Yamaha: 5 – Miss Busa: 0

This is not fun anymore. In retrospect this hasn’t been fun in quite a while.

I want to ride these things as fast as I dare, not try and put them together and figure out what the previous owner(s) had done (or fucked up) so I can get an engineering degree online and learn to fix it. In the process I found out the following: I can teach myself mechanics if I can start from a baseline. I put a crashed S1000RR back together without this much fuss. Given, it took me 13 weeks and approximately $1300 in parts and tools, but it was a journey that was much more gratifying and taught me a lot about how motorcycles actually work. A road well traveled and worth it.

However, wrenching on the R1 feels like putting together a puzzle. I hate puzzles! You would have to put me on some serious medication for me to enjoy putting together some crappy picture printed on cardboard pieces.

Who in the world could enjoy sitting down to a 5000-piece puzzle and put it together when you a.) don’t have the box anymore with the picture on it, but you vaguely remember what it looked like; and b.) there are some puzzle pieces, from another 5000-piece puzzle, that don’t belong, but got mixed into the pile, but you don’t know that (yet).

I’m selling the R1.


That is all.

I have reached the point where the benefit does not outweigh the work put in and the frustrations encountered along the way.

I admit defeat. Shamefully, I throw in the towel, pack it up, and go home. I want to go back to paying somebody to do this shit for me, and I can only do that by returning to my roots: being a high-mileage street rider and combat commuter, who (maybe) goes to the occasional track day to keep most of the shenanigans off the street in an attempt to avoid going to jail for free body-cavity searches and crappy food.

This is the first time I have ever let an inanimate object (or a massive collection of them) beat me. My IQ will recover… eventually. Time heals most wounds. In the meantime I just allow myself to feel stupid as hell.

I apologize to Mr. Slow who has leaped tall buildings in a single bound to make it possible for me to own a dedicated race bike and has been nothing but supportive along the way. He has given up so much to enable me to chase some arbitrary dream I started having for reasons I still don’t quite comprehend.

It’s time for me to wake up and rejoin reality. I really should steal his license plate, move the electrical tape dot over one character and slap it on my bike. Although, my man would look pretty silly cruising down the road with “Rocket Girl” hanging off his tail.

Today, I am the MRS.LOW to his MR.SLOW because I feel painfully ungrateful by giving up.

Mr. Slow is actually faster than me, or could be, if he ever decided to trade his hard bags for knee pucks. But he is Mr. Slow because that’s his riding philosophy rather than a reflection upon his skill set. And that is my confession.


There is freedom within, there is freedom without
Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
There’s a battle ahead, many battles are lost
But you’ll never see the end of the road
While you’re traveling with me

Don’t Dream It’s Over by Crowded House

I Want! The Coolest Paddock Stand Ever

If I could only find this thing for sale in the US somewhere. I want! No more having to rely on the Girl Card at the track or risk your race horse taking a concrete nap on the pad while you’re trying to get off the motorcycle, preferably without upsetting the delicate balance of woman versus gravity, and then ever so carefully inchworming your way around the bike to put it on its rear stand.

I could cut myself a little “peg chock” out of a piece of wood and kick it under there with my foot to hold the bike up, so I can dismount without fuss, but that lacks class and just screams #TeamBrokeAssRacing. I have seriously considered that option; it wouldn’t cost me anything at all.

If it weren’t for this weighty issue I am faced with now: I have to unload the rear suspension to remove the monoshock, which requires lifting from the frame.

Miss Busa's Home Office

Yeah, I keep my race bike in the living room. Sometimes I even let it watch MotoGP on TV.

In a perfect world I would want the solution to be stable and mobile, so I can push the bike out of the way or reposition it, as needed. In a perfect world, I’d also have a garage. The husband would be unceremoniously evicted from his man cave, the space taken over with Hello Kitty decor and racing paraphernalia, with the  family’s truck relegated to parking in the street.

Pit Bull Jack Stands

The Pit Bull Jack Stands can lift your bike by the rearsets or the frame sliders.


I could plop down $150 and get a pair of the Pit Bull Jack Stands. I have a tap and die set; maybe I can void another warranty by modding some heavy duty casters on those later.

I could buy a set of 3-ton jacks and a couple of long bolts to jack the entire affair up by the engine block. I might as well start cutting v-shaped notches into some sturdy wood right now.

The more I think about the available options, the more I want that contraption in the video. That would solve most of the problems my race horse has with resisting gravitational pull in the stable or at the race track.

I’m getting the jigsaw. There is woodworking to be done…

It’s Tool Time!

I’m patiently waiting on the Man in Brown to show up on my doorstep to drop off a load of (highly specialized) tools, so I can get this front suspension pain in my arse taken care of once and for all.

What did I actually put on the track at Road A? Let’s just say that I was way too trusting of a bike that my hubby had acquired for me from a dude who is a mechanic by trade and the bike in question had also been set up and raced by a local racing team.

I’m not complaining, mind you. As far as I am concerned hubby got a great deal on the R1. The added up cost of the performance upgrades alone would have set us back as much as we paid for the bike itself. I’m speaking retail cost here. When you’re sponsored you could find yourself getting these things for free. I’m sure both parties came out of this deal smiling. I know I did, and Skinny Dude with Similar Spring Rate even cut me a break and knocked another five bills off of it. But it goes to show that even though I had checked the bike over to the best of my ability, with the mechanical knowledge that I had gained thus far, some things do not become obvious until you put the beast on the track and give it as much hell as you dare. I did. At the last race of the season. Yes, the finals. I went testing at the Grand Nationals and then still entered the actual race (there are some freakishly fast dudes in A Superstock); knowing it was a really bad idea, but when did that sort of thing ever stop me? But that is a different story for a different time. Maybe I’m going to tell it someday… when I’m completely over the public humiliation I received that weekend, and deservedly so.

Candy's Fork(ed) Leg

But I digress.

Finding a rolled up piece of shop towel shoved in between the outer dust seal, the inner oil seal and the ring clip that holds the seal assembly in place was the last straw. (Somebody sneaking some leaky fork seals through Tech?) The last straw in a long line of other straws that made me say WTF!?! out loud. Every one of these straws presented me with the awesome opportunity to research and add yet another tiny increase to my MotoMech Skill. I need to develop an eye for these things, I’m starting to, but I’ve got a long way to go. Vic Fasola took one quick glance at my bike and muttered something along the lines of my suspension setup being totally fooked and my grips being a few degrees off from each other! Holy hell, I measured those clip-ons as best I could with my digital calipers, which isn’t the right tool for that job anyway. They looked even to me, hell they felt even when I was riding the bike.

Later disassembly of the front forks revealed that the preload between the two legs was differing by several millimeters between right and left, the compression damping differed by 25 clicks. Absolutely nothing was right about the front suspension setup. Not geometry, damping, preload, relative positioning, or fastening torques. Nothing. Those tubes were slid so far up the triple tree that they were in danger of giving you a nose bleed when in the race tuck. A twitchy proposition to say the least. And to facilitate this extreme lack of straight line stability it was necessary to have the upper triple tree clamp half on the skinny part and half on the fat part of the fork tube. I snapped off both pinch bolts on the right side in an attempt to loosen them. I wonder how close they were to snapping when the bike was on the race track? I don’t even want to think about that. I managed to release the left-side bolts without a snap, by backing them out alternatively a few turns at a time. The bolts showed signs of fatigue. They were bent and the threads were unevenly stretched.

No wonder the bike felt weird in the front and kind of strange in the back. No wonder I was as slow as a blob of molasses hanging out in a fridge. The bike was talking to me. I didn’t understand all this feedback I was getting through the chassis. I am slowly learning, but my lackadaisical attitude, a conditioned response to balance perfectionistic tendencies with and adventuresome spontaneity into a more sensible approach, sometimes gets in the way and slow natural progression.

I get in my own way. There. I’ve said it. I’m a brainiac klutz. Leave me to my own devices with too much time to think and too much room for self-doubt, and I’ll stumble over my own two feet and land on the mental equivalent of my JLo ass. But I own my solutions and failures. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have to own something to trust in it. I have to test a theory and be able to reproduce the promised results on my own to fully believe it. I don’t follow blindly, unless the source has repeatedly proven itself, and even then I can’t help but feel the gnaw of insecurity. I like my variables to be assigned beforehand. I like the equation’s result to be known. But this is the real world… and constants aren’t much fun anyway.

In the end I have nobody to blame but myself; which is the preferable scenario to me. When the blame falls squarely on my shoulders I can spare myself the annoyance of being upset with someone else.

I should have done the research beforehand, educated myself on the things I was unclear on or was ignorant of and check all fasteners. Set the suspension up for myself instead of trusting “it must be right, because the guy is my height and approximately my weight and he raced it.”

However, too much theoretical knowledge without any real world experience makes my head hurt, it gets me frustrated by information overload and I end up winging it half of the time for lack of patience, time constraints, not having the proper tools, or simply by saying: “Ah, screw this, it’ll be alright.” After all, I don’t want to wrench. I want to ride!

I own it or am owned by it.

Sometimes I do find myself getting a little jealous of some of my friends who can call upon the experience of trusted others to help them along their way. I do most everything myself, and I fall down a lot. Occasionally, this gets a little old and I feel like quitting. Fortunately, I have Mr. Slow to kick me square in the leather pants when I start uttering such nonsense as wanting to quit racing because it’s such a pain in the ass in between. Hubby is EXTREMELY supportive of my racing endeavors. He is my rock. His is the hand that reaches out to help me up. He is the one who puts up with all my girly insecurities and the shit I dish out when I’m stressing, smiles and says: “I don’t care how slow you think you are, baby. I still am damned proud of you for getting out there. You are doing it. You just need to do it more. That’s all.”

He’s right. I know that on an intellectual level. Sometimes it is just hard to hold on to that emotionally when you’re down, but not out. I wish he could also be a master mechanic and a pro racer instead of just playing the role of my psychologist. 😉

My stuff is here, I’ve got to go!

17 days until race day.

Say what?!?

Instead of a birthday spanking, or a birthday ride, or birthday cake, what does Miss Busa get?


A very merry birthday wrench.

At least she has beer. There is that.

A Pirate’s Dress Rehearsal

Just a quick update on the Pirate’s new skirts: The S1000RR’s Armour Bodies race bodywork. The five-piece fairings are supposed to be fitted before applying paint, but I had to work with the weather and my schedule, hence I’m fitting them after the color-keyed base coat. Of course, I scratched the paint and chipped it in places, but I had no hopes of this turning out like a professional looking paint job to begin with, given that I have neither the right equipment nor a good place to paint. I have not the patience required either. All I can hope for is that nobody gets too close. =D

AB (Left)

A few tweaks are needed. I have to cut out a little section on the belly pan, since it is touching the pipes underneath, which I am assuming isn’t really a good thing. The cutout for the windshield on the right needs to be made a little larger, so the mounting hole on that side will line up correctly. I’m also still trying to figure out why the lowers and the uppers don’t line up any closer. They are aligned perfectly on the horizontal plane, but not vertically. There seems to be too large a gap, and since the DZUS fasteners are the clip-on style, I really don’t want to have too much tension on them, for fear they may work loose eventually.

I also forgot to order mirror block-offs to secure the one-piece uppers to the bike’s fairing stay. Doh! And I’m debating as to wether or not to get a dark smoke windscreen. I’m thinking about it. It would look awesome on the Pirate when she’s wearing her “street clothes”. I’m sticking with OEM though, I really am not going to mess with the aerodynamics of the bike. I like the way it is performing and I’m not taking any chances with aftermarket parts, even if they say they are identical to the OEM windscreen. Besides, I’m still not over the way the Zero Gravity windscreen shattered when I crashed my ‘Busa. Zero Gravity does not hide that fact. They tell you that their screens are neither DOT approved, nor for street use; but knowing and seeing are two different things. I’ll stick to OEM this time and pay the premium BMW demands.

Since pictures are worth a thousand or so of my distracted words, here are a few for your viewing pleasure…

This is a slow moving process. My allergies are making me comatose shortly after I step outside, I am starting to have difficulty breathing, my chest feels so tight, I can’t seem to get enough oxygen; and I am really starting to get worried that I might not get everything done in time for my first race weekend in Nashville.

Mr. Slow also has informed me that he may not get the day off he had requested, so I’m again looking at going by myself. I am desperately hoping that I’ll luck out again, as I did with the weekend at JenningsGP. I don’t know if I have the testicular fortitude to go it alone. I’m ok once I’m on the track doing my thing. Everything before the green flag, however, is scary; and if that isn’t backwards, I don’t know what is. I’m a freak. A freak, I tell ya!

Because this girl won’t know if she can go the distance…

Reluctantly crouched at the starting line,
Engines pumping and thumping in time.
The green light flashes, the flags go up.
Churning and burning, they yearn for the cup.
They deftly maneuver and muscle for rank,
Fuel burning fast on an empty tank. (<~ @MsXXFastRR =D)
Reckless and wild, they pour through the turns.
Their prowess is potent and secretly stern.
As they speed through the finish, the flags go down.
The fans get up and they get out of town.
The arena is empty except for one man,
Still driving and striving as fast as he can.
The sun has gone down and the moon has come up,
And long ago somebody left with the cup.
But he’s driving and striving and hugging the turns.
And thinking of someone for whom he still burns.

He’s going the distance.
He’s going for speed.
She’s all alone
All alone in her time of need.
Because he’s racing and pacing and plotting the course,
He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse,
He’s going the distance.

No trophy, no flowers, no flashbulbs, no wine,
He’s haunted by something he cannot define.
Bowel-shaking earthquakes of doubt and remorse,
Assail him, impale him with monster-truck force.
In his mind, he’s still driving, still making the grade.
She’s hoping in time that her memories will fade.
‘Cause he’s racing and pacing and plotting the course,
He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse.
The sun has gone down and the moon has come up,
And long ago somebody left with the cup.
But he’s striving and driving and hugging the turns.
And thinking of someone for whom he still burns.

‘Cause he’s going the distance.
He’s going for speed.
She’s all alone
All alone in her time of need.
Because he’s racing and pacing and plotting the course,
He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse.
He’s racing and pacing and plotting the course,
He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse.
He’s going the distance.
He’s going for speed.
He’s going the distance.

The Distance by Cake

Over-Extended and Under-Whelmed

The Pirate Without Her Clothes

The Nekkid Pirate: She is waiting on her first fitting...

I never envisioned racing … scratch that: WANTING to race being so much stinking work! I’m really getting overwhelmed. Right now it is really looking like the work-fun ratio is way off. I’ve spent countless hours doing things I’ve never thought I would have to do. Things like becoming a damn motorcycle mechanic, or a graphics designer, or a promoter… a sign maker, automotive painter, girly-girl, social butterfly… good grief! And for what? Six laps around the track. SIX laps in a sprint race. I’m really beginning to doubt my sanity. I spend every penny I make on the bike. I don’t do anything but work, ride, and wrench. I try to learn gearing, have a suspension that can’t be tweaked within necessary range unless I buy new innards. I’m supposed to hit the gym to work on my endurance, but I don’t find the time not to mention the energy. I had to ditch the daily blog post, because I just couldn’t keep up with everything. There is so much to do and so little time. My brain has been smoking for weeks now.

The Pirate's Clothes

The Pirate's clothes are tossed all over the sun room... better clean this mess up before the Slower Half gets home...

And what it all comes down to? Six laps. Six laps and a gradual increase of a dislike for street riding. I’m bored with it. More often than not I find myself irritated by people’s grandiose stupidity when driving.

I have actually been approached by several people who asked if I wanted to ride with them. I turned every single one of them down. They probably thought me a snob. I am not. I just don’t trust anybody else’s riding anymore. Where is this coming from? I mean, I have never liked group riding; at first it was because I didn’t feel my skill was advanced enough to be riding in a group. After a while, I tried it and had to find out that it isn’t really for me, so I started hanging in the back because I had to admit to myself that I was a control freak when I’m on the bike and I can control what is in front of me… well, I can’t control it, but I can keep it under control. Now I just don’t want to anymore. But I really do. I dig the camaraderie of motorcycling, but how can I be a biker if I can’t find it within myself to ride with them?

I am really torn. I think I have opened a stale can of beer when I jumped into this racing thing and sliding feet first… into last place; unless it’s Women’s Superstock. =D But then again, there is something wrong with this analogy… I think it doesn’t officially count if you cross the finish line sliding sideways on your ass… since the transponder is stuck to the bike.

When I’m at the track it’s all worth it! But when I’m doing grunt work it really doesn’t seem all that beneficial. I can see where serious racing (of the privateer variety) is a full-time job and the actual racing is only 1% of it.

I’m a 1%-er. And I’m starting to dislike street riding. However, Mr. Slow put that one to the test: He asked me if I would moan and groan and think that way if I had to drive to work. I replied that it would depend on the car. He says: “A fishing car. A POS. Because that’s all that you can afford.” I gave him a disgusted look: “Hell no! I guess street riding still beats the pants off of caging it.”

There I have it. I’m unhappy on the street. Or so I think. When it really is just a matter of missing the kind of riding I get to do at the racetrack. I grow impatient between track days. Or so I think. When it really is just a matter of having so much work to do to prep for my first road race and then for my first official LSR meet that I just can’t give my brain a break. I need to reboot and relax.

Why is it taking me so darned long to be ready? I must be over-thinking again. But then again, that is all I have. I am now at a point where most of my riding skill training has to be done in my brain. No wonder I am so freaking slow in the straights. I never bother with those… besides I have been conditioned to observe the speed limit with my 3-point license.

Armour Bodies Race Bodywork

The Pirate's too fat for her underpants. 😦 I'll have to give Woodcraft a call tomorrow and arrange for an exchange since they sent me the bellypan that fits a race exhaust and not the stock unit.

No way I could have been ready for Roebling Road this weekend, even if Mr. Slow hadn’t messed up the date of his wedding photo gig.

Overwhelmed with race prep, work, chores and life’s little messes; and just can’t seem to be catching up. Underwhelmed in the amount of real throttle time I get, so please excuse my ramblings… I haven’t seen redline in quite some time. That isn’t true either. It’s only been a month and it’s only a month until my first WERA race.

Yeah, you just got passed by a girl!

Yeah, you just got passed by a girl! And THIS time I was taking the 'liter bike line' around, too. Talk about white-lining it on exit! Wooohooo! That was... well... I need to do THAT again and soon!!! (I know I was going fast enough that time... I scared myself. A little.)

Wired For Safety: Because if the stuff falls off…

…we’re not going to have a good time.

I don’t know what it is about safety wiring, but the task seems overwhelming and insurmountable and a big pain in the backside when you think about it; not to mention it is confusing when you first are faced with a list of stuff to secure properly to pass Tech at a track. I’ve been procrastinating this safety wiring project for the better of six months and I finally decided to tackle the subject in small increments.

Let’s start off with the important stuff:

The Tools of the Trade

  • Safety wire pliers: This is a specialty tool that is technically not necessary, since you could clip the wire to size with wire cutters and twist the stuff with a pair of needle nose pliers. Technically. Do yourself a favor and buy one of these puppies! You’ll thank me later. No, seriously! Miss Busa is making these mandatory!
  • Safety wire: The thickest wire I am using is 0.041″ T-304 stainless steel marine-grade lock wire, which is a perfect match for those 1/16″ drill bits. However, I use various thicknesses for different applications. I also use 0.032″-diameter and 0.02″-diameter wire. The skinnier the wire, the easier it is to work with, but due to its lesser tensile strength, it’s more likely to break. I like to use the thick stuff for places that have to be wired and are very unlikely to have to be undone. A medium-thickness wire is a pretty good all-around choice and I use it for most of everything that needs to be wired up. The skinny wire is great for wiring up such things as grips and rearset components.
  • Racing safety pins: Completely optional, but they make life at the track so much easier. I like to use these in places where the wiring has to be undone and redone quite often, such as the oil fill cap, the radiator cap, the oil filter, the rear axle nut. Pay attention to the rulebook though, you may not be able to use these in certain places; the oil drain plug would be a common exception to their allowed use.
  • Tab washers aka safety wire washers: Also completely optional, but these make things much more enjoyable. Also keep some of these in your tool box, you’ll never know when some extra-anal white-gloved tech inspector wants you to secure this or that and now you’re hard pressed to fix the problem since your drill is at home, no anchor point is within reach and your day could have just went down the tubes if it weren’t for these little lifesavers. 🙂 I like to use them where points of attachments are difficult or too distant to be feasible. You use them like a washer, torque the fastener down onto them, then use pliers to bend the tabs up around the bolt’s head. You can then secure your safety wire to the tab that has the hole in it. Obviously, you cannot use them as anchor points for safety wiring the exact same bolt you are attaching them to. That would be silly.
Tools for Safety Wiring

Tools to safety wire your bike: safety wire pliers, safety wire, tab washers (aka safety wire washers), and racing safety pins.

  • Safety wire drilling jig: This is another specialty tool and a must-have item if you do not have a drill press and have to manually drill the holes into the bolt heads. Miss Busa is making this a mandatory purchase as well! No whining. Just order the jig set when you order the pliers and the safety wire.
Safety Wiring Drill Jig

The safety wiring drill jig is a must-have tool if you do not have a drill press.

  • QUALITY 1/16″ drill bits. I mean it. Buy junk and they’ll break or won’t get you all the way through to the other side before they turn dull and useless! I’ve bought some DeWalt 1/16″ Split Point Cobalt drill bits which are claimed to have “maximum life in metal” and are rumored to “start on contact”. I can attest to both of these statements being fairly accurate so far.
Say NO! to cheap drill bits!

Friends don't let friends buy cheap drill bits! Just because it says "titanium" on the package...

  • Automatic (spring-loaded) punch:  Mine was broken, so I had to make do without; which isn’t a big deal IF you bought the aforementioned QUALITY drill bits. Tell me you didn’t buy junk!  This is an optional item, unless you didn’t listen and bought a ten-pack of “titanium nitrate” bits for $1.98, then it becomes mandatory. This tool is used to make a little indentation for your drill bit to sit in to get you started and to help prevent the bit walking all over the place while you attempt to do so.
  • Drill: I have some housewife-grade cheapie by Black & Decker. Variable speed, quick-release chuck, reversible. It does me just fine with those DeWalt drill bits.
  • Vise: You either have to have one of these or try and talk your buddy into holding the piece for you while you come at them with the drill. 😉 I use a little suction cup mounted articulated hobby vise I got at Harbor Freight. I have no garage or workshop, so this little guy is prefect for the occasional Tool Time session.
  • If you’ve got the cash to burn and the workshop to go with it, you might want to forgo the whole vise-and-drill thing and go out and get yourself a decent drill press. Way more accurate and way quicker, but overkill if all you’ll be needing it for is drilling a few holes into bolt heads to stick some wire through. Have a friend who has one? Pack your crap, hop on your bike and go see him. Don’t forget the pizza and the beer.
  • Cutting oil: If you’re trying to find “cutting oil” you’ll run yourself nutters. Some people use WD-40 to cool down their bits, others use machine oil, or multi-purpose 3-in-1 oil. You get the picture. You’ll need something to keep the drill bit from overheating and to ease its passage through some of the tougher stuff you’ll ever find yourself drilling holes through. If the bit gets too hot, it’ll break.
  • Safety glasses: This goes without saying. A scratched eyeball hurts like hell and you can’t ride motorcycles when you’re half-blind. Put ’em on!
Tools for Safety Wire Hole Drilling

Tools for drilling safety wire holes: drill, 1/16" drill bits, cutting oil, drill jig, automatic punch (no pictured), cotton swabs, paper towels, rotary tool, and safety glasses.

Let the Fun Commence

Today, I’m doing caps and calipers. Since I have a short attention span and find learning how to safety wire almost as coma-inducing as teaching myself suspension tuning, I can only handle this mess in short spurts. I already have my axles, oil filter, and oil drain plug done. I will have to write them up later. Fear not, as this comes together I will re-organize these posts and work them into a proper how-to. This is really just something to get you started, to give you time to gather up all the tools you’ll need and give you a general idea of what is coming. I will take the mystery out of this subject yet. Because this is one of these things: You’re totally lost when you see the list of junk in the rulebook you have to properly secure, some of it makes sense. Some of it is vaguely familiar and some of it has you drooling form the corner of the mouth, mumbling incoherently. “Oil gallery plugs” anybody? As luck would have it, those beyotches may be secured with RTV silicone; a girl can do that laying on her back in two minutes flat. 😉

  • Always take the parts you need to drill off the bike. Before taking them off, a lot of people like to mark their fasteners when they are properly torqued, so they know where to drill the holes for the wire. Plan how you are going to wire up the fasteners that you are taking off. Remember that safety wiring has to tighten one bolt as another tries to come loose, so the tension should always be to the right of each fastener, which will route the twisted safety wire in an s-shape between them once two bolts are wired together. Plan on drilling your holes accordingly. Some people drill more than one set of holes for just that reason, but I bet those are the same peeps who also own one of those snazzy drill presses. (I will post pictures of every secured bolt on my bike when I’m done. A pic is worth a million words and a hundred google searches!)
  • Secure the part in your vise. Make sure you don’t bend or break anything. Always wrap your part up in a shop towel or use soft vise pads to avoid damaging anything. That’s one reason I decided to thread the bolt into the drill jig, even though my vise has soft rubber-capped jaws. That’s not exactly how you’re supposed to use the thing, or is it?!?
Closeup of Brake Caliper Bolt (Drilled)

I used the safety wire drill jig to hold the bolt in the vise for drilling to prevent potential damage to the bolt's threads.

  • Mark your fastener with your automatic punch, if you have one.
  • Put a drop of oil on the drill bit and on the bolt.
  • Carefully start drilling, making sure that your drill bit stays put and doesn’t wander around. With the DeWalt bits I mentioned earlier this is not a problem, they stay put, even without a punch to mark the spot. Once you have the hole started, speed up the drill and add a little bit of pressure, not too much, though, if you bend the bit you’ll break it. Let the bit do the work for you. Be patient. You’ll see metal shavings piling up, I prefer to clean those out with cotton swabs, wipe the drill bit off and add some more oil, then I resume drilling. Each bolt took me about 5-6 minutes to drill. I didn’t break a single bit either. 🙂 Remember those “titanium” cheapies? Yeah, I tried those first. After 10 minutes of nothing much happening, I finally admitted defeat and changed to the DeWalt’s. A world of difference! The no-name bits are going to have to be re-dedicated to drilling holes into wood or styrofoam… they suck!
  • I decided to drill straight through the bolt heads, using the first hole as a guide to start the second hole. I thought that this may be a mistake and would make me break a bit, but it worked like a dream. The holes are nice and clean and perfectly aligned, which will make wiring these up a cinch, no matter where they end up in relation to each other. And I did a way better job than the ex-BMW dealer did on my axle nut, if I dare say so myself.
Closeup of drilled safety wire hole

I decided to drill the hole straight across to make it easier to wire the two bolts together later.

  • The caps were easy. I decided to drill the radiator cap from the back side, so in case the bit slipped I wouldn’t scratch up the “pretty side”. That was probably a mistake, since I had to use my Dremel to deburr the side the drill exited, which is probably going to cause it to rust. We shall see. If I had to do it over, I’d drill the holes front to back. I drilled both sides of the cap because I couldn’t remember which was the one I had decided to drill. Should have marked it, but thought I wouldn’t forget. I put the racing safety pin on the side that I’m betting on. We shall see if I didn’t drill that extra hole for nothing.
  • The oil fill cap is plastic and was done in a few seconds. It took me longer to put the part in the vise. I decided to drill both sides, because the cap could end up at a number of different angles in relationship to the safety wire’s anchor point.
Parts Drilled

Parts that I've drilled today: the four front brake caliper bolts, oil fill cap and coolant fill cap