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How to do an oil & oil filter change – Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star

Let’s get dirty

In terms of doing an oil change, the Yamaha 1100 Drag Star is probably the least Japanese on planet Earth. Why, simply because you need to remove the exhaust to access the oil filter… I mean, you could simply not bother about the filter and just change the oil – job done. Except that’s not my style. If I’m going to do it myself, I’m gonna do it as good as possible.

Buckle up, here’s how to do it! 🙂

Changing the spark splugs – Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star

It’s electrifying

After changing the air filter, the next step would be to put new spark plugs in this ride. Spark plugs are usually changed once the respective mileage prescribed by the manufacturer is over. On my Drag Star, I change them every 10’000 km. I use the original NGK BPR7ES units. The procedure is pretty straightforward.

Here’s how to do it! 🙂

Air filter change – Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star Classic

Fresh air instead of oil

Okay, the air filter is part of the expendable materials on a motorcycles. Now that I’m servicing my car, I figured I’d go down the same road as on my Peugeot RCZ and replace the old standard air filter with a K&N sports air filter. It does fit in the original compartment, hopefully make it sound a bit better and last ‘a lifetime’.

The old filter was literally covered in engine oil, which as far as I know, can only mean that there is too much oil in the engine! Perfect time to get that cleaned up, changed and obviously also conduct an oil change..!

Here’s how to do it! 🙂

Changing Oil & Oil Filter – Peugeot RCZ

Fresh oil on the dipstick

Doing an oil change on an internal combustion engine is probably the most commonly known and most frequently conducted service element in all car maintenance history. So guess what, even my RCZ needs it every 30’000 km or every two years. The procedure is quite simple: (1) Open up the oil cap on top of the engine block, (2) unscrew the drain plug and let the old oil flow out into an appropriate catch pan. (3) Put a new crush washer on the drain plug and screw it back on. (4) Now replace the oil filter before (5) filling in 4.25l of fresh synthetic SAE 5W30 engine oil.

NOTICE: Safety first, environment second! Make sure the car is safely positioned on a car lift or on ramps when you are working underneath a car, especially when your are applying force to unbolt / bolt parts! The engine, exhaust and the oil might be hot if you warmed the car up just before, hence protect your hands, skin in general and your eyes accordingly. Always dispose of used oil properly – bring it to your local waste disposal service station.

Here’s how to do it! 🙂

Changing Air Cabin Filter & Air Filter – Peugeot RCZ

Let’s breath in fresh air

Changing an ai cabin filter doesn’t seem to be a big deal at first glance. After all, the filter itself is basically just a dry piece of foam. Getting to the air cabin filter compartment is a different story. On my 2012 Peugeot RCZ it’s basically a three-step process: (1) Remove the plastic admission tube that is connected to the cabin air filter housing, (2) unclip and pull out the insulating mat just behind the admission tube and finally, (3) open up the cover and pull out the used air cabin filter. Now simply replace it with a new filter and proceed in the reverse order.

NOTICE: As always with car plastics, be patient and careful not to handle them roughly as they can easily crack. I like to quote Amesie from Amesie’s Automotive Corner, “those plastic parts are as supple as uncooked pasta”. 🙂

Let’s give this car some clean air

Now that the cabin has clean air, let’s turn our attention to the engine. This filter is located behind the engine. You can directly access it by unbolting the cover, the air intake hose, as well as unclip the electronic sensor that is connected to it.

NOTICE: As always when you take any bolts out in and around the engine block, make sur to store them safely and not let them fall into the engine bay. You never know whether they will be stuck or lost somewhere in there. 😉

Happy wrench spinning! 😀

The Fast and The Rerun

Milking the cow

So guess what…? The Fast and The Furious will be back on the big screen on June 22 in a couple of movie theaters across the US. Noo, not Fast 8…that one we’re expecting to come in April 2017. This here is the first movie that started the globally successful franchise.

Volkswagen Jetta, Jesse, The Fast and The Furious
Volkswagen Jetta, Jesse, The Fast and The Furious

I can’t believe it’s been 15 years already. I was just about to get 16 when it came out. This means I’m almost 32 years old by now…scary. 😉 I suppose lots of guys who were in there late teens, early twenties were hooked back than to some extend ‘grew up’ with the Fast and Furious sage. It’s incredible how far the “Fast” saga has gone. They have already made 7 and there is an entire trilogy in the pipeline to finalize it all. Although each following iteration has so far been packed with more action and unrealistic stuff than the one it just followed, I quite liked how they made everybody come together from the fourth to the sixth and ending it as a reunited family *Iain’tgotfriendsIgotfamily* at the Toretto house. By the way, this is way I would have liked the saga to stop at six.

Dodge Charger R/T, Dominic Toretto, The Fast and The Furious
Dodge Charger R/T, Dominic Toretto, The Fast and The Furious

However, it is what it is and at the end of the day it’s business. Universal Studios is well aware of that and they are milking the cow. It’s a little too much, but I don’t blame them. They’re doing it because there’s a demand. Hence, it the end it’s down to the consumers to decide whether it’s worth it or not…and apparently it is!

ENJOY the trailer!

“I live my life a quarter mile at a time. Nothing else matters, not the mortgage, not the store, not my team and all that bullshit. For those ten seconds or less, I’m free.” – Dominic Toretto, 2001

2016 Geneva International Motor Show – Part 3: Premium fill up

The most visually appealing cars of a motor show are obvisously the premium brands. The automotive industry is going through major shifts these days and will continue to do so for the coming five to ten years. So how are the premium brands holding up? After all, they are the ones that show as the latest in technology that will eventually trickle down to the ‘normal’ everyday cars.

1) Bugatti Chiron – Continuity or Dinosaur

Let’s start with Bugatti. The brand new Chiron is finally out, and I think it looks stunning. Sure, it looks similar to its predecessor, the Veyron, but that’s a good thing. I especially love the C-shaped side that forms a sort of frame from the roof around the door down to the side skirt. The Chiron is an evolution of the Veyron. It still has the massive W16, 8 litre gasoline engine in the back delivering 1’500 hp to all four wheels and it can speed up to 420 km/h. The last iteration of the Veyron, the Super Sport, produced 1’200 hp and got up to a top speed of 415 km/h. So you might say that the difference is not that big.

Yes and no. When Volkswagen Group bought the brand rights of Bugatti cars in 1998, they had to start from scratch: W16 engine, clutch that could endure the massive 1’250 Nm torque, paint, interior design and materials, customer experience and service – everything had to be created and everything was super expensive. As a matter of fact, Bugatti, hence Volkswagen Group, lost money on every single of the 450 Veyron they sold. Naturally, over the years, different version were built. A Veyron Super Sport cost about € 1.65 million and Volkswagen. I couldn’t find official numbers on their losses, but it’s estimated that they lost around € 4 to 5 million on each car they made. That’s insane!

Anyway, back to the new Chiron! This time, Bugatti wants to make profit on it. They want to build 500 of it and sell them for € 2.4 million each. That’s more like it! But look at this: The Veyron was made between 2005 and 2015. Many motoring journalist ended up stating that it was the last  hurray of the 20th century type gas guzzling supercar. Now the Chiron is here and it’s basically the same thing in a new dress. Don’t get me wrong, the engineers for sure put a lot of effort in it, but it’s still a conventional fuel powered W16 engine – not electric, not hybrid, not autonomous. Let’s say the planned 500 cars will be sold over the coming ten years, so all the way up to 2026. With the car industry trending towards new modes of propulsions, as well as the fast development of connectivity and autonomous driving, the Chiron will still be an engineering marvel, but also obsolete. It’s like keeping developing the best typewriter ever, while everybody is on laptops already.

2) Porsche – Top Marketing

Porsche 2.5l 718 Boxster S engine, Geneva International Motor Show
Porsche 2.5l 718 Boxster S engine, Geneva International Motor Show

One of Porsche‘s new presentations was the redesigned Boxster. It’s not called the 981 anymore, but the 718 Boxster. Why? Simply because they ditched to flat 6 boxer engine and replaced it with a flat 4 boxer unit. What a scandal, what a disgrace, how dare they do that?!!! That’s what every hardcore Porsche fan must have thought when they got the news. Let’s face the facts: Everyone needs to adapt to continuously stricter emission rules. At the same time, they new engines produce much more power that the ones they replace:

  • 718 Boxster: 300 hp (2l) VS 981 Boxster: 265 hp (2.7l)
  • 718 Boxster S: 350 hp (2.5l) VS 981 Boxster S: 315 hp (3.4l)
Porsche 718, Geneva International Motor Show
Porsche 718, Geneva International Motor Show

Isn’t that just insane! Porsche are smart. They usually acknowledge the trends of the industry and find a way to connect it to the past, to make it look like they’re getting even closer to the roots of the respective car. That’s why they renamed it the 718 Boxster. The original 718 was a racing version evolution of the 550. And guess what, it had a flat 4 engine in it as well. The point of this is to trigger the right emotions in the heads of the potential buyers. Although the new engines have more power than the outgoing ones, the reduction of cylinders as well as the smaller displacement could have a negative effect on them. Telling you that it has never been as sporty as that and that it’s now linked to a Porsche legend is what changes everything! Good luck keeping up with the demand, Porsche. 🙂

3) Jaguar – Powerful, more powerful, ridiculously powerful

2016 Jaguar F-Type V6S AWD, Geneva International Motor Show
2016 Jaguar F-Type V6S AWD, Geneva International Motor Show

Jaguar didnt’ bring all that many new models to Geneva. All wheel drive (AWD) in now available across the entire range. The oldest model is the XJ, which got a facelift in 2015. All in all, a very fresh and revatelized brand. Models like the XE and XF will probably sell well, especially the AWD diesel versions. The Sportbrake (estate / station wagon) are not yet out, but they will probably generate even more volume.

The only real new model Jaguar brought to Geneva is the F-Type SVR, available as both, coupé and convertible. It’s the first SVR super sports car of many more to come out of Jaguar Land Rover. The same awesome sounding 5.0l V8 engine we have known for a couple of years now is producing 575 hp, accelerating from 0-100 km/h in 3.7s and getting up to a top speed of 322 km/h. As a matter of fact, Jaguar Land Rover is ditching the “R” models and instead is making extra powerful performace cars in their freshly built Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) facility near Coventry. You can look at it like the AMG division of Mercedes-Benz.

I know the F-Pace had its premiere last year in Frankfurt, but because it’s Jaguar’s first ever SUV and because they normally have Land Rover within the same group to focus on SUVs only, this is a big step for Jaguar. No car manufacturer who wants to sell big numbers can afford not to have an SUV in its model range. I’m not a fan of SUVs althogether. Granted, there are a few I’m okay with, like the Range Rover, but only because it started life as a real off road vehicle and it still can. People don’t necessarily want an SUV because they want to drive in the mud, they just want to sit a bit higher than in a sedan and be able to get in and out more easily. Mayby we’ll all drive SUVs only in the near future – or should I say we will let ourselves drive by our autonomous capsules. 🙂

4) Aston Martin – Genesis of a new design language

2016 Aston Martin DB11, Geneva International Motor Show
2016 Aston Martin DB11, Geneva International Motor Show

Aston Martin, a byword for James Bond – British Secret Service, gentlemen, refined GT cars. With the launch of the DB9 in 2004, Aston Martin had finally gotten rid of the old school image of the DB7 and all new, modern era was heralded. Over the years, the entire model range was updated and all of the Aston Martin cars were given the new face. Time moved on and that new face became middle aged itself. Now, with the brand new DB9 successor, the DB11, Aston Martin has found its new design language! I know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so I’ll simply let you judge by yourself. Check out the DB11 in the video below.

5) Tesla – Gimme more models

Tesla Motors started its life with the Roadster, which was based on the Lotus Elise S2. Then in 2012, the first 100% Tesla developed car was delivered. Worldwide expansion of Importers, dealers and most importantly, Supercharger stations has grown significantly. And now that all the early adapters have put their hands on a Model S, it is time for Tesla to move up and expand their model range. Now we also have the much anticipated SUV called the Model X. Although retail customers had to wait until late 2015 instead of 2014, the X with its gullwing back doors is now here. The car that will probably make Tesla Motors profitable in the mid term is the hugely anticipated Model 3, which is a 20% smaller sedan than the Model S. It will be unveiled on 31 March 2016 and deliveries are scheduled to start in late 2017.

Tesla is without a doubt the symbol of the car industry of the future, with the exception that they are already here! Electric, connected, autonomous, self updating, almost maintenance free cars. The automobile industry is going through a massive paradigm shift and the small company of Palo Alto California, which ten years ago was almost nowhere, is pushing hard to lead the next evolution of personal transport.

2000 Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star Classic Bobber Conversion – Presentation

What’s what

Fuel tank, 2000 Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star Classic Bobber conversion
Fuel tank, 2000 Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star Classic Bobber conversion

Today is the day I’m gonna give you a close and detailed tour of my 2000 Yamaha 1100 Drag Star Classic or V-Star, for the Americans. For those of you who know the stock model, you can see it doesn’t look anything like it anymore. Those of you who have been following my channel, have probably watched the three videos that document the conversion from the stock, all the way to the current bobber look. I had been looking to get a bike on which I could work on a little, and I’ve always liked choppers. So I decided to stay with the Japanese ones, because I then already owned a Yamaha FZ6 N. They are easy to work on and super reliable. Let’s start with the beginning: I bought this bike in July 2014 from its second owner and it had always been well looked after. It only had around 24’000 km on the clock when I got. And since then, I have put a massive, wait for it, 3’000 km on it. Mostly because I spend the first summer converting it to a bobber, and then in 2015 I spend a good time of the summer abroad.

Tour around the bike

Anyway, as you can see, it is now a one seater only motorcycle. While it has stayed completely stock regarding the technical components (yes, even the exhaust pipes…), I changed the seat, both fenders, the handle bar, the handle grips, the rear lights and the turn signals. Oh and yes, I had it resprayed from its original black to this pearl red. A lot of people who do a bobber conversion take off one of the front disk brakes, to make it look even more vintage, but that’s not me – I want solid brakes. Besides, there is no way I would be able to register the bike like that here in Switzerland.

Handle bar

Handle bar, 2000 Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star Classic Bobber conversion
Handle bar, 2000 Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star Classic Bobber conversion

The handle bar is a pretty short drag style bar made by “Highway Hawk”. I also had to install the corresponding risers in order for the handle bar to be high enough and not to touch the fuel tank when turning. I got them at, which is where I also got the new handle grips. Those are “Highway Hawk” as well. The rest of the instruments, switches and mirrors are all stock.

Front indicators

Front indicators, 2000 Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star Classic Bobber conversion
Front indicators, 2000 Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star Classic Bobber conversion

The original front indicators were massive lollipop style ones. I got the new bullet style ones, as well as most of the bobber conversion parts, from Blue Collar Bobbers in Utah, USA. They make outstanding complete conversion kits for Japanese motorcycles. Although these indicators have the same shape as the ones that came from Blue Collar Bobbers, they are actually different ones, because they have to meet the European regulations. So what I essentially wanted from Blue Collar Bobbers, was the steel mounting bracket, but I couldn’t get it separately, so I had to buy the indicators as well.

Front fender

Front fender, 2000 Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star Classic Bobber conversion
Front fender, 2000 Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star Classic Bobber conversion

The front fender is an all-aluminum part. It came primed with the black powder coated steel mounting brackets. Hence, all I had to do, is to get it painted. Many bobber conversions skip the front fender altogether, but I prefer having one. To me, it just looks more balanced with it.

Seat & seat pan

Now let’s go over and have a look at the seat and the seat pan. They too are from Blue Collar Bobbers and come as a set. You can get it in different sizes and leathers. I got the 11” spring seat kit with the tarnished brown black pleats. Although it looks very basic, it is actually very comfortable, even on longer rides of over two hours. Fitting the seat pan is the part of the conversion where you have to be the most accurate and careful, because you have to saw the rear part of the frame off. And once it’s off, it’s gone forever, so pay attention to it and cut straight. Once that’s done it’s pretty much just a bold on procedure.

Rear lights & 11" spring seat, 2000 Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star Classic Bobber conversion
Rear lights & 11″ spring seat, 2000 Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star Classic Bobber conversion

Rear lights & indicators

Moving on to the rear lights. I got these on These are the ShinYo Colorado LED lights and match the front ShinYo Bullet indicators. I just love the steel housing. Because they are LED, you either have to change the corresponding relay or just integrate some resistance into the system, in order not to get the LED lights burnt out – Evidently, they need far less energy than the original light bulbs. The cool thing about the Colorado is that it’s an all in one package: tail and brake light in the outer circle, yellow indicator light in the center. It doesn’t show that good in the video, but the indicator light actually is yellow.

License plate bracket

License plate bracket, 2000 Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star Classic Bobber conversion
License plate bracket, 2000 Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star Classic Bobber conversion

Let’s get a quick look at the license plate bracket. This is actually the one and only part I made myself. I was looking at a couple of license plate brackets online, but I found them to be really overpriced, especially if you want one that fits Swiss plates. So I figured, why not make one myself? How hard can it be? And it really wasn’t that hard; an LED light, some metal plates I bended and cut, a prefabricated frame, some paint and voilà. It does look self-made, but that’s what it’s supposed to, isn’t it?!

Rear fender

Rear fender, 2000 Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star Classic Bobber conversion
Rear fender, 2000 Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star Classic Bobber conversion

Just like the front fender, the rear one is from Blue Collar Bobbers. Contrary to the stock one that was bolted on the part of the frame that has now been sawn off, this new bobber style one is entirely bolted to the swing arm. In the rear, it’s bolted to existing holes on either side, so there is really nothing that can go wrong there. It is a pretty straightforward process, just be sure to use a cloth or something similar, and wrap it around the various parts as you are tightening the bolts – just so you don’t scratch anything. In any case, I strongly recommend to bolt it on once before getting the fender painted. This way if you do scratch it, you’ll know how to handle it once it is painted. To attach it to the front part of the swing arm, you get a custom metal plate, which you put around the swing arm and on which you then bolt the fender.

Engine & oil filler cap replacement

V2 engine, 2000 Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star Classic Bobber conversion
V2 engine, 2000 Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star Classic Bobber conversion

Although I didn’t change anything on the mechanical side, I still want to give you a look of the engine. It’s got 1100 cm3 unit, obviously, 62 hp and a five speed gearbox, which transmits the power to the rear wheel via a cardan-shaft; a comfortable, reliable and really maintenance friendly concept. The only thing I changed here is the oil filler cap. I removed the plastic one and put this RR metal one with integrated temperature gage. Obviously, I can’t see it while riding. I just think it looks good on it. And if you ask me, replacing some dull plastic parts with shiny metal ones is always a good choice.

Exhaust and fuel tank

Exhaust pipes, 2000 Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star Classic Bobber conversion
Exhaust pipes, 2000 Yamaha XVS 1100 Drag Star Classic Bobber conversion

Now, moving over to the exhaust. This is where I usually get nice comments for the looks, but surprised looks for the sound of it. Yes, I mentioned before, it’s stock as well. Hence, you can barely here any noise. But at least it’s got exhaust wrap on it. J I might change the exhaust eventually, but I haven’t yet found a legal one that looks and sounds nice. You might have noticed the decals on the tank – I made them myself out of some film you’d usually use to decorate your windows at home. It’s not entirely waterproof, but then I only ride it on dry weather.

Click on the following YouTube video if you want to see it in action:

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