Technical Articles

Rockin’ Roller #5: Road Trippin’…

THIS RAINY summer has been perfect for me as I’m doing heaps of shed work in temperatures lower than the usual 35 degrees! This was never truer than when I recently travelled to Kansas Charley’s new place in Wauchope, where it rained all weekend, keeping us cooped up in the shed but thankfully able to get some great work done. Actually, it did stop raining for a few hours on Sunday morning, long enough for us to take a good ride out to the Long Flat Pub for a couple of drinks. I’d gone to the effort of hauling the Trumpy as well as the Evo in the ute, so I was glad for the chance to ride.

My good mate Charley was as productive as ever, and together we knocked over a few jobs that were a big help, the main thing being the fender and struts. Before I set off for Charley’s, though, I was in the Inner West at Scruffy’s to get a set of pipes made.

I was expecting the exhaust to be a huge headache so I tasked Scruffy with the job. Bending a set of pipes like this takes know-how as any one of the bends can fuck up the job meaning you’ve gotta start over. Scruffy first bent a piece of wire as a basic guide, then went back and forth between the bike and the radius bender for about an hour and a half.

The goal was to get the fishtail exhausts sitting parallel with the bottom frame rail at the back, and of course parallel with each other. Scruffy also had to negotiate the mid-controls and brake set-up. Put simply, he did this perfectly, and for good measure he also followed the frame rail line on the front exhaust! I stood watching in silence as I know how much concentration it takes to bend things the right way, and I didn’t wanna jinx him. When he finally did speak at the end, he just said, “Pretty good, eh?”

Big thanks to Gruntsy from Fraser Motorcycles for ‘donating’ an old set of Evo Sportster pipes so we could cut the top ends off and weld them to this pipe.

At Charley’s the main goal was to get that fender sorted. I’d spent so much time planning, measuring and test-fitting to get it where it was so far. Scruffy had helped weld some bungs on, but I needed some neat Tig welding done as the guard will eventually be chromed. Here Charley welds up some bungs and tidies up the guard.

We made some dummy struts with wire before making the proper ones for Charley to heat and bend. Two at once is the way to go to get them symmetrical. We then bolted the mounting bungs to the frame and guard, and tacked the struts on before welding them up properly.

And here we finally are. I think it’s beautiful—a nice tight British fender radiused perfectly to the tyre, sitting very close but with plenty of clearance. Inside the guard is a 3 mm strap of steel welded to five mounting bungs through the fender. Struts are neat and strong. It took a lot of work by three people, but we did it! Now to find a test pilot…

Well there’s one! Not as good-looking as I would have hoped but he’s plenty heavy enough to test it. It’s definitely uncomfortable, even sitting still. I’m considering a pillion pad and some footpegs but I’ve also had other recent thoughts: if the girl is smart enough to realise how great I am to hang out with, then she’s probably sensible enough to not wanna ride on the back of this bike!

I’d drawn up a pattern for this head steady/top motor mount at home but ran out of time, so I cut it out at Charley’s and here he is heating and bending it to fit. As usual with my bikes—simpler is better!

I believe that’s a half inch bolt holding that mount to a welded bung—strong-as. Pretty standard set-up with the centre-mounted coil. I mounted it to the underside of the plate because it looks neater, but also to be sure it clears the fuel tap, which happens to sit directly above it.

Though I’d finished adapting the Ramflo airfilter to the carby, it needed a brace to stop the carby from falling off. Charley made one that’s stylish and plenty strong. Here he is tacking it to the filter.

Here’s an aerial shot of the carby mounts. One of the few ‘mistakes’ on my Trumpy was not having carby supports. I had to make them up later. These Evo ones will mean the carby never moves, and they also fill the bolt holes left by the old stock air filter.

It’s not often that Charley gets to look cool so he’s taking advantage of my bike here! To me, that just looks damn comfortable. Mid-controls all the way!

I got home and sorted a few of the less glamorous things like mounting the oil tank so it didn’t touch either the guard or centre down-tube. This took about two hours as I had to remove the oil tank and fender each time I wanted to adjust the mounting tabs back and forth millimetres with a hammer. Then I had to reinstall them both to test the spacing each time. But it had to be done or my chrome would have been screwed immediately on assembly. I also mounted this oil filter to the tank, and checked that the oil lines and fittings would work. Chris from C&R Engineering (02-9773-8543) hooked me up with a cool oil pressure gauge, and also passed his experienced eye over the whole bike so far. I dropped by two days after they’d reopened for the New Year and the workshop already had 10 customers’ bikes waiting!

Now, can you dig this? The Boris Valejo artwork I have lying on the top frame rail is a piece that has been in my mind the entire build. As I write this, my mate Santino Ruisi is warming up the airbrush to replicate this style of paintwork on that acrylic white tank of mine. If he gets anywhere close then it will be a success. We’re supposed to be painting tomorrow morning and I’m bloody excited!

So there we have it—the bike is inches away from being torn down for paint and chrome prep. I’m really just keeping it together so that if this tank gets done tomorrow I can sit it on the bike and take a look.

The brake is connected and I’m just in the process of bleeding and sorting it out so it actually works properly! I’d like to have that done and tested before I start final assembly.

I’ve gotta drill a couple of holes for the wiring, get some throttle and clutch cables to length and decide on the placement of a few electrical components, but it’s all pretty darned close.

As far as the build-up series goes, I’ve added one more story (this one), partly because the paint wasn’t done but also because we did a lot of work. Next month will be the paint story then you’ll see the final shoot. I’ll do my best to make it a special one! Now, where did that hot brunette model get to…

words & pics by Wasko

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