Okay, I can hear it now- All you purists screaming "HIGHWAY PEGS? Are you
INSANE?!? This isn't a full-dress bike!!" Okay, true. But the GTS is a
sport-TOURING bike, and as such, does need some creature comforts for those
long days. After all, many of us DO ride the bike more than a couple of
hundred miles in a day.
At the time of this writing, I have a longish trip planned- One that'll keep me
in the saddle for a few 8-hour days. As my knees are feeling their age (to say
nothing of all the abuse I've recently put them through), I feel that these pegs aren't
a frivolous luxury- They're essential to my enjoying the trip. The thought of
keeping my knees bent tightly behind the armor in my overpants has me cringing.
Heck, I've done many long days on this bike before my knees hurt, and even then I had
wished for something that would let me stretch out upon occasion. After all, I'm 6'2".
So that's the "why" of this project. And to tell the truth, I'm still
sensitive to the beauty of the machine- it's never been my intent to destroy
the good looks of the bike. I embarked upon this project with the thought of
making the pegs small, unobtrusive, and easily removable. I think I've
achieved that, but I'll let you be the judge. And for anyone who STILL has a
problem with the concept, bite me. :-)
We all know that you can go buy aftermarket highway pegs to fit a variety of
bikes, but there simply isn't a place to mount them on the GTS. So I had to
make something. Speaking of mounting spots, the only place the seemed logical were the
two allen bolts at the front of the frame.
|The salvaged parts|
Now, I don't have a full machine shop at my immediate disposal, I didn't want to
spend a lot of money on parts. So I went to a cycle salvage yard. After about
a half hour poking aroung in a HUGE bin of footpegs and brackets, I found a
pair that looked to be in decent shape, the size I wanted, and a pair of
bracket pieces that would work. Note that the brackets I got were not the
correct ones for the pegs- The pivot pin was of larger diameter than the hole in
the pegs themselves.
Now, when scrounging for pegs, it's good to keep in mind that there's often a left and
right peg. Even if your dancing partner tells you that you're endowed with "two left feet,"
make sure that you get a pair of pegs that match properly. You may find two that aren't
"directional." They'll do as well. But remember that pegs should hinge vertically-
When you're riding in a "sporting" fashion rather than "touring," The pegs shouldn't
touch the ground. If they didn't hinge, you'd scrape them. This is not only
disconcerting, but it can also be a safety issue by lifting the weight of the bike
off of the suspension. That won't be a problem with these pegs- Not only do they hinge,
but even if the folded pegs touched ground, the backing plate would bend before it
became a safety hazard.
All I needed to start the project was a couple of bolts, some metal stock, a piece of
pipe, and some washers. The cost of my project was $20.00 USD for both footpegs and
brackets, and about $5.00 for the rest of the stuff. I managed to pick up a large piece
of 1/8" sheet steel for $1.00. I actually wound up using fewer washers than are in the photo.
|Extra stuff needed|
The sheet metal would become the mounting plates to affix the pegs to the frame,
the pipe would be extenders to move the brackets out from the mounting plates.
When selecting the brackets at the salvage yard, I chose ones that had not only a yoke for
holding the pegs, but also a threaded mounting hole. They came from Japanese
bikes, so they had metric threads.
After a cutting the pipe in three places with a hacksaw, and using a die-grinder to
notch the pipe to match my brackets, I had the extenders I wanted. I suppose I could have
ground off the little alignment tabs on the brackets just as easily as notching the
pipe, but I liked the idea of the two pieces fitting together better this way. I figure
they'll be less likely to move around. The length of the
extenders was dictated by how far I wanted the pegs outside the frame. To be honest,
they'd be more comfortable if they were out farther from the frame, but I didn't want
them to become curb feelers. Besides, I use highway pegs only to stretch out for a
short time. I don't keep my feet on them for miles on end.
|The manufactured pegs|
It was quick work to drill out the pivot holes in the footpegs.
The mounting plates were easy to do: Simply mark on the sheet metal where to drill and cut
and use a sabre saw (jigsaw) with a hacksaw blade to shape the plates.
Oh- drill the holes before you cut the pieces out. It'll be easier.
|Assembled pegs and|
One thought on where to drill the holes in the mounting plates: Be sure that when you
drill the hole for the peg bolt that it's low enough. You see, behind that plate is the
frame, and there's a little part that extends lower right behind where the peg bolt hole
will go. You need some extra room so that the peg bolt has room to turn without hitting
this frame flange. Ask me how I know.
Once everything is built, mount 'em on the bike. ONE SIDE AT A TIME. You don't want
to remove both sides of the frame at the same time. This might allow things like
motor mounts to shift. Now, I could be overly cautious on this one, but better safe
than sorry. Note that the manual says that those allen bolts are to have Loctite, and
be torqued to 40 foot-pounds. Oddly, I had strange blanks filling the allen heads on
the left side of my bike. They weren't there on the right side, but my engine's been
out. I suspect that the shop doing the engine work yanked them out, and didn't put
them back. I'll pull them from the remaining bolts.
|Pegs on the bike|
Looking at the pegs on the bike, I think they came out pretty well. They don't hit the
swingarm, they're small and don't make the bike look gaudy. I thought about rounding the
edges of the mounting plates, but decided not to, thinking that the extra metal will add
a little stability to them. Besides, I was being lazy. I may still round them a little,
and if I'm feeling really industrious, have the whole assemblies powdercoated grey to
match the frame (or better yet, the dark grey plastic bodywork).
|Pegs on the bike|
One of the nice things about this setup is that I need only remove a bolt on each
side (with something as mundane as a crescent wrench) to remove the pegs from the
bike, leaving only the mounting plates attached. I don't expect that I'll remove and
remount them often. But in case they do touch a little bit when leaning in the twisties,
I know that I can take them off quickly and easily before transitioning to "sport" riding.
I didn't take a photo of the pegs folded up, but they look just fine. In order to keep the
pegs from rattling inside the brackets, I used a certain thickness of washer, and squeezed
the bracket a hair in a vise. Actually, I need to squeeze the left bracket a bit more-
The peg is still just a bit loose inside it. Funny thing is though, that the wind causes
this particular peg to blow up vertical when riding! How about that, the aerodynamics of the
pegs I chose cause them to want to fold up. Bonus!
|Front view, closeup|
One thing to note- When reaching up with your feet to extend the pegs, be careful to not
knock off the swingarm end caps. Again, this is one of those "voice of experience" things.
I lost one cap, and I noticed the other one is loose. I think I'll dab some silicone on them
to make sure they stay put.
Here are some shots showing the different leg extension that the pegs provide.
|Leg position: Normal pegs|
Now, I'm tall and this might be a bit more reach than some riders would want. A buddy of
mine tried them out, and he found that they were too far forward for him. But that would
be easily fixed on your bike- Simply make a mounting plate with the bottom hole further
|Leg position: Highway pegs|
So there you have it. With a minimum of financial investment, no specialty tools, and
very little effort I now have decent highway pegs. I may yet remake some pieces at a
friend's machine shop, but really I don't think I'll have to. For those that don't have many
tools, fear not- This whole thing could have been done with a hacksaw, a hand drill, and a file.
|Leg position: Rear pegs parts|
Now, the project and parts required will vary depending on what kinds of brackets you find at
the salvage yard. In fact, I had intended to make them from scratch, using some box channel
aluminum stock. But when seeing these in the parts bin, I immediately saw that I could save
myself a lot of effort but using what was already built.
Update 03/10/2003- I replaced the frame bolts with longer ones
I've decided to change the frame bolts that are used to attach the mounting plates. When I
originally assembled it all, I noticed that the nuts on the back sides of the bolts were
a locking type. The extra thickness of the mounting plates I made were just thick
enough to keep the locking part of the nuts from reaching the bolts. So this meant that
the nuts no longer locked. Sure, they had Loctite on them, but somehow I just wasn't
comfortable with the thought that my frame might come apart while I was hurtling down
the road at triple digit speeds.
|Frame bolt change|
You can see by these photos that the bolts replacing the stock ones were about a centimetre
longer. You might even notice that the threads are different- They're still metric, but
I couldn't find bolts (at the only place I've yet looked) that had the M10 bolts in fine
thread pitch. That doesn't seem to me to be a big deal, especially since the new nuts
are the "nylock" type, which will not come off unless you want them to. And I've still used
Loctite just in case. I suppose I could have used the stock washers- They're larger in circumference
than the new ones I used, and they're thicker as well.
|Frame bolt change|
The last photo shows that little security blank stuffed into the allen head of the stock
bolt. I can't imagine why it's there in the first place- It certainly didn't slow me down from
removing the bolt in the first place. It's not like a brass cap keeping
people from mucking about with the mixture screws on a carburetor. I don't imagine the EPA
cares at all whether we work on our frames or not. (Maybe a Yamaha RSR might have an idea! ;-)