Hey guys, the bike is running! There's a bit of a backstory here about some problems I had before it went for a rebuild... https://netrider.net.au/forums/showthread.php?t=107740&highlight=SR400 All engine work was done by Carl, from Cafe Racer at Wattle Flat, in NSW. http://www.caferacer.com.au/content/index.htm He does a lot of work on VMX and some road racing SR's as well. A good go-to guy for squeezing extra horses out of most things it seems! Anyway, here she is... there's a few additions to the bike in the past couple of weeks but here's a visual. (Note: all speeds are relative for a 30-something year old dirtbike engine. Your ZX6R is faster, CBR1000, GT1400R etc. I'll gladly give up those pissing contests before they start!) So basically a few nights ago a mechanic who was helping me with the electrics dropped off the bike. He wheeled it out of the van with a stern look on his face. When she was sitting in my back yard he said; "We need to have a chat about a problem you might have..." Ah... shit. The timing is off, he said. He can't start it, and two other blokes at the workshop couldn't start it. For shits and giggles he said I should throw a leg over and have a shot. Using exactly the same routine as I did with my 400 I held in the decomp, pushed the kicker all the way. Decomp off, kick it until it reaches TDC. Decomp and push just past, raise the kicker again and with a pathetically weak half kick it barked into life and settled into a nice steady idle. Timing is perfect "I've lost my knack" The mechanic said while cupping his mouth to light another cigarette. Kick starters seem to be the best anti theft device and the bike's still as easy to kick as it ever was. I'd taken it to this guy because he does a fantastic job with electronics. He'd redone my loom, tidied everything up and neatened my idiot lights. Also fixed a problem with the key and sorted the mounting of that. Everything was plugged and looking sweet and he'd fixed many things that I'd gotten lazy with over time. I found him through another guy who has done some work on my frame, and was also bloody good. It seems once you find somebody who you trust it's best to ask for recommendations and you'll soon be tapped into a really good bunch of guys who know what they were doing and really care about the job that you put in front of them. But the exciting bit was the engine was finished, and running beautifully. My bike was a late model SR400 that was just about the self destruct when I gave it to Carl from Cafe Racer in Sydney. This all might sound like a bit of paid advertising... but I couldn't be happy with the donk in the SR510 (?) now. And I'm not receiving cash, kickbacks or headjobs from the guy either, just to be clear! He'd done the following... Donor Crank pressed apart, flushed washed, new pin and pressed together and trued. Cases heated and main bearing removed. New cam fitted, Carillo Rod, Oil Pump rebuilt. New camchain and tensioner, Donor Head bead blasted (Thanks for the head donation Dave!) and as it was an XT valve was cut down as well as both valve seats cut. Ported. Yamaha Hi-Comp piston. Tested and jetted FCR39 Keihin carb. Exhaust fitted... ...And various other bits and peices. So it was a considerably different beast to when it left me, a weak but free-revving 400cc thing chewing it's head apart. Carl said the bike now pulled double the rear horsepower over the standard and after riding it a couple of hundred k's in the last few days... it feels like more. It pulls amazingly from just about anywhere. The power is virtually instant and the most fun, without doubt, is the 0-80kph start from the lights where the thing just climbs through the revs and you're thundering along in second gear without even thinking about it. I've done some highway riding and in fifth it'll sit at round 3500rpm at 110kph beautifully. There's so much power available from here as well. I'll have to find some controlled circumstances to really give it some stick when it's broken in. But the best bit about the power is it's around-town usability. It's respectable and still fun to let the engine sit low in the rev range and just plod around some tight turns, and it feels very traditionally SR500-ey. But come to overtaking that car, nailing out of the apex of a corner or just blowing off stunned looking fully sik boys in the WRX's at the lights and the whole thing just... gah. I can't really describe it! A few of my mates have ridden it in the past three or so days as well. One, a die-hard motorcross Honda nut was nothing short of amazed and how much poke it had from anywhere. As an interesting comparison he'd ridden a DR650 the day before and said that it absolutely shat all over it and you couldn't even compare the two. My SR is probably lighter, and has better tyres... but it's still an impressive showing for a 30 year old SOHC twin valve four stroke air cooled shitbox that one motorcycling journalist said "Couldn't pull a fat kid across greased Lino". He also was really happy with the jetting. He said he always had problems getting his motorcrosses running sweet with the Keihin and my bike was perfect. Wahoooooooooooo! The exhaust is also very interesting. It's definately got a rather fruity tone. Stew, I think I could give your Conti a run for the money in the volume stakes! What's cool is that when riding along at a normal RPM it's no louder than my old Peyton place 400 exhaust. But give it a bit of throttle and it changes into a really deep staccatto roar. Absolutely beautiful. When MattB took it for a ride tonight he stopped in the middle of a parked tunnel to rev it for a few minutes. It's a completely different bike to the stock 400. It pulls amazingly well, is as easy to start. Given my time again with the bike I'd have done the suspension first (Which I did do) but rather than faffing about with cosmetics I should have done the engine straight away and worked the bike around that. I suppose the best analogy for the engine that I can think of is comparing it to old big block V8 powerplants. It's simple, straightforward and has a bit of engine noise and a distinctive tone. There are plenty of other powerplants that are quicker, quieter and can do things at one hundred million RPM effortlessly from the factory... but there's something about opening the throttle on the bike and being thrown back into my seat and feeling every distinct thump turn into a strong ripple of torque and power as the rear rises, eyeballs water and testicles crawl into my guts. It's not GSX1300R lightspeedfast but thumpingobnoxioustorqueyevillaughreartyrechewing fast of the traditional variety. F'n love it.