Today I mourn the passing of my soulmate, best friend and wife of almost 30 years – Janet. She fought so bravely for two years against cancer, but was finally taken from us yesterday after a sudden and unexpected downturn. Family were at her side at the end as she passed peacefully. Today the pillion seat is empty and the intercom silent …. for over thirty years we travelled together on two wheels. Goodnight my beloved sweetheart.
I managed to get a couple more Capo jobs out of the way recently. Firstly, replacing the clutch line for a nice new Venhill version to match the shiny ones on the front brakes. The hose required uses:
- 1x 90º Banjo
- 1x 45º Banjo
- 1x Venhill Powerhose Plus hydraulic line – 1125mm
It fitted perfectly, and while I was changing the line I also changed the banjo bolts and bleed screw for matching stainless steel units to complete the look. I have to admit, these are not cheap lines …. but I love the fit and flexibility with interchangeable ends. So for that I’m willing to overlook the extra hit on the wallet!
Secondly, I bit the bullet on an Innovv K3 dual camera system. As some may remember, I’ve previously tried the original K1 and the much improved K2. Unfortunately, the K1 DVR unit died after 12 months and the K2 turned itself into a brick with a failed firmware update. To be fair to the K2, it was leagues ahead of the K1 and (when it worked) was a truly fit-and-forget system. What went wrong I have no idea, I followed the update process to the letter and even had a few email exchanges with Rock Liu from Innovv, but they dried up when it looked like the unit was unrecoverable. I was lucky enough that the K1 and K2 had been supplied FOC, so nothing lost. This time however, it’s my own outlay. It’ll either be ‘third time lucky’ or ‘a fool and his money are soon parted’!
Certainly my first impressions on opening the box are:
- Slightly smaller DVR with no buttons
- Nice moulded waterproof connectors
- Comprehensive fitting kit with stainless fasteners and anodised aluminium brackets instead of plastic/steel
- Cameras physically identical to the K2 units but with different internals
- Addition of an external microphone
- Waterproof remote button for saving files and taking photographs as well as LED’s showing recording/GPS/WiFi status
Looking through the technical specification, it looks like the main upgrades over the K2 are:
- Dual core processor for better image processing
- Different camera internals ( Sony IMX291 LQR sensor)
Installation was of course, very similar to the K2. The power module connects directly to the battery positive and negative terminals and the yellow trigger wire went to the loom I still had in place that tapped into the rear lights/brake lights. As soon as the side/head lights are turned on there is a 10 second delay before the unit begins recording and when switched off, a 25 second delay before powering down the unit. The front camera comes with a 2m lead which is fine, but the rear has a 1.5m lead which for the Capo is way overkill. I only needed about 0.4m and hiding the rest away was a real pain.
To install the cameras I used two 15mm rubber lined stainless steel ‘P’ clips – the front one on the Aprilia headlight guard and the rear on the pannier frame. The included mounting kit parts fitted to these clamps just fine and it only took a couple of minutes to get a nice neat install and great picture being recorded! Oh but one bit of advice ….. the supplied screws don’t use any washers, so once happy with the install, I went back and put a dab of thread-lock on all the screws just to be safe.
And so the moment came and went without fanfare after a year of lockdown, no trips back and forth to home in Italy, no big holiday rides here in the UK. A year where mileage clocked up painfully slowly, the Capo sitting idle way more than doing what it does best – eat miles and promote smiles!
In the end, it was on a big fat roundabout on the outskirts of Oxford that it rolled through its 160,000th mile. No one stopped and applauded, no one cared. No fanfare, no brass band. Even I was too busy navigating the mindless Wombles I shared the road with to notice the moment. Only as I accelerated away on the dual carriageway did I see the display roll over to 160,002, the aftermath of what should have been a jolly nice photo opportunity. Bugger.
Sometime way-back-when, I bought a used set of throttle bodies off an RTS Futura (51mm v Caponord 47mm) with the view of doing some tuning/comparison work on the Raid with the 3D printed hybrid velocity stacks (51mm diameter but Caponord height). What really happened though was far less glamourous and only involved a sturdy box and a shelf! But about a month ago I dug them out again and realised that I pretty much had all the ingredients required to do a full clean and rebuild. I had stainless steel 4x10mm and 5x12mm Torx screws on the shelf as well as all necessary seals. The ultrasonic cleaning bath would do the brunt of the work and I could send the injectors away for professional cleaning at a reasonable cost.
And so, with a plan to hand, apart it came. First the injectors were sent away for cleaning. The turn-around was quick and the total cost was about £30 including P&P. Thankfully both injectors got a clean bill of health. Next, the throttle body and associated parts went into the ultrasonic cleaning bath. I had bought the 6L version …. but when you take into account the smaller basket inside, the usable capacity is probably something more like 4 – 5L … just enough luckily, for the throttle bodies. If I was in the market for another one, I’d definitely opt for the 10L or maybe even try to stretch to the 15L for good measure.
It was amazing the amount of debris that came out of them … in the end they looked almost brand new again! The rebuild was very straight forward with all new ‘O’-rings and screws used. Pleased? Yes I think so. They are refurbished and ready for action which is the important thing. The only downside is that some of the mild-steel components are still showing a patina of rust. It would have been nice to re-plate them to give them that as-new look as well. For now I’ve cleaned off what I can and coated the parts for protection, but one day I’d like to have a crack at home plating … zinc, nickel or passivate of some sort might be interesting.
2x 4x10mm Stainless Steel Torx screws
4x 5x12mm Stainless Steel Torx screws
4x 10mm OD 2mm section Viton O-rings
2x 14.1mm OD 2.4mm section Viton O-rings
2x BS203 O-rings
1x BS008 O-ring
Just throwing it out there ……. If I were to offer these out as a bagged kit, would anyone be interested?
I really like fasteners, I hate rusty, corroded or damaged fasteners. There it is out in the open, plain and simple. I think there’s something tragic about lots of hard work going into an assembly, only for those old jaded screws/nuts/bolts/washers to go back into holding it together. On the other hand I’m not a fan of those OTT ‘custom fasteners’ – pike nuts etc or gaudy anodised fasters in any colour of the rainbow. For me, they are way overkill. What I want is an upgrade from the manufacturers items that were no doubt chosen with cost in mind. I like something that looks a little more up-market, in a material that is mechanically safe for the task in hand – safety has to override looks every time! They are there to do a job and complement the work that went into the parts they represent.
What am I upgrading then?
So as part of the brake line upgrade, I’ve swapped out the stainless steel cap heads I had holding the hose supports to the fork leg with lovely Racebolt flanged hex head ones that better reflect the items originally fitted by Aprilia. A waste of money? Quite likely. Hell the cap head bolts did the job and were also in stainless steel, but they always looked like an obvious swap – a generic item – these new bolts look like Aprilia MIGHT have fitted them if build cost wasn’t so high on the list. In the end, these things are personal and one owners pike nut is another owner duct tape … they both hold things together I guess!
Ultimately I invested in a few little upgrades … the fork axle pinch bolts went from home-drilled cap-head to lovely ‘race spec’ (drilled for lock wiring!) flange bolts and the brake/clutch master cylinder cap heads were replaced for the the none-drilled versions. Last but not least, the rear axle adjuster bolts have been upgraded to stainless steel versions.
After putting a fair amount and time and effort into brake lines and calipers etc. it only seemed logical to add the finishing touches by upgrading certain fasteners to ones similar (but better!) to those fitted by the manufacturer. It’s not a cheap exercise by any stretch, but it does remind me of the old saying;
Don’t spoil the ship for a ha’p’orth of tar
SPOILER ALERT – It doesn’t have anything to do with ships! Ship was dialect for sheep. The meaning is, don’t lose a good sheep by not putting a protective layer of tar on wounds or sores to prevent infection by flies etc. Over the years folk have taken ‘ship’ literally and besides, it sounds far more grandiose to think that a cheap amount of tar could cause the loss of a very expensive ship! Here endeth the lesson … 🙂
Well this little job just got a whole lot more involved and costly! The idea of having lovely clean and refreshed calipers made me think about the old banjo bolts (M10x1) and bleed screws (M8x1.25) … OK, so new stainless ones were ordered from Racebolt, that’s fine. Then it got me thinking about the old tarnished hydraulic hose ends … sigh … OK, so new hoses as well then!
I went for the ‘Powerhose Plus’ range of hoses and fittings from Venhill down in Surry. I chose ‘carbon’ grey (smoked translucent sheath that shows the hose weave below) with all fittings in stainless steel. I really like these hoses because the end fittings can be rotated – thereby reducing twist in the hose and allowing the hose to sit naturally. This is something I hate with other swaged hoses. With that type, I have nearly always had to induce an amount of twist in the hose to get one banjo to fit the caliper or reservoir. Fair to say, I like neat hoses (and wires!) and I have a smattering of OCD about me when it comes to symmetry … both left and right hoses will HAVE to mirror each other!
The standard hose assembly is a single hose from the reservoir to a T-piece just below the lower fork clamp, from there a single hose down to each caliper. To replicate this was actually more expensive than using two individual lines from the brake master cylinder. So that’s what I went with – A double banjo bolt at the reservoir and two lines to the calipers using 2 x 45º banjos at the reservoir and 2 x straight banjos at the calipers. For the Rally-Raid the Venhill right hand line (as sat on the bike) is 950mm long and the left hand line is 1,100mm, these will need to be slightly shorter for the standard Caponord. The important point is that the lines plus fittings have to be long enough so that no part of the line, banjo-to-banjo is under tension when the forks are fully extended.
The lines came with three hose support grommets each, and I ended up removing one as it was not needed. Both lines use one grommet located within the existing support grommet that fits in the plastic tray below the headstock, the second is used within the P-clip bracket on the mudguard fixing screws, so two per line (see pics below). The third I used to help buffer the left hand line up at the handlebars … hopefully I’ll get around to designing and printing a 3D bracket to make this support look more ‘factory’ and finally the third support on the right hand line was removed.
So with the lines sorted it was time for the calipers. The left one was removed, stripped and cleaned with Gtechniq W6 Iron and general fallout remover … a rather pungent and powerful liquid that does what it says – strips off 95% of the dirt in one go. Use in a well ventilated place with gloves and goggles, this is nasty stuff! After that, the pistons/seals were stripped out and everything zapped in the ultrasonic bath for a couple of 20 minute cycles until totally clean. Once dry, everything was put back together with new seals, O’ring and bolts (2x 40mm, 1x 35mm). Once everything was back together it was time to bolt the caliper back to the fork leg (50Nm) and have a nice warm brew before starting all over again with the right one.
In all fairness, I couldn’t get over how good the old seals were after 115K+ miles and almost 20 years. The pistons and springs cleaned up beautifully and looked almost new and the anodising inside the bores was hardly marked – totally amaze-balls when I think how badly some Japanese calipers fair after only a couple of winters. I honestly think it is all down to the coating on the pistons and the anodising of the casing that make the difference. As for the cleaning process … I got there in the end! Brake calipers are probably the worst thing to clean on any bike and unfortunately there is no getting away from good old elbow grease … well that and a really aggressive cleaner made for the job! The ultrasonic bath put the icing on the cake, but in all honesty wasn’t strictly necessary, but did remove a little more dirt and added extra sparkle.
Below is a selection of pics showing hoses and before/after shots of the calipers along with a couple of shots that highlight the kind of crap the Capo put up with for 10 years on a certain Italian road …
A bit of feedback on my first outing with the sparklingly shiny new 6 litre ultrasonic cleaning bath, the highlights and lowdown’s. First off, here’s my simple bullet point list to get things going:
- Be patient!
- Fill with pre-heated plain water or whatever your preferred cleaner pre-mix is
- Be prepared to help the cleaning process along with a soft brush etc
- Let it do its thing in peace – wear earplugs or get out!
That’s it in a nutshell! YouTube video’s make it look like you’ll clean a 50 year old gunked up prop-shaft in two minutes – wrong! Not in a domestic cleaner you won’t. I used a mix of (so called) ultrasonic bath solution diluted 10:1 as specified. I made the mistake of filling the tank from cold believing the in-built ‘heater’ would do the business … well it does after a fashion, but oh so slowly. It would have taken about 2-3 hours to go from 13ºC to 50ºC – so I boiled the kettle in the end and made up a solution that was almost at the required temperature, so no wasted time waiting around! The old rear caliper was dug out of the parts store and stripped down. It came off the Capo back in January 2013 with about 40K miles on it and had simply been boxed and hidden away, unfortunately since it’s return to the UK it looks like damp had got in and caused some corrosion. Luckily this was confined to where the pads sit and nowhere else, thankfully the pistons and seals came apart beautifully.
So time for a quick pic, then into the bath!
Initially I ran it for five minutes, unsure of how aggressive the solution/ultrasonic cleaning action would be. The solution was noticeably discoloured, but the calipers looked hardly touched. So in they went for another ten minutes. They looked much better this time … so in for another ten minutes. One half was now almost perfect, but the other needed two minutes of TLC from a rotary brush, then they went back in for a final 10 minutes. Hence, be patient and be prepared to give the process a helping hand!
In the end, as the saying goes, all good things come to those who wait:
It only remains to mention my final bullet point. Initially I sat about 6ft(2m) away from the bath while it was running, the noise is not pleasant but bearable or so I thought. After about five minutes I started to feel a little nauseous. The lid was on and it was operating in a well ventilated area, so I didn’t think it was fumes from the cleaning solution, so figured it was exposure to sound I COULDN’T hear – it is an ultrasonic cleaner after all! In the end I left it to do its thing and sulked at the far end of the workshop and within a few minutes felt better again. The unit doesn’t come with any warnings beyond electrocution (lots of them!) … so be careful folks and don’t stay too close when it’s operating!
Conclusion – I’m happy with the results bearing in mind that the caliper was well used and had suffered in storage. Now it is resplendent with new seals, a light wipe over with ACF50 and new home in a Zip bag and a better box. I’m really looking forward to using this cleaner on the triple bridge Brembo calipers and that may well be sooner rather than later, as Mr Postman has just this minute delivered the new brake lines and banjos from Venhill, wahoo!!!
Seems like brakes have become one of the hot winter topics of late, both on the AF1 forum and in the Moto-A household. The Caponord’s Brembo P34 (4 pad) calipers are getting a little sluggish and starting to drag the pads on the front disks. I’ve cleaned and exercised the pistons but they still feel the same. To be fair the seals are probably somewhere around 20 years old and have every right to feel stiff these days!
So I ordered a seal set from Powerhouse in the UK for £66 (both calipers). They seem to get excellent reviews and I have to say the kit is comprehensive – even containing a little bag of Brembo grease! Of course one thing led to another and thoughts of how best to clean up the calipers resulted in another fine purchase – a 6l ultrasonic cleaning bath! Now that just leaves me watching YouTube videos and experimenting with various cleaning solutions to find the one most suitable for the brakes, luckily I have a stash of old ones kicking around that are perfect for experimentation.
When health, weather and motivation are all in alignment over the festive period I’ll make sure the camera battery is charged and do my best to document the little adventure for posterity on the website. It will also be a great opportunity to try out the new torque wrench that I don’t know I’m getting for Christmas ….. 😀
It seems that over the years several Caponord and other bike/car related websites have ported themselves over to Facebook – such that I eventually capitulated and joined, albeit in a totally locked down way. And of course over those years I’ve been inundated with zillions of worthless adverts ….. until now. One has proved very worthwhile indeed!
More specifically – JB Fabrications – who were advertising an engine mount adapter specifically for the V990 engine. At £48.45 including postage I was in. Working on a lump like the V990 on a workbench (or the floor!) is a real pain -literally! I’ve spent more time than I care to recollect having to drop tools mid-job simply because my back has tweaked up because of the awkward position I’m working in. This adapter will apparently work with Clarke and Sealy engine mount stands – I chose the Clarke CE340, which can handle engines up to 340Kg (V990 = 65Kg). This stand allows the engine to be rotated 360º and locked off at 45º increments.
The adapter only took a few days to arrive. It was well packaged and the paint finish and welding all appear to be decent quality. The engine stand took a few days longer to arrive, but to be fair it was ordered later! Assembly took about 30 minutes with a crafty tea-break thrown in. This of course, is all well and good …. however the engine has to be lifted about 1.5m into the air to get it into the adapter, and that’s no easy task at nearly 70Kg.
Thank goodness there is an electric workshop hoist to hand – rated at 150Kg/300Kg capacity. This is mounted to a cross-beam in the workshop and is more than capable of lifting the engine nicely into place, especially when using the 300Kg setting as this reduces the raise/lower speed by half – handy when trying to jiggle a bolt into position. Of course It also comes in rather useful for doing other bike related tasks as well!
Further to the last post about accessing the Caponord ECU, I have added a couple of new pages under the ‘Aprilia Caponord Rally-Raid / ECU’ drop-down in the menu. A further page will be written shortly I hope. Apologies if they seem to ramble somewhat, but a terrible week, a stint in hospital and some rather strong pain meds have left me a little tired and woolly-headed. But I needed to get this stuff down before I forgot it all again!
I guess I also need to say that although I’m 100% for innovation, curiosity and experimentation ….. if you do decide to experiment with your own ECU and ultimately turn it into a rather decorative door-stop, please do not come running in this direction! The info I provide is not verified and could quite easily have typos – make sure you are 100% confident about what you are doing and that you thoroughly understand the consequences if you get in too deep. If you are unsure about something then feel free to drop me a line …. I’ll happily try to assist.