Project CBR600F: Trackside Heated Grip Kit

Back in 2011, I installed a set of Kimpex heated grips on my XJ600.  Ever since,  I can't live without toasty digits at the flick of a switch. Installing the grips is simple, I used the same manner as shown in the XJ installation post.

Remove your old grips, install the sticky backed heat elements, secure them with a few rings of 1" heat shrink tubing.   On the left grip, you may want to put a layer or two of tubing under the heat element to balance out the feel since it is inherently cooler than the throttle side.  Route the wiring, leaving enough slack on the throttle side as needed.

To keep from accidentally killing your battery when you leave your grips on (and you will forget), you'll want to power the grips via relay and distribution block.  I used a 5 pole relay, wired as shown.

The 87 pole will route power to the block when the relay is energized, 87A will have power when the relay is powered down.  For my installation I used 87A and a ground feed to connect to my SAE charging wire. That way I save on wiring mess, connections to my battery and the charging port is "dead" when the bike is running. Pole 86 is fed from the taillight wire. Pole 30 will need a fuse between the relay and the battery.  My drawing of the power block is not really accurate as the terminals are separated horizontally, instead of vertically as I drew it. But you get the idea. For future expansion of farkles, I went with two separate blocks.  Many moons ago, a friend had a low speed get off.  Thankfully he was ok but his bike started acting strange.  Honking, lights flashing, loss of power, then back to normal.  We eventually got it into the garage and it turned out to be a loose ground due to all the goods stacked on it.  So, moral of the story, use distribution blocks.

This aluminum sheet will be replaced with ABS, molded to fit.

Both blocks nestled in their new homes.

Wrapped up with quality electrical tape to add a level of weather proofing. 

Lookin' good!

Find a suitable location for the switch ( I recommend buying a better quality switch with a water resistant cover). You'll need a SPDT (single pole dual throw) switch. For the CBR, I mounted the switch in the dash plate I fabricated.  The power feed connects to the middle pole.  Connect the wire with the resistor to one of the remaining poles, this is your HIGH setting.  The other is the LOW.  From here, select a wire from each element and connect both to the HIGH/LOW wire, single end.  The remaining wire from each element is for the ground.  Clean up your wiring and find a suitable location to mount the resistor. I used a hose clamp to mount to the brake block.  Is that the best? Maybe not, as it will get pretty toasty, so I may move it when I get my headlight assembly.

Definitely don't bundle it with wires unless you want to release the magic smoke from your harness.
My wiring is a bit messy as I'm also powering a USB power outlet on the backside of my dash plate.

I flipped the switch and was rewarded with warm digits. Hooray!


New ABS inner "fender" in place and distribution blocks attached with velcro strips.


Project CBR600F: Android Powered Dash

My 1987 CBR600F Hurricane came with a busted gauge cluster, attached to a bent fairing subframe.  Not wanting to replace that mess or have a big bulky front end, I began researching different options.  Those ranged from a Trail Tech Vapor, Acewell "Cafe" style gauge, or go high tech and use an Android phone.  

This being a severely limited budget project, I opted for the high tech / low life option.  When I changed my XJ600 to a naked style bike, back in 2015, I used my Android phone as my speedometer running the Ulysse Android App. It performed really well but I eventually installed a "cafe" style speedo. 

To start this project, I had to make a template to fit the ignition space, then cut that from sheet steel.  I added a "tab" at the top to house my warning lights.  

Rough plate getting cleaned up.

Plotting the holes.

One issue quickly became apparent was how bright these LEDs were.  I knew they would be blinding at night, so I had to come up with a solution. The gauge I installed on my XJ600 was so bright at night that it caused a glare within my helmet where I could see my own eyes while riding in dark areas.  I thought about wiring in some photoresistors to control the brightness of the warning lights based off the ambient light.  While a cool idea, I didn't want to add that level of complexity to the build.  So, I came up with the idea of using hot glue to diffuse the light. It works pretty well but the bright and neutral lights are still going to be very bright.  I may add an inline resistor later.  

LEDs and mounts. Cheaper to buy in bulk!

Stock vs diffused

Helping hands!


Back to the dash plate, to mount my phone, a rugged and waterproof Kyocera, I bought a universal RAM cell mount.  The fit is perfect!  On the backside of the plate, I added a Trackside USB outlet. Unfortunately, I planned the mounting holes in the wrong spot, so I needed to raise the RAM mount.  
Sidenote: I rarely throw away little bits and pieces that I think will be useful one day.  Today that paid off!  These came from a wooden mechanical claw my kids made. They broke it, so I a scrapped all the hardware from it.  The little orange spacers were perfect! 

Never throw stuff like this away!

Label everything, you'll be glad you did. 

Ulysse app, ready to go! 

I'll post a follow up review on the app itself once I've had a chance to put some serious miles on it in a real world setting.  For now, I really dig the whole set up.  The warning lights for the signals aren't wired yet, as it needs a diode kit to stop power bleed over from using 2 signal feeds into one LED indicator.   I'll add those details once it's done.


Project CBR600F: Counting Revs

My agricultural tachometer arrived from Amazon. With the perfect mounting spot in mind, I hit the local home improvement shop for flat stock steel and some hardware. After butchering the stock into a sturdy L bracket, I realized I really should have used a bench grinder and drill press.

I decided it needed a blast of Chevy Orange engine enamel for some flair.  After adding 3 nice coats and giving the appropriate dry time, I promptly dropped the bracket and screwed up the paint in a few spots. Classic.

Waiting for morning while it cures overnight.

Mounted and ready. 

All wired up and ready to be fired up! 

It works!

Luckily there was enough fuel left in the bowls to fire up and prove the little tach works. There is a slight delay compared to an analog or OEM tach.  It's a helluva faster than my factory tach, since it  doesn't work at all.

I received the model without a backlight and was initially disappointed.  However, after some thought, I don't really mind having one less light shining in my eyes at night. Plus I don't really need to know my revs when I'm riding. I ran my XJ without a tach and had no issues with it. I only added this one so I can balance the carbs and set the idle; not concerned with real time readings.

Now, I'm waiting on my bottle of magic blue juice for the Motion Pro Sync tool.  I had planned on using the fancy electronic Carb Mate but it's missing two of the sync hoses and I'd have to sync the carbs in a funky pattern (1&2, 3&4, then 2&4) instead of all four at once.

Once the carbs are balanced and idle set, I can move on to the next projects like replacing the swing arm (plus chain), and rebuilding the fork.  From there it's wiring (lights, heated grips and etc), painting the tank, new tires, and an oil change post SeaFoam. Then it'll be ready for the road. 




There is still a lot of work left to do but to hear it fire up and move under it's own power is so awesome.


Project CBR600F: Lighting the way.

Lighting has always been an issue in my current garage. I found some inexpensive LED tube lights that can be daisy-chained, and got them installed over the weekend.  What a difference! I'm going to add two more and that should be perfect. 

Let there be light!

My OEM o-rings finally arrived and I was able to squeeze in some time to rebuild the carbs (again). Realistically, these aren't terrible to break apart and reassemble. 

I decided to roll the dice and not leak test them on the rack.  We'll see if the moto-gods are on my side. 

Carbs in!

Front sprocket = good!

Rear sprocket = good!

Houston, we have a problem. 

This poor bike has had a very rough life; which tends to be the case for old sport bikes. Especially when you find one with no fairings (or in my case, fairings, lights or signals).  I'm going to try to pound out that dent but it may be time for an eBay swing arm.  I also found the chain is way too short, not sure why that's the case unless it was someone counting links incorrectly or maybe just trying to be cheap.  Either way, I have to cut it off and buy a new one. At least the sprockets are good.

Stay tuned...


Project CBR600F: A New Leak

Well... I set the carbs on the rack, hooked up my test tank and opened the valve. And the bowls didn't leak, but the overflows poured fuel all over the place.

So, I drained them and put them back on the bench to double check the float heights.  During the reassembly, I stripped the threads on another body.  Honestly, I'm not ham-fisted and I know how tight to make the bowl screws.  So, I'm starting to wonder if the PO had these cranked down and weakened the aluminum threads.  Hopefully I can use the same remedy as the other body.  

I almost said "screw this whole project" and gave up, but I reassessed the situation and told the quitter voice to sod off.  I found the (overpriced) o-ring sets online and they'll be shipping next week.  I may need to break down both banks of carbs to make a complete set, whatever it takes. 

Once it's roadworthy, I need to address the ergonomics.  There is only so much I can do to modify to help open up the posture.  Some mx bars, risers and dropped foot pegs should help out.  My back and knee may not be tolerant of the sport crouch for very long. 


Project CBR600F: The Quarantine Chronicles

So, it finally happened. 

I finally got time, no, finally made time to put hands to the carbs.  A quick refresher, the carbs were cleaned and rebuilt but suffered severe leaks at the fuel T.  I replaced those o-rings and then the bowls leaked.  With new bowl gaskets in, I decided to just bite the bullet and replace the remaining 33 year old o-rings for the fuel overflow and the mystery silver tubes (vacuum?) while I had the carbs off again.  This was all late last summer.  

With the family having quiet time, I seized the moment and grabbed the the carbs and needed tools.  I've never broken a part a bank of 4 carbs and I have heard horror stories and seen first hand, the frustration this can cause when my buddy rebuilt his CB750 bank.  I laid out some cardboard, took a deep breath, found my moment of zen, and got to work.  

There is so much linkage, so many tiny springs. 

I removed the choke linkage and did my best to keep the two middle carbs in place.  I was able to replace the o-rings on the mystery silver tube (vacuum related?)  but the o-rings on the overflow port were still pliable and in relatively good condition.  

When I replaced the o-rings on the fuel T, I bent one of the tiny throttle assembly springs, so I had to do my best to replace it with one from a set of donor carbs I received.   It wasn't much fun. 

I got the bank all back together and thought, "That wasn't so bad." Queue suspenseful music... I found a spring that got left over.  Dammit.  Eventually, everything was reassembled with no extra parts remaining.  

A friend recommended placing the carbs output side down on a sheet of glass and using the level surface when tightening down the mounts.  Worked liked a charm! 

Now, to put them back on the PVC rack and hook up the test tank to check for leaks.   Maybe that will happen next weekend.