For the moment I have a few things going on that should arrive soon. Read On...
Barons Custom Accessories did a drag race season on their Road star in 2001 & 2002 and did very well indeed. Having learnt a lot about how their bike performed they felt able to release a lot of their parts to the general public - which means you and me! The only trouble was getting another engine for the job. Yamaha will not sell a spare engine and getting one from a scrap yard or salvage company is next to impossible. Good condition engines go for nearly $3500 USD, which is an enormous amount of money.
I eventually found one engine that had been involved in a big crash. The crankcases had a couple of lugs missing and one of the covers was badly dented and scratched. Got the whole deal for $800 plus shipping!!! I spoke to John (Baron) and asked if it would be ok to have the salvage company deliver it to Barons Custom shop, so that they could build up a whole new big bore motor. Now I honestly thought that the crankcases would be costly but it turns out that Yamaha will sell them new for just over $600. Cool. A couple of phone calls to Tim at Barons - he's their Race Tech - and we'd decided what to put in...
...and lots of other trick bit and pieces. I'll let you know when I know.
So, with the engine on it's way and due sometime in May 2003, I had to get a move on and decide on wheels, forks, style etc. A lot of soul searching went on - and I really like the Freestyle bike by Thunderbike in Germany, but I really couldn't justify spending 7100 Euros (almost the same in US Dollars) on a bike that anyone could have. What I wanted was something a bit more brutal and rugged. The internet is a wonderful thing and after a lot of painful searching and long nights (matchsticks holding up my eyelids) I eventually found the wheels that I wanted...
Made by Carolina Customs in the USA, they are called the Battle Axe. Matching pulley and brakes are all available and everything is made to order - even the wheel hubs. What size do you want? Well 18" x 8.5" rear with a 70 tooth pulley and an inboard drive side brake system. A 21" x 3.5" front rim with left side single brake disc to fit to a Wide Glide style front fork.
A little while later and I'd found the fork legs I'd wanted. Storz Performance make a great set of 55mm Inverted Fork assemblies. The whole fork assembly is great except for the fact that the trees (yokes) come with no built in rake option. So that means I need to find somebody to build a set of billet triple clamps to fit a 55mm tube. I reckon Phil Piper's Choppershack should help out there. Stock Harley Davidson FX series fork lengths are 32 inches from the top of the headstock to the centre of the wheel axle. I'm telling you this 'cos so many people will give you so many different answers. I've been to the shop and measured a few - so no more bull.
First off you need to know how much rake to build in to get the required trail. (Click here for more information on trail). Now I tried with pen and paper, geometry drawing sets and lots of other stuff, but the best tool I've found was some software from Choppers Unlimited (now defunct). A demo download let me realise what it could do, but I had to cough up $50 to use the full version. Having said that - the result was worth it. You can adjust the rake in the frame, forks, length of forks offset in the trees, radius of the wheel - everything! Most people will tell you that a trail rake of between 4 and 6 inches will give the best handling ride particularly with a WIDE rear tyre. Here's a picture of the possible result that I am going to produce in to the new ride. I may go for a total 41 degree rake instead though, which will take the trail to just a teeny weeny bit over 6 inches, the height will also come down to 37 inches, which will look soooo cool.
30th April '03. I've now received the wheels and tyres from Carolina Customs and Headwinds 5 3/4inch Headlight housing and lamp. The V Tech forward controls from Thunderbike have arrived as have the chrome steel oil filter cover and stainless steel starter motor cover. The Storz fork legs are here and the raked yokes are being made. Hawg Halters International have sent their 6 pot front caliper and their 4 pot rear caliper to work with Carolina's inboard driveside rear brake. The kickstand has been supplied by Hotmatch Custom Cycles and is a weld on bent leg type to fit a 1 1/4 inch frame tube.
The crankshaft is being shipped from Florida to California as I am typing this, so the engine build could be completed by around May 10th. We may only be waiting for the new lifters that Baron has designed. I'm now looking for quotes to get the engine shipped here in a cheap but quick way.
It's all starting to happen now.
11th June '03. The bills have come in thick and fast. Hooray, the engine, exhausts, loom Mikuni 45mm HSR Carb, Barons ported manifold and lots of other parts are in the country now. It seems I have to pay a big import bill and the bits will all be sent to Classic and Custom in Derbyshire, where my new frame will be built. Now I think that the build could be longer than I thought initially but, hey , it's my first one so I have to learn some patience right? I can't wait to see what's going to come out of the box, but John (The Baron) von Chaldy did say that I should get a cool chick to straddle the engine before anything else is done!! Where's my camera?
3rd October '03. Ok, Classic and Custom's other customers have all been sorted out and it's my bike's turn to go on the frame jig. I saw the frame a couple of weeks ago as two tubes lined up with the steering neck and the engine laying on them all ready for the final decisions and alignments. Jamie and I discussed, at length, about what should go where and how the frame should be shaped etc. It's going to be a dual cradle frame with the down tubes being the same angle as the engine cylinders, which should make the bike a fair bit longer. The front will also look higher too. The backbone of the frame is being made from 2 inch tubing, which will be plenty strong enough! We're having to modify the pulley to offset it about 30mm to 40mm so that we can keep the engine and wheels all lined up centrally otherwise going round corners could be entertaining (heavy one way and light the other)! The frame is going to be shaped over the pulley area to clear the belt drive on the left side, but also we're shaping the right side of the frame to match so that it all looks symmetrical from the rear. At the moment I'm a little concerned that the Nasty Boy exhausts I bought from Barons won't easily fit, but I'll cross that bridge when it comes. Talking of Barons, more parts ordered from him now! I forgot that I needed to fit up the Trick Air Ride suspension to something, so I've ordered Baron's Rear Lowering Kit and all the original Yamaha parts for the rear unit e.g Dog Bones, seals, bearings etc. This way, if I decide I don't like the air ride, I can fit an aftermarket shock absorber and heavy duty rate spring.
24th January '04. Going slowly but still heading in the right direction. Having been up and viewed the work so far, I suppose I could be forgiven to have expected more to have happened. As it is the frame is basically built with the motor mounts on and the swingarm is in the middle of being machined. Now this is a great piece of engineering. The swingarm is something along the lines of Thunderbike's Freestyle unit, but we're having the internal surfaces radiused as well (instead of flat as Thunderbike's units are). So far only one side is half done but now I've agreed the principle behind the idea it shouldn't take too long to make the rest up. The fuel tank is going to be a wider longer version of a Destroyer gas tank and hand fabricated in steel. I also have a new girlfriend now (Jane) so the bike's going to have to be a two seater! Having sat on the bare frame today, I'm going to need some really long arms... should be interesting riding this beast.
Some piccies.. not the best, but the shop was so full of other projects it was really hard to get a good angle. I'm sure you'll get the idea though.
As the bike is going to be exhibited at bike shows, I wanted to have the velocity Stack, but when I'm riding, the VStack won't offer much protection as there's minimal filtration (all the muck and grit will get in and scour the engine causing premature wear). So I've got myself a Force Motor Products Forcewinder, which will be great for protecting the engine and giving that all important increase in power during those little trips to the shops. Thanks to "NotPork" from the Road Star Riders forum for selling me his old unit.
26th October '04
Well, having been to the Bulldog Bash earlier in the year, I've bought myself a Spike Air filter from D&M Customs. It's really the coolest thing I've seen so far. The fuel tank's just about finished its modifications and we're waiting for the rear fender to come along from Zodiac in Holland (that's been the longest wait so far!). The frame is having the final touches to it and is currently being plated up to fill in all the holes in the frame. It's also having an Art Deco type stepped webbing in the neck of the frame. The swing arm is finished and is a work of art! Also, the air suspension is basically working and the side stand is fitted.. The fuel tank will need a pop up gas cap fitting still and possibly some more stretching to go. Loads more work to do yet but here's a couple more pictures to keep you going...
14th February '05
Okay - it's been a while, but things have started up again!! The fuel tanks has been stretched even further (!!!) and that means I'm reaching well now. It's also been sent for pressure test and sealing (always seal your tanks if you don't want them to eventually rust!!). The handlebars have also arrived from the Custom Cycle Control Systems (previously Climax Cycles Controls). I chose the Premium version of the G-Force bar type which means I get a speedo installed as well. The bars are great as all the hydraulics, cables, switches and throttles are incorporated inside the bars themselves, which makes for a very tidy front end. I asked them to provide all the controls in polished aluminium and to have the bars in raw steel so I can paint to my own scheme. Mirrors have also arrived. They're Apollo 13 style from Rebuffini in Italy. Solid mounted, the mirror is adjusted by pressing on the glass itself. The front mudguard has arrived from West Coast Choppers and is the Mama Jama version. Now all it needs is cutting to the shape I want and some mounts machined for it. Rear mudguard has been made from a hardtail fender and cut to fit.
21st November 2005
Things are taking forever - still...!! It would seem that the fuel tank had to be scrapped in June this year as the extra stretching just wrecked the whole thing, so a new one has been made - that's now complete. Extra news now is that the Hydraulic clutch conversion has been completed by a fantastic little company in Nottingham. Apparently they convert Buells in much the same way. The Wildstar clutch is a pull type (not a simple push rod) with a geared mechanism operated from the top of the casing by a cable. New versions of the engine for the Warrior have been converted to hydraulic by making them a pushrod version from the right hand side of the motor.
I've decided to have a belly pan fabricated as there's a large gap between the frame and the front wheel, which will be useful to house the voltage regulator and to hide some the rear brake mechanism. We've still got to decide on the shape of the front mudguard.
The bike is now having the final modifications done to the frame to allow access for cables, placement of the voltage regulator and any other remedial work. After that, the bike should have about four days of wiring and then we can fire her up. Jamie at Classic & Custom reckons that should be around the first week of December 2005.
21st April 2006
Saw the bike yesterday. The new fuel tank was crap as it was just another modified tank. This time I've told the guys that a new one should be made from scratch, which apparently has been done by a chap in Sheffield - but I've still not seen it... Hmmm it'd better be good! What else? Oh yes, the bike has been fired up for a couple of seconds to see if the wiring was all working (sounds fantastic!). I've bought a side mount license plate from www.alloyart.com and a new rear brake caliper mounting bracket which is being fabricated should marry up to this. Nearly all the welding has been completed, the belly pan is completed, rear mudguard final shape decided and the front mudguard should be mounted this weekend with a final trim to shape after that. Percy Badbrush has the biked booked in for paint this week. Will it get there? Will the hydraulic clutch conversion ever get finished? Will I lose my rag? Probably not.
13th July 2006
So I got married on 17th June - FANTASTIC DAY - and still no bike!! It seems like a real threat of removing the bike from them and they've had another spurt of effort. Jamie's rung today to say the fourth(!) fuel tank is with hime and the stretching is nearly done. The belly pan is welded up and the rear brake pedal mount is sorted out. The swinging arm is about to have a groove machined into it to allow the brake pipe and electrics to be hidden away. I'm going up on the 14th (tomorrow) to see how it all is really going on. Otherwise it's out of there and into my garage for working at my own leisure since the Summer's gone again...!
8th August 2006
So here we are! Good news at last!! The bike has finally been finished in the metal and has been picked from the shop by Percy of Badbrush Designz. Not without a long wait while the final bits were completed. We talked at length over the type of art I wanted (you're going to have to wait for that bit), and he seems to think that it'll all take around eight weeks. Presently it's being sandblasted to make it all good for the filler and primer, which should take roughly 2 weeks to apply. Once the shaping is done, Percy will call me and we'll go over the final designs and ideas. Then we agree a price and I pay half up front. The pipes should be picked up this week and the I can send them off for ceramic coating. All that's left is the seat. I'm back to Outback saddles for that to be made. Got a great goatskin with fantastic texture from the Rock & Blues Custom Show for £20.
Here's some shots of where we are at the moment... D'ya like the belly pan?
4th October 2006
17th October 2006
Still not much further with
C&C but what a lot of work has been done on the paintwork!
I've chosen Design 3, with a couple of minor changes. Meanwhile, I had to order another headlamp shell and mount from Headwinds (USA) as C&C seem to have lost the one I gave them. So I've now got this one. It was harder the normal to get it as the first one that arrived this week was the wrong one. Right box, wrong headlamp, typical! Anyway it's here now and up with Percy for painting as well.
Just the gold-leafing and pinstriping to go!
Well the paint's been finished and looks superb! The whole lot is back at Classic & Custom being built. The electrics are almost all in and we've had a spark at the ignition so that must all be working okay. The engine was interesting to install... it was definately easier to fit in sections. Since the Yamaha recall on the gearbox had happened, I had to strip the entire engine down and modify the gearbox with new parts from Yamaha under their warranty - at least I could do it myself. While it was stripped and as the paintwork looks so good, I took the cylinder heads and barrels to Reality Motorworks in Bristol to have them diamond cut (or diamond profiled if you prefer - or possibly Diamond Heads as in the USA). They really set the bike up beautifully. So with the bottom half of the engine modified, it was fitted in to the frame first. Then there was just enough room with a bit of tilting and twisting, to fit the rear barrel back on. The rest was a lot easier, but at least I now know the complete engine can be stripped without having to remove it from the frame. More pictures below.
Woohoo - the bike is finally on two wheels and at Outback Saddles having the seat made! The sidestand has been lost and the front forks are now the wrong colour having been annodised wrongly after some major scratches - so some remedial work to be done there - but hey - it's rolling...
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