I decided to spend this weekend putting the black rear fender on the Yamaha WR450. I've been putting it off because I knew the fender wasn't going to fit right because it was made for a Yamaha YZ450 and I knew there was going to be some modifications that would have to be made to make it work.
I wish I could've found a black rear fender that would bolt right on but I didn't have any luck locating one. So I'm going to spend about 2 days off and on putting on a rear fender that could probably be done in less than an hour if it were made for my bike.
The first thing I had to do was find a way to put the taillight on the YZ fender. And that's not hard to do but it's kind of hard to make it pretty when you're done. The WR fender has plastic bosses the taillight screws go into, the YZ fender doesn't so the bolts have to go through the fender itself.
The taillight is sitting on the black fender. The blue fender has a place to mount it the black one doesn't
Another problem is the little plastic fender extension mounting holes don't match up, the fix for that was fairly easy I just use one original hole and drilled a new hole for a small nut and bolt to hold the fender extension.
The black fenders mounting holes for the extension are too close together
A more difficult problem has been that there is a metal plate bolted to the WR fender that holds the battery and some electronic gadgets. I guess the YZ does not have this plate because the four mounting holes in the WR fender are missing on the YZ fender. But worse is the YZ fender is a completely different shape where that plate is supposed to bolt in so making it work involves more than just drilling four new holes.
The lithium iron battery is the latest and greatest technology
While I had the bike apart I took the opportunity to install a Shorai lithium iron battery. This battery has almost twice the power of the original battery, is almost half the size, and saves a lot of weight. I weighed both batteries on my digital postal scales and the factory battery weighed 4 lbs. 8 oz. while the Shorai battery weighed 1 lb. 9 oz. I've been told that the lithium iron batteries don't catch fire and explode like the older lithium ion batteries and I sure hope they're right because I'm going to be sitting on it.
If everything works out tomorrow and I'm able to find the metric bolts that I need to finish the job I will post some pictures showing what it all looks like.
Matt Fetty did a great job on the Yamaha WR 450 motorcycle rack
My motorcycle carrier rack was finished today and Matt Fetty of Fetty Automotive in Pueblo CO. did a great job on it. It looks like the trailer came with it installed. I still need to spray paint some of the welded parts so they won't rust and I need to move my trailer tag and taillights to the back of the carry rack. You can see the tag and the lights through the motorcycle but I'm going to put a cover over the motorcycle when I travel and that blocks off the taillights and the tag.
You may notice that now the Yamaha WR 450 is mostly black and the only thing left to change from blue is the rear fender. I haven't put the rear fender on yet because it's going to require some minor modifications to make it fit and I wanted to wait until I was in a cooler working environment.
Cutting out the brackets to weld to the Arctic Fox frame
Matt made the rack really strong and welded it to the frame using three receiver hitches. I was never sure how high the rack should be from the ground, I just knew that I needed it to be low enough so I could easily and safely get the Yamaha WR450 on the rack. So it turned out the motorcycle is easy to get on the rack, I have no trouble pushing it on it all, and as for the height of the rack, I guess only time and off-road driving will tell how that works out.
The motorcycle rack is almost finished
The Yamaha WR 450 is almost all black except for the rear fender.
I've been busy doing things to the Yamaha. I ordered black body panels from Rockymountainatvmc so I can get rid of the blue and white color that I never really liked. So far I got everything changed except the rear fender which is supposed to be in Wednesday, and the white plastic thing that surrounds the headlight.
I couldn't find a black rear fender for a WR450 and I looked all over the Internet. So I ended up ordering a black rear fender for the YZ450. It looks like it will fit just fine but it doesn't have a taillight like the WR 450 has. So I'm hoping I can put my taillight on the YZ fender and everything will work out okay.
The white plastic thing that surrounds the headlight has been a problem and I can't find one anywhere. So I did something I was hoping I wouldn't have to do which was paint it black, hey I just had a flashback to the Rolling Stones singing Paint it Black..... Okay I'm back now, I've never had much luck with rattle cans but that seemed like my only choice at the moment so I bought some Krylon SuperMaxx gloss black and sprayed that puppy. It was a hot windy day today and definitely not a good day for painting outside but I just wanted to get it done. It didn't turn out terrible but I certainly won't be pointing it out and bragging on it.
My other project for the day was putting on a ignition switch to turn the motorcycle on. Being a dirt bike it didn't come with an ignition switch it just has a button you push and it cranks right up, so its not a good idea to leave it sitting in front of Walmart. I got the switch wired up so all I have to do now is find a convenient place to mount it . I could've finished it but every afternoon thunderstorms blow across the RV Park so I had to call it a day.
The WR450 comes from the factory choked up and with very little power so that it's almost an embarrassment to ride. And why would the factory do that you may ask ? And the answer is..... California.
In order to sell a Yamaha WR 450 in California it has to pass very strict tests for pollution control and noise reduction so Yamaha does things to the engine so that it will pass these very strict tests and they can sell the motorcycle in California. California is a very big market so the politicians there can get businesses to do just about anything they want, whether it's good or bad or right or wrong doesn't matter.
But Yamaha is smart enough to know that nobody in their right mind would buy a 450 cc motorcycle that runs like a 250 cc motorcycle so they make these changes to the engine reversible. One of the things Yamaha does is put a screw in the throttle cable mechanism that only allows the throttle to open up about halfway. A simple way to envision this is if you put a small block of wood under the gas pedal of your car so that instead of the gas pedal going all the way to the floor it would only go down about an inch. if You did that your car would get better gas mileage, it would pollute the air a lot less, it wouldn't make as much noise, the state of California would love you, but it would only go 35 miles an hour, and take a looong time to get to that speed. So today I took that accursed screw out of the Yamaha and threw it as far as I could.
Another thing Yamaha did to make California happy was to partially block up the exhaust pipe. They do this so the engine can't breathe properly and therefore the engine produces less power, less power equals less noise. This was a little more difficult to fix but it still only took half an hour.
The tiny little pipe in the middle is nicknamed the "pea shooter"and it's only job is to make the Yamaha WR450 run worse.
I took the cap off of the muffler and pulled out this part that has the pea shooter riveted into it
I drilled out the aluminum pop rivet
The black thing on the left is the "pea shooter"after you drill out the rivet you can easily pull it out.
No more choked up exhaust pipe.
There's still a couple more things I'd like to do to turn it into a normal motorcycle but the two things I did today are biggies and make the WR450 run a lot better.
The last couple of days I've been working on my motorcycle seat. It's a fairly common practice to put a lower seat on these WR450s because they're so tall. I was going to buy a lower seat for it but that didn't work out so I decided to modify the seat myself.
It looks simple enough, you take off the seat cover, cut an inch off the top of the foam, and staple the cover back on. What could possibly go wrong ?
Well I'll tell you. The first thing that went wrong is I decided that I wanted an all black seat cover instead of the blue and black one that came with it, because someday I would like to change all the blue and white plastic parts for black ones so I would have a black motorcycle instead of a blue-and-white motorcycle. But I found out that putting a rectangular piece of vinyl over the foam is a lot harder than putting the fitted seat cover back on that I took off.
The next problem was my staple gun. My old staple gun didn't have the power to push a staple through the plastic seat base. So I went to Home Depot and bought a heavy-duty staple gun that with some effort will put Staples into the hard plastic seat base most of the time.
I also found out I didn't have a good way of cutting the foam. I've cut foam before using a electric carving knife or just a long serrated knife blade but I no longer have any of those things having gotten rid of them before I sold my house. So the only thing I had handy was a hacksaw blade and even though it made an ugly cut it still worked.
I also didn't have any sandpaper to sand the foam smooth after I cut it so I bought some while it was at Home Depot, all the while thinking of the boxes of sandpaper I threw away before I sold my house.
After I bought the things I needed the actual job wasn't all that bad except making the vinyl fit the seat and look halfway decent. I've never upholstered anything in my life, so taking that into consideration the finished seat didn't look all that bad, it's not perfect but its not embarrassing either.
But looks aren't everything so it will be interesting to see if I leave a trail of staples as I ride down the road.
Pulling out the staples
Removing the factory seat cover
Marking the 1 inch cut
Cutting the seat foam with a hacksaw blade
Stapling the vinyl to the plastic seat base
It actually looks better than it does in the picture when I bolted it onto the motorcycle it looks smooth and nice
For the last few weeks I've been ordering things that I'm going to need for the motorcycle and one of the first things that I ordered was a cover for the motorcycle called a "Dirt Bag" I know it sounds like something for a vacuum cleaner but according to my Internet research this cover one of the best ones out there. There's two main reasons for the cover, one is to protect the motorcycle from all the dirt that the back of the trailer sucks up as I'm driving down the road. The more important reason is to cover it up so you can't see what motorcycle it is, and that gives it a little bit of protection from theft.
Another thing I had to buy was 4 tie down straps. I used to have some tie down straps but I either sold them or gave them away when I was cleaning out my garage to get the house ready to sell. There again I did a lot of research on the Internet to find out which straps were the best because the damage that could be done by the motorcycle falling off the back of the trailer is way worse than having the bike fall over in the back of your pickup truck, so there could be no compromise on the tie down straps. I ended up buying these pro-taper straps, the write ups about them were excellent and when I got them in my hands they looked very well made and very strong.
Something else I ordered is a yard of upholstery material to cover my motorcycle seat in. Since I'm going to be slicing an inch or so off the top of my seat I figured I would just reupholster it in black carbon fiber design vinyl so the seat would match the rest of the bike when I start painting some parts black, which is another way to disguise the bike so it's hard to tell what it is and maybe cut down on the theft factor.
And speaking of theft I got the motorcycle added to my Geico auto policy and got some pretty good coverage for $180 a year which I thought was a real bargain.
Something I ordered that will make me more comfortable is 1 inch handlebar risers. As soon as I sat on the bike the first time I could feel that the handlebars were a little low especially if I'm standing on the pegs, but I think with the risers and cutting an inch off the seat that will make the handlebars more comfortable for me.
That's about all so far, I'm looking forward to the Yamaha coming out of the shop this Tuesday as that will be a major piece of the puzzle that I've been putting together this last month.
Well, all the pieces of the motorcycle puzzle are slowly coming together. I've got my motorcycle license, the welding of the motorcycle carry rack for the back of the Arctic Fox is in it's beginning phase, and all of the parts to make the WR450 street legal are now at the dealer's waiting to be installed.
The Yamalink which is supposed to lower the WR 450 an inch and a quarter is in and waiting to be installed, but the lower seat is on back order or something and won't be available till the middle of June, so I've decided to skip that and just work on the seat it comes with to make it lower. And that's not all that difficult, I just have to take off the seat cover, slice an inch off the foam, and staple the seat cover back on again.
So with any luck the motorcycle will be finished Tuesday and I just have to get the Highway Patrol to come to the dealer and sign off on the bike being street legal. And then the dealer will give me a title for a street bike instead of a dirt bike. So no matter where I move to it will always be a street legal motorcycle.
This is the Yamaha TW200 that I rode at motorcycle school this weekend
Vall and Mo if you're still out there I have something I want to tell you.
The last time we talked you told me you are interested in the Yamaha TW200, well that just happened to be the motorcycle that I rode all weekend for my motorcycle test. Before my only experience with the TW200 was sitting on it in the dealers showroom but now that I've ridden it I have a more favorable opinion of the motorcycle.
Now I still don't think that it's a good motorcycle for the highway, but that wasn't something you needed anyway. But I do feel like for the uses that you described the TW200 might be just perfect. I found it to be an easy motorcycle to ride. the seat height and the handlebars were comfortable but just a tad low for my 34 inch inseam, so if you're less than 6 foot tall it might be just perfect. It was an easy motorcycle to get used to and ran great for the 10 or so hours I was on it. It was very maneuverable and those fat tires had plenty of traction, in fact it had so much traction that I had the shortest stopping distances in the whole class.
So I would say the TW200 would make a great motorcycle riding around out in the boondocks and making a short run to the Walmart. And I'm assuming that the motorcycle had to be pretty reliable or the school wouldn't have had it around.
The motorcycles we rode and part of the obstacle course. Penrose Colorado.
I passed my motorcycle riding school. It actually wasn't as fun as I thought it would be, it was instructive, but it wasn't much fun.
Riding down the road and carving the turns is fun, but riding in a parking lot on an obstacle course where everything you do and every move you make is controlled and critiqued is not fun. I would describe it as stressful, tiring, and somewhat informative.
If you're a brand-new shiny rider I would say the course is very informative but still stressful and tiring. But if you're an old-time rider like me and your set in your riding ways I think it's in some ways more difficult because they want you to do everything their way and not the way you have been doing it for the last 40 years.
Now you could say that they're trying to get rid of your bad habits, but for me considering all the countries I've ridden in and all the states I've traveled in on a motorcycle and never had an accident I'm more than a little hesitant to give up the ways that I ride a motorcycle.
If you're a beginner I think this course is a great way to learn the basics of riding a motorcycle. There was a couple of brand-new riders in the class and there was a huge improvement in the way they rode when we started and in the way they rode for the final test.
The first day was a 10 hour day. four hours were spent in the classroom learning riding fundamentals, and the rest of the day was spent riding around the obstacle course which was changed and became a different obstacle course about every half hour.
Very little of the course was going straight so you could sit back and relax. Most of the course was stopping and going and turning in different directions and in different ways, and that's what made it so tiring. And if you're not used to sitting on a motorcycle seat for four or five hours at a time you learn it can become uncomfortable pretty quick.
Sunday was a shorter day we got there at 8 o'clock and were done by three. The day consisted of, four hours of obstacle course, an hour or two of the actual riding test, a short refresher discussion on the book learning stuff, and then the written test.
There were six people in the class and I'm happy to say that everyone passed. we got to know each other pretty well this weekend. And I think we all would've been disappointed had someone failed.
So that was it, I'm really glad it's over, and now all I've got to do is go to the DMV and get my motorcycle license.
Well tomorrow is the big day, or should I say the big weekend, for motorcycle school. When I first signed up for the school it kind of bothered me a little because I've been riding motorcycles all of my life and I didn't think I would get much out of it, other than a motorcycle license.
But since I always try to look on the bright side of things I started thinking that it might be fun, after all laws change and maybe I'll learn something that I never knew before. And I'll get to ride a motorcycle around and that's always fun. I haven't had much saddle time in the last 20 years so I know I'm a little rusty and riding around in a parking lot will be a good way to get the feel of it again.
The bikes we are going to be using are Yamaha XT 250s which are as friendly and mild-mannered as you're going to find in a motorcycle. I've never ridden one before but I've sat on a few of them Because the XT 250 was one of the bikes I considered getting before I decided on the WR450. I liked it originally because it's a street legal dirt bike and the seat is low enough that almost anyone can get both feet flat on the ground. But the problem for me was it was kind of heavy at 298 pounds, and it didn't have much power for riding on the highway, I think it's only got about 18 hp.
I think one of the reasons I started feeling more optimistic about going to the school is I remembered last year when I had to go to a concealed carry school to renew my gun permit. I had inadvertently let my concealed carry permit expire and because of a new Colorado law I now had to take a class.
This bothered me because I had owned a concealed carry permit for the last 20 something years, and in fact had never had to go to a school because Colorado accepted my military weapons training as sufficient to have a concealed carry permit.
But there I was having to sit in a classroom and listening to someone who knew less about firearms than I did tell me which end the bullet came out of. But despite what I thought I ended up actually enjoying it and learning some things that may prove to be beneficial in the future.
So I'm hoping that's what's gonna happen this weekend. I've got everything I'm supposed to bring in the truck, my helmet, my boots, my brand-new gloves, and a jacket. And I'm looking forward to getting on a motorcycle again.