Winter Bike Modifications Part 2 – Pimping The 675
So I left her in the garage gathering dust while the mighty 7r continued to give reliable service in its stead.
Recently, in a fit of enthusiasm and after years of nagging by friends and family I dragged Adz along to breath some life back into the beast which he did – a screwdriver rammed into the solenoid and some churning of the engine and she was back with a roar.
All that remained was for me to throw some trick bits at her to make her feel loved, then go out and rag the wotsits off her.
So I turned to the lovely chaps at Speedycom.co.uk for said trick bits; new levers, rear-sets (well the brake pedal was bent!) and whatever else fell within budget.
Shortly after my phone call the following landed via courier:
Bonamici Racing rear-sets in black
Pazzo short racing levers in black with gold adjusters
TechSpec Gripster C3 tank pads
I booked a trip to see Adz in his workshop garage just in case I got stuck part way through the installation but also because taking photos is easier when someone else is doing the work!
So, in order of simplicity; first up are the tank pads:
TechSpec Gripster C3 Tank Pads
These are black rubber pads which you stick on the sides of your tank and grip with your knees while riding; particularly when braking.
In ‘normal’ riding this means you don’t slide back and forth under braking and acceleration (especially handy if carrying a pillion) so progress is smoother. On the track it can also mean more weight over the back wheel while braking allowing it to contribute more with reducing your speed, plus while cornering you can grip with your outside knee for more stability while leant over.
All of which is great, but for me the deciding factor was that I’d already worn through Triumph’s micro-thin paint finish (all about the weight saving apparently…..) with my knees so I knew these were important to have.
The most well known tank pad supplier is Stomp and fine products they appear to be – I’ve talked to racers who testify to the difference such items have made to their riding – but I’m not sold on their looks (like old bath mats) nor what their aggressive surface does to your kit (wears holes in it, esp textiles).
The TechSpecs come in High Fusion (a general purpose and very thin grippy pad), Snake Skin (the thickest at 0.125” for heavy duty use) and C3 as the ultimate pad being 0.1” thick but with the most grip of the three. All TechSpec pads come with re-usable adhesive backings too, so they can be carefully peeled off and remounted – something I’ll be doing shortly as I attached them before trying the bike with the rear-sets in place.
Attaching them is simple: clean the tank sides with the supplied alcohol wipes, align the pad, peel the backing off as you lay the pad on the tank. Removing is a case of getting your finger nail under an edge then gently easing the pad off.
In use the pads are great, unobtrusive but grippy even in textiles (although with the amount of play in textiles their effect is dulled somewhat) while their smooth surface doesn’t tear at your trousers. They look fine with a slightly textured surface and discreet logo. You can also order a central pad, which I really should have done although I was intending to find a snazzy Triumph one someday (hello NEC).
I think these are great accessories for anyone who rides a bike with a vaguely sporty riding position. I’m not sure they’ll have a huge influence on your riding while aboard a GS or a Pan European although their protective properties still apply. I did ride to France with a pillion on my ZX-7R and that experience would have been a whole lot more enjoyable if I’d had TechSpec pads on it.
LB Score 9/10 - Pure racers might want the absolute grip offered by the rougher Stomp pads but for the rest of us (who have to pay for our suit trousers) these are a less obtrusive option.
Pazzo are legends in the aftermarket lever business, and I’d say they are one of the most desirable accessories about. Speedycom are the official importer of Pazzo levers which are used by a long list of racers in all production based competitions around the World – from Gino Rea in WSS to Ian Lougher on the road racing scene.
Standard levers from virtually all manufactures are ugly clumsy looking things and I couldn’t wait to get rid of those on the Triumph which I swear are made from melted down school cutlery. For such a delicate and sublime machine it looked like it was wearing a bigger bike’s levers.
Pazzo levers come in different sizes and types; we have folding levers – jointed along the arm to avoid snapping off if you crash – levers for Brembo master cylinders if you want to upgrade the whole handlebar assembly, and the standard replacement parts in both long and short versions.
I chose short versions for the 675, in black with gold adjusters to match the gold forks. They are short because they really only accommodate 2 fingers comfortably or three at a squeeze (if you’ve concert pianist’s digits). For the old 7R I’d have gone with the longer versions because it has so little braking strength these days it needs a good pull on the lever whereas the lighter and stronger braking 675 is very two-finger friendly.
How are they Different?
Pazzo make their levers from CNC machined 6061-T6 billet aluminium to precise tolerances, they have stainless steel fasteners and cadium plated custom made springs – in other words they’re going to stay good looking pretty much forever while being quite a bit lighter than standard. Levers aren’t normally parts you get to hold off the bike and I was surprised just how heavy, in comparison, the stock ones were.
They are fully adjustable while on the move, though the sensible amongst us won’t need to faff on at every traffic light, but if you are in the middle of a trackday session and your brakes start going-off you will appreciate being able to adjust the brake lever quickly and accurately via the roller-cam mounted adjustment lever on top. This is far more accurate and positive than the lift and twist adjuster on most stock levers.
To install they are very straightforward. The brake lever is removed by releasing the hinge pin and pushing out the inner sleeve which releases the stock lever. To attach the Pazzo lever simply repeat the process in reverse: align the lever, slot in the sleeve and then the locking bolt and nut. The clutch lever is a little more intense as there is the clutch cable to remove; we adjusted all the slack into the clutch as possible before removing the original lever with it attached, transferred it to the new lever, re-assembled and tightened the clutch cable to the appropriate tension. This is something you’d do anyway as the reach on the Pazzo is different, so the clutch cable would need re-tensioning which ever way you go about installing the new lever.
The internet is also invaluable here – there are plenty of forums with ‘how to’ guides and pictures of each step, some better than others and even if you can’t find one for your bike trust me when I say brake and clutch set ups are pretty similar on all bikes.
In use they are a delight. Well, actually the bike changes gear as before and stops as before (they are only the levers after all) but cosmetically they look fantastic and really pimp the bike no end. Because of their size and relationship to the bars I think I can reach them easier and certainly riding with a finger on the brake lever is more comfortable than before.
As expected these are the bee’s knees. Your bike will look so much better for them and it is money well spent simply because of that. They come in all manner of colours from the unpleasant to the innocuous so there’s something for everyone.
Adz tells me that the cheap imitation ones, especially those from China which abound on Ebay, are plain nasty and best avoided. Cheap metals and rubbish fit mean you are best sticking with stock if you can’t afford the real deal – you don’t want your front brake lever snapping loose under stress do you now?
LB Verdict - 10/10
Next instalment - the Bonamici rear-sets which turned out to need a feature all to themselves.