Honda VFR750F RC36 (94-97)
The build was my retirement project and started out with a HPI clear frame with sub-frame, fork yokes and the all-important V5 document. Sometimes everything falls into place and I found a '97 swing arm complete with wheel, shock, chain guard and caliper for sale locally at a good price soon after. The seller had bought a rolling chassis for his own project but didn’t need the back end. The swing arm took me a week to dismantle, the hub assembly had seized badly and I had to soak it daily with penetrating oil, patiently dismantling it part by part. The swing arm pivot bearings were fine but I replaced the hub and sprocket carrier bearings as these were rough. The wheel was powder coated in gloss white and a new Bridgestone fitted.
The shock appeared barely usable and when I priced in the cost of a service it made sense to go for an aftermarket job. Searching through the forums it seemed that Nitron shocks were a popular choice and T W Suspension Tech had good reports. Teut Weihn was very helpful and recommended a Nitron NR1 as the best performance shock for my budget and I ordered one with custom spring to suit my weight.
VFR750 engines can be picked up for little money and I got one from a breaker in good condition. There was very little to do with the motor other than to thoroughly degrease it, replace a couple of weeping seals and to spray the covers with engine enamel.
Regulator and associated electrical problems are well documented. It seems to be a Honda weakness probably made worse by poorly maintained earths on older bikes. I found a wiring harness on eBay and sure enough the regulator connector was badly burnt at the stator pins. I stripped out the three yellow stator wires with the regulator positive and negative wires from the harness and fitted a VFRness from wiremybike together with a R/R unit from a 98-99 VFR800. The quality of the quality of the VFRness is excellent and fitting was easy especially as I installed it at the same time as the wiring harness The regulator needed a little work to fit, the mounting holes needed elongating as well as countersinking the lower one.
The dreaded overheated connector familiar to many early Honda owners.
VFR800 (98-99) only needed slight modification to fit.
I got hold of a radiator and fan with the intention of cleaning it up but like most its seen better days. I’d seen new Chinese radiators on eBay for £110 from a seller with good feedback and decided to give it a go. It arrived nicely packaged which was just as well because the postal service had done their best to break it, the outer cardboard packaging was badly dented and perforated. Thankfully the radiator was intact. The appearance of the radiator is good and the welds are reasonably neat and tidy. However its let down by the mounting lugs which are out of line and consequently the fan didn't fit. I had to make a spacer for the bottom securing bolt and the fan ended up being slightly higher than intended and I also had to make a new slightly longer bottom radiator stay. This in turn meant that I had to trim some material from the "V" centre fairing to clear the radiator. Unfortunately the front spark plugs are now even harder to access. I suspect that each radiator will have similar bracket alignment issues and it's irritating that an otherwise well made item is let down by poor jigging. A set of blue Samco silicone hoses completed the cooling system.
Next a set of stainless steel Motad pipes with a high level Delkavic link pipe and silencer were installed. It took a fair amount of pulling and pushing of the loosely installed parts to get everything to line up satisfactorily. I couldn't however get the Delkavic silencer to line up flush against the bike and it splays out slightly. Its not that noticeable as the silencer is only 350mm long but it might have been one of those irritating things if I had got a 450mm version.
The forks were raised 10mm through the yokes as this claimed to improve steering significantly, the standard setup apparently resulting in lazy steering. The bike is comfortable, handles well and has all the performance I need. The only niggle was that I found the clutch a little heavy on my wrist in traffic. An Oberon clutch slave cylinder in place of the standard Honda effort was a big improvement. The piston diameter of the Oberon unit is 38mm compared with 35.7mm for the Honda piston resulting in a smooth and lighter lever action. It's available in a range of anodised colours and I opted for a plain silver finish.
Soon after completion I found the 'holy grail" of VFR rear wheels, an eight spoke 5.5" as part of a pair so quickly bought them and fortunately didn't find any problem selling my original wheels. I also subsequently changed the high level silencer for a Harris Performance model from Norman Hyde, it sounds nice and the seat area is now a little cooler!