Sunday, 5 October 2008

Major Stage Completed.... back on the road!

This picture was taken a week ago when I was about to take the bike out for a test ride. I consider this to be the first major phase complete, and probably how I'll ride the bike for the next couple of months. The next thing I want to do is make my own set of body side covers to replace the red ones and to be more in keeping with the rest of the bike.

Some time down the track I'll remove the side covers completely but this won't happen until I'm ready to remove the airbox and fit a new exhaust... and I'm yet to find some yellow/orange vinyl to do the final stripe on the tank.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Call to Auction...

Though someone once posted a comment that I should be building and not drawing I've been busy drawing and painting again!

These are for an art auction organised by work to raise money for juvenile diabetes research.

Scooter Girl - Oil on Stretched Canvas, 355mm x 455mm

'Ace' - Oil on Canvas Panel, 305mm x 406mmIndy Cafe Racer - Marker and Ink on Watercolour Paper, 420mm x 297mm

I have been working on the bike too - I'm about to tackle wiring in the dials and indicator lights.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Is home made better than store bought?

Over the last couple of weekends I've been whittling away at a piece of 4mm aluminium to make my own bracket which holds the small diameter after-market gauges in place. This positions the gauge faces flush with the yoke and at least 50mm lower than a standard bracket. I'm also integrating the warning lights onto the wings on the side of each dial.

Making your own stuff is incredibly satisfying even if this is just a small start!

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Back on the Build... it doesn't get any better than this!

Well, I'm finally set-up, settled in, and back on the build!

The Honda is in for a service and minor upgrade. The world wide web of eBay has been kind and plentiful so I've bought new cables, clutch plates, short winker storks and a front fender.

The Yamaha is entering its next phase of transformation. The bike now has it's rear-set foot pegs and the pillion pegs have been removed. The next job will be replacing the original dials with two smaller Daytona units.

With all the cool stuff that's happening in the workshop I'm not short of inspiration... I'm thinking seriously about making some aluminium side covers.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Chinese Food and Parking on the Footpath

The bike and I have settled into life in Melbourne where I've been fulfilling my dream of riding into the city and leaving my bike on the footpath in front of the Chinese restaurant where I'm getting dinner.

Most importantly I've joined a bunch of guys who share a factory that has been turned it into a car haven where classics are being restored and hot rods are being built... I get the office 'cause its perfectly suited to someone working on bikes. It's way cool!

I'm about to get back on the build!

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

One step forwards, two steps back... the bike becomes a 'mule'

With the likelihood of a move to Melbourne I didn't want to transport a disassembled motorbike. But with no hope of finishing in time, I thought it wise to reset the bike and get it running again. So its back on with the original tank, seat, gauges and headlight but also on with new decompression cable and a Daytona decompression kit from Vanem.

I don't mind putting lots of the original parts back onto the bike because I'll be able to test the adjustment of the cables and routing of the wiring in a much more straight forward manner. The original headlight is great for hiding all the wiring - I'm starting to think I should keep it!

The Second Major Stage

Hopefully with the original, rather than final parts in place, the bike will be less delicate to transport... I'd hate for something to happen to that shinny aluminium fuel tank.

Amazingly the motor turned over on the second kick - the tank had been off for 3 months! It was good to go for a ride and to test the new reduced turning circle (caused by the steering limiter which stops the clip-on bars hitting the tank). It was also interesting to experience the first stage of the new riding posture... reaching down onto the handlebars certainly does add strain on both the wrists and the neck. But these will be sacrifices worth making!

When I pulled up at the first set of lights another motorbike came up along side - the rider immediately started asking questions and complimenting me on my bike - and this without the cool tank and seat! It wasn't until I pulled away that I noticed that I'd forgotten to put on the rear view mirrors.

Well, the 'to do' list:
  • install the shorter throttle cables and a new black hand grip on the throttle
  • install the shorter clutch cable
  • mount the smaller stainless front mud guard
  • bolt on the now silver stone guard
  • Cap-off the top yoke with a aluminium handlebar post cap
  • reintroduce the indicator light kit - this is going to fit more neatly if I get a stainless steel bracket cut
  • replace the gauges with smaller diameter Dayton units (both a speedometer and tachometer, probably mounted to the same bracket as the indicator lamps)
  • install the engine breather filter
  • remove the airbox and install the K&N air filter
  • move the battery, fuses, etc. and introduce the required battery plate
  • mount the carburetor support bracket
  • remove the engine vapor return hose
  • mount the horn (this will probably need a custom bracket)
  • introduce the rearsets (removing the existing rider and pillion foot pegs)
  • install the ducktail seat
  • swap the petrol tanks (including swapping over the fuel tap)
  • mount the new stainless steel exhaust and re-jet the carburetor
  • resolve the graphic treatment on the tank... and the many other things that I haven't even identified yet!

Friday, 7 March 2008

First Major 'Stop Work Meeting'

I'm back on the build! And this time I mean business!... well, I thought I was back on the build. I've encountered my first set of problems which are either based on a slight incompatibility of the parts I purchased or I need more parts!

After slowly jacking up the bike, and in turn loosening and lowering the forks, I managed to slide in place the new headlight brackets and clip-on bars (top left and right images respectively). This is when I discovered the first of three problems (bottom left image). Firstly, the vintage headlight overlaps the main switch assembly (ignition) so that if I want to use this light I have to move the switch and probably replace the top yoke, which is my second problem. My third problem (bottom right image) is that the decompression lever hits the broad tank... I think I need a new clutch lever with the decompression lever on top. In this final image I have reverted to using the original headlight which is shallower but of a much larger diameter.

While in my possession the bike has only done about a weeks worth of riding, and the motor hasn't been turned over for 2 months now so I'm getting eager to ride the bike again. I'm also keen to check that I haven't inadvertently done something to the engine immobiliser so that the bike no longer starts. I know that the longer I wait to start the bike the harder it will be to diagnose starting problems as the number of variables climb.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Minor Works Report

I don't have a lot to show for my tinkering over the last few weeks - I keep telling myself that I can make time for the build 'next week'... next week is yet to come!

(Top left) This once black stone guard is now shinny and silver. I don't want to be accused of not doing things properly (if not actually over doing things)... this part bolts into place underneath the bike and is unlikely to be seen but is likely to get damaged, but I painted it anyway.
(Top right) The new 'vintage' headlight and brackets are ready to go onto the bike... once the forks are dropped out!
(Bottom left) Most of what has to come off the front of the bike has been removed and some of the new electronics have been fitted.
(Bottom right) The tacho cable has been removed and the hole in the top of the engine has been plugged... I'm not running a tachometer on the finished bike though I am toying with the idea of mounting a little dial on the side of the headlight... but that's something to think about later.

... not having time for the build is OK 'cause I'm getting some other cool things done...

Friday, 15 February 2008

Design Variations - Alternate Concepts

I thought it might be a good idea to post more of my early designs. Each drawing not only explores a different look but also what I could achieve with a different budget. For instance, in these drawings I have retained the factory exhaust so that I could divert funds to buy a fairing, or pay for a paint job, or have a seat custom upholstered... who knows, I might yet change my mind and build one of these...

NYC Checkered Cab
This is one of my earliest drawings and dates back to December 2006. The paint job is a not-so-subtle play with a hot rod tradition of painting a car's firewall in a checker pattern, and when blended with a yellow paint scheme you get a checker cab. This design focussed on paint and not parts - nearly everything is stock with the exception of the side covers below the seat, the 'eyebrow' over the headlight, ribbed engine side cover and the stock tank gets black rubber kneepads. I think it looks silly, but it was worth a try!

Indy Racer
This drawing was also completed in December 2006 and is the only other design that I've considered in any seriousness as an alternative to my all silver/metallic scheme. The design is based on a 1954 Kurtis Kraft driven by Johnnie Parsons at the Indianapolis 500. This concept features stock exhaust (with exhaust tape) and the original gauges but otherwise introduces many of the custom parts that the silver design does.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Really, it all started here...

I have not given any time to the 'build' over the last few weeks but I don't want this stopping me from updating this blog! That's why I'm stepping back in time to make mention of where the Candy Rocket Specials really started.

This was the first project, a 1969 Honda CB175 K3. I purchased the bike about eight years ago and even though the bike was not running, and required some serious mechanical repair, it does still carry its original Candy Blue/Green paint. How could I not name her Candy?

The only modification is the replacement of the handlebars which now have a one inch rise instead of the original four inches. All damaged or lost parts on the bike where replaced with new-old-stock factory parts. The intention from the very beginning was to modify the bike and turn it into a nimble little cafe racer but it became to precious and I ended up restoring her instead.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

The build - snapshots

These are some shapshots taken over the last few weeks - they give context to the build:

(Top left) the new winker and the big factory fitted unit. All new parts are machined aluminium, polished stainless or chrome.
(Top right) the wiring harness and connectors within the headlight - the new headlight doesn't have room for much of this... its my first big hurdle!
(Bottom left) the reorganised garage dedicated to all things two wheeled.
(Bottom right) boxes and boxes of parts.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

The build commences...

It's serious business...

The starting point: stock 2005 model Yamaha SR400

The first major stage:
  • Short stainless mudgaurd at rear (Daytona)
  • Small indicators and tail light (Posh and Daytona)
  • Aluminium fuel tank (Daytona)
  • Ducktail seat (Nitroheads)
and the headlight has been removed...

The Grand Plan

These are the modifications that are going to be made to the stock Yamaha SR400:
  1. Remove stock handlebars from on top of yoke and replace with clip-ons mounted to forks, retaining the levers but replacing the mirrors.
  2. Replace hand grips (current bike has been retro fitted with heated grips).
  3. Replace headlight, speedo and tacho with a 'vintage' headlight that has a recessed speedo. All gauge/indicator lighting is also replaced. This requires new headlight brackets.
  4. Replace front mud guard with a shorter stainless version.
  5. Replace turn indicators with smaller machined aluminium units.
  6. Replace all cables and wiring with shorter versions
  7. Replace exhaust with a stainless race type exhaust
  8. Remove side covers, airbox and existing air filter and replace with a smaller K&N filter
  9. Re-jet the carburetor
  10. Introduce a metal battery mounting bracket
  11. Replace rear mud guard and brake light with shorter stainless steel unit
  12. Replace seat with 'ducktail' single
  13. Replace petrol tank with a raw aluminium tank
  14. Remove existing foot pegs (including pillion), brake lever and gear lever and replace with rear set units (moving feet up and back about 200mm).



It's all lifestyle...

This has always been my favourite BSA - the american version was called the Barracuda

61-64 Ferrari 250 GTO styled by Giotto Bizzarrini - nice car, but it's the paint scheme that I like!

This image is from the January 2005 edition of American Rodder - all metal!

Bare metal Rat Rod built by Savage Speed Shop.

Coker Tyres hot rod.

A bobbed rare american-made Crocker motorcycle as featured in Easyriders.

Cool custom SR400 with a Manx-style tank - and it's build on the less common silver frame.

It all started at Deus.....

Test ride January 2007... yes it has been a long time in the making!

My bike at Deus (November 2007)

Time to take it home (December 2007)

Official Yamaha images:

SR400 Custom - BSA Style

After contemplating the design for a year, the final goal is a raw metallic cafe racer. All I needed was a silver framed SR to start the project...

This drawing (above) most accurately represents what I'm trying to do. I've updated my earlier drawing to include all the parts purchased for the project.

... and these are some of the earlier design variations that have explored more 'hot rod' themes.