The smell of victory

The Great Wiring was maybe one of my most challenging missions ever. No wonder nothing went according to plan…

Let me recap everything briefly. I decided to modernize my old CBR 600 -92, a.k.a. The Beast, by giving her a new wiring loom as the old one was kind of in the way for the airbox after I tore everything down and jammed into the space just beneath the airbox vents. Good idea in theory…

I bought the M.Unit Blue and the M.Button, both products from Motogadget which would reduce cable clutter and give my old servant a much needed upgrade with alarm features, diagnostics directly in my phone and so on.

Then I started the process of wiring everything. The M.Unit Blue and the M.Button are actually pretty easy to understand, with a few exceptions though, but how to integrate that into a wiring loom from the early -90s is another story.

I cut away many metres of cables, I swapped the handlebar controls on both left and right side. On the right side I put some really cool looking illuminated buttons from Scrambleride and on the left I put some elegant CNC-machined push buttons with the wiring completely drawn within the handlebar. Neat!

After having spent a week in the garage while the summer heat reached extraordinary levels, I was done. Everything had power. The bike had lights, turn signals, horn, brake lights, starter motor turned and so on. I didn’t get her to start so I decided to take a break and enjoy the summer on my new Kawasaki Vulcan S. I did and it was a great riding summer. As it came to an end though, I decided to bring the Honda back to life by making a seat (turned out great) and investigating the carbs.

They got a proper cleaning. I even bought a small ultrasound cleaner to and boiled the jets in squeezed lemon juice to remove the deposits. And it worked. Still didn’t run though. But hey, it was probably just the jet setting, right…? Not at all. Unfortunately, school started to take more and more time so I didn’t have time to work on the bike that much.

Fast forward to the last couple of weeks. As a means of staying sane while the rest of the world tries to fuck you up, I decided to work on the bike again. Still didn’t get her to run. Now I started to suspect something might be wrong electrically. Maybe I hadn’t solved the riddle of how to fuse old tech with new tech. Soon my suspicions were directed towards the spark plugs…

There it was. The system had no spark. No wonder it would never fire. I even bought spark plug testers and confirmed the theory. Okay, now I knew where to start. Unfortunately, information on how to use the M.Unit Blue together with an old wiring harness of which much needs to be left alone unless you want to invest in even more new stuff, was scarce on the net. I watched videos, mainly from Revival Cycles, and I read the manual from Motogadget over and over again.

You know how sometimes you can’t grasp an idea completely but you feel you are close to it? That feeling was on my mind all the time. Eventually pieces started to fall into place. It all started with me disconnecting what I thought was an important part of the wiring just to be blown away by the fact that it didn’t do anything at all. But since the ignition output is a rather vital part on the M.Unit Blue, the only logical conclusion would be that I, the brilliant mind, had not understood what the output really did.

I asked around on the Internetz but no one answered. I googled like crazy but no answers were to be found. Finally I took the matter into my own hands and reverse-engineered my home made wire harness. And there I found it. A taped up cable, neatly hidden but not connected to anything. When I cut away some stuff from the old wiring loom, some cables were deemed unnecessary in the new, modern loom. Most of them were in fact unnecessary, but this little devil was not.

Hooking the tiny wire up, and in the process making some other smoother, more eloquent solutions, I finally got the sparks I was looking for.

Does that mean I’m done? Hardly. Now I have to secure all the connections, I have to organize the wiring, I have to try the ignition with the carbs and tank mounted. I have to inspect and service many of the mechanical parts of the bike, maybe adjust the forks, design a new tail, some side fairings and whatnot, but no matter how long that will take, I feel incredibly proud of what I have accomplished. Much have been learned in the process too. Next time I decide on a project, I will do this completely from scratch, not really keeping anything of the old wiring but opting for a new, modern, clean but still incredibly powerful electrical system. But as for now, I see a much brighter future for my old bike!