Grrr! Rrarrr! Arms of steel!

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May 5, 2003

happy cinco de mayo.
I ate a burrito today. Did you?

adventures in winching.
On Saturday, Peter and I decided to set up a winch in my garage. The next item of business for the Bandit, now that it runs, is to remove the front end - some sort of lift was clearly in order. I liked how we'd set up the Nighthawk for its similar surgery two years ago (lifted up onto cinder blocks), but I wanted to do the hoisting with something more user-friendly than the ratchet tie-downs. Getting the Nighthawk up had been just fine; the sudden lurch getting it down was an exercise in cardiac control.

We ended up at Home Depot, which didn't have the pulleys we were hoping for. OSH did have them, but we ran into problems with weight limits. The pulleys' weight limits were OK, but the rope was only weighted to 400 lbs - not so good if we wanted to use the setup for anything other than the Bandit.

Fortunately, which poking around the block and tackle section, I spied a no-assembly-required chain hoist. Huzzah! This was exactly what we wanted.

Back at home, we looped a short length of chain over the cross-beam in my garage and closed the loop with a heavy-weight carabineer (the weak link, with a weight limit of ~1000 lbs). We ran a ratchet tie-down through the Bandit frame and hooked one end of the hoist to it. The other end of the hoist attached onto to the looped chain. With this simple set-up, I can just pull down on one end of chain to lower the bike or the other end to raise it.

So that was Saturday's adventure. We pick up the story again on Sunday afternoon.

Once the Bandit was attached to the chain hoist, I started lifting it up enough to slide the cinder blocks underneath the centerstand mount (the flattest part of the Bandit's underbelly). Some of the exhaust header is resting on the blocks, too, but I don't think it's in danger of being crushed. This step was fun, because it allowed me to wheelie the bike without actually being on it at the time.

I slid all four cinder blocks under the bike (two down, two across) and overlaid a piece of plywood. When doing the Nighthawk, I used Styrofoam, but I'm less concerned about the centerstand mount of the Bandit than I was about the engine block of the Nighthawk. Either way, the cushioning layer is softer than the cinder block. Once the blocks were in place, I lowered the Bandit back down so it was resting upon them.

Now that the bike was secure, I could get to work, which basically meant removing the front wheel and forks. This resulted in an emergency trip to OSH for a 12mm hex wrench (for the front axle) and a 22mm open-end wrench (for the bolts on the tops of the forks). I loosened the tops of the forks while they were still in the bike, since I wouldn't have the leverage when they were out. The wheel came right off with the brake caliper removed and the axle loosened; the fender consisted of six bolts; the forks were a simple matter of loosening the top and bottom triple tree bolts.

And that's pretty much where the bike is at now.

I've got the stock forks, which are in decent shape (aside from the seals, which would be replaced anyway), along with most of the front end of a late-80s GSXR. Mark found the latter and donated it to the cause (well, "donated" in the sense of "I still owe him money for it").

So now I just need to find the front wheel and axle from a '86-'89 GSX-R750 or 1100. It'll be a nice modification: a dual disc brake in front (as opposed to the Bandit's stock single disc) as well as a fun Frankenbike project.

speaking of project bikes.
The trashed CB-1 that Mark bought came in today, which meant that Kim, Mark, and I got to play around with getting it out of the van and into Mark's garage. To add to the fun, they were also returning Cat's CB400 to her, which had sat alongside of our garages since approximately the dawn of time. Naturally, hilarity ensued.

Pushing the bike around turned out to be an interesting experience, due to its having no air in the tires.

My favorite thing about the CB-1 so far is how the rear stand matches the chain.

Once Mark's CB-1 was out of the van, it was time to push Cat's CB400 into the van. This was made more interesting by the fact that the rear drum brake was permanently engaged. Kim and I could push the bike in a straight line with few problems, but turning the bike meant that one of us held the handlebars while another person lifted the back end up and physically moved it around to wherever it needed to go.

It took a little while before it was lined up with the ramps; the next adventure was getting it up into the van, since the front tire was utterly flat and wanted to squish into the ramp instead of rolling up onto it. Fortunately, all of my "arms of steel" video workouts paid off, and we managed to brute force it up the ramp and into the van.

So now I think that everyone's project bikes are in the possession of their rightful owners. Hopefully.