Sunday, 31 May 2009

Steve McQueen rode a Husqvarna.

I got an unexpected gift this weekend from my youngest brother: a DVD of "On any Sunday" – a film I had seen excerpts from on Youtube but not in its entirety. I could hardly wait until the kids and the missus had gone to bed, before I poured myself a JR Ewing-sized bourbon and settled in for some cool seventies flat track action.

What I hadn't expected was that the movie is actually about almost all kinds of motorcycle racing, from road to ice racing. And I didn't expect Steve McQueen to feature so heavily, nor that he was such a good rider. I knew he raced cars, but not that he was a top amateur motocrosser. But perhaps what made me most excited of all, was the fact that the whole movie is a virtual Husqvarna love fest! There is a Husky in almost every scene (the flat track scenes excluded) and the shots of Steve McQueen doing some beach riding with his buddies on his red
1970 Husqvarna 400 (check out the actual bike here) in perfectly fitting jeans and sweater is some of the best motorcycling footage I've ever seen.

Much has been written about Steve McQueen driving his Mustang in the movie "Bullit". And while that car chase is certainly cool, the shots of McQueen wheelying and crashing that gorgeous Husqvarna in On Any Sunday is in a leauge of its own. Thanks again bro.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Back from sandblasting.

Originally I had intended to paint the frame gloss black. But I have to tell you that it looks very nice in flat gray as well (it's not painted yet, the gray colour is the colour of the raw steel after sand blasting). I know the street tracker guru Richard Pollock of Mule Motorcycles paints a lot of his frames in a medium gray. Hm. Decisions, decisions.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Boom, there it is!

Apart from a couple of brackets for cables and a few mounting points for the seat unit, ignition coil and the water coolers, the frame is now complete. The dark gray lower parts are what is left of the original frame and the lighter/shiny tubes are new. The round pieces of metal in the steering head is there to protect the bearing races now that the frame is sent off to be sand blasted in preparation for that all important M.O.T. and subsequent powder coating.

Next job on the list: machining the new fork yokes. Anyone need a pair of Gixxer yokes from a K7 GSXR750?

Rear end done.

Here is the finished rear frame viewed from behind. Admittedly the rear "loop" is a bit over engineered, since its only purpose in life is to prop up the upper part of the carbon fiber seat unit (and provide a bit of torsional rigidity to the rear frame). But I wanted it to look sturdy, in order to impress the M.O.T man, with whom I have a date in a couple of weeks. At first I had planned to cut off the two protruding pieces of tube (left and right lower corner), but they do a good job of supporting the rear part of the rather flimsy seat unit, so I think I'll keep them as they are. They won't be visible when the seat unit is in place anyway.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Back end.

We are now truly on the home stretch with the frame. This is what the back end will look like. I know it looks as if the swingarm will hit the diagonal supports. But it won't. I hope...

A pretty good idea.

After some careful measurements and quite a bit of moving the swingarm up and down (to check clearances), this is how we decided the new anchoring plates for the shock mount should look. Don't knock good old cardboard when it comes to mocking up parts for your frame. To compensate for the decidedly old-tech approach, we'll send the actual plates away to be laser cut:-). One of the things I'm most satisfied with on the whole frame is the "adjustable" front shock mount (an idea I nicked from a C&J frame). I really recommend a similar design for anyone attempting to build a flat track frame of their own. Without it, moving the front anchoring point – to get the correct angle for the swingarm – would have been a huge hassle.