Diversion adventure project.

Every XJ is a project whether big or small. Tell us about yours.
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Fenty
Lookin' Around
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Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:45 pm
Region or State: Manchester
Motorcycles Owned Currently: Yamaha xj600s diversion '93
Location: Manchester

Sat Aug 05, 2017 9:02 am

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Hello to you all, I'd like to take the time to share with you the journey so far with my ongoing '93 diversion project.
I bought this bike a few months ago following a shameful 3 year period away from the two wheeled world - the previous bike had to go to finance a car and it was a long period of financial trouble that kept me away.
Much like the story goes with so many other owners on here, I acquired this bike because it had two wheels and was an affordable way to get out riding.
Having never paid the xj's much attention I was a little apprehensive about the machine. What I really wanted was my old Honda CB500 back but prices have jumped up considerably so the Xj600 would have to do, never the less, I paid for her, I jumped through the required hoops to put her on the road and I brought her home.

Great news! I now own a bike again, she's crusty and a little rusty in places, the exhaust is blowing and we really need to address the paint. Bad news, I'm still harbouring doubts about it compared to my endless fond memories of the Honda, but hey it's only supposed to be a stop gap while I brush up my riding and figure out my perfect bike... right?

OK, obviously I didn't fall head under heels but I must say the ride home felt like a true rebirthing, donning my old and neglected riding gear, the feeling of accelerating down the slip road and seeing 70mph on the speedo realising I've no big metal shell around me, seatbelt replaced with an armoured jacket. Wind hitting the helmet and burbling away around my head, this is how I was supposed to travel and god I've missed it. The 23 year old engine was far smoother than the rider of the same vintage. Revs up smooth, gear changes slick and remember to look where you want to go.
After a few little detours we're home and straight into the garage.
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Here she is - I did say she was crusty.
So I the original photo from the advert (first photo) I noticed there were a few essential pieces missing but the seller was building it so by the time I arrived it was all I need once piece excluding the side stand. Nobody warned me about the back wheel though.
First things first a strip down, fix a few little mechanical niggles and sort out the body work, I'm not fond of the purple and obviously the tank is in need of attention.

The project begins.
Rubber side down.

User avatar
Fenty
Lookin' Around
Lookin' Around
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:45 pm
Region or State: Manchester
Motorcycles Owned Currently: Yamaha xj600s diversion '93
Location: Manchester

Sat Aug 05, 2017 10:33 am

Pt.2 The paint.
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So all the bodywork has been stripped off and the paint prep begins. Sanding, filling, sanding, filling, sanding, primer, sanding, filler, sanding, primer, sanding, sanding, sanding.
In the process of the strip down I encountered my first problem, and it's one I was forced to push to the back of my mind and not let it keep me up at night. Somewhere in this poor girls history one of the studs for the exhaust outlet for cylinder 1 had snapped off so one of the 16 previous owners had drilled out a hole, tapped a thread and crammed in a regular m8 bolt from the local hardware shop. It did the job fine until I confronted it with a socket after a few heat cycles from the engine and the head snapped off flush with the engine casing... "I will deal with that another day..."
Anyway, paint! So in the first 3 weeks of the 4 week long British summer I locked myself in the garage at every possible oppertunity trying to get the body work prepped and painted. After much agonising over paint colours I eventually came to an uncertain verdict. It's an old looking bike so vibrant colours - in my opinion - would be over the top for an otherwise stock XJ. Black could work but why go through all that effort to have something that looks so basic. Red? Green? Blue? Yellow? Not really for me. I've got it! Grey! I'm generally a quiet person and don't much like drawing attention to myself and my bike can be an accurate reflection of that. No need to stand out, just enjoy the journey for what it is.
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Primer is on, at last we're making progress and the prep has really paid off and for better or worse the tank is now the same colour as the plastics.
At this point I must also ask you to excuse the state of my garage. I have a small workspace and far too much clutter in there, I'm also not responsible for the colour of the walls.

The body work is progressing nicely but the stripped down bike is still sat looking tired and the frame is still purple. That's not going to sit well with grey. Powder coating it is far out of my budget and I'm not sure I want to pull everything out of the frame in the golden weeks of summer. The itch had set in I needed to crack on so I can go riding. So off to the shops for another roll of masking tape, a small paint brush and a can of black Hammerite. A few hours of delicately trying to reach into the tiniest nooks and crannies without making a mess of everything still attached and eventually I have a black frame.
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Now I know some of you will be absolutely mortified at this 'bodge' job. Of course the finish won't be smooth, it will have stone chips in no time etc etc... BUT the frame is black, protected from rust with a thick dose of enamel paint and if further down the line I regret this desiscion and find the money to go ahead with powder coat I can always go back and do it but for now I'm happy with the result I have.

Returning to the bodywork, it's time to apply the colour and I was in for a shock. After staring blankly at the spray can shelves of Halfords looking for a dark grey that I liked based on a silly name and a little useless colour indicator sticker I opted for "BMW Black Graphite Sparkle" the colour indicator showed it was a dark grey and they had enough cans of it in stock to do the job. Based on the indicator I was expecting a dull flat grey that I could shine up with a thick clear coat and some buffing. However when I started spraying I realised why it had sparkle in the name.

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I was excited before starting, but now I'd hit overload, this colour was perfect!

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And of course I needed to give the bike it's identity back

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At this point all was going great, the clearcoat was going on, I'd recruited some help and the exhaust problem was fixed - apologises but I never did take photos of the damage - and I was laying on the final clear coat on the tank when it all went wrong.
Rumour has it neighbors 3 houses away heard my swearing. The tank slipped off the stand I was painting on and was about to roll over the edge of the table so I stuck my hands out to grab it. Paint job ruined, day ruined. Foiled by gravity...

When I returned disheartened to attempt a salvage operation of the tanks paint I started by trying to sand out my clearcoat hand prints but it quickly became apparent I'd disturbed the colour coat in the process so sanding it out had only left me with a very patchy colour. I knew ultimately the only way to fix this was to go back to the beginning and start over but I tried anyway.
I managed to get the colour to look half decent to a drunken blind man before accepting defeat. I thought I'd just put on the last of the clear coat and re-address this at a later date.
To those of you who work with paint regularly will understand my mistake straight away with clearcoat. The short lived British summer weather had turned cold and wet and I was still stuck in the garage, more frustrated and impatient than ever before. I found out he hard way that clearcoat shouldn't be applied when the air is cold and moist.

The good news was with my failures accepted it was time to put the bike back to one piece, fuel up and go for a ride.
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Rubber side down.

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Fenty
Lookin' Around
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Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:45 pm
Region or State: Manchester
Motorcycles Owned Currently: Yamaha xj600s diversion '93
Location: Manchester

Sat Aug 05, 2017 11:41 am

Pt. 3 A fun weekend at the Scorton Steam Fair

Since finishing the paint job and being - for the most part - delighted with the end result all I thought was left was to do was roll up my sleeves and scrub everything in the frame clean, take off a few years of stationary filth and fix on some mirrors... i opted for a set of fairing mounted mirrors having previously broken my wrist on a bar mounted mirror stalk as I was lurched over the suddenly stationary bike head first into the back doors of a big white van - not my finest moment...
So the divvi was looking good and feeling good. With a few more miles under my belt my riding was improving, I was acutely aware that the bikes potential far exceeded my own. Common riding instincts had left me for the creature comforts of a car. Faith in the tyres when leaning was non existent, understanding how far to push the brakes before committing to an emergency change of direction had long been forgotten but piece by piece I was cautiously re-acquiring my skills, or so I believed.
Around this time I was asked if I wanted to partake in the 'Chunky Tread Motorcycle Adventure Club' lineup. Though my tread isn't chunky and motorbike adventures had not been on my radar for some years I took up the offer for a free ticket. I hastily slapped a Chunky Tread sticker on my screen, fit some soft pannier bags and a tank bag and strapped a tent and supplies to the back of the old girl - and of course a hand full of emergency roadside tools for good measure and I was ready to go.
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In the line up she was sat between everything from a Honda CB125f to an old Africa Twin that had seen more than it's fair share of the world, the typical BMW GS's and I was sat between two Bandits. A black with red framed 600 and a silver heavily chromed 1200. Needless to say I didn't turn a single head over the weekend.
In the evening we all went out for a group ride where my riding ability was put into perspective. Nobody was riding hard on the trip but I had serious trouble keeping pace with 7 other seasoned adventure riders. Their lines were cleaner, their braking smoother, their ability to read the roads conditions much better. I returned feeling like a true novice. However I'm not one to be deterred from this. I was once a very good rider in my own humble opinion. I rode everywhere in all weather (short of snow) so I see no reason why I couldn't get back to this, I needed more miles in the saddle and what better way than to accompany the very riders that showed me how far behind I'd fallen.
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Spot the divvi in the lineup.

After my weekends fun I finally decided the direction I wanted to go with this project.
This was the point when's I understood the beauty of the XJ all at once it fell into place. The perfect template was made up of a robust engine that will just keep going. The simplest mechanics that are endlessly diverse, I already had the bike that could take the mileage and conditions. All i needed to do was change it from the old faithful commuter we all know and love and make it battle ready for the long journey in all conditions. I didn't need to replace the bike, I needed to understand what I already had and realise my starting point was set.
And besides, I'm 5ft 7 I can't get an actual adventure bike off it's stand!
Rubber side down.

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Fenty
Lookin' Around
Lookin' Around
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:45 pm
Region or State: Manchester
Motorcycles Owned Currently: Yamaha xj600s diversion '93
Location: Manchester

Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:32 pm

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Pt. 4. I start making a real mess now.

Upon return with a happy new mind set.

So, how do you build an adventure bike?
I have no idea, but I'll start with adding luggage capacity. I picked up a pair of matching boxes that could be fit for use as panniers, nice, cheap and big. So then I had to figure out a way to mount them to the bike, obviously these boxes were never meant for this and there certainly wasn't a ready made solution to fixing them to the bike so I needed to construct some form of rack for them.

Before I continue with this I should stress I have no welder and this is my very first attempt at metal work. There was a lot of trial and lots of error.

So returning from the local hardware shop with a few bags of nuts and bolts, and several meters of steel tubing. Time to put on the safety glasses and get out the angle grinder, how hard can it be..?

THREE DAYS LATER

I emerge from the garage covered in metal filings, sweat and covered in tiny cuts all over my hands and arms. With this image to show for my efforts
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As it turns out, not easy at all was the answer but this was my crude solution.
I removed the grab rails to house steel bands shaped to support the top half of the boxes and take most of the weight. Then added 2 more pieces from the bottom of the rack to the 2 conveiniently placed mounting brackets under the pillion seat. And finally another strut placed just behind the number plate for final stability.
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This is the finished piece off the bike. It's defiantly no piece of art but it will all be painted and all the nuts will be replaced with nylock nuts to combat vibration issues. Most of it will be consealed behind the boxes. I'm yet to devise a way of making the supports from the grab rail look less offensive.

I've had to put this part on hold for a while now as I'm still going to need smaller indicators at the back to accommodate the panniers and my poorly exhaust takes priority.
However I have managed to acquire a set of fork gators and spotlights to dress up the front end a little.
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Rubber side down.

User avatar
Fenty
Lookin' Around
Lookin' Around
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:45 pm
Region or State: Manchester
Motorcycles Owned Currently: Yamaha xj600s diversion '93
Location: Manchester

Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:53 pm

Pt 5. Things I missed and a new exhaust.

So this project has run over the course of around 4 months now and the write up so far has been from today's perspective. Somewhere along the line I replaced the ugly gold wheel with the spare standard one that had a much healthier disc on it. I just had to swap the tyre, cush drive and sprocket over. I was also possessed with this silly idea to paint the caliper red. The wheel looks much better, however I'm not a fan of the calipers.
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I may grow more fond of them as they dull down a bit and get dusty but at the moment they stick out like a sore thumb

But more importantly I received a very special delivery earlier this week.
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My new Delkovic exhaust has arrived. No more holes in the exhaust. No more rattling screaming stock exhaust. My neighbors will thank me for the working baffles and the engine runs much smoother now with even pressure in the twin outlets. Massively improved sound and looks.
Rubber side down.

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mikee112
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Posts: 2059
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:13 am
Region or State: UK
Motorcycles Owned Currently: '99 Yamaha XJ 600n
Location: Essex, England
Great Britain

Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:11 pm

Great job Fenty, the bike is looking fantastic and I love the way your writing style is both interesting and funny :clap:

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Fenty
Lookin' Around
Lookin' Around
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:45 pm
Region or State: Manchester
Motorcycles Owned Currently: Yamaha xj600s diversion '93
Location: Manchester

Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:20 pm

Thanks mikee112, glad you like it. There will be plenty more as things progress :)
Rubber side down.

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TonyKZ1
XJ Enthusiast
XJ Enthusiast
Posts: 833
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:15 pm
Region or State: Missouri, U.S.A.
Motorcycles Owned Currently: 1997 Yamaha XJ600s Seca II
Location: Marble Hill, MO. U.S.A.
United States of America

Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:57 pm

Wow, I'm impressed. Keep up the good work and especially keep us updated on your progress. :thumbsup:
1997 Yamaha Seca II - mostly stock, Racetech upgraded forks, FZ6R rear shock, Oxford Adventure Style Heated Grips, Barkbusters Blizzard Cold Weather Handguards, a Scottoiler vSystem chain oiler. My Mileage Tracker Page.

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whathifi
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:23 am
Region or State: Saarijärvi
Motorcycles Owned Currently: Xj600S -94

Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:10 am

That was hilarious when you write, tank slipped.. I so can imagine that situation 🙂, bit of same experiences i have.

:thumbsup:
- Opel on pop -

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SuperDev13
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Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:58 am
Region or State: Yorkshire
Motorcycles Owned Currently: 1995 XJ600 S Diversion

Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:34 pm

Project looks great and I couldn't help but laugh at the tank incident.

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