Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Updates are exhausting...

Motoring right along.

I got the tank sectioned out and a new bottom welded in. Things look kinda rough around the rear of the tank, but I had an odd angle I needed to fill in. Hopefully it will all hold, but of course I will pressure-test it first. Will wait until spring for that... need a tub of water, a pump of some sort, and a steady eye to look for any bubbles. I've left the petcock mount as is for now.

I now have enough room for the cylinder head, carburetor, and hoses that feed back into the cylinder head.

I also finished the RHS frame tube -- not symetical, as it needs to clear the exhaust manifold. Luckily I tacked and checked first... I needed to move the forward down tube "up" to clear. You can also see the start of the header I'm fabricating. I may add a brace or gusset to connect the forward tube with the engine lug, but that will likely be overkill -- I'll hold off for now.

Rather than use the OEM header and cut and section that, I've scavenged (again!) some 1 3/4" in tube that I made an exhaust from -- the KTM-Aprilia project. I had to make my own exhaust flange, and weld in a couple of "shoulders" for it to butt against, but I think it should work. Took quite some time -- a cheap bandsaw and a bunch of files is all I have to try and plane the mating surface. I am actually going to use one of my Ducati gaskets.

The header so far is just a start -- but it curves nicely out of the cylinder head -- I've got a few more slightly curved sections I can use, but no more 90 degree bends -- will need to get some from Canadian Tire. This is mild steel, rather than stainless, so I can complete a workable header and exhaust myself, rather than take it elsewhere for tig-welding. May be slightly heavier, but, who cares?

You can see the considerable size difference between the OEM section of exhaust on the left, and what I am using on the right. I'd hazard a guess that the aftermarket exhausts like what Muzzy is using is likely close to the same OD -- albeit again in Stainless. While what I've got done so far has been time consuming, it is especially satisfying, as I was planning on a temporary exhaust using the smaller tube, and then likely a larger one in mild steel, and then a proper one in stainless. Maybe this will be the one and only exhaust I will need to fabricate!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Frame progress

The last 2 days have given me some quality time in the garage. Things have come together quite quickly, all things considered. I picked up a ZXR250 tank from Eastern Canada. Should mate with the Tyga bodywork better. I will have to cut a section out of the bottom to clear the cylinder head and the carburetor.

I was able to build 3 of the 4 frame spars needed to secure the front of the engine. All in all, I was very happy at the "lack of gap" in the second tube on the RHS -- some slow and patient work with the bench grinder resulted in the joint you see at the left. I will have to trim the horizontal tube slightly to allow the radiator hose to clear (a 90 degree bend)... this will be taken care of when the frame is off for final welding.

You can see the LHS assembly at left -- 4th tube still needs to be fabricated. The rag is in place, plugging the exhaust port. I have the stock OEM header, which I won't be able to use... I can cut it up to suit a more traditional exhaust design (under the engine).

The rear end shock strut needs to be a bit asymetrical to clear the carb mouth. I was able to scavenge a shock mount from another stalled project. The one side is braced with 5/8" tubing. The other side has a gusset made from 1 1/4" round. My eyeball engineering thinks that this should be plenty strong, as it is holding a shock, and does not have to withstand the stress of a rigid mount. As well, the entire assembly is pretty light.

There is not a pile of clearance under the tank for the oem carb. I'll have to see how well the flatslide fits. Might have to do some more relieving with with underside of the tank to make everything slot in nicely. Will also move the petcock. You can't see it in the photo -- its a typical Japanese two-bolt tap style. It won't be at the lowest point on the tank, and it is not far enough "in front" of the carb to get the fuel to flow poperly. I've got a couple of options up my sleeve.

Wood will be removed prior to finishing.

Now the question remains, what about the paint scheme...?

Rizla MotoGP, or...

2005 Laguna GP?

How about retro 500GP? Typical... frame isn't finished, bodywork isn't here, bike hasn't been run yet, and I'm already thinking about paint. I guess visualization is the key...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Tyga, tyga

Sorry for the literary reference... looks like I have sorted the entire bodywork for the project. I had been leaning towards a minimalist style, but then came across "Tyga" bodywork online. Basically they find a way to fit GP-style bodywork to street-legal 250s and 400s (none of which are very plentiful in the USA and Canada), and make it all kosher by also fitting headlights. This RGV250 set caught my eye...

It seemed particularly appropriate as the source machine was a suzook, same as the DRZ engine. I choked, though, when I calculated the shipping costs to get the stuff here from Asia... the parts are very highly rated, but the far side of $1000 was staring at me. It didn't matter at the time, as I was in no rush whatsoever. Finishing the bodywork was a long way off. Then I typed "tyga" into eBay and came across this:

This is a kit from an NSR250. Also called an MC28 or MC21, the seller had imported it at tremendous cost to himself, and ended up not using it. This picture of the finished product in Repsol/Rossi colours captured my imagination. Somehow the same shapes with a Rizla paint scheme, or another MotoGP inspired idea seemed pretty cool...

It is complete with a front headlight and turn signals integrated into the headlight shell.

This is what I will get -- upper, lower, headlight, two windscreens, tail light, fairing brackets, seat section, seat pad, and seat subframe. All for $599. I was the only bidder. Will be a bit of work to fit to the frame, but not impossible. Considering the hassle I am avoiding on properly-fitted lights alone, I'm laughing. Two windscreens is nice. As well, if I can get the nice aluminum subframe (with battery box) to work as well, the machine will come together almost too fast!
Again, will be shipped to Pop... along with my mig-welder (still not there?), the manual, and the YZF450 radiator. Right now, home for a short pit-stop. More sundries in the back of the car -- 4130 steel tubing, tubing cutter, oil lines, and a few other things for other projects.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I'm not a model...

but I build them. May be kinda dorky and immature, but it keeps me busy and my mind occupied when its too cold to head out into the garage. Here's my latest build -- YZR500. The box has Regis Laconi's number on it, but the kit came with Gary McCoy's numbers as well. So that's the bike I completed. I plan to create a display similar to what I did with the Suzoook -- scroll down to my previous posts to see that. Have a Merry Christmas -- hopefully some time off after the visiting will allow some more progress on the Duc and the DRZ.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Come together...

Right now... or at least it is starting. Got the machined pieces back from Atom-Jet, and started to assemble the parts. More spacers will be needed, once I line up the countershaft sprocket. Luckily I have some spare washers and etc lying around to get things at least looking like a bike.

This side view appears to be a study in "mass centralization". The engine, shock and swingarm pivot area are all close to the centre of the bike, fore and aft. It all looks "long"... remember, a SZR660 yamaha engine was originally supposed to inhabit this frame, with a shorter KR1S swingarm. What I have here is a smaller, potentially more powerful, lighter powerplant. Wheelbase is similar to a late 90s 600 -- around 54".

The second-best use of a brass rod -- holding up the Hawk Shock. The shock will be fixed another 3/4 of an inch to the right. It will allow even more clearance to the carb (currently sealed in a plastic bag -- white blob at rear of engine). One more spacer needs to be made to get the engine lined up with the rear sprocket. It's lined up correctly in this photo -- notice alloy angle tool to line up sprockets.

It looks like I'll have acres of room for a radiator and the oil tank for the engine. A LTZ 400 part will flip the water hose on the cylinder head to face the opposite direction. This should allow me to use a stock ATV radiator, not the split rads used on stock DRZs. Less hose, less plumbing, less chance for a vapor lock in the cooling system.

Lots of clearance all around the engine from side to side as well. Nice! Have a pile of 4130 tubing to pick up at Dad's -- enough to build the front engine mount as well as the shock tower. The subframe for the seat will be fabricated out of the 5/8" 4130 I had left over from other projects. Should be plenty strong for even my lardy butt.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

More pictures of other Peoples' bikes...

'Cause mine aren't done yet... Update: have a 17mm hollow axle, getting the brass swingarm bushings redone, waiting for it to come back from atom-jet. Christmas holidays (one week!) will see me pick up some parts from mom and dad in Fort Frances to bring back home. Dave Bennett, the owner of the yellow Tigcraft I already posted, saw my blog and sent me some more pics from his end. Very helpful, especially the ones of his bike "naked". Also, Dave's bike appeared in the most recent issue of Performance Bikes -- just about the best bike rag going, in my opinion... so much so that I pony up $150 a year to get it delivered to my door.

Uknown supermono... running Dave's numbers, so he might be able to shed some light. Alloy frame does look purpose built, not a case of putting a mono engine into a production frame of some sort...

Dave's last mono (I think) -- this is the Tigcraft framed one that has a similar frame to what I have.
Dave Pearce's KTM. This has the newest KTM single in it -- the 690. It has his first, straight-rate shock on it... he later converted it to work with RS 125 linkage. This thing is amazing, I've seen it in the flesh...

Dave Bennet's Tigcraft. It has a aircooled 600 engine (I think -- I don't see a rad), and an oil cooler up top. My plan to mount the DRZ engine is pretty much identical.

Another pic -- note that the Yam 600 engine has dual exhaust ports from the single jug. No subframe? Not needed -- the tail section is out of carbon-fibre, and is self-contained -- it is strong enough to support the rider by itself. MotoGP, anyone?

Dave with another version of his bike? Frame looks the same, blue paint with different forks. If it IS Dave, well, thanks Dave! Information is power, and I've got some more information thanks to you. Cheers!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Some Pictures...

After an insane week of work, I decided to spend some quality time in the garage to work on the Ducati. After mounting the calipers, the brakes still needed to be bled. The fact that it was -20 degrees Celcius didn't stop me either. I also was going to do some more work with the staintune exhaust. You'll see from the pics that there still is a piece of the puzzle missing -- a chunk of header from the horizontal cylinder back...

By cutting a section of the forward header off, I was able to check the fit of the rear header. By tweaking it a bit to the right, away from the swingarm brace, I could see that clearance shouldn't be too much of a problem. Under full compression, there might be some contact... I'd have to take the rear shock out of the frame to be sure.

The system came with a reverse-megaphone exhaust pipe. A mile long, but seems to suit the look of the bike. I think a exhaust hanger should be fairly straight forward to build. I started work on one, but ran out of acetelyne. Will be awhile until I can get to the welding shop during their hours to get the bottles filled. Note cut off end of the forward header. Waiting for the 1 5/8 header material to come in from eBay.

This is, I promise, the absolute last bit of farting around with the front brakes I will ever do. EBC front wave rotor. FG/Disscaccatti single 6-piston fron caliper. Should stop well... or better than all the other manifestations I have come up with. Actually had to machine the mounting tabs of the front caliper to fit properly. Slid on perfectly.

Here is the carbon-fibre front fender. Will save me stripping the other fender when it comes time to re-paint the poorly-aging metallic white. It hasn't gotten any worse, but it will drive me bananas until it is redone properly. Need to finish the horizontal header, fabricate an exhaust mount, and leave well enough alone! Hopefully I can get back at the DZR cafe racer shortly -- waiting on that 17mm axle to come in the mail.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pic-less progress

Pop did his usual parts-mule job when he and mom came out for a quick visit. He brought a pile of stuff, including the engine for the DZR400 project (which came with most of the wiring loom, the carbs, and other stuff) as well as various bits and bobs for the Ducati. As for the Duc -- I bought two exhaust systems -- a D&D and a staintune, to see if either would work with the MH swingarm. Turns out the D&D won't (and I sold it for a wee profit), but the Staintune would, with some work. So I mounted the rear header pipe and exhaust (a nice reverse - megaphone), and started to modify the horizontal header to work. I will need some 1 5/8 stainless tubing to mate everything up... Cdn Tire has mild steel header bends in this size, but no stainless -- I found some on ebay that should work. I can tack this into place, and then take it to Cycleboys to get finished by a tig welder. Mocked up, it already looks 1000 times better than my home-made exhaust system that you can see on the earlier posts way below.
As well, I was able to get a neat 6-piston FG front caliper and a set of EBC wave rotors for cheap. The caliper needed a bit of machining to fit the fork properly, and so as I am only running a single front rotor, the other rotor went on to the DRZ -- fit perfectly! Radial caliper, wave rotor -- cool! As soon as the exhaust is fitted, I'll take some more snaps of the Ducati.
The DRZ has been a bit frustrating, as I used a crappy cheap caliper to measure the bore of the engine case -- at 16.4mm -- so I ordered some 16mm drill rod to use as a bolt... and its too small. Bugger -- must be 17mm. I HAD a nice 17mm rear axle from a Ducati that would work perfectly, but sold it on ebay. So there I went again to get a replacement. This means the frame will have to be bored out to 17mm (didn't want to bother with sleeving the engine case), as well as the brass swingarm bushes. Bugger! Waste of money, as the minor trimming needed to go from 15 to 17mm coulda been done the first time. Oh, if I only had a lathe!
Did get the engine in situ in the frame (rough mock-up), and it fits a treat -- lots of room on either side of the frame tubes, and tons of room for a nice radiator and the oil tank. Hooray! Pics to come soon.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

More Physics Help

Some shocking ideas...

Originally, I thought to create a rear suspension similar to a Honda Hawk GT (left) -- single monoshock, no linkage. This design allows for the typical 4-5 inches of travel at the rear wheel, and requires a pretty hefty 1050 lb spring, but no linkage -- simple and light!
The swingarm I am using is an Aprilia Pegaso -- it normally has a RHS chain drive, so I simply flipped it for my application. I can conveniently use what was once the linkage tabs on the underside of the swingarm as mounting bosses for the Hawk shock. The 12" ruler is shown as a guide -- the stock Hawk shock is 12" long, and the angle it is set at approximates the angle of the stock frame above. Should use the same 1050 spring, or close, to get the proper travel.

There is, of course, the gaping hole that the original linkage shock passed through. Note that the rod shown will also pass through the rear of the engine case. This got me thinking because if I mount the shock as above, it sits high in the frame -- would like to lower the C of G if possible, and it would be a much "cleaner" solution.
So what I had in mind is similar to the pic at the left. Note that this is a linkage design (hidden under this swingarm), but if I could fabricate a shock mount to weld to the underside of the swingarm, allowing the shock to pass through the hole in the swingarm, the entire design would be stronger -- less material, less weight. However, what would this do to the spring rate required?
If mounted to the underside of the swingarm, the shock will be at a slightly different angle, be about 1" closer (fore and aft) yet almost 3" lower (vertical plane) to the forward swingarm pivot. Conversely, it would be 1" farther and 3" closer to the rear wheel axle. It may make no difference -- some eyeball engineering at work, but I'm gonna get a Physics expert (Ross) to ponder this for me.

Why this is so critical, is that if my new location requires a lighter spring (less than 1050 lbs) I'm OK -- lots are commercially available and reasonably priced. However -- if this new location requires a stiffer spring, heavier than 1300 lbs, I might be pooched. From what I can tell, there is no spring at this length (number of coils) readily available for the Honda Hawk shock I am working with. I learned once the hard way about custom-wound springs and etc -- don't want to go down that road at all! The picture at the left shows the approximate attitude of the shock if mounted according to my idea... we'll see.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Swingarm Bushings

I got the rear swingarm back from Atom-Jet with the aluminized bronze bushings installed. A nice fit -- might need to trim a bit off of each end to allow for thrust washers. Maybe not -- will let pop take a look and give his opinion. Rod (15mm) still needs to be cut down and threaded into a bolt, but that can wait until later. Will be using the same 14mmx1.5 nuts (locking) from KTM I sourced awhile back for the 450 project. Also was able to finally source a rear caliper bracket from eBay.UK -- hopefully that is in my hands in short order. Still thinking about how I am going to mount the rear shock. Got some specs about the Hawk GT shock online... but of course can't do anything until the actual item is in my hands.
Using a bit of long-forgotten math (sine laws, of all things), I was able to determine that, based on the length of the swingarm from pivot to rear axle, in order to get the ideal 12 degree angle of the swingarm, the pivot point needed to be 111mm above the centreline of the rear axle. SOOOO glad I took the hell that was Math 300 to use the formula... once since I graduated!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Swingarm silliness

My plan for mating the rear swingarm to the frame and engine was to bore out the Aprilia Pegaso bearing sleeves to match the 15 mm od of the shaft I was going to use. I have since learning that trying to bore out a small diameter, tempered steel sleeve is pretty much impossible. One option was to use a smaller Pegaso swingarm pivot, but I wasn't too keen on that -- it would mean some significant modifications to the frame. I decided to go with another option. Knocking out the torrington bearings in the swingarm, and getting bronze bushings machined to the right specs. A bit low-tech, but worked fine for decades on TZ250s, and 350s. Considering this is going to be a fun street-trackbike in the end, good enough for me. The swingarm and shaft are currently at Atom-Jet where they will work their magic on the CNC machines. I'll choke at the price in the end, but a necessary evil -- and still cheaper than buying my own lathe.
In the meantime, I've been compiling a information and picture resource of interesting singles and parts to suit. Again, all asthetic at this point:

This is the DRZ400-based CCM CR40 cafe racer. Alloy tank, twin shocks, spoked wheels. A neat, retro-looking machine. I'd love to get my hands on an exhaust system... would suit my purposes just fine.

This is a CR&S Vun (one) -- powered by a Pegaso/Bombardier/BMW/Rotax 650 single. Lovely bike. Google it if you want to see the website. If you have a spare $20,000 or so lying around, you could get them to build you one. Customizable down to EVERY last detail. Some neet videos on the site as well.

Airtech sells this BMW Rennsport fairing. Originally for a late 50s and 60s BMW R50. Gustaffson sells a windscreen for it for another $100. I REALLY like the shape of this, and it should be nice and narrow for my project. The issue is the HUGE 8" headlight cutout. I could see if they can build me one with the headlight cutout filled in, or I could do some work on it myself, maybe using a smaller pair of lights or the leftover 5.5" one from the Ducati.

I'm also partial to this seat, actually from a Bimota. The built-in fender extension will double nicely as a place to mount a licence plate, and a small rectangular (LED?) tailight will fit just underneath the ductail. I could get a proper seat made, after moulding a base "pan" from this, and benefit from a real cushion for my butt -- rather than a slab of foam. Perhaps it can even curl down over the side of the seat like a real seat pad. Dimensions seem right (supersize the image to see), but this will be something I would have to get in my hands first, prior to building the rear subframe.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


While I have been waiting for parts, or holding off due to budgetary constraints, I have been trolling the 'net trying to get photos and/or information about the completed Muz bikes Dave built for supermono competition. Most of what I have found are general shots, with little detail available. I'm trying to get an idea of appropriate bodywork, fuel tank design, and just a picture in my mind's eye about what the completed bike should look like. This is what I have found so far...

This is a typical Tigcraft-Yamaha being sold on eBay.UK -- albeit with a blown engine. From what the poster indicated, it has an RS250 tail section, TZ250 fuel tank, and Cagiva Mito race bodywork. Nice looking bike.

Obviously the Mito bodywork is wide enough for the frame rails -- note in the picture above how the trailing edge of the lower fairing matches the frame downtube as well --- looks very neat!

This is a "true" MZ/MuZ tigcraft. Still powered by the same Yamaha 660 engine, but badged as a Muz supermono. Dave built this frame as well -- the stock factory Muz frames had glued lugs around the swingarm pivot point. Steel tubes glued and pinned into alloy extrusions. Saved production time dramatically (I assume). This one has been upgraded with lighter wheels, but I think still runs the KR1S swingarm.

This is an RZ350 with an RZ500-inspired kit from Airtech. Looks pretty neat, and also comes with a headlight and tailights. Expensive at nearly $800 US, but aside from the tank is complete. Some others I have seen seem to have a sagging rear tail section, but I have the freedom to orient it as I see fit (up/down). Based on comparisons with other pictures, I think this guy has done so as well... jacked up the rear for comfort/weight distribution.
A totally different idea would be to go all "retro" and use a vintage-style fairing. These are actually cheaper than some of the other ones, although something to factor with the kit at the left is that I can count on another $100 for the gustaffson windscreen to make it work. A profile like this "makes sense" if I'm thinking Gulf Oil livery, but it would also work with the early 90s shape of the kit above.