I recently took a trip from LA north up the coast, mostly on US1 aka the PCH. I rode to San Francisco, then to Sacramento, then over to the coast and back down again. The trusty “Interceptor” was a champ, not one problem…
Category Archives: e-fab bikes
I am back in frozen CT after another CA adventure. This latest trip lasted a little over a month, and culminated with finding a great shop space. The move west will happen as soon as I settle some business here, and pack up the critical tools and furniture from the current shop.
Once again, this latest scouting mission would not have been possible without the help of a few good people, namely John, Brooke, Agatha, Steg, and of course Candice and my dad. Without their generosity and input, this move would not have been possible. From storing the bikes, giving Fre and I places to stay, educating us on the ins and outs of LA, and holding down the CT shop while I was gone, I owe them a huge thanks.
Here are a few random shots from the trip:
The trusty “Interceptor” was my chosen transportation out there. I rode it relentlessly, and it performed perfectly.
Getting used to the riding in LA is somewhat terrifying. I don’t think I have ever ridden in a place with such bad drivers. Maybe bad isn’t the right word, more like intentionally careless. I witnessed at least 5 accidents, all of which occurred right around me! Not bad ones, but slow, casual smash ups. People out there drive as if cars are disposable, and as if occasionally wrecking your car is just a way of life. The average speed is not really any faster than other cities, but the awareness just isn’t there. I phones are looked at more than windshields, literally. Riding a high powered bike through the mess is an exercise in restraint for me. Its hard to exploit the occasional stretch of open road, because at every intersection there is some brain-dead housewife or teenager just waiting to ambush you. Making direct eye contact as you approach does seemingly nothing. On a bike, you just don’t exist in Los Angeles.
The good news (at least from an east coast perspective) is that you have quite a few privileges that cars don’t, namely being able to park almost anywhere, ride between cars, and cut to the front of traffic lines. Come to think of it, I was amazed by how few people were riding bikes, despite the weather being above 60 every single day.
Luckily motorcycles were not the only vehicle I got to play with during my visit. My friend Jackson invited Fre and I go flying with him in a helicopter, specifically an “R44 Raven 2”. It is a cool little amalgamation of aluminum, plastic, and a fuel injected flat 4. We flew out of an airstrip in Camarillo, and just flew around the surrounding area for about an hour. Jackson practiced landings, which was probably the most entertaining part for me. here is captain-jackson giving her once-over.
Fre looked a bit skeptical….
I also spent an entire day exploring the “Angeles National Forest”, a great spot not far from the new shop location. The main road that winds through it is amazing; an endless series of smooth turns and switchbacks. Unfortunately the “Interceptor” lacked the range necessary to get from one end to the other, so I made a decision a ways in to turn back. I little extra fuel in a jug should get me through it next time.
Thats all for now. Next up: the drive out
I finished the Iron Triangle, minus a little tuning, for the this show. Satya, Alex, and Alfredo all came through for me, helping me do the last few days of fabrication.
Making a taillight on the ol’ end mill.
Oil Tank, battery box, regulater/rectifier mount installed….
Vent and return lines plumbed…
Notice 3 wires coming out of that alternator! 48 amp 3 phase charging system from Cycle Electric feeding an Anti Gravity lithium ion battery. Less drag, lighter weight, faster recharge times.
Bike is progressing! not long now…
Making stainless steel exhaust clamps. I made a simple fixture to form the flat stock to the correct diameter.
After a lot of metal finishing….
My only gauge will be cylinder head temp, which is the hottest part of the engine. Gauge itself is from an airplane.
This box got recessed into the top of the gas tank, and the other cutout is for my two mil-spec toggle switches. This is all cut out with basic hand tools and my sander.
Bike so far
Gas tank is mounted on three points, here are the front two mounts
The exhaust pipes are 1 3/4″ OD, the common header pipe size. The problem with that is the actual exhaust port size on twin cam heads is 1 5/8″. Usually there is an abrupt step where the heads meets the flange. I machined the flanges with the inside tapered to perfectly blend the two sizes. Also, they have a flat, perfectly matching taper on the outside of the flange, so there is no way the gasket material can squeeze into the exhaust flow. This happens often with aftermarket exhausts! These are machined from solid stainless steel on my manual lathe.
Here is the underside of the gas tank, with two giant mounts welded in. They are 1.5″ OD flange, milled down where it goes through the tank. This distributes the load over a larger area of the floor of the tank (which is made from 1/8 chrome-moly flat stock).
Since returning form California I have been focusing entirely on the new bike, the “Iron Triangle”. It will be powered by a new engine I am building, which I have nicknamed the “Mini Stroker”. I will attempt to explain why I named it that: It is a hybrid of a Harley Evolution motor (built from 1984-1999) and a Harley Twin Cam motor (built 1999-present). In a nutshell, what I am taking from the Evo are the case mounting system, the bore and stroke, and the wrist pin. The Twin Cam parts are the cams, oiling system, heads, and crank assembly. The reason for this is because I feel that the Evo bore and stroke combo is superior, in many ways, to the twin cam. However, the Twin Cam is a far stronger motor (due mostly to the robust flywheel design) , and has a far more reliable oiling system.
So, since a first generation Twin Cam was 88 cubic inches (3.75″ bore by 4″ stroke), and an stock Evo is 80 inches (3.5″ bore by 4.25″ stroke), that means that in a Twin Cam crankcase I have increased the stroke from stock, making it a “stroker” motor. however, due to the reduced bore it has less displacement than a stock Twin Cam- hence “Mini Stroker”.
In addition to all this, I also changed the cylinders from stock cast aluminum with an iron liner to billet ductile iron. This is heavier, but also far stronger and more dimensionally stable under heat. In other words, as it gets hot it doesn’t change shape as much. This means tighter tolerances all around. I also used a head/ base stud pattern for attachment to the case and heads, instead of the thru-studs an Evo or Twin cam would have had. Again, stronger. In order to make the Twin Cam heads work with my new bore and stroke combo, (as well as a copper o-ring head gasket) modifications had to be made. I wanted to reatain the stock Twin Cam combustion chamber, but it needed to be reduced to 72 cc’s of volume to achieve my 10.5-1 static compression ratio. This meant decking (milling down) the heads significantly. In addition, the new flange system was milled into it to accept the o-ring gasket.
Ok, enough about all that, here are some pics:
I was lucky to have two trusted advisers here to help, my main man Alex Lerner from SL NYC in Queens, and Satya Kraus from Kraus Motor Co in northern Cali.
This is the “cam-plate”, the component that supports the cam shafts, routes oiling, and holds the oil pump.
Installing the bearings on the flywheel
Checking the endplay on the left case half
Completed short block
Here is completed frame. All chromoly, all made here at Efab
closeup of front motor mount
More to come!