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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
In my recent Thread titled “I’m back again…!” I said that I was looking forward to further future farklings – well, here’s a tale to kick things off.

WARNING – long story.

The following may not be believed by some, or indeed by many, but I swear it to be 100% the truth!

When I regretfully parted with my fully-farkled MT-09 SP some months ago it was with a genuine intention to give up motorcycling altogether at that point, for a number of wellbeing reasons, so I parted not only with the bike but also a number of useful aftermarket parts and accessories that I’d installed. I also put up for sale – and quickly sold – all my riding gear except for the custom ear-plugs, which strangely nobody wanted!

But the call of the road is in my blood, and it was not long before I again found myself scouring the ‘for sale’ ads in search of my next last bike. The Tracer GT that I had found so enjoyable and fulfilling a couple of years ago tempted me, but I found myself unable to readily mount or dismount due to its relatively high 850mm seat height and my stiff hips, knees, and ankles. And I was sick of providing free entertainment for those idlers who stood and watched me as I struggled to get on and off in the most ungainly manner.

So back to the SP was the cry – a thoroughly satisfactory little bike with low 820mm seat height and all the great attributes of the CP3 engine and rest of the package. I was not the least interested in the cyclops 2021 SP, but quickly found that new 2019/ 2020s were like hen’s teeth or unicorns.

But I kept looking, and lo! - an almost-new late 2020 SP was advertised, happily only 53 km from my home, as covid would have made it impossible for me to travel interstate to view anything there.

The bike was described as having covered only 245km, and it had some excellent – and costly – aftermarket changes, notably a full Akrapovic exhaust system with titanium pipes and carbon-tipped zorst, valued at about $1100: a Yamaha ‘comfort seat’, costing $530: a neat tail-tidy replacing that ghastly arm-mounted rear lights and plate set-up: a pair of blue billet adjustable levers: and a pair of billet ‘bar-end mounted mirrors. Not much bling there!

The seller was asking top dollar for the whole plot, but it was worth it, particularly after I negotiated a few hundred dollars off, and delivery to my home.

With the farkling I had done to my previous SP I started looking for the essentials to do the same again to the new bike, chief of which were a rear carry-rack, and a decent screen. Looking on E Bay I quickly came across the desired Yamaha rack, which was shown in a photograph with a small top box attached to it. That rang a bell, and reading into the ad more I found that it was being sold by a private seller in a nearby suburb of Brisbane. It had to be the same rack and top-box that I’d had on my earlier SP and had sold with that bike. It was well-priced, so I phoned the seller, who indeed turned out to be the guy I’d sold the SP to!

He told me that as he is now doing track-days on it, he’d taken a lot of the aftermarket and other stuff off the bike to reduce weight, so he had boxes full of those bits and pieces, plus one or two other OE parts, such as mirrors and pumpkins. Then – miracle of miracles – he told me that as he’d had no interest from his E Bay ads I could have the lot free! As The Godfather said – “an offer too good to refuse!”.

So on my way home from finalising the deal with the SP owner I called into the home of the ultra-generous donor of the parts, which were quickly loaded into my car, and I left rejoicing and at the same time hardly able to believe my luck – nobody has ever been so generous to me!

He refused any money, but as I was driving off he brought out the near-new Anderson rear paddock stand I’d included, and asked me if I wanted that too, as it didn’t work on the rough and uneven brick floor of his garage.

Did I want it? I did indeed, but I insisted on paying something for it, and pressed three $50 notes into his hand when he reluctantly said “how about giving me half what it cost”. What a bargain – I had already made up my mind that I wouldn’t buy the same stand again, excellent though it is, as it was pretty expensive at around $350 new, and would have taken ages to be delivered.

So for those who may not have nodded-off while reading this tale, here’s a list of what I scored, all in unmarked as-new condition:
  • GIVI A2132 smoke-tinted screen with brackets and fastenings
  • 2 x 3” LED DRLs still attached to the screen brackets
  • the ’bar mounted switch for the DRLs
  • a smoke-tinted clip-on deflector screen
  • a pair of MT-09 engraved mirror risers/ extenders
  • an excellent OPTIMATE 4 battery tender/ charger
  • Yamaha rear rack with OE fastenings
  • 26L top-box and keys still attached
  • Anderson ‘Universal’ rear paddock-stand.
Items below are the original OE bike parts I was also kindly given. These may be useful replacements in the event of a tip-over or fall:
  • a pair of mirrors
  • the tail-light assembly
  • a pair of front pumpkin indicator lights
  • a pair of radiator side covers.
How about that for a day’s work – not less than about $1200’s worth (at my original cost) of top gear for my new-to-me SP?

Talking of which I’ll now have a fair bit of enjoyable work assembling and installing everything again.

Good to be back here!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Happy days are here again! Having sold all my riding gear I had the pleasure of having to shop for a whole new outfit, as excited as a new bride’s mother preparing for The Big Day!

The RJ’s matte helmet graphics are a bit off the wall for my conservative taste, but it does have a bit of blue in it to complement the Blu on the SP, and most importantly is a good fit. And I do like the internal drop-down sun-visor – wouldn’t go back now to a conventional external visor and sunnies. Over many years and many helmets I’ve always had difficulty finding the right one, but RJ’s in the past have excelled. Just a pity that the GP3 model I had before is now superseded.

The jacket is a good fit too, and with the mesh panels in the front should be cool enough for even the hottest conditions here in the sub-tropics, while a zip-out quilted liner will take care of cooler mornings. The reflective off-white colour should help to keep me cool too, and be highly visible on the road. Every rider to his taste, of course, but I’d find very trying the all-black gear that so many bikers here wear, despite the heat and humidity.

(LATER EDIT - I have found that the jacket has two zip-in/ out liners, one a quilted cold weather item, and the other a thin showerproof liner. This will be ideal for where I ride, and will remove any necessity to have two jackets, as I have had in the past. If it's warm I can remove both liners, and carry the thin showerproof item folded-up in the large flat pocket - 14" x 8" approx - at the lower back of the touring-style jacket, for easy access if a shower or two hits. Very pleasing!).



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You were amazingly lucky to recover so many of your previous accessories. Having to rebuy all my motorcycle gear would be a disaster. It's expensive but figuring out all the models and sizes again poses an enormous burden. A big chunk of what I've spent is for gear that I ended up not liking!

Living on the other side of the world (like most people), I had never heard of RJays Helmets (Australian company). The RJays GP-4 Racer/Pilot (not sure what the difference is) lists for AUS$250 (equal to US$185). Helmets are seriously expensive to make and certify so selling units in large volume is key. That a low-volume helmet could retail for such a low price has me curious about the quality. Other helmets from all the usual global brands on the MCAS web site appear to be about 13% more expensive after currency conversion than retail prices here in the USA (probably due the included 10% Goods & Services Tax (GST) in Australia).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thank you. RJays make a lot of biking gear, and my new jacket (and the two that preceded it) is also RJays. I imagine that their products are simply made on the same production lines as other better-known higher-volume brands, altered with different names and graphics and colours, etc., for as you say the cost of a standalone production facility for a small local market would be prohibitive. In fact, Australia makes very little of anything these days, and I am constantly amazed (as an avid label-reader!) at where some of our day-to-day stuff comes from. It's all about volume and economy of scale of course.

As far as quality is concerned helmets must carry a certification sticker and it is an offense to wear a helmet not so marked. I guess that reasonable standards apply, but I have no intention of carrying out a real-life test! The RJays helmets I have and have had before seem to suit my somewhat oval-shaped (from above) skull more so than other brands. My last GP3 helmet (now superseded) was a perfect fit, but the new GP4 model is quite different and for me would have been unwearable after a few minutes' outing. This newer one is their Dominator II Strike model. The only other satisfactory helmet I found years ago was a BMW product, but frighteningly expensive as you may imagine. The RJays riding jeans I bought without deliberately seeking out that brand look and feel very nice, with Kevlar protection and hard CE built-in knee protectors.
I must say that I negotiated pretty hard, and got what I considered a decent discount for my basket of goods.

It has been expensive to replace all my gear (new boots still to be bought) but I sold (or gave-away at very low prices) my entire biking wardrobe as a means of deterring myself from taking up biking again. Didn't work, did it?! My wife is amazingly supportive...as an ex-bikeress herself she knows what goes on inside one's head and heart. As for regaining all those bits 'n' pieces, well, I still shake my (oval-shaped) head!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The new-to-me SP arrived today, and at a mere 329km is better than new, and a very tasty package, complete with Akra zorst system, Yamaha comfort seat, hi-tech blue-anodized levers, etc.

Having all the bits 'n' pieces to hand from my previous SP it was but a moment's work to carry out a few early tasks. First was to remove the rather sharp-looking 'bar-end mirrors - they are lovely, but being old-fashioned I prefer my mirrors high up rather than low down. The mirror risers and extenders were then quickly fitted.

Next was to install the GIVI screen, a tiresome task as I had no instructions, but well remembered that it was a fiddly job on my earlier SP. But I got there, with the aid of a few photos I had taken on the previous SP, and the clip-on deflector was then quickly added.

A little light electrical work followed, wiring-in the lead to my Optimate 4 battery tender/ charger, plus another lead to which I'll later connect the rear flashing/ pulsing brake light set-up, a la Skene.

I had planned to fit the Yamaha rear carry-rack, but it looks another fiddly job, so I think I'll leave that for the dealer to do at first service, only 700km away. I'll also get him to wire-in the 2 x front DRL LEDs, through a switch, as I'm not game to tackle anything that tricky.

The comfort seat was replaced and the stock perch reinstated. I want to see if stock is any different now, as the taller comfort seat might make life a bit tricky for getting on and off. We shall see!

Completing the paperwork with the seller, an interesting point emerged, when we found that the VIN and engine numbers of this new SP vary by only two digits from my last one. Twins at birth!

That was enough for one day, for tomorrow we ride!

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A bit like yourself, I got rid of the motorcycle gear accumulated over decades when my kids were little and I entered into a "practical" phase of life with cameras as my main hobby. Once my boys were teenagers and I lived alone (divorced), I stopped taking photos and motorcycles became attractive again. The internet, with YouTube and online forums, made a huge difference in being able to find attractive deals on gear with great reviews. The motorcycle gear I have now is world's apart from the stuff I sold off over a decade ago. Whereas we used to have to scour shops for hidden gems in a sea of junk, today there is a huge selection of high-tech, high-quality gear on the market. There will always be low-quality junk too, bought by people without funds or knowledge, but it only takes a little research to find good gear and many places offer free return or exchanges. Middle-age brings with it an income that can afford higher-quality things. Bikes themselves are amazing today too! The motorcycle industry took a huge hit in the wake of the 2007 GFC (Global Financial Crisis) but the market has become more focused, at least it has here in the USA where motorcycles are more luxury toys than merely economical transportation as in some countries. It's a great time to be a motorcyclist (again)!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Replicating farkles from earlier bikes I superglued a couple of those 10mm diameter silicone 'dots' or 'bumpers' to (a) the horn button and (b) the indicator switch button. The idea is to make them more readily distinguishable by feel from each other, as they are too close together, and operation a little easier. The silicone 'dot' for the indicator switch had a narrow slice taken off each side to make it a D shape to suit the skinny indicator button: the horn button took the full mushroom-head of the dot nicely.

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
While waiting impatiently for my newly-ordered helmet to come back into store, time is well-spent on more micro farkles. Latest is to make legible the words on the rubber 'select and 'reset' buttons at the bottom of the display screen - they are otherwise utterly impossible to read even in bright sunlight. After masking-up with some Sellotape I simply flooded the letters with white acrylic model paint, immediately scraped off the unwanted area, et violin - job done! Not a big deal by any means, but why oh why does Yamaha not do the job properly and make the words legible?

LATER - a quick light brush with my wife's clear nail varnish has now sealed the letters and will prevent them falling out after the paint dries, and help keep it clean.
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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
As I have done on several of my bikes I installed a DIY set-up that gives distinctive flashing/ pulsing red brake lights at the rear whenever either brake is touched. This is purely a safety measure to ensure that following drivers can see that I am slowing or stopping.

SKENE LIGHTING makes an excellent kit to achieve this, but their P3 product is pretty expensive at several times the cost of my DIY job, albeit being a little more sophisticated. I mounted the strip/ bar LED under the recently-fitted rear carry rack, which gives excellent higher-up visibility, and from directly behind the bike the rear lights and the LEDs give a large mass of unmissable light, as seen in the bottom pic below. When either brake is actuated the red LED bar flashes quickly a few times, then a few more times a little more slowly, then stays in the steady 'on' state until the brake is released.

Pix below - first pic brake off. Second pic - LED light only on. Last pic - all rear lights on giving large mass of lights..

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ALL LIGHTS A-BLAZIN'
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Installed the newly-arrived STEBEL MAGNUM horn today, always one of the very first upgrades I make to any new motorcycle.. Made in Italy, not China, it gives a deeper and much more attention-grabbing note than the stock horn. As I have said before more than once, my puppy has squeaky toys that are more penetrating than the stock item found on most modern motorcycles. The Stebel unit fitted straight onto the existing strip-metal bracket and the existing terminals were clipped straight on, with care taken to ensure that the horn points downwards to prevent water ingress (I drowned one once while washing the bike!), and ensuring it was not touching the radiator surface. That done, it was but a moment's work to complete the job.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Today's mail brought a pair of UK-sourced GRIP PUPPIES (AUD$32), taking almost four weeks to arrive, which is probably not too bad these pre-Christmas covid days. These are always one of the very first things I add to any new bike, but when I first got the SP I thought I'd wait to see if I needed them, and indeed I did, for the stock grips are very skinny, even for my small hands. The increased diameter that the Grip Puppies give to the handlebar grips - the GPs are about 3mm thick - seems to make them more comfortable and dampens what little vibration the SP has, and also give, IMHO, slightly better 'feel' and control. Length, as always, had to be reduced by about 10mm, then they were the perfect fit.

Fitting GPs is not quite as simple as the instructions suggest - the sounds-easy-peasy instruction "apply a little soapy water and slide them over your existing grips" has never worked for me. Instead, I smear a little liquid soap and water inside the GP and over the grip, and then it requires a good deal of forceful pressure and twisting of the soapy and wet GP to get it installed. "Slide", my ass! But I do admit to being a seven-stone weakling, and the ordeal left me breathing heavily and red in the face!! But do not use a screwdriver or any sharp implement as a sort-of tyre-lever to initially get the GPs over the raised outboard end of the grip - I always use the smooth handle of a small teaspoon to start the process. Then - twist forwards hard while pushing the GP inwards, holding it very firmly with a towel, which increases effectiveness and handily also absorbs excess water. But be prepared to leave a trail of soap-bubbles behind from the 'bar-ends when riding in rain!

And beware of cheap imitations! I have in the past, but once only, inadvertently ordered similar-looking items with near-identical names, and they were so thin that I could almost see through them when they were held up to the light!

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
The recent constant parade of mail-men to my door brought today what I think may be the final farkle in the form of a silver-coloured radiator guard, the silver being chosen to lift visually the dark and sombre frontal appearance of the bike. It arrived in pretty good time from China, only ten days after ordering. It was well-protected in bubble-wrap, but one edge of the frame was a little out-of-shape, no doubt as a result of being crushed in with other mail - but no big deal as I quickly straightened the slight bend in the frame.

The guard was advertised as 'stainless steel', which I doubted on ordering and still doubt now. The frame and integrated cut-out MT-09 letter are certainly s.s, but the all-important mesh appears to be the usual tea-strainer aluminium. The item is quite poorly made, with many sharp edges that will play havoc with my hands when I clean the bike. The s.s. frame had a sticky remnants of some sort of protective rubber-like coating on it, and fragments still cling to the rivets holding the mesh in place - it's gonna be a tedious task removing them all. No instructions were supplied, but it's pretty intuitive and should present no problems to fit.

I won't be installing the guard for a few days, as tomorrow morning I hit the road for the start of a 1000km four-day circuit from here, but I'll conclude this post when installation is complete.

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Installed the newly-arrived STEBEL MAGNUM horn today, always one of the very first upgrades I make to any new motorcycle.. Made in Italy, not China, it gives a deeper and much more attention-grabbing note than the stock horn. As I have said before more than once, my puppy has squeaky toys that are more penetrating than the stock item found on most modern motorcycles. The Stebel unit fitted straight onto the existing strip-metal bracket and the existing terminals were clipped straight on, with care taken to ensure that the horn points downwards to prevent water ingress (I drowned one once while washing the bike!), and ensuring it was not touching the radiator surface. That done, it was but a moment's work to complete the job.

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FURTHER EDIT - I was a little unhappy about the initial installation of the STEBEL MAGUM horn seen here (above pix) - it looked a bit like an afterthought in its location, although working well.

So today I relocated it somewhat, simply rotating its mounting bracket around to face directly to the front of the bike, which tidied things up somewhat and allows the decibels to point right where they should do - to the front and sides as I ride along. I say "simply", but there a rat's-nest of thick and heavily-insulated wiring in that space below and behind the headlight structures, which makes life rather tricky. But happily enough, the rather short electrical leads were just long enough to make this relocation possible, so I didn't have to re-wire it. A minor mod, though I have to say I should have done it like this first time!

The light grey/ gray of the top of the horn chimes quite nicely, albeit not perfectly, with the adjacent headlight surround, so that's a minor bonus. While at it I also made-up a small very thin rubber 'cap' out of a latex rubber glove, which will keep water out, but doesn't seem to reduce the sound or volume of the horn at all. This cap can be slipped into place over the horn opening if heavy rain is about - I once drowned one of these horns while hosing the bike, and don't want to repeat the error!

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Another minor farkle - while the lhs faux air intake was off to access the aux power outlet for the DRL installation I thought I might give the black mesh part – which actually doesn’t let any air through – and the matching rhs side a rattle-can coat or two of silver paint, just to visually lighten-up those parts. Jimmy Raven did similarly with his SP but in a matching blurple colour.

And I just happened to have four stainless hex-head bolts of the right thread and length to secure the now-silver mesh, which was a bonus. The new look also chimes rather nicely with the adjacent silver-coloured radiator guard.

A coat of clear top-coat was added later to keep these forward-facing bug-prone parts nice and shiny, and easy to clean.

Not a big deal, but I’m happy!

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