Moto Fabrication: Build it, and they will…see!

When I first got the Yamaha FZR 600, there were a few things that all owners of these bikes suggest to replace immediately.  The common consensus is that the voltage rectifier/regulator has to go.  The stock VR was built to fail, and could eventually fry the electronics on the bike.  That means ignition, lights, and anything else that takes juice from the battery.  That was an easy fix, because the later Yamaha bikes came with a better part, and it’s an easy swap, requiring only a connector mod.

Sadly, one fix that was not so clear-cut, was replacing the stock mirrors.  The ones that came on the bike were so small, you could not see anything but your own shoulders.  The FZR I bought was missing the right-side mirror to begin with, so the choice to upgrade to mid-model YZF 600 mirrors was an easy one.  I found a pair of used mirrors on eBay, and for a small fee, I was the proud owner of the “correct” mirrors for this bike.  The problem was, even with the new mirrors, I still couldn’t see directly behind me.  So, I decided to take matters into my own hands…

These mirrors were an improvement over the stock ones, but not much.  I still could not see directly behind me, which in NYC is a must.  The fact that a car could be slamming up behind you, without you knowing it’s happening, was an experience I was anxious to avoid.  So the tiny gears inside my head started churning, and I came up with an idea to extend the new mirrors, to see if it would help rear visibility.

Drilling out the bolt holes

I discussed the idea with my friend Danny, and he seemed to think he had everything I would need, except for a few parts I would buy at the local hardware.  Fixes that can be done without special ordering parts are extremely easy to try, since cost is low, and changes can be made on the fly.  I gathered 2 pieces of 1/4″ aluminum, 4 carriage bolts, and some copper tubing.  I used a drill press, a grinder and some elbow grease, and was able to come up with an extension, while not quite pretty, hopefully functional and sorta “steam punk” in appearance.

The mirrors I have attach to the front faring with a bracket, permanently secured to the end of the mirror arm.  The concept was to extend that bracket, so that it rested on 2 longer bolts, away from the fairing by an inch more or so, with the copper tube acting as a spacer.  I had wanted to find aluminum or stainless steel tubing in the correct size, but the hardware store only had copper, so I moved on…

The new extension on the bike...

Danny cut and then I shaped the aluminum with a grinding wheel.  Once the aluminum matched the shape of the stock bracket, I used the drill press for creating the bolt holes.  With everything lined up, I slipped the copper tube over the carriage bolts, put the new aluminum brace against the fairing, and tightened it all down.  It worked just as planned, although I felt I could have used a little more distance from the fairing.  I will ride with them like this, which is certainly an improvement, and determine whether I should use longer bolts.  There will definitely need to be some tweaking, but there is a vast improvement in rear visibility, so for now, we can chalk this up to a semi-success.  We will see if the copper turns a cool shade of green, giving the bike an antique 1800’s roof type vibe.  If not, there is always black paint to make it match the rest of the mirror…

Another view of the extension...

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