Welcome back folks,

My apologies for the delay in the latest issue of “cure your insomnia through poorly written motorcycle butchery”.  Whilst writing has not been as frequent as I would have liked (had a holiday in Spain to get some winter sun….and i’m a lazy pos), the progress on the bike is continuing at a good pace (meaning it’s costing me shitloads). Right now I have an engine half stripped down in my garage, suspension dismantled, new rear suspension units ready to go and tyres sourced ready to order…the 2029 completion date looms ever closer…

After the last posts palaver of losing my rag at a seized brake nipple, it was time to get them reassembled. First, I had to buy a replacement caliper. I managed to pick up a new caliper on eBay from a motorcycle breaker in Englandshire (I’M MORE LIKE THE MOTORCYCLE BREAKER HAHA GET IT? BECAUSE I KEEP BREA….ach nevermind). Luckily this bike shares a lot of components with the XS850 and XS1100 so it broadened my options for finding parts.  eBay has a function to make an offer on a part you are looking for which takes the social awkwardness out of face to face haggling….nice…shame my £3 offer was refused but I still feel I got a fair price…


One eBay special caliper in perfect working order


Brakes on a motorbike are more exposed than a car and therefore you want them looking their best.  Just because this bike will more than likely become a 200kg paperweight due to some unknown catastrophic failure, I still want to to be good to look at as I trip over it in my garage.

In order clean prepare them prior to painting, I enlisted the help of my good friend, who’s possible gypsy family have every tool known to man at their shed/living quarters. Nestled behind several 4000 year old steam engines is a sandblaster that kind of works.  Thanks Tom, you’re the best. See below pictures for the before and after. this is a hugely satisfying process. The abraisive medium used in sandblasters can be quite aggressive but it was OK for this job, leaving a nice surface to start painting. I took the opoortunity to strip some suspension parts also.  I thought about getting my own sandblaster as they are handy. You can put baking soda in them for a less aggressive cleaning medium, this can be used to make carbs look as good as new, as the ultrasonic bath is good but not perfect.

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With all the parts back home and rinsed clean, it was time to paint. It just so happened that the beast from the east storm was happening around this time, meaning it was -100C outside i.e. not the best conditions to paint. You want it to be warm and well ventilated…so obviously converting my dining room into a makeshift spray booth was the best brainwave I had had this year…at least i got the warm piece right…


Pikey home spraying booth…


I looked at various options for painting the calipers and ended up deciding on Hammerite direct to rust spray paint. I had read on several forums the best at to do it and this kept cropping up as a decent method but for the love of god open a window and get some ventilation in there….the flying elephants in the room finally got me to do this on the third coat. The surface of the sandblasted parts was rough, so allowed the paint to adhere properly. I carried out 3 coats on all parts, making sure to correctly mask off any sliding surfaces or areas that weren’t to be painted….speaking of areas that weren’t meant to be painted…holy shit, spray paint gets everywhere…I foolishly thought a few dust sheets and the makeshift box I made would contain the overspray….wrong. My floors and every single glass in the cabinet had a nice black frosting…the cleaners were busy that week…saved them playing with the cat for once… See pictures below

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I have spent quite a bit of money on new parts to rebuild the brake kits….such is the way with older bikes…luckily parts are easy enough to source online through ebay and other dealers. I have ordered 2 new pistons, 3 rebuild kits, a full set of HEL stainless steel hydraulic hoses, rear master cylinder rebuild kit and pads, brake fluid and that replacement caliper. I have a spreadsheet with a tally but it’s roughly £350….gross…and I still need to get a replacement front master cylinder. Onto the rebuild, This was fairly straightforward and rather satisfying. I’m not even going to pretend I have created a guide here, I simply followed these excellent guides (brake caliper & brake master cylinder).  This Yamaha triples website is a great resource and I find myself using it regularly. I didn’t even open my Haynes manual for this rebuild…cheers guys.

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So the more I work on this project, the more I realise there is a shit tonne to do. That is partly my fault for buying such an old piece of crap that needed completely overhauled, but that’s part of the enjoyment too. It can be quite overwhelming when stood in a garage surrounded by a lot of pieces that you know need looked with skills that are outwith your comfort zone, but it’s the learning part I am really enjoying on this build. Piece by piece we are getting there.

To be continued,