another perfectly good motorcycle ruined.......

Friday, 30 April 2010

rear brake master cylinder mounted to rearset, footpeg still needs work to lighten it off, don't know whether to knurl them or chop them away with a ball-end miller.

master cylinder for back brake mounted to rearset, toolmakers clamp to position cylinder to reverse of rearset, spot through, drill and tap 6mm, drilled and tapped blind so set screw can't be seen from the front, not as easy as it sounds, had to work out lever to actuating arm ratio, pivot on brake lever had to altered so the swingarm doen't hit it when suspension is under compression.

got rear sprockets off rob at racing lines, this little beauty is a renthal aluminium one, weighs ounces, when we measured the chain run we found out we were 2mm off-centre so had to make new spacer for offside and mill down the nearside one to bring the wheel into line, good news was that reversing the sprocket gave perfect chain alignment with the front sprocket, bad news was that we had to alter the rear caliper mounting bracket because the pads were binding on the disc, hate those chain adjusters, got to sort them out, fucking horrible, looking at the dangerous sport classic ducati i'm thinking along copying those, lot's of work mind but they have to be better than these.

my last two days holiday entitlement for last year, if i don't take them before may 1st i lose them so i book thursday and friday off, thursday is a lovely day, i'm working in the garden with my son jack and the dogs, as fast as i plant my bulbs the little fuckers are digging them up again, phone rings, 'ey up bastard, some wankers cancelled for my first slot friday morning, do you want an hour session?, 'yeah ben, i'll be there at 9.30, make sure the kettle's on', smart, get an hour on my on-going work, 10.30, phone rings, 'sorry mate can't make it today....', 'might as well carry on then mate...'

.....the phone rings and it's ben's 12 'o clock appointment, 'sorry mate, can't make it today..', 'might as well bash on and get a bit of tattooing done then', says ben, out with the sharpie and he's free-handing for twenty minutes before rubbing it out and starting again, 'let's drop two flowers in there and add to the wind bars.......', we just get plugging away, when you do a long session you just chill, it just sort of flows, your body just gets used to the abuse that you are inflicting on it and the endorphins kick in, it's simillar to when i used to fight, you didn't feel anything until you stopped.

detail of the hoo-bird, [japanese phoenix], we decided not to add the red to it and leave it as a simple black and grey piece.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

stu, dangerous and me went to stafford to the classic bike show yesterday, really good day, some lovely bikes there, prices ranged from reasonable to truly ridiculous, lot's of foreigner's spending money, i got 30 back issues of classic racer off pigfarmer for a quid a piece and bought some aluminium round stock for a couple of quid, today, i got some more work done on the hoo bird down my left-hand side, couple of more three hour sittings should see it done, then start on filling in around it.

dkw racer, hand-beaten aluminium petrol tank, the ball-pein marks are priceless, real history.

the incredible dkw three-cylinder, 350cc two-stroke racer from 1953,the middle cylinder was inclined at 75 degrees to the outer cylinders, originally run as a rotary valve, this was abandoned and run as a more conventional piston ported engine.

love the triumph mill but i'm sorry, the 'unapproachable norton' still does it for me.....

seeley framed norton racer, i had a commando and that's not a 'big' bike by modern standards but this thing was tiny, about the same size as my mz racer.

lovely triumph parked outside the wall of death at stafford, seen this before up at the ncc show at pomeroy, details are brilliant, great bike.

the amazing bert frouen racer, four cylinder two stroke racer, built in a shed and raced at the tt in the '60's, he retired at the bottom of bray hill, less than a mile from the start line but that doesn't matter, a bloke in a shed built this, he had the vision and commitment to try, that's what matters, i'm humbled by that, respect due.

Friday, 23 April 2010

another week gone, scratting around in bakers scrapyard for aluminium stock after i've finished my shift, in the shed, eating at eleven pm, missus not talking to me, i'm on a mission.......

.......mounting hardware, [x2 and handed to each frame rail], lots and lots of brain power, cardboard templates, tantrums and scribbles on the bench before you even cut any metal and start to produce anything 'physical'......

......brackets mounted to frame, rubber from dangerous's mountain bike inner tube wrapped around the frame to stop the mountings moving, cross bracket drilled with lightening holes.....

.....used the biggest cutter in the arsenal to cut lightening holes in the seat base, 32mm x 8.....

..... i need to get a life me, the finished subframe mounted to the bike, all this work for something you don't even see, i tell dangerous it matters because if it was a lash up i would wake up at night worrying about it, dangerous is as bad as me, we tend to get obsessed with details, after i bolted this little beauty up i must admit i stood in the shed and gazed at it for an hour...... the 2004 honda rs125 seat unit is now mounted to the subframe, the seat unit is basically a thin fibreglass skin to aid streamlining, it's a race only piece, nowhere as thick as a road bike and certainly not strong enough to sit on without the subframe, with the subframe being a seperate item the glass fibre skin can now be replaced easily without any major drama in the event of a spill.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

old school, me and barse at the heart of england mag rally, early '90's i think, we were away most weekends then, we used to start early march and finish off end of october, neither of us had cars back then, ride to work, work to ride, my beemer started life as a metropolitan police bike then a despatch bike, i bought it as a crash damaged wreck off ammo for 250 quid and re-built it like this, still got the plod tank on with the recess for the radio, nobby made me the rack for the tank lid like the old triumphs, rg 5oo mudguard, bates headlight, lc350 bars, lucas back light mounted on a trailer 'guard and sprayed black, got the pink badges made at local signwriters, the bike was eventually tuned by the legendary jim cray and ended up as a wicked cafe racer before i sold it to a bloke in lincoln, it's still going, bought by a french geezer, he wrote me to find out the details, thanks for the photo barse.

saturday night, managed to scrape a draw against crystal palace, we are safe now, another season in the championship thank god, we should have beaten them easily but they kept plugging away and we just sat back, their fans won the point for them, magnificent support for a shit football team, respect due to the supporters, i'm listening to some classic house music and reading classic racer, curry's on the way, saturdays don't get any better.

500cc benelli racer, why don't we paint our bikes that shade of green anymore?, the twin-leader front brake is a work of art, the lines of the fairing, tank and seat unit, the pipes are perfection, the front mudguard just kissing the tyre, lovely, oh yeah, the girl's average...

Friday, 16 April 2010

'whispering death', so called because of their tendency to seize without warning and throw the rider down the road, two-strokes, fucking dangerous.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

went to see the brilliant play 'meeting joe strummer' on tuesday night, two actors, no special effects, simple and heartfelt, laugh out loud and sad in equal measure, try and catch the remaining dates or visit

got my entry for festival of a thousand bikes at mallory park accepted this week, got three track sessions booked, access all areas passes and camping for three days for £85, bargain, i'm in the 'p' class, medium fast race bikes, i'm happy with that, at least i have a date to work to now, don't know if i'll be ready, [it's july for fuck's sake!], don't know if i will have enough money for my tyres but if i do manage to get out on the track then it will all have been worthwhile.

mounting needs wet and drying to fit frame rail, then piece of 20mm round stock cut to fill gap between bracket and seat, drill and tap 6mm, tap 6mm stud and loctite into mounting, tighten round stock onto it, drill seat base, drill and tap round stock, drill fibreglass unit and fasten on with 6mm dome heads, drill and tap bottom of mounting, make cross strap and fasten between frame rails to stop subframe moving, starting to get the amount of work you need to build something like this yet?

need two more mounting points for the front of the subframe, the cobra's are no good in hindsight, scrap that idea, need to make two mountings to fit , problem, the frame rails are 'dropping' and they are angled in towards the tank mounting, measure the angle, 12 degrees, set up the miller vice and bore two holes to wrap around the frame, this is where the time goes, hours of work for something that you wouldn't even notice yet when it's done it could save a load of time at the track, damage the fibreglass unit and it's a simple task to just mount it to the subframe.

had to change tack this week, checked out petrol tank and the tank sealer kit actually worked, [as a result of this i now have to stand in the market place in derby and expose my arse as dangerous keeps reminding me], so, the rearsets and controls were left so i could mount the seat and get the paintwork sorted by mad john, [paint fumes, thinners, licking tack rags = mad john], so, knock up a subframe for the '04 honda race seat to sit on, can't mount it on the frame rails as the seat to rearset height is too low so the seat hight has to be raised to suit hence the subframe, the back mountings are easy, two pieces of 20mm round stock, drilled and tapped 6mm, drill the cross-bracing on the frame and mount, cardboard template to match the profile of the fibreglass seat milled to shape, right, how do we mount the front of the seat?, nick two 25mm cobra clips from work, clip onto the frame rail, easy, hold on a minute, whats to stop the seat 'yawning' backwards under acceleration or wheelies or sliding forward under braking?, ummm, rethink required.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

'just what is it that you want to do?, we want to be free, we want to be free to do what we want to do, we want to get loaded and we want to have a good time and that's what we are going to do'

girls dig mz's, you might have the latest in japanese technology, horny italian superbikes or, heaven forbid a haraaleyfuckin'davidsonhellyeah!, but nothing, and i mean nothing scores so highly in the cool points as an east german commuter bike, power to the people.

lil' slugger, baseball stuffed into the bellmouth on my sporty, me and dangerous did a nice 120 mile ride this afternoon, first 'real' warm spring day, dry roads, not much traffic, only one police 'accident prevention camera', [111 motorcycle deaths on derbyshire roads last year, too many wifes without husbands, kid's without dad's and family's heartache, when you look into it like i did most were 'single vehicle' accidents, not dozy fucking motorists pulling out on some poor. unsuspecting bike rider but the bike rider losing control of their bike and crashing into walls or similar due to either lack of experience or reckless riding], one life lost is too many but i heard a story this week that really got my goat, a mate of mine has been stopped by derbyshire plod three times in as many weeks, they ran his details through the pnc before stopping him and knew he was legal, he was taxed, insured and had current mot, when they pulled him over they asked him if they thought he may be 'contributing to the death and accident toll on derbyshire roads due to the fact that he wasn't wearing conspicous clothing?', they then gave him a hi-vis jacket with the legend' be safe-be seen' emblazoned upon it and a day-glo rucksack bearing the same message! boycott derbyshire roads at the weekend, you are going to get done for minor stuff like visors, exhausts and numberplates, ride the great roads mid-week or late afternoon, fuck 'em and their laws.

dangerous, what can you say about him?, ex road race champion back in the day, [he was winning races on a 250 ducati back in 1964, hopelessly down on power against the aermacchi's so he had to stuff them in the wet], brilliant engineer, superfit, [running marathons, new york, london, etc, etc], legend, this is his sport classic, zard pipes, oberon clutch, pazzo levers, [shorty brake, long clutch], loads of one-off's that are too subtle to mention, love to see people's faces when he cracks this up, it's loud as....


real, not retro, these are the patches that survived my all-nighters and all-dayers, sown onto my 'niter' bag, the bags were essential, containing spare t shirts to change into when the one you were wearing became a little too sweat soaked through epic dancing sessions, toothbrush and toothpaste for that 8am 'brush-up' along with soap, towel and deoderant to keep everything fresh, of course, talcum powder, not for any personal grooming, just to spread on the floor to aid spins when dancing, chewing gum and somewhere to stash those elusive 7 inch vinyl gems, bank holidays were particularly hard, cleo's, derby 'til one am, mail train to sheffield for samantha's all-nighter, back into derby and onto the market to check out 'd.j.b's' new releases, home, bath, out to the 'jorrock's' for a pie and a couple of pints before watching the mighty rams, home, bath, off to wirrina stadium at peterboro' or st ive's recreation centre for the 'nighter, home sunday morning, tiffany's derby 'nighter sunday night and bank holiday monday would be either nott's palais or the pavillion at matlock bath, keep the faith.......

Friday, 9 April 2010

one of my favourite films, ever, lindsay andersons 1968 classic, 'if...', watch it and see why, malcolm mcdonald and the beautiful christine noonan on the rooftops, 'there's no such thing as a wrong war, violence and revolution are the only pure acts......'

borje jansson, 1971.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

left hand, [gear change] hanger, chain drilled to [well-rough], shape, note bush at bottom to allow for actuating arm, copied directly from my ducati, sue me.

after yesterdays cock up making two rearset mountings the same i got back in the shed and got stuck in, finished the right hand mounting and roughed out the gear change bracket complete with boss for the gearchange pivot, this is five hours worth of work, no wonder i'm struggling to get it done with everyday, normal life getting in the way, even when i go to bed i'm trying to find solutions, at least i've got the football tomorrow so i can forget about motorcycles.

the finished right hand, [rear brake lever], rearset hanger, when i say finished i mean to say that i still have to mill down, make a bush and fit the modified cagiva mito brake lever, make the mountings for the master cylinder and reservoir, make a footpeg, [or four, it's a racer, i'm going to crash and break them and need spares], so, yeah, it's not finished, had an hour working out the seat to footpeg height, measured the ducati, measured the sporty and tried to get the peg as high as possible for gound clearance but still be able to operate it with reasonable comfort.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

easter sunday is the day when we celebrate jesus rising from the dead, jesus is the son of god and gave his life to die for our sins, happy easter everybody, let's have a paaaarttty!

bratstyle japanese sr500, stunning, set me off now, as if i don't have enough grief with the fucking mz without thinking about another project already..............

still can't afford my tyres, it's the weekend, suppose we ought to get the rearsets sorted then, bit of stock out of the stash and measure up, this is the top mounting bracket half way through machining, the two 'forks' in the centre are to fit around the frame section to stop the rearsets 'yawning' when my weights on them, the left side is finished, just needs cleaning up, right side still to be milled.

dangerous left at 5pm leaving me to finish milling the mounting to shape, i really didn't want to cock this up, for one, it's a lot of hours work and also it's the bank holiday weekend and the scrappies are shut and i haven't got another piece of stock for the job, i was taking a 'thou off at a time at the end just to be safe.

the 'top' mounting bracket bolted to the frame, the bracket is a nice tight fit around the frame and is secured with a 6mm countersunk set screw, i drilled and tapped both ends 8mm to mount the rearset plates off, this was easier said than done, the brackets about 300mm long and i had to use the vice off my pillar drill and drop the bed of the miller down as far as it would go to give enough room to drill it, then i had to unbolt the head of the miller and slide it forward to centre the bit, pain in the arse.