Saturday, 16 April 2011

At last my custom painted tank is here...

Don from Boyz Toyz has done a stunning job. As ever it is difficult to capture the colours as they appear to the naked eye. However the white is just right, not at all fridge like but not at all cream. The metallic red is rich and not orangey and the metallic green is very dark looking almost black until the light hits it. Tricolore a la hot rod, not a pizza box in sight! To my mind at least, it has the retro motorsport look I wanted and I am stoked. No more words needed:

This is all the inspiration I need to solve the remaining pieces of the puzzle. All thanks be to The Force : )

Monday, 11 April 2011

Anticipation is the greater part of pleasure......AAAARGH!

Friday I had the day off, the plan being to go and get my newly painted tank and see if the Piaggio white with metallic green and red stripes thing was working. I got a call from the paint shop on Thursday to say it wasn't going to be quite ready for Friday and rather than changing my leave dates again, decided that Mrs Cutter and I would take the Firestorm and her 695 to the coast - the beautiful  Aldeburgh. There are so many lovely winding country lanes between Aldeburgh and London. Friday morning dawned bright and sunny, and as we were about to leave later in the morning, I got a call to say the tank would be ready after all. However, there was no way I was going to mess Mrs Cutter around and waste a bright sunny blue-sky day riding in a car.

Bikes are about riding right? The tank would have to wait......gnnngrhhuuurggh! However getting the tank next day, which would mean not thanking Don in person but picking it up from the polisher, was not possible as I was meeting old Univ. mates, including one I haven't seen for over twenty years (all sometime bikers and/or musicians natch). And so here I sit knowing the tank's ready, but not knowing what it has turned out like. I am guessing from Don's repeated comments about being more than happy for it to be seen around the paintshop for a week or so, that it's looking fantastic. Current plan is to get it next Saturday morning, prior to prepping for a gig that evening...

In the meantime, 916 clutch master cylinder arrived and was fitted with Venhill hose to Oberon slave cylinder, and fitted with Oberon adjustable lever. At some future date Factory Racing anodised reservoirs may tidy the cockpit looks up. I know the original coffin master cylinders are more retro and tidier, but I love the sports look of remote reservoirs, and the stock units were fouling the clip-on brackets so there we go:

I now have a working clutch! I have a failed delivery card from the postie so hopefully the 916 brake master is at the depot, will check today.

Other progress and general good news - high spec Motobatt battery arrived. It's got 20% extra cranking power and a good rep for being long lived and resilient. Makes me feel better about not being able to afford an ultra lightweight Lithium Ion job at the moment.
The best thing about the new battery was that I was able to turn the motor over on the starter. So what you say? Well this demonstrated in one fell swoop that my clutch push rod and new pressure  plate assembly works, the cleaned and re-built starter motor works, and with clutch out the front sprocket rotated anticlockwise which, as it's on the left hand side of the bike is the correct direction to indicate that....THE SPRAG IS IN THE RIGHT WAY 'ROUND!!! Jeeez what a relief.

Other stuff, am waiting on exhaust shims which will allow me to fit exhaust and start fabricating rear support brackets. Have LEDs for two extra warning lights not catered for in speedo - but they sent me a white one instead of a red one... Next biggie is design and sort the seat re-cover and possible re-shape.

 Oh yeah and left side rearset on and working. Things are gathering speed friends...

Monday, 4 April 2011

On It's Wheels!

This is very premature and I will probably regret it, but I just couldn't resist. The project has got real momentum at the moment and I really wanted to see the bike on it's wheels. The kids helped me get it off the table safely. With luck I may even have the painted tank by the end of this week. It's scheduled to be ready to pick up on my birthday but I have to confirm tomorrow. If the plan sticks I will be so happy.

In other news. Rear brake with new Venhill hose, rearset brake controls including banjo brake light switch all fitted. However brake switch a little too long so utilising double copper washers which is not ideal.

Continued struggling to keep the PJ1 exhaust paint on long enough so it survives relatively unscathed until engine is run to cure it. Our oven's not big enough, although I did have another go, this time with electric heat gun rather than blow torch.

Bit pathetic so roll on engine running - way off yet though.

Having discounted professional electrician to do tidy job on dash due to cost, I am running out of excuses to put off wiring it in.... Got to start sorting seat covering choices too which will be fun.

Not The Approved Method (or "Clown over Matter")

As some of you may have noticed, my version of a hydraulic bike bench (to raise a motorcycle to an ergonomic height for working on) with a further jack or stand securely mounted on it (to further raise the bike off it's wheels when on the bench) is a coffee table. Not just any coffee table, but a shagged-out one rescued from a skip, constructed from some toxic exotic wood, supplemented with a few bits of pine block and board, some nailed carelessly to the top. It gives the miser in me, and the spirit of my can-do ancestors, great pleasure to utilise only equipment that would look at home in a Brothers Grimm tale.

On Sunday I had a sudden urge to put the front wheel in and let fate decide how the bike would get off the table.

During that process the inevitable happened. The bike, which has been teetering for weeks, fell over away from me as I fiddled with the front wheel while sitting on the floor. Toward me would have been worse. Through some fluke, and due to the centralised mass of the engine on which the whole thing was pivoting, even though it fell to an angle of about 80 degrees, I was able to counterweight it easily but not move, or remedy the situation. As I was about to reach for my phone and alert the youngest Cutter offspring, I noticed that said Cutter-ette was looking out of the window at me, so I gestured in a desperate fashion and together we got the thing upright. Sufficient to say I was determined not to learn my lesson, and not ten minutes later the front wheel went rolling across the garage floor as though determined to fall and damage a disc rotor. As I groped for it ineffectually it came to rest gently contacting the world only through the medium of rubber.

Due to mistakenly thinking I was missing a spacer, I resentfully changed tack and started thinking about mounting the Motogadget Tiny speedo. I knocked up a simple bracket, and this proved to be all that was going to be necessary, stylistically as well as functionally. I'd though I would have to make a small alloy dash as the new speedo only has four warning lights hidden in it's face and I need more. But it seemed a shame to take such a minimalist little gauge and put it in an acre of alloy plate.

The speedo will handle indicators, high beam, neutral and oil pressure. That leaves side-stand warning, low fuel (there is no gauge or reserve on an M900) and charging light. I can probably live without the side-stand light as it has a cutout anyway. So I've ordered two LED's in bezels that I hope will mount stealthily in my very mimimalist bracket, under the speedo itself.

This bracket may prove to be just a prototype, but it cheered me right up seeing the speedo mounted. I'm still anxious about the wiring job to come, and I was grumpy about what I thought was missing spacer for the front wheel slowing my headlong plummet toward destiny.

Today I realised there was no spacer required, it's function is carried out by a shoulder on the front axle. Time to enlist fate again. The coffee table is birthing a healthy sprog but it's a complicated labour, and not by the approved method:

I think I have reached a point where an assistant is required again. I'll let y'all know when she gets down off the operating table safely, but in the meantime it's so damn good to see her with wheels on. Remember don't try this at home, yours or anyone else's.....