Well I know things are quite around here but in real life it couldn’t be anymore further from the truth. The truth is I havnt stopped for a second, this years set to be one of the biggest.
I know everyone should be kept up to date with whats going on ETS HQ but believe me the wait will be worth it I promise. I have been working with Matthew Cox who created the Dream Build Drive Documentary. We sat down at the end of last year and floated around some ideas for something new, I had a little plan and wanted to run it past Matt, Matt agreed and we have been planning, building, filming and setting up for the biggest event of 2015.
On another note though I think I should introduce something that I think you will like. A 640cc KTM with a difference.
You may remember Dean Walters last bike that I built for him, a simple XS250 that we shared a heap of hood times both building and riding around our local coast line. Before Deans trip to Japan he sold the little 250 and put the money into a lens that would let us shoot the images you see on this page and up the creative standard for ETS.
So late last year I was trawling Gumtree, a online classified where many things can be found, I came across a KTM Duke that was local, it would be perfect for Dean and something we could tour on and do some more fun filled KM on, it was stolen from Sam the owner and he was looking to get rid of it and move on, it didn’t run and had a fair amount of cosmetic damage, I didn’t know much about these bikes but looking at the componentry I could tell it was a perfect base for a cosmetic makeover. So I stuffed it into the back of the Econoline and brought it home.
Just minutes after unloading it I tore it down to asses the damage, after taking the carby off I found the culprit of the lack of fuel to make this run, the main jet was blocked, the thief’s seemed to have deposited some form of polystyrene while filling it up, its a good thing as it probably saved the motor from a really hard time.
Once it was running and down to its bare essentials I could plan the rebuild, instantly I could tell a heap of things needed changing, the front ride height, the sub frame, everything that mounted in the rear, the headlights, tank, wiring and so on, it was set to be a pretty decent amount of work but I wasted no time and got stuck into it.
Firstly I needed a tank to set the scene for the bike, its the fuel tank that plays the major styling aspect of any motorcycle, the seat and sub-frame must accentuate its line and make the tank flow. This tank was given to me by Julz who kindly handed it over off his own project, a CB650.
The first Item on the list was the sub-frame, I used an old battery from the 350 to create a sheet-metal battery tray, its housed in a 1″ bright steel frame thats supported with some 1/2″ bright steel tube. It runs on a straight line from the base of the tank.
The sub-frame uses the factory frame mounts and on all the bikes I build I try and leave the original frame structure uncut.
Next up it was the pipes, I spoke to Dean a few times while he was in Japan and updated him on the build, I know he loved the twin high pipes that many scramblers run, I decided to get creative and run a twin 1 3/4, system and build my own silencers, I was really happy with the outcome, the mufflers came up a treat, I used some old perforated tube to create the baffle tube then some muffler packing to silence the bark of the big 640cc engine, once everything fit I welded it all up. Obviously the packing isn’t replaceable but It will last for years.
I get all my reducers from my local Reece plumbing shop, they carry a lot of nice stainless and I used 4 1 1/2″ to 2.5″ reducers to make the inlets and outlets and used the leftover off-cuts to make the return in the tip of the pipe.
The line of the pipes look great and are a real feature of the bike.
We have some pretty large adventures planned so I needed a filter that would keep the big single cylinder clean, I made a 3″ aluminium entry tube and used a K&N filter with silicon waterproof cover to keep the moisture out.
When Dean arrived home the bike was ready for test run, we took it out into the country and unleashed its fury. It was so much fun to ride, the torque was insane and it just pulled through the gears like nothing I had ever ridden. I think every single bolt I had fitted to the bike rattled out, it was full of intense vibrations and made Loctite an essential part of the build.
It would easily lift the front wheel in second and third gear, the front forks though (with cut down springs) weren’t up to the task of keeping a smooth ride through all conditions.
We spent the afternoon learning about what the bike needed and wrote a list of revisions to be assessed once we got back into the garage.
I pulled apart my 250 and used the front end as the forks were much nicer, the speedo also made way onto deans bike along with the front brake and master cylinder, a complete upgrade that was well worth it. My 250 was destined for changes anyway as it wouldn’t keep up with Dean on this big bore rocket.
Now the bike was ready for its second ride, I had made a seat pan and we taped some foam to it, the loctite was holding the bolts in, the new front end controlled the bikes weight and the feel of everything started to make it feel more complete.
Dean took the bike to get a seat made, then a roadworthy, then registration and then he was off into the sunset.
Thanks to Pete and the boys down at Road and River we sorted out a set of fat Continental tyres, its really hard finding offroad tyres for 17″ rims, these will be perfect for long rides with varied surfaces. I also remade another radiator that fitted the bike better and was isolated from the chassis vibrations.
After many KM its proving itself to be a great commuter, it still vibrates pretty badly but there’s nothing we can do about that, it seems like an inherent problem with these big bore singles, the factory plastics, rubber mounted bars and lounge seat must have made it a little better than the stripped down version we created but it makes up for every little downfall with its flawless appearance. The perfect bike to get away from it all and create memories that will be forever remembered.