Monthly Archives: May 2012

5 in a 4 the Efab Way

Several years ago I built a bike I called “The White Horse”, and sold it to a friend of mine. Recently he decided he would like a 5 speed with the new style electric starter setup, rather than the Hitachi style I built it with. He also had bought himself a 5 speed somewhere, so We decided to put it in.

The thing is , a true 5 speed doesn’t fit in a true 4 speed frame. Now of course you can buy a Baker “6 in a 4″ style transmission, but you would be stuck using either the Tech Cycle electric starter kit (which is a pain in the ass), or the Hitachi system again, but not a true new style starter. what do we do?

I noticed that I needed to notch the rear of the electric starter mount, and the rear of the motor plate to clear the swingarm hub. This was done on the mill and with hand tools. This wasn’t enough to make it fit, so i also had to notch the seat tube just in front of the trans plate. I gusseted it with 3/16” steel plate.

Now the 4 speed trans plate had to be swapped for the 5 speed one, except 2 of the 4 mounts on the frame are different. No problem; remove, build, replace.

Now the trans was in, but what about the primary? The distance between the sprocket shaft of the engine and the trans main shaft is now shorter than stock! I thought about using an FXR style belt, but it was too short. Luckily I have friends like the guys at Bandit Machine Works in PA. I told them about my problem, and before you can say “fuck Taiwan” a complete primary drive came in the mail- made custom to my new dimensions.

Here it is mocked up. Yes I know the coil is hanging there…

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the entire trans had to be about a half-inch further towards the carb side of the bike. This was because I re-used the right two trans plate mounts, allowing me to re-use the 5th mount. I only re-built the left two mounts. Anyway, no big deal, I simply milled the alternator cover down the appropriate amount, moving the front pulley inward a half-inch, then used a half-inch offset final drive sprocket (putting the chain back it the original place).

It also features a Baker hydraulic clutch cover. Just remember, at Efab “everything fits anything”.



Warren Jr.s Race Bike

I while ago Warren Heir Jr from Milwaukee told me about a racebike project he was doing with a bunch of school kids. He asked me to put together a “do it yourself” E-Fab exhaust kit for him and his students to put together. I built the cone and the merge collector, as well as the head flanges. Then I supplied several pre bent tubing sections, some straight sections, and the appropriate TIG welding rod. This is how it looks assembled.

F35B Ship Testing

Is this the end of the steam catapult method of carrier takeoff? Think about it, they could mobilize an entire group of these simultaneously, rather than having each one wait its turn for the catapults. Also,  less crew members to manage the launching and arresting gear…

Korea Makes Nice Harley Parts

A bike came in with shifting troubles, so in I went. It is a “dreamsickle”, as I call them (huge aftermarket/catalog wide tire bike). Just getting to the trans was a pain because of the large oil tank and bees nest of electrical tape and butt connectors stuffed in it. Once in I pulled the speedo sensor (which is a magnet) from the trans, I found this- metal shavings. Some of the shavings were the size of grains of rice.

Obviously this means something went through the meat grinder, but its rare because there is no real way for shit to get inside a Harley style tranny (other than unscrewing the fill cap and putting something in). My friend Alex from NY and I pulled the gears out and found a bunch of chipped teeth, and all bearings were either loose in the case or full of metal shavings. The shift forks may have been the source of the metal debris, as one of them had been worn down to a nub riding up against a gear.

The only markings the trans has on it is “6 speed”, and a sticker that says “made in Korea”- not a good sign. I did not give him the option of a rebuild, because finding parts for this would be difficult, and would add up to more than a new one costs. Despite being a Baker dealer, the customer says he will supply another one of the same trans to save money! This one was toast after only a few hundred miles, and luckily it didn’t lock up on the guy when he was jammin’ down the freeway next to a grey hound bus.

The moral seemed obvious to me- cheap-ass overseas chopper parts suck. It doesn’t surprise me that most people are oblivious to what country they are supporting when making purchases, but you would think they would care about death or serious injury to themselves!

Dont get me wrong, Asians are responsible for some of the most amazing machinery and technology on earth, but not when it comes to cheap, American marketed Harley products.

I think part of the problem may lie in the fact that a lot of companies are american owned and promote themselves in a very patriotic fashion, yet manufacture overseas. They will even say things in their adds like “american products”, or “designed in USA”, and they are not necessarily lying. Their stuff is just made overseas. Just do a little background check on something if your not sure where it came from. I don’t know of any American 6 speed transmissions for under $3000, so if you paid less for yours new you are sitting on a bomb, one that will go off the second you try to pass that cement truck on I-95. Did I mention I was a Baker dealer?

Matt Olsens Dash 2

360 Brass

360 is the material “machinability” of another metal is based off of. It can be machined at super high speeds and makes gold-colored dust!


Looking for someone from the New England area who is driving out to Born Free who would transport one of bikes out there. I’ll pay ya…

I’m in Branford CT