Martin Child sorts out the wir­ing loom among other things.

A frame, wheels and en­gine a mo­tor­cy­cle do not make. So it’s time to start con­nect­ing elec­tri­cal and fuel sys­tems in the vain hope that Project GSX-R10/11 barks into life.

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - CONTENTS -

There are cer­tain mini-mile­stones in a build that give your jin­gle a tin­gle. Par­tic­u­lar mo­ments have this ef­fect – for ex­am­ple, when the front-end got slipped in for the first time, or when I re­alised that the big­ger swingarm and rear wheel would be part of the build, rather than just parts col­lect­ing dust in the depths of the shed. And that fris­son of ex­cite­ment cer­tainly ratch­eted up a notch when the en­gine went in. But, and it is a big but (in­sert your own ‘Yo momma’s,’ joke in here), it’s of ab­so­lutely no use if you can’t ride the bloody thing. And yes, we are still talk­ing about the bike – stay with me here. The In­ter­net of­ten serves as a vis­ual re­minder of bike builds started with good in­ten­tions but fin­ished in can’t-be-ar­sed-once-it-gets-toohard lack of de­ter­mi­na­tion. But this, as you’ve hope­fully re­alised by now, isn’t the

In­ter­net you’re read­ing. And fail­ure to launch isn’t an op­tion. So to­day is the day this 32-year-old new build barks a fresh tune and keeps the mo­men­tum streak­ing to­wards the fin­ish line: even if it kills me… Old electrics: don’t you just love ’em? The main loom has ben­e­fited from be­ing pro­tected from the el­e­ments by the bike’s plas­tic fair­ing pan­els but still looks manky. As I’m not look­ing at slic­ing and dic­ing the electrics, I pull up a seat and set about re-wrap­ping it. Armed with two rolls of black elec­tri­cal tape and the small­est black cable ties I can find, I start at one end. Af­ter a few wraps of the tape, I se­cure the first end with a cable tie and move on down the loom. Ev­ery time there is a branch off the main trunk of wir­ing, the se­cond roll of tape is em­ployed. Af­ter cable tie-ing the end, I wrap down the branch and then fin­ish with a few good wraps on the main loom. Then the orig­i­nal tape wraps and cov­ers the branch’s end and so forth. By the time the loom is fin­ished, ev­ery end is held firm by a cable tie and is less likely to start un­rav­el­ling. With the loom laid out on the frame, I se­cure it with the orig­i­nal, re­us­able Suzuki clamps and start to clean up all the con­nec­tors. I have to make up brack­ets to hold the CDI and fuse­box in their new lo­ca­tions un­der the tank, be­fore I mea­sure a cra­dle for my new bat­tery. There is nowt wrong with the old bat­tery mind – apart from be­ing bloody huge and stupidly heavy. It weighs over five ki­los and dom­i­nated the space un­der the seat like a Great Dane in a Mini – the space that is now half-filled by the rear shock reser­voir. By go­ing lithi­u­mion for my elec­tri­cal needs, I can still use the un­der­seat space and the new power unit is well un­der a kilo in weight. Hon­estly the new bat­tery is so light that it feels like there’s bug­ger-all in­side of it. But it cranks: man does it crank! With the SSDS in place (Shed-built Spark De­liv­ery Sys­tem), it now feels the ap­pro­pri­ate time to start carb-load­ing. With mod­ern fuel of­fi­cially be­ing rub­bish on the longevity front, it’s a wise choice to strip and in­spect the carbs be­fore they get clamped onto the en­gine. It’s also a good time to see what the jet sizes are and what notch the jet nee­dles are on. With hardly any crap in the carb bowls, they’ve ei­ther been a) re­cently cleaned and ad­justed care­fully by the pre­vi­ous owner, or b) the source of much poor-run­ning which hasn’t come to my at­ten­tion (yet!). So cleaned and re­assem­bled, I check the in­take man­i­folds for cracks or splits and bolt ’em on. With the ex­haust down­pipes con­nected to a re­cently pur­chased Yoshimura car­bon can (mmm, gotta love a cheap, sec­ond­hand Yoshi), the temp­ta­tion to oil her up and press the but­ton is strong with this one. So the tank comes off the ‘spare’ Ban­dit 12 and the vac­uum fuel tap gets spun around to ‘Pri’.

Ah: ig­ni­tion’s on but there’s no con­tact. I check the ob­vi­ous – clutch and stand im­mo­biliser switches and the main kill switch: all good. Armed with my trusty mul­ti­me­ter (well, this one’s not trusty quite yet as it’s brand new), I start check­ing all the earth points. With the bike run­ning a neg­a­tive ground sys­tem, I’m well aware that the freshly painted frame can eas­ily be the cul­prit. I check ev­ery earth point and get a read­ing of un­der 0.3 ohms, so no prob­lems there. In the end, the bad-boy of the cir­cuit is the ig­ni­tion bar­rel it­self. There’s enough con­tact for the id­iot lights to come on but not the starter cir­cuit, even with a cur­sory (Suzuki) worn-key wig­gle. I’d ac­tu­ally or­dered a new ig­ni­tion switch (more so to have two new keys for the bike), so I swap out the wires in the orig­i­nal con­nec­tor block and fi­nally get power to the starter mo­tor. I crank it for a while, with the coils dis­con­nected, to get the fresh 10/w40 flow­ing around the en­gine and then power it up. It’s not in­stant but the en­gine is coaxed into a prim­i­tively rough ex­is­tence be­fore set­tling into a more re­fined (well it is an oil-cooled GSX-R mill so that’s a rel­a­tive term) rum­ble. If I was Vic­tor Franken­stein I’d now prob­a­bly drop to my knees and scream, “It’s alive. Ali­i­i­i­ive!” But that’s only go­ing to scare the dog. In­stead I set­tle for a car­bon monox­ide­laden cheesy grin. So she has a pulse, but is far from pretty – and we’ve all had a drink at that club. I’ve a hillock (well, it’s not quite a moun­tain) of brack­ets to make, mod­ify or just per­suade with a touch of pre­ci­sion mod­i­fy­ing via a bloody big ham­mer.

The oil cooler needs spac­ing down to help with the turn­ing ra­dius of the thicker bot­tom fork clamp. The new ig­ni­tion switch needs to meet Johnny Grinder and his side­kick, Peter File, for a weight loss ses­sion, the coils need new spac­ers and to be bolted to the frame and my new K&N fil­ters (not suit­able for early model GSX-R1100S, ap­par­ently), need to be taught to be less fussy and just do their bloody job. Then it’s con­nect­ing the sin­gle throt­tle cable up to the Thou’s twin cable throt­tle tube and rout­ing the var­i­ous fuel, vent and hy­draulic lines that sit on top of the en­gine. Armed with the knowl­edge of the bike run­ning, these tasks are slow, steady and log­i­cal: it’s fun rather than frus­trat­ing work – slowly, surely, just mov­ing the build on. As I’m cre­at­ing, I glance at the colan­der on the wall. It’s very pretty. But right next to it is the cal­en­dar, and that’s much more in­for­ma­tive. Six black lines in­di­cate that I’m a month and a half into the build, leav­ing four spa­ces to be filled in be­fore I’m over my self-im­posed time­frame. Stand­ing be­fore me is the real soul of this build. A three-decade-old frame and en­gine brought back to the fu­ture with mod­ern wheels, tyres, brakes and sus­pen­sion. It’s look­ing black, sharp and very pre­cise. It’s a great feel­ing that it was just a ran­dom thought a cou­ple of months back, and now sits in the me­tal look­ing like it means busi­ness. Truth is, it still might han­dle with the poise of a greased pig on a lilo, but I’m think­ing not. Plus, if I can pull the re­pairs and re­spray of the body­work off, it’s gonna look mighty fine. Me­chan­i­cally sound, the at­ten­tion now turns to dress­ing her up real nice. This is real hero or zero stuff, as a bad paint scheme and rough fin­ish on the GSX-R will be like putting a goa­tee on the Mona Lisa. And I’m not go­ing for that sort of ‘in­ter­est­ing’ look…

A sneaky peek of what’s to come... do you like her?

There’s some­thing so right about the oil/ air-cooled GSX-R mill.

Black frame/grey mo­tor looks good.

Re-wrapped and ready to go...

Con­nec­tors were reused where pos­si­ble.

Is this a naughty Wildy burnout?

Mod­ern front and rear with clas­sic midriff!

Nar­row – for a big ‘four’!

Sub-frame bits aplenty...

Carbs: part of ev­ery clas­sic build!

It’s tight in there.

The dif­fer­ence is clear.

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