Thursday, March 26, 2009

It's alive (for awhile)

Well it's running.... for awhile. I was able to get the bike full of fluids -- oil, water, and gasoline. Jury-rigged the ducati battery, hotwired the ignition, and after a few tries, got it running! Hooray! Did learn a few things.

Water: radiator appears to be sufficient size and volume... although not much overheats at +5 degrees celcius. We'll have to wait on that one.

Gas: tank for sure doens't leak. Carb float WAY too high (pool of fuel under the bike the next day, intake throat flooded, etc.) Stinky garage, but I re-set the float height to a level that should work. Also got a larger pilot, drilled out the plug for the idle jet, got a larger main jet, and shimmed the needle. Total cost: $5.00. Who needs jet kits? Will still require mucho fiddling, I assume.

Oil: oil tank (Raptor 700) is too small -- barely 1.5 litres can be held. Not enough. As well, one section of press-fitted, hose-clamped oil line leaks. Its not a barb fitting. Turns out the tube is not 3/8 OD, but actually 10mm. Went to a hydraulics place in Brandon, and they are confident they can solve this problem by securing a barbed fitting to the line itself -- usually these are good to hundres of PSI. Looking positive. Also stopped by Cycleboyz with some pictures of other oil tank from other monos'. They are confident they can put something together in alloy for me, using some of the fittings from the other tanks I have acquired. Makes life easier attachment wise, but I still might spend some more money and go NPT. The reality is, the tank is the only outsourced part that I can't properly build or modify myself... and it will be expensive. So be it -- the oil volume is too important to cut corners on. Shopping out this, and likely the paint isn't much when you consider I've been able to do everything else on my own. And it's just for lacking a tig welder...

Snagged a supersport Ducati tail for under $100 -- new. Just need to figure out turnsignals and taillights, and it's a done deal. The tyga tail will be for the track.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Now it looks like a bike! Wheels back from Transcanada with tires mounted. Fender came in the mail today -- 4 holes drilled and its on -- I can see why people swear by Sharkskins products. No kickstand yet -- just a racebike pit sidestand to keep everything upright. No wiring, but little appears to be standing in the way of the whole shebang getting fired up.

I think my mind is made up -- I'll go with a superbike tail section, taking advantage of the Ducati seat for comfort.

I still need to sort out things like the kickstand, getting the wiring hooked up, and finding some sort of decent-looking radiator overflow bottle. But again, these are minor details.

I like it, but I'm oviously biased...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Some updates

On a lark, I decided to see if the tail section I had for a 748 would work on the supermono. Turns out, the seat (a "real" seat, not a piece of foam) slotted right into the frame rails that made up the rear subframe. Note as well the turn signals installed -- they serve two jobs -- both as indicators, and the stalks double as a fairing mount -- not load bearing -- just keeps things at the right angle.

This is a fairly ratty one I bought for around 20 bucks. Needed a bit of work to get to this point -- its set up to fit on the Ducati for use on track days -- it was originally a biposto seat, but I used some foam to create a proper hump -- the battery on the Duc, and interestingly the 'mono, fits under the hump. Note the rear shock remote reseviour in this pic...

Actually looks pretty good -- the "up sweep" of the exhaust pipe matches the angle of the tail section as well.

All in all, might be a more comfortable option than the tyga seat I got. My thoughts are a Ducati seat and tail section can go in place during street riding, and the targa tail can be used on trackdays. We will see. Again, not rushing out and buying anything yet. Remember, its not running! You can't see it, but I installed stainless oil hoses in place, and proper hose clamps as well. The wheels are off to Scotty's... yes, normally I do my own tires, but I can't get the bloody beads to seat no matter what... I'll let the experts do it for me... Might be because they are older race tires with stiffer sidewalls -- a set Wilson gave me to test the bike out, prior to buying new rubber.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A good day...

I'll be busy with work-related stuff over the next few weekends, and Spring Break has been set aside for visiting family that we missed over the Christmas holidays. I might find a few hours here and there to do some work, but today is the last day of uninterrupted time for awhile. It turned out to be very productive.
Dad shipped me another care package of parts, primarily the CBR900 rear shock, the new chain, and the LHS switchgear for the DRZ. All arrived quickly and in great shape -- thanks pop. With a few hours and finally some decent temps, I decided to work on the shock and the chain. Originally, based on the research I had done, I assumed I would have to swap out the spring to make the rear shock work properly. I counted on a new eibach, to the tune of around $100, to replicate the spring rate of the hawk shock. First, I bored out the top clevis to 12mm on the new Ryobi drill press I bought yesterday. After several years' service the Canadian tire 8" press my folks bought me bit the dust. This press was only $129, was 10", and even had a laser sight! Regardless, it worked a treat and I was able to modify the shock to suit. On a lark, I decided to mount it to the bike to see how "close" the spring rate was. Lo and behold, despite my (likely faulty) physics, it appears to be bang on -- the preload is set near the middle of the range, and the machine seems to have the proper sag?!? Makes no sense, but if it turns out to be the case, I've saved myself $100 and a re-valve (another $250!). As pictured, I plan on flipping it 90 degrees so the remote resevior exits out the other side. And, compared to the hawk shock, it has twice the travel. Not that I will be motocrossing, but the hawk seemed to have too little. Score! As well, the shock has compression and rebound adjustability.

Next I went about fitting the chain. I am still waiting on a spacer from atom-jet, so I didn't really knit things up fully, but I got it cut to the correct length and installed. Nice blue to match the (likely) color. Not a pukka EK chain -- a cheaper option. Only $40 vs the $120 of the EK. Likely don't need the EK either, as the bike will only be putting out 40 hp or so.

I also did some work again with the seat. Trying to get the proper transition from tank to seat has been, well, trying. Anyway, the second tray appears to be a better effort -- still hours of glassing and sanding left to do, but the basic shape appears much better. Will head someplace indoors, warm, with lots of ventilation and get to work.

Lastly I was able to fit the mantis fairing. Took some fiddling in order to find a proper braket to mount to the forks. What you see is a combination of 4 stainless muffler clamps, two pieces of aluminum angle, and some steel sheetmetal cut and bent into shape. Once again, it looks like it will work properly -- 4 solid mounting points holds the whole thing in place.

Although I might end up sounding like a fool (engine won't run, bike handles like crap), I'm revelling in the glow of self-satisfaction. I'm pretty proud of what I've got done so far, both mechanically and asthetically. Some people might not like the looks, but I'm happy. The fender is a spare Ducati one I have -- I have a proper RS125 one from Sharkskinz on order. Apparently they are the first and only North American fabricator of the part -- and a complete fairing set as well.
There should be room for a nice guage behind the fairing -- still not decided as to what type to use. Either way, the bike will be running first, before I plump for a guage package. Apparently the cool looking Venom one I saw at Scotty's also comes with an idiot light option as well. At some angles the fairing seems to stick out too far, but I need the room behind it for the guages -- as well, the clutch cable and brake master cylinder come close to touching it anyway -- any closer to the forks or triples and it would foul on them.

These are just some gratuitous, self satisfying angles...

Ok, done for now.... note that Kawasaki green is catching up... wonder how it would look with the blue wheels?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Nothing to see here....

Well, I guess I could have posted some pics, but there is not a pile of really interesting things to report on. As for the Ducati, I spent some time fitting the fibreglass chin fairing I got off of ebay. The seller posted the "Monza-style" fairings for $45 USD buy it now. The mounting tabs were another $20, but for $65, it is a great deal. Well made and plenty sturdy. I did have to trim it somewhat to clear the custom headers and the SBK rear brake set-up, but it didn't take much work. I plan on reinforcing the trimmed side somewhat with some fibreglass, but other than that, and some sanding, it was pretty straightforward. Still not sure what I will do with the headers, but apparently the company that makes POR-15 has some hi-heat, hi-strength header paint. You can buy it by the pint, and considering I will also have the mono exhaust to do (that is a must, as it is all mild steel), I might give that a try. No hurry on that at all. I also got a pair of retro-style header clamps -- they are machined to look like the old Norton-style thread-on type. Still use the same bolts as the OEM clamps, however. Not sure when I will install those -- will wait awhile until I hear the thing run.

I also worked on the exhaust system for the mono. Did it "proper" according to the tons of literature I've read over the year. The idea is never to weld a bracket directly to the header, but to attach it to a saddle (usually a section of the header material, split down the middle) and the saddle is welded to the header pipe. Helps dissapate some of the vibration and stress. As well, the saddle is "stiched" to the header, not welded solid. This process took several hours of fooling around, but when I remounted everything, it all lined up. Then I took everything apart!

The reason for the disassembly was to finish weld the tabs for the fork stops, and to finish-weld the bracked for the oil tank. In addition, I test-fit the aluminum spacers that were used to mount the engine to the front of the frame -- worked well. However, one of the spacers used in the rear swingarm area (between the engine and the swingarm) is a bit too small -- off by a few thousanths... so that means another trip to Atom Jet. I will measure the difference with a feeler guage and take it back, along with some stock material I already have. Damn! I really thought I was done with those guys. Again, this is not a high priority task, so it can wait awhile.

I've also been doing some research re the rear suspension. I think I am a bit short on the travel department -- the stroke of the hawk shock is only 16mm. However the CBR900 shock (a common cheap mod for hawk owners) is twice that. When mounted on a hawk, the cbr shock usses the stock hawk spring, and spacers to limit the travel -- the bump stop is pushed up the rod. My idea is that I use the CBR shock, NOT limit the bump stop, and use an eibach spring of the proper tension to allow the full stroke. Yes, the shock will need to be re-valved, but I would be looking at a custom shock to get the short overall length (12") with the correct stroke. I got a CBR shock for $24.99, so we'll see how it works. An online source was a huge help in comparing the two shocks.

The voting re the color is coming in steadily, if not slowly. Rizla blue seems to be in the lead.