Sunday, 15 May 2011

Brothers in the Build.

I've just finished watching a recording of the Le Mans MotoGP with Mrs Cutter, about 8 hours after it happened. What a race!  Ducati are on the podium with Rossi  having had a smart consistent push to third aided by carnage and confusion at the front.  Rossi, Burgess, and the Ducati team are doing what they said they would, developing the bike. This result became possible after some "chassis" (that's an archaic word for what is really a carbon airbox that holds the front-end, engine and rear-end together) mods, but Barcelona brings a new engine which Burgess has made clear is an important part of improving the behaviour in corners. If it has more power that won't hurt either. I won't talk about the ironies of the Simoncelli, Pedrosa and Lorenzo, Dovizioso dust-ups, other to say that I feel sorry for Dani but enjoyed watching Simoncelli stuff it up Lorenzo who has been playing the pious champion mind-games off the track. Anyway back to C-Shack business..

Last weekend was a milestone in terms of the project bike, not just because a particularly daunting (to me anyway) stage was completed, but more because of the manner in which it happened. A fellow UK Monster Owners Club member, Sam, had arranged to swap his Mivv X-Cone cans for my Sils. This was a deal made in heaven, with Sam lusting after the oval Sils he had wanted for a long time, now in a position to make use of them as he de-caffeinates his 620 for a change in riding position. In turn I got what I had been secretly longing for, pipes that are really different, with a real cafe-racer megaphone look mixed with a bit of modern GP vibe.

True, the brushed steel X-Cones are a fair bit heavier than the carbon Sils which seems a bit of a backward step performance-wise, but they are still a lot lighter than standard.  However, they look phenomenal. I was worried the back end was going to look cluttered and low with everything in black around the back wheel, These swept slim cans will clean things up no end without my having to resort to high-levels which inevitably look too modern for a cafe-a-like, and on a tail-chop bike need shortening.

The Silmotors :

The Mivvs :

They look longer when in position due to the link pipes which continue the line back to the manifold.

You may be wondering what was so special about all of this, and what was daunting about exhaust pipes. The answer is nothing, what was special was that Sam, as well as travelling a couple of hundred miles to do the swap, also decided to help me out with the wiring job for the Motogadget speedo and associated LEDs. Yep, the wiring that has been worrying me for so long. He spent several hours doing a class wiring job just as a favour to a fellow Monster owner. He even had to be forced to accept a little lunch - the chickens pinned him down while Mrs Cutter force fed him Spag Bol. I have rarely met such a polite, kind, hard working and talented bloke and I owe him big time.

The speedo, complete with it's micro switch, sensor, four internal warning lights, and the three extra LEDs I'm mounting (for the remaining required "idiot lights"), are all functional. All I have to do is tidy and route the wiring, put in a in-line fuse for the 12v supply, and bracket-mount the speed sensor and switch. The wiring was scarier than it looks below where it's pretty much finished, with some changes having to be made in the loom at the back end of the bike as well as at the front. However it wasn't at all scary for Sam, who pulled of the neat trick of making it look easy without ever making me feel like the talentless chancer I am!

More news just in, this weekend -  apart form sorting Kriega luggage for Mrs Cutter's 695 and my VTR, as well as a RAM mount and charging socket on the latter (all this in prep for Silverstone and Assen GP visits) -  I found some time to look at the final drive on the M900. I'd been uncomfortable with how close the sprocket nuts seem to be to the swing arm, and as usual instead of noting the obvious (studs seemed a bit short - how could that be?) I was making up all kinds of panicky theories. Powder coating affecting tolerances, 750SS sourced wheel not right, sprocket carrier different or not seating properly, spacer in the wrong way round, Resolving to play around with different sprockets and swap to the old carrier to see what was what, I realised I'd put the sprocket on the wrong way round - it has indentations on one side that allow the nuts to screw further down the studs. Just a couple of mm. difference but enough to now look right.

Wth everything going so well I decided to try and put the chain on, which really needs a side-plate pressing and rivet-end squashing tool. These usually come as a multi-function jobbie that breaks the old chain too. A bit of web searching came up with some alternative methods and I tried to improvise:

This is some kind of car tool which, with a socket used to keep it's jaws open, makes a good pressing tool. This would have been fine if the instructions on the chain packet had mentioned that you need to have the side of the plate with the writing on facing outwards ( it says "Japan" unlike every other link that says "DID"). Or if I had enough sense to know that, to work as a press-fit, the holes need to be tapered, and therefore direction of application is important. I soon realised though, when my pseudo-press bent the plate instead of pressing it on. I straightened it in the vice (should be OK as all strain is lengthways) and resolved to try again later or maybe borrow the right tool from my mate Roly if he's got one. Sometimes it's best to take a breather and re-group.

I'm feeling very up because the project has so much momentum now. I need to ring a seatmaker.....

Forza Ducati! Roll on Silverstone and Catalunya!


  1. Just caught up Pete after a while - wow all looking very good! Love the paintwork but aren't you worried one of the chooks might crap on it??

  2. Thanks chaps! Re Chooks, they have an adjoining property, but they aren't usually allowed in to the workshop section (other than for photo shoots) for that very reason!

  3. what a beautiful gauge! is the LED tach pretty functional? (at a glance, does it feel accurate to engine speed?) i'm thinking of putting their 'vintage' mini gauge on my monster for a retro look, but i really want a functioning tach. any reviews?

  4. Hi - this dash is a speedo only. The digital read out gives you trip/mileage info and speed which goes higher that than the needle display can display, plus some other info, but not revs. Motogadget do some other gauges that do give revs though, including a nice big tach with a small LCD speed readout. I got this one because it was small, looked good, it was a deal on ebay, and I don't need a rev counter on a large capacity vee-twin as the power isn't right at the top end anyway. Hope this helps.

  5. i KNEW it was too good to be true! their website mentions LED readout in tachometer function in the motoscope tiny, but it must be a misprint or poor google site translation. their tach with digital speed display looks nice, but i really love the olden font and all on the vintage and speedster. the search goes on!
    thanks for your help, and great site!