Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Black is the new black.

I finally got my finger out and did the finishing touches on my radiator "shrouds" and the brake hanger. After a LOT of rubbing with a Scotch Brite cloth – all in the same direction mind you – I had my wife drop them off at the anodizers a couple of days ago. I got them back today and the results are excellent. The shrouds really look factory made, rather than botched together by a copywriter with very limited metal working skills.

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

Shaving my legs.

I think radially mounted brakes look much tidier than conventional ones. There is however one big drawback when using forks with mounting points for radial brake calipers: they are an integral part of the fork bottoms and can't be unbolted. And since my forks came off of a Gixxer 750, both legs had the mounting points (I will only be using one calliper). And it looked crap with that empty "horn" sticking out into thin air on the right side of the bike...

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 only way forward I could think of was to put the right fork leg in the mill and machine off most of the mounting points structure (see picture 1). This step could have been accomplished with a hacksaw as well, but if you have a CNC mill at your disposal… The result can be seen in picture 2. Better, but not good. Next step was to somehow round off the part where the mounting points used to be and make it look as if it was never there. This took me a few hours, using a combo of pneumatic angle grinder/sander, and a flat steel file. Take it real easy here so you don’t remove too much material!

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

Candygram for Mongo!

Look what the friendly UPS-man brought me today! Yes, it's the long awaited tank and seat unit. And I'm quite pleased.

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


My invoice from Pro-Bolt... Not cheap for a handful of bolts. But as we say in Sweden: "det kostar att ligga på topp":-)

Monday, 1 March 2010

First layer down.

Just got this image from David of Death Spray Custom in London who is doing the paint job. Looks promising!