Looking for a good MOTORCYCLE mechanic

I have an FZ II: the model before the FZR. The engine is basically the same except that the FZR’s is liquid cooled. The FZR also has a back disc. I got the FZ instead because I preferred the slightly more upright riding position.

It was ten years old when I got it (for 15,000NT) but since then I have put maybe 35-40,000NT into it: complete engine rebuild, fork and front brake renovation, new back shock, starter motor and other bits and bobs, a gel saddle, decent tyres and many other things.

It handles very well but is underpowered. Resale value is probably nothing like the money I have put into it.

So I would ask you, do you really love the bike and want to continue using it for a couple of years? If not, it might not be worth putting money into serious improvements and you might be better to either fix it up just enough to keep it running OK or sell it and get something else.

My bloke that I’ve been going to for 10 years has the workshop manuals. He’s not cheap (he’s not expensive either - this isn’t London). He doesn’t suffer from the arse/elbow recognition problem most “mechanics” here have . If you ride it to the limits cheap fixes will kill you.

For an engine “rebuild” you’ll need piston heads and sleeves - figure about ten grand at least. The parts are expensive and it’s a time consuming job. It’s hardly worth it. The only way to get your compression ratio back up. Not worth it for me. Mine rattles but still handles well. Do the brakes and get some Dunlop tyres. My bike is still in reasonable fettle because it’s had very frequent oil changes of the best oil I can get. But if you’re a hooligan tyres and brakes are the best place to spend your money.

yeah joesax, my bike’s liquid cooled and has the single rear disc. The riding position on the FZR is most definitely uncomfortable, too much weight on my wrists, actually that’s one of the things I’d like to change about it.

35-40k sounds like a lot, but from what I’ve seen in Taiwan, that won’t buy you the kind of ride which you now have…(gel saddle? nice!). For me it’s all about getting the bike you want, for less than having to buy a newer, more expensive, less personalized one.

I’ve already put close to 20k on mine down in I-lan just for engine repairs, electrical work, a new rear shock, new brakes and calipers all round, I’m kinda already in this thing…so I figure it’s best to finish the job properly you know?

You’re right, it is underpowered, but imo, anything under 600cc is not a “real” bike anyway. I just want to get the most out of the little thing. And I have to admit, it is fun to ride! :unamused:

Hexuan, you’re right the cheap fixes were killing me…it’s become clear that either you fix it up nice and proper, or just toss it and get a new one. Unfortunately, I don’t speak chinese well enough to deal with this scenario. So, an english speaking mech is a must. I’ll probably go ahead with the piston head / sleeve “rebuild,” some cosmetic replacement, and definitely new fatter rubber. She also needs new wiring harnesses, and a few bits and pieces here and there (like a gel saddle!). I figure on budgeting about 20-25k max for everything…

btw I’m curious as to just how much those 2nd hand FZ250’s are. I hear Insurance and registration are killer for anything over 150cc here on Formosa…

Justin, the handlebars on your bike are of the ‘clip-on’ type, aren’t they? My friend told me that a company in the UK sells clip-on handlebars which rise up a couple of inches. That could make the riding position more comfortable. PM me if you’re seriously interested and would like me to find out more.

The gel saddle was not really that expensive. It’s a guy in Taichung who makes them I think. It really makes a big difference – you know how the stock seat tends to put pressure on the vital parts!
I’m probably going to get the rear seat on my bike done this way as well, so if you like I could inquire about a saddle for you.

Insurance and registration is not too bad for a 250, it’s just the price of the bike itself you have to think about. AFAIK the two most common 250s here are the Honda Hornet ($250,000NT+) and the Kymco Venox ($180,000NT).

I also liked the sound of an FZ250, but I would be rather surprised if any legal second hand 250s were available at a reasonable price. That’s because for any bike to be road legal, it has go through the whole mechanical testing and licencing procedure, which is prohibitively expensive for any individual for any vehicle. It is really something that is done by manufacturers, and as I don’t think Yamaha are making an FZ250 still, they would have no reason to go through the approval procedure. I might be wrong.

hey sax, yes, my handlebars are the clip-on type, and yes again, replacing them for a more comfy ride is a priority. Thanks for the info on that. I’d love to hear more.

It’s in the same spirit of comfiness that I’d also be into gel for both the front and rear (for my gf, awww :wink: ) Back home I was really smitten with the Suzuki Katana 750. A sport bike for the road, not the track. Mind you, I’m under no illusions that this little FZR’s gonna become a touring monster, esp. with a pillion on board, but I’d like to be able to ride for an hour or more without going numb!

Arrgh! 250k for a honda 250??? Outrageous. For not much more, u could most likely pick up a used bike (like say, a nice throaty VMax) at home and import it!

Justin, I’ll ask my friend about the handlebars and my mechanic about the gel saddles.

[quote=“Justin”]I’m under no illusions that this little FZR’s gonna become a touring monster, esp. with a pillion on board, but I’d like to be able to ride for an hour or more without going numb![/quote]I took my Mum around central and north Taiwan on the FZ, fully loaded up with top box, tank bag and panniers. It went surprisingly well. I put some photos and stories here:
mcttw.tripod.com/north_taiwan.htm

For Plasmatron’s useful post on the import process, see here:
[forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopic.ph … 324#112324](Motorcycle touring
It seems complicated anyway: I think importing a second-hand bike could be even more difficult. But if it all worked out OK you could save some money. Maybe the 250s Hexuan was talking about were imported this way – less expensive than I remembered.

It was one of the mechanics at Bike Farm that was telling me about them…

hey thanks for that joesax. WOW! that trip you went on with your Mom was pretty cool…i couldn’t believe it, esp. when i remember the vibration, wrist pain, and prostate pounding i took driving around the same area, just getting to work!! I specifically remember a little trip I took last year to Taipingshan with my gf on board. Only an hour from my house, and by the time we got there, all I could think about was just how cool it would be to throw “this little tiny piece of $%&!|” off the summit.

Your bike looks like that Yamaha “Breeze” they have here. Is that what they call the FZ here? All loaded up like that, I can hardly believe it’s a 150! Good on ya!

Plasmatron’s post was very useful inasmuch as I can see how difficult this whole motorcycle thing can get. All the more reason to fix up my current ride methinks. However, like you said, if it all worked out, you could end up with a really nice ride (I’m thinking VMax here) for less money than it costs to buy a local 250. Crazy!

Justin,

Jeremy is overseas at the moment, but will be back later this week. You’re more than welcome to come in and tell us exactly what you want done to your bike. Or if you want to go somewhere else, we’ll be more than happy to translate over the phone for you.

Regarding your questions so far, 20-25k is not going to get you a complete mechanical and cosmetic rebuild. At the very least you’ll be looking at spending that on reconditioning the frame & rims, new farings, cables, handlebars, tyres and the other ‘little’ things that make bikes beautiful. If we did everything you want done to your bike for 25k, we’d more or less be breaking even. It seems though, that you have already spent a good deal of money on the bike, meaning that your budget may indeed be reasonable. I can’t say for certain however, because I haven’t seen it.

FZ250s are available, and excess insurance payments can be avoided because, well, mechanics aren’t the only ones who don’t know their arse from their elbow (Bikefarm staff excluded) in Taiwan, cops are even worse when it comes to identifying what is and what is not over 150cc. I’d recommend you have a go at repairing the bike you have first though, since an FZ250 is not going to come cheap, although it is possible to find legal, registered ones. Yamaha Japan still produces them I believe, so they do come into the country.

The gel saddle sounds like a good idea. If you can get it, go for it. Yamaha was making a thicker saddle for a while, but the last time I tried to order one (last week) they claimed that they were no longer producing them. The way that we’ve found to help those people with bruised genitals is to custom-pack the saddle out with three times the foam. This seems to help, but I can’t vouch for how it looks when the same is done to the rear pad.

-Dave :smiley:

[quote=“Justin”]hey thanks for that joesax. WOW! that trip you went on with your Mom was pretty cool…I couldn’t believe it, esp. when I remember the vibration, wrist pain, and prostate pounding I took driving around the same area, just getting to work!![/quote]Cheers Justin. Well the wrist and seat issues are not so bad for me because of the gel saddle and higher bars. I will look into those for you – can’t promise anything but I’ll see what I can find out.

[quote=“Justin”]Your bike looks like that Yamaha “Breeze” they have here. Is that what they call the FZ here? All loaded up like that, I can hardly believe it’s a 150! Good on ya![/quote]It is the “Breeze”. I think the letter designation is FZ150 II, at least that’s what my mechanic calls it, although I’ve also seen it called FZ150N. There was an older model FZ150 made at one time. I’ve seen a couple around but I forget the exact differences. Not much – some cosmetic stuff around the belly pan I think.

You’re right, it is a big-looking bike although it’s fundamentally the same as yours. It’s also quite heavy, probably mostly due to the engine. Do you find your bike to be heavy? I’ve only ridden an FZR once and can’t remember.

[quote=“Justin”]Plasmatron’s post was very useful inasmuch as I can see how difficult this whole motorcycle thing can get. All the more reason to fix up my current ride methinks. However, like you said, if it all worked out, you could end up with a really nice ride (I’m thinking VMax here) for less money than it costs to buy a local 250. Crazy![/quote]Don’t forget that for any bike over 250cc you’d have to have a big bike rider’s licence prior to importing it and the registration and insurance would be more expensive.

Personally, I’d be content with a reasonable 250 and it would save a lot of hassles.

Do you live in Ilan? Must be some nice rides around there. Posters Sandman, Michael J Botti and others have written about good routes in north Taiwan. I hope I can go back to that area and do some more riding and exploring before long.

Have you been on the Suao - Hualien road along Chingshui cliffs? It’s spectacular and well worth doing although the traffic can be nasty sometimes.

The FZ is heavy. The problem at the moment is that there’s nothing new between the FZ and a 400cc commuter bike or even a 600cc sports bike. If, like me, you can’t afford the 350-odd grand for a Honda CB400, you might like to look at having a complete rebuild done on your FZ150. They’re alright. The CB250 (or whatever it is, the miniature Hornet) has an awfully low seat, not an option for me.

The FZ pointlessly is a V-twin. What about a single cylinder 250 or 350 with a rear monoshock and which can be leant over, for reasonable money ? Can’t be had.

[quote=“hexuan”]If, like me, you can’t afford the 350-odd grand for a Honda CB400, you might like to look at having a complete rebuild done on your FZ150. They’re alright.[/quote]I had the complete engine rebuild last summer and it is alright. I give most things a run for their money.

You, my mechanic and a couple of other people all advise me to hang onto the bike and enjoy it. I should probably save my money, stop dreaming and be content with what I’ve got.

[quote=“hexuan”]The CB250 (or whatever it is, the miniature Hornet) has an awfully low seat, not an option for me.

The FZ pointlessly is a V-twin. What about a single cylinder 250 or 350 with a rear monoshock and which can be leant over, for reasonable money?[/quote]Looking back at another thread, I see I posted that Honda VTR250s are $220,000NT at the Gochen shop in Taichung. Now that’s still a lot of money but it might be worth keeping an eye open for second-hand ones a year or so down the line.

The VTR250 does have a monoshock, and has had very good reviews all round. The seat height is 780 mm (30.7 inches) as opposed to the Hornet’s 760 mm (29.9 inches). It’s a V-twin, but has the best alignment – 90 degrees meaning a nice low centre of gravity. I think the FZ’s cylinders are only 45 degrees apart and as you know it’s a bit top-heavy.

bikez.com/bike/index.php?bike=20167

Why would you buy anything over 150CC with a one cylicnder engine… I assume when people here are refering to a V twin they mean a 2 cylinder V head ?

Anything over 125cc with a one cyclinder engine can not be that good

Hey Dave, thanks for the line. Yeah, I’m very much interested in turning this little machine into a ride that I enjoy looking at as well as riding for long stretches on the weekend. I feel as though I might as well see it through and enjoy it for what it is: a small cool mini-sport bike with excellent handling. Also, the “little things” (pegs, paint, cables, recon rims, fairings…) are a bit of an issue given that these are all stock and the bike’s now getting on in years & kms. “Making bikes beautiful” ahhh, a man who understands. I’ve been trying to sell that perspective to my gf for years. Nowadays, she just smiles and look at me with that vacant half-awake kind of expression that “boy-things” always bestow upon women…anyway. Where was I? Paint, fatter rubber, some replacement wiring, and a little front end work…also have to raise the compression…

I’d like to bring it around, say in a couple of weeks, after I get settled into Taipei a bit. Sounds like you’re at Bikefarm right? Methinks that I can make a real nice ride out of this one, for much less than 1/4 the cost of a 250. It’s just not worth the effort imo, if you’re under 600cc at the end anyway.

As for the gel saddle. Aren’t there any other aftermarket firms besides Yamaha that supply them for the ubiquitous Asian mini-FZR? Yiou’d think the same would hold for fairings, pipes (obviously), and other bits…Again, thanx for checking that joesax.

I find the FZR to be very light and “flicky”. You just tap lightly countersteering, and slide your hips, lower the knee (just a little)…there’s not much that you’d consider to be a tight turn in that position. It’s a fun ride in that sense. Great braking and handling. I used to teach in Luodong and Suao, so that was my weekend riding area all last year. Lots of big bikes go zooming around on those roads, nice and twisty. They drive 'em just like scooters though. Crazy to watch! A few times I cringed watching these big Hayabusas and Fireblades taking the “middle lane” at over 100km/h cuz the other two happened to be uhh…“occupied”.

But that area’s a rider’s dream for sure…

[quote=“TNT”]Anything over 125cc with a one cyclinder engine can not be that good[/quote]What can you mean? The 250 trailie my brother rented in Thailand was very ‘good’ and those BMW 650 singles are no doubt several times ‘better’. Now, multicylinder bikes have different power output characteristics to singles. Singles generally have smooth power over a wide range, but are not very ‘revvy’. (Two-stroke engines are an exception to this because they are very different altogether).

Multicylinder bikes can rev faster, more easily and hence produce more power. This may be due to the fact that their smaller, lighter parts (I mean for a given total cc capacity as compared to a single) can speed up quicker. This latter part is speculation based on a chat I had with my brother. Anyway, the higher power output of multis is why you no longer see any single cylinder racing bikes. But that by no means signifies that big singles are ‘no good’. Do a web search for ‘thumper’ and you’ll see what I mean.

V-twin is a V-twin. Open the link in my last post and you’ll see a bike with a V-twin engine.

I used to have a Yamaha 500cc single. Fucking great bike.

A single cylinder 500?? Never heard of such an animal. Weird. What model was it? How did it ride?

Can’t remember the model. It was in the late 70s/early 80s. It was a long-stroke “thumper” built kind of retro-Brit style that I bought to replace my BSA 500, also a long stroke single.
The Yamaha rode very well AFAIR and could just about climb cliffs. Bitch to get started sometimes though and a pretty low top speed.
There used to be loads and loads of 500 singles – BSA, Matchless, AJS, I think even Triumph might have had one.
I’d have another in a heartbeat if I could.

That would have been the SR500, street version of the XT500 off-raod bike. We used to call it the heel-breaker :wink:

Indeed it was. Mine looked almost the same as the one below except it was midnight blue and had a straight pipe, clip-ons and a single seat. Boy was it
L-O-U-D!

Big thumpers rule!