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I have always likened the BB to an Aston DB9 or Ferrari 550 or 575. A very fast, but understated, high speed touring machine. Nothing flashy about it. It just looks right! And goes about the job it was designed for with no fuss or fanfare.
 

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Discussion Starter #23 (Edited)
I have always likened the BB to an Aston DB9 or Ferrari 550 or 575. A very fast, but understated, high speed touring machine. Nothing flashy about it. It just looks right! And goes about the job it was designed for with no fuss or fanfare.
Hehe. I can sort of relate to that. To me, it looks all business. Understated coolness. Looking at modern bikes I find them too spikey and multi-coloured. Modern, but not so easy on the eye. Only one thing will I ever envy the owners of Kawasaki bikes; that shimmering, wonderful green lustre paintwork. I'm a sucker for candy colours!

On to yesterday's form/function-test.
Parking lot maneuvering reveals a big and sort of nose-heavy ferry-like behaviour and a reasonable turning radius. This will not be a problem with experience, but it sure is a far cry from the CB500! Also, first gear is waaay up high. I expected that to some extent, but nonetheless I could imagine steep uphill starts being a challenge. Or am I just a baby?
Slow cruise has me putting some strain on my wrists. Fairing/tank fits as if custom-tailored for me personally, albeit this particular bike emanated bodywork resonance sounds that surprised me. Apart from the wrist strain the bike feels comfortable, trust-inspiring and planted.
Finding anywhere to probe what happens when unleashing all the engine's reserves quickly failed. Not enough space. This was a carbie, and I assume my sense of 'more-as-revs-climb' is right; the powerplant displays an eagerness that has me chuckling with joy! Some may like the bottom-end grunt more, but I would take the eagerness to get up and go any day. That's me. Referring to smaller bikes, the CB500 is similar compared to eg Kawasakis ER-5. The kwak is a lazy donkey, unwilling to rev and move. CB cries for more as you put the needle around 8K - it's eager. So, I guess I'm a carbie-guy.
Fast cruise - well, given the lack of suitable blacktop, a few quick bursts was all I got. Here, the ferry-like behaviour evaporated, leaving me thinking "Oh crap - where'd they hide the reactor?" and wishing for some time on the Autobahn - any direction would do. Gimme Autobahn! Take it from a newcomer to 'birds: You're a pampered lot! This is one staggeringly cool vehicle, and you're all lucky to ride one...

Can anyone comment on bar-risers for the 'bird? Their impact on the ride?
 

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I'd be surprised if you can find a hill that a Blackbird struggles with in first. But it does stretch - at redline you will be doing 120 kph or thereabouts.

And most agree about the wrist thing - there are aftermarket riser options such as VFR bars or Helibars that address the issue. I have Helibars. Its a small lift, but the difference in body geometry is staggering. And peg lowering helps a bit as well, as it releases the tension in your hips and upper thigh. My 59 yo body copes well enough to ride 800km a day without too much concern.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Most agree about the wrist thing - there are aftermarket riser options such as VFR bars or Helibars that address the issue. Its a small lift, but the difference in body geometry is staggering.
My 59 yo body copes well enough to ride 800km a day without too much concern.
I'mm 55 yo.

Exactly the info I was looking for.

I'm quickly running out of reasons NOT to call the shop and ask him to stick a 'Reserved' sign on the bike :)
 

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This review points out the same issues - far reach and high pegs. Cheap fixes, then its a whole new world. You will enjoy this review ... it reflects my experience of a blackbird perfectly. That giggle in his voice ... its real, and yours for the taking.
 

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After a stint with jaws risers about 28mm high i have gone to apex 4" risers. And lower footpeg mod from jaws. Nor perfect for me but it will do.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
This review points out the same issues - far reach and high pegs. Cheap fixes, then its a whole new world. You will enjoy this review ... it reflects my experience of a blackbird perfectly. That giggle in his voice ... its real, and yours for the taking.
Reviewers' impression reasonly well matches mine.

And so, I've now asked the dealer to stick a 'Reserved' note on the red bike.

After a stint with jaws risers about 28mm high i have gone to apex 4" risers. And lower footpeg mod from jaws. Nor perfect for me but it will do.
A set of risers will be high on the personalisation-mods-to-do-list.

But what's with the lower-footpegs mod?

Won't a lowering kit kill the lean-in-ability?
 

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Storm you would be surprised how far over you can lean the BB and not touch anything. I run a a stacked peg arrangement for me and the misses when we double up. And until the last Devils Run Ride we have never touched the peg ends. Then it was only very lighty on her boot heel and toe on 2 occasions. About the only time you will see touch down is if your spring rate is wrong or the fork sporings are weak. I run the 6mm shim as it makes a huge night and day difference on the tip in. But doesn't effect straight line stability. (Well not at 175 gps verified anway). Another benefit of raised bars is it gives you more leverage at low speed turns. It's a huge difference in push back at the bars. This became very evident when me and my son swapped bikes one day when going out for lunch. He was running a stock bar setup and I had a set of modified Helibars (added 1 inch by previous owner). We both remarked on how much less push back was felt with my bars. I still have those bars but with my Busa front forks I have gone to a set of Gilles Tooling Vario Bars with a 100mm rise. They are equivalent to the previous Heli's in ride height. Here is a pic of the peg arrangement I mentioned. The strut is spring loaded and can compress/fold up if the peg touches down.
128973
 

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Reviewers' impression reasonly well matches mine.

And so, I've now asked the dealer to stick a 'Reserved' note on the red bike.


A set of risers will be high on the personalisation-mods-to-do-list.

But what's with the lower-footpegs mod?

Won't a lowering kit kill the lean-in-ability?
hi SB again
i have made some mods on mine for touring comfort as i drive around norway and italy ( if its still open )
1 touring screen mine is from skidmarx uk there are others but they cost about double and theirs does the job and fits precisely ( you will find this counts )
the length is quite long so you can install a normal car gps ( not waterproof ) and it will not get a drop on it
2 vfr 800 vvt model bars
they are the best you can get as they are oem strength and appearance and the switchgear locating pin fits plug and play with standard hose set
when you start to fiddle with the hoses and let air in you will appreciate why you dont want to change them...
only need to file 3 mm off the rear of the master cyl fitting locating peg
hands about about 4 cm back and 4 cm higher and 2 cm further out and doesnt foul the tank
very comfy
only drawback is you have to find a set on ebay or a breakers and they are rare
you can buy new but then the cost mounts up
3 i have experimented with lowering kits with different heights as i have a wonky left knee at times that doesnt like a tight bend and being splayed open by the tank width
the issues are of course a trade off
if you lower then your toe gets close to the ground and i had difficulty to reach the gear lever and brake pedal even if you lower it a tad

4 if you want to tour you can from time to time find luggage sets for the xx on ebaykleinanzeigen
i paid about 160 for my sets but they were unusually cheap

5 bagster tank cover and backpack
very good fit and nice appearance and stops the tank getting bu--ered up also can find on the net 2nd hand
very very expensive new
the only way to do it properly is to buy a expensive german rearset kit but i dont want to spend 350 eur on just that
hope that is of use
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Storm you would be surprised how far over you can lean the BB and not touch anything.
Another benefit of raised bars is it gives you more leverage at low speed turns. It's a huge difference in push back at the bars.
i have made some mods on mine for touring comfort
1 touring screen - the length is quite long so you can install a normal car gps
2 vfr 800 vvt model bars - when you start to fiddle with the hoses and let air in you will appreciate why you dont want to change them... you have to find a set on ebay or a breakers
3 lowering kits with different heights
4 if you want to tour you can from time to time find luggage sets
5 bagster tank cover and backpack - very good fit and nice appearance and stops the tank getting bu--ered up also can find on the net 2nd hand
hope that is of use
@beestoys: Recall where I'm coming from. CB500 will lean in, then scrape its pegs (titanium bolts for that cool blue shower of sparks), finally low-side. Scraping is a warning - and given the hero knobs are bolted to the footpegs, I assumed this meant lowering the pegs caused less lean before scrape. Live to learn :)
@cbrpaul:
Touring comfort: you're speaking my language there...
1: Got a waterproof Tomtom Rider 550 -> non-issue. Will experiment to get suitable fit.
2: Check. CBS is no fun to maintain, I've learnt. I expect my dealer to have these in stock. Just like that...
3: Big subject - will experiment.
4: Got a set of Krauser Explorer30 boxes - need wingrack to fit the 'bird.
5: Bagster leathery tank-cover - oh yeah. Keeping up appearance is important, representing the gentleman's club.

It's of use allright. I suggest we get together someday; Germany is just round the corner, and I'll soon be aching to go for any old reason. Autobahn springs to mind :) Und es wäre doch spass ein bisschen deutsch wiedermal zu sprechen.
 

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Lowered pegs helped me with neurological r leg damage and resultant 'dropfoot'. Meant i had to massage the brake pedal with a gas torch to lower it. The pedal has bugger all height adjustment for us who cant pivot from the ankle much.
 

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Recall where I'm coming from. CB500 will lean in, then scrape its pegs (titanium bolts for that cool blue shower of sparks), finally low-side. Scraping is a warning - and given the hero knobs are bolted to the footpegs, I assumed this meant lowering the pegs caused less lean before scrape. Live to learn
Storm
The BB isn't much different Did that just recently running the Devil. Didn't have the titanium bolts (don't know if it would have sparked on the damp road anyway) but wanted to give some insight that with 6mm shim this thing will go a long way on stock pegs before you touch something substantial. I actually ran out of tire before completing the rest of your scenario myself. So even with the doubled out pegs she'll go over VERY far before the bang effect kicks in. So installing the drop pegs that others have used it'll go a long way over before something contacts including your toes or heels depending on your riding style.
 

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Interestingly, I have scraped the lower fairing before scraping the pegs. Worst case is, if it annoys you then remove the lowering kit. Its a 5 minute job.
 

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Discussion Starter #36 (Edited)
The deed has been done. I'm now the owner of one red '98 Blackbird. Sometime late next week I hope to take possession of a newly MoT'ed bike fitted with a brand new license plate. Dealer also threw in an extra tire 'on the house' - I'm assuming this will be a rear tire :devilish:

While I was there, I asked him about VFR risers. He replied dryly "In stock!" and gave me that 'what did you expect?' - look.

Happy days!
 

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@beestoys: Recall where I'm coming from. CB500 will lean in, then scrape its pegs (titanium bolts for that cool blue shower of sparks), finally low-side. Scraping is a warning - and given the hero knobs are bolted to the footpegs, I assumed this meant lowering the pegs caused less lean before scrape. Live to learn :)
@cbrpaul:
Touring comfort: you're speaking my language there...
1: Got a waterproof Tomtom Rider 550 -> non-issue. Will experiment to get suitable fit.
2: Check. CBS is no fun to maintain, I've learnt. I expect my dealer to have these in stock. Just like that...
3: Big subject - will experiment.
4: Got a set of Krauser Explorer30 boxes - need wingrack to fit the 'bird.
5: Bagster leathery tank-cover - oh yeah. Keeping up appearance is important, representing the gentleman's club.

It's of use allright. I suggest we get together someday; Germany is just round the corner, and I'll soon be aching to go for any old reason. Autobahn springs to mind :) Und es wäre doch spass ein bisschen deutsch wiedermal zu sprechen.
Krauser went out of business some time ago so almost impossible to get parts
Only thing to do is is tobuse your carrier mating frame s a base and fab up a adapter bracket set
Not too difficult
The deed has been done. I'm now the owner of one red '98 Blackbird. Sometime late next week I hope to take possession of a newly MoT'ed bike fitted with a brand new license plate. Dealer also threw in an extra tire 'on the house' - I'm assuming this will be a rear tire :devilish:

While I was there, I asked him about VFR risers. He replied dryly "In stock!" and gave me that 'what did you expect?' - look.

Happy days!
YOUR DE
 

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your local dealer seems to have a lot of useful parts gathered over years
most do not do that any more and you have to go on a ebay easter egg hunt that may take weeks
if you still have some spondulix left after the huge bike cost then id consider getting
a pair of vfr bars dia 43 mm with top locating pin
a set of 25 mm lowering brackets eg jaws uk or other uk vendors have the same
a higher screen , as far as i can see mra touring is the highest but costs more than double of skidmarx uk
whatever you do dont use ' crash bobbins " as if you do fall off they will shear off anyways and tear out the fairing location lug on the frame and bu--er up the frame
the early xx had a mild steel collector system that is prone to pinhole rot at the central box
you may want to take a close look at that and as needed take it off for repair before it gets too far
thats what i did with mine and its pretty easy to fix up
user ebayklenianziegen for a source of parts .. patience is needed
paul
 
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