Monthly Archives: December 2011

A Few Cool Bikes


Just something to look at while I finish the tank…


Triumph Tank Repop


I am working on a customer project now, duplicating an old fiberglass tank out of steel. It is easy for me to make an original tank, but copying one exactly is really hard! The first step (for me anyway), is making a wooden “buck” to use as a life sized dolly to hammer on, as well as mark out where my panel seems will be. Here you can see the fiberglass tank next to stages of my buck…


White Line


This bike will be going on sale to the general public very soon. If anyone wants to cut to the front of the line call me ASAP 203 315 9908. Of all the bikes I have built, this took the most total hours. It has solid titanium grips for gods sake!


Icarus After Dyno


So after my 2 hour dyno session with Mark, I made some headway and learned some valuable info on Icarus. The bike limped along at about 25 hp and 40 ft pounds when I got it there, but keep in mind I had just made a new exhaust and had new carb needles in. After a baseline run we determined that it was way rich from about 3000 up. A few adjustments in the carbs and we were doing better. We also advanced the timing about 5 degrees and it really woke up. By the end it was making 42 hp and over 60 ft pounds! I know a lot of bench racers will give me shit for not making more power, but the reality of v twins is often quite different from what is written in the catalogs. I challenge anyone to build their own motor from scratch and make more power than that (at the rear wheel) with 7 to 1 compression! I already have plans for phase 3. I am shooting for around 65 hp and 80 ft pounds without raising compression or cam lift. I also spent an entire day riding around new haven on her and she took it like a champ… good little bike.

 


Simple


I searched for years for hubs that were simple and tasteful. It seems that every hub out there is either

1. high tech looking

2. has huge flanges

3. chromed/imported

4. vintage (not safe enough)

I made a few so far. I have done front and rear. They have small and wide flanges, are raw aluminum, and have late model bearings. This one is on the front of a clients bike I’m building…


The Search for More Power


After a few months I have enough time on Icarus to know what needed to be changed. The rear fender developed a small crack so I remade the entire fender from heavier gauge steel, and added a top strap piece. I also decided on a dyno session with the other motorcycle fabricator in branford- Mark Simiola. He (unlike his old shop mate) is an engine expert, and without him it would have taken me a lot longer to make Icarus run. In a week I will have the bike there with Marks array on tools at our disposal. He told me that I should get some 02 sensors to put in my exhaust, so I decided to build a whole new system to accommodate them. The muffler on the original exhaust was a problem too, it worked too well! It was kind of polite and weak sounding. I also had a few new ideas to try, so here it is:

The one on the left is the original. I made that out of 1.5″ to 1.625″ mild steel, then had it ceramic coated. The new one is on the right, made of 1.625″ and 1.75″ stainless steel. I have found 321 to be the material to use when doing stainless exhausts because it resists corrosion at high temps better. I also removed the muffler and just have a little open merge now. I think that, despite what it seems like, it will be a decent volume but not annoying, and hopefully make more power. I also have some new advice from the carb expert at Lectron, and some new needles and jets to try. So, in one dyno session, I hope to dial in timing, adjust carbs accordingly, and pulse tune the intake lengths. Stay tuned for an update.


I guess I should comment: American Chopper build off


Yes i watched the new build off. I was not expecting much, and it unfolded exactly as planned. In case you didn’t watch, it’s a 3 way buildoff  against the OCC dad, the son and Jesse James- apparently the 3 “best builders in the world”!

In my opinion Jesse James is a fantastic builder, has a great sense of style, and deserves all the credit he can get. He has a true love of motorcycles and it shows. The OCC boys are obviously morons that have never ridden more that a mile, don’t love motorcycles, and sue members of their own family. I hate their guts because they stand as pop culture icons representing everything I hate about human beings. Greed, bad taste, no self-respect, and inflated egos.

The show was voted on by the public, and unfortunately when you get the general public involved with anything that is meant to be a counter-culture, it goes horribly wrong. This was the case, and the stay at home moms and x box players of the world voted this man the “best builder”….

I know it is shooting fish in a barrel here, but for those who don’t know motorcycles and may be reading this, let me tell you what I see. That is Paul jr there sitting on a bike that he “made”. Well he didn’t make the frame, the wheels, the engine, the fork, or the swingarm. His “team” built the tank, but it is just a cover that looks like a tank. The real tank is a box under the trans that holds less than 1 gallon. It has a metal seat that is flat as a piece of plywood, and to top it all off- it is horribly, horribly ugly. I don’t care what you are into. You would look like a complete douchbag riding this thing in the best case scenario. I would rather ride one of those can-am scooter things than this.

Here is what I perceive to be the big picture. TV producers want ratings. A show about craftsmanship will never entertain enough people to get these ratings. They need the d word, drama. These OCC guys have provided that in abundance, and now they are where they are, “the best”.

I hope that in my lifetime I can see the American people turn back to pride and craftsmanship; what made America great in the first place. Yesterday will remind me of how far we have fallen and how much work it will take to get back. It may be too late, but I (and all craftsmen) will spend the rest of our lives doing our best to undo this.

PS: If anyone ever, ever, mentions OCC as a comparison to my shop (or any of my friends shops) you will be very sorry.