Dec 8, 2021

Italian twins, so you want a Ferrari and cant afford one. Buy a Ducati.

You love classic Italian cars but they are too expensive. Welcome to the club.  You've chickened out, bought something reliable and now cannot fill that empty feeling in your heart.  You know, that feeling that there is absolutely nothing cool about you at all.  Perhaps we can get you a tiny dose of Italian machismo with an Italian motorcycle. Think of it as an alternative to a Fiat convertible.


Yep, the air cooled Monster is the 308 GTS of Motorcycles.   A Ducati for the common man, you won't need to wear leathers with knee-pucks to ride it.  It's got character, but is as easy to ride as a Shetland Pony. It captures all that Italian sex appeal without making you a complete poser.  Perfectly compatible with your Levi's and Converse sneakers.

The Ducati Monster is an affordable modern classic and still as Italian as cappuccino.  It started life as an amalgam of older Ducati race parts, thrown together as a "standard" motorbike.  It sold like gelato, saved the company and invented the "naked bike"  in the process.  You could own an Italian piece of art and probably sell it down the line for a return better than your US Bank savings account can offer.  

The the examples shown here is impeccably original and would run you less than an engine-out service on a Testarossa.  Now this is a rationalization that just might work don't you think?    

This 900 S.ie was the one of first fuel injected examples.  It has avoided modifications over the years by being owned by one woman till 2020.  On her 75th birthday she reluctantly sold it to me.  It is nearly 100% as delivered from the Seattle Ducati in 2000, with the original mirrors being the only items missing.


There is no shortage of Ducati Monsters for sale, but the tricky part is to buy the right one. That's a bit harder. The ideal scenario is a one adult owned machine, low mileage and completely original. Throw in EFI and adjustable suspension (like this one) and they start getting more rare.  Once you start looking here are some things to remind you what to look out for.

Buy a bike that is original as hell. Improvements are NOT what you are looking for if you expect this to be a profitable endeavor. When any vehicle reaches 10 years old it becomes affordable and people use their savings to "fix" them.  You must find a machine that has skipped that part of its life somehow. Moreover you must keep it this way so you can sell it for more than the average machine.  Oh, and having the original parts in a box somewhere is NOT ORIGINAL,  You'll fuck up a number of little fasteners as you endeavor to put everything back to stock while drinking prosecco and you know it.

Buy a fuel injected machine.  An EFI bike is much lower maintenance, and frankly Delorto carbs are outright witchcraft to maintain.  They fall out of tune constantly and can be very hard starting in the cold.  So get fuel injection and skip all the tiny parts that can be temperamental w/in a carburetor.   

Buy an air cooled example. They made water cooled examples of many sexy Ducatis, but the cost to purchase and maintain are both greater than the simpler air cooled examples.  Insurance will be lower too for the air cooled examples.  Keep in mind we are looking for Italian styling, not speed.  

Early frames were silver or gold.  Watch out for cheap frame sliders that put stress on these frames.  I've seen slider save a tank, while bending a frame.  This example has the quintessential dry-clutch but lacks the flashy open clutch cover commonly installed about 48 hours after purchase by people hard of hearing.  Don't worry you'll hear that magnificent dry clutch just fine with a factory cover.   Also important to note, is many affordable Monsters do not have a dry clutch so do your homework or you'll loose one of the trademark sounds of these machines.  


 
You need a full-on trellis frame.  The Monster you are looking for must have a true trellis frame, (up to yr. 2006) as sourced from the Ducati 888.  That frame won 3 World Superbike Championships before they tossed in in the Monster, so it's got some Italian race cred for certain. Cool stuff ALWAYS has some close connection to racing, even if you personally don't.  Capiche!?


This example not only retains the OEM tail section, but the lower plate mount as well, I'd say these end up in the trash most of the time.   You almost NEVER find a bike original enough to still have these parts, so move quickly if you find one like the one pictured. 

Avoid "tail chops"  An example of the kind of bastardification to avoid is the infamous "tail chop."  This is where a kid goes on the internet get's inspired then hacks off most of the rear, taking the OEM rear turn signals with it.  While it can be quite attractive to some, if you want to sell easily and for more than you paid, then get an unmolested example. 

Displacement.  Seek a bike over 750cc.  The smaller bikes are as slow as lawn mowers. You will likely find many well preserved smaller Monsters; don't be tempted.   Like the Harley Sportsters, people buy these as starter bikes for spouses and many just don't get ridden.  The problem is they are lacking in adjustable shocks, good brakes and lack adequate as power.  Basically the bikes with the best specs are 900 and 1000 cc.  This example is a 900cc with uses a simple single spark design, not high tech by todays standards, "old-school."


   Many positive things to see here:
  • Unworn tires, aka "Chicken strips" may be embarrassing but they indicate gentle life.
  • Original dealership license frame surround from 2000
  • High mounted carbon/stainless exhaust.  OEM pipes drag the ground in corners.

While I'm pretty keen on OEM parts in most scenarios, I'd say exhaust is an exception.   Ducati muzzled these bike excessively and the sound of an Italian machine is paramount to the Guido experience.  Arrow,  Leo vince or Termingoni are all expensive options that dealers often installed during purchase.  Most importantly these examples do not require any permanent modifications to the machine.  If you own an Italian motorcycle is important that it sound like a dragon.  The Leo vince pipes are the bike pictured are the quietest option.

My 900 S.ie racked up its miles on the San Juan islands and Italy during a motorcycle vacation.  Belts changed at 9000mi, but that’s over a year ago now, so a prudent aficionado would change them again before spring.
Also note: the preferred, larger displacement, Monsters include a tachometer, no self-respecting motorcyclist would own a bike w/o a tachometer.  

 
Search for a bike with under 10,000 miles.  While they don't appear every week for sale, plenty of bikes sit unused for years, so you just have to be patient.  While you certainly want a bike with low miles it will still need recent service confirmed. Ducati timing belts can dry out and break, this is especially possible with bikes sitting inert. If the belt is not new, replace immediately.  It's quite easy to do yourself w/o any fancy tools.  Valve adjustments require training, but don't degrade from sitting, so this may or may not need to be done depending on mileage.     
S model Monsters included a color matched fairing.

More on originality. While I'm no fan of fairings on a naked bike like the Monster, you want one if they came with them when purchased, just take it off and store it carefully.   Also, the existence of the OEM fairing assures you the previous owner didn't ride the thing into the back of a bus.  Factory turn signals seem dated when a bike is 10 years old, but when it's 20 years old they look classic.  It's also a good indicator no 25 yr. old has monkeyed around with your wiring harness.


Big indicators of a privileged life:
  • Carbon that is still glossy. Early OEM carbon faded easily.
  • Stick on reflectors still present on the forks. 
  • Even the adhesive tape is clean/white behind the reflectors

Another two validation points reflecting low mileage:
  • Foot pegs w/o wear or wear from hard cornering.
  • No wear from motorcycle boots
  • They haven't been replaced with something for the track.

Another temptation to watch out for is replaced or missing foot pegs.  The pegs are mounted quite low on Monsters so if anyone wanted to ride aggressively, they would typically need to replace the foot pegs.  It's not just the missing OEM parts that are a problem, but the fasteners that are typically long gone too.    

Rear seat cowl.  These often crack so look for examples that indicate they haven't been removed too often.  Even low mileage bikes can be prone to cracking as people stack boxes on the bike in the garage. 

  



Tanks.    Early metal tanks are prone to denting because people are stupid and they don't repair easily since the metal is petty thick.   900 or 1000 cc bikes are typically owned by veteran riders, so the tanks are dented less on the sides from falls but more on the top of the tank.   Belt buckles banging down onto the top of the tank during wheelies.    Naturally mine is metal and is flawless.



Later Monsters have a plastic tank when cannot be dented.  They do swell from ethanol in modern fuels and cannot be replaced under warranty any longer.  Look for crowding of the ignition key and rubbing.  If you cannot use ethanol free gas then store your bike with a FULL tank only, that prevents ethanol from vaporizing in the tank.  If you cannot keep it full, leave the tank cap slightly open to allow vapors to escape.   But if your home explodes, let me know and I’ll delete this blog

Both keys from the 900 S ie still include the original selling dealers key fobs as well as the tiny key number tab that serves some purpose when you are ordering replacements. No computer bullshit on this more "classic" tech on my 900 S.ie.


Keys matter.  The ideal example machine will have 100% of the materials you received at the dealer.  For older machines you are talking 2 keys, and a key number tab which simply proves your anal and keep every damn thing.   For later examples it means 2 keys and a 3rd red colored key with proves to the motorcycle computer that you are the owner.  Of course you can work around not having all the keys, but it's more expensive and time consuming than you might think to correct the issue if you aren't provided with a full set of keys.


Many of these covers are replaced with fancy aluminum ones.  Especially when the original is damaged in  a crash.  



Paper work matters.   While you can certainly look up everything on the internet, these people salivate over original paperwork.  So you should want this crap too.  Motorbikes rarely have a window sticker, but there is always paperwork and manuals that make you look like an ideal seller.

You can watch for the 2000 S ie Monster online soon.



Back in Black, this man's journey back into a Porsche.

Well, that didn’t last long.   

While my Audi RS3 will probably go down in history as my best overall sports car, I still strayed. Kinda sounds like I need counseling but let me explain.   

I obsessed over the New Audi’s depreciation from day one.  I should really be driving  Kia Stinger given my income level, so I rationalize my $tupidity by claiming that my cars are an investment as well as transportation. This lie I tell myself and others works better with older cars.   
This is indeed an "old" car.  2010 was over 10 years ago, though its hard to believe.  Pic taken on Colorado's Peak to Peak Hwy this fall.

My unfaithfulness toward the Audi is also because I love Porsches more than I can explain.  Those Carrera roots go deep under every racetrack in the world. I really dig that connection and history.  Also they have always been so purpose-built.  They are attractive merely by coincidence and in such a no nonselse way. I’ve never gotten over my white 993 Carrera 2S, and never will.  Porsches are my kryptonite.

While I doubled my investment selling the 993, no amound of money could fill the hole selling put in my heart.  If course I rationalized selling pretty well, but now that it's been gone I realized i'll never be the same.

Opportunity knocked 18 months after buying the damn RS3, I wasn't quite done enjoying it but when you can buy locally, quickly and with confidence it can be quite motivating.  I managed to trade in the RS3 for this C4S with  Alex, a buddy that happens to be a classic German car broker.  This was just the kind of dumb move I was interested in making!


These were the only pics I saw before buying the car. I don't recommend such foolishness, but I do well with my gut. Frankly, knowing Alex, I couldn’t really go too wrong. 

The 997.2 has been explained in many YouTube videos by may self-proclaimed video journalists.  This information age we live in is quite exhausting.  But I’ll sum it up here if you still have a rotary phone.

  • No bore scoring or IMS bearing failures as  prevalently found in the preceeding 996 and  997.1 variants.  So you're free from worry of failures or the strain proactive treatments. Moreover, you're also free of annoying conversations where you give or receive advise on these issues all the damn time.
  • Direct injection!   More power from smart engineering.  The 997.2 brought this technology into the Carrera and it's cool.       
  • None of the steering vagueness of the newer electric steering.  The 997.2 was the end of the line for good old hydraulic steering now romanticized just like manual steering was 20 years ago. Yes, it will be sorted out eventually, but presently the electric steering is a dissapointment to enthusiasts and magazine writers.
  • The 997.2 (or any 997 variant) is an agreeable size.  It is much larger than the more “classic” Porsches of the 90’s but the upside is that it now seems lean and mean compared to the massive obesity of more current Carreras.

The  997.2 fits squarly between these two cars in size.

I certainly dig AWD and I've always thought it would please me in Colorado where the mountains have lots of shady switchbacks that can be slippery in spring.  Frankly, i'm in the minority but I'm okay with that if I keep taking my pills.

Besides the "4S" on the badge, the full width reflector tells you this is AWD.  And the noise will tell you about the Tubi exhaust underneath!  I'm way to cheap to buy such an exhaust, but buying it on a used car makes it free. Woo hoo.

PDK?    It's not as boring as a traditional automatics.  PDK was the only affordable option.  All you nostalgic bastards have driven the prices out of reach for a manual transmission.  Frankly my arthritic ankle and torn rotator cuff thank the PDK. Besides, with all the vaping and Starbucks I consume I often need my right hand free  

I immediately swapped controls away from the tan leather. Black alcantara wheel, shifer & e-brake we’re essential upgrades. Flappy paddles came with the new wheel, which was much appreciated over stupid bottons Porsche provided back in 2010.

Black?  I hate black, but it dose look good.  It's hard to keep clean, but it is quite easy to touch up.    That said a ceramic coating from Tyler and a subscription to the local Autowash has proven to make the color acceptable.  But to be honest, I’ve not kept many cars longer than the life of a set of tires, so what am I worrying about?

Fear of scratches haunts my days and nights.
Many panels covered in wrap,  full ceramic too.
Thanks to Tyler White at Simply Clean


Now buying more car than you can afford is a special kind of stupid, but I like to think that I have a certain brilliance.  Buy German and don't buy Italian, for starters.   Utilize a reasonable amount of intelligence and education along with professional guidance and a Porsche can be relatively inexpensive once you survive the initial purchase.  Certainly you should be prepared for the unexpected and don't defer maintenance, but a suprise expenses in a well selected 997.2 can be quite unlikely.  

My ultimate dream is to swap my way back into a 1998 993 Carrera 4S or 2S  eventually.   A lofty dream indeed since  90's cars are skyrocketing.  The 997.2 is  growing momentum as a classic on it's own, so somehow I’ll make due.   Poor me.

 



Bonus content below, my son Cameron’s Jeep XJ Project walk around.

  

Nov 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving to me, I got me an Audi RS3 (that rhymes)

I cashed out my 401K and  spent the kids college money and look what I got! 
New plan, die young and the  kid can go to trade school.  Woo hoo!!!!!!

Nothing validates one’s stupidity better than affirming our perspective via the internet.  I’ve gone and bought a brand-new car, my first actually.  I’ve owned about 25 cars and never a new one.  Anyway, the point is I need a serious blog to rationalize this decision and since I couldn’t find one, I’m writing it myself. 

If you are looking for a real article there is a good example:  https://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-audi-rs3-review-first-drive/ .  I won't be offended if you read it too.

 Audi RS3.  A 5-cylinder, turbo charged micro machine with 400hp that does ¼ Mile in 12.1 seconds and 0-60 in a blistering 3.6 seconds. Now that’s all Motor Trend data but the “blistering” part is all me

As a pillar of the automotive world, I know everyone is desperate to know what I chose and why.  Understandable.  Like most famous automotive journalists, I have only “room” for one-car in my life.  So my choice here is of paramount importance for multi-tasking as well as satisfaction. Satisfaction that I hope will last beyond my first late payment to Audi Financial. 

I have no idea what most of this crap does.
I just hold on here when I use launch control 

I can justify any car purchase at any time for any damn reason. It’s one of my many, many gifts. Let’s just say It’s been a tough couple of years and leave it at that.  Suffice it to say, I felt yet another stupid indulgence was in order, since the last 3 purchases did nothing to solve my, or the worlds, problems. This came as a shock to me, since everyone knows any problem can be solved with a vehicular acquisition.  Perhaps my owning a brand-new car would be just the thing to set the universe right.   I’m doing this primarily for mankind, not myself. 

I didn't intentionally opt for the sport suspension package, just overlooked on the build sheet.  
The drama about the stiffness is overblown, it's luckily still a pretty a reasonable ride I guess,.


For once I want to F*#K up my own automobile instead of having the previous owners do it.  I’m tired of worn out seat bolsters and steering wheels.  I’m tired of broken radios and bad speakers.  Tired of broken pixels on dash displays, tired of tracking down refurbished seat belt retractors.  Tired of discovering poor body work I missed during initial inspection.  This time I can be the jerk who messes the car up.

What was my criteria? 

I wanted 4 doors.  You probably think it’s not a sports car unless it has 2 doors. Shame on you, intolerant bastard!  America will never be great again with that kind of thinking.  I love opening a back door and easily tossing something there.  Be it a briefcase, backpack, my son or a Mossberg 500,  It’s just so damn convenient.  Small sedan doors open easily in tight parking lots.  When your sports car’s a daily driver too this kind of crap matters. 
The stiffness of 4-door chassis was proven by M3 sedans becoming track day favorites.
Selling was a bone-headed move for sure, perfectly balanced sports car perfection.

It prefer something quite small, ie narrow w/a short wheel-base for illegal u-turns and such.  I like a tiny car so I can make believe I’m in a 356 Speedster.  But wait there are more benefits.  Tiny cars are less likely to get door dings since they don’t crowd the parking space.  Everyone knows you can drive like a jerk if your car is small too, that’s good news.  Yes, there are great “super sedans” out there that are quite impressive, but those are long, big and heavy.  That just won’t support the lies I’m trying to tell myself like I’m young, handsome and driving a Corvette.

It’s gotta be all wheel drive.   Ever since the Porsche 959 (forefather of all Carrera-4’s) I’ve been enamored with AWD.   Tail wagging shenanigans are great, but high speed peace of mind is where I’d rather be.  In the Colorado mountain roads any shady switch back can have unexpected ice, so AWD keeps me driving irresponsibly more months out of the year. 

Audi RS3 - Bild: 208252821

Is it as  cool as  rear wheel drive w/front wheel assistance like Porsche or BMW? Probably not.  A hard exercise for car people is to shop for what they actually do rather than what they think they do.   I don't race as often as I drive in the snow to work,  so Haldex will do nicely.   
I thought this time, I’d try something crazy.  What could be crazier than a warranty?  I’ve owned cars I couldn’t afford using various techniques, but they were all gambles of one kind or another. Frankly I’ve done better than most amateur enthusiasts, I guess.  But in the words of Kenny Rogers, you’ve got to know when to fold ‘em.   So, no gambling this time at all.

Buying the 2010 Raptor for $14,500 with 175,000 miles seemed a good idea.
But that good idea was $10,000 ago,  the next owner, he's the one that got the deal.

I need something fast as bloody hell.   To me, that means 0-60 in under 4 seconds.  5 seconds used to be fast but not these days. These days texting moms in Honda Accords can blow away a 289 Shelby Cobra while the kids watch Frozen in the headrests.  Oh, and someone explain to me why pickups and SUVs are fast now too, WTF?  It used to be a car guy proved speed mattered most to him by giving thing up like: safety, comfort, cargo space, air conditioning or back seats. The more they gave up the faster they went.  This modern world disgusts me.   So, I had to find a car faster than fast just to keep up.


My Carrera -2 996 was plenty fast and plenty new with just 36,000 miles.
It was the incessant whining from many 996 members online that ultimately.
drove me to sell. Yes they have flaws, that's all they ever talked about. 


It had to have boost.  Colorado’s elevation is high, and turbocharging your car corrects the oxygen shortages at elevation.  Modern tiny motors get great mileage, and turbocharging is the only way to actually stand them.   Oh, and boost is freaking fun as hell too.  There’s that!

 Fancy interior for a fancy guy.
I needed that 3rd pedal of a stick shift. Well, I guess “needed” is the right way to put is since it is past tense.  I don’t need it any more.  I just couldn’t pull the trigger on any of the remaining stick shifting mighty sedans. The Focus RS, Subaru STI and Golf R are all great cars, but for me I’d being chasing that 400hp mark and ruining my warranty.  The sober truth is I traded that 3rd pedal for 400hp and a really fancy interior. 




Here is where I get my nostalgia,   But that will be the subject of another blog.
Get ready this is going to hurt people. We have evolved away from 3-pedals and shift levers. Like corded phones, bias-ply tires and Jiffy Pop they are disappearing for a reason.  I don’t care about emissions and economy, though I know they are factors. I do care that I can’t get the most out of a car this fast while using old-school controls. Things happen way too fast and the less you must do in the car the faster you actually will go (stolen from driver Don Kitch or Ross Bentley, I don’t recall).  Yes, I do miss the clutch pedal but not as much as I expected. When faced with nostalgia vs winning, winning wins. 




  Selling my 993 C2S was the dumbest mistake ever.  That said, I am a very dumb guy,
 so it was going to happen eventually. 


I needed something rare and interesting.  Something very exclusive.  Something that draws crowds when you pull up for gas.  Something that causes screams from young and old ladies.  Something that makes we worshiped like a god at Cars and Coffee………………..

Eager to test the AWD performance, but sad to discover the clearance wasn't ample today.
Hey, it's not my fault we got  18" of snow.   Perhaps some air ride suspension?

Okay perhaps my monologuing got out of hand, the RS3 isn’t rare or very exclusive.  But I feel pretty fancy, and that counts for something.  The car guy’s nod is really what we are all looking for. I want to be understood and appreciated by the most important people in the world.  Car people.



What’s next?   I’ll break down my buying experience, what I like and don't like and what is going to happen once the new is worn off this car.

Hint we are going to embrace this cars-rally car roots.  .   

Mudflaps (haven't bought yet, but soon) https://www.amazon.com/SPEEDLONG-Splash-Guards-Mudguard-2017-2019/dp/B07PX1DVTH

Paddle Shifters (bought):https://www.ecstuning.com/b-racingline-parts/vwr-billet-dsg-gearshift-paddles-midnight-black/vwr493000~vwr/

Black Roof Rack (waiting on a sale or lotto): https://www.thule.com/en-us/roof-rack/roof-racks/thule-evo-wingbar-_-am711xxxb?car=audi-rs3-4dr-sedan-_-3MBz

Re-tune by APR (waiting on warranty  to expire) :  https://www.goapr.com/products/ecu_upgrade_25tfsi_mqb.html

Interesting wheels for mud, gravel, snow duty.





Apr 27, 2019

Jenny Craigslist

Okay,


867-5309.  Jenny Jenny, you're the girl for me.

So in theory, selling the M3 was a good idea. but I lost a valuable pastime.  Tinkering in the garage was quite therapeutic and tinkering with the Porsche gets me broke pretty quickly.   Frankly if I could turn back time I'd get the M3 back and discard the Porsche.   But that's not news, I've regretted buying AND selling every damn car I've ever owned.   Why would the M3 be any different?  Oh, and did I mention the Raptor I bought?   Never blogged about that minor diversion.

 A blank template.   22K miles is nothing for these motors.

So I needed a project that was primarily elbow grease and minimal outlay of the Benjamins (that's hipster talk for money).   So I pulled the trigger on this 22K mile goldwing.  Since its an unexciting Japanese motorcycle, it should be mechanically sound albeit aesthetically unpleasing. 

The goal was to lose some serious weight from this porky bitch machine.
Hence the name Jenny Craig was born and quickly morphed to Jenny Craigslist.

I grabbed some cash and took an Uber to Denver after confirming the bike was capable of driving home in its current state.    Once home, I found it did indeed run quite well, but the electrical as well as countless little things needed addressing.  Like any 40+ yr old person it has seen better days but can still satisfy you if you are drunk or squint when looking at her.
Undoing a history of unqualified wiring "improvements" is a blast.
I've screwed up plenty of wiring, so I can spot bad work quickly.
This was just the mental health distraction I needed.  Why pay a therapist $150/hr when you can just tinker on a motorcycle every evening for free.   Well, "free"  might be a tad inaccurate if you check my eBay and Amazon.com history.  But hey,  I've been through a lot this past year and need this distraction.  I wonder if I get a doctor's prescription, will my insurance pay for these parts?

1. Rectify improper wiring to starter, headlights and turn signals.
2. Buy turn signals and tail lights.
First, get Jenny naked and check her out.. 
Rules to live by in any relationship.
Yes indeed, 40+ years did take a small toll on dear old Jenny.   The cables needed attention, tires were old, and forks were weeping slightly.  Lights were all gone, or broken, exhaust leaking, cellulite (just checking to see if you are reading).   Overall through, I wouldn't kick Jenny out of bed if I woke to finder her there.   She's not too shabby for her age.    Jenny's got character and she needs me to save here just like she is saving me.   Too sappy?  I'll tone it down.

Internally routed wires are cleaner looking for sure, so a must.
But damn  they are hard to do with a dremel and a cordless drill.
If I wasn't' so cheap I could have paid to have them pre-drilled.

Everyone is doing a cafe bike these days, and fenderless bobbers bore me.  My initial thinking was some sort of straight bar flat-tracker tribute.  Some super-small saddle would work nicely and cool shocks or a hardtail conversion.   
Instead of cutting the exposed end or removing the fender entirely
I cut the forward edge, then rotated the tail section forward.  
3. Buy fork seals
4. But starter switch for donor parts
5. Buy tachometer for donor parts
6. Buy seat
7. Buy handlebar, grips and end caps
You cannot buy a new starter button,
but I like tiny impossible rebuilds.
8. Buy motor oil, collant, gear oil and brake fluid
9. Buy shocks and fork seals.
10. Buy tire$

Had to learn to weld to do this,  you should see all the scraps I practiced on.
Sometimes looking good comes with a cost.  Once completed I have found that this tiny saddle could easily lead to a broken tooth or spinal damage.  The shocks look sweet, but don't work much like shocks.   I'm thinking perhaps a mouthguard would be a wise investment,  I've also ordered seat springs that are coming soon.
Rebuilding tachometers is not as hard as you think.
 Buy a spare on eBay first if only to show you what you screwed up.
11. buy throttle cable
12. buy digital flasher relay
13. buy speedometer cable
14. buy tachometer cable

Fancy looking shocks, but they are one stiff-ass ride.
Check out the nifty LED tail light.  I'm so cool.
Rear fender is now mounted ON TOP of the frame.
This will look better as it flows beneath the new seat.
Gold Calipers, a period correct color.
New fork seals are not as hard to install as you might think.
I was disappointed no vintage looking tires were readily available.  Frankly nothing was available except expensive Pirelli Knight Dragons.  I couldn't confirm existing tire age,  they had no miles on them, but were probably 20 yrs old.   Unsafe.   Luckily these are now radials  for it now, which my chiropractor appreciates. 
Straight bar and brown grips to match the saddle.
Ran a wire wheel over the clamps to "freshen" them.

You think you want a classic till you realize it adds 4 minutes to your drive to Starbucks to warm up every morning.  So how's it ride?   Well it's got long legs, meaning it likes to cruise at higher speeds, typical of a Goldwing. 
Saddle is a brutal ride, but looks perfect.  
How did anyone get anywhere in these old bikes?  The think gets about 9 miles per gallon, so the range is quite short given the tank is small and hidden under the seat.  I've run out of gas twice already due to stupidity and my inability to read a gas gauge or use the reservoir properly.
Jenny is an Emotional Support Vehicle.
So I can take her INSIDE the grocery store.
Left over paint,  now that's thrifty isn't it?   I'd originally planned to prime the panels and pay a painter to spray the bike whatever color was readily available during a car respray.  But the primer I used on my BMW R100RS last year looked pretty darn good.  So I sprayed some clear coat left over my the M3's wheel refinishing right over the primer.  Perfect is not the goal here,  character is the goal.  Speaking of character, check out that faded Honda logo on the rear fender above.  It is from the original dealership in Florida, circa 1977.
Shake down run.  Note I didn't install the all-too-common license relocator system.
Instead I modified the OEM plate mount to recycle it on the fender. 
The best part about riding the bike is the stops.  Watching hipsters appreciate it from the sidewalk.  Letting people take my photo at traffic lights, etc. My favorite. is the older guys telling me stories about when they had one.   Now, to find a CBX.... Hehe



Whenever I ride her that song goes through my head over and over again.   If you are as old as this bike you'll know the song I mean.     This would  be the perfect project if only it was a car.

Sold nearly immediately to Shane via Craigslist,  Enjoy Shane, she's a good woman.