Wednesday, 29 December 2010
Then I found this Dutch website: http://www.frankmxparts.com/ and got in contact with the very friendly and helpful owner Frank. Not only did he find the carb I needed, he also got it jetted to my specs, changed the wire operated (from the handlebars) hot start mechanism to a simpler and nicer button on the carb and changed all the transparent tubing for black ones. The cost of all this, including shipping: €360. Considering that the carb I got is almost new (and really looks as good as new too) and that the throttle and cables were included, well, I think that is awesome value.
If you want to transform your thumper, buy an FCR. And do buy it from Frank.
Sunday, 28 November 2010
Friday, 19 November 2010
Friday, 5 November 2010
I have a mental short list of bike projects I want to try and one of them is building a really nice café racer. A month or so ago I found a Buell engine on the web that was for sale at reasonable money and I did what I usually do in these circumstances: I fired up Photoshop and tried a couple of ideas. Now, there is nothing at all wrong with a CB750 special or a nice Bonneville, and in fact I may come back to those bikes later on, but I felt I needed a bigger challenge. The Husqvarna tracker was challenging since most street trackers are either Harley/Buell, Triumph or Rotax engined. There isn't very many Husky street trackers around. With that in mind I sketched a new frame and borrowed bits and pieces from other bikes to see how it could look. You find the sketches above [with and without bullet type fairing].
The scale and measurements aren't a hundred percent correct, but I still think it could have turned out pretty nice. But... the Buell engine turned out to be less good than advertised and I lost interest in the project. Now I'm thinking of doing 4 cylinder tracker along the lines of the R1 street tracker that Gregg's Customs made last year. Mine would be less "blingy" and perhaps use a smaller engine (like from an R6). What do you think?
*First person version of "Quo vadis" - meaning "where are you going".
Thursday, 30 September 2010
Monday, 27 September 2010
BTW: It wasn't the carb that was acting up, it was a faulty ground wire.
Friday, 24 September 2010
I'm now on the look out for a flat slide 39 or 41 mm carb. My friend changed his Dell'Orto for a Keihin flat slide and it runs like a dream now and start first kick every time. So if you've got a spare one, drop me a line.
Wednesday, 22 September 2010
I won't mount them until this weekend after the final MOT on friday. Will post some pictures of the finished bike then, including some other minor touches I've been busy with. Then it's on to the next one. I'm working on a Photoshop composite of a café racer at the moment. I hope you'll like it!
Tuesday, 7 September 2010
So... I called Acke Rising (owner of ISR) to hear what I should buy. He suggested the old style brake pump (he knows I'm building a tracker), but I had my heart set on a radial one. What do you think: radial or old school?
Saturday, 28 August 2010
Step 1 is choosing a font that you like. I very much like a font called "City" that was designed in the 1930s for the Berthold type foundry in Berlin. So I chose that.
Step 2 is firing up Adobe Illustrator. Make a new document and write your desired numbers two times. “Create outlines” of the numbers (It's under "Type" in the top menu). This will turn your numbers into easily manipulated vector objects.
Step 3: select the effect called “Free distort” (Effects/Distort & transform/Free distort). You can now distort the numbers into pretty much any shape you like. In order for mine to fit in with the lines of my tail piece I made my numbers a little bit lower towards the end of the bike, which will emphasize the "leaning" effect. I added a black outline to my numbers for that "Nascar" look.
Step 4 is saving your document as an Illustrator eps-document and then emailing it to your local digital printer who will print them on vinyl and cut them out for you. There really isn't more to it!
Friday, 27 August 2010
As I'm waiting for the beuraucratic paper mill to return my paperwork, I've been busy making some decals and surfing the web for a replacement for the crude looking Tochico brake caliper I've been using so far. And beeing Swedish, there just is no way around the fact that ISR makes som pretty impressive and affordable stuff. At least if you compare to other calipers of the same quality (I won't post the price here since I suspect my wife checks this blog now and then, but it was about a third of the cost of a comparable Brembo caliper.). ISR makes six piston calipers as well, but I went with four pistons since I think it looks better. And besides: who has ever seen a race bike with six piston brakes?
It needs new spacers, but the very friendly proprietor of ISR, Acke Rising, has promised to turn some for me. I'll post a pic of it mounted when the spacers arrive. Now I just have to resist the temptation to buy new master cylinders from ISR as well...
Sunday, 15 August 2010
But before we proceed I thought I’d just take a minute to explain the process of getting what is to all intents and purposes a scratch built framer through the Swedish M.O.T/approval procedure. The Swedish government has outsourced the responsibility for inspecting “amateur built” bikes and cars to an organisation called SFRO. SFRO consists of a small number of Swedish car and bike enthusiasts who, by being fiercely thorough make sure that no dangerous or badly built contraptions reach the streets. And by making sure of that, they protect the hobby from bureaucrats who would like nothing better than to put a stop to our beloved hobby. I just wanted to make that clear from the outset to make sure you don’t get the impression that I in any way have a beef with SFRO. You can see where this is leading now can’t you…?
In order to get a bike like mine approved you first have to get your frame/bike SFRO-inspected in an unpainted state. At this point the welds must be left untouched (i.e. not ground or sanded). This to show that the craftsmanship is up to scratch and that the overall geometry of the frame is sound. I passed that one with flying colours. Next step is to paint and assemble the bike and have the bike noise tested. And as you know, I somehow managed to pass that one too. The third step is where the SFRO inspector actually rides your bike and makes sure that it handles and that the brakes work and so on. If it does, you can then book an appointment to have the bike M.O.T’d and get your official papers and your registration plate.
So, with that in mind, let’s rewind the tape a month or so. I loaded my bike on my rental trailer and drove the 75 clicks to Svedala where I was meeting up with the SFRO guy. I unloaded and the guy complemented my on the looks of the bike, the components and the overall craftsmanship. After taking some measurements he mounted a G-meter on the tank and drove off. He came back after 15 minutes or so and I got compliments on the brake performance. Not surprisingly really since the brakes are a bit oversized, to put it mildly. He then checked the paperwork once more and was just about to put his stamp of approval on the bike when he decided to have one last look on the receipt I got from the place where we bought the frame tubes…
As I may have mentioned, SFRO doesn’t like Cro-Mo tubing, so we decided to opt for regular steel tubes to make sure the bike passed with as little fuss as possible (the bike is so light anyway that it makes little difference on the street). Now, SFRO publishes a book every other year where all construction rules, permitted measurement etc are listed together with a list of all the different kinds of tubing that SFRO prefers. What we didn’t know at the time when we ordered the tubes, was that SFRO, in their latest book (that we didn’t have), had inserted a paragraph where it stated that cold drawn steel tubes should be avoided due to possible problems with brittleness resulting from bending the tubes.
The SFRO-guy looked up from his papers and said in a sombre voice “we have a problem”. He explained the issue and my heart sank. Suddenly my frame was unusable anywhere outside of a racetrack. I loaded the bike up again and thoughts of torching the bike and trailer and leaving it by the roadside to burn went through my head. My wife told me later that I looked completely gutted when I walked through the door.
After a few days of almost clinical depression I got a text from the SFRO-guy where he stated that there was one possibility we could try: a Brinell-test to see if the tubes we had used perhaps would fall within the permitted tolerances after all. He would start looking for the test equipment that was supposed to be somewhere in Sweden. The weeks came and passed. And with them the best part of the Swedish summer. Until finally this week when I got the call: “Can you come to Svedala on Saturday? We have a bit of a SFRO-conference and I have been able to locate the Brinell-test equipment”.
I felt a bit like I was presenting my bike to the Spanish Inquisition as I rolled my framer into the large garage where the SFRO-guys were having their meeting. I was told to leave and come back in two hours. I drove to a press centre and picked up the new PB while I waited for the minutes to tick down.
I hour, 59 minutes and 50 seconds later I pulled into the court yard and was met by “my” SFRO-guy who, not unlike the emperor in “Gladiator” slowly raised his hand in front of him, stuck his thumb out and gave me a slow-motion thumbs up… It passed.
In the image above, you can see where they scratched off the paint in order to test the steel. I guess I will have to repaint the frame, but I’d much rather do that than start all over from scratch!
I know I've said this before: but this time it really is close to finished...
Thursday, 8 July 2010
I always thought that passing the noise test would be the hardest part of the whole M.O.T-process and I knew from the start that there was no way in h**l that I could get my bike under 84 dB at full throttle – not unless the test was done in deep space. So first on my list was finding a way of making it impossible to give the bike the full beans. After some head scratching I found a nice little hole on the underside of the plastic carburettor lid. I put a 50 mm long screw in there, which made it impossible to lift the throttle more than about 40 % of the way. That went some way towards getting the noise down. Next up was filling the SuperTrapp silencer with sound deadening fibre glass "wool" and taking out 11 of the 12 discs at the end of the silencer.
At this point I was kind of happy with the results but the induction sound from the carb was still too loud to my ears (I was guessing at this point since I didn't have a dB-meter). So yesterday night I started panicking a bit and began botching together a sort of external air box over the exposed KN filter. And when I say botch, I really mean botch. Or how does cutting out plastic pieces from IKEA boxes, filling it with cell foam and gaffer taping it all up sound? Botch Engineering Ltd.
After a few hours sleep I brought the bike up from the garage to do a test start before I was to load it and go to Malmö (some 65 clicks away). It absolutely refused to start! No matter how many times I kicked the thing – nothing. Obviously it didn't get enough air and I had to modify my "air box" one more time, with one hour to go to the test. I finally got it started and it sure was quiet:-) I also ran like Chitti Chitti Bang Bang with a bad cold. Ah, to hell with it I thought and loaded up.
After waiting in line for an hour or so, watching all sorts of machinery go through the sound trap, I handed my bike over to the guy who was going to do the test ride past a dB-meter and watched him "speed off" with the engine coughing and farting on "full gas" (40% throttle). On his return pass I could see the frown on his face and he gave me the bike back stating that it "just wasn't working". I felt the panic rise since I knew that there wasn't going to be a new test for some weeks. I told him I was going to do some mods and could he please give it one more go? At this point the other bikes and cars had passed their tests and it had started raining. So I started tearing frantically at my "air box" to try to give the bike some more air. Guess what? The bike refused to start. I kicked and kicked. I checked the plug, the fuel and everything else I could come up with. Nothing. After some 15 minutes of this I was drenched in sweat. Seconds from giving up, the last remaining biker told me to throw away that stupid air box since "I was screwed anyway". I did and the bike fired up and I handed it over to the tester, expecting disaster.
But do you know what? IT PASSED! I was actually one dB under the limit even without the stupid airbox. I haven't felt so relieved in years. On Monday I'm going back to get the final clearance on the frame and then the final M.O.T will be a mere formality. Wish me luck!
Sunday, 13 June 2010
It looks like a piece of cake, but it is actually pretty difficult to get the wrap to fit perfectly. After having finished with the light coloured wrap (picture #1) I took a step back to admire my handiwork. And quickly realised that it looked too retro. And that the light wrap clashed with the colour theme of the rest of the bike. Damn!
30 minutes later I had purchased a new wrap (another 50 Euros) and started over again. This time, with the darker wrap (picture #2), I think I got the look I was after.
A word to the wise: use a long sleeved sweater and maybe even latex gloves when you wrap your own exhaust. Those little fibre glass strands itch like a son of a *****. I washed my arms three times and still couldn't stop the itching. In the end I had to resort to using my wife's body lotion. Yuk.
BTW: the new Öhlins spring is now in place (after having been powder coated black). It's 60 Nm instead of the 110 Nm standard spring. Hopefully this will smoothen out the super stiff ride.
Tuesday, 8 June 2010
I knew however that I needed an easy way to fix the rear light, reg plate and indicators on my street tracker, so I opted for a slightly different rear frame with a small "shelf" at the back. Not quite as light but it makes for a convenient place to put some of the electric gubbins that are not needed on a race tracker. None of these components are visible once the rear bodywork is fixed in place and the "shelf" protects them from rear wheel spray. As you can see from the image, the horn was relocated backwards as well.
Wednesday, 2 June 2010
The problem was that when I had replaced my standard indicators, which used a 23 W light bulb, with my new mini indicators, which contain LEDs instead of bulbs, the current would "creep" (lay mans term) around the system and make all four indicators light up at once. A bit confusing for the people behind my bike. I had changed the indicator relay for one suited for LED indicators, so the blink frequency was correct, but the "Christmas tree" effect persisted.
It turns out that LED indicators use as little as 1 W and thus the current would go through them almost without noticing the LEDs (again: lay mans terms). So to make it work we had to install a couple of resistors to "fool" the system that the 23 w bulbs where still there. Two resistors from "Biltema" did the trick once they were installed together with the rear indicators. Just remember to install them "in parallel" with the indicators. Now everything works and its time to shrink hose the whole loom to make it reasonably waterproof. Not that I'm ever going to ride in rain, but still.
Saturday, 29 May 2010
Took it for a longer spin today, and managed to summon up the courage to let go of the bars at speed. It tracked straight and true. Phew.
Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Anyhow, I made a drawing, brought one of my mini indicators with me and payed a visit to "Kent" the aluminium wizard who lives about 20 klicks from me. Three days later I picked up the bracket in the picture. It looks huge, but it is only as wide as the forks and it will sit – turned upside down – underneath the lower triple tree and only about 25% of it will be visible. The bracket will be painted black in order not to stand out against the black fork tubes and only the curved parts at the ends will protude out and to the sides when the bike is watched from the front (and, no there isn't room to mount the indicators behind the fork tubes - the radiators are in the way.). Now I just need to get the airfilter and the rear light (it refuses to work as advertised) sorted. Then I can book an appointment with the M.O.T inspector.
Thursday, 20 May 2010
To say I was elated is an understatement. I didn't quite trust my ability to get the new wiring loom right and I guess I've had some subconscious doubt that it would actually work. I've had the flu pretty bad for two days but that was soon forgotten as I very gingerly let the clutch out and did a few really slow laps up and down the street applauded by my oldest son (he's eight and thinks I'm Pierre Terblance and John Britten rolled into one).
First findings? Well the rear spring is way too stiff. No surprise there and I'll just order a new one. It also felt stupidly light! I don't know if that is to do with the fact that the bike is lower now than it was in super moto guise, but it feels as if I could pick it up like a bicycle. I'll weigh it later, but I'm guessing around 130 kg. More soon!
Wednesday, 19 May 2010
I discovered a cool feature today when I bled the rear brake caliper. In lieu of the standard type bleed nipple, where you push the clear bleed hose onto the same nipple that you then turn to let the air out, ISR have a nice little system where the bleed nipple and the bleed screw are separated. The brass bleed nipple in the picture is only used when bleeding and thanks to an o-ring, can be threaded in using only finger force (there's one on the back side of the caliper for the other piston as well). The hose stays put since you don't turn the nipple and the blue screw is easily accessible using a 11 mm ring spanner for botch free operation. Perhaps not the biggest innovation ever, but still a nice little feature that I imagine would make a professional spanner man happy.
I'm going to get one of these for the front brake as well...
Friday, 14 May 2010
If you're wondering if I've lost the plot totally and mounted tires from some 80's two stroke learner bike, then let me explain. You see, the very thorough man from S.F.R.O will not give me the final approval of the bike if I use tires that aren't marked "for road use". Hence the old and tired tires that I got from a wonderful man in Stockholm who runs a shop called "Wheeler Dealer" (if you've met him you know what I'm talking about). Approximately 30 seconds after I get the final M.O.T the bike will be wearing the proper Maxxis tires again. The ugly yellow spring on the Ohlins damper will be painted black by then too.
I can now hear the missus dressing up the kids downstairs for a dinner at some of our friends, which "I just don't have the time for, since I have a s**t load of work to do". Time to make a double espresso and head down to my garage...
Wednesday, 14 April 2010
Thankfully, a few of the ugliest parts will be obscured somewhat by the tank. And my radiator-shrouds will hide the backs of the coolers, which are both vulnerable and unsightly. In the picture you can also find the ignition coil and the voltage regulator which have found new homes under the top tube and will be hidden from view by the tank. The streaky rubber thingy wrapped around the top tube is actually a vibration damper for washing machines which I found at "Claes Olsson". It fits perfectly in the "tunnel" under the tank and will make sure that the alu tank doesn't crack from the vibrations. There is a similar one furter back on the top tube as well (not in picture).
So far everything has gone together pretty easy. Hopefully this will continue. Next up: the wiring.
Tuesday, 30 March 2010
Since I didn’t polish the details to a shine, but rather “scarred” the surface very, very finely with the Scotch Brite, the anodized finished turned out a deep satin black that almost absorbs light – like a Skunk Works drone.
Anodizing is now officially my favourite way of finishing alu parts. As soon as we finish the triple trees, they will go in the anodizing bath too. To create some contrast I’ll go for a traditional polished finish and perhaps a gun metal colour to offset the black fork legs.
Thursday, 18 March 2010
Now, if I was a much more accomplished mechanic, maybe I could have disassembled the forks and put the fork bottoms in a lathe, but to tell you the truth, I couldn't work out how to loosen the damn things. I guess they are pressed into place? Or maybe there is a bolt holding them on inside the fork sliders?
The final step was to restore the matt painted finish (picture 4). I went for a special brake calliper paint that is supposed to withstand brake fluid, which can wreak havoc on standard paint. It came in a spray can, and despite the salesman’s repeated guarantee to the contrary, turned out as glossy as a grand piano. I let the paint harden and then took the shine off with a scotch brite cloth. Result.
Monday, 15 March 2010
If I may say so myself, it really hits the mark I was aiming for: a sort of homage to the old school Husky ruby red bikes, mixed with the traditional flat tracker aesthetics that got me hooked on the whole flat/street tracker thing in the first place. And trust me, the picture does not do it justice. The two-tone red scheme doesn't really show up and the flake looks much better IRL. I'll bend the arm of one of my photographer friends and make him take some proper shots of the bike when it's finished (before I flip it...).
The paint was laid down by Death Spray Custom in London. But if you don't like the scheme, the fault is all mine. He (Death Spray) wanted to do an altogether more creative paint scheme, but since the rest of the bike is all about modern/high tech components, I wanted to keep the paint traditional. Was it the right decision?
Tuesday, 2 March 2010
Monday, 1 March 2010
Saturday, 27 February 2010
I got a few other bits and bobs painted as well. More on that later. Next up: compiling a list of all the bolts I need and ordering those from tastynuts.com. With the frame and the rest of the components looking as good as they do, I can't very well bolt it together with anything other than top of the line fasteners, now can I?
Monday, 15 February 2010
Since McMaster-Carr were the ONLY source I could find for the bolts I needed (stainless 7/16'' contersunk must be the rarest bolts in the world), I had to resort to having them custom made. A company called Acme Stainless in the UK made the ones in the picture and had them sent to me within a week. The cost? £65 including postage. Aouch!
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
As you can see, the upper triple tree is almost there (lower part of picture), while the lower tree is still a big, but not heavy, piece of billet. The difference in weight between these and my steel prototypes is amazing. Next up: machining the "slots" and the threads for the bolts that will tighten the clamps around the fork legs.
Tuesday, 9 February 2010
Must. Not. Start. New. Project.
Must. Finish. This. One. First.
Thursday, 21 January 2010
I've had a bad really bad day today; suppliers screwing up, customers complaining, horrible [even by airline standards] food on the plane from Stockholm etc. So when I got a call from the powder coaters that the pieces I gave them a week ago were ready for pick-up, I envisioned a weekend locked in my basement, finally assembling my tracker. Suddenly my other worries melted away. But, alas, it was not to be. And it's probably my own fault. You see, I wanted my frame, swingarm and a couple of other brackets and stuff painted with a kind of powder that leaves a rough, semi matt, almost crackelated finish. The guy had limited experience with the stuff, but told me he would give it a try.
To say that it looked shite is like saying emo-rock sucks. Rather than the slightly bumpy, semi matt apperance I was looking for, it looked as if the frame had been left out in the rain for ten years and then coated with a thin, shiny black film, exposing the rusty, pitted material underneath. I was gutted. The shiny pieces (see image) where fine, but the rest has to be redone. To his credit, the painter didn't argue, and promised to media blast the pieces again and redo them. Plain old satin black this time. Oh well, what's another two weeks?
Thursday, 7 January 2010
Monday, 4 January 2010
While I'm at it, I'll add 10 more mm of grountrail by shortening the offset to 30 mm, giving me a total of 100-105 mm ground trail.