what the damage is. Until then it gets to hover in purgatory. Who knows what other projects might come along between now and then. But one thing is certain, I have not given up. I just need a break from this project.


just out of reach.....

We did a few test starts on Sunday but still no luck. The starter is "free wheeling" more often now, so it will need to be replaced. I'm not sure if it can be done with the engine still in the bike...but we'll see. The ignition timing is still giving us fits, so we're pulling the Dyna and taking the whole bike back to stock condition. No more Mikunis, no more Dyna. Surprisingly enough, I still had all the original points hardware (except a few screws). The only part we'll have to modify is the wiring but that's not difficult. Hell, it might still be in the piles of junk in the corner of the shop.

It's getting closer but not close enough. Oh, the left carb is leaking like crazy. Same thing my old carbs did, no clue why it's just the left. They're completely different carbs and even rebuilt.

Any ideas?


doing it right this time

Last weekend was, according to the weather guessers, going to be in the high 40's-50's. Unfortunately, it ended up being about 30 with freezing rain and snow. This didn't slow us down too much but didn't make work any easier. With the heaters cranked and breakfast in our bellies, Funkz and I got to work. The goals for the day were fairly simple, pull his engine and finalize what we could on mine. It's a good thing we double, wait, triple checked the valve clearance on the 450. Turns out we were doing it the wrong way before. Thankfully, it didn't run long enough to cause any serious damage. So we got the valve clearance set, timing was still good and we moved on to the carbs.

Oh Honda and your stock carbs, how I love and hate thee. The Keihin carbs are a pretty basic set up and easy to set/tune. The hate part comes in when you try to install an air filter on the right side carb. There just isn't enough clearance to squeeze it all in there. This is one of the many reasons I stopped using the pod filters. Well, the stock filters didn't fit either, so it was time for a bit of 5lb therapy administered via mini-sledge. After a few good whacks, the box moved just enough to fit the filter without being to small for the battery. Now both carbs and filters are one and hooked up. Step back and look at the picture...."what's missing?", I ask myself. Uh...dammit, hose clamps! Three steps forward, two steps back.

Fast forward past lunch, the carbs are, complete with hose clamps and all. The mixture screws are set and the cables are synched as close as I can get them without making an adapter to use a mamogram-0-meter, I mean manometer. Hell, we even have the inline filters in and tank installed. But once again, we're missing on very important piece of the puzzle, gas. That's right, we're out of freaking gas at the shop. So, no test starts that day!

With the Frankencycle buttoned up as best as we can, it's time to pull the mighty 750 engine. I have a feeling we jinxed ourselves on this one.

"Looks pretty simple to remove, definitely easier than the 450...".

That's the moment Mr. Murphy stopped by to visit. Most of the mounting hardware was mismatched. Some a 13mm, others 14mm and even a 12mm for humor's sake. Once all the old hardware was removed, we used the bolts as lift points and began wrenching the engine out. It would move a couple of inches only to catch at a new spot. Clear that one and BANG, two more points are rubbing. The exhaust studs finally became too much for us and won the battle. So Funkz bike sits with the engine half hanging out...waiting. Waiting for the proper tools to remove the studs and finish it's surgery.

until then...


12 inches of frosty winter

34 days until spring. Obliviously this doesn't mean the Indiana weather will magically change. We still have weeks of thunderstorms, tornadoes and maybe some crazy hail to deal with. But scattered here there are nice weekends with lots of sunshine and higher temps. Those will be prime shop time, right now, it's just too damn cold. Our collection of little space heaters just can't compete with the slabs of cold cement and icy metal walls. So the shop sits dormant for awhile longer. Tools thrown about and scattered from our last wrenching session. Normally we're pretty good at putting up or tools and keeping the place clean. But the last time we were there it was raining like mad and getting chilly.

The 350 has been put on the back burner until after the wedding. Frankencycle is still waiting for the last few bits of tweaking. I got my stock air boxes in and they're in pretty good shape. The filters could use a cleaning but not too dirty to use. So, the 450's list is nice and simple. Slap on the air boxes, check the timing, check valve clearance, oil change and fine tune the carbs. That should definitely make her roadworthy enough to ride to get new tires and tubes. I'm going the cheap route with rubber, Cheng Shin Hi-Max. Might even go with a slightly fatter rear tire if I can.

Next Thursday, Funkz, Boxy, OddJob and I are heading to the Cycle Expo here in Indy. It will probably be a chopperfest but I'm signing up myself and RedQueen for the ABATE Course. I'm looking forward to taking the class. I have plenty of rough spots in my "skills" that need to smoothed out.

Keep warm, winter is almost gone...

(if you have seen "The Motorcycle Diaries" rent it. very good flick)


lemme fiddle with yer mixture

We had a carb party the Saturday before last and got some work done. It was a bit nippy out so we worked in the sweltering heat of Funkz apartment. My carbs are ready to be slapped back on and balanced/tuned. RedQueen's carbs are waiting on the new set of floats and a bit of advice from Rob @ CRC2. The other guy said there's nothing except the press in jet in the mystery passage. But that answer doesn't sit well with me, so time to get a 2nd opinion. Funkz carbs are back in their bank and ready to go. Man, putting the choke assembly in the 750 bank is not the easiest task.

While at CRC2, a strange thing happened. We actually taught them something new. I know, sounds incredible but it's true! Rick had never heard of boiling carbs in lemon juice and water to clean them. (Granted, I hadn't either until about 4 weeks ago) But hey, you gotta take your compliments when you get 'em. We didn't get all the parts we needed but enough to get some work done.

We're still searching for a caliper rebuild kit but I think the early cb750 used the same caliper. If so, we're in like Flynn. This Saturday we'll be picking up fork seals, brake pads and hopefully the rebuild kit. I'm not sure if we'll get shop time this weekend but I'm gonna try. The 350 and the 450 are moving along at a good pace. Both should be ready by spring, if not sooner.

Project Frankencycle only needs some the stock air boxes and new tires. The rest is just fine tuning. Before we do any test starts, I want to check the cam timing again and the valve clearance. Bride of Frankencycle just needs new sprockets, chain, tank and clutch pack. Nothing major at all.

If luck goes our way, we'll be taking the ABATE course this spring. Should be fun and educational. We still have to get RedQueen a good helmet and some gloves. She's really looking forward to learning and riding. It will be a great day when all the bikes roll out and fire up.


cb350k questions....

We tore apart RedQueen's carbs for the rebuild but ran into some issues. The mixture screw doesn't match up, so we'll be using the stock set. Also, there are some misc bits that I can't ID. I know where the pilot and main jets are but there's a 3rd spot that I'm clueless about:

Here's a pic of some dirty old carbs but they're "complete":

Any ideas on the mystery "hole" and parts?


Shop Time!

On Sunday, Funkz, RedQueen and I hit the shop and started tearing into all 3 bikes. While I pulled the Mikunis off my bike, RQ started cleaning out her carbs and pulling old seals. Surprisingly, her carbs weren't all the dirty but they look a hell of a lot better now. I cleaned out the "new" set of stock carbs I won on eBay. They didn't seem to be in bad shape, so I sprayed them out and put 'em on the 450. After all the fun with carb cleaner, RQ and I pulled her caliper and she started cleaning it out.

Funkz started winterizing his bike and prepping it for all the upcoming work. We'll be pulling the engine this winter and giving it a good once over. That's definitely going to require some more man power to get that big lump outta the frame.

We fired up RQ's bike with some starting fluid, so she could her it purr. Man, those aftermarket mufflers sound kick ass. I decided to go back to stock carbs, air filters and side covers. I'm just going to get it back to the basics and upgrade later. So the feelers are out and I'm trying to track down those parts. I had 2 sets before we got the shop but like a dumbass, I threw them out.

Here's a few pics of all the fun: