Friday, December 19, 2014

So...Here's what I'm Thinking



There's a long way to go from here and I still haven't quite finished the wheeling machine for Frankie. I'll get there... Anyway, I like where it's going but I don't have much time to elaborate. I colored it green as Unk mentioned he was thinking British Racing Green or dark blue. I'm a fan of green but I'm not ruling out blue. More to come. Cheers.

Friday, December 05, 2014

BSA Design repair PT.2

O.K., so the Ducati side covers are decidedly sexy. On to the tanks. No, we're not making a new tank. Ain't nobody got time for dat. The first pic in my last post is of our BSA before Unk bought it. I think. Generally speaking, our bike still looks just like that but the tank has a couple leaks so he bought another tank. I don't know what they are called in BSA speak but it's bigger and ostensibly does not leak. I like em both. Now since we are still comparing British to Italian, let's leave Bologna and take a trip a couple hours North and West to the shores of Lake Como. No, not to see George Clooney but to the Moto Guzzi factory and peek in on what Leno Tonti and his boys have cooked up for early seventies motorcycle styles.
Oh. Mye. Gawd.
Pic from Here
Pic from BikeEXIF
These two make me drool. It's no secret I like green but we need to focus. Tank shape. It's got a little dip down and in right behind the cylinder head. Very nice lines. Plenty of fuel. The triangular bump on the V7 cover flows nicely with the tank as does the newer panel on the 1000 in the second Guzzi photo.

Here it is in it's current state in front of a slightly newer 650 twin. Not the greatest photo of the overall bike but it shows the shape of the tank nicely. Bump out, comes back in and up behind the cylinder head. Same deal but less aggressive than the Guzzi. More British. Why am I bringing up the tank? Two reasons. A) the side panels we are trying to fix do not match either of these tanks, stylistically. B) The seat. Wait, what about the seat? Not unlike The Dude's rug, it really ties the room bike together. Have I lost you yet? Well, I have failed to mention that if we fix the side covers that ridiculous tail lamp housing is going to be the new weak link aesthetically speaking. This is all strictly my opinion, by the way. So since we're going to have the shot bag and teardrop hammer out anyway, might as well do something about that tail end. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
So the Ducati GT sidecovers have a good look and you can see how they'd fit right on the Moto Guzzi V7 Sport. All of these bikes have a similar enough profile and our big BSA tank is the nerdy cousin of the Guzzi tank.  All that tells me I'm on the right track. I think the paint color and design (if any) will have a bit to do with this also. The frame on our bike is grey. My understanding is the bikes came this way and the Americans did not like the color. Many dealers were repainting the frames black so they could sell the bikes. I think it's ugly but with the factory two tone paint they made it work. Ironically, the two tone paint also hid the nice line just along the bottom of the tank and made it look a little more like a slab than it really was. Grey stays. That weird ass magenta color on our tank? Yeah, not my cuppa tea. Unk didn't like the kind of green I did so I'll put that one in my pocket. Dad mentioned in one of his posts that the GT panels bump out and he would prefer more of an innie, as it were. I think I agree but I'm not sure that we could do something like the 750 Sport/900 SS covers without making them look like an exact knock-off. 
From Here
The outside shape is right on. The BSA covers have to contend with the giant oil bearing backbone however and oh, did I mention it's also an airbox? We can deal with all that. The point is they have to look better and function as well. I have no doubts about function, airbox or no. Looking better is the challenge. Many have tried...few have succeeded.
Here
Nice bike, side covers courtesy of Campbell's Soup. 

From Shop Teacher Bob's blog
Pretty good attempt here. The side covers are better than stock and I'll leave it at that. 

No idea where this one came from. 
Number plates are always an easy out, but we're not going flat track with this one. That's funny, this one...like we build bikes all the time. 

BikeEXIF again
If you are into skinny jeans, have a handlebar mustache, and an axe that you don't know what to do with, you can go this route. (Actually I like this bike, just don't tell anyone.) Look how nice the line along the bottom of the tank appears in this picture. Why did they hide that? I'll go back to my sketches and keep thinking on it. More to come.



BSA design repair PT. 1

I could drag this one out forever but I'm short on time. My father and I co-own Grumpy Unk's 1971 BSA Lighting 650. Unk hated the sidecovers and I agreed to help design some new ones that Dad would build. I think we're moving forward with that. I'm not a fan of the sidecovers myself and my favorite thing in the world to do (well, perhaps...third favorite) is design stuff. I'm not going to pretend I'm a better designer than say Fabio Taglioni or Leno Tonti but perhaps we can do better than Nigel Ramsbottom or whomever that came up with these three piece, steel and zinc die cast afterthoughts slapped on the side of the newly (at the time) redesigned A65 line.
The Bike in question. It's not that dark in person.
Okay, they're not that bad. I had one of these for a while and I've always liked the way they look bone stock. I do feel the looks could be improved a bit and in the spirit Hippocrates, I look first to do no harm. We won't do anything that can't be undone with some wrenches.

No idea where I got this one, no copyright infringement intended. 

Body by Fabio
No idea where I got this one, no copyright infringement intended.
Speaking of Fabio Taglioni. My guess is this is no chicken and egg deal here. The Brits needed cash to keep all of motorcycling alive in 1971. Down there in Italy they were building these beauties. I doubt the Italians were sending spies up to the land of blancmange to find out how to make a motorcycle look sexy. To play devil's advocate, I would think most folks would take the Ducati over the BSA any day of the week. Opinions vary but if you squint a little, the aesthetics are very similar. So what could we do to fix the slap-dash styling of the BSA? Hmmmm....we could steal those side covers. I'm speaking stylistically, of course. If I was a designer worth my salt I'd Photoshop those babies right on there. But that's not an option at the moment. Moving on. 

Holy crap that's cool.
No idea where I got this one, no copyright infringement intended. 
While we're squinting, if the PO of Unk's bike had just dumped a big-assed handful of metal flake in that baby blue paint, we'd have something like this. You know...sort of.




Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

Happy Friday




Both photos from El Corra Motors

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Stress relief

6 points per inch. Rip.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The trailer

Since I no longer have a truck I thought I'd get a trailer. I picked this gem up for the price of the tire repair. My plan is to shorten it up and make it a utility trailer that I can suit to my needs. On the way home with it one of the fenders fell off.
Luckily, the car behind me didn't run it over. Clearly there was a design flaw as it had been repaired in the past. There was a big fat weld bead just above the crack. You are the weakest link...goodbye.

So I stopped by the hardware store and picked up some flat stock. A little triangulation
and Robert's your mother's brother. I'm a little rusty as far as welding goes, no pun intended. As we say in my family "It's not much for looks, but it's hell for strong!"


The big ugly weld bead you see is the old repair. My weld is a little ugly one under it.
The Rust-O-Leum covers it nicely.
There is another design flaw with this trailer as well. It has trailing arms and a Panhard rod which can be a nice design. The drivers side trailing arm gets in a bind, however and has broken. I can tell by the gap where the arm should meet the axle and does not and is surrounded by ugly weld gobs. I ran a couple passes across there just for the time being. A friend wanted to borrow this gem so I figured I should make it less dangerous. As it happens, he's going to pass. It's probably just as well. Like all my projects, this is probably as far as this one will get. Even though I've only got about eight bucks invested, I'll figure out a way to sell it at a loss.



Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Toy box of a different stripe and a wagon ramble

We have a three bedroom house. A while back we thought it would be a good idea to put both of our boys in one room and use the other room for other things. It's not a big house and there's always some sort of compromise happening relative to space and places to put our stuff. As it turns out, the extra room just became a 10' x 13' junk drawer. We emptied the room out, and gave it a coat of paint, some new outlets, switch and lighting fixture. The closet is still full of crap belonging to me and the wife. The boys, and the oldest in particular, have a fondness for guns. He usually picks something from Nerf's latest offering to spend his allowance on. While moving all his stuff from one room to the next it became clear we needed something a bit better than a big plastic bin for the toy arsenal. So I headed off to the home center with my "new" station wagon and tried to shoehorn some 4'x4' plywood and pegboard in there. I looked like Lucy Ricardo. It simply won't fit. An 05 Subaru Legacy wagon is not your father's station wagon. I did notice that Glen Campbell's Gene Winfield customized 1974 Cadillac Eldorado STATION WAGON is for sale. It's not far from me, either. I'd be willing to bet my plywood would  have fit in there.
That car is pretty darn cool. Imagine all the amplifiers and Blue-Ribbon winning  beer you could haul in that sweet ass ride. If gas was less than a buck a gallon I'd risk sleeping on the couch for a while to be the owner of this wonderful piece of custom Americana for the low-low price of $14,500. No I wouldn't, but a guy can dream right? I talked to a guy at a car show once with about a '65 Chevy wagon and he claimed a 4'x8' sheet would fit with no problem.
Back to the plywood on the Subaru. I thought I was going to have to use a lifeline, as it were, but being the resourceful lad that I am I got it tied down on the roof rack. It only took about a half-hour and it didn't fall off on the way home. I figured I could knock this box project out in whatever free time I can muster in a weekend. Two weeks later...it's as done as it's gonna get. Except for a handle. The Boy said it needs a handle and he's right so I'll get a handle. I'm no cabinet maker but I did make a cabinet. He's pretty excited about it and I'm pretty glad there is not a giant pile of brightly colored plastic and foam in the middle of his room. And that my friends, is one reason why my Sportster is not even close to done. But that Sportster won't put a smile on my kid's face the same way that Nerf cabinet did.