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The moral of this thread is do really good research before purchasing something, and don't get all excited and buy the first one you see.

I had an itch to do some mods on my bike. I really like cafes, and I love the vintage fairings even more, so I found a cool fairing but wanted to get the café bar conversion done first. I have worked on various things on cars before, so I'm no stranger to frustration when modding. But this is a whole new level of ******** I didn't expect. What I thought would be a simple 2 hour swap, has turned into torture. I bought the café bar from British Customs. Yes, it's overpriced. From their page it looks like a simple brake extension is needed to get the lever to reach. No biggie. I am new to motorcycles (about 1.5 years), so I don't really know the ins and outs, and I'm sure most experienced people would have analyzed this further and new what really needed to be done.

Oh boy was I wrong. This would be an easy task on a non-abs bike, but since my Street Twin has abs, you can't simply extend the existing line, you have to completely bypass that line and use your own. It's not a simple swap out. And to make it even more exciting, accessing the ABS unit is a gigantic PITA. I have torn so many parts off my bike, I may start dissembling the engine tomorrow just to really give myself a challenge. I managed to break the nozzle on the overflow tank and spilled all the coolant out on the floor. I have smashed my forearm twice in the same spot due to my hex wrench slipping when trying to break loose the abs unit from it's mount. I have bent my fingernail back twice and had to stop working on the bike today because it wouldn't stop bleeding.

I know it sounds pretty simple, but when you go into a job expecting 2 hours of work, and it turns into 2 nights, it's really annoying. I simply have little patience or time to work on the bike this much. But I'm not stopping until the damn thing is put back together. I could return the bars, and buy the $99 ones from another shop (forgot the name, lossa, lasso, somewhere in CA) that don't require any brake line mod, but F that, I've gone too far.

If I had just taken the time to do a little bit more research, I'd be riding the bike right now and the fairing would be on the way in the mail. But nope, my bike is in a ton of pieces, my garage reeks of fuel and coolant, I can barely use my left hand. The Street Twin is supposed to be my winter bike, so I'm forced to use the Daytona while it's down. First world problems...

Hope this was an entertaining read, it has been a soul crushing experience for me. I'm not even excited to get the bike back together, I just want this damn thing to end so I don't have to worry about it anymore. Need to go order a coolant tank...doubt I can fix the nozzle on it.


Current state of bike:
716698


This is the TINY access area to the ABS unit. I have no idea what ******** I'm going to go through to unscrew the brake cable, but I'm not looking forward to it. I'm not even sure it's doable, but I'll give it a try when I have more time. If it's not doable, I'll be back here for suggestions.
716699


The rat bastard bars that I now hate:
716701
 

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Sorry to hear about your troubles, I’ve been there too. Take your time and make sure you do things right even if it seems like it will take forever.
 

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Feel your pain. Just had a 'simple' job on the Stelvio recently. Replace 2 breather tubes that went from the crankcase to the airbox. Easy as pie, an hour and a half. Unfortunately, my Stelvio is a later one with ABS and it turns out Guzzi, in their wisdom, stuck the ABS unit in the frame exactly above where the hoses join the airbox. Ended up having to remove the whole ABS unit and a simple job took me 2 days. You just got to try to be zen about it - probably not what you need right now, but once you're done with this job, you'll know about bits of your bike that most people here don't even know exist :) Do us a favour - keep notes or remember this (probably hard to forget at the minute) and then when the next person on here has this problem, you can save them the headaches :D
 

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As a retired mechanic, I feel your pain. I did a "simple" riser swap on my America. The law of unintended consequences kicked in and it was down for a week. Fair warning, be careful whatever you do with handlebars or brakes. Make sure they are secure. Make sure you have full range of motion and the cables all work freely with the bars in all positions. Be safe. ...J.D.
Triumph Risers.jpg
 

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The law of unintended consequences can always be relied upon.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the words of encouragement all, lol.

Coolant tank should come in today if I'm home and can sign for it. I couldn't find an exact match on part number for my coolant tank for any vendor in the US, all were in Europe for ~70 euros + VAT + shipping. I managed to snag one for $30 on ebay for a '17 model, it should fit. It's been far too cold to work in a garage, I hate working with numb fingers. Before it got really cold I did manage to route the new brake cable from the ABS unit to the front, this was part of the job I was most worried about, as the cable is too thick to run through the existing cable area, and it looked like it might be too short to reach.

I hope to get it all back together this weekend. Bleeding will be the next annoying thing to do, but I watched a really detailed video of it on YouTube, fingers crossed. I'm hoping I routed the cable safely...
 

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Well that was a disaster. I got the cable hooked up and started to bleed. There was brake fluid coming out of the cable where it connects to the abs unit. So I swapped ends, same thing, when pulling the brake lever it just spits out brake fluid where the cable screws into the abs unit.

I swapped the stock cable back in, no leaks. So it looks like the abs unit is sensitive to other cables, or the cables that came with the kit simply don't work with the ABS unit.

The coolant tank came in, and it didn't fit at all. So even though the '17 part looks incredibly similar to the '19 part in pictures, it's hard to tell that there are certain grooves on the '19 tank that are absolutely required to get the tank to fit properly. $30 down the drain.

Also, now that the stock cable is hooked up. I can't seem to get brake pressure back in the lever. How many times do I have to pump the lever to get pressure back?

Probably going to have it towed to the dealer, there goes my bank account. I cannot believe what a disaster this mod was.
 

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Finally success. I bled the front brake at the nipple for about an hour but still no pressure at all in the lever despite no bubbles being released. I kept reading about bleeding the master cylinder, but there's no nipple anywhere on the master cylinder on the street twin, which totally threw me off so I figured you couldn't bleed it. Then I found a posting on a different forum about loosening the banjo bolt at the master cylinder and you should hear air escape. That's exactly what fixed the issue, must have been a ton of air trapped there.

So now I'm back with stock brake and it just baaaaarely reaches the new handle bar. It's a little tight when the bars are all the way to the right, but the brakes work fine and it doesn't cause the brakes to activate when full right. Not sure what I'm going to do at this point, I need to get it all back together and ride it around the neighborhood to see how the brake cable feels then go from there. The '17 coolant tank will just barely mount, it's not perfect, but it will do until I order the correct one.
 

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I hate to break it to ya Squid, but you don't want to leave that brake cable like that - you don't want stress placed on it every time you turn the bars. As WastedMerc suggested, throw a quick cut and paste up in the water-cooled twins tech talk forum, or maybe a kindly mod will chuck this thread in there for you. You should end up getting more advice there. Just as an aside, did you have the copper crush washers on the brake cables when you reattached them to the ABS modulator? Have you got either the part number for the coolant tank you ordered or the one you were after?
 

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Posted in Tech talk but no traction, doesn't matter because I have almost everything situated at this point. Only thing left is to take it to a shop somewhere and have them figure out what to do with the brake cable.

Rode the bike around to do a shakedown, was so much fun just kept riding. Bike was put back together enough to get it moving, didn't have the mufflers mounted, no panels, no mirrors, sounded very....loud, heh. Tested the brakes extensively, made sure there were no leaks and abs was functioning, all is good, just a little tight on the cable, but it can still move around when the bars are turned all the way to the right. The cafe bars are awesome though, despite the hell I went through, it's a great mod and exactly what I was looking for. The bars + bar end mirrors + new grips make it feel like a new bike. Now I just need a cafe fairing....

And I was able to get the '17 coolant tank to fit perfectly. I must have mounted it incorrectly the other time; it is a little hard to get in there with the rear wheel in the way. The only problem with the '17 tank is the neck is at a more extreme angle, so you have to sloooowly pour in coolant, not a big deal.
 

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Just like to make a simple observation at this point. Having 3 old bikes, and having done some modification on all of them. You get to that point where you go beyond the "bolt on" stage. You cross over an invisible line where there is no going back. I have crossed that line in several places on my America. The bike will never be the same. I cannot EVER put it back to it's original state. I got.there the last time when I did the handle bar risers mentioned earlier. I needed to make the bars higher because of my stature. I could find nothing that would fit like I wanted to. I finally drilled out the top clamp and fitted a riser designed for a Harley. I mounted them reversed to get the reach I required. At that point there is no going back. You get to that point at times. ...J.D.
 
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