Flats Movie – Build Diaries

1/2/2015 Its 1 month and 25 days till the event, I’m starting to stress about the build, the bike sits untouched in the garage but I know it’s mechanically sound. I’m still reading the DLRA rule book and thinking about a strategy that will be affordable, competitive, and relatively easy to create but most of all have the most presence on the salt.

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2/2/2015 I spent that last few days cleaning out the garage, it’s been a year since I gave it a really good clean up and the mess was starting to get to me, I learnt a lot about how clutter affects me mentally during the Hilux build, I always found myself stressed out and thinking like I couldn’t go on, it was always those moments where I decided to have a clean-up and as soon as the work space is clear so is my mind.

3/2/2015 We have set a date to start filming the build, this Friday night I will be tearing down the bike and starting the build, the garage is looking brilliant now and it’s going to be a great place to spend the next month, I am still deliberating how all of this will go down, I want to be self-sufficient both on the ride there and on the salt, I had contemplated buying another bike, one to ride there and one to race, I really can’t afford it and I really don’t want to have the stress of two bikes. Can my 350 make the 1,500km there, race, set a record then ride all the way home? It’s a risk but I think it adds to the adventure side of things.

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4/2/15 Last night I finished off the garage, sheeted in the wall that will sit directly behind the new build jig, made up a drawing desk and finalized the layout, I still need some new lights to hang over the build but I think the scene is set for a pretty impressive build sequence in the new documentary.
Dean came over and we high fived, it’s because his 640 that I built got a roadworthy, new plate and he is set to sail! While I painted the new wall in the garage he looked over the bike, the radiator mount that I welded to the factory neck of the bike had broken off, it’s because the neck is cast and the weld was brittle, these big singles vibrate like anything. So we swapped tasks and while he painted the garage wall I repaired his radiator mount.

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After the wall was painted the sun slowly set leaving that perfect late afternoon sky, I looked around the garage for a bike to go cruising with Dean on, at the moment the only one that ran was the 350, so I quickly put the road wheels on, shortened the chain for the change in rear sprocket size (51 down to 40) and we took off down the road, this bike is the salt racer and it was good to feel it out on the open road with some gearing to get it up in the high kmh range. It hauled and was able to sit on the rear wheel well over the 130kmh mark; my estimations so far see it exceeding 100mph but everything changes once we get on the salt.
We returned home after a decent ride and I was so happy about the way the bike handled the higher speeds, I packed up the garage and started to really put some thought into the new frame that will make this bike unrecognizable and also sit it down low to the salt.

I measured my 1967 Harley as its proportions are just right, its wheelbase was 1650mm and its rake was 45 degrees, I estimated my rake to be the same and the length to be just a touch longer, I am 6 foot and need to be lying on the bike, my legs are long and I plan on sitting just mm forward of the rear tyre, I want my foot pegs level with the rear axle so it makes my legs pretty cramped.

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So 1800mm is my new wheelbase with 45 degree rake, I want the bike to be as skinny as possible, the forks aren’t ideal, I’d rather a set of skinny 30mm conventional forks but as I plan on only changing the frame and keeping all other parts as per factory (as I’m riding the bike to the salt) ill need to make do.
Like every single day at work I can’t wait to get home and start work on the project, I plan on Matt filming the teardown, the creation of the frame JIG, then the setup of the motor and forks on the jig this Friday night. It’s a lot to do in one night so I need everything ready and prepared.
I have also been thinking about the way I need to present my story to you guys, I think the build aspect and the first ride will be narrated and Matt can focus on grabbing the sounds of the process, I think it will work better than talking while working as it’s a little distracting.

5/2/2015 Last night Deans taillight showed up, I wired it up while he organised the new prints for the garage wall. Pretty keen for filming Friday night, not because I’ll be in front of the camera because I can start the build. Speaking of the build, I have made the extensions to the motorcycle jig plate to accommodate the 1800mm wheelbase, its 500mm shorter than the 450 I built the table for so the extensions should make it more universal for the future.
One thing I learnt when building the 450 is to keep the motor low on the table, this means the wheels can’t be attached on the table but you get a more solid base to work from, the lower the neck height is the less critical the jig has to be, I try and make everything mm perfect though all the time.

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Tonight Ill head up to Melbourne and get the lights for the garage, it should make the build look a little more professional, then I will have to get the chromoly tube for the build. I have been going back and forth between the twin 1” top tube or the 2.5” top tube idea, I like the idea of the fuel in the frame but I can see it complicating the process, maybe I could mount the motor a little further forward in the frame and sit an upright tank behind it, out of all the inspirational photos I have collected it’s the style of the Revell Triumph Vintage Dragster that I have fallen in love with the most. A 1/8 scale plastic kit from 1972 inspiring a build that’s happening 43 years later, I wish I could find an actual kit to build as well.

I am glad I stalled the build up until this point, I mentally have just about every aspect of the build organised in my head, I don’t think there will be any surprises, I am hoping that in two to three weeks (maximum) I’ll be staring at the bike sitting in the middle of a country road while it idles and warms up, I slip the helmet onto my head, pull the gloves on and fly down the road, that feeling is what I am always searching for.

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