Search

MotorScotti

Month

October 2015

2000 Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star Classic Bobber Conversion – The Beginning

2000 Yamaha XVS Drag Star 110
2000 Yamaha XVS Drag Star 110

How it all started

When I stop for the inevitable stop at the gas station, I often often people asking me about my red motorcycle. “Hey, is that a Harley Davidson?” or “I don’t know this Harley, which one is it?” The answer usually makes them shake their heads in disbelief. “What? It’s a Yamaha??! I would have sworn it was a Harley Davidson.” Obviously, my bike wasn’t all stock and looked a lot different compared to its original specifications. The picture on the left gives you a little teaser if you daren’t scroll all the way down.

2004 Yamaha FZ6 N
2004 Yamaha FZ6 N

I had owned a Yamaha FZ6 N since 2004; A nice, super reliable, very handy naked bike. By 2014 I wanted a project bike; start with a relatively cheap and transform it into something really nice – something I could get my hands dirty on. 🙂 The FZ6 was comfortable, sleek, fast, easy to maintain and it loved high revs and corners. The main downside: After having changed the seat upholstery and the license plate bracket, there was nothing I really wanted to change on it. So long story short, I wanted a bike I could work on, learn how a motorcycles is put together while giving it my personal touch. This is why I wanted a chopper. They are all relatively simple and there are virtually no limits to what you can personalize on them. Furthermore, as they say: “there is no replacement for displacement”.

I had been watching bobber conversion videos on Youtube for quite some time. By the end of the spring in 2014, when I heard one guy talking about Blue Collar Bobbers while commenting on his freshly converted bike, I took a look at their website, shop and some more reviews I could find and decided to get their bobber conversion kit for my bike.

Getting the beast

Anyway, my first choice (or shall I say my almost first choice) was the obvious one: A Harley Davidson. I had rented a Sportster Forty Eight for a weekend in the Spring. I liked it, but I didn’t think it was worth its money: The gas tank was way to small for the mileage I wanted to get out of it: Run for 100 km / 62 mi and the fuel warning light comes on… Second of all, the brakes are a absolut joke. If you’re riding on an American Interstate that’s perfect; you can see any obstacle way before you might crash into it. But here in tiny Switzerland (yes that’s where I live), you need two front disks and they’d better work, ’cause pedestrians just walk over the crosswalks without watching for traffic.

Anyway, I decided to stick with what I knew and liked best: Yamaha. The XVS Drag Star 650 Classic had always caught my attention. But hey, if I’m gonna put time, money and elbow grease into a motorcycle, I might as well go all the way and get its bigger sister: the XVS Drag Star 1100 Classic, which is exactly what I did. I found a 2000 model year with about 23’000 km near Lucerne; it was  in mint condition. The price was right, so I bought it and drove it home.

Time for a striptease

As soon as I got home I started taking taking off all the parts I wanted to change. The stock version is a two seater. The bobber conversion however, is a single seater.  Take a good look at the original version, because it will be the last one. It’s okay, but this super large seat makes it look like and old man’s motorcycle. And by the way, it isn’t even that comfortable. On the two hours journey home I constantly slided back and forth, as well as from side to side.

2000 Yamaha 1100 Drag Star Classic
2000 Yamaha 1100 Drag Star Classic

You can watch the disassembling process on the the following video. I took pictures all along the conversion process, some elements might miss, though. You’re welcome to comment and ask me any question about it.

The whole conversion is basically a bolt off, bolt on process. However, as you may have noticed, the rear part of the frame, were the original fender and the passenger seat used to be, did have to be cut off. Once that’s done, there is NO WAY BACK. This is the POINT OF NO RETURN!

The first assembly

After it got disassembled I could start bolting the new stuff on it. Obviously, the aluminum fenders were primed but not painted yet. But by the time I got everything disassembled, I’d received the new drag style handle bar, which I had to buy in Switzerland in order to be allowed to register the motorcycle after the conversion was completed. Blue Collar Bobbers offer very cool handle bars, but I got mine from Cycle-Tech.

The new rear fender is much closer to the rear wheel than the original. People sometimes ask me whether the wheel hits the fender when riding over bumps. No no no, the new fender is mounted to the swing arm, not to the frame. Hence, it’s always at the exact same distance to the wheel.

Here you can see a short clip of the temporarily assembled bike running:

The final assembly

I had to be very careful while doing the final assembly. Obviously, the tank, fenders and side covers had just been (re)painted. So here’s a little tip for those who want to do this as well: Take your time, keep your workspace clean and have some cloths ready to put those parts on before assembling them, in order to prevent them getting scratched. This is particularly important for both fenders, as silicon has to be applied where the brackets are mounted.

One other important thing: You probably saw that there was one taillight originally and that it ended up having two – one on either side with integrated turn signal lights. How can one do that? When you disconnect the original cables, label everything (P-Touch anyone?). You now have combined four cables coming from the new light and only two cables to connect them to. Just take a connector, put one of the cable coming from the motorcycle in it and then the corresponding two cable from the lights together into the other end. Processed like this for the other cables and voilà, you’re done! As far as the turn signals are concerned, I integrated resistance, because the new lights are LED and would blink to quickly as well as burn out quite soon if I hadn’t. You can do that or change the turn signal relay. For me, the resistance do the job perfectly.

2012 Peugeot RCZ

The concept

The RCZ started its life as one of many beautiful concept cars of Peugeot at the 2007 International Motor Show Germany – the IAA (Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung). Most of those concept cars never make it into production, but this one got such a good feedback and looked already production ready. So Peugeot made the brave decision and put it into production.

2007 Peugeot 308 RCZ
2007 Peugeot 308 RCZ

Anyway, the moment I saw this car on the internet I wanted it. Growing up in a family that had always had at least one Peugeot at a time (505, 406, 406 coupé, 307 SW) I always had somewhat of an emotional connection with the brand, but most of them were more appealing to the sensible driver rather to the passionate gearhead / petrolhead.

2007 Peugeot 308 RCZ
2007 Peugeot 308 RCZ

Then, two years later, Peugeot presented the production version of the RCZ. They dropped the “308” in order not to have people remind it of the the more functional model it is technically based on, making it the first Peugeot road car to have a model type name consisting of letters, rather than the typical three digits with the “0” in the middle.

The real deal

2012 Peugeot RCZ
2012 Peugeot RCZ

After the presentation of the road going version in the fall of 2009, production started in 2010 at the Magna Steyr plant in Graz, Austria. I knew that one day I would have to own one. Little did I know that that day would already come by the end of 2012. Yes, I’m fortunate enought to call the nacre white one you see on the left my own. By the way, you might already have noticed that I used this car as the official MotorScotti logo. 🙂

2012 Peugeot RCZ
2012 Peugeot RCZ

This one is the 200 hp (147kW) version. I’ve had it since November 2012 and I’m absolutely delighted! Being the GT version it comes with the improved suspension and smaller steering wheel compared to the base 156 hp model.

2012 Peugeot RCZ
2012 Peugeot RCZ

The main reason why I wanted the RCZ is obvious: the look. I could spend hours just looking at it!! The double bubble glass roof and the two aluminum side rails are without a doubt the trade marks of this car, that add to the overall curvaceous and nicely balanced proportions.

2012 Peugeot RCZ
2012 Peugeot RCZ

The 19” Solstice wheels, the full leather interior (although I believe this one’s dashboard is not covered in real leather) and all of the equipment; electric and three way heated driver & passenger seats, bluetooth connectivity, front and rear parking sensors, automatically dimming interior mirror, xenon directional headlamps, hill assist etc.

Solstice 19'' Matt Black Onyx wheel, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Solstice 19” Matt Black Onyx wheel, 2012 Peugeot RCZ

A part from the equipment, the inside is just as nice to look at as the exterior – just look for yourself.

Optional aluminum gear lever, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Optional aluminum gear lever, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Full leather dashboard, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Full leather dashboard, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
First generation Peugeot 308 interior
First generation Peugeot 308 interior

Okay, the dashboard looks very similar to the one of the 308. However, it’s not the same. It differs from the 308’s in the back and instead of having three central vents, the middle one is replaced with a very classy analog clock.

Full leather front seat, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Full leather front seat, 2012 Peugeot RCZ

My car is pretty much stock. The only thing I changed was the gear lever. The original fake leather was not bad, but this optional full aluminum one looks so much more premium and sportier and makes the whole driving experience even more engaging. Being metal, it heats up quickly in the summer, so just be aware of it as you park the car in the sun for a couple of hours.

2012 Peugeot RCZ
2012 Peugeot RCZ

I’ve read and watched many reviews on this car and to it’s main competitor; the second generation Audi TT. In most cases, the Audi won, but were they (1) really comparable and (2) really objective about what the journalists said? I don’t care, I love the RCZ for its style, performance, ride and build quality. Yes, it everything inside is well put together and solid.

Passenger door, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Passenger door, 2012 Peugeot RCZ

The only thing that is left for me to improve the style are the center elements of the door trim. On this pre-facelift models, it’s simply plastic, despite all the parts around it are wrapped in leather. The facelifted model has this part covered in stitched leather…Peugeot could have done that right away, don’t you agree? My plan is to have that wrapped in leather, too. So stay tuned. ;-).

Instrument cluster, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Instrument cluster, 2012 Peugeot RCZ

Furthermore, this car is surprisingly practical. The trunk space is huge (321 l). You can even fold down the rear seats and have even more space (639 l). Obvisously, this car wasn’t build to compete with Peterbilt and Freightliner. However, I like to cool it the station wagon of the coupés.

Anyway, the important thing is to look at the entire package. The ride is a little jittery in town, but excellent everywhere else. The chassis keeps the car nicely on track with just very little understeer, the sports seats also hold you firmly in place. I did four laps of the infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife this April. Obvisously, I’m far from being an amateur race driver. But still, this car sticks to the road like glue. Finally, dressed up in that silhouette, this car is already a collector car. This is accentuated by the fact that it went out of production on 18 September this year. Peugeot say they won’t replace it anytime soon. But you know what? It doesn’t need to – although it starts to show its age in terms of connectivity and other infotainment gadgets, this car is at least as desirable today as it was the day it was first presented to the public.

WordPress.com.

Up ↑