Cagiva Elefant 350 Project nl

Cagiva Elefant 350 Project US

Honda VTR1000f Project nl

Honda VTR1000f Project US




Project Honda VTR Firestorm / Superhawk...Lets do the brakes

Update 20-09-2019 "Rear wheel "at the bottom

The reason:

Before I bought the Honda VTR1000f Firestorm I had a Laverda 650 Ghost Strike. The Laverda was super agile, if you lifted an eyebrow, the bike went in the corner. He had Brembo Goldline brakes with 320mm discs and two four-piston jaws. That brake was fantastic.

The Firestorm standard has Nissin brakes, 296mm discs and budget four-piston jaws. In recent years I have replaced the brake lines by steel braided lines (because the line does notr expand the feedback is better and there will be more "force" on the jaws), the disks were replaced by Braking discs, they "bite" more and deliver more stopping power, and I have replaced the master cylinder by a Brembo RCS radial pump for more feeling and strength. All helped a little but I was not satisfied.

By default, the Firestorm is so stable that you can go and sit backwards on the bike during taking a corner without the motorcycle changing direction. Some people find that nice, I do not. My bike needs to be agile. The first improvement was a ring of 6 mm under the rear shock making the higher and changing the geometry. This makes it turn easier. Then I replaced the rear shock by a tailor-made Technoflex shock. This is 6 mm longer than standard and set to my weight. (I'm a little heavier than the standard Japanese) At the same time the fork springs were replaced by Technoflex springs and the setting of the fork was adjusted to my weight. A great improvement, I would recommend anyone ......... but still not enough .....

Then I bumped into a fork of a Ducati 848 in. For little money I came into possession of a fully adjustable Showa up-side-down forks with triple clamps and clip-ons (the steer). Normally this fork is equipped with Brembo radial jaws.
The implementation

Naturally this fork fits like a glove…..NOT! The stem of the Honda is much thinner than the Ducati stem.

The solution was to make a stem that has the bottom end of the Ducati Stem and the top end of the Honda stem. So I measured everything and designed a new pin and nut. This drawing sent to a few companies who could make. We thought ...... .No one dared. Then we do it yourself!

A colleague of mine is working on a similar project and ran into the same wall. He also needs a new stem and nut. Fortunately, we can use our bosses workshop on Saturday for private things. In a few Saturdays we got it done, two new stems and 2 new nuts.

To remove the burrs :

The stem is pressed into the stem base, just as I did at the Elefant project, crown plate heated on an electric cooking stove, stem in the freezer and when everything is on the correct temperature the parts slide together.

So, the fork is ready.

Meanwhile, I was looking for wheels and brake discs. The goal: as light as possible, because the steering is easier if the wheels are as light as possible. The braking and acceleration are easier too. I a period of a few days I bought a Ducati 1199 front wheel with discs and a Ducati 848 wheel set. 1199 The wheel is lighter, cooler and 330mm brake discs (848 has 320mm brake discs). So I tried to fit everything. Unfortunately, in 1199 the wheel is too wide, it does not fit into the 848 fork. But the 330 mm discs will fit on the 848 wheel. So be it. 848 wheel with 1199 disks.

In the future I'm going to adapt the 1199 wheel (It is 300 grams lighter and the adjustment shreds off even more weight). The revolving grams are most important.

Naturally I will have the best brakes that I can find for a reasonable amount. After a search for a year or so I found a set of Brembo M40 jaws. These are Monobloc brakes. This means that they are forged and then reworked from a solid block of aluminium. This method of manufacture ensures that the jaws are stiffer (less deformation during braking). As a result, you guessed it, more feeling and more braking power.

My choice on the front fender is one of a Monster 1100, but than a carbon version, which also saves 400 grams.

The clip-ons is a different story. Initially I chose a few Wood Kraft clip-ons that 3 "are higher than stock Ducati clip-ons. If mounted under the crown plate will then be approximately equal sitting position to the original seating position. Upon arrival, it appeared that those things 990 grams.

After some more searching, I found clip-ons made by Gilles tooling. These are super nicely engineered and light (560 grams). If I can mount them above the crown plate ... .then is the sitting position is a little sportier, it looks great and it's lighter.

Well, the choices are made, and the components are in (except for the nut after that is at the man that anodised it). Time to build:

Time to build:

Starting point::

Without forks:

And the new forks in place:

Because it was accessible, I also placed new tapered steering bearings. On the last picture are the legs so far up through the crown plate that the Gilles clip-ons can be installed but this causes the bike to sit 30mm lower at the front than the original. That's too much. This will create instability under braking. Back to Wood Kraft clip-ons.

Because the standard VTR the ignition switch is mounted to the upper triple clamp and I do not want to drill and bolt into the Ducati upper triple clamp I had to find another place for the ignition switch. I found it next to the dashboard. With the bolts of the dashboard I mount an extra plate. With spacers is the ignition switch is mounted on the lower side of this plate.


Of course , I first painted it black.


Then I mounted the clip-ons and controls. Now we can measuring up the brake hoses and let them be made.


The horn is still a challenge. It no longer fits in its original spot underneath the lower triple clamp. Something for the to do list....

Meanwhile, the parts keep coming in, a list:
New brake hoses
Modified clutch hose
New grips
Other clutch pump
New cluch lever
New steering angle limitation
New titanium bolts
New Rizoma brake fluid reservoir
New Rizoma clutch fluid reservoir
Obviously fresh brake fluid
New throttle
The nut is back from coating




The throttle I did not have to use so it can sold again. The grips I have not used yet.

I could not continue with the build without the nut.


It is here so the forks can be mounted permanently.


Then I removed the original clutch pump and clutch line. The new pump and hose where mounted and the Rizoma reservoirs where mounted.

. .

No problems this time and the "to-do" list can be cleaned up.

A lot has happened , there are new parts come in.

The horns have found a spot under the saddle. The mufflers are to me a thorn in the eye.

At an auction, I have a set BOS dampers for Ducati Monster 900 bought. Of course that does not fit right. Of the high-lying outlets that are on the VTR I use the tubes. The dampers must therefore be cut there. Use of the BOS Ducati tubes I the piece with which the dampers are attached. These parts I read to each other and the dampers can be mounted.

The results:

Now it's time for the test drive.

That does not disappoint, in fact ... that is super. She steers good, braking with two fingers and the sound is superb. Even the neighbor (two houses down, no biker) thinks the sound is great. The dampers are e-marked (street legal) and the DB-killers are still in. So they are street legal. Vocal porn without being illegal, super. Very satisfied!

Now the rear wheel .......

Finaly after 3 years…., another update, and also closure of the project ... I think ...maybe…

I now have a black Ducati 749/848/999/1098/1198 front wheel, but the rear is still the original silver-colored Honda wheel .... that is of course not possible. So the search for a matching rear wheel begins. I do not have a single-sided rear wheel suspension (yet), I had to have a black 748/999 wheel with a sprocket carrier. I did find it…. But it is damaged.

rear wheel 999

In consultation with the painter, I had the wheel sprayed black, not powder coated. Why? Spraying is more beautiful and with powder coating the layer is applied as powder and then heated so that it forms a molten layer. This heat also destroyed the rubber transmission dampers that Ducati presses into the wheel, 6 times 16 euros…. So another 100 euros in costs.

The axle diameter is the same as the VTR and with a few minor adjustments to the spacers, the wheel fits centrically (and therefore in line with the front wheel) in the rear fork. Little jump of joy!

Then came the challenge of the gear and the alignment.

Ducati does not provide a 41-tooth rear sprocket and that is the standard size for the Firestorm. In addition, Ducati uses a 525 chain and Honda a 530 chain. A 530 chain fits on a 525 sprocket because the pitch is the same, only the width is smaller with a 525 chain. Aftermarket there are sprockets for the Ducati 999 available with 41 teeth but they are made of aluminum and they are therefore thinner (525 chain). They cost 85 euros. At Supersprocks you can have a sprocket made to measure with an aluminum core (red in my case) and a steel outer ring (black), costs 100 euros including shipping. So, the right width, with a steel ring, this both ensures better wear resistance compared to an aluminum sprocket, for 15 euros more… .obvious choice…


The alignment was relatively simple. The sprocket had to be placed 5 mm further inwards than the standard position of Ducati. So the sprocket carrier had to be turned 5 mm back. Fortunately Inalfa (then) and NTS (now) colleague Geert Jan Ketelaars has a lathe large enough for this job. GJ: thanks again.

turning 1turning 2

And then the rear brake disc. Ducati uses a 240mm disc, Honda 220mm. That is not going to work. After some research in a catalog of a brake disc manufacturer, I discovered that a rear brake disc of a Yamaha R1 / R6 is very close to Ducati in terms of mounting, the bolt holes and bolt holes are the same, the internal diameter is 2 mm smaller. The outside diameter is the same as Honda (220 mm) so… ..Geert Jan, can I come by again and borrow the lathe?



finished 2

The result:

The theory:

Because the brake discs are larger (from 296 to 330mm), the braking force increases by 11%

Because the pistons in the new brakes are greater the braking force increased by 42%

Because the master cylinder has a larger piston diameter the braking force reduced by 54%

Because the leverage of the new master cylinder is greater braking forces increase by 20% or 33% (depending on the setting of the pump)

Total this gives an increase of the braking force by 4% with the pump in position "20". When the pump is in position "18" I have 14% better performance. This does not seem much but I've been driving around with this master cylinder 4 years (and 54% of the original force) so for me the gain is enormous.

The real world:

All new components are weighted before mounting and the old parts are weighed after disassembly. The new structure weighs 1943 grams less and the parts weigh 517 grams less than the original. Improved steering performance, improve acceleration and improved braking performance purely by the (rotating) weight.

During the first ride the front wheel became "very light"....It feels like 20HP more...

Because of the shorter fork the overrun (from 100 to 97mm) and the head angle (from 24.88 to 24.00 °) decreased. This will provide a lighter and faster steering behavior. However, this is without a rider. I think the Ducati springs are stiffer so the ride height will change less by the weight of the driver. A test drive will tell.

Handles like a dream, low imput force, neutral and stabil

Braking performance:
In theory you could read that the brakes are similar to standard but for me two times as good as what I'm used to. In addition the feedback and feeling in the lever will increase because of  the rigid construction of the parts ... ..When will the salt be washed from the streets? I want to ride ... ..

Two fingers and a lot of feel

Remaining parts will be sold on:


Special thanks to: (preliminairy list):

- Regien For the coffie, the extra hand, the storage of the new parts in the living room, ect.

- Koen Hartman for codesigning and milling.

-CCC projects and engineering for materials and machines (website:www.ccc-engineering.nl/,Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cccengineering?ref=hl )

- Geert-Jan Ketelaars for letting me use the lathe