Oh brother

Alan hits the road in his late brother’s ’Blade and very nearly bins it Pho­tog­ra­phy Ja­son Critchell

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Our Bikes -

2005 HONDA FIRE­BLADE ALAN SEE­LEY

THREE-AND-A-HALF YEARS AF­TER my late brother parked up his 2005 Honda CBR1000RR ready for a Spring he would never see, it’s way past time to get the bike back on the road.

Not that it wants for much. The bike had been metic­u­lously cared for over all of its 14,700 miles and be­fore it was parked was treated to oil, flu­ids, and a new pair of Miche­lin Pi­lot 4 tyres. How­ever stood through four win­ters and sum­mers there’s ev­ery chance of con­den­sa­tion build-up in the en­gine, the hy­gro­scopic hy­draulic fluid will have ab­sorbed mois­ture from the air and the fuel in the tank will be well past its sell-by date and doubt­less con­tam­i­nated with wa­ter. Of course the bat­tery had long since suc­cumbed to the draw of the Data­tool alarm then lan­guished flat for two years.

First the right-side fair­ing lower needs to come off for ac­cess to the oil drain plug, front and for­ward on the sump be­hind the ex­haust head­ers and the fil­ter pok­ing out the right of the crank­case cast­ing.

At some in­de­ter­mi­nate date in the late-1990s, mo­tor­cy­cle fair­ings be­came less me­chanic-friendly, with seem­ingly ran­dom com­bi­na­tions of Allen bolts, ram nuts and plas­tic panel fas­ten­ing clips spec­i­fied to hold them to­gether. Honda cer­tainly kept each and ev­ery one of their OE sup­pli­ers happy when they de­signed the CBR1000RR fair­ing. All but one of the plas­tic clips with a cen­tral screw re­fused to undo and

had to be snapped out. The par­tic­u­lar is­sue with these is that peo­ple tend to as­sume that the plas­tic screw that threads into the cen­tre of the fas­tener and makes the point splay open has to be turned up tight. No need; they only need to be screwed in enough for the point to spread so the fas­tener won’t pull back out. Over­tighten them even a lit­tle and the thread on the plas­tic screw strips. A few sec­onds spent on ebay sourced a pack of ten 6mm re­place­ments for a fiver posted.

As pre­dicted the oil that came out of the bike was still golden but given the price of three and a bit litres of semi-synth I’m not go­ing to scrimp. While the last of the old oil was drain­ing I headed to The Mo­tor­cy­cle Works to get some oil, a fil­ter, a new bat­tery and a crush washer to re­place the one that was mys­te­ri­ously ab­sent from the drain bolt.

Back at the bench, I swapped the fil­ter and torqued it up find­ing it tricky to get ad­e­quate ac­cess to tighten it by hand, re­filled the oil, hung the new bat­tery on the bike and was about to fire it up when I re­mem­bered the an­cient fuel in the tank. I si­phoned out as much as I could then poured in a few litres of fresh su­per un­leaded. I topped this up with some Lu­cas in­jec­tor cleaner, only be­cause I thought it wouldn’t hurt.

I fired the bike up, let the new oil go round, killed the en­gine and rechecked the oil level. A cou­ple of hun­dred cc more to take ac­count of the new fil­ter and we were good. The old me­chanic’s trick of fill­ing a new fil­ter with fresh oil doesn’t work so eas­ily when it screws on hor­i­zon­tally.

The hy­draulic fluid was the colour of trea­cle and both brake and clutch were less than pos­i­tive in their ac­tions. Crusty white de­posits in­side the reser­voir caps and around the bel­lows con­firmed that mois­ture had met fluid. Fresh DOT4 flushed through the sys­tems saw those right. There’s some plea­sure to be work­ing on a bike where the bleed nip­ples had re­ceived a thought­ful smear of cop­per grease last time they’d been dis­turbed.

The fair­ing fas­ten­ers ar­rived the next morn­ing and af­ter some jug­gling, swear­ing and a cou­ple of false starts the fair­ing panel fi­nally went back on. Fi­nal tasks were air in the tyres and lube on the chain.

That done it was back to The Mo­tor­cy­cle Works, this time on the bike, for what I was sure would be a mere for­mal­ity of an MOT. And so it was.

The only drama came when I first jumped on the bike. For­get­ting is was mid-jan­uary, the roads were slathered in salty slime and the tyres had zero miles on them and the de­cep­tively smooth ’Blade en­cour­ages a less than cir­cum­spect throt­tle hand, my first two sec­onds on the bike saw me slew­ing and wheel­spin­ning up the road. With no time to panic, I didn’t panic and the bike straight­ened it­self out, found some grip and cat­a­pulted for­ward. Laugh? Damn right I did.

Nearly went through the screen, which re­minds me I’ll want to swap that for a clear ver­sion when I get the chance, and cer­tainly set up the sus­pen­sion for my svelte 12 stone frame too.

Back where it be­longs, tool­ing along an open road

Fair­ing fas­ten­ers proved to be a pain, but with fresh re­place­ments a click away on ebay, all was well. Oil fil­ter was a mi­nor pain to get fin­ger tight

Even when old oil looks golden brown, just re­place it

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