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

Monday, 31 January 2011


after finding the sprocket cover casting was cracked i decided to leave it to one side and crack on with something else, with the renthal bars mounted in the risers and the levers bolted on it seemed a logical progression to sort out the mounting brackets for the carbon number board that i'm going to run in place of the headlight, i found a piece of 10mm aluminium stock, faced it up and drilled and tapped it to 8mm, i sorted a couple of 40mm stainless bolts out and cut the hexagon heads off then died them down to clean up the threads to make a couple of studs, dangerous had spot faced the top and bottom yokes previously and i had tapped them to suit, dab of loctite and tightened them in, job's a good 'un.

Saturday, 29 January 2011



one step forward, two steps back, carefully cut the reducing bushes in half, quick clean up on the bridgeport and mount the renthal bars in the renthal risers and slide the renthal grips on, [ok, i like renthal stuff,], i take care to line up the cuts with the riser splits, [i know, i know, i need to get a life], i measure the bar's and centre them between the risers, clean up the socket head set bolts and apply the loctite, step back to admire, kettle on and brew, nitromors the sprocket cover, singing away and feeling smug, dangerous spots it first, he's got eye's like a shithouse rat, 'casting's split youth...', i don't want to believe it and try and kid myself it's just paint clinging to the casting, i stick it in the vice and move it backwards and forwards, bollocks, he's right, common fault on sporty's, all that work milling and cutting the cover away, filing and emery cloth, fucktastrophe......
been a busy day in the loveless shed today, after breakfast i got a long walk in with the boy's, still a long way to go but, the season's changing, first time this week that i managed to walk the dog's without using my torch, the day's are getting longer and all of a sudden i realise that the new race season/riding season is approaching, down to see rob at racing lines to order a couple of brake fluid reservoirs for the racer and the sporty project, then called in to see ben and tim at second skin tattoo shop, got home and dangerous is hard at it working on the bonneville, i give him a hand milling his stainless chain guard down and barse turns up, kettle on and he has rescued a load of late seventies early eighties speedway programmes from the recycling bin, someone had obviously wanted someone to find them as they had left them at the side of the bin rather than consigning them to fiery oblivion, barse had taken what he wanted from the collection and passed the rest on to us, mad john the painter turns up, better get the kettle on then.........

caught up with ben today down at the shop, not seen him for a while, we have been trading insults via the blog,  text messages, e-mither's and phone so i thought i'd pop in for a brew and catch up, saturday is probably the busiest day in a tattoo shop so i find it amazing that people book an appointment, knowing they have at least a three month wait and then don't turn up, the bloke ben was tattooing was a nice guy, he had done his research and wanted a run-of-the-mill piece of tribal on his shoulder covering with a japanese piece, a big peony, lotus flower, cherry blossom and wind bar's, i was suprised when he dug out a photo of my hanya masks that he had scanned as a reference! i love tattoo shop's, i reckon ben has the best job in the world, the people you meet are proper, [well, the majority are], he get's to strip ladies down to their scanties and he get's paid for the pleasure, oh yeah, his t-shirt?, 'los bastardos de la muerte', this came from a mammoth tattoo session i was having and we decided to make up a fictional bike club based on one of the 60's biker exploitation films, the name of the gang?, the bastards of death!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

alan shepherd on the works mz, silverstone 1962, how things have changed, no brolly-dolly for alan, just his trusty duffel coat to fend off the elements, no helmet or visor technicians, pudding basin and goggles the order of the day and check out the leathers, don't think i would like to be racing around silverstone on a temperamental two stroke on those avon speedmasters either thanks.

be prepared to be confused, the original sporty bars are one-inch diameter but i want to junk the original 'lego', chunky, switchgear and horrible master cylinder and brake levers, i bought some japper stuff from the local breakers and cleaned them up, [see earlier posts] and they look pretty cool, unfortunately the jap controls are seventh-eighths diameter, so, i pulled a pair of aluminium renthals out of my stock to fit, i needed a pair of handlebar top-yoke clamps to fit them, frenchy had bought a pair of trick, black anodized renthal items but, unknown to him, they are inch and one eighths diameter because they were originally fitted to a motocrosser with fat tapered bars, so, surplus to requirements he donated them to the sporty project, now we have the lathe up and running it was an easy job to turn a couple of reducer sleeves so we can fit the seventh-eighth bars, just got to carefully hacksaw them in half now, result.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

i used to follow a blog by a bloke called mark dicker called 'weird old bikes' which chronicled mark's adventures travelling on his collection of east german motorcycles around the country, his mechanical disasters and some of the character's who he met on the way, all good stuff, i was shocked to find out that he had passed away in november as a result of a heart attack, i left a condolence message which was picked up by one of his friend's who has contacted me to let me know that they are continuing his blog under the title 'more weird old bikes', they are currently sorting out his estate for his family, i hope they don't mind me sharing this picture of a tea tray that they found in his collection, i love this, brilliant piece of east german nostalgia, good luck with the blog lad's, keep posting.

 next step on the front pulley cover was to mark it out for some slots milled across the face, i found the centre of the new sprocket and scribed a circle the same size on the outside of the casting, bit of a fiddle to set it up square on the miller bed as the cover is convex so i had to pack it up with a couple of bit's of aluminium stock, dangerous made short work of milling the slots but i had not given the cast webbing on the inside of the cover a thought, [top photo], i dropped the cover on the bike and it looked odd where we could see the webbing behind the milled slots, only one thing to do, reverse the cover and mill out the webbing, easier said than done and with hindsight it would have been easier to do this first, [bottom photo], then mill out the slots, we had to use a very small end mill which leaves a lot of hand finishing to do but i reckon it will look pretty trick when it's done.

Monday, 24 January 2011


monday night, time to give the pig-ugly front pulley casting some therapy, i'm ditching my rearsets and going back to mid-mounted footpegs so need to keep the footpeg mounting lug, the brake lever mounting and the master-cylinder bracket, [even though i'm scrapping the big, ugly harley master cylinder and reservoir and using a little brembo item off a cagiva mito], still leaves a lot of redundant aluminium to cut away though, so, out with the trusty hacksaw and rough out to shape, the back of the casting has strengthening lugs cast into it so you have a good idea what to chop away, dangerous dropped the work on the miller and saved me loads of time hand filing to shape, going to take a lot of work to smooth everything back and get a nice shape to it but i reckon it will complement the cut-down timing case nicely, i spent a couple of hours last night cutting cardboard cut-outs and trying to make a pattern for a new cover but, whichever way i tried it, the pattern would just have been a slab of aluminium, this standard casting cut down should look much more interesting.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

dug a bit of carbon fibre out of the stock bin and made a point's cover for the sporty, scribed around the standard cover and clamped the piece of carbon to it with a toolmaker's clamp, hand filed to size and wet and dry to finish, just got to centre the mounting holes and drill to suit.

Saturday, 22 January 2011


the loveless shed, thirty years ago, asbestos and steel framed, paid thirty quid for it, secondhand, advert in the local paper, used to run an extension lead down the garden to get power and light, heated by a stinking parrafin heater that used to make everything wet through with condensation, out there every night building bikes, some things never change.......

derby day, the rams v forest, less than a month after our dicking at the city ground the red dogs come to town for the home fixture, we are on the slide, down from fourth place to fourteenth, i'm awake early with p.m.t, [pre-match-tension], we have to beat them today, we have to get some pride back into pride park and the players need to man up and get a result, we catch up with the tail end of the scum being escorted by the o.b from the railway station on their short walk to the ground, they are full of it, giving it the big one from behind the safety of a police cordon and dogs, one big, fat ginger twat is really fancying himself, he soon shuts up when i start to cross the road, 'i'll see you later fatty...', into the ground and it's rammed, wish it was this busy every home match, our attendances are sliding like our league positions, although we still get more support than a lot of premiership clubs and last year we were only second to sunderland in our average attendances, the game kicks off, nil-nil at half time and the rams are holding their own against the dogs, second half substitution  see's our ex-striker earnshaw come on and he slots the ball past our keeper, we huff and puff, searching for the equaliser to get the draw but it's too little too late, i'm numb, beaten for the first time at home by the scum in our history at pride park, i feel sick in my stomach, i can't even go for a consolation pint with the lads after the game and make my way home, gutted....

Thursday, 20 January 2011


 because i'm having a couple of wheels built with 17" aluminium rims it means i have to junk the standard belt-drive pulleys to enable us to run a conventional chain and sprockets, to get the front pulley off is a right job, you can't just drop it in gear and try and undo the retaining nut so i fitted the belt and tie-wrapped it to the pulley then dropped the open 'loop' end around my hydraulic work stand that the bike is standing on, i had to heat the nut up and borrow a 'jims' socket and bar off frenchy to shift it, they are bloody tight, must be hammered on at the factory with an air tool, i got chance to do a bit more on the bonny tank too, dangerous bought a tank repair kit which is similar to the one we used on the mz racer, [couldn't get the 'frost automative' kit as they are out of stock at the present time], washed the tank out with the marine cleaner and dropped a handful of old nuts and bolts into the filler cap and rolled the tank to knock the rust off the inside surfaces, [the bike had stood for a long time and condensation had made a real mess of the tank], i dropped the etching solution in and left that overnight, dangerous washed it out this morning and spent most of the evening drying out the tank with a heat gun ready for the sealant, we decided to leave this stage until tomorrow so we can make sure the tank is totally dry.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

found another photo of the 'hellbound' ironhead sporty digger, love those ridgid struts and the way the swing arm kicks up at the rear so the tyre sits inside the mudguard and the goose-necked frame, you just don't see this sort of build these days, class bike.
chris palmer's new mz racer build, chris is our riders rep and does a lot of work representing our club, [bmzrc, the british mz racing club, check out http://www.bmzrc.org.uk/ ], he had a really nasty accident at cadwell park last season and had to be airlifted to hospital in the lincolnshire air ambulance helicopter, he's well on the way to recovery and i managed to have a chat with him at our last meeting at snetterton in september where he offered us loads of advice on setting up the bike, chris works in the racing car industry and the quality of the build shines through, twin brembo's, early honda steel-frame cbr600 wheels, maxton forks and shocks, powdercoated crankcases and that lovely combination of international harvester orange and black paintwork, real trick little bike [and i'm dead jealous of that aluminium paddock stand]

Monday, 17 January 2011


so, after the big weekend clean-up and shed re-organistion, it was back to work on the sporty, the original filler on the fuel tank is pressed into an apperture in the top and welded into position, the weld leaves a ridge which has to be carefully removed with a dremel and carbide bit to allow the quick-filler to sit flush, the original welded filler has to be cut back to give enough room for the mounting screws which sit, [as you can see in the second photo], very close to the edge of the hole, it takes a bit of work to grind to shape with a small stone wheel in the drill as the metal is really too thin to file for fear of denting the tank, quick rub up with emery to finish and drill the mounting holes, [i used a centre drill to pilot the holes and then a 4mm hss bit and just gently clean up with a round file to give clearance for the screws] if you look carefully at photo 2 you can see where the original filler was welded into the tank, you have to be really careful when drilling the new mounting holes in case the drill 'wanders' into the groove and throws your centres out, bit of a squeeky bum moment but i reckon the result is worth it.

after getting the lathe into position we soon realised that we needed a major re-organisation to fit everything in the shed, we have three bikes in there, the sporty, the bonny and the mz racer, the sporty and bonny are in the middle of being rebuilt and we had parts from both bikes strewn around the floor, the bench for the pillar drill and grinder needed moving to accomodate the lathe and we had tools all over the floor and bench, we started the big clean up saturday night and finished sunday tea time, not a lot of progress on the bikes granted, but well worth the effort for the room we've gained,[that's jess, my daughter, in the second photo, she's raiding the secret choccy stash that we keep hidden in the filing cabinet]

Saturday, 15 January 2011

sporty project, searching through my parts stash i came across this lovely little 80mm quick filler, fitted loads of the 100mm fillers into the standard sporty tank but never the smaller brother, dropped the cork gasket onto the tank for a working profile, fuckinghellitstight, worked the dremmel around the mounting and cut out the standard filler, might have bitten off more than i can chew this time..... 


t.s harrison and sons limited, union machine tool works, heckmondwike, yorkshire, 1962, that's the year this lathe rolled off the production line, i was three years old, almost half a century has passed since this machine was manufactured, what a different world, up early this morning, barse from the abk crew couldn't get his works van so we needed to make alternative arrangements to pick up the lathe, down to belper van rental just after seven am to find the only vehicle available a box van with tail lift, ideal, booked it and arranged for collection later in the morning, home, breakfast, out with the dog's, home, shower, pick up dangerous and arrange to meet the three generations of the abk posse at the van hire yard, they follow us up to eckington and there follows twenty minutes of hard graft, pushing, swearing and pulling, we slide the lathe onto a pair of old mz fork stanchions so we can roll the big heavy bastard onto the tail-lift platform, once on dangerous hits the button and it lifts the machine up groaning under the weight, we man-handle it into the back of the van, young jake on the heavy end and me and gordy on the light end, gordy and me strap it against the side of the van, pay mr's penny's son and get ready to leave, dangerous stows the mz fork leg rollers and our tool's and i go to thank mr's penny, i've got her a bunch of flowers, she's a lovely lady and it's the least we can do, she gives me a kiss and we are on our way, we are soon home, barse, gordy and jake are standing in my kitchen supping tea when we get back, lathe out of the van, racer out on the yard along with half the contents of the shed as we jockey the lathe into position, i return the van while dangerous and the abk get the racer back in, fuck me!, looks like a bomb has gone off when i get back, the abk skin out and i put the kettle on, we sit in the shed eating toasted teacakes and drinking tea, the rams game on the radio, getting dicked by watford three-nil, deep joy, we need a sort out, up to my ma's next-door-but-one, 'can i put some stuff in your shed ma?', 'only if you get rid of some of the other rubbish!', all my old mz stuff, [contacted the mz owners club, said they could have it for nothing if it helped someone out but they never turned up to collect it!], old slick's off the racer and a load of other old junk, loaded up my old vw polo and down to work to dump it in the skip, shame but i really need some room to work on the racer, sporty and bonny, thanks to barse, jake and gordy, couldn't have done it without you lads, thanks to mrs penny, and last, but not least, thanks to the union machine tool works..........

"a shadow fell across me, from above. wings flapped, close by and almost silent. glistening wet, black against the blackened sky, a monster, a giant, winged gargoyle, hunched forward, pausing at a building's ledge, and cocked it's head, following the laugh's last seconds. moonlight glanced across it's back, across its massive shoulders, down its craned, cabled neck, across its skull, striking a triangle at one pointed bat's ear. it rose into space, its wings spread wide, then fell, its wings now a fluttering cape wrappedtight about the body of aman, it fell past me, its shadow sliding across the walls, growing to swallow the buildings, lit by the clouds below. the shadow faded into the clouds. it was gone......."

Thursday, 13 January 2011

the dangerous bonneville project took a big step forward today, frenchy called to tell us he had received the tyres and battery for the build, we should have it rolling this weekend, still a lot of work to do though, dangerous is on one, stood at the miller, glasses on the end of his beak and warbling like the old dear who feeds the birds in chitty chitty bang bang.........he's been sketching some ideas for  a trick top yoke and rooting through our aluminium stock bin for a suitable piece, he keep's saying 'it's for next winters build youth', i've heard that one before........

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

like a real life version of one of ozuma kaname's paintings, that's a whole lot of work going on, respect due.
the dangerous bonneville project is coming together really well, everything seems to be slipping into place and hopefully, if the tyres turn up at kev's, we should have a roller by the weekend, well, that's jinxed it then.....if you sort of squint at this classic photo you should have an idea of what we are aiming for in the look's department, the engine already has some nice mod's, a belt primary drive, morgo oil pump and an electronic ignition, that's it tuning wise and dangerous is going for performance through lightening parts instead of compromising reliability and going overboard tuning the motor.