Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Front spindle

Freshly turned, hollowed out, stainless spindle with titanium end bolt. In the words of the Pet Detective: "I like it. I like it a lot!"

Oh, and BTW: the front wheel that Steve Lomas built, fit like a glove. No clearance issues. The spokes cleared the caliper by some 3 mm.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Finally on wheels.

I won't make my deadline. I will not be able to finish this project in 180 days. There, I said it. It has taken quite a bit longer than I expected. Partly because it took much longer than I had expected to source some of the parts and because some parts were lost in the mail. And partly because I simply couldn't make up my mind about certain aspects of the bike. But mostly because this is the first time I've done a major project like this and since I've shown you my efforts here on this web page, I didn't want to make an ass of myself by building a dud. That said, I am really, really happy at the moment. We had the bike on wheels for the first time today, and I have to say that I think it looks OK. More than OK in fact. The proportions of the bike are very close to what I envisioned and the chassis looks compact and purposeful. The Husky engine is very compact (about half the size of a Harley engine) and I was afraid the bike would look wimpy and "empty" with the smaller motor, but it really doesn't. Now I can't wait to get the tank back and start the final assembly! One more month (or maybe two) to go!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Rotaphilia, part 2.

I'm now back after wasting one week as an unpaid lifeguard in Mallorca (I have two small boys who both think they are Johnny Weismuller) and look what I've received in the post. Not bad eh? It's a Talon motocross hub, black anodized of course, a black Morad 3'' rim and a rather lovely 320 mm wavy disc from Braking, mounted to a black anodized spacer that the boys at Talon knocked up for me. I chose a 3'' wide rim, which is a little wider than the "standard" 2,5-2,75'' normally used for front wheels on flat trackers, since I have a theory that the Maxis tire will be less "squiggly" if it's mounted on a wider rim and therefore is flatter in profile. It will slow the steering down some, but I'm erring on the side of stability here (I'm an old fart after all).

The wheel was built by an excellent chap called Steve Lomas who not only is entirely pleasant to deal with, but also quick and thourough (I'm told he can ride a bit too). To boot, he has a good relationship with the people at Talon. Which is a good thing since nothing from their standard assortment of brake discs and sprockets would fit on my PM rear wheel. Steve called them, and custom made carriers are now in the works. If you want to get in contact with Steve, I'll be more than happy to supply his phone number. Thanks to the Sideburn-boys for the tip BTW.

One problem with the radial brake set up of the GSXR forks I'm using is that the calipes are pretty substantial and mounted in such a way that there is not very much space for the wheel spokes in between the calipers (the spokes of cast wheels are not dished). And to be honest, I'm not entirely sure that the wheel will fit, since I haven't had the time to test fit it yet... We've done the numbers, but we may have to shave off some material on the inside of the brake caliper to make it fit. Or perhaps get a slimmer caliper. More on that in a day or two.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Gone swimming.

Next week I'll be on vacation, so no updates. The week after we we'll (hopefully) finish the assembly and I'll show you some images of the finished article (unpainted).


Thursday, 11 June 2009

Nice or bajs*?

Instead of clamping the remote spring load adjuster to one of the frame tubes, using a hose clamp, we came up with this little solution. We turned a little "plug" from stainless steel that fits into the top tube and drilled two holes for a little bracket that will hold the spring load adjuster just below the carbon fiber seat unit, parallel with the shock and within easy reach (there is no battery or anything down there remember). The four bolts will be replaced by bolts with countersunk heads for a really slick look and the plug will be obscured by the seat pad that will snuggle up to the top tube, just below the rear of the tank.

*bajs: Swedish for faeces.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Frickin' lasers.

Maybe laser cutting is no longer the last word in high tech. But I still think it's pretty cool that you can cut solid steel, like these 3 mm plates, with a lamp (albeit a rather powerful lamp). And the word "laser" reminds me of a funny scene from Austin Powers:
Dr. Evil: "You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads!"
And besides: that's one less item on my to do list.

Assembly started!

We have now started to put all the bits together (bondo bucket tank and all), and to my relief, most things actually fit:-). At this point, it may look as if it's just a case of slapping on the wheels and go riding, but I can assure you that it's not. I have a to do-list that's half a mile long. The exhaust has to be modified, the seat mounted properly, the electrics... Another issue that remains is how to mount the coolers, and get the bump stops right so that the fork doesn't foul the coolers or the tank. I have a plan for how to do it, but sooner or later we are going to run into a big snag. Could this be it?

Monday, 8 June 2009


The 2007 Suzuki GSX-R750, from which the fork tubes were lifted, had 310 mm discs up front. But since I will be using a 320 mm wave disc from Braking, I needed to lift the caliper 5 mm. Hence these spacers that will go between the caliper and the integral mounting studs on the fork bottom. At first I thought of this method as a bit of a bodge, but I've seen Superbike teams using spacers like these, so I guess I'm in good company.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Prototype yokes/triple trees.

As I've mentioned before, I haven't really got a comprehensive drawing for this bike. Just an overall plan and a mental image of what I want. I do some maths, ask a LOT of questions to a lot of people, and then we make a prototype. If the prototype turns out good, it ceases to be a prototype and becomes the "production item" and is welded/added to the bike. That way I can tell myself: "–never mind, it's only a prototype" when I screw up.

The triple trees, on the other hand, were always meant to be prototypes (honest). The aluminium blocks needed to machine a pair of chunky yokes are pretty expensive and we couldn't afford to do more than one run. So we put some scrap iron in the mill and did a trial run. The result is in the pictures. They look pretty good to me, but they weigh a ton and will be replaced as soon as we are sure that the geometry works out.

Friday, 5 June 2009


I got my tank back from the paint strippers today after it had been soaking in solvents for a couple of days. And it turns out is was a proper "bondo bucket". When I bought it, the seller told me, and I quote: "It has some ugly paint on it, but no dents, putty, or bondo". Yeah, right. Thanks a lot for that.

But since I don't have time to send it back and there is a waiting list for a new one, I went to a guy I heard of that was supposed to be a "wizard" with everything alu. He took a look at the tank, which to my eyes looked terrible, with easily 10 mm thick bondo in places, and said: "This is nothing, I've repaired tanks that looked much, much worse". He then proceded to show me a photo album of tanks that went from "crumpled up fag paper" to mirror smooth in his capable hands. "I'll cut a hole here, and here, smooth it out and reweld it again... No prob". Big sigh of relief from me. Not surprisingly, he had a waiting list, so this means I can't send the tank away for paint until the 25th of June. But I'll rather wait than ride around on something that might look OK, but with bondo festering underneath. On Sunday we'll attach the forks and get the bike on wheels. Stay tuned.

Monday, 1 June 2009


Is it wrong to get sexually aroused by a motorcycle wheel? My wife thinks it is. But then again, she hasn't been waiting for two months for this, to my eyes, absolutely stunning piece of hardware. I knew from the first time I saw one of these beauties that I wanted one for my project. "Seven sorrows and eight disappointments"* later, it is finally here.

Why Performance Machine stopped making these I will never understand. Unless people stopped buying them of course. Which I find incredible. I called PM's technical support to ask about the "pitch circle diameter" (it was "3 1/4 inch x 5" BTW) and the very helpful guy even congratulated me for picking up such a rare find:-) The fact that it doesn't accept any standard brake discs or sprockets, is merely something we have to work around. Once I get the wheel powder coated black and shod with a brand new Maxxis tire, I'm bringing it to bed with me.

*Swedish proverb