How-To: Kensun HID Conversion Kit Installation


Flicker. Flicker. Pop. Crap! Let there be light, I think to myself as I flick the high-beam switch to shed some lumens on the situation. My turn-signals only work when they feel up to the task, my emergency flashers have given up the ghost a long time ago, and the high-beam switch needs three-fingered coercion to be pushed into the “on” position. In short, my left-hand combination switch is an embarrassment and needs replacing. However, I really am not up to spending $228 plus shipping and handling on a collection of space-age buttons. After all, that’s a third of the cash required for that Dainese leather jacket I’ve been lusting over, or a new rear tire, or almost the cash needed to procure a Power Commander on sale. I can think of a multitude of things to waste $228 on, a multifunction switch isn’t one of them.

I ride around in semi-darkness for about a week or so, before it finally gets on my nerves. The Beemer’s headlight throws what looks like the image of a ghost rider’s full-face helmet on the road before me. It’s starting to creep me out; never mind that I can’t see shit and had almost run over a steaming pile of fresh deer guts one evening. I wondered where the rest of it was…

It’s time to buy an H7, 12V, 55W bulb to replace the burnt out low-beam stocker. I look around online and am not happy to see that one of those bright, bluish-white HIDesque jobs costs around $30. Hell, that’s a pair of knee pucks, right there. How much are HID conversion kits anyway? I go look and find very good reviews on a company by the name of Kensun. Never heard of them, but for $55 + $9.95 S&H, I’m going to pull the trigger on a set of 8000K Xenon eyeballs with slim-fit aluminum ballasts.

Three days later, I almost trip over the box on my doorstep on the way out for a high-velocity pleasure cruise. Needless to say I didn’t go for a ride that day. It’s time to wrench. Yet, again. It’s really quite the tragedy. I now own two bikes (yes, I bought a dedicated race bike while I was on my hiatus), do twice the wrenching and ride half as much. Hand me a pit crew shirt. Hell!


It’s easier and less frustrating if you take the nose off the bike, although you could do this without bothering with the plastics. To remove the nose, you’ll have to take the following fasteners off of both sides and nothing more (unless you absolutely insist on it):

· Unplug headlight connectors

· Remove mirrors

· The two screws above the headlight assembly

· The two screws on the uppers, forward of the BMW roundel

· Top screw on tank trim panel

· Lower plastic rivet which secures the inner fairing cover to the tank trim panel

· The three top-most screws on the inner fairing panel

Carefully work all the interconnecting parts free, and then pull the nose forward until it comes free. Take the damned thing inside and get comfortable with a beer and some power tools. 😉


The OEM protective screw-on caps have to be modded to allow for the additional wires and plugs of the HID bulb’s wiring harness that connects the bulb to its ballast and the bike’s factory power plug. The best tool to use for the job is a step drill bit. The HID kit is pretty much plug and play.

1. Unscrew one of the protective caps and stick the thing in a vise.

2. Drill a hole in the center of the cap, just big enough to allow you to shove the biggest of the three connectors through. If the hole is too big, the HID bulb’s rubber grommet will be too loose to allow for an adequate seal against the elements; if it’s too small – you guessed it — the connector won’t fit.

3. Once you have drilled the correct size hole, smooth out the rough edges. I used my Dremel tool and one of the orange grinding stone bits for this.

4. Rinse, repeat for the remaining cap.


1. Unplug the power plug from the back of the bulb.

2. Gently push on the lower two retaining tabs and remove the stock bulb from its socket by lifting the bottom out first. Do NOT use a screwdriver to pry the tabs open, or you’ll spend 30 minutes bending them back into useful shape to get a tight fit later. Ask me how I know… This is important! The bulbs have to be fully seated and be tight. Any rattling around in there and you’ll burn one out in let’s say… two commutes. Again, I don’t wanna talk about it…

3. Unplug the spade connectors from their plug and set the bulb aside.

4. Take one of the HID bulbs out of its protective case by unscrewing the top and gently pulling the base off of the wiring harness. Be careful not to touch the bulb or its burn-out time later. For once, I didn’t learn that one the hard way. And no, it is not an old wives’ tale that fingerprints, debris and various other contaminants will create hot spots and shorten the lifespan of a bulb. It’s true. It’s true. HID bulbs have a very thin wire running along the outside from their tips to their bases. Don’t mess with that either.

5. Route the harness through the modded stock cap and seat the grommet into that (hopefully correctly sized) hole which you’ve drilled a little while ago.

6. Install the HID bulb in the headlight socket. The little tab goes into the upper retention tab first, then push the bottom into the lower two retention tabs. The bulb should seat properly and should be in there tightly and flush against the socket.

7. Plug the spade connectors into the power plug. I don’t think polarity matters, but to be on the safe side, I plugged the blue wire into the slot which was previously occupied by the yellow wire marked with a white line.

The rule of thumb with same colored wires is that the one with the markings is usually hot (+) and the other ground (-). But what do I know? I’m a girl who’s scared of lightning.

8. Find a suitable place for the power plug inside the headlight housing. Pull any excess wiring through the rubber grommet, you should have the excess on the OUTSIDE of the socket, with just enough slack to avoid chafing or stress on the wires.

9. Screw the modded cap back on.

10. Rinse, repeat. You’ve got one more to do.


1. Get your hands on some industrial strength Velcro and stick some to the back of each of the aluminum ballasts. I prefer the loop side on the bike, in this case. Do as you wish, but please clean both surfaces first with some 50/50 alcohol-water mix or any other suitable chemistry. The Velcro won’t stick for long if you don’t. If your shit falls off at a buck-fitty-plus, you have nobody but yourself to blame.

2. Decide how you are going to route the wires and determine the placement of the ballasts. Clean the spot, peel the backing off of the Velcro and stick it to it.

3. Plug in all three connectors. They are all keyed, so no worries about which end goes with what.

4. Rinse, repeat. One more side to hook up.


· Take the nose back outside and reinstall on bike. If you have fasteners left over, and followed the optional step above to booze it up while you work, you’ll have to stop here and continue after you sleep it off. Otherwise, read on.

· If you have fasteners left over and you didn’t follow the optional step above to booze it up, I dunno what to tell you other than I hope it doesn’t fall off at an inopportune moment. Please continue…

I should have told you this earlier, but if you had read the installation instructions that came with the kit, you would not be in this predicament right now. I know, I know. It’s downright un-American to read instructions, manuals, traffic signs, or indicate a lane change by using proper signaling via actuation of the blinkers.

· Replace the 7.5A fuses in positions 4 and 5 with 20A fuses.

Yes, I had to run to the auto parts store to hook myself up. Half-blind and 15 minutes before closing time, Miss Busa could be found squidding it up the road with her Hello Kitty Pirate wallet shoved down the back of her pants, an iPhone snug as a bug in her bra and not a stitch of gear on her other than the legally required lid. ATGATT no more! As luck would have it, I had one 20A fuse, so I just unplugged the stock headlight connector on the high-beam side and went to the store. Glad I did, too. The two dudes working there followed me out the store and drooled all over my baby while I was putting in the newly acquired 20A fuse and reconnected the high-beam connector.

· Wipe drool from bike once you get home.

I would say, go for a test ride, but if you’re like me, you already did. Only one thing left to do:

· Adjust the headlights according to the instructions in the owner’s manual (or the ripped off BMW service manual I know y’all have downloaded) and be prepared to be illuminated!

Tying Up Loose Ends:

After you’ve made sure everything is working properly, route the wires to your liking, secure with cable ties and seal the rubber grommets with a suitable substance. I used Clear RTV Silicone Adhesive & Sealant. I should have used the black stuff.

Review to follow… after I’ve put some miles on these puppies.

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In Case of Get-Off, Pull Here.

Miss Busa’s How-To:

Installing a Tether Kill Switch

on the

2010 BMW S1000RR

RND: Research & Delirium

PMR Stealth Tether Kill Switch Combo (finished setup)

PMR Stealth Tether Kill Switch Combo: The finished install.

I’ve googled myself to death trying figure out what type of switch I needed for the S1000RR and how to hook it up. A tension headache, one 800mg Ibuprofen, and a nap later I was still pretty much clueless. What little information I could dig up was conflicting and not very useful. Heck with it, I can figure this thing out myself. The biggest pain was trying to ascertain whether the S1000RR utilized a “normally closed” or “normally open” switch for the engine kill. Blech. Apparently nobody knew. The one reference I found on a certain S1000RR forum turned out to be wrong. Not that I gave much credibility to the thread, since it sucked and was no help to the people who wanted to know and were wanting to install a tether kill on their Double-R. The more I googled the more confusing it became. I finally found a reference on Pingel’s website that paired the words “normally open” and “magneto ignition” and “normally closed” and “battery ignition”. Magneto? I didn’t really know what exactly that was, but I’ve heard the term before in reference to old junk. So “normally closed” is what I put my money on. Off to buy a switch. My bike was in the shop, so I couldn’t look at it and couldn’t recall the information needed from memory. I really liked the PMR setup. The kill switch housing replaced part of the brake master cylinder bracket and it came with optional switch options. An extra switch? Always good for likely future upgrades. But I couldn’t recall if the S1000RR had a Nissin setup or not, so I decided to err on the safe side and bought an MPS switch, which was only half of an inch wide and fit 7/8-inch bars. It later turned out that I didn’t have the ½ inch to spare to cram that sucker onto the bar. Damn. I should have gone with my initial instinct. Oh well. Anybody want to buy a brand new MPS switch? Hit me up. ☺

PMR Switch Housing

The PMR Stealth Switch Combo housing replaces the front bracket on the Nissin front brake assembly.

Pingel has decent looking switches up for grabs, however I definitely don’t have room for them on my clip-ons and the panel-mounted option just didn’t fit the bill for me. I wear one-piece leathers. I have nowhere really to clip the tether other than making a wristband which will also keep the lanyard out of my way. I stole the wrist strap idea from the Pingel site, so kudos to them. ☺) I didn’t want a setup that would reach across bike or body parts. The Pingel switches to me look more to be made for cruisers or Harleys, not that I would have had the room for the bar-mounted ones anyway. I really wanted something a little more subtle and sporty.

Those are the only three viable options that I came up with in my research. There are other choices out there, but I dismissed them for various — now forgotten — reasons. I’m sure some of them were due to looks, design, price, or workmanship. I’m picky when it comes to my bike. I get the best I can afford and I want the stuff to last. The Pingel switches probably would outlast my bike. 😉

Slapped On The Wrist!

Yes, I could have just bought Pingel’s ready-made one, but I wanted to save some money and it would be kind of cool to make my own. I had most of the stuff already lying around from various other projects. I went to Joann’s to get a parachute buckle. 1-inch wide red canvas strapping, black retro-reflective iron-on ribbon, a 1-inch metal D-ring, the purchased $2 buckle and a sewing machine did the trick. I opted for white thread to do a little “contrast stitching”, but I should have just used red because my sewing skill leaves room for improvement… lots of wide-open room.

Exploratory Surgery

My difficulty finding a tether kill switch and trying to figure out how to install it stems largely from a lack of sufficient knowledge of electrical circuits, switches, basic wiring, and how ignition systems work. I had to beef up on long-forgotten high school physics subjects and educate myself in the application of the fine art of soldering wire joints. Basic Electrical Wiring 101 with a little something thrown in about relays, switching and simple circuitry.

Armed with a multimeter, Torx screwdrivers in various sizes, a clipboard, pen and my BlackBerry I got up close and personal with the Pirate. I took the engine switch/mode selector control pod apart and had a peek inside to figure out which one of the wires is the one the tether kill switch gets spliced into. This should also confirm whether or not the S1000RR employs a “normally closed” or “normally open” circuit. I had read somewhere that a good way to distinguish one from the other is by the number of wires that come out of the engine stop switch: two wires means “normally closed” and three wires is a sign of a “normally open” switch. I took the thing apart. I was presented with five wires hanging out of a keyed plug and a small PCB sporting three push buttons. Five wires? Great. I should have known. Why was I even thinking this could be as easy as following the one coming out of the stop engine button to note its color for later reference? I looked at the circuit board closely. I could definitely make out the paths of the circuitry. The pins on the plug are numbered. I also saw tiny numbers printed on the PCB. That made things a lot easier. The keyed plug also helped with keeping the orientation of things aligned correctly. It was time to draw a wiring diagram. After having studied the thing for a while it dawned on me that there is a place left for an option. A very faint cutout line on the switch’s front housing, an indentation on the PCB for an additional button with all the necessary circuitry in place, and three open slots in the keyed harness plug. Noting that, the whole mess became a little less confusing. Four functions, namely: Mode, Engine Stop, Engine Run, and Engine Start; one common connection to them all; it adds up to five wires. This started to actually make sense.

The multimeter proved useless, since the probes are too thick to fit into the harness plug and the entire circuit board is encased in some sort of clear plastic — to weatherproof the whole affair, I’m sure. So I ran my findings by Mr. Slow, but he refused to get involved, claiming lack of knowledge on the subject. I mulled it over in my head off and on for a few hours and then ended up sleeping on it.

Kill Switch Wire (Black with Blue Stripe)

Found it! This is the wire to the Engine Stop function. This is where the tether kill switch needs to be spliced in.

I need a method to test my findings nondestructively. I don’t want to cut into a $1500 wiring harness on a hunch. I need some way to connect the male end with the female plug in isolation to engage in a little simulated wire snipping. Test leads. I could make myself little test leads to jump the pins. The female end is easy, but the pins on the male side need insulation to keep them electrically isolated from each other. After scrounging around for supplies I come up empty, naturally. I had, not too long ago, relocated my “computer graveyard” from its home in a closet to the neighborhood dumpster. It never fails. Hang on to the shite for years, not finding use for a single thing and as soon as you throw the crap out to make room for new junk you end up needing something from the pile.

I didn’t know what those “test leads” were actually called, so googling the subject proved to be coma-inducing, but eventually I hit on the name of the thing and once you can name it, you can find it in 0.0289 seconds. They are called jumper wires. They are used in robotics and prototyping to easily and quickly connect header pins on breadboard setups. They’re cheaper to buy than to make unless you have the stuff already lying around. I still would just buy them… trying to get those little fragile crimp pins onto the stripped end of a teeny wire sucks! I scored a pack of 10 6” male-to-female ones for about $4.

A Kick in the CANBus

With five jumpers in five different colors I set out to validate my thoughts on the kill switch subject. I dismantle the control pod once more, this time it only takes me a few minutes. I pull the plug out of its socket and use my spiffy wiring diagram to jumper the pins. After double-checking my work, I turn the ignition on and the RR begins its initialization. The RPM needle executes its customary sweep through the entire range of the dial, all LCD segments are displayed at once and all LED lights come on and blink off. The DTC and ABS indicators remain lit and blinking, as is expected. After the POST is complete, I put the transmission into Neutral and push the Engine Start button, the bike comes to life. No faults are tripped. All is as it should be. I pull the black wire that connects Pin 4. The engine dies instantly, just like it would if you had put the kickstand down while in gear. Still, no faults are thrown. I turn the ignition off and back on and try to start the bike again. Nothing. That too, is as it should be. I reinsert the wire to Pin 4, start the bike and press the Mode Selector button repeatedly to scroll through the four DTC modes. Again, all functions as expected.

I would have been so wrong!

Just for giggles, I yank Pin 5’s jumper wire out and nothing happens, the Pirate keeps on idling sedately. Pin 5 is the other half of the engine stop switch circuitry. Pin 4 is the connection that is common to all of the functions. Pin 5 is the wire I would have cut with a shaky, clammy hand had I have been on the bomb squad, sweating bullets with three seconds left on the ticker. Aren’t you glad I’m not on the bomb squad? I am. I am also glad that I took my time with this one and did it right. On the Hayabusa I would have spliced a wrongly cut wire back together. On the Beemer, the fear of the almighty CANBus and its renowned bitchiness saved me from myself.

The Pirate Is A Dead Man Girl!

This is a walkthrough of installing the PMR Stealth Kill Switch Combo. If you have another bar-mounted switch the install should be fairly similar.

  • Remove the two-part housing of the right-side control pod. There is a small Torx-7 screw on the bottom part of the control pod’s housing, use firm, steady pressure and a precision screwdriver to remove it. Pull the front of the housing down and towards the front of the bike, until the plastic hinge on top separates and the two halves are free of each other.
  • Unplug the harness plug from the top portion of the housing and place it out of the way.
  • Use a Torx-27 socket or screwdriver to remove the two bracket bolts that secure the front brake lever assembly. Hold the assembly with one hand while you switch out the OEM bracket with the PMR switch housing and use the supplied #5 Allen bolts to fasten it to the bar. Don’t torque the bolts down just yet you still need to be able to move the assembly around a little.
  • Route the wires of the tether kill switch to your liking and determine where you are going to splice them into the OEM harness.
  • Once the position of your splice has been determined, cut the rubber tubing that protects the wires from the elements and from chafing. I used hubby’s nail scissors from his grooming kit, which are extremely pointy and razor sharp (shhhhhh! Don’t tell Mr. Slow.) Be careful not to nick the wires’ insulation. Once separated, cut a horizontal slit into the sleeve. This makes it easier to pull it out of the way and will also accommodate the added thickness of the bundle due to the newly spliced-in wires.
  • Pull, then push-roll the tubing out of the way to expose the wires where you will splice in your tether kill. Give yourself plenty of space to work here.
  • Snip the black wire with the blue stripe. That’s the common. IMPORTANT: If the colors of your harness wires do not match mine, you’ll have to find the wire that is connected to Pin 4.
  • Strip about ½” of insulation off the ends of the four wires.
  • Slip heat shrink tubing over the wires before you twist them together. I used 3/32” diameter tubing for the v-joint and 1/8” diameter for the straight joint. This way you won’t have to bend any wires and they’ll lie nice and flat against the harness bundle. It doesn’t matter which of the wires get paired, as long as you make the circuit whole again.
  • Twist the wires together then solder the connections.
  • Position the heat shrink over your solder joints and use a heat gun to shrink them down. Be careful where you point that thing, you don’t want to melt any of the S1000RR’s tasty bits, such as your brake or throttle lines.
    [Alternatively, you can use crimp-style butt connectors, solder or crimp in quick disconnects, or use gel-filled 2-wire IDC (Insulation Displacement Connectors) butt splices but they will make your harness bulky and unless you can hide them somewhere, extremely visible.]
  • To test your work crank up your bike. If it doesn’t start recheck your connections. Pull the plug out of the tether kill switch and your bike should die. If it doesn’t, in my best guesstimation I can’t help but assume that you screwed up somewhere… big time. I’m washing my hands of that one right now. *nods then turns and walks off quickly* “Gotta go!”
  • Carefully pull the protective sleeving back into place. You might have to slit it some more to accommodate the new wires without bunching.
  • Use electrical tape to wrap the spliced area tightly. It’s best to do it at a 45-degree angle and keep the stuff taught as you wrap the bundle.
  • Follow up with friction tape to keep the electrical tape in place and from gumming up the works first time it gets hot and dusty. I also secured the ends with smallish cable ties to prevent them from unraveling.
  • Go for a test ride. Don’t skip this step, it is VERY important to the entire process. It bears repeating: Go for a damn ride!

My work here is done.

The Fat Lady’s Christmas Bling: Gilles Tooling Rearsets

OMG! She’s armed herself with a torque wrench and set it to 20Nm!
Yesterday I installed the Gilles Tooling rearsets my baby bought me for Christmas. May I add that it was a breezy 41˚ F and under a pregnant looking sky? They had called for 54˚ and sunny. Liars! I was freezing my buns off out there, not to mention my fingers were getting cold and I get grumpy when I have to kick around in low temps. Husband, meanwhile, was putting the Throttlemeisters on his Connie and wiring up the power harness for his Gerbing heated gear. We were out there, cussing up a storm and losing tools and parts. I don’t know what it is, but I set stuff down, then can’t find it and it takes me 10 minutes to locate the missing object. Hubby apparently has the same problem. Stuff like that turns a 30-minute install into an all-afternoon affair (and so does adjusting). I don’t have the patience for this and I’m mechanically disinclined. I mostly understand the theory but the hands-on experience always turns out to be quite different from the theoretical. It was glorious. Hubby finally told me that I have the filthiest mouth that he’s ever heard on a woman. Ah! Shut the hell up! LOL Apparently he had already forgotten about that rear tire changing experience. ;P I know what the problem here is anyway: we need a garage and a workbench so I can get my anal-retentive little butt organized and I don’t have to sit in the driveway like a hobo with a 50-pound manual in my lap, holding e-ring pliers and looking lost.

I’m the resident plastics specialist, he knows how to play with nuts and adjust rods. We trade up and help each other out. It’s a symbiotic relationship. You know what they say: A family that wrenches together ends up having a fistfight in the driveway. =D Actually, we did have quite a bit of fun. He’s not quite ready to send me to motorcycle mechanic school, though. * dies laughing * In addition to the rearsets, I also put the X-TRE back on, fixed a small problem with the Fat Lady’s grab rail mod and installed her new Hayabusa OEM gel seat. We finished right before dark, but I didn’t have time to wash her, not that I was going to play with the hose when it’s barely above freezing. But I had planned on it, it was supposed to be 54˚ after all. I managed to squeeze in the much overdue chain maintenance, though. I took her for a quick test ride and everything seemed in order and working properly.

Gilles Tooling rearsets (left side)

The Fat Lady's Christmas Bling

Gilles Tooling rearsets (right side)

The Fat Lady's Christmas Bling

Off on a gelled tangent…
I’m not entirely sure about this gel seat, yet. It makes her taller, but I can still flatfoot her (barely) when I scoot up to the tank where the bike is the skinniest. However, I would have thought a gel seat to be softer, but this thing is kind of hard and makes my butt cheeks feel like they are floating, not unlike a hydroplaning tire over a puddle of water at 65 mph. You know, sitting right on top, presented in all their double-bubble JLo glory, butt cheeks ridin’ high, no doubt pressed all towards the outside and squashed into an almost perfectly round shape (think Buffy The Body here)… If I notice an increased amount of tailgating I’m ditching the thing, I swear! But it sure looks nice, with the embroidered white Hayabusa logo and the ‘carbon fiber’-looking texture on the sides. The OEM seat looks cheap in comparison.

Suzuki Haybusa OEM gel seat

The Fat Lady's Christmas Bling

Damage Report
Only one screw was stripped and two zip ties wasted during the installation process. Not bad for a geek who hates getting her hands dirty. Hubby also has a black eye and a skinned knuckle and I came away with a cracked rib and a few new curse words. No, not really.

Lessons Learned:

  • 1. The information you need is located on the missing pages of the service manual.
  • 2. The Suzuki service manual sucks to the point of borderline uselessness. They need to take some pointers from Kawasaki!
  • 3. Supplied installation instructions are sketchy at best and are usually written in bad English with horrible grammar so you’re left figuring most steps out on your own anyway. And in this case I could speak both languages the manual was written in, which in itself, is double bad.
  • 4. Leave the damn BlackBerry in the house! It just leads to annoying interruptions in the form of unwanted phone calls.
  • 5. I need kneepads or a bike lift.
  • 6. Master Kong says: “Sitting in cold driveway leads to cold ass.”
  • 7. I have no patience for shitty directions, they waste my time and serve to confuse me, either of which piss me off.
  • 8. When I’m cold I get cranky.
  • 9. When I’m cranky I get pissed off sooner.
  • 10. We need to sell our house and buy a place with a four-bike garage.
  • 11. Always multiply the length of time you think a project is going to take by 4. For example: if you think an install is going to take you 30 minutes, you can bet your sweet buns that you won’t be done for at least 2 hours.
  • 12. Any project will require a minimum of two trips to the automotive store of your choice. Luckily we have two within walking distance. This is very similar to the phenomenon that occurs during home improvement, which requires an average of four trips to the hardware store.
  • 13. Harbor Freight Tools is the Mecca of all who are on a tool fetch quest.
  • 14. Galvanized does NOT mean rustproof. No, not at all.
  • 15. Zip ties are an ingenious invention (so is duct tape, but none was used today).
  • 16. If a part costs more than $350, you can bet your ass it’s going to have a scratch on it before it’s even bolted down and torqued to spec.
  • 17. There’s never enough room to work, which is where most frustrations come from.
  • 18. You never bring out the right tool. You always have to go back in the house to get something else.
  • 19. Green Loc-Tite, there’s green Loc-Tite?!?
  • 20. Fairings are like onions… you have to peel them back in layers, preferably starting at the top.
  • 21. Connie fairings are way easier to cope with than ‘Busa fairings. As a matter of fact, add ‘Busa fairings to the L.E.I. (List of Evil Inventions). (Remove four panels and 12 fasteners in 3 different sizes to change out a fuse? WTF!)
  • 22. Add lock nut limited adjusting mechanisms to the L.E.I., right below those blasted e-rings and the flimsy plastic fairing rivets (in four different styles and sizes).
  • 23. If it isn’t aligned properly, 10Nm of torque will make a round hole out of a hex-shaped one.
  • 24. Buy a “stripped screw removal” bit set for the drill; you’ll be in need of it in the not so distant future.

First Impressions
On the ride to work this morning I had occasion to test out those rearsets a little more. I don’t know if I’m going to like them. I’m sure it’s just a matter of getting used to something new. First thing that I’ve noticed, when rolling down the drive and pushing the bike backwards (up a slight incline), is that they are not hitting me in the back of the calves like the stock footrests did. Which wasn’t really a problem since they were spring-loaded and just folded out of the way. But this is nice, since it opens up more options of foot placement at a stop. They are also a lot higher up, set farther rear, and smaller. My combat-style Harley FXRG boots are too clunky for the new controls. I’ll have to ride in my Sidi racing boots and see if the levers still feel too small. (Maybe now I have reason to justify [to hubby] the purchase of those Sidi waterproof touring jobs. ;)) I have left the rearsets in their boxed condition: All the adjustable parts are at their respective extremes. Lever length is at max, height is at max, and so is rearward positioning. I decided that it’s best to adjust them over time until I find the right fit. I have to put some miles on them before I know what, if anything, needs changing. They feel comfortable enough for now.

Shifting is different. It seems that I don’t have to move the shifter as far to change gears. This will take some getting used to, since it now feels ‘cramped’ in comparison to the stock shifter. I’ve had a few occasions where I hit neutral instead of second. Once, during the test ride, I completely missed and ended up stuck in neutral. But that’s the ‘Busa for ya, she’s cranky when you don’t shift her just the way she likes. Fortunately, I know the Fat Lady and can get her to cooperate without too much hassle. On a side note: All you peeps complaining about the ‘Busa’s gearbox need to learn how to use a clutch and know this: the girl likes her shifter pre-weighted. ’nuff said. ;P I’m going to have to go back to using the clutch again until the new controls become more familiar. No high-performance, clutchless, awesomely sweet upshifts for a while. Oh well. The reverse shift pattern does make a little more sense to me now. I can see where the “down to up” would actually be more efficient and more intuitive. Eventually, I’m going to teach myself, I’ll have more to say about it then, I’m sure. (This is — without much doubt — about as legal for street use as that Healtech box stuck to the inside of the frame in an inconspicuous location.)

I really have to force myself to leave my feet in position. On the stock footrests I rode on my tiptoes and slid my feet under/over the levers as needed. Sometimes I left them hanging off the pegs by the boot heels, but when I needed to be at the top of my game, concentrate and be quick, I reverted back to tippy-toe position. The only exception to this, of course, was foot position while hanging off, which really makes me wonder if the feet are always supposed to be in the same position and just rotated. The books I’ve read didn’t really make a big deal out of foot position other than where they need to be when dragging knee (end of peg poking into the center of the ball of the foot, rotated outward at about 45 degrees) to facilitate the hip rotation needed to get that knee in the proper position. That kind of leads me to believe that foot position is not stationary, but dynamic. Because even if I just rotated my toes back inward, I would never be able to reach neither the shifter nor brake lever. I need to look into this further… Sliding the feet around is pretty much impossible now. The stock footrests were longer, wider, and had rubber inserts on top. These are short, round, have no rubber, and are very grippy by design: The entire peg has mini-spikes and grooves milled into them, no smooth surface whatsoever. I actually have to pick up my foot to reposition it. I’m sure this is a good thing, actually I’m certain of it; however, I don’t like it much right now. Again, I will have to get used to it.

The rear brake lever feels almost like an afterthought. I have adjusted it where I don’t have to worry about my foot inadvertently activating the brake while riding. It seems so small and insubstantial. That’s ok, really, since I hardly use the rear brake anyway. This was the easiest to get used to, it almost feels more natural than the stock brake lever, which was huge in comparison and almost deserved the title of ‘foot pedal’.

The rearsets changed my entire rider triangle. All my ergos seem slightly different. I think I might have to adjust my clutch and brake levers again, because putting the feet more rear and up has caused my upper body to naturally lean forward farther, which in turn brings my arms in on the clip-ons at a slightly different angle. My hands may now be out of alignment with the levers and not in a neutral position anymore. I’m not going to mess with the levers just yet, though, until my body has found and settled into it’s “natural state” or I’ll be endlessly fiddling with them. Standing up on the pegs is slightly more difficult now, although still no problem, however tucking in seems a lot easier and more natural with my feet in their new position. I have to pay special attention to keeping my weight off the wrists again, just to make sure I’m not inadvertently developing a bad habit. I also wish I had those StompGrip traction pads back on my tank; they were awesome for grip while hanging off and keeping from sliding around during hard acceleration/braking. However, I scrapped them when I noticed that they were wearing my leathers on the inside of the knees ($50 vs. $1500, simple decision there). I’m still looking into a solution to fix that little annoying problem. Anyway, it seems that with the altered body position I’m sliding around more than I used to.

It’ll probably take me a few weeks to get them adjusted just right, but I think once I’m used to them and got them where my body needs them to be I’ll be extremely happy with them. For now, I’ll just trust that my initial uncertainty comes from having to relearn something I had paid no attention to in a while and emotionally I tend to view things like that as setbacks, since I rather spend time learning something new than relearning something old.

They are lighter than stock, look heaps better, are highly adjustable and give me more clearance, although a new exhaust system would be in order to take advantage of it (* hint, hint *) and I would probably have to lose the kickstand… not very practical. So why did I get them? They fall into the category of ‘Functional Bling’ and they are lighter, so I can justify ‘pretty’ with ‘function’. I can’t see myself adding something to the bike that looks good but would negatively impact performance. I am, after all, a practical girl on a mission to join the 200-mph Club. The only thing I don’t like about them is the carbon fiber heel guards; I would have liked them to be metal, too. I know this is probably another weight-reduction issue, but I’m not sure how they’ll hold up, since I tend to ride with my heel pressed up against the body of the bike, so much so that I’ve worn the paint thin in the spots where my boots make contact. The left side is way worse. I wonder why? Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with practicing the fine art of hanging off on cloverleaf ramps, could it? LOL There’s one other reason why I chose the Gilles rearsets over the other ones I had under consideration: All individual parts are readily available separately. I break something (and I will) I don’t have to buy the whole dang thing again and considering the cost of rearsets, that’s definitely a plus.

Would you like to know more?
Continued: New Rearsets: 2nd Opinion
Conclusion: Gilles Tooling Rearsets: From Ick! to meh. to Weeeeeeeee!!! in 6 weeks

Lessons Learned In Mechanical Ineptitude

Man, My Riding Sucks Lately! or Symptoms Of A Sick Hayabusa
I finally have the new ramp that dumps I-520W onto I-20W all to my self. Finally. I am so ready to double the speed limit on that puppy (it’s 45 through there). And what happens? Nada. It doesn’t feel right, something’s off and I don’t really know what; but I’m rather disappointed in the whole affair. I’ve been waiting for this for weeks now… and when the time finally comes I take it like Grandma on Metamucil, semi-smooth and slow as hell. Arrrgh. I can’t believe it, but my riding’s been sucking lately anyway. Maybe it’s the cold, the winter gloves, something. It’s definitely something. But I hate to think that I might need remedial training in lever control. I’ve missed a few too many up-shifts lately, too. It’s gotten so bad, that I’ve started to actually use the clutch lever again. Meh. Further on down the road, I’m in the process of passing a semi, when I notice that the on-ramp is full up and I’m in his way of getting over to make room for the cars trying to merge. I twist it; the tachometer needle jumps as the RPM spike, and then settles back down. The Fat Lady lurches forward, picks up speed and I get the hell out of there. I know I didn’t just ham-fist that throttle. I know I didn’t. WTF? I’m really starting to get a little peeved with myself. I take my exit and get in the left lane. The light is red, of course. I’m sitting on an incline, so I hold the bike in place with the front brake. When the light changes I take off to make my left turn. I swear this has got to be the slowest I’ve ever taken off or taken a left. The car on the outside passes me. Now, I’m seriously doubting my sanity. Something is wrong… but I still can’t put my finger on it. More internal admonishing of self for poor lever manipulation and throttle control. I catch up with the car that beat me around the corner at the red light on the other side of the bridge. The light changes and the white SUV floors it. Apparently he wants to beat me to the point where his lane ends, so he can get ahead of me. I take off, but nothing much happens. Now I know something is wrong, and it isn’t related to my riding skill. I give it hell, but the Fat Lady has lost her spunk and is whining at me. Around 4,000 RPM, it’s like somebody pulled a cork and she lurches forward in a moment of sudden power delivery. I barely get in front of the car, I think I even cut him off… well, considering I’m not in the lane that’s ending, it’s more like he has to slow down to get behind me. This is hugely embarrassing. This has got to look like I can’t ride worth a shit. However, I have no urge to wallow in my embarrassment, my mind is trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with my poor baby. I start by whacking the throttle open and closed. She feels sluggish, heavy, lagged, and all horsepower but no grunt. She sounds whiny to me, like she’s revving higher than normal. Two down, three up, down, up. But she seems to be shifting fine. I’m sure the guy behind me is losing his faith in chicks on bikes as he watches my seemingly erratic behavior. He gives me room. Good. I wonder if I’m going to make it home, or if I’m going to end up pushing her the last three miles to the house. I think the Fat Lady is sick. I’m a geek, not a mechanic. This stuff is beyond me, but I’m learning. I want to learn. She’s under warranty, so I’m not too worried about it, but I hate to have to take her to the ‘Busa Doc and be without her for any length of time. After I get home, strip off my riding gear and settle down to get unwired, I log on Twitter and end up getting a few ideas of what could be wrong from a few helpful souls I’ve met on there. They jump right in to help a chica figure things out.

The Process of Elimination or Diagnosing A Fat Lady’s Ailment
The next morning, I crank up the Fat Lady, put her in neutral, let the ECM kick it up to her normal idle speed and play with the throttle a bit. All seems as it should be. I also try B- and C-Modes, nothing weird seems to be going on. I get my helmet and gloves and decide I should go for a test ride before changing things up. At first, everything seems normal again, but then I notice it. She’s still sluggish and lagged in throttle response. Acceleration is also retarded and softer than it should be. Yes, the Fat Lady has lost her spunk. The thought of the poor chain maintenance she’s received lately due to inclement weather and lack of time occurs to me and I’m starting to feel really guilty. I wish I had a garage! I’m usually fastidious about keeping her well maintained and clean. At the suggestion of a friend on Twitter, I restore the Fat Lady to factory condition by taking the X-TRE de-restrictor off; then check all my connections and the wiring. I leave the alarm alone for now. I go for another test ride. Now her symptoms seem slightly worse. Hmmm…. A thought occurs to me: it’s almost like the clutch is sticking. I flick the lever forward with my index finger. It does feel a little stiff, but that’s probably just the cold… One of the suggestions was ‘moisture in the electrics’: Another pang of guilt for having to leave her in the rain at work all day and being too lazy to mess with her cover, which doesn’t really keep the water off the chain and if it rains hard enough she gets wet anyway. I really haven’t felt like messing with a wet bike cover in these temps, so she sits in her spot naked; has been for the better part of December. I run stuff through my head as best I can with my limited knowledge of motorcycle internals and I finally settle on it being the FI or the ECM that got funked somehow. I return home and decide that I had enough of this and am running out of time anyway, since hubby has to be at work soon and he needs to follow me up to the dealer to drop her off.

The Overcomplication Of Simple
The ride there is total crap. The take-offs are really in the dumps now, and I find myself starting to flick the clutch lever, which – in my mind – seems to help. An acute suspicion starts forming: It’s the stinking lever. There’s something wrong with the damn clutch lever, but I dismiss the thought. It wouldn’t be that simple. I have warranty, screw it… let them sort it out. Or I’ll be dickering around, pissing myself off in the process and then still end up taking her to the mech. I tell the dude behind the counter what is going on (of course I’m sounding like a total dipshit… the speech was much better in my head on the way over, much more intelligent and technical, too) and hand him the key. He suggests that Hayabusa Dude take it for a ride and I agree that that would be the best thing, even though it pains me to think what goes on during such ‘test rides’. Yeah, let’s not think about that too hard. Besides, after my superb deliverance of my symptom report, a test ride is almost mandatory.

Can’t Trust A Chick To Do More Than Putting Gas In It
Three hours after I get home I get the call from the service department. A nagging thought surfaces: “Too soon. They’re going to tell me it was the lever.” I answer the phone: “You can pick her up, she’s ready.” – “What was wrong with her?” – slight pause on the other end, then: “It was the clutch lever.” – “What about the clutch lever?” – “Ummm… I’ll show you when you get here.” Shit. How embarrassing is THAT? I call a friend to give me a ride. Let’s get this over with. They must think I’m such a dumbass. When I get there, Mr. P. starts off by saying: “Whoever put your levers on…” I blurt out with raised hand: “That would be me.” DOH! Shut up! Shut up! Damn! Mr. P. continues: “When YOU put the levers on you over-tightened the pinch bolt, which is supposed to be held in place by a little nut, but since it got stripped out, the nut didn’t hold, it started tightening…” or words to that effect: Blah, blah, blah. To make a long story short: The damn thing tightened on itself over time and wouldn’t let the clutch release all the way. They fixed it by putting a little locknut on the bottom to keep that from happening in the future. Can’t replace the stripped-out part, since it is part of the master cylinder and I would have to replace the whole thing. Just my luck. If I screw something up, I do it right and go all out.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Don’t install levers at 11PM in your driveway with a flashlight, groping around in the dark for tools and parts.
  2. Sears torque wrenches apparently suck, since I used a torque wrench to tighten those suckers according to factory spec. Well, I did the second time around, after it dawned on me that I had forgotten the damn grease during the night op in question.
  3. Don’t overthink it! Look for the simple solution first. When your PC screen remains blank when you boot up your machine, you don’t go blame the video card first off and run out and buy a new one. You ask yourself instead: “Is it plugged in?” Apparently the same sequence of troubleshooting steps goes for mechanical problems. And why would I think it’d be any different?!?
  4. Eliminate one thing at a time to isolate the problem. (I did do that, before I lost patience with the whole affair.) Start with the simple/obvious stuff and work your way up to the more complex. See #3.
  5. If it feels like your clutch is slipping, it probably is. (Even if you don’t know the proper terminology.)
  6. The price of stupidity: $37.50 and 8 miles of possible Fat Lady rape.

Now, to find that rattle that I introduced when I took all the Tupperware off that one time…

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