Taxing Times

Normally in Ireland you can do your Motor Tax online. There are only a number of instances in which you can't. Otherwise you either have to go to the Motor Tax Office yourself, or send in a form (accompanied by your Registration Cert) by Post.

One such instance is if the bike has been out of tax for more than three months. I knew that the person I bought the bike from hadn't taxed it so I rang the Tax Office to find out how long it was out of tax. November, 2006. That's right. Two years!

Luckily, you are only liable for tax on a bike since the date you purchased it. Furthermore, if you can prove the bike was off the road (usually just a signature on a form from the Garda Siochana) you won't be liable until you've sent the form in. I decided to not bother with the form signing lark and sent the RF100 in with the Reg Cert.

Tax for the year was €73, with a €14 penalty for late payment. Not bad all in all. I also bought a tax disc holder from Liam at LME Motorcycles for 15 yoyos.

Most tax disc holders work the same way. They've got allen key bolts with small number 4 nuts (that's what she said) at the rear. Undo the six allen bolts, put the disc underneath the rubber seal and redo the bolts. The holder and bolt detail are shown in the picture below.

Tax discs must be fitted to the left hand side of your bike in Ireland (so if you are stopped both the Garda can inspect the disc safely and not with his behind in traffic!) and also must not cover the registration number in any way. This was a famous trick of bikers over the years but recently has been clamped down on with hefty fines for doing so. So, to keep in line with these two regulations I decided to fit the tax disc holder to the chain gaurd just above the swingarm. It's nicely protected from being kicked/bumped off to easily and it's concealed from the eyes of passing thieves (well, the unobservant ones anyway).

Some pics...

So I'll give it to you straight. No arty angles or half naked birds on it or anything (well, not yet... heh heh)

From the front:

From the Right hand side:

Left hand side:

and from the rear (that's what she said):

The First Service

One of the main reasons I bought an older bike was so I could fix it up myself. I had originally intended to buy a bike that totally wasn't running, ride my DT during the week and fix it up in my spare time but things change. I nearly completed (missed the last evening) the Motorcycle Maintenance course in Rosmini run by Martin Cummins so I felt up to the challenge.

So anyway, once I got the bike home had a good long look at it. Then I had a cup of tea and took another good long look at it. My mate Ted told me "You should get that bike serviced pronto lad" so I took his advice, picked up:

  • 2 new spark plugs - NGK CR8EH-9

  • 10w30 oil

  • new oil filter

  • new air filter

The air and oil filter came from Hi Flo Filtro and the spark plugs are NGK's.

Also grabbed some rags (Tesco value dishcloths, they're savage for the cleaning) and a large bottle of white spirits. Headed down to Ted's gaff on a saturday and got to doing the service. We loosely followed the DIY servicing guide from the CB500 owners club.

To start off, we let the bike rest a little and had a cup of tea. Given the engine was still too warm to do the oil change straight away we started off by cleaning the bike. Took off the two small front fairings, the two side panels, the seat and undid the bolt for the petrol tank. Instead of trying to take the petrol tank off (there was still a fair amount of fuel in it) we just propped it up on a mallet. Since the engine was still cooling, ted went about cleaning the chain of all the accumulated gunk and grime. He soaked a dishcloth in white spirits and held it against the chain while I slowly turned the rear wheel. The amount of crap that came off the chain didn't bear thinking about!

Spark plugs were first to come out. I'd say they hadn't been changed in a good while. No worrying discolouration on them but they were definitely due a change. In with the new ones and reconnected the HT leads. Cleaned the fairings and side panels with white spirits both sides and then wiped down with WD-40 on the outside. LM grease on the rubber "rivets" and cleaned up the bolts with WD before fitting the fairings and side panels back on. Replaced the first two bolts on the bike with hex head bolts for the side panels. The ones that were on it had definitely seen better days. They're the first of many I'll replace.

Next up was replacing the air filter. Three 8mm bolts need to be removed and the air filter just slides out like a cassette. If the air filter gets stuck there's a cover on the other side which has 2 cross-head screws on it, remove that and you can push out the air filter. Now, changing the air filter leads me to believe it had been in there for quite some time on this bike because one of the bolts was spinning in the casing. Read here for more information on that one. Anyway, couldn't get the last bolt out and didn't want to be grinding off a bolt right beside the petrol tank so I undid the other two bolts and spun the casing around the last one and replaced the filter.

By this time the engine had cooled enough for the oil to be viscous but not burning hot. So I took out the oil filler cap / dipstick. Slowly undid the bolt on the bottom of the sump. Once it was loose enough to be able to undo it with my hand I put the wrench aside and with upward pressure took the bolt out. With the oil change you should put down plenty of newspaper and have a container large enough to hold 4 litres of oil. Then I let the oil drain from the bike. It'll take about 5 minutes to fully drain and there'll always be a few drips you don't expect. I took this time to give the sump nut a bit of a clean. Then, keeping the newspaper in place to prevent any sullying of the driveway I moved the oil container forward until it was underneath the oil filter.

The oil filter unscrewed easily enough with an oil filter wrench. I used the type that looks a touch like a cross between a g-clamp and a jubilee clip. Let the oil come out of that, wrap it in newspaper and put it aside. (They can be used as rifle silencers if you want to reuse them!) Screwed the new one on hand-tight and I was nearly done. I torqued it slightly with the oil filter wrench also just to make sure it was on properly but according to the Haynes hand-tight is OK.

Then filling the new oil was next. Remember that most bikes will have how many cc's of oil to put into the engine but they don't neccessarily include the amount that sits in the oil filter. That was a handy tip from Ted. I poured the oil in slowly and with the aid of a funnel a litre at a time for 3 litres. Then I put in the dipstick (without screwing it on) and checked the level. Started the bike for a brief couple of seconds (with the dipstick on!!) and poured about another 200ml of oil into the engine. Each time I poured a little more oil in I checked the level. When the oil was finally near enough to the max mark but not too close I screwed on the dipstick and started the bike for 30 seconds. Then one last check of the oil level.

So that was it... Service nearly over. Made sure I had both the fairings on properly, the tank back on securely, the seat back on properly and that I didn't have any spare bolts lying around. Then a final check of all of the bolts I had loosened to make sure they were on tight.

Finally, I put some chain lube on the chain (it was in serious need of it!) and tidied up the tools. Then after another cuppa spun home. Quite an enjoyable evening spent servicing the bike all in all and a decent start on spanner work on the bike.