Monday, 19 December 2011

After the good news about Italian Motor Magazine, The Chicken Shack bike has received a further two great honours. The bike has been featured in the UK Monster Owner's Club 2012 Calender, and today it went up on Bike Exif!

UK Monster Owners Club Forum

As I've mentioned before the members of the UK Monster Owner's Club have been a constant help in terms of inspiration, knowledge, practical aid, and moral support.


Bike Exif was also a place of inspiration, and even dreams, when I began planning the project over two years ago. As someone who'd never done much mechanically beyond changing chains, sprockets, and brake pads, it seemed like a fairly distant dream. The site has a worldwide audience and gets over 41,000 followers on Facebook. I can't quite believe my shed project is up there. Check it out - it's a great place to see cool, controversial and intriguing bikes; customs, racers, concepts, bobbers, cafes and classics.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Garage Land Glamour

The Chicken Shack Ducati got honoured with a photo shoot on the weekend. Adam, the editor of Italian Motor magazine spent a gloriously sunny autumnal afternoon, shooting the bike from every angle. His magazine comes out roughly quarterly, and it's a true enthusiast publication produced with great professionalism. Adam is a working motorcyle journalist, but Italian Motor is his personal baby, written with passion and integrity, It follows it's own agenda, not that of advertisers or manufacturers. Check out the magazine's blog including some pics from the photo shoot here:


All of this made it even more gratifying that Adam wants to feature the bike in the next edition, early in the new year. I must admit I barely feel the bike is worthy, looking at the standard of some of the modified and restored vehicles that have featured in the magazine. The current edition, for instance, features a 900SS that's been re-fashioned into a traditional Harley flat track racer so professionally that it looks like it came out of the factory (Bologna or Milwaukee's race division perhaps). The basic idea may not appeal on first hearing, but wait until you see it. One of the most iconic racing motorcyles, suddenly sporting one of the most iconic engines, and they look like they were made for each other. And yet the UK owner builder did almost everything himself including frame re-design, fabrication of tank and panels in alloy, and excellent authentic orange paint job.

Next to work like that, the Chicken Shack bike looks like what it is - baby steps. However, people seem to like it, and that's great inspiration to try and learn, and achieve, more on the next project.

The  photo shoot couldn't have happened without my great friend and fellow biker, Barry, who allowed us to use his Tyre and MOT company's industrial unit as a venue. Not the first time he's helped me out on the project, and I suspect it won't be the last. As, (with the exception of the teaser shots on the Italian Motor blog), Adam's professional pictures are embargoed until publication, I took measures to get some photo reportage of the shoot itself. Many thanks to gifted amateur photographer, Graham, a lifelong friend more usually found documenting Parisian architecture and street life. It's his shots you see in this post, including the rare Adam, captured in his natural habitat - around Italian motors!

The eagle-eyed will have spotted this author sporting top lip habitating face-fungus. This is for Movember, the charity for Men's health awareness and treatment, in particular prostate and testicular cancer. Please feel free to donate here:

Sunday, 23 October 2011

A young man with so much more to do..Ciao Marco.

Simo you will be sorely missed. A real character and talent has been taken for us.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

On the Road.

So where are we on this journey? Near the end my friends? It never ends, it's always beginning. I see that now Yoda.

You have to draw a line in the sand and say - this is it. And at that point I have to stop and thank everyone who helped, advised, lent, pushed, drove, sympathised, supported, encouraged, inspired. Big Time.

The bike is legal and on the road, and I've been enjoying thrapping round the highways this weekend, mainly from one mate to another just to show it off  - and why the hell not you might say - and you'd be right. I've had a few friendly strangers talk to me about it in depth, and I'm really pleased by the amount of mates who know it from the blog, but say it looks so much better in the flesh.

Saturday morning, with my usual partner in crime, Mrs Cutter, unavailable, I had to get it up two ramps (over steps)  in the garden, and through the house, to make a 9am appointment at the MOT station. Natch' the back wheel spun and fell off the ramp half way up, with bike jamming it's arse between ramp and flower-bed fencing, and I had to risk serious vertebrae implosion dragging it back into a position where I could get it back on track again. Apols to the neighbours, but at least I had the baffles in when I gassed it up the ramps (guiding not riding - I ain't Evel Knievel). I was desperate to get it MOT'd and nothing was going to stop me, and I'll tell you why...

This was a re-run. The week before in an audacious (or foolish) attempt to get it on the road, I ended up at the roadside instead. The front brakes were siezing on and in a frenzy of guilt I convinced myself it was because I hadn't rebuilt the calipers - something I was loath to do as it's hard to get brembo seal kits (long story). Some web research showed the reason to be something else entirely. The otherwise excellent Oberon levers, apparently in common with other high quality aftermarket levers, didn't leave quite enough free play even when fully adjusted (the pin that pushes on the master cylinder piston is adjustable, unlike the stock one, but is still too long). This means that a small return valve inside the master cylinder is blocked. When the hydraulic fluid heats and expands it has nowhere to go other than displacing the pistons in the caliper and thereby applying the brakes. Some experimentation during the following week ended up with the stock lever going back on for now. However it should be easy enough to grind the pin down. It's on the snagging list.

My first ride out after getting the bike MOT'd was with my good friend Sandy on his Street Triple and he's a connoisseur of attitude in bikes, so there was lots of swapping position to hear the overtaking vibe. The thing is, I hadn't really allowed myself to think about riding the Duc, never mind having it be so much fun to ride straight out of the shed.

Next stop was at Barry's, another one with an ear for hooliganism - thanks to him for the 3/8" torque wrench loan and to the excellent Ben for the narrow hex socket. That's the lower shock mounting nut properly torqued at last then - you have to have a tool that will go through a tunnel in the swinging arm yada yada.....

 Is it finished? Nah... I have a snagging list as long as your arm or maybe even your leg, and some of it's quite important stuff for both performance and safety. However she rides beautifully, and by some fluke, (and this isn't bullshit  false modesty because I genuinely haven't actually done any setting up at all), the geometry and suspension stuff all seems great  - pretty much by chance. I took a best guess on the height of the rear suspension arch adjusters, left the Ohlins at stock, and when I put the forks in I set them at the stock height.

She rides so well that I'm now thinking I don't need to spend money I haven't got on having the forks overhauled, and the front and back suspension matched and set up by specialists. (It's possible that the last owner but one sorted the forks with new oil and springs). Maybe my feeling will change with time, (and it might partially be about contrast with the truly appalling suspenders on the VTR. That bike deserves better - it's frame and motor are right up there). However, for now I'm really enjoying pitching the Duc into roundabouts and corners, and I don't even know the bike properly yet. A couple of trusted friends and mechanics' reactions when I said that was an instant - "if it works for you then leave it alone".

The ride's firm but compliant, pot holes don't crush yer jewels and shatter jaws like the VTR. The bike steers very very fast, but isn't twitchy. On one over-exuberant run down a country lane for the camera, I hit a manhole-cover dip in the tarmac off-centre as I was accelerating hard. The bike shook it's head once in disgust, but instead of going into a tank-slapper or chucking me off, it just set it's shoulders straight and kept charging. Seat of the pants experience from 30 years road-riding says that's always a good sign. The good one's look after you and want to ride straight. It doesn't track white lines or get put off by the mixed surfaces we have here in the capital either, another great sign that the suspension and the frame are working together in harmony.

The Mivvs with baffles out are truly outrageous, to the point of being physically painful for the rider at some RPMs. However it is a glorious sound that gets admiring glances from most males with a pulse, remarks that you've been heard coming for the last 20 mins from mates, and shock and awe from non-combatants struggling to protect women and children. Unfortunately the small baffles are much too restrictive, emasculating the sound as well as some of the throttle response. The larger baffles sound great by any normal standard. Crispy, and then honking and howling a duet with the open top airbox when you wrench open the huge gasping flatside carbs. They're not as closely related to the full-phat sound as the baffles in the Quill pipes on the VTR1000 are to their naked counterpart though. And once you've heard them out on the Duc putting them in just sounds too polite despite still being pretty damn vocal. Still they're a good daily solution, with the no-baffle configuration left for "special occasions" - Lord March are you listening (grin)?

Here's a comparo courtesy of wimpy mobile phone audio:

Without baffles, on a private road digitally enhanced to look like a normal street...oh-yars:

Gorgeous, awesome.

Now with the (larger) baffles:


Nice, but not awesome. That WW2 figher plane strafing-run sound is gone. Information wants to be free and all that - loud cans save lives. Ho hum, like I said, special occasions.

I haven't had a chance to top speed test it yet but I think it may not be pulling properly at the top end, and might need a bit of setting up. Started bogging down at a bit over the ton (on private road of course my friends, oh-yars), but maybe it's a gearing thing, as at normal speeds it pulls cleanly and seems to accelerate a lot faster than stock. The carbs tick over fine and pull from fairly low revs no problem.

The main thing is the character, you feel really special - dialled in and on that mission, The tinkling dry clutch and the extra care it needs when pulling off, the snarl, the "giant sheet of paper being torn by God" sound from the cans, the slavering honking induction, the looks it gets, thumbs up from van drivers, the stance, the ride, the feeling off being on something small, light and compact with a big primitive motor in it. The tight feeling of new bearings and top notch shocker, the neat dash. It's the absolute bollocks and exactly what I signed up for. I'd say job done, but it won't be until I fix some stuff, including a small and personally shaming oil leak. Another major one is throttle cable routing that needs to be made safe as it's shown slight signs of sticking open which can be lethal. It wasn't doing it before so I need to get it back to the right cable path and secure it.

Other minor jobs can wait while I enjoy the last of the weather. Then it'll go back in the shed for some fettlin' during early winter. After that I have a scooter, a valve amp, and a Stratocaster that need working on. Then if the Fates are kind, early next year I'll start looking into (engage deep cheese voice) "THE NEXT CHICKENSHACK PROJECT" - shhhh, you heard it here first. I'll keep posting here, but I think that when the new project starts this may fork/subsume into a new blog, haven't decided the best way to do that stuff yet, need to ask a Mac wielding skateboarder or three.

I'm also hoping to have some good news about the bike appearing elsewhere on the web and in print. Obviously I'll flag that up if it happens.

Right the VTR needs to do  the commute tomorrow or the battery'll have to go on charge. It's a hard life......

Friday, 30 September 2011


It's not finished, but it is re-born. Last night I got the front brakes bled and working and mounted the speedo sensor. This morning the second, perfect, incarnation of the seat arrived. The suspension needs setting up (which I need to save some moolah for), oil strainer crush washer needs re-seating/re-placing to stop oil drip, speedo needs calibrating. Top yoke will need re-powder coating (again). last this is a complete bike.

Sneaky very short ashphalt christening tomorrow. As far as I concerned my deadline will have been met. I couldn't be happier.

From this:

To this:

Rescued from neglect, pushed through a house, re-born in a shed, raised by chickens....

Saturday, 24 September 2011

This is why you can forget that Orange County shit..

If you followed this blog from the early days, you'll know I don't pigeonhole bikes, or discriminate. If something is crap it's crap and if it's good it's good whether it's Suzuki or Harley, hypersports or chop, or preferably something mixed up and in between. Anyway this is a wicked trailer for a forthcoming Dice movie, re-blogged from the excellent proper builder site "Machine" at

This should speak to anyone who builds, mods, customises and just generally loves bikes whatever kind they are...

6 Over - Teaser from Wild Honey Productions on Vimeo.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Help and Respect

I used Haynes, I used the Desmo Times book, I checked the workshop manual, I followed and article in Classic Bike by a well known Ducati specialist shop. However the only place that told me the top pulley wheel on the rear clinder would jump out of position and would have to be forceably held there, was here:

Respect is due...

Decision on Le Derriere

Sent seat off to be re-covered today. Yep I am going back to black, but with some stitching etc. Mocked it up in this pic. Should be back from Viking Seats just in time for my deadline - otherwise I'm screwed....
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Thursday, 15 September 2011

Passed 10,000 views this week (since Nov 2009). Not huge I know, but pretty cool for a little shed project. Big thanks to all of you for your continued interest!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Bracketry and Declaration.

I read a magazine interview with a specials builder who said that the most basic skill you could have when modifying bikes was the ability to make brackets. The implication was that if you couldn't do that then forget it. Well it may be the bottom rung of the ladder but I'm really proud that I've got onto that rung. I've produced two differently curved brackets to hold the Mivv cans on. The variation is due to having to fit them around the rear brake controls on the right hand side.

These brackets were needed because I'm running rearsets, to get rid of the ugly and heavy units that originally supported front pegs and controls, passenger pegs, and rear of exhaust system.

The brackets were prototyped with the 2mm thick alloy strip from DIY chain store. Then I ordered 5mm thick ally strip from a supplier on Ebay. At first it seemed like I'd miscalculated, as when I tried to bend the 5mm by hand in the vice, the whole bench moved, and it's a solid bench!  Lesson learned, as I realised I have a book on metalwork that has a chart with "length to thickness to bendability" ratios in it. However that was far to scary and I wanted results - now! Applying energy with a different focus (or Ki for any martial arts people out there) i.e. using a big rubber mallet swung in the right stylie, got the right material moving. Offer it up to the bike, re-swing etc etc until bends are right.

Prototyping with two 2mm strips layered:

 After bending, then cutting rough shapes in the 5mm is undertaken with a jig saw and pillar drill. Then I used a combination of hand files, mini rotary-tool and Black and Decker Powerfile to finish the rounded ends, and the slotting.
Although not shown here, much of the work was done with the piece taped-up to avoid marking it too deeply... In the blurry pic below you can just about see the permy marker cut guide lines:
                                                                                                                                                                                          Finished off with wonderful Scotchbrite disk on electric drill, one of my most used tools. The finish it gives is not too shiny but nicely pro looking (I think anyway). 
A combination of laziness and some kind of Zen weirdness makes me stop at the absolute moment they look right at anything other than the closest range. I like the fact they're still a bit hand made when you look closely.
 The exhausts are now firmly mounted, in fact probably a little over-engineered but still lighter than the stock set-up.

Rougher brackets where knocked up out of the 2mm to support the 916 carbon front mudguard, as the fork legs mounting holes are at a different height from the original 'guard:

It's small spuds to the engineers out there but it's a start on the journey away from bolt-on Bertie status, and so satisfying...

I now have a target - I want this thing at least able to go for a shake-down up and down my suburban road by the 1st October. That gives me 3 weeks. She may have missed the summer, but by the gods she will not quietly into this winter go.....CHAAARGE!

Saturday, 27 August 2011

IT LIVES!!!!!!

I have just this minute managed to fire the beast up - ignore the smoke it's just the grease  that was used to ease the manifolds into place burning off. I had a slight fright when it wouldn't start but it was just reversed coil/ht connections. Listen to her roar - I am so frakkin' happy!

 Still plenty to do, finishing off fabricating exhaust brackets, re-routing some wiring, sorting out indicators on front end, fabbing up number plate holder.... BUT despite me having messed around with stator rotor and timing pick-ups when fitting the light-weight flywheel, and having fitted FCR Keihins straight from the box, she appears to run fine. Props and thanks to Chris at California Cycleworks, his base settings for the flatsides seem to be spot on. Plus there don't seem to be any oil leaks, petrol leaks etc, plus the cans sound fantastic, plus starter, dash, clutch etc etc all work....I am so stoked.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Three steps forward, one step back.

It's been a while since I posted an update. You think you're going to get loads done in the summer and you forget about holidays and other activities that block out your calender.

I continue to be undecided about the seat. Having bought three different shades of brown leatherette and some retro brown gum grips I still haven't got the tone or effect I want. I am starting to get seduced by the idea of giving up on the tan seat idea and going for black, perhaps with the hump built up to be a bit more "cafe", and maybe some red beading marking out the line of the back stop. However not ready to push the button on that yet....

Most significant progress has been in the wiring area. The speedo and supplemental idiot lights sub-loom is now wrapped up and tidy in self-amalgamating tape, going from this:

 To this:

 Having received LEDs soldered and heat-shrinked so that the plastic holders to secure them in their bezels were impossible to fit without de-soldering, I decided to just hot-glue them into the bezels.

We'll see how well this manner of mounting survives....

Getting the rat's nest tidied was a great morale booster. I'm not too good at the kind of stuff, and it was complicated by some very big transitions between thickness of wire and so on. However it came together and I got a massive buzz from getting it done. I fitted an inline fuse for the constant 12v supply and supported this by cable tying to the thinner wire in parallel and looping back the connection. This whole area is not finished and I haven't ruled out having to re-do it. For instance I've mounted the microswitch for the speedo LED display on the ignition key cover,
(sorry for the blurry shot..). The wires that run to this switch are very fine and protrude from the top of the taped sub-loom. The loom will have to be mounted and supported in such a way as to minimise strain on these. The same will apply for the wires to the back of the speedo and the wires running to the speed sensor (yet to be mounted - a bracket will need to be fabricated).

All warning lights in the speedo and externally are no working. That's high-beam, indicators, neutral, oil-pressure on the clock, and side-stand, charging system and fuel warning on the bracket. Actually I  haven't tested fuel warning light yet, so that's a lie, but we are almost there on idiot lights! Anyway it was nice to see the whole area cleaned up:

However this only high-lighted how 'orrible the brake and clutch fluid pots looked. I had previously written off alloy pots as a bit poncey, but changed my mind. Like the 'zorts, for the weight extremists it's a backward step but in this case we're talking grams and it's going to look so much better:

I purchased a large brake pot and a medium clutch pot from Motopike, in what I think is their own brand named "Factory Racing". Now there were some very highly respected Japanese parts under the Factory name a few years ago, but  I don't think this is the same, they say the parts are designed by UK engineers, and I suspect they are then made up in the far east, probably China. Nothing wrong with that as long as quality assurance is kept up.  Even if they are knowingly benefitting from the kudos of the now defunct Japanese Factory name, it's fine as long as quality is high. Unfortunately the clutch pot had a leaking sight window due to it's clips being sheared. Motopike have been very responsive, and sent a new window out in 24 hours. They say they are looking into the design, so for now the jury is out on build quality, but there is no question about their excellent customer service so I think things will come good. Also their prices are very competitive, and so you have to live with a little bit of "beta testing" for the user. I am sure that all alloy items like clip ons, which have been getting good reviews in the mags, will be fine.

Which reminds me. Having replaced the brake and clutch master cylinders with 916 or other superbike items, I found the Oberon brake lever now had the wrong fittings to suit. I got in contact with them and they gave me loads of advice. Then, rather than trying to sell me another whole lever, they supplied with me the necessary mechanism to convert ( and fitted it) at a very reasonable price. Can't rate them too highly. I had thought some of their stuff was a little pricey, but the quality is top notch and their customer service is brilliant so it's fair do's all the way.

Other progress  - I've started fabricating a prototype exhaust support bracket:

Because I don't have a band saw or a milling machine I need to make this stuff out of aluminium of a thickness I can handle. The prototype is made out of two strips of 2mm sandwiched together and is obviously a bit bendy, but I've ordered some 5mm for the final piece. We'll see how easy it is to bend as two curves are required on this side. Then the alloy spacer for the rear-set mounting bolt will need to be ground down proportionately, so that it's alignment for gear change is preserved.

The other side will be more tricky as the mounting is shared by rear brake master cylinder and reservoir components. Visually I am hoping 5mm flat bar ally will have enough strength to allow for some drilling, or even slotting, to make the brackets look more graceful and manufactured. You can do loads with a pillar drill, mini rotary-tool and the wonderful B&D powerfile.

Unfortunately the push fit of link-pipes into down-pipes is too loose. At the moment I am botching this with sleeving made from drink can alloy, and the use of jubilee clips. Not sure where to go with this short of having link-pipes adjusted or re-made by engineering firm. However, if I can "get away" with something that's reliable I will.

My other worry is there is some play in the manifold/downpipe so need to check whether gaskests are mounted correctly etc. The good bit is that all of this will need to be leak-tested. This means I am going to be forced to fuel-up, oil-up, and man-up and see if the thing runs soon! Very scary as this will involve discovering if ignition coils etc are wired up right, and electronic pick-up sensors are in exactly the right position. Only thing stopping me at present are some bits of hose I am waiting for for the tank and knocking up brake-side bracket prototype.

I'd bought an anodized front sprocket cover that didn't fit once the Oberon clutch slave cylinder was in position. A quick go with the powerfile sorted it and the de-anodised face is not visible when it's place:

So that's about it apart from one large downer. I started to mount front brake calipers so I could test Factory Racing brake reservoir for leaks in situ. While trying to do this I discovered that the front wheel is off centre. It's probably, no make that "definitely", something stupid, as there should be no change there other than discarding speedo drive and using it's insides as a spacer. Ahh you cry but that may make it thinner with casing missing etc. Yeah, but that's the side where I've got the bigger gap not the smaller, so what's going on?
Still I'm not dperessed. The best thing about this project is it keeps drumming into my head that nothing is insoluble. And I did get a massive buzz out of tidying up the wiring...weird......

Friday, 22 July 2011

Boomthang vs. Murdoch

Hijackin all things bike to plug the band I play guitar in's lil' rock comment on the press scandal. It's a rough demo really but a kind gentleman named Dack offered to do a free vid so we went for it on Youtube. And rock 'n roll and revolution go hand in hand with bikes anyway....c'mon people!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Chicken Shack Board Member Shuffles Off Perch

Just a quick note to say that one of Chicken Shack Ducati Project's founder members, Ms. Betty Descended- From-Dinosaurs-And-Twice-As-Stupid Henface, sadly passed away this week, RIP.

In more news we welcome new board member Dixie the Blue Maran. Unfortunately Dixie is having the crap beaten out of her by Wilma, which is kind of upsetting because Dixie's a bit of a cutie. Apparently this is normal chicken behaviour and sets the pecking order (hence the phrase).

However you have to keep an eye on it in case of injuries, or starvation/dehydration through being denied access by the dominant hen. We're hoping it'll settle down soon, but it can take a couple of weeks and it's not guaranteed to work out. Fingers crossed that board meetings will be less violent soon.

I'll try and get a picture of Dixie up in subsequent posts. More importantly will try and actually get some work done on the bike. Summer is just too busy, and this was when I thought I would get the most done. Current preoccupation is exhaust mounting. How to fabricate and mount supporting brackets to replace the support supplied by original footrest assembly. How to get a sealed fit at the downpipe to link-pipe join which seems a bit loose....

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Good Times at The Cathedral, 2011 Assen TT (Rossi exclusive snaps :)

Assen was a blast, as was the stop over in Bruges/Brugges on the way home. We had mixed sun and showers on the 400 mile journey there, grey and drizzle at the races in Assen, baking hot in Belgium, mother of all rain storms on last bit of journey back home on UK motorways. When I say the mother of all storms I mean 20 meter visibility, hail, 2 inches standing water, multiple lightening forks across the horizon, Gatwick airport brought to standstill, some poor soul in a crane killed at the Olympic Park.

Practice day and race day were given extra icing on the cake due to VIP Paddock Passes (thanks and love to my bro-in-law,and his friends who kindly sorted it for us. Hope Senor N is back to good health). Managed to play paparazzi for a laugh, and waited 20 mins for a 20 sec fly-by from Valentino Rossi after his disappointing practice session. It was straight into the trailer, but he smiled and waved on the way.

We were in with a great crowd on the same TT trip package and had a laugh at the hotel and on trip to the Assen street parties on the Friday night. Retired pretty early though as not getting any younger and was still feeling theAs mu! Old aircooled Multistrada, or if I could afford it I would love the KTM 990 SMT. As usual Mrs Cutter was up to every challenge on her 695, but no fairing meant 80mph was the maximum cruising speed on our 800 mile round trip.

Assen TT coincided with a Yamaha anniversary of 50 years in GPs, and they brought along some legendary bikes and riders (Phil Read, Ago etc)... The old bikes are uber cool and were so beasty they had to be locked up:

Here's what they sounded like when they were set free:

When the 125's finish this year that will be it for two stroke noise and smell. Still Moto3 could be cooking - the new Honda Moto3 bike was on show in the paddock:

Here's a shot of Simo in the pit lane, one of the occasions when he was shiny side up. The guy needs some luck and to calm down a bit and then he will clean up.... If he can do it maybe he's the next Rossi, maybe a Senna for the biking world (see that movie BTW).

We went with a MotoExpress package which meant a nice hotel and coach laid on to practice and race day, so a few beers could be consumed during the day as well as in the evening. Others on the trip were all really friendly, open, great people (as is so often is the case with bikers). Hope the friends we made all got back home safe and sound.

Don't need to say much about the results, Cheered Bradley's podium on noisely in the Paddock Bar, (which is directly on pit lane entrance, overlooks start finish straight and has view of chicane), over Dutch rave oom-pah music.

Watched Simo and Lorenzo collide from Strubbel grandstand for the main race. Bad luck for Crutchlow, and Ducati still struggling. Mugello on TV today - fingers crosssed - ho hum. Back on topic of the next post.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Tomorrow we rise at dawn - to Assen!

.....but in the mean time, despite kind comments from dear friends The Seat Ain't Right!!!

I have ordered some different vinyls as I am sticking to some sort of brown leathery look for now. If I can't get it right I may have to surrender and go black.  The seat Lee, from Viking Seats, made to my choice of design is great  - until I put it on the Chicken Shack Ducati. It's too fussy for the bike's colour scheme and the tan colour is too light. My fault not Lee's in any way of course.

Anyway Mrs Cutter and I are riding the 695 Monster and VTR1000 to Assen for the MotoGP and then stopping in Belgium on the way back. Looks like we may get as wet as we did going to Silverstone a couple of weeks back.  On the plus side we have VIP passes due to very kind friends and relatives, and Rossi has a new incarnation of the Ducati to ride, Crutchlow should be healed enough, and Simoncelli is due to keep it right side up for a change. Should be massive - see ya on the other side!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Please Be Seated....

Big news from the 'shack is I have my custom seat!

The cover was made and fitted while I waited by Lee of Viking Seats:

Outstanding work at a very reasonable price. Lee is very friendly and will discuss what you want for your seat and contribute ideas. I wasn't able to find a vinyl that was quite as "distressed saddlery leather" as I wanted, and Lee suggested black and tan to break the colour up a bit. He also suggested the use of a synthetic suede-style for all or part of the seat. In the end I asked for black suede-style, and ribbing on the actual seating area, and tan leather-look vinyl on the rest, with double stitching. The problem of the 70's-style ribbing flare-ing out near the tank was solved by Lee putting in a "neck" section that works really well, wrapping around the rear of the tank.

The seat looks a bit new and needs to get a bit "lived in", and I'm thinking about a way to age the tan sections a bit, but I'm really pleased with it. I would definitely recommend Lee, whose prices are really good despite the high level of service. As well as a seating area with bike mags, just across the yard is a reallyu pukka cafe - best fresh cooked chips I've had for a long time! If you need to to talk to someone in the South East about any sort of seat customising, I can't recommend Lee highly enough. Like Boyz Toyz for the paint, I shall be back for subsequent projects. Find Lee's site here:
Other news - what's left before project is finished I hear you ask:

Brackets for front mudguard
Bracket for numberplate
Decisions about, purchase, and fitting of, indicators and rear light.
Mounting exhausts (can't find exhaust stud nuts so need to order some new ones)
Brackets for exhausts
Solve problem of Oberon M900 brake lever seeming to not fit alleged 916 unit when they should apparently be the same. Getting help and advice from Steve at Oberon which is much appreciated.
Fit front calipers
Sort side stand warning light
Establish why sprocket studs still seem a little too close to swingarm - bit of a worry this one...
Route Motogadget wiring tidily, mount speed sensor (fabricate bracket as necessary)
Mount motogadget microswitch or buy amd mount slightly less teeny switch.
Sort out some kind of shortened rear hugger, and underseat splash plate,
Fix on seat catch and get it to work tidily possible without locking unit. Although with new seat might be better it was lockable, or bolted on.
Solder on broken neutral sensor wires, tighten sensor nut which is recessed (have made a tool out of duplicate spanner using my fab Black and Decker power file)

Put on tank fittings
Put in oil and petrol and see if it actually runs...
Fix whatever doesn't work properly.

So I'm still singing the same old song - "there's a fair bit to be done yet"

I've been a bit lax lately - did manage to put together my first rivet link chain with loan of DID tool and advice from my mate Dan. That's something I'm glad I can now do myself.