Trav and I took major advantage of our time together over the holiday break! We easily spent more than 40 hours beginning to rebuild our 2018 Yamaha YZ125.
Although he has years of experience maintaining and modifying dirt bikes, this is the first complete bike build for both of us.
To simply the process, Trav broke the bike down to it’s frame before I arrived in Houston (thanks babe!).
On the first day, we:
- Began to surface clean aluminums parts (frame, subframe and swing arm)
- Plugged the holes
- Sprayed with simple green
- Pressure washed the parts
- Removed the triple clamp from frame and steering column
- Cleaned and greased bearings on pivot and swing arm
- Began to wipe down the engine with scotch-brite, cleaned electrical connections and wires
- and cleaned the airbox (not a bad view!)
On the second day, we:
- Polished all of the aluminum
- degreased with a penetrating spray
- scrubbed by hand or drill with a scotch-brite pad (red or green) to bring the shine back
- sanded with a block to regain a consistent grain and also to maximize shine
- spray and wipe with contact cleaner to remove scotch-brite dust
- Completely cleaned engine, radiator, brake calipers, steering column and triple clamps
And I needed a wine break because that took 8 hours.
On the third day, we:
- Applied graphics (huge shout out to Split Designs Co for coming up with such a rad set) to the plastics using the wet method
- Create a spray mix (80% water, a few pumps of dish soap and 20% rubbing alcohol)
- To begin, wipe down plastic with rubbing alcohol to make sure it’s clean from all residue and debris
- Coat the adhesive side of graphics and the plastics with spray mix
- Once you’ve got them where you want them, use a blow dryer in constant motion to ensure a good stick
It took 8 hours to apply the full graphics kit. That being said, you should know that it was my first time and I am also the most particular person on the planet. However, they look amazing. Zero air bubbles!
- Remounted the engine
- Replaced the factory ignition cover with a Luxon MX Billet Aluminum Ignition Cover
On the fourth day (New Year’s Eve), we:
- Installed Lectron carburetor / features:
- Automatically compensates for elevation, temperature, and humidity
- Creates smooth, consistent, and predictable power
- Produces more HP, TQ, and better fuel economy
- Attached subframe, steering column, handlebar and grips
- Installed airbox, front fender, rear fender and side panels (mainly for astetics – to get a feel for the look of the bike!)
- Installed new air filter (thanks for teaching me the way Taylor!)
- Mounted and connected electrical wires
- Clutch cable
- Kill switch cable
Trav’s brother, Taylor, helped us out with the electrical routes. It was fun to make it family time! We also thought it was very necessary to gear up in our jerseys. Love these boys.
On the fifth day, we:
- Attached the radiator, new white hoses and louvers
- Attached the pipe (we loved the Bill’s pipe that came with the bike and wanted to keep it!)
- I did restore some of it’s original brilliance by spraying with simple green, scrubbing with a WD-40 soaked scotch-brite pad (blue) and wiping with contact cleaner to remove dust
- Added oil to the engine
- Added coolant to the radiator
- Pre-mixed gas with oil (40:1 ratio) and filled up the tank
- Installed the remaining plastics
- Installed the custom-made Thrillseekers seat cover
- STARTED THE BIKE!
We are still waiting on a few things and have a some work left to do, but we have completed a huge chunk of it. We had a ton of fun. As you can imagine, we learned so much about ourselves, each other and our bike. It’s been the coolest experience.
Currently waiting on:
- Swing arm to be powder coated black (after I left Houston, Trav removed the oil seal and bearings to prep)
- Custom black fuel tank from Clarke Mfg.
- Black elite clutch perch and thumbwheel from Works Connection
- Suspension from Factory Connection
- New gear shift (OEM)
- Back tire (Dunlop Geomax MX33 Rear Tire 110/90-19)
- 10mm wider than the stock tires
- Will provide superior grip, slide control, bump absorption and enhanced durability
- Performance link (Ride Engineering)
- Bike will feel more balanced and predictable
- 1.5mm longer arm than stock stiffens the initial part of the stroke for better control
- Lowers the bike 5mm
Once we have all of the pieces to this beautiful puzzle, we will assemble the bike. Can’t wait to bring the 501 to life!
Update: the pieces have arrived and it’s go-time!
The black powder coated swing arm looks amazing!
That black custom gas tank by Clarke Mfg. is everything I dreamed of and was so necessary for the kit!
Update: We finally finished the bike!
The final checklist was:
- Clean grease off swingarm
- Install rear linkage
- Clean rear wheel
- Install rear wheel
- Shifter bolt
- Front brake caliper/ route cable (which we initially did wrong by wrapping around the outside of the fork guard– it should go inside the fork guard!)
- Clean rear brake caliper
- Assemble rear brake caliper/ route cable
- Set rear shock sag
- Refill brake fluid and bleed front and rear brake lines (this took an hour and a half and several youtube videos and forum searches– bottom line, leave the diaphragm in, learn about the banjo bolt and vacuum if possible!)
- Replace oil drain bolt washer
- Refill with gas, kick, braaap!
The 501 is now complete!
The bike feels amazing! Easy kick start, great idle, smooth throttle, comfortable ride. I still have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. I can’t believe how beautiful it is! Building that bike with Trav was one of my all-time favorite experiences!