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Old 05-03-2004, 02:29 PM   #1
GuinnesS OP
Studly Adventurer
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Joined: Apr 2004
Oddometer: 785
Project 2005 Gs/pd Lets Build A Bike!!

So the madness has a firm hold on me and I find myself the new owner of a 95 GS/PD classic. She is almost stock, aside from a corbin solo and some brandx fog lights, and as such,I see this as a white canvas ready to be painted.
I would welcome any 'brush strokes' to this project that would enhance; drivability(performance and handling), long distance comfort (Mexico from SoCal)), and reliability(70k+mls presently).
With the vast number of third party improvements available today, and the many years these 'mods' have been field tested, I am keen to hear your findings regarding your choice of gear (Ie. WP or Fox or Ohlins or Penske or etc...). I also realize that all things in life are a compromise so if you could give your reasonings for your particular choices, these would be invaluable.
I look forward to hearing your $0.02 and hope that this might turn into a project that will of intertest to others in the future. I will not be receiving the bike for a couple of weeks but as soon as she arrives I will proudly post some mugshots. She is Black and Chrome, ay chihuahua!

GuinnesS screwed with this post 05-03-2004 at 02:48 PM Reason: spellin
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Old 05-03-2004, 03:14 PM   #2
Nomadic Man
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Joined: Jul 2001
Location: Somewhere out there
Oddometer: 3,895
I don't know shit and

I've never owned an airhead so I'm speaking from no experience, but I'm in the market for a PD myself so this is what I'd do.

I'd upgrade the suspension: Ohlins in the rear and Progressive fork springs.
I'd upgrade the front brake: Harrison 6 pot and associated items.
I'd upgrade the electrics: Omega system or whatever is best.
I'd upgrade the shaft: Rebuildable with zirks.
I'd upgrade the lighting. maybe HID
I'd upgrade to Jesse luggage for the long haul.
Then I'd ride the bike to figure out the minor stuff.
You asked for $0.02 and that's mine.
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Old 05-03-2004, 03:18 PM   #3
GuinnesS OP
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I am $0.02 the richer!
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Old 05-03-2004, 04:27 PM   #4
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Feb 2002
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
Oddometer: 3,202
Originally Posted by jkam
I've never owned an airhead so I'm speaking from no experience,
Well, I've owned several...
I'd upgrade the suspension: Ohlins in the rear and Progressive fork springs.
Anything's better than stock. PS springs help up front, but only some--certainly, on that lardass PD you'll need'em.

I'd upgrade the front brake: Harrison 6 pot and associated items.
Unless you race or weigh 300 lbs, the stock Brembo is fine, especially off pavement. Skinny front tire limits braking more than the brake. The master cyl sucks worse than the caliper.

I'd upgrade the electrics: Omega system or whatever is best.
Don't know about Omega. Motorrad Elektrik has rewound rotors that last. More capacity is just gonna uncover the next weakness. Whose idea was it to put a board fulla diodes inside the engine cover?

I'd upgrade the shaft: Rebuildable with zirks.
You really gonna ever grease that? Lots of alternatives. Bruno. Factory.

I'd upgrade the lighting. maybe HID
A 55/100w H4 will work. Far better than stock, though that's faint praise. HID certainly seems to be the latest/greatest. Especially for the lame-ass airhead charging system.

I'd upgrade to Jesse luggage
Never used Jesses. Would love to, I'm sure. I've met the man, seemed a good fella, the kind you'd like to have make yer luggage.

Tons of little things to do, to make maintenance convenient, to fix little vulnerabilities. But mostly, stock is best. Stock is always best, except when it's not. Ya really can't change a GS much in big ways; just lots of little stuff. After ten years, I realized the stuff that really bugged me about were big things, things that meant building a custom bike to change. So I sold it.

Oh, and it took reading Ricky's essays here to realize that the bars SUCK. Wait, the pegs suck, too, get metal ones. Big diff.

Have fun.
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Old 05-04-2004, 03:53 PM   #5
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Joined: Jun 2003
Location: a small drinking village with a fishing problem
Oddometer: 1,349
Nice bike you got there - after my ' 92 PD I like the ' 95 classics the best. Here's my $.02:

I think the best upgrade for these bikes is suspension - progressive springs and 10wt oil in front, Ohlins or Works shock in back - you'll have a new ride you won't believe. Stock suspension on them is like a ' 63 Cadillac (with '63 springs). I've got ~ 18K on a Works rear and it's great, covers the whole range from 2-up camp-touring off the slab to solo commuting, with adjustment range to spare on each end. Cheaper and easier to find than an Ohlin last time I checked (though Ohlins distribution has improved alot since, mostly targetting the oilhead market though). Given that you're in Hawaii, you may or may not need the extra juice of an Omega 400W alternator to run heated clothing, lights and such, but it is a well-built setup and easy to install; at least don't discount it based on Stephen's concerns, they come with their own much beefier diode board, and heavier copies of every other connecting wire in there as well. If you stay stock, buy a spare rotor and the tool to replace it right away, along with the 'classic boxer charging' book, all from Motorad Elektrik, and carry them with you if you travel far - Rick Jones at Motorad is your friend, get to know him, he is a walking encyclopedia on the electrics for these bikes and sells good stuff. No matter what, DO get some kind of on-board voltmeter - otherwise a dead battery is something you will be sure to discover when it's most inconvenient. Stock lighting is weak - get the brighter bulb, and carry the stock as a spare. Hang a pair of your favorite aux lights on it, whatever suits your style and locale. I've got PIAA 1200's cuz they're low draw (got 'em long before the Omega) and have a medium-range beam that can be aimed low to stay on all the time, augmenting the pathetic low-beam in traffic without offending anyone; yellow is easier on drivers' eyes at night and more conspicuous in daytime too.
This bike's two real achilles heels are the aforementioned alternator rotor, and the drive shaft - unless you're prepping for a long trip elsewhere, Hawaii is small enough you'll get home if it starts to go - just spin your back wheel in neutral once a week or so and see if it's smooth. Any notchiness is a bad sign, and if you leave it go all the way you may hurt your tranny bearing too. Mine went bad at exactly the median age of 35K. Don't replace it with another stock shaft, there are a number of better options available - Oak of Airheads fame is developing some CV-joint shafts, had pics in last month's Airmail - they may be available for sale by the time you need one. I've got a rebuilt from Eric Demant in Germany, has grease zerks on it. I'm about to open 'er up to do the splines (every other year or so), and will grease the joints at the same time. He says it oughta go 100K or so; that'll take me awhile.

Strip the 'pure air system' off the motor (those ugly tubes that come off the motor and go into the air box) - they don't do much, just cause vacuum leaks that are hard to trace, look bad dangling down there, make it harder to clean if you're into that, and cause the valves to run hotter than they should. See either the Airheads or IBMWR websites for a good writeup and a complete parts list on how to do this.

What else? A front brake upgrade is the last thing I plan to do on my bike; I tried to get a Harrison for mine last fall and discovered the american distributor, CBT imports, bailed on Harrison last year; e-mailed Harrison direct and didn't get a reply so blew the cash on the Omega, then they replied months later and offered to ship me one, but it was very pricey alone plus $55 shipping via their 'only option', so wait for a good exchange rate if you wanna go that route. I'm now looking into fitting a 4-pot caliper from a newer BMW, or even from some jap bikes; you will need to build an adapter bracket, but it's probably half the price of a Harrison. Larger rotors are reported to be good; but it means scavenging the core from your stock rotor to mount it, and if it's bent (and the guy who sells these MAP rotors stopped exchanging cuz most are) you'll need to buy a new stock rotor (~$200 min.), scrap the disk, AND pay the ~$300 or so for the bigger roter (which comes with a machined bracket for your stock caliper). I'm still running stock, and have long believe what Stephen said here, that the limiting factor is the small front tire - but having felt the brakes on Jabba's 03 GSA, I now know what I'm missing. Will probably at least get a braided hose soon. As for rear brake, not alot of options - I just switched back to stock shoes in the rear drum, had EBC's in there for 2 years and they sucked. Stock is much stronger.

A set of Ricky bars would be the icing on the cake.

Enjoy your project, and post pics!! Over in the ' ride reports' forum there is a thread right now called 'what shape is your PD in' - so let's see yours!
- Gringo

"I mean seriously, what is funnier than Helen Keller" - Mutineer

"Ah, yes, Greasing the nipples is really the cure all for a whole host of ailments." - Stagehand
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Old 05-05-2004, 12:51 AM   #6
GuinnesS OP
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Great stuff! It seems most people recommend suspension and front brakes. When you say the stock shocks are like a '63 Cadillac, does this mean it has great highway comfort? Can't say I' ve ever had the pleasure of riding in a 60's Cadillac.
This bike will be kept on the mainland in central California and has yet to make its way there from Daytona, so I am very interested in all matters relating to distance riding with this bike.
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Old 05-05-2004, 06:31 AM   #7
Rubber Cow
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Joined: Jul 2001
Location: Aloha... yes, Aloha, Oregon
Oddometer: 5,345
I currently own a '92 PD that I ride/rode off road quite a bit.
I weigh 200 lbs and have done the following mods:
-Rear Ohlins from PPS Racing in SoCal dialed for rider weigh and riding style
-Front Suspension: Race Tech cartridge emulator with stock springs: MUCH better than progressives alone. Increased fork oil weight to 10 or 15. Huge difference off road and under severe/hard braking.
-Front brake: Harrison 6-pot with MAP 300mm rotor, Stainless line and Galfer Green pads. Stops unlike any other airhead I've ridden. Any good 4 pot brake would be better than stock.
-Rear Brake: Wudo inverted actuator lever...keeps it away from the rocks
-Lowered custom footpegs
-Transmission:Wudo taller 5th gear with output shaft cir-clip
-Piaa 40 drvin lights-Use sparingly
-LED Tailight bulb- Always cary a spare on a airhead or get an LED.
-Bars/Ergo:Touratech 25mm bar risers
-Pair fo extra wheels with MAP rotor and Pirelli MT-21 Knobby tires for off-road

What I'd like to do from this point/wish list

-Omega 400 Watt charging system: They've been out for some time now and have proven their reliability over the stock system
-Ricky Bars and risers
-Touratech Road book/map holder with additional Rally tach, speedo and odometers.
-Chromoly Subframe- take a few more lbs off.

That's my $.02 so now you've got what $.04?
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