Hello avid fans, I am back with another update at long last! Fear not, I have not finished the bike and forgot to update you all …far from it…(facepalm…that headline picture is one I took at a show in the summer), more along the lines that I have barely touched it since my last post. Unfortunately, due to significant changes in my personal circumstances, I have had no spare time or money to spend on the project. In hindsight I should have kept writing, it may have spurred me on.

I tried many things to free up funds to spend on this bike…my Harley had been up for sale for about 3 months with nothing but stupid offers (yeah, actually I will accept half the asking price and meet you at a dodgy service station in 4 hours to do the transaction….anyone who has sold a car on eBay/gumtree will know what I’m talking about.) The Harley is still in my garage (pesky buggers didn’t show up at the service station)  but I am now in a better financial position to start spending money again on this bike. I will still probably sell the Harley, I have always fancied a Ducati Monster or Triumph Speed triple…..see what springtime brings.

Over the past 9 months, I have had a lot of thoughts about what I want to do with the bike. I initially thought about putting it back together with minimal spend, but the more I look into it, the more I want to garnish my bike with nice parts. Back in summer, I went to the bike shed show in London, this was a great opportunity to see hundreds of professionally made bikes in various styles. The take away points  for me were a) how inventive and skilled some people are, the autofabrica bikes really are something to behold in the flesh (I know they are doing an XS750 at the moment….) and b) was the ability to mix modern technology on a retro bike is fairly commonplace in these scenes and in my opinion brings with it a fresh look combined with modern reliability.

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I have been extensively scanning the motogadget parts book at lunchtimes and although it may set me back a bit, I think  I have found a few tasty parts that i will use on my bike… the end result (sometime in 2024 no doubt) will be really worth it….the below pictures outline some of the parts I would like to use. They do a really cool item called the m-unit which simplifies the electronics system on the bike and allows you to add neat things like a keyless start. Their speedos are especially tidy. This is something I would like to utilise on my build. I simply have no confidence in a bikes electronics that have been sat semi-covered for the best part of 20 years so would like to re-engineer something myself i.e. new simplified wiring loom with the confidence that there are no gremlins lurking.

I mentioned in my previous post that I tried my hand at welding and through nothing other than a miracle, managed to weld the cafe racer loop on the back. Being too hamfisted with the welder led to issues when I tried to patch a few holes in the frame. These have thankfully been fixed by a professional welder who was more than happy to patch up the mess I made.  I have since started a 5-week welding course at the Tullos Training Centre in Aberdeen.  This is a technical college that teaches all sorts of skills from plumbing to fabrication. They have kindly put on a night school for a group of 10 of us who all had a keen interest to weld, starting last week. Last week we learned the basics of stick welding. This coming week we are going to focus on MIG and that will be for the duration of the course. This should serve my needs in the short term, I would eventually like to learn TIG because it looks bad ass…I mean it would prove helpful for more delicate welding jobs if I continue to pursue building bikes. In order to help this process, I picked up a bargain MIG welder in the black Friday sales (£200 off it!) and also an ultrasound bath to help with cleaning the carburettors.

The more I think about this project, the bigger my evergrowing shitlist becomes. Off the top of my head I have:

  • Finish rebuilding the carbs – next post
  • Rebuild top end of engine – Gasket kit purchased
  • Investigate 2nd gear issues – These bikes historically suffer this
  • Paint Engine
  • Strip fuel tank – may go hand polished look but either way, it needs to be stripped
  • Rebuild Petcocks – these bikes used to suffer leaky petcocks which allowed fuel to pass into the engine and dilute the oil leading to seized engines
  • Figure out where to mount battery etc – build and mount battery box
  • Build bespoke wiring loom to connect everything together – extensive purchases needed for this
  • Rebuild front forks and purchase new rears from Hagon
  • Service the shaft drive
  • Get a seat – may try and make and if it’s shit buy one
  • Rebuild brakes
  • Get frame and wheels powder coated
  • Reassemble and see if it starts…

Add into this the fact there is a pretty dreadful leak in my garage that will need to be addressed in the coming months…expanding foam will be used to fill every possible hole (giggity) to remedy the leak. Luckily, I relish the challenge and enjoy being busy so looking forward to getting stuck into this.

I would love to get the bike complete to allow me to participate in the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, a charity event where like-minded bike enthusiasts dress up in smart gear and ride their cafe racers/trackers/brat style bikes through the streets in big cities up and down the country. It’s in September usually so all being well this should be attainable…

I have been working on rebuilding the carburettors over the past while so this will be the next post

To be continued,