I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Holy Upgrades Batman

I just spent the day upgrading my vehicle. It took me about 4 hours to do everything.

Triumph still uses carburetors on the Bonneville - no fuel injection, no computer, nothing. So to meet all these emisions standards they have to restrict the amount of air that gets to the engine and restrict the exhaust so much that you can't hear the muffler. What you hear instead is the pistons. It sounds like a sewing machine. All that is fine for people who are accustomed to living in a nanny state, but I wasn't having it. All that restriction drastically reduces the horsepower of the bike and makes it more dangerous to ride. Cars can't see you coming. If they can't hear you either you are totally hosed.I found a company that makes a new airbox with no restriction and ridiculously free flowing air filters. I also found a company that makes a copy of the original exhaust that was on the bike back in the 60's.
I ordered that exhaust but there is something wrong at the company that makes them so it is on backorder indefinitely. I decided to switch over to some pipes that are styled after some that ended up on Cafe Racers and on some of Steve McQueen's bikes.

I'm still waiting on those pipes but I had some time today so I decided to remove the stock airbox and put on the better one.

I ran into a real hitch trying to get the stock airbox off of the bike. I disconnected the shocks and jacked up the bike to lower the wheel. It lowered an impressive amount but the swing arm ran into this round device which still baffles me. It would finally fit through the frame side to side, but it was too tall to clear the wheel. I considered letting all the air out of the rear tire but decided against it, figuring that it might not work anyway, and then I would have a flat tire. I thought about taking the rear wheel off but decided against it, having never done that. I ended up taking a dremel tool to the airbox and cutting it out.
To get everything off you have to remove the gas tank, the seat, the rear fender and a bunch of other nonsense. Here is a photo right before I put everything back on.

Everything went back together really well, although it is very disconcerting to see all of the extra screws.

When you have a drastic amount of air moving in and out of the engine, you have to bring more fuel in to make things work right. To do this you have to take apart the carburetor and switch out some jets. You also have to adjust the lean rich mixture. It isn't as hard as it sounds.
Here is a photo of the new air filter in place, right before I put the side cover back on.

My new pipes haven't come yet so I just have the headers right now. I put everything back together, put gas back in the tank and then crossed my fingers. The results were astonishing.

Story time! It started right up. I choked it for about 15 seconds. Immediately the lady who was on the balcony across the way from my carport went inside. I turned the choke off and reved it a bit. ZOH MAH GAWD!!!! It was unbelievably loud and the engine sounded incredible. To hell with the Harley sound - British Iron forever baby!

At this point I was trembling with anticipation and I couldn't resist. I took it for a ride around the complex. The exhaust note was echoing off the buildings. A kid on the sidewalk thought about running out in front of me, and reconsidered.

I took it out on the street in front of the complex and let it loose. The sound was deafening. It runs great. I took it back and parked it. Now all I have to do is resist the urge to run out and start it up while I wait for my pipes.

Here are a couple other notables on Triumphs.