The penguin's motorcycling and Jeep blog

Sunday, June 29, 2008


One of the things you do with a motorcycle is customize it to your own needs. Except for squids riding crotch rockets, few motorcycles stay looking the same a year later as they looked straight from the factory.

There's a lot of reasons to customize a motorcycle, but one biggy is to make it physically fit you. So behold Rox adjustable handlebar risers:

I set them to be mostly up, and a bit back. That gets me sitting pretty much straight up and down on the other thing important for me fitting well: a taller seat. Sorry, no picture of the seat, it looks like a motorcycle seat, but I put on the Suzuki gel seat, which is about an inch taller than stock. Any taller would be too high for me to easily handle. But I need that distance between the pegs and the seat because my knees hurt if I'm too cramped in the cockpit.

One thing I had to do was get a longer brake line, the stock one was too short. Everything else works pretty well though. All I had to do was snip off the zip ties holding the wires to the handlebars to have enough slack in the wires, now the zip tie is up at the switch gear rather than halfway down the bar. The zip-tie you see hanging from near the clutch cable is suspending the throttle cables above a protuberance from the frame, the throttle cables normally wouldn't hit that protuberance but now that the handlebars are higher there's no slack left. Other than that, no problems.

Now, another thing you see here is Rick's Shelf. That's the thing that has the Powerlet outlet and another hole on the other side. The hole on the other side is going to be for the switch for the heated grips, when I install them. Heated grips when the weather turns cool in the fall is a real luxury. Now, this thing is CNC-milled out of a hunk of aluminum, and had sharp edges. I whacked the edges with a grinding wheel to blunt them a bit, but you'll notice another of my mods -- split fuel line protecting my cables.

Now, the whole point of all this is to be able to go long distances on two wheels. To do that, you need luggage. Tada: Givi luggage. On Givi racks. The side racks attach to the OEM mounting point at the passenger footpegs and to the four bolts that hold on the rear luggage rack and passenger grab handles, with a cross bar tucked under the rear fender. I had to clean out the threads on the right front luggage rack bolt with a tap. My stock tip for today: Buy stock in Black & Decker, the makers of Helicoil thread repair kits. My suspicion is that this bike is gonna keep them in business, sooner or later that right front luggage rack captive nut is gonna need a helicoil shot into it... and that ain't the only place. Anyhow, the Givis need a good bath, they been living on the Mule too long and are covered with grease and mud. If I had a closer photo of them you'd see just how bad they look, but all they need is a bath and a dose of McGuire's Back To Black and they'll be good as new.

Anyhow, you can see the seat too, as well as the ass end of the Mule. The seat looks like, well, a seat -- ain't nothin to tell ya that it's 1" taller than the stock seat. Also visible are the Suzuki OEM hand guards, which do good to keep bugs (and rain, presumably) from whacking your hands. I had to do a little engineering on the brake side hand guard, the stock mounting method for the lower inboard mount was no good, so I grabbed a slightly larger washer and all is well. Sigh. Factory accessories that are as fiddly to mount as aftermarket accessories. Go figger. But at least they look purty.

So anyhow, the wee touring bike is getting closer to show time. I need to get the fuse panel installed under the seat so I can get my electrics installed, and there's some other fiddly stuff I need to get installed -- first one being the automatic chain oiler, I hate having to keep shooting the chain with WD-40 to keep it from rusting. And of course I need to get the engine guard/skidplate thingy fixed so I can mount my highway pegs (duh, of course I have highway pegs, they're actually left over from an old motorcycle I don't own anymore).

Note that I know exactly what I want on the Weestrom because most of this stuff I'd already had a version of on the Mule, e.g. the Givi racks. I do *not* recommend that you do what I'm doing if you're new to motorcycling and haven't spent a long time getting your prejudices in place as to what you like and don't like. It took me four years to get the Mule to where it was "perfect" insofar as seating position, peg to seat to highway peg locations, handlebar position, accessories, etc., and figure it'll take you as long for whatever sled you buy.

So anyhow, it's time for bed, and I'm tired from all this wrenchin'. G'nite!

-- Badtux the Sleepy Penguin

PS for Gordon: A better photo of the throttle cables. Note that the reason they're at that particular angle is to keep them off the fairing bracket. That's a primo electrician-grade UV-resistant zip tie rated at 20 pounds, not a Cheap Chinese Tool Company special, so it ought to have no problems. Plenty of slack on the other side of that zip-tie.


Gordon said...

The bar mounts look like they adjust about eleven ways from Sunday! Pretty good.

The throttle cables look like they're right on the edge. You might consider doing something about that before something really exciting happens, i.e. longer ones.

You're definitely making the bike your own. Have you named it yet?

Gordon said...

I took another look. You might be able to get some slack in those cables by some clever re-routing. Do something. It scares me.

BadTux said...

Yep, those are really adjustable bar mounts. I adjusted them mostly for rise with just a little back. Rode'em to work this morning. I like. Very comfortable riding position. Not "sit up and beg", exactly, but puts the bars exactly where I want'em.

Haven't named the bike yet. It's still waiting for its name. The Green Mule got its name a couple of months after I bought it, after I loaded it up with camping gear and shit to go bash around in the national forest, so I figure the Weestrom is going to tell me its name soon enough.

The throttle cables are fine. They're being held at that angle by the zip-tie so that they don't rub anything when I move lock to lock. If not, they'd be at a normal angle, but then they'd rub a sharp edge on the frame when I turn full right lock. But you're right, they're at the edge, if the Rox bar mounts were any longer I'd need longer cables.

There's hundreds of folks on the V-Strom lists running this amount of rise with no problems (other than the too-short brake line! That's how I knew I needed the longer brake line, and where to get it!), so I'm not going to worry too much about it. I tested this setup pretty well going lock to lock making sure that all the wires and cables were cool. Other than the longer brake line, a little re-routing worked for everything else.

- Badtux the Careful Penguin

Gordon said...

Thank you for putting my mind at ease.