I BOUGHT the bike as an unfinished project. The Ultima frame was matched to a 113 cubic inch Ultima motor and a six-speed box. Luckily, it had already been engineered and registered as a custom-built motorcycle which alleviated part of the initial headache experienced by many custom bike builders.
Once the bike was in my possession, it was completely stripped down for a ground-up rebuild. The frame and tinware were taken back to bare metal and every bit of body filler was removed. The engine was pulled down and freshened up as was the gearbox and primary.
The engine, gearbox and primary were fitted to the frame and re-aligned, as when the bike was first disassembled we found that the engine was ‘sprung’ in the frame. After hour upon hour of spacing out mounts, measuring, re-checking and swearing, the engine and drive train were aligned perfectly.
The suspension was the next challenge as I wanted to achieve a bike that not only looked good but also handled well. Initially a set of electric pump-up shocks were chosen, but after much discussion, they were returned back to their box and a set of Fournales air shocks were fitted. This allowed the clearance on the rear guard to be lifted resulting in a smoother ride.
The rear guard was cut and extended to follow the curve of the rim which vastly improved the overall look of the bike.
The front-end received attention with the front guard being strengthened to stop any fork flex. The fork springs were changed and a heavier grade of fork oil was used.
The frame was drilled and braced to hide as much of the wiring as possible and the entire bike was rewired with a Rivera digital read-out fitted.
Once the bike was re-assembled, it was road tested and came back spot-on!
Once again the bike was painstakingly disassembled and the frame and tinware were sent to Brushfire for the final paint scheme. After many discussions with Brushfire, the ‘inset’ theme was born and he worked his magic over the lime-gold base. A far cry from the original idea of the bike being blue.
With the bike home at last, many hours were devoted to polishing every piece of chrome and alloy to a mirror finish.
After eight long months of stripping, rebuilding and painting, the bike was finally finished! It was a long wait and a lot of work but it was definitely worth the wait as not only does the bike look first-rate, but it’s reliable and handles well too.
Special thanks to Morges, Fat Pipes, Argo’s Chrome Plating, Brushfire, and of course, the missus. Also a very special thank you goes to Gemma who saved the day and agreed to model on the bike as our pre-arranged model had to cancel at the last minute.
pics By Jo; words by Glenn