Build Diaries – Part 6

27/02/15

It’s been a full week since the 2 day bender that led up to the first ride, over the course of that week I have planned the finishing touches to the bike that will allow it to be tech inspected by the DLRA officials in order to compete in the 2015 Speedweek competition, I must adhere to all the rules in order to clock and record my Land Speed Record, I am really excited to see what the bikes capable of.

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But it hasn’t been just this bike that I have been thinking about, it’s the journey to the salt, Deans bike is improving every day, the more he rides it the better its getting, but I still don’t have a bike to ride there. I ditched the plans to pull the salt racer apart to then ride the stock chassis to the event and swap all the components over, it’s not like it’s too much work it’s just the stress of having to actually do it all in the desert. I’m planning on doing that at Bonneville in the USA as it makes more sense.

So I have nothing to ride, and I feel I should take a spare engine, but the specifics of a 2012 KTM 350sx-f mean that if I ride a spare bike and use it as my spares then I need to buy another one. The bank account shows that I can’t do it, I have found 2 that can be delivered and modified for road use but it’s a $7,000 investment, sure I am able to sell it when I get home but I need to consolidate what I have, sell something and do it quickly so that I can be prepared for the journey.

I have been thinking about all the other little things, what I will wear on the journey there, the UHF setup that we will need to communicate between Dean, Myself, the camera crew and so on, the food, the stops, the campgrounds, the places we can ride and the amount of fun we can pack into two weeks.
Matt is off to Seattle tonight and is purely excited about this documentary, I am too and I feel like it has so much potential. I just need that spare bike and I need it quickly.

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5/03/15

It’s been another massive week, I don’t even know what day it is, I can’t even remember if I got anything done. Last night I took the bike for its second test run, the changes since the last go as follows.

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I got a new Lithium Ion battery that is so small that it tucks into the under seat section, my lanyard kill switch is on and working great, I shortened the earth and power supply to the starter motor, the entire electrical package on this bike is now done, I am really happy with how it all fits and works.
I made another radiator, I used one of the two cores that came on the original bike and made up the top and bottom tanks, if this project has taught me anything then its AC welding, before this I had no idea how to do it and how to set the welder/job up to do it neatly. It was purely through necessity that I forced myself to learn, no deadline would have been met otherwise.

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I bled up the clutch and brake and they are working great, but it’s the shifter that gave me the biggest headache, I had been thinking about this problem for a while, I didn’t want to make an over complicated linkage out to the foot pegs, I wasn’t allowed to have a shifter that I had to remove my hand from the grip to change, so I got an old twist grip throttle and got creative on a cable setup to allow me to shift through the gears via forward and backward wrist movements, I have to thank Marshall cycles for the hook-up on the knubs and the cables, I love local business that are purely excited about what I am doing, it makes me believe I am not that crazy when others are excited as I am.

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Another change is the CRF Steering stabiliser, although its not a true steering damper it will suffice the rules and allow me to have a much simpler steering setup, there’s no way I even need a steering damper anyway, the bikes rock solid at speed.

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So I filled the radiator with ICE coolant and loaded the bike into the Econoline, the sun was starting to set as I drove out to a quiet road in the country. I love motorcycles for the fact that this is so easy to do, it drove me crazy when I built the Hilux trying to test drive it, I felt like a criminal to anyone that saw me in it, with bikes people smile and even stop for a chat, even the police drive straight past.

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So I got to the location, this time with my helmet, fired up the bike and took off down the road, the chain rattled a little on the chain guard but it was only until the gearing caught up with the engaged clutch, the new 15-38 makes first gear super long but the bikes still so responsive, it takes me a while to work out which way to go on the shifter, I roll the grip back towards me and second clicks in, its smooth and the shifters great, up to third and I am really moving, then to forth and everything’s a blur, I back off as I don’t know what the roads like and I am laying on two pieces of chromoly so its not all that comfortable.

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I get to the end and turn around, I made a new lock stop setup so it limits the turning circle, its easier to get off and just lift it around, it’s so light. I turn around and select first gear, I open it up through the first three gears and then give it a stab of wide open throttle, it rockets forward and I hold on tight keeping my body away from the rear wheel, everything’s a blur, I can’t see a thing, the road seems to narrow and the trees seem to all combine into a green wall either side of the little black strip I am riding on, I have no idea how fast I am going but it’s not even anywhere near its potential, its potential can only be found on the salt and I can’t wait for that day.

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I get home and I am tired, it’s a pretty simple project but I have put a lot of hours into it in the last month, I have sacrificed and neglected every other thing in my life over the last few weeks to get this done and the end is only days away. I have some dinner and then unload the bike, I love just spending time with it, that vision that I had is now a reality and I never tire of looking at it. I propped it up in the garage and tore it down to a bare frame, I have to finish work at lunch time as the local paper is interviewing me, so I will drop the frame off at the powder-coater so that I can reassemble the final bike over the weekend and have it all ready to go.

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On another note I still don’t have a bike to ride to the salt, we leave in a week and I have to build a bike from scratch then ride it 3,000km. Everyone with a 2012 KTM 350 SXF for sale right now is super hard to deal with, if you have something for sale then you would think they want to sell it? Well it doesn’t seem like that, If I don’t have a bike by Monday then I won’t be having a spare motor, and if I don’t have a spare motor then the whole project is in danger of being incomplete, If I have a failure on the salt then its all over, I don’t want to be in that position so I will do everything in my power this weekend to get that 2012 KTM 350 SXF!

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