The R6 To-Do List

Since ridable days will be getting a bit more infrequent in the coming months and the weather lately hasn’t been cooperating, I’ve decided it’s time to get going on the improvements and maintenance to my 1999 Yamaha R6.  I traded my 2003 Suzuki VZ800 Marauder for it almost a year ago and only ever got around to de-lowering the rear suspension and front forks.  I couldn’t be happier with it, as it’s a supersport and I had just spent two years on a cruiser.  It’s almost 13 years old at this point, though, and at that age pretty much any bike will need some love.  I have a blog anyway, so why not chart my progress here?  Here’s what I have on my list so far:

  1. Front Caliper Rebuild – The front brakes “drag,” meaning that when they are disengaged the brake pads still lightly rub against the rotor, indicating that the brake pistons are having trouble retracting.  I’ve bled and swapped brake fluid with no effect, so I’ll be taking the two front calipers apart, cleaning them out, and installing new seals.  Two rings per piston, four pistons per caliper, and two calipers puts me at a lovely sixteen o-rings to replace, which thanks to eBay only came out to $60.  Unfortunately they’re shipping from Great Britain, so who knows when they’ll show up.
  2. Full Fairing Disassembly and Detail – Take off all the plastics, replace the threaded fasteners, give them all a solid wash, and wax the fuel tank.  Take the black belly fairing off and paint it white to match the rest of the bike’s coloring.  Possibly refresh the black paint instead.  Then do a full cleaning of the bike with de-greaser.  Messy.  Also remove the front and rear wheels and fully clean both.  I recently discovered that there is a glossy black finish on both of them underneath all the brake dust.  They’re so dirty I was actually surprised to discover this.
  3. Chain Replacement – This one is more of a “should” than a “must.”  The chain that came with the bike has rust in spots and I have no idea how old it is.  I’ve also detected minor-but-in-spec deformation on one of the links.  Most importantly, this chain has been greased several times in the past, and I prefer DuPont chain wax, which is translucent and doesn’t fling grime around.  To clean off every trace of the old grease I’d have to take it off, and at that point why not put a fresh chain on that’s only ever been waxed?
  4. Suspension Adjustment – The rear shock and front forks both have damping levels that can be adjusted, and in the case of the rear shock a special tool is required.  I need to obtain whatever special tools are necessary so that the bike’s suspension actually reacts correctly to my body weight.  The previous owner weighed 2/3 what I do, and if I go over enough consecutive bumps I feel like I’m in midair.
  5. Fix the Turn Signals – The previous owner replaced the front turn signals with flush-mounted turn signals.  He also replaced the rear turn signals with ones integrated into the twin taillights.  They both look fine, but somewhere in the electrical system is a bug or short that’s causing a fast-flash.  Imagine the speed at which your turn signals blink.  Now double it, that’s what I have.  It’s indicative of a problem and as much as I hate electricity I’m going to have to get in there and solve it if I want it to pass inspection without having to bust out a crooked inspector.
  6. Paint the Underside of the Tail – This is the fairing piece that houses the aforementioned integrated rear turn signals.  It is currently red, I intend to plasti-dip it black.
  7. Repaint the Frame Sliders – They were originally blue and sprayed black, but chip easily.  A sanding, primer, and repaint should do the trick.
  8. Replace Miscellaneous Fasteners – there are a few non-essentials missing, it would be good to have those taken care of.

So there it is.  If I haven’t accomplished any of this by New Year’s, I’m officially a failure and you are all obligated to call me that.

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