Build Diaries – Part 5

What a wild weekend that was, Friday night quickly stretched into Saturday morning and by the time I got all my jobs done it was time to load the bike into the van and head off for the meet point with the film crew.

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How did the ride go? It was amazing but first I want to detail the effort that it took to get the bike there. When I got home from work Friday night I firstly concentrated on the water tank, this was a last ditch effort to have something that would emulate a radiator and allow me to test the bike properly, not only that I wanted the frame design to be 100% finished on the Friday night so I fabricated up an alloy tank that held the shape and the mounting points that the new radiator will have. Once the water tank was finished I made up some insulated mounts that weld to the chassis making the radiator more simple and insulated from the vibrations of the frame.

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Next up I needed to mount the rear brake locating pin, this welds to the chassis and holds the rear brake calliper off the frame, it’s a simple M10 boss that has a 10mm thick tab bolted to it. While I was out the back of the bike I welded up some M10 bungs in 2 pieces of 100mm long 1” chromoly tube that will be the foot pegs, I couldn’t be sure where I wanted these so I made tabs that bolt to the chassis and welded those on instead. Speaking of tabs I also welded on the seat mount that doubles as a fuel tank mount, I stepped back looked at the bike and I knew it was getting close.
The last job to do was to add some strength into the neck area, a simple 5/8” chromoly X that runs from the radiator mount to the neck and then back to the top radiator mount finished the frame off.

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Before I tore the bike down I wanted to build a small race stand to support the bike on the ground, possibly the most elegant look a bike can have is the rear wheel hovering above the ground while its sitting in its front heavy state. I took some 5/8 mild bright steel off the rack and bent it up in a matter of 20 minutes.
It was 1am and I was ready to disassemble the bike ready for final welding. It took roughly 15 minutes to tear the bike down to the bare frame, once it was I could put it back on the jig table ready for weld, I would say the frame weighs less than 5kg and is extremely strong and light, I haven’t used chromoly much but I am blown away with its strength, just trying to bend the 1” tube is a workout for my 3 tonne tube bender.

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I worked from the bottom to the top, the front to the back and in around two hours had the frame completely welded, It was a struggle at times but I am glad I packed everything into this tight time frame, I may have overthought a lot of components if I had of.

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So its roughly 3am and I am reassembling the frame, the motor goes in, the battery, the fuel tank, the wiring, the front end and then the wheels, I roll the low resistance non” o ring” chain over the sprockets and I am glad it clears, it’s the final piece, its 4am and all I need to do is bleed the brakes and clutch, the lines were brand new so it took ages to get the air out, I ended up sucking the fluid through the lines with my mouth, by the time the rear brake was bled it was time to go, I started to bleed the clutch but I was out of time, Cinifly (the drone operators) where already at our morning location, Dean was on his way and I had not even loaded the van yet, I lifted the bike into the Econoline (it seriously weights about 70kg) and then took off out the road bound for Mt Mercer a wind farm with quiet yet smooth and long road that would be the test location.

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After driving an hour to the location the sun started to rise as I lifted the bike from the van, I was tired but I didn’t feel it, the excitement of the bike being out of the shed and finished was enough to keep me awake. As it rocked back on the race stand in the middle of the road, the morning sun reflecting off the bare chromoly, stainless and aluminium I could fully appreciate the amount of back breaking hours I had put into this over the last two weeks.

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It looked amazing just sitting there, I topped up the fuel, made sure the water tank was full, checked the oil level in the motor and hit the button to fire it into life, it ran and everyone who was there that morning had a smile on their face, I have spent a lot of time with this bike as a dirt bike and essentially it’s the exact same bike, it’s just all laid out a lot differently now and you wouldn’t even know. The resemblance to my inspiration of the 1972 Revell Drag Triumph plastic kit bike can be seen, but it’s taken on its own style and I love where it’s going.

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It’s idling away and the pipe starts to get a golden glow, I spent a lot of time perfecting the grain on this bike, everything is sanded long ways, I wanted the light to reflect the bikes length and its noticeable to me, its looks brilliant. (no sleep for a week will do this to you too)

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I throw a leg over it rock it forward as I didn’t have time to bleed the cutch I run along and select first gear, it lumps along as the gearing is so fast, in first gear I get a feel for it, its stable and the faster I go the more stable it gets, the front suspension is stiff as its some 20 degrees more raked than what it was, the frame feels really solid, the tires are soft and they do a great job of taking the small bumps out of my back, I hit the kill switch and get ready to turn around.

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As I run next to it I can’t believe the lack of rolling resistance, the lack of weight, the non O ring chain, the smooth tyres and fresh wheel bearings just offer very little friction, perfect for its intended purpose, I fire it up, select first gear and rev it out, then second, then third and the speed it carries makes my vision blurred, I hit the throttle and it launches forward, the seat offers little in the way of support so you need to hang on, I lay down on the frame and I can feel the engine pulse beneath my heart, the pipe screams and its nowhere near its peak power RPM, I can’t imagine how fast it’s going to be with a never ending layer of salt in front of me.

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My feet are numb, I have been in these boots for two days straight, my hands are dry, I have burns all over me but it’s all worth it, the bike is perfect, there’s nothing I would change and there’s nothing it compares to, it blows me away that just two weeks ago it was the perfect bike for hitting big jumps on a supercross track and now it looks like nothing I have ever seen. The bike literally came to life in front of me, again I didn’t draw anything, I had a wheelbase, a motor position and a heap of fun ideas that eventuated in a successful build.

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As I drive back home in the Econoline, the passenger seat folded up and the front wheel of the bike up against the dash I can’t stop looking at it, I can’t wait to show the world, I believe it will change people’s perception on what’s possible in every way.

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