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