£100 Hound

Motorcycle Sport & Leisure - - Contents -

Ber­tie has spent his own cash. Not a lot of it, granted, but it has landed him a VFR with some work to do.

Our Bert bought a pup… or has he? His £100 Hound project be­gins!

Bikes kinda get un­der the skin, don’t they? Bikes like Honda’s sem­i­nal VFR750F… Now, I try not to get sen­ti­men­tal, but – when I was courting my late wife – I used to trun­dle to her place in Kent on a Honda VFR750 F-R in teal green. Even look­ing back now, af­ter 23 years I think: wow, what a bike. It was quick, comfy and de­voured miles with ease, mean­ing I was ready for ac­tion as soon as the front hoop landed on her drive. Ahhh (ahem) happy times!

Since those heady days of the mid-1990s I’ve hardly rid­den a 750, but done plenty of miles on its soul­less re­place­ment the VFR800i, and the later V-TEC mod­els. It was only when rid­ing a minter F-R for MSL’s sis­ter ti­tle Clas­sic Mo­tor­cy­cle Me­chan­ics (which I edit) late in 2015 that I was trans­ported straight back to those times. It was mag­i­cal!

So, I wanted an F-R, but couldn’t af­ford a de­cent, sorted one (sin­gle par­ent and all that) but I did hap­pen to know where a knack­ered one was sit­ting… En­ter my friend Si­mon Brown. Now, he used to use my garage to put his com­muter F-R in be­fore he got a lock-up of his own. Chat­ting to him back in early 2016, I found that his ma­chine was sit­ting bereft of an MoT (shot rear shock) and he would let me have it for just £100.

Bar­gain! Why? Well, I knew he’d spent £760 on it over the pre­ced­ing five years, in­clud­ing a vi­tal reg-rec­ti­fier re­place­ment and Mo­tad stain­less down­pipes. Okay so it had 40k on the clocks and had sat for a while, but I was happy as Larry when I pushed it into my garage.

And there it has sat ever since. Be­ing busy hasn’t helped, nor has not know­ing what to do with it. Since I bought the thing I’ve con­sid­ered every­thing from a nut and bolt resto to stan­dard, to my own tarty-farty take on a V4 su­per­bike, and even had the leg­endary Kar Lee de­sign a colour-scheme for it. But – as 2018 dawned – I re­alised I just wanted to get the thing run­ning and ride­able. So I’m fi­nally on it.

So, cur­rent plans are to sort the body­work – per­haps in a plain black colour or wrap, and sort what needs do­ing.

The shock is al­ready sorted thanks to a su­perb YSS Z-Se­ries shock which I got from We­moto when I first bought the VFR, as well as a bat­tery. Some parts are pretty rusty – like the levers/ped­als, so I will sort those as I go. I’ve al­ready got a chain and sprock­ets and some LSL ad­justable levers from Per­for­mance Parts Ltd: I man­aged to get some Hyper­pro fork springs from them too which I’m go­ing to use with some soon-to­come Liqui Moly heavy­weight fork oil. This thing has sat for a while, so the sus­penders will need sort­ing, it’s point­less not do­ing this if the bike will be apart.

With my garage be­ing full of crap, I got the bike to my friends IDP Moto in Sil­ver­stone (Daryll Young and Craig Prior) to rip the fair­ings off it and sneak­ily leave it with them while I sought some more parts. This is what I found out about the bike…

When the pan­els started to come off the VFR, we could see that other than gen­eral wear and tear and furred-up bolts, the only real is­sues were the en­gine cov­ers. Yup, the cov­ers on both sides were heav­ily wa­ter pit­ted – not what you nor­mally see on a qual­ity ma­chine like the VFR, but this one has clearly had a hard life. Ei­ther I need to get them off and blasted, or I need to source re­place­ments: if only so the bike looks nicer… It’s the same for the wheels. I’ve got some new Dun­lop tyres to go on, so I may as well get the wheels blasted and painted (they’re very heav­ily chipped) or source re­place­ments and sell these on.

This VFR has myr­iad dif­fer­ing bolts/allen bolts/nuts and wash­ers hold­ing it to­gether – not many seem to be stan­dard for this model and some are clearly from the ‘make do and mend’ box – and one on the

left-hand side main fair­ing panel was chewed up and had to re­ceive at­ten­tion from the im­pact driver. I think – for peace of mind and looks alone – I should put my hand in my pocket for a Pro-Bolt fair­ing kit and en­gine bolt kit.

The Venom can I’m re­plac­ing for a sexy GPR car­bon-fi­bre item which I’ve al­ready bought. This was se­cured by some iffy clamps and bolts/wash­ers which meant that the clamp it­self was very near the (knack­ered) rear Avon – how it didn’t rub against the tyre as the shock was shot I will never know. What did make me breathe a sigh of re­lief were the down­pipes them­selves: as per what I’d heard, these are very clean, very re­cent Mo­tad re­place­ments: even if I sim­ply broke the bike I’d make three times my orig­i­nal out­lay by sell­ing these…

So, I need to sort the rolling chas­sis and give the bike a good tidy up. With fork springs/oil, new shock/ can and tyres, the ma­jor­ity of this is sorted, but I know I should prob­a­bly get some new wheel bear­ings while the wheels are out and get some gas­kets for when I sort out those en­gine cov­ers. One thing I was happy with was the brake calipers and forks. Also, I reckon a good steam blast will clean the forks be­fore I drain/ strip them, while those calipers them­selves look in good nick – even if they’re not the best brakes in the world as new… I reckon a check/swap of the pads and a bleed­ing of the brakes (the lines them­selves look fairly new) and we’ll be sorted. I also want shot of the oh-so prac­ti­cal rack and will re­place this with the VFR-spe­cific twin-han­dles for the pil­lion, which

(even at breaker’s prices) are a good £20 a side!

Next time up, I’m go­ing to give the bike a good steam clean and get those carbs off: they’ve been sat so long with a good half a tank of gas in the tank that these will need a good ul­tra­sonic clean. I also need to get a carb kit and re­place those parts in the carbs: it’s the first port of call to get any bike’s en­gine work­ing right. Af­ter that it’s get­ting that rear shock in and the forks sorted.

WORDS: Ber­tie Sim­monds PICS: Ber­tie Sim­monds/Kar Lee

Luck­ily this isn’t a ‘scratch and sniff’ shot: the hound was parked next to a lit­ter tray.

TOP LEFT: ABOVE LEFT:

It’s taken a while to get this project started. Giv­ing the hound a bath seemed like a sen­si­ble first step. TOP RIGHT: May re­place hoses. They can’t stay like this. ABOVE RIGHT: Can clamp close to tyre!

Wheels and en­gine cases need to come off. For now, it needs to be wheeled around...

TOP LEFT: Rear wheel scabby. TOP RIGHT: Bar ends and levers. MID­DLE: Caliper/forks in good nick. ABOVE LEFT: Spring­less foot­pegs and lever will go. ABOVE RIGHT: ‘Clas­sic’ tax disc clearly dates the bike.

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