WITH MOST of the decisions already made about this bike, I’m now at the ‘hard yards’ stage. I’ve got a pretty good idea of what the bike will look like, and I can see that it’s gonna turn out well, but there’s still a lot of work to be done to get to the finish line. So the best thing to do now is to put my head down and keep powering through it. It’s one thing to say I’ve decided on the rear fender. It’s another to have it actually happen. You’ll see by these pics that there’s a lot of work involved and it’s still not complete.
Before I could fully align the fender or work on the brake, I had to set the rear wheel in the exact position I wanted it, and before I could do that, I would have to fit good bearings. I had previously chromed the hub before I realised I hadn’t removed the bearing races so it was off to Chris at C&R Engineering (02-9773-8543) to save me from this fuck-up. Even with an industrial press it was a pain in the arse. With some swearing and a lot of heat and effort, Chris eventually removed the races. Chris has helped me out quite a bit on this build, with some good parts, but mostly with his great advice stemming from years of experience building this type of chop. His busy workshop is testament to the quality of service and experience you get there.
You’ll remember that a main goal for this bike was to be able to carry a pillion. But me being me, I wanted it to look cool too so I’ve got the unenviable task of making a small British fender sit millimetres from the tyre AND be strong enough to carry someone. My main concern was to make the mounting points strong enough that they would not break away from the fender at the weld like the Triumph chop fender did. So I shaped this piece of 3 mm steel around a tree to sit perfectly inside the fender. The fender itself was originally slightly out of radius with the tyre, so I cut slits in the side of it before sending it to Kansas Charley (040-407-9835) to weld up.
I made these bungs on a lathe and drilled holes in the frame so they sit at just the right angle. What a pain that was! You can see I didn’t get it quite right and one of the holes would require some filling at the welding stage.
Here Scruffy is welding the steel band to the bungs that go through the guard and into the frame. This should add some real strength so that my pillion’s weight is not resting on a weld between a steel bung and a thin steel fender. There are five mounting points in total: one at the bottom, two in the middle, and two at the top attached to a sissy bar or fender struts.
After watching Charley spoke the Trumpy wheels, I figured I’d give it a shot myself. I had one go and got it completely out of true. So I started again, followed the dial indicator, and eventually got it right. While I’m at it, thanks to continued Ozbike build-up supporters MCA for changing the tyres several times free of charge after I’ve worked on a wheel. Cain and Mick at Liverpool (02-9601-8276) have been an especially big help.
One photo doesn’t really do this part justice. I made the axle spacers on a lathe so that everything was just where I wanted it. Then it was a bit more trial and error to get the caliper bracket to sit so that the brake pads were fully engaging with the disc. Even using a cardboard template it was hard to get just right. But eventually I cut and shaped it properly out of 5 mm steel, then drilled the bracket to a similar pattern as the disc. The anchor rod is pretty self-explanatory; just threaded the ends to take the tie-rod style bearings.
Here’s the part I wasn’t looking forward to—the footpegs. I knew it would be a challenge to make mid-controls myself but I finally charged in and attacked it. This is 10 mm plate steel and it had to be shaped to fit the tranny cover. After trying the jigsaw, it turned out that a sharp hacksaw blade was better suited so I used that, then shaped the rest using the bench grinder and various files. I had to be very careful drilling the holes because the tolerance was so fine—not much meat to spare between the bolt holes and the tranny cover and I didn’t want to stuff it and have to cut it out again! Thankfully I got it right.
I began cutting out some rod to tap and mount the master cylinder on. It was unusually hard to cut with a hacksaw so I got through it with the grinder and a cutting disc. I only realised when trying to tap it that it must have been some kind of hardened steel. I managed to tap it a little way but hopefully it won’t strip my bolts.
A picture tells a thousand words. The steel plate is mounted via three extended tranny cover bolts. The footpeg itself unscrews. The brake pedal and connecting arm are welded to a machined piece of steel that rotates on a sealed bearing, which was incidentally a pain in the arse to make on the lathe! Clearly some of the bolts used in this pic are not correct length. I’ll fix it when I tidy up everything later. With the Jap master cylinder and Jap caliper I’m hoping this brake will do the job very well.
No rest for the wicked—it was on to the left side mount now which required more cutting and grinding of 10 mm steel. It also required a minor modification to the primary backing plate. There was something mildly disconcerting about drilling through a brand new alloy primary!
After much cutting, grinding and drilling I had a 10 mm plate bolted to the primary. I can shorten these spacers and still use the outer primary cover if I want to but I’ll decide that at a later date. You can see the recessed steel tube ready to house a bearing for the gear lever shaft.
Whoa Nelly! That’s an ugly shifter pedal! Because I wanted my feet in an exact position, I was somewhat forced to mount the peg directly in front of the gear lever shaft. This meant I had to come up with a curved long lever. In the pic it clearly hasn’t been tidied up at all, and I think after filing and painting it’ll turn out fine. Have faith, good friends!
Finally, something simple—bent steel bracket attached to alloy number plate bracket. Not sure if it’s completely in the position I want but I can make another one if I’m not happy later.
And here stands the Rockin’ Roller as of about Christmas. Oil tank’s mounted. The huge job of building mid-controls is pretty much done. The guard is sitting millimetre perfect, and it will hopefully be able to cater for the expansion of a warm tyre out on the road. You’ll also notice the top fender bungs. They need to be welded in neatly before I can make some fender struts to finally locate the back end of the fender. But you can see in this pic that it already sits really nicely. The tank is away with Santino Ruisi for an airbrush, and once that’s done, I can make the final decisions regarding the sissy bar and pipes. What can I say? I’m stoked with how it’s looking.
Finally, a pic for the ladies perhaps? Ready? One, two, three: “Awww!” This is my new assistant mechanic, Keira. She’s only four months old and already has a more mature temperament than my old pal Kip. She’s enjoying the build and is great company in the shed.
words & pics by Wasko