Oldbike: New Handlebars and New Tubes

On Friday I went to my favorite local motorcycle shop (Madison Motorsports) to get some new inner tubes for oldbike as well as to see if Steve Parker my veteran source for GS 425 info might happen to have some emulsifier tune o-rings laying around.  Now, when I purchased my battery I went to Engelhart’s because that was where my wife, god bless her got me a $50 gift card for as a gift for Valentine’s Day.  When I was there I inquired about inner tubes for the bike which they did have but they insisted that my bike had an 18” front wheel.  I was pretty sure that I had a 19’ but I figured that I would check as I was in no rush to get them so I left with the new battery in hand and the price of $16.95 a tire (Engelhart’s price) in my head.

I am glad that I did not buy out of convenience because Steve and Judy (the owners of Madison Motorsports) were asking almost half as much for an inner tune as Engelhart’s was ($8.95)!  Now I don’t have a lot of bike expenses in a year but when I do I try to go to these guys because they generally can come close to or sometimes even match internet prices and they know my name and that says a lot to me.  Plus in general Steve and Judy are just good people, and if it’s not too busy a day they are happy to share a story or to hear one!  While I was there some MX/Off-road bars caught my eye and being as it is that my bike is not necessarily going to be a cafĂ© bike per-se I figured that at $15.95 for the bars I could at least take them home for a test fit to see how I liked them.

On Saturday I decided that I should probably get the more necessary work (the inner tubes) started before I got to the fun work (the handlebars).  So the first step was to take off the chain, so I initially started with the intent of taking off the drive sprocket cover.

First I took off the shift lever.

Unfortunately the rest of the process was knackered by some stubborn Phillips head screws so I figured for the time being I did not need to address that issue as I will only need that off for when I am putting the chain back on, so I hit it with some PB Blaster spray and moved on to taking off the chain.  Luckily this was not the stock chain (which did not have a master link) so it was as simple as removing the retaining clip and popping out the master link.

After I got the chain off the next step in freeing up the rear wheel is to take the linkages off from the drum brake assembly.  There are two; the actuator linkage and the stabilizer linkage both have to be removed.  The skinnier one with the spring on it is the break lever actuator is the skinnier one with the spring on it and the thicker one at the very bottom is the stabilizer linkage.

This small nut (below) is used to adjust the brake, the tighter you make it the faster the brake responds to pressure on the pedal.

There is a cotter pin (below) that keeps the brake stabilizer nut from backing out all the way. You can pull that with a needle nose pliers and take the nut off.

Once you have the two linkages freed up you can take the cotter pin out of the castle nut on the axle and remove the castle nut.

This is one of the times I use a "farmers helper," crescent wrench.

The axle runs through the chain tensioners which sandwich each side of the swing arm will drop down as you pull the wheel back in the elongated holes that allow for chain tension adjustment.

Once you pull the axle it is a good idea to keep stuff in the order it went on.

Here are some pics with the rear wheel removed, center stands make for easy wheel changes!

There is a lot of mess on the drive side of the wheel.

The brake side is pretty clean.

Here are some shots of the braking assembly.

I wish I would have set up a camera to show the process it took to break the bead on the tire, but really how many of you would have liked to see me struggle for an hour with a tire!  Basically I let the air out of the tire and used some quick clamps to pinch the bead down and get a screw driver under the bead and then used that to pull the bead out far enough to get a breaker bar under the bead.  Once I got to that point I put a long pipe on the breaker bar and then put the axle back in the wheel and used it as a fulcrum point to spin the breaker bar around the bead thus popping the bead off the rim.  Sounds simple, right?  It was a pain in the ass and to figure out that process took a lot of trial and error.  It would have been good to invest in some tire change spoons.

Now why didn't I take it to a shop to put the tube in?  It turns out that most shops don't want to  deal with old rubber and are quite insistent on selling you new tires.  I think the tires on my bike are just fine (though mismatched)  and will definitely be good enough to roll around in the garage and once it is rideable I will reassess and decide what, if anything, needs to be done about the rubber.  Luckily to change the tube I only needed to get one bead off the rim in order to stuff the tube in and then put that bead back over the rim.  After I got the tire half-off Mu suspicions that the previous owner had tried to convert the rims to tubeless were confirmed.

I basically treated the tube insertion the same as what I do on my bicycles; inflate the tube so it holds its shape and line up the valve with the hole and get that through the rim first.  Once that is done all you have to do is work your way around the rim tucking the tube into the tire.

Interesting... the "star rims" are made by Enkei!

Once you have the tube in the tire you can start to put the bead back on the rim being CAREFUL to NOT PINCH the inner tube.  I had luck getting about 2/3 of the bead back on by hand but that is the easy part.  The rest of the job was left to the breaker bar a 4lb deadblow hammer and some muscle.  The end product looks pretty much the same as what you started with unless you take the opportunity to clean the rim, which I did.

That is as far as I got that day I was pretty beat after fighting with that tire and rim for 2 hours and my back was feeling pretty stiff from being hunched over for so long.  In my next update I will cover cleaning the sprocket and cush-drive and also I finally get the drive sprocket cover off after drilling out three screws.  The tube replacement seems to be generating a lot of extra "projects" as I go so it might be a bit before I get the handlebars on but I still have till the third of June before my best run of shifts so maybe I can still get there before that happens.  Till I get the "work" done the fun will have to wait!

Thanks again for reading!

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