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Old 14th May 2010, 01:12   #1
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Default LB500 to STD350, your thoughts please!

Gentlemen,

As a lot of people must be knowing here, I own a stage 1 LB500 that goes like stink. While I did Pune Bangalore in under 14 hours on an LB500, I also know the limitations and my struggle when it comes to spare parts. Today, one dear friend of mine, along with whom I started this trip of going fast and faster on the Machismo sold his LB500 for INR 1.3 Lakh. While this is price hard to fathom, the buyer bought it as the LB500 is question was modified heavily and was doing 140 on the gun. Now, I too have the same set up as my friends and my LB500 managed a 135 on the gun which is no mean feat.

But, why did my friend whose bullet was simply flying just drop everything and sell it? Lack of spare parts. Going fast on a bullet entails plenty of maintenance which involves replacing a lot of less than perfect spares and this happens very frequently. So, finally he decided, enough was enough and took the huge, emotional step of parting with his bullet. Now, I'm in similar situation but I can't do that. I bought my LB500 with the earnings of my first job and since then I have spent almost more than 80 % of the cost of my LB500 on fuel and maintenance. I also happen to have a load of spares except the bore kit and the crank lying at home. More than anything it is an emotional decision that I simply cannot take since I am too attached to my first motorcycle and I don't want to part with it come hell or high water.

But the issue right now is of critical spares like the bore and the crank shaft which simply isn't available anymore. I met a chap at the Mumbai airport whose LB500 was grounded for months without spares. Ditched by RE, He finally managed to source a piston kit from Kerala on his own to make sure that he could get his bull up and running. This is the situation most LB500 owners are facing right now as less than 6-8,000 LB500s are on Indian roads. Today, I spoke to a RE chap in the factory and he said that even they have trouble in finding spares for LB/CI500s. If the folks in the factory are in this shape, how about us?

Also, I have done a lot of leisure riding on my LB500. What I have observed is, it is simply not comfortable chugging along in top gear even at speeds of 60. This is inherent in all LB500s and I am not complaining as I fully knew what I was getting into. But, I always have felt that the best way to tour is to ride at under 60 so that the scenery/moment passing by can really be enjoyed to the hilt. So, I thought, I'll enjoy the ride rather than worry about spares. On the LB500, going fast means hunting for spares while going slow and enjoying the show simply isn't possible. For my high speed rush, I plan to buy a fast jap machine or a used SBK once I complete my studies in about 3 years time.Then, the CI350 will become a weekend/occasional ride.

While I won't sell my LB500, I will replace it's engine. So, I am contemplating a blueprinted STD350 CI engine in my existing LB500. STD500 looks alluring but I simply can't afford the spares for the same. The main reason for this dramatic shift is the fact that I am going to become a student again and the cost of upkeep of a high strung LB500 is not easy anymore. So, I will be buying the STD350 block, piston, head, crank and crankcases while retaining my clutch and the 5 speed gearbox which I will now convert to a right shift box.

How much will a good standalone CI350 engine minus the gearbox cost? While I plan to rebuild the engine totally to blueprinted specs, I don't want junk engines as warped/welded/abused crank cases will again result in a lot of issues like oil leaks and stuff. Or which way should I go to buy a STD350 engine? Do I buy the entire engine in parts as I already have the chassis ready?

I was tempted to go for Amber's hybrid set up but the long term reliability is still under question. That said, I am keeping a close eye on his set up. Therefore, I finally decided to go for the CI350 set up, with points/CDI, whichever works best. As usual, I will do a mild hop up till stage one so that I can do a true 110 on my CI350 occasionally. I am planning to use European roller bearings on the bottom end and get a totally true crank job done. But, right now my ideas are still fluid and I might end up using a bronze floating bush too. The con rod also might be a one off steel item machined particularly for me. The next six months would be the time period in which I might head this way. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Cheers,

Jay
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Old 14th May 2010, 09:22   #2
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a CI350 Engine without gearbox will cost you between 12k to 15k. There was a wild idea in my mind once. So i contacted someone and got this price. The CI engine is still available at many places.

Regarding the speed and your performance mods, i am sure that the CI engine you fit and take it to stage one, it might as well do a 120. A CDI ignition and 5-speed would be a smart choice.
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Old 14th May 2010, 13:34   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shan2129 View Post
a CI350 Engine without gearbox will cost you between 12k to 15k. There was a wild idea in my mind once. So i contacted someone and got this price. The CI engine is still available at many places.

Regarding the speed and your performance mods, i am sure that the CI engine you fit and take it to stage one, it might as well do a 120. A CDI ignition and 5-speed would be a smart choice.
Will that be an old or new/decent running engine?

If new/decent running, please PM me the contact.

Cheers,

Jay
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Old 14th May 2010, 16:23   #4
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hey jay, im interested in making my ci350 run better and faster too, do keep me in the loop with your work.
cheers

ps: what are you goin to do with your LB motor?
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Old 14th May 2010, 22:51   #5
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The engines ( by that i mean 3 of them ) are new & almost unused, the person is in bangalore. Will try to get the hold of him, as i have him on my IM.
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Old 15th May 2010, 00:57   #6
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Jay - Is your concern for spares primarily because you like to run the bike at high speeds and hence need the added maintenance.

Will the average Joe with not much of high speed running ( limited to 70 - 80 ) need to bother about the AvL 500 ware and tear
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Old 15th May 2010, 09:30   #7
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Jay,
I know what exactly is going on in your mind. Finding spares for 500s are a nightmare nowadays. Even I've had these thoughts many a times when hunting for spares, but I shrug all these once i take my 500 for a spin, ..nah.., nothing can beat the feel of it. But if I am to become a student again like you, i'd definitely have to do something, may be i'd exchange my 500 with my dad's 350

If you plan to do cruising at 50-60, then would you need to bother for the critical spares in the near future (say 2-3 years) ? Just a thought, if 50-60 cruising in top gear is what you want, aren't there any options for modifying your LB500 to do it? I had put on a heavy crank in my erstwhile LB350 and it could easily chug along in 40-50 in 5th gear..
I think you'd definitely have to spend 20-25k to change your bike's heart to a CI350, but is it worth it?

-Rishi
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Old 15th May 2010, 14:22   #8
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Originally Posted by alter.e.go View Post
Jay - Is your concern for spares primarily because you like to run the bike at high speeds and hence need the added maintenance.

Will the average Joe with not much of high speed running ( limited to 70 - 80 ) need to bother about the AvL 500 ware and tear
70-80 no issues man. Honestly speaking, a good AVL500 should last at least 50,000 Kms if ridden sedately. But, I somehow have grown out of ripping at the limit and having to be be on the constant vigil about things failing. After 50,000 KM, you might in all probability need to hunt for spares if you intend to ride your Bull for many more years. Meanwhile, the latest development is, IITs in India don't allow students to possess any motorized vehicle. I am shocked on hearing this. This simply means that I might have to go without my bull for almost 3 long years. Don't know how to cope with this.

In the meanwhile, My brother will ride my LB500 I guess. I already started saving up for the STD350/500 engine.

Rishi,

Yeah, the heavy crank idea can be worked out but that brings a whole load of issues like counter balancing and stuff. As I won't be riding my LB500 after July frequently, I thought I'l go ahead with my conversion plans and buy stuff bit by bit and get it running to my spec. Amber has been kind enough to agree to talk to me about the plans. I will get in touch with him and see what can be worked out.

Cheers,

Jay
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