Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Not happy with the stock headlight. Kinda klunky looking, plus mine was rusted all to hell (found this after I stripped the paint off). Went with a generic chrome shell from EMGO - looks much better, but I'll have to find a real British one if I want the good chrome.
Also put some Tommaselli headlight brackets on. I like the contrast between the fork tubes, the black rubber, the chrome clamps, the flat-aluminum or the ears and the chrome shell.
The biggest problem (as expected) was the wiring. Guzzi runs a lot of wires inside the shell (comes in via one Molex block and out through another) - 4 idiot lights, 2 gauge lights, turn signals, kill switch, horn, etc. etc. The previous owner had done some creative wiring and actually JB Welded in one of the connectors - maybe hacking a waterproof seal? Whatever - they were a beyotch to get out.
The new shell has a single hole, so a lot of these wires are now behind the shell rather than in it. Doesn't bode well should I get caught in a downpour. I'll have to rewire the whole thing this winter for sure.
In the process of the swap I of course proved how bad I am at crimping spade connectors - at least 4 I did in the last few weeks came off the wires.
Ah well, looks better I think. Next up will be tossing the gauge clusters and figuring a way to mount the idiot lights (the charging system requires the generator light to be in circuit - don't ask me why - besides, it's fun to watch it flicker at idle).



Friday, July 17, 2009

Brake update

Got a brand new Brembo Master Cylinder from MG Cycle. The original one felt like there were giant pieces of gravel in there, and the brakes felt wooden. I believe the lack of feeling was because the stock T master cyl. is for a single disk, not 2. The crunchy stuff was probably from this thing sitting for a million years and the brake fluid drying out.
I had put a GSXR master cyl. on there, but really had no way to mount the reservoir (other than zip ties), without finding a generic bar clamp / bracket. The other problem was that I had "borrowed" it and the original owner at some point will want it back.
What's nice about this one is the reservoir is not detached, but cast into the housing so it's smaller than the Tokiko one. The other great part is it actuates the brake like waaaay better than the original Guzzi pressure sensor. Before I had to really pull on the lever to make the brake light came on, so I had to make sure and use the rear all the time to guarantee it lit up. I don't use the rear a lot, especially under light braking, so it was kinda annoying.
I have to admit to spending a few minutes player Homer Simpson: light comes on! light goes off! light comes on! light goes off!
Last week I had also remounted the front fender after redrilling the bracket holes. Now the front edge sticks out a little more. Looks pretty good with the Tarozzi fork brace. I must admit to liking the "no fender" look, but that also means more junk / water / whatever being flung from the tire hitting the front engine / me.

Monday, July 6, 2009


So you know how you hear people say how they pinched a wire putting the headlight shell back together. So you know how you think they're kinda dumb for not paying attention. So I'm kinda dumb. Made it 2 blocks and the bike cut out. I look down to see the insulation melt off the kill switch wire and smoke coming out of the headlamp. That's not good. Pushed it back home (yes, up hill).
I got lucky - only the kill switch wiring got fried. And my headlight bucket smells smokey.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Front End

So begin the modifications.

I'm going to try and lighten up the looks of the 850-T; less cruiser and more what? Cafe racer / street tracker / spare "standard motorcycle" I guess. The massive Guzzi engine just calls for attention, so I want that to be the focus. In olden days some of this would be 'chopping', but now this makes everyone think stretched front ends and garish paint jobs. Call it what you will - making it restoration proof?

First job is to clean up the front end visually. Off come the gaiters and the black powdercoat on the sliders, and I'll also chop the fender - make the wheel itself stand out. Based off a tip (on the internets of course) I went looking for some Permatex gasket remover. Seems nobody is carrying the stuff anymore. While in the auto-parts store I couldn't pass up the "Blaster" - now that's the solution to all your needs - "As seen on TV!":

As an alternative I did find Mar-Hyde Tal-Strip II Aircraft Coating Remover. It looked serious and stuff so maybe that would work. Back home what do I spy on the Shelf of Chemical Death (tm)? Permatex Gasket Remover. Where did that come from? So I spray it on, wait a bit so it can do its magic (while I install new fork springs), and then try and wipe off the results. Not working quite as easy as the Internet might suggest. I use the rest of the can on a second dousing and go looking for something to scrape the chemically-melted coating off with. A while later I scrape off a bunch with a plastic paint scraper, but still lots of black coating left. The gasket remover is used up, so I switch to the "Tal-Strip II".

You don't need to read the 14 warnings to know this is some bad shit, just a whiff and you know this is serious business. This seems to work better, but still requires 3 or 4 passes. Finally after about 4 hours total and a pile of gloves (you don't want to get this stuff on your bare skin) it's pretty much done and ready for installation. Buffing and shining will wait for another day.

In addition to the new springs I also got a Tarozzi Fork Brace, which I admit was mainly gotten for the looks - even the box it came with looks cool:

A quick attack of the front fender with a hack-saw (originality freaks will claim I could have gotten an aftermarket front and left the original alone, but considering good ones are available on eBay for $70, they're not hard to find - or desirable apparently, and cheaper), and then bolt it all together. Looks pretty good, although the fender needs to be chopped more, plus I'm not sure I like how the brake lines come forward like that. Not much to do about it though - maybe rotate the fender forwards a bit?