View Full Version : Making it better - The Evo Star (Part 1)

12th October 2005, 12:40
When I test-rode the VifFerraRi before my wife coerced me into buying it, it had the slickest and nicest gearchange of any Honda I’d ridden. I knew it would be only a matter of time before the constant communtering, ham-fisted (ham-booted??) gearchanges, and my skill as a serial transmission wrecker would wreak its usual trail of semi-destruction, so when a few clunks’n’niggles reared their head (or is that, “their ugly arses”?) and I saw this http://www.vfrdiscussion.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=14813&pid=174656&st=0&#entry174656 (http://www.vfrdiscussion.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=14813&pid=174656&st=0&#entry174656)

I thought, “Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm….” (it was a longish thought).
I then got on the Interdweeb to Factory Pro, clicked a few buttons, and very soon(ish), a Factory Pro Evo Star Shifter Kit was winging its way to me strapped to the back of a US Postal Service carrier pigeon. I only hoped it wasn’t a psycho, gun-toting one…
Eventually, just when I was beginning to think it had been confiscated by Her Majesty’s Customs Service, New Zealand Orofice, it turned up on my doorstep. Eagerly ripping the envelope open proved to have a somewhat disappointing climax (“Was it good for you?” – "No; there were no shifting tectonic plates at all..."), when I discovered how underwhelming $US200 of bike parts can appear. A gasket, a spring thing, a surprisingly small lever arm thingo (excuse the technical term), a sheet of instructions printed on bright yeller paper, and a shiny, shiny gold-coloured star wheel whatsit. Oh yeah – and a (presumably) $US150 “Factory Pro” sticker.


When to install it so as to create minimum disruption? More hmmmmmm-ing.

Actually, by this time, I’d sort of lost motivation a bit, so I re-examined the installation instructions, and the glowing recommendations, and the pictures of what I needed to do, and started taking bits off the bike.
Aaargg!!! Fairing.
Only one panel to take off, but unlike previous bikes with nifty Dzus fasteners and whatnot, this involved al sorts of mentalised hex-headed screws, and some exceedingly With the VFR750, a few Dzus fasteners (1/4-turn quick-disconnecting bolt thingos, for those who’ve never heard of them), and the fairing mid panel’s on the ground.
VFR800: 10 or 11 screw/bolt/fastener thingos, and three mismatched plastic panel fasteners. It makes the fairing fit together nice'n'tight, without rattles'n'squeaks, but it's nevertheless a PAIN.

What seemed like hours later (but in reality was probably 40ish minutes), the panel was off. The gearlever, and radiator overflow bottle soon followed. The engine’s lifeblood (still youngish) was drained into the oil pan.

12th October 2005, 12:52
Eventually (a couple of days later), I galvanised myself into a burst of semi-activity, and removed the countershaft cover and clutch slave cylinder and waterpump, and tied them back out of the way with wire. After loosening the chain, the front sprocket was turfed on the floor (ceremoniously, of course). Then somewhere in here, Mac turned up.
Mac talked me into getting into it again. Now I was starting to get down to the nitty-gritty. Well, chain spooge, in fact. Hectares of it. Vast uncharted wastes of black, gritty, sticky crap. Screwdriver. Axe. Jackhammer. Blowtorch. Kerosene.

[time warp inserted to compress hours of de-spooging into a few milliseconds]

So, spooge transferred to oil pan, hands, clothes, gargre floor, etc...
Now the scarier bit: TakingSeriousStuffApart, or, TheDismantlificationOfTheThingWhatShufflesTheCogs.
I don’t remember much about this, apart from undoing some 8mm bolts, tapping the cover with a soft-faced hammer (dunno why it’s called that – I wouldn’t like it in my soft face), and all sorts of technical-looking whatsits coming out, JustLikeInThePictures. Luckily, Mac was offering his expert supervision, watching with an eagley Scots eye, ready to pounce should I make a mistake, and shout, “Aha! I jes knew if ye did tha’, ever’thin’d fall aparrrrrt, ye grreat flamin’ pillock!!”
One more bolt, one more allen-headed bolt/screw thingo, and the old bits were out.
More cleaning – this time the hole were the star thingo was to go needed cleaning of all oil and bits of Loctite, and drying. Disturbingly, the brake cleaner I was spraying in the hole was disappearing inside the gearbox somewhere. Uh-oh. Not a blind hole as presumed, but a black one, sucking acetone into the wormhole. Oh well; no doubt it will evaporate. Eventually…
The new bits went in very easily, no problems, and we were done.

Weeeeelll…. Almost.

The drain pan had been sitting there, catching any stray bits of Motul 5100 that still remained. Right from the start, when I first placed it there, I had this vague thought about removed parts leaping into the maw of the Black, Grubby, OilPanBeast.
And now it happened.
While fitting the new micro-rollered shifter arm thingo (tech term) into place, it darted for freedom, and dived straight down the hole in the middle. Gulp! (Me and the pan).
Time to go fishing: out with the screwdriver the Telecom ADSL Installerman left behind (cheers, Mate!), extend its extendable magnetic proboscis, and out comes one expensive, formerly pristine doodad, now covered in used engine oil, spooge, gritty stuff, and crap.
No worries: degreaser, brake cleaner, paper towel, clean again.

And THEN the rest of the install and reassembly went almost without a hitch.
Scraping the old gasket off the shifter cover was a bit fiddly and time-consuming, as was playing, “Which Bolt Went Where?”
Cleaning the chain was only semi-drudgerous, using the HandyDandyChainCleaningAndOilingDoofer, but reinstaling the fairing panel was amazingly even worse than removing it, despite Mac kindly grovelling on the floor to put the underside clips in place (thanx Mac!)
Oh yeah – and we did remember to put some new oil in the oil hole.

The Moment of Truth: It seemed to work!

The Second Moment of Truth: I was In Trouble. It seems in my exuberance, I had neglected to obtain permission to install the Evo Star, so what I was doing was tantamount to Illicit Fiddling With Our Bike. Uh-oh...

The Test Ride: (this morning) It’s… It’s…. It’s like a new gearbox.
It is smooth, requires almost no effort to snickety-snick from one cog to the next, and yet at the same time, it’s somehow more precise and positive in it’s action.

So – what did it?
The removal of tonnes of spooge?
Cleaning the chain?
The shiny new synthetic erl?
Or the whizzy new shifter star thingo?

Blowed if I know, but I’m not fiddling around to find out, just enjoying the ride...

12th October 2005, 12:56
1. you need to read this guy - i think you'll enjoy his writing style. http://www.banterist.com/

2. is there pix of this thing? what does it actually do?

12th October 2005, 13:02
is there pix of this thing? what does it actually do?

From Factory Pro:
"It's everything that I ever wanted to do to a shift mechanism -
Nothing much more can be done. Expect that it will take the manufacturers about 2 years to copy it - so wait 2 years and buy a new bike - or have it all now.
One already tried to buy one. Geez!
Slightly stronger detent spring - a new MicroBearing detent arm and the final piece... A completely redesigned, empirically refined, multi angled, variable radii, repeaked and valleyed:
This part will totally change the feel of the bike as a whole. The shifting effort is about the same - but the speed at which the gears actually engage is dramatically improved - Quicker, easier, shifting - A "twitch" on the lever and the throttle and you are in the next gear! Perfect for track use and road riding for effortless downshifts into a corner and just a "tap" to upshift without any more than a "twitch" off the throttle -
That's not even mentioning that missed shifts virtually disappear!
In town? Low rpm cruise in second - shift to third? So quick and smooth that it will surprise and amaze - NO more clunky, lazy shifting in town - As I said - it's totally different and improved -
Proven concept - Virtually all the Factory Pro Support riders in the AMA and WERA multi- Champions Vesrah Racing tested and proved the EVO-7 Stars in 2003-2005.
Stock shift performance that everybody used to take as a "given" will be regarded as "slow and lazy" after riding a bike with this kit -
Foot stomping, "Hayabusa" shifting disappears..... Honda's and Suzuki's lose their clunky in town shifting..... Suzuki's stars stop falling off, Kawasaki's lose their, well, err.. Kawasaki shifting "feel". Hey and even ZX12's stop shedding pins off the stock star!
Kit includes a new detent arm with a low friction microbearing roller, a performance shift spring and the NEW Factory Pro EVO-7 Detent Star.
Make shifting MUCH quicker. MUCH easier, MUCH lighter and virtually eliminate missed shifts."

Lou Girardin
12th October 2005, 13:51
It sounds like this thing makes all shifts almost as good as a standard Suzook.

12th October 2005, 14:05
It sounds like this thing makes all shifts almost as good as a standard Suzook.
I would bite if (a) the bait was tastier, and (b) it wasn't true. I believe many Hondas start out with good transmissions (I wouldn't know, as I've never owned one), and mine was OK up until it had the misfortune to meet me. And I've heard that Suzukis generally have great transmissions, but once again, I've ridden so few I can't confirm or refute that.

The crazy thing is, this aftermarket item isn't HUGELY different from the OEM unit: it has a marginally stiffer spring, a bearing in the round thingo on the end of the arm, and the star is shaped a little differently. Yet it works, and very, very well. I guess that explains the comments about the manufacturers copying it.
Except: I don't think they give a toss. As long as they're not sued by the litigious relatives of Murkns who die when their gearbox explodes, why should they do anything? They ignored the problem of crap R/Rs in VFRs until 2001...

12th October 2005, 14:10
Do you have to but a kit specific to a bike or is it a universal part? Where did you get it from?

12th October 2005, 14:23
Do you have to but a kit specific to a bike or is it a universal part? Where did you get it from?
It's bike-specific.
There are no NZ agents, so you have to order it by email from http://www.factorypro.com/

I paid them by PayPal.
Because Marc undercharged me, and I queried it to make sure I was getting the right part, so he whacked another $US118 on.

15th October 2005, 15:02
these guys across the ditch might carry them... http://www.matmladinimports.com.au/index.php

17th October 2005, 08:46
Spent the weekend riding around Coromandel, and apart from one missed 1-2 shift (just after I left home), which was due in part to the gearlever being slightly higher than it used to be* (but mostly to a very lazy shift), it performed flawlessly. Shifts were so easy and precise, especially when hard on the power, which was a good thing, as there were an awful lot of them (hundreds, probably).
Oh yeah; and it was an awesome weekend too - thanx, Blackbird! :niceone:

* When I got the VFR, the shifter felt too high in the standard position. Lacking the infinite adjustability of gearlevers such as that on the VTR1000, where the lever is connected by a threaded rod to the small arm on the end of the gearshaft, I had to rotate it down one spline instead. This made it slightly too low, as opposed to slightly too high now. New rubber peg covers have helped somewhat, but ultimately I may have to get aftermarket rearsets with an adjusable gearlever.

17th October 2005, 20:08
Svee has done 11k, and if i thought the shift was sweet b4 it just keeps getting better. Its something about her (and by the sounds of it most zooks in general) that are almost flawless. So much so that even w**kers like Dangermouse and the crew can't hassle it.

When you get a chance, ride a worn in late modelish zook and see what you think. I rode a k4 with like less than 300k on the clock and it still shifted sweet as pie, whereas dangermouses x (well known to you) was a PIG in comparison...