Welcome back folks,
For some of you who have been following this blog for a while (thanks mum and dad), you must have been wondering when I am actually going to finish something instead of endlessly blogging about how to successfully dismantle and ruin motorcycles…well wonder no more because:
Yes…holy shit! I have a definitive deadline and let me tell you, there is nothing like a bit of pressure to focus the mind (shit shit shit shit). Joking aside, I have been to this show two years on the trot and always thought it would be amazingly cool to have my own completed bike alongside some of the coolest bikes on the planet. The show is based at Tobacco Dock in London and run by The Bike Shed. For anyone that hasn’t heard of this Mecca for all things custom motorcycle, click that link. This is one of the coolest places I have seen. I would love to open a similarly cool place to hang out up in Scotland for all the budding enthusiasts (Aberdeen Remotorcycled Cafe anyone?).
I was scrolling their website one lunchtime to see that entry for the show was now open. They wanted a rough idea of what the bike would look like. I can do rough! I thought, there is no chance of this being accepted, but what have I got to lose. I sent across the rendering I had done based on someone else’s XT600 I used as inspiration with a back story of my plan and 6 weeks later I had been accepted!
Awesome! I had always planned on having this bike finished before summer this year. Last summers unbelievable weather and no motorcycle left me a sad man. This just gives me more of a boot up the arse to get the bike finished. See below some of the snippets from last year.
This post is as much for me as it is the people who keep asking (doubting) whether I will get it finished on time. Well, see below exhaustive list (for now) of what needs to be done between now and May. There is a certain number of things that need outsourced such as the seat covering, painting and powder coating that need certain areas completed before this can happen. I have split this up below mainly to stop me having an aneurysm whenever I see the list.
Frame, seat & Body
There has been a lot of work performed up to this stage to get the tank fitting nicely, building the seat pan (almost) and detabbing the frame. There are still a few things that need to be considered before completely stripping the bike down and sending off to the powder coaters. The exhaust routing & muffler selection I would like to change from the clunky original but I think I can get away with the same mounting point. The arches I can source online I don’t think will look great so I am currently having a stab at building my own from fibreglass. Currently in the process of building my own.
- Finish de-tabbing frame
- Make sure no more mounts required for seat etc
- Finish preparing arches for mould
- Make Arches out of fibreglass
- Strip bike down completely and get other components separated for powder coating
- Send away for powder coating
- Remake seat base – I have a few ideas for this…
- Send seat base away for covering
- Order petcock for fuel tank
- Send tank and arches to be sprayed (or attempt myself under the careful guidance of someone who knows what they are doing)
- Order new handlebars, grips and fork gaiters
Ah, the engine, the whole reason for this build! This is currently in a state of many parts ready to go back together. I have painted the bottom end (see below) and have some stainless steel engine bolts to swap out.
Currently, the top end of the engine is at the vapour blastors due back the end of this week. Amongst other things, by getting rid of the conventional airbox, I need to have a new means of getting air into the carbs. I am thinking of going down the 3d printer route and making some velocity stacks:
I have also been on a bit of a spending frenzy ordering parts to get this process sped up.
- Get top end back from vapour blasters and assemble the engine
- Lap valves in cylinder head and rebuild
- Rebuild carburettors once rebuild kits arrive
- Get dad to use his 3D printer contact and 3D print me some velocity stacks
- Source various jets to allow me to tune the engine to the stacks
- Find an engine tuner to take over for when I eventually accept defeat tuning the velocity stacks
- Wrap or paint exhuast
- Order & trial fit new muffler
Wheels & suspension
So if this bike wasn’t going to the bike shed I probably would have left this part relatively untouched and look to do this as a second iteration. But you know what….this is going to be seen by thousands of people, so let’s do it right!
I am fortunate enough to have spare hubs for both the front and back so I am currently in the process of sourcing a smaller wider front wheel and possible rear wheel to match…I like the idea of supermoto wheels clad in some flat track rubber not too dissimilar to below:
Although I am trying to see whether 17″ or 18″ will suit the bike better.
Similarly, the suspension the bike came with was a decarbon unit which had a remote reservoir which attached to the frame (highlighted in red below):
This looked a little shitty, especially considering none of the body panels were going to go back on. I will order a tasty new one from the likes of Hagon. Similarly, the front sits a little high so I will lower that slightly too. I need to strip the forks apart to get the lower halves powder coated anyway.
- Source rims and spokes
- Get wheels built around my hubs
- Order tyres
- Strip forks and lower – Source spacer to allow lowering
- Rebuild with new seals
- Order new rear shock
The electrics on this bike are thankfully relatively straight forward, although they run a 6v system rather than 12v. It means a bit trickier to find some of the trick components. I could change the charging system but arsed with the expense. I will source indicators, brakes and a headlight which look OK. Similarly, I will need to find some new controls (as the current ones are looking tired). I also want to relocate my ignition switch to under my seat (as part of my battery box) which will tidy up the handlebars:
To go along with some of the movement of the electronics I will have to rewire some components. This may end up in a full rewire or simply extension of some parts. I still need to solve this puzzle
- Source electronics and order (switches, headlight, indicators, brake)
- Rewire to suit new placement of battery box
Assembly and break the engine in
I must remember to break the engine in, I must remember to break the engine in…I have fitted a new piston and some other parts so this part is crucial that I allow the engine a period of bedding in, so I don’t end up buggering it!
Prior to this, I need to reassemble everything!
If I have done everything above correctly this should be a relatively straight forward task, but I know it most likely won’t be. I will have freshly painted parts to contend with, and trying to remember where everything goes (it has been a while since I stripped it…). There are some changes I will have to contend with like the new velocity stacks and how it impacts the tuning of the engine.
- Reassemble bike
- Get it running nice
- attempt to get MOT
After all of this, I will pop it in a van and take it down to London for the 24th of May.
It looks like my girlfriend will be a motorbike widow for the next 3 months…
See you in london!