Monthly Archives: March 2013

Axle Adjusters, Etc


Finished the axle adjusters for the new bike. I have done many different types on my various bikes, usually trying to re-invent them in some original way, but this time I chose to do a more conventional style. That being said, I tried to make them very strong, accurate, and made of stainless steel.

axle adjust 1

 

The nuts are billet stainless with a self locking ring built into them. They don’t wear out after repeated use like a nylock nut, and are more secure than a lockwasher.

axle adjust 2

 

I also made some progress on the frame. Next step is the fender mounting.

bracing

 

Trans is finished, except for one block off-plate I still have to make.

trans ART

 

 

The front motor mount.

front motor mount

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B29 Superfortress


While I was waiting for some parts for the new bike, I visited the New England Air Museum to get some inspiration. I met up with my friend Jason who works there, and he allowed me to see the inside of their B29. There are very few of these amazing bombers left. In fact only one, named “Fifi”, is still flying today. A little history on the “Superfortress”:

The concept for this plane was, of course, a better bomber to help the WWII effort. Requirements were more of everything: range, altitude, bomb-load and armament. Boing was given the task. Its name is a result of its predesessor, the b-17 “Flying Fortress”, first flown in 1938. By 1942, this monster was having the final touches put on it.

b 29 crowd

Here are some basic stats:

Length: 99 feet

Power: 4 Wright radials, each with 18 cylinders. Turbocharged, carburated. Each producing 2,200 horsepower.

Bomb-load: 20,000 pounds

defensive armament: 12 .50 caliber machine guns, some controlled remotely, 1 20mm cannon.

crew: 10 (pilot, copilot, navigator, engineer, bombardier, radio man, 3 gunners and gun commander)

b29 art

Of the 2,766 that were produced, only 22 are preserved in museums. Luckily for me the New England Air Museum is one of them. When I first saw it, I was amazed by the sheer size of it. This is one huge plane!

b 29 tail

Inside, there are 2 main compartments, connected by a long tube that goes over the bomb bay, through which a man could crawl. This was so that the huge bomb bay could open at high altitudes, and not de-pressurize the entire plane. Imagine crawling through here when the plane was airborn- not for the claustrophobic.

b 29 tube

Here I am in the main rearward compartment:

me and generator 1

The confused look on my face is because the on board generator (used to start the massive main engines) is a little v twin! It looked like a panhead.  Someone was ahead of Harley in the rocker box game…

This compartment also housed the remote gun stations, and access to several of the guns themselves. It also had a little toilet, a shitload of random electrical and mechanical components, and another tunnel that lead to the tailgunners compartment. Here I am at the entrance to it:

b29 blurry

The compartment the tailgunner lived in was barely big enough for 1 man to fit in standing up. It had all he needed to defend the rear of the plane, including a little seat he would strap into, headset jacks,  gun controls, and some thick bulletproof glass.

b 29 tailgun outside

Here is one of the tailgun sub-assemblies being made back in the 40’s:

b29 tailgun made

The front compartment housed the navigator, pilots, bombadier, and engineer. It is arranged like a office, everyone sitting at their own little desk doing their jobs. I am sitting in one of the pilots seats here, and you can see some of the other stations in the background:

b 29 cocpit 2

Looking forward, you have a giant glass bubble that gives both the pilots and the bombardier a clear view. The bombardier sits in front of, and below the pilots, right in the very nose of the plane. He has a high tech (for the time), bomb-sight he looks through, and a bomb release button he can hold and activate with his thumb. This is me looking through the scope, pretending the floor was a target far below..

b29 cockpit

I find many aspects of this plane amazing, but the one that ran through my head while I was on board was the sheer simplicity of it. Despite its enormous size, the controls are still cable operated, all with little pulleys and linkages running everywhere. While partially pressurized, it was still un-insulated. The walls are just paper thin aluminum, unlike the plush interiors on a modern airliner. The noise and cold must have been excruciating. This plane did everything we needed it to do and nothing else!

Here are a few more random b29 pics:

b 29 vintage

The famous “Fifi”, the only b29 still flying today.

fifi start

There was a lot the pilots had to keep track of, gauge wise…

Boeing B-29

A .50 caliber turret

B29_ventral_turret

Dropping a bomb load.

b 29 dropping

Heres a video, a little campy but has some good flying shots:

More to come!


Photos by Derek Torrellas


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New 2013 EFAB Chopper Underway


I have been involved in the planning of this bike for quite a while now, but construction has officially started.

comb chamber

I am always experimenting with how my mind works when building bikes in different orders. For example, my first bikes were made mostly from the outside in; drawing the completed bike, then buying a motor, trans, etc and working inward until I achieved what I wanted.

comb mold level

As my motor building knowledge and skills have increased, I have began to build more form the inside out- starting with the bore and stroke, compression, type of case, etc. Then building the frame around the engine, then adding wheels and sheetmetal to it.

burr king 1

Since I cant escape my own brain, creatively, at least I can trick it into thinking differently by changing these processes purposely.   Also, I want to have maximum control over what is happening inside my motorcycle, and the only way to achieve that is to start at the heart and then grow outward.

lathe 1

The motor for this bike is a combination of what I feel are the best characteristics of and HD evolution and a twin cam, in one motor. I am combining the undersquare evo dimensions (3.5″ bore and 4.25″ stroke), with the superior flywheels, bearings and oiling system of the twin cam.

lathe messy

After riding many different types of motorcycles, there is something I like about the small bore and longer stroke of shovelheads and evos. Obviously every motor combination has its pro and cons, and the twin cam 88 and 95’s are amazing engines. However, twin cams never seem to have that “break your neck” torque that evos have right off the line. And I don’t think they sound quite as nice either. In reality, these observations are just an excuse to engineer something you cannot buy.

bender

The bike will also be a tribute to some of the bikes that I loved when I started building in the late 90’s. I always liked NYC style choppers, early Indian Larry, Steg, Psycho Cycles, Queens County Cycles, etc. That influence has been in all of my bikes, but especially this one.

tube notcher

The frame is made entirely of 7/8″ chrome-moly tubing. A smaller diameter than most frames, but the end result will be stronger than a typical rigid frame of larger material. Chrome moly is an amazingly strong steel, used extensively in the motorsports world for chassis work.

axle plates

 

I am often asked, “why do you build these elaborate, expensive motors when you could simply buy a new one?”. The answer is that I am dedicated to being a motorcycle builder in the truest sense, and without getting “inside” the motor, I feel as if I didn’t go “all the way”. I need to understand exactly how my machine works. I am a very visual person, so for me to understand something I need to hold every part in my hands and see it work. Once I began to understand, exactly, how these engines worked, it was impossible for me not to change them.

I am at a point now where the rest of the bike is simply being wrapped around my engines. This is a form of bike building that I have always been trying to achieve, but didn’t know it for a long time. I think that this is the main reason why the majority of “choppers” don’t look quite right; they are built from the outside-in. I want my machines to look like every part came from the same factory.

I am going to be documenting this project extensively from this point on. I hate to give away the surprise factor, but it is the only way to show the amount of work involved in a full scale custom motorcycle.


More Random Yokohama Pics


More bikes from that show. Looking forward to next year!

yokohama 2

yokohama 3

yokohama 4

 

yokohama 5

 

yokohama 6


Back From MAD JAP


For the past 3 weeks I have been up in Calgary, Alberta, at Mad Jap Kustoms. Dale Yamada is the owner of this operation, and has quite an impressive thing going. I would encourage anyone needing a custom bike in Canada to look no further. I have known Dale for a few years now, and we have became close friends.

I was there to help out with a custom bike dale is working on for Born Free 5. Neither Dale nor I were invited builders (there is a chopper build off as part of the show), but wanted to build a bike anyway. Sometimes you need to set a goal for a bike, and if last year was any indication, this should be a great event.

Unfortunately I cant show any pics of the bike as I left it, because we’d like to keep it a secret, but we are also doing a documentary about the build. Here is a link:

 

And to add to the madness, now that I am home, my full attention can be paid to MY new project, the chopper that will house the Efab “mini stroker” experimental v-twin engine. Detail of the bike are, at this time, sketchy, but suffice to say that it will be of extremely high quality, structural integrity, and anti social aesthetics. See you at Born Free!