Monday, 30 November 2009

Virtual paintshop.

The time has come to paint my pride & joy and I'll start sending out parts soon. The frame, along with the soon to be new triple trees, will be powder coated matt black. The back wheel gloss black. The thinking behind this is that a subdued colour scheme for the chassis will form a nice backdrop for the tank and seat unit.

I guess I could go for a really edgy paint scheme that will be truly memorable, and set it apart from all other street trackers. Something that would really stand out from the crowd. But that was never the point of this bike. I fell in love with the style of flat track bikes, and I want my bike to be instantly recognizable as a flat/street tracker – even if I've chosen a modern motor and modern brakes and suspension. I also wanted to incorporate something of the Husqvarna heritage from the time when a Husky was THE bike to have if you were a motocrosser or enduro rider. That's where the logo comes from incidentally. It's the same logo that was on Steve McQueen's personal Husqvarna bike (sans the black outline)

So this is where I am at the moment (see image). It may change somewhat, but it will resemble this Photoshop composite with the two-tone red and contrasting white panels. Trust me when I say that I've tried every conceivable combination of Husky/ruby red, black and white:-). The ruby red will get a subtle flake treatment, the whites will be solid.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

Yeah, I know that those red, flake grips are a little bit over the top, but I couldn't resist when I found them on ebay and thought that they would be a nice match for my soon to be red bike. They're proper vintage "balloon" grips, made by an Italian firm called "Granturismo" and according to the fact sheet they are "make [yes: make] to absorb the roughest of vibrations". A good thing, since my Huskvarna engine vibrates like a pneumatic drill on nitro. If they turn out looking too garish on the bike, I'll order these from the Wrench Monkees. Check out the cool little glass vial of rubber cement that has survived perfectly ever since the grips were manufactured, which may have been in the seventies(?). They may also have been made last week in China and are sold as "vintage" to suckers like me...

The lovely little billet tank cap is made by the same guy that made my XR-style tank, many moons ago. As per usual when it comes to people in the flat track business, he was more difficult to locate than Saddam Hussein. Impossible to find on the interweb, and of course: he didn't accept credit cards. Once found (thank you Richard of Mule Motorcycles), he turned out to be a very friendly chap (also typical of the flat track scene) and promptly sent me the tank cap and a few other bits and bobs that I needed. His name is Fred BTW, and his company is called RaceTec and he's the one who actually makes the tanks that are subsequently sold by Storz. I don't know if it shows up on the image, but the quality of the milling of the cap is quite superb.

Sunday, 22 November 2009


First of all: forgive me reader, it's been a long time since my last post.

You know how it goes: someone asks you to "assist a little in a project we're doing" and before you know it you are working flat out, day and night for a month and a half. Oh well, at least the pay was good. But if anyone so much as mentions the word "PowerPoint" to me before the new year, I'm going to go ape.

Big things have happened since my last post. I took my bike to the "SFRO"-man yesterday to get a preliminary OK for me to go ahead and finish the build. To make a long story short: in order for me to get my bike approved for the streets here in Sweden, I have to go through a series of steps. The first, and biggest, is the one I completed yesterday. Before I can paint my frame, I have to show my bike in a semi-finished state to a guy who is a certified inspector for "SFRO" – an organisation that performs inspections for the "department of traffic security". The rules governing what you can build and take to the street are actually quite liberal in Sweden, but they [SFRO] nonetheless want to make sure that people don't kill themselves on poorly constructed death traps. Fine with me.

So, I loaded up my bike and drove the 80 clicks to a place called Svedala, just outside of Malmö, where I met with the inspector. I had half expected him to give the bike a cursory glance and then give me the go ahead, but he took to his work with the fervor [and humour] of a preussian customs officer. He crawled around the bike, looking at every weld seam, every bolt and every nut. He even spotted the absence of a "certified for the street" marker on my tires, despite the fact that I had buffed out the "for racing use only" lettering. A process that took me several hours to get right. So now I need to borrow a couple of street legal 19 inchers for the next time I go back. After much sucking of teeth and scribbling on notepads he gave me the verdict: as long as I add another 15 mm to the trail, and get the tires sorted, he would give the bike his blessing. Result!

Adding some more trail is no biggie since the tripple trees are still in prototype form and by reducing the offset a bit on the finished items, I will get more trail. I can also lower the back a little which will give me the same result.

Then came the paperwork. In order to stop people from putting together a host of stolen bits and pieces and then registering their collages as "new bikes" and thereby entering them again into the system, you have to show proof of purchase of the major components and produce the papers that show that you are the rightful owner of the engine etc. Again: cool by me. I also got my new 17 digit frame number and the SFRO-guy, who by now had lightened up a bit, stamped the new number onto the side of the stearing head. He them proceeded to take photographs of the bike and the new ID-number. My bike was now officially a new product with a new identity.

While filling out the remaining paper work he went through the list of questions: "Capacity?". "577 cubic centimeters" I answered. "Tank capacity?". "Oh, about 8 litres". "Make?". "Eh...Husqvarna..." I started, before he interrupted me. "No, no" he said. "That was before you made something totally different of this bike. You can't register it as Husqvarna any longer, you are now the official manufacturer of this bike as far as the authorities goes. So who is the manufacturer of this bike?". "Erm... Krook Street...I guess?" And then it struck me: Krook Street, i.e. me, is now an official motorcycle manufacturer. Who would have thunk it!?