We have all come across those pictures of gorgeous machinery covered in dust, sitting slowly rotting away, waiting for resurrection. There seems to be an almost unbelievable supply of these machines, quite frankly its good to be sceptical, there have been more than a few fakes out there.
But this is not a post to destroy all hopes and dreams of finding a glorious machine longing for your touch. It is the opposite. A story of hope, happiness and fine Indian cuisine.
Once every few weeks my entire family gets together to have a meal at our favourite, local, Indian restaurant. This tradition has been going on for the better part of 15 years. About 11 years ago we started parking in the underground parking garage, and that's where this love affair begins.
I was 17, I had not even bought my first bike, the blue SV650 yet, as I said last week the RC51/SP was the bike featured on my high school locker door. Clearly I noticed the bike and walked over to take a look. It was almost all stock, save for a chopped rear fender and some shady Harbour Freight turn signals, I honestly wouldn't put these on my utility trailer, which came from HF. It was a less desirable SP1, in the most common colour scheme, but I loved it. Every month I would glance over, or even walk over. Every month more dust, more corrosion. After a couple years it just became a part of the decor. Even I didn't give a fuck anymore. Flash forward to May of this year. I saw it leaning towards the wall, away from the kickstand, and went over and gave it a good look. Someone had knocked it into the wall, cracking the upper fairing and one of the head light tabs. This was the tipping point for me. I was not going to let this thing go to waste.
The fact it had one, fairly minor, cosmetic flaw to show for the better part of 15 years of neglect was astonishing. It was in a completely unlocked, un-gated parkade, or a parking garage as the Americans might say, in the heart of a city. How it hadn't been stolen was beyond my grasp.
So I left a note.
Two weeks later I got a text. "hey you left a note on my bike?"
I wont bore with the details, but I got it for a song. It was mine. Save for my first SV I have never been this excited for, or emotionally attached to a bike purchase.
Here is how she sat.
All loaded up.
I got the dust off her immediately.
Any bike that sits for this length of time is going to have, at minimum the following problems.
-All Fluids-Tires-Chain-Wheel Bearings-Tank Rust-Fuel System gremlins-shot battery-hidden body damage
This one had all of the above, but astonishingly no shit surprises. The only surprise I had was a great one. While changing the battery I heard a small piece of metal hit the floor. I figured it was one of the bolts on the battery terminals, but it made a rather suspicious high pitched ping when it hit the floor. Upon retrieving it I couldn't believe my fucking eyes. It was a gold ring, with traditional Haida carvings. After a quick call to a friend, an expert in coastal indigenous art, we concluded this was a valuable piece made by a well known local artist.
I wore it admiringly for about an hour before sending a text to the previous owner. He identified the ring, which was his wedding band, and was beyond grateful to have it returned. It had been missing since 2004, oddly the last time he moved the bike. I was rewarded for my good deed with a $150 GC to my favourite Indian joint.
The only tricky part of getting the RC back up and running was cleaning and sealing the tank. I have never restored a bike so it was new to me. After some online research I concluded that electrolysis was the best method for me. It was simple, cost effective, safe on paint and worked a treat.
12 dollars in washing soda, a 15 dollar "manual" battery charger, and some old fencing did the trick.
With the tank cleaned and sealed it was time to replace the chain, sprockets, wheel bearings, and all fluids.
I threw on a 520 chain, sprockets, with a far more aggressive gear ratio, and some Supercorsa SC2's. Maiden track day this weekend. I can't wait.
The almost finished product. It still needed a detail and some tires in these pics.