About Me

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Stockport, United Kingdom
Spud is obsessed with all things wheeled, both with an without engine's. 2006 Open class uk champion at Boardercross racing mountain boards, his knee's have since given up and he spends more time on his bikes both with and without engines.

Monday, 12 September 2016

The review

Ok then here goes nothing, in my search for a new bike I tested 3 bikes, BMW RnineT, Ducati Scrambler (Icon) and the Triumph Street Twin. I'm no word smith so I'll keep it brief.

I won't lie, my favourite pre test was the BMW, I mean come on, its fucking beautiful, but so it should be for 12 grand.

So the BMW was first, the day was a scorcher and I had a great time riding the bike but it really did take me all day to get used to the shaft drive and parallel twin, however by the end of the day I was loving the engine and the sound track that came with it from the stock exhaust. The seat was ok for an hour or so but after that I needed a break. Brakes were spot on as you'd expect from a new bike. BUT, and here it comes, the riding position just wasn't for me, perhaps it was just too different than the bolt upright KTM, perhaps if I'd gone from my old 1200 Bandit to the BMW then the difference would have been marginal but as it was I found it too much and for that reason its a no to that bike for me.

Next up was the Ducati, apart from the stupidly high bars that needed adjusting and pushing back before it was comfortable to ride and a damn site less stupid to look at, it was a straight off win. Cracking strong engine, that pulls well, nice Brembo 4 pot on the front that works as it should. I jumped straight on the motorway from Ducati Preston to head home so I could adjust the bars, I shot up to 80 and sat there for a while, needed do a quick overtake, wound the throttle on and off she fucked. It was very pleasant. Handled nicely, but I did find myself catching my toes on the floor a bit when I got too over enthusiastic through the twists, but generally it was all good. The suspension was, well frankly a bit odd. Sometimes I was happy with the suspension and sometimes it felt bloody awful, so I guess its ok at some things and not at others. The seat, was ok for an hour or so, which is no different any other bike I've owned but it could definitely use some more padding, which is fine apart from the cost, as the seat is so low I can get away with another inch or so of padding and still be far from on my tippy toes at the lights. Its a great looker and with the 0% deal on until the end of September is sorely tempting.

Last but not least came the Triumph, I wasn't expecting to much to be honest, from looking at the power figures, they are much lower for the street twin than the other two bikes I tested but as soon as I wound that throttle on, all that brochure blurb about the torque being in the sweet spot was true, it pulled like a fucking train and was a blast to ride, handled and stopped great, and I really had to use the brakes to get me out of trouble a few times. My demo bike was fitted with the bench seat which is what I'd want fitted if I was buying it as in my opinion just transforms the look of the bike. the problem is that my back side was aching after only 25 mins, and it continued to do so for the rest of the test, oddly it didn't get any worse, just ached for the whole 3 hrs I was on the bike. And what a fun 3 hours it was, I had a great time riding the bike but there was just a couple of things that I couldn't get let go. The lack of power meant that it really ran out of steam at the top end, and the whole bike when you really got up close had a bit of a cheap look to it and I couldn't help but feel that  the 2000 mile old demo was starting to look a bit rough round the edges, so god only knows what state it would be in after a few years with me.

So the winner is the Ducati, it needs the low bars fitting for definite and I'm not sure how long the tyres will lat with me commuting on it but all in all its the one for me. Fingers crossed I can sell the KTM privately so I don't have to take the trade in price I was given.










Thursday, 25 February 2016

Its dragged on a bit

So with the self imposed Christmas holiday deadline well and truly screwed its taken a while to get this far and I have sped the process up a little by not doing the internal wiring and hidden electrics.

So I left off last time saying that the support pieces from the shock mount up to the sub frame loop were taking ages, and they did, but eventually I got them sorted and here they are.














I then proceeded to make a bit of a meal of welding them on which in turn led to a weld grind weld grind weld grind marathon, but that was kind of the point of doing this, I'm learning, on a nice little bike that I'm not too fussed about being a perfect show bike.






 I've also knocked up some  indicator mounts to mount on the  indicators of the back of the shock
 mounts.






















Once I was finally happy with the welding on the loop and supports, I started on the mounting tabs for the seat base. After much deliberation I went for two bolts through flat bar at the front of the frame and a single tab at the top of the loop.














With the seat base mounts in place I started on the seat base using 3mm aluminium. I made a template by wrapping tape over the frame tubes then drawing the centre line of the tubes onto the tape to give me the outline of the seat base. I ended up making 2 seat bases as I want to have a go at making quite fancy shaped seat and a plain seat to get the bike back on the road which is taking long enough as it is.




















With the seat base finished I fitted some riv nuts so I can bolt it down to the bike.


Next up was time to get some padding on the base, I had no idea how long this was going to take, with the electric carving knife I wanted to borrow falling through, I had to use a big kitchen knife, stanley blades and my dremmel to cut and shape the foam. the front end was obviously the hardest to get  to fit, so it was trimm offer up and repeat and repeat and repeat. I got the rest of the shape by cutting the edge off with a stanley blade then sanding the foam to round out the new edges.









I've also spent far too long making a little bracket for the rear light and throwing some paint on the bare metal. Its now wired up and running again and just (ha ha yeah just) needs the base covering.

 But I'm bloody well chuffed with it so far.










Sunday, 3 January 2016

Its NOT a project its just sort of errrr gotten a bit errrrr

First off a little pic of the battery box post lick of paint, it needs another bit of foam padding down one side to stop the batt rattling about but to all intense and purpose its done.


















Er and now I have to fess up, I have had the idea of adding a tail loop and doing a Brat style type conversion on this bike for ages.
I bought a kicked up loop to go on the rear sub frame and then spent ages thinking about it and working through in my head the various steps that would have to happen to complete the job. I also wondered how long could it possibly take, could I get it done in a day, optimistic I know but I had my best mate to help out so there would be two of us on it. I managed to get a day reserved for being absent for the day during the christmas break and so I was determined to get on it and see what could be achieved. Unfortunately my helper had child care issues so I was no my own.

One before shot.

So off came the seat, rear mud guard, brake light and indicators,  then I used my new hand held electric reciprocating saw to cut the rear subframe off just behind the shock mounts, before I used a slitting disc in the grinder to cut the welds on the support sections that supported the rear subframe. I only left them on to do this as it was easier to do it on the bike. Obviously there was a good bit of measuring before I started with any cutting.






The loop I bought came with slugs to go in the tubes so the loop bike frame ends needed drilling so the slugs could be welded in. I also drilled some extra holes in the loop as I eventually want to run internal wiring.
I welded the slugs into the loop first on my bench as it was far easier.

The slugs made it really easy to get the loop lined up and ready for welding on, I would not like to have tried to do it without them. I left a small gap between the tubes to help with penetration when I welded them together.


I also had to spend a little time mucking about mocking up a new mudguard. This wont be happening this time round as it will require even more work and I am supposed to be trying to keep this bike on the road as a winter ride and I've already fucked that up by not having it back on the road before the end of christmas hols.

I got the loop welded on by the end of day one and started reshaping the support pieces which was taking a very long time, grind - offer up, grind - offer up, grind - offer up, and repeat and eventually I got one the right shape.

I have got a bit further but that will have to come in another update.



Thursday, 24 December 2015

The not a project bike part 2

So as expected the running on one cylinder turned out to be a coil, I double checked by swapping the wiring to the coil of the cylinder that was working and it still ran on that side.

First coil I ordered off evil bay was the wrong type, I needed a twin spade terminal one, so after trying to get the wrong one to work and making a horlics of it, blowing loads of fuses and getting really pissed off I worked out that I had the wrong coil.

That finally arrived and I fitted it along with a new plug cap just to be on the safe side.
 
I then used the bike for my daily commute, for 3 or 4 days of a week before I left it alone for the weekend. Result I thought, winter bike on the road I thought, pah how wrong could I be.

Went to use it first thing Monday morning and the battery would barely turn the engine over, had to wait until the weekend to check it out properly, I charged the battery and left it 24 hrs and then checked it again and it had dropped 1volt, so new battery it was.

Decided to go for it and bought a teeny tiny li ion one from a very nice seller on the bay. Finding it was a bit of a nightmare as most people are trying to sell you a replacement for what you already have in your standard bike, when what people like me (who are definitely not working on a project bike)  are looking for is the smallest battery available that will turn their engine over and work with their bike, this little beauty is 80x80x95 and is so light that I nearly throw it over my shoulder every time I pick it up.

New and old for comparison


This of course has necessitated some work to the battery box to make sure this little un sits nice and snug. I've hit my little mods to the box with some of my favourite one coat anti rust black spray paint since I took the pic below. Pics of everything re fitted again once the paint has dried, but that's likely to be after Christmas. 


Most exciting news tho, instead of investigating the clutch issue I have, instead of refurbing the forks, during the christmas break I have a day reserved in the workshop, and my mate Paul is coming over to give me a hand, and we will be chopping the back of the frame rails off and welding in a nice loop with a kick in it and then making up a new seat and fitting a new rear mudguard. Should get it all done in a day no probs, right??

I'm going to go for a bit of internal wiring out to the back end to try and keep things clean and tidy, but that might have to wait a bit as its not essential to keeping the bike on the road.




Monday, 30 November 2015

So remember that little suzuki twin that is most definitely not a project,  well I finally  got it on the road as a winter bike, only 12 months late. Bit of a hick up with the mot but it passed on the re test and is on the road. The tester must have had his Friday rush on as the was more play in the rear swing arm bearings than our local play ground. I rode it for a couple of weeks but there was some dodgy handling going on so I thought I better get it sorted.
What a job that turned into, swing arm removal was a piece of piss,



 but getting the bearings out was a complete nightmare, they must have been the originals, I ended up smashing the cage and needle rollers out before welding onto what was left so I had something that I  could get purchase on with the bar I was using to hammer them out. Repeated welding and the associated heat plus some considerable  hammering and generous doses of  plus gas finally had the remainder of the bearings release their grasp on the  swing arm.


I was quite rough with the swing arm during this whole process and had successfully  removed some good chunks of paint so sanded them back to bare metal and it was during this sanding  I came across what I thought  was a bit of crap paint on the brace plate, on further inspection it turned out to be what I can only describe as chewing gum that had been shoved into what turned out to be a rusty hole. I  dug all the gum  out of the hole and made it a more uniform shape  so I could make a repair piece that I could weld in. Before I made the repair I took the opportunity to remove all the rusty rattly crap that was stuck in there.














 New bit welded in and dressed back, prior to paint.



I got it all back together with a bit of new paint on it, and what happens when I attempt to take it out for the first time to see if it's made any difference,  the bugger will only run on one cylinder. The story continues. 

Tuesday, 13 October 2015


Breaking news, this old fucker is finally on the road, passed its MOT and is now taxed. Its a winter bike finally, only 12 months late.
 

This bad boy is mine, I've inherited it from the father in law, big ass welding bench, the top of it is 1/2" plate and it took 5 of us to lift it. The drills motor needs fixing I'm told so I need to find the time to get into it and get it looked at.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Lea Gate July Hot Rod meet

First Friday of the month is American car night at the Lea Gate pub just outside Preston. As the weather has been so good I was expecting a good turnout, and I wasn't disappointed. These are my favourites out of the bunch, with the all aluminium bodied Brooklands style racer being my absoulte favourite. I spoke to the guy who made it, its basically a Westfield with mods the the chassis to make it taller around the sides and then he "just" added the ali bodywork. All designed in his head and added to as he saw fit, every panel was made first go and before he started he'd never used an english wheel or tig welded ali in anger. It was his post retirement project, and took him 8 months working 8 hrs a day 5 days a week. It was proper awesome.