Ruby Racer - Custom build of a 1999 Yamaha Fazer FZS600

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Day 1 - 11-1-13 - Bought bike and collected. Involved in a 20mph front end crash. Started motor after charging battery and runs OK.

Day 2 - 15-1-13 - Asses damage. Remove fairing which had most of mounting lugs snapped off. A chunk missing. Headlight mount snapped. Front mudguard broken. One fork leg bent the other snapped just below the bottom yoke. Right hand engine case cracked, cover for starter gear. I got a second hand cover from Fazer Owners Club forum (FOC) member and second hand forks from later model with preload adjusters from eBay.

Photos of new forks fitted.

Radiator bent. Fairing bracket looks bent. Fairing lugs on frame bent. Right footrest bent. Left disc slightly warped but decided that by looking at it. Main frame appears not to be bent, although there are a couple of paint flakes at two weld points on right side of frame near headstock area. Brake lever bent. Front wheel axle bent, so got second hand replacement off eBay.

Photo of possible crease in frame. I hope not.

Although I've bought some parts I wont be using in my build I wanted to ride the bike first to see if it was OK.

Day 3 - 4-2-13 - Replacement forks and axle fitted. Left brake disc removed and aluminium plate mounted between brake pads on left caliper. Right engine cover fitted with silicone gasket. Battery charged but it's dead. Used battery from Daytona and fired up after a couple of attempts. Went for a ride up the lane only first gear and second. Has a wine connected with speed. I had a 2002 R1 that was quite whiny from the gearbox, but this sounds worse. Put bike on centre stand and ran in first gear. No whine!

Photo of one of the front discs removed which was warped.

Photo of rough and ready repair to engine case.

As it's had a front end smash and the axle was bent, I'm guessing the bearings are damaged. I could get a second hand wheel and tyre for thirty quid, but it's yet more parts I wont be using in the build, so I bought some new bearings for four pounds! Much better.

Although only ridden slowly the motor felt nice and smooth.

Day 4 - 5-2-13 - As I was waiting for the bearings to arrive I set to on removing the swing arm so I could measure it properly. I had also got ahead of myself and bought an FZR1000 EXUP swing arm off eBay for twenty quid. Seemed too cheap to miss. I wanted one that wasn't too trick looking to keep in with the '80's look. I also hoped that being Yamaha it might slot in easier than another brand. It's 10mm wider at the part that attaches to the frame. I can't be certain yet but it looks like most of that has to come off one side. Will ponder how to get around this.

The axle between the frame is also bigger on the EXUP swing arm so I need to find a way of using the Fazer one. First thoughts are to make up a tubular sleeve to fit tight inside the swing arm and then fit the correct sized bearing for the axle to fit in. I'll speak to me friendly fabrication expert to see if this is viable or what would be better.

I'd need new dust seals and spacers which shouldn't be too difficult to alter.

Photo of Yamaha FZR1000 EXUP swing arm on left and standard Fazer FZS600 swing arm on right.

Photo of Yamaha FZR1000 EXUP swing arm on bottom and standard Fazer FZS600 swing arm on top.

Day 5 - 23-2-13 - I fitted the new front wheel bearings today. I did it pretty quickly, which surprised me. I did the old trick of putting the bearings in the freezer overnight, the theory being that they contract a little so getting them in is easier. Once fitted I put the wheel back in and went for a ride.

I had to take it easy as I only have one front disc fitted, so only gave it a blast in first and second on a clear stretch of road. The noise had disappeared which is good. However the gearbox does tend to whine quite a bit. This might mean that something inside the motor is damaged from running on its side when crashed, or it may well be they all do that sir! Not having owned it prior to its tumble I don't know. However it is a similar noise to that of a 2002 R1 I used to own, so maybe it's a Yamaha thing.

From reading on the Fazer Forums the main issue that I may have is from the front wheel speed sensor. Apparently when you disconnect it it causes the engine to run badly and throws up an error signal on the tacho. As I want to change the front end and the clocks I need to know what will happen without these components, so this is my first major hurdle to overcome. So with the bike running again I then disconnected the front wheel speed sensor to see what effect it had on the running of the engine. I was still only using first and second but I couldn't notice any difference. I didn't get an error signal on the rev counter either. So then I disconnected the loom that fits into the rear of the instrument console. Same again, no noticeable effect on the engine running. If I do encounter problems then my first plan is to fit the CDI from a YZF600R Thundercat as this uses virtually the same engine. I've looked at the wiring diagrams for each bike and it all looks virtually the same (minus the speed sensor on the Thundercat), with the same colour wires going to the same places. So I've got a second hand CDI for twenty quid and we'll see if that will work.

I don't really want to push the bike in it's current poor set up so I think I'm going to press on with the suspension and brake upgrades, then ride it again. That's USD forks and a decent swing arm and shock. I already have an EXUP swing arm and have run into a problem already. I bought it off eBay and it was described as immaculate. Well it isn't and I have found that one of the adjuster bolts is stuck fast in the thread. I took it to a fabricator mate of mine and he couldn't get it out using various ingenious methods. I now have to try and drill it out. Not contacted the seller yet, but as it was cheap I may just take it on the chin. Too bad I already gave him positive feedback. Apparently as the bolt is stainless steel and the swing arm aluminium they basically rust together. It's called galvanic corrosion. So it's a good idea to remove the adjuster bolts every couple of years to prevent this.

What is nice is how smooth the motor is. I love carbs! Pretty torquey motor from what little I have wrung out of her. Not noticed anything dodgy with the handling, but as I said not pushed it. Hopefully the frame is OK.

Still trying to decide which forks to go for. At the moment I fancy the FZ1 forks and front wheel, although they're about 20mm too short. Or those from a 2007 onwards Triumph Tiger 1050. They are fully adjustable and about 50mm longer, but better to have something to play with. If I go this route I'm hoping Daytona 675 wheels will fit as I have one of those as a track bike, so that would save money if the wet wheels could be used. Neither are popping up that often on eBay and are a bit pricy.

Day 6 - 27-5-13 - A few months have past since I last did anything. That has been because I've been trying to work out which forks to go for as I want to get the suspension and wheels sorted first so I know the rolling chassis works before tearing the bike apart and cutting bits off.

Well I've found a pair by accident. I went out for a couple of drinks with one of my biking buddies who I don't see very often. We were talking bikes (what else?!) and he mentioned he was storing a bike that his friends son had had written off (not his fault). I had a look at it and the fork length from the top of the fork to the centre of the axle was pretty much the same as the Fazer. Also the gap between the top and bottom yoke was identical. I wanted to get them to be the same length because if you fit forks from a sports bike you generally end up with shorter forks. This can mess up the handling and it will also make the bike ride a little lower, so reducing ground clearance.

As a bonus the wheel design was exactly what I had in mind, a thin, square section five spoke design. The donor bike? It's a 2005 990 KTM Super Duke. Time to trawl eBay for the parts. After my research I found I'd be spending a few hundred pounds for second hand forks, wheels, brakes and master cylinder. So I hatched a plan. The written off bike had been sitting for over 6 months, so I thought the owner might be interested in selling the whole bike, especially as he had replaced it with another one anyway. He did want to sell and amazingly the price I was willing to pay was exactly the same as what he wanted. Deal.

Photo of the 2005 KTM Super Duke 990 before taking it apart.

My plan was to break the bike, take the parts I needed and then sell the rest on eBay. Strip down took a whole day and then another morning to photograph the parts and list all the items. Fortunately pretty much everything sold which meant I now had the garage space to start work on project Ruby Racer.

Photo of the 2005 KTM Super Duke 990 after taking it apart!

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