Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Rear Shocks

Oh man, I'm super excited. The frame's in for the powder coat and I just picked up my new rear shocks. I didn't think it was worth $800 - $1300 for Ohlins on this bike and Progressives seemed a little low end, so I split the difference and went with:

I got a specific spring rate for my weight. I think they'll look great.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Redesign of the tail section - post 3

Yesterday, I bit the bullet and ordered the brake lights I really wanted. Even though these are relatively straight-forward universal brake lights, I simply could not find them in the USA. For all her glory, the US just doesn't have a lot of selection when it comes to universal motorcycle taillights.

Here's what I got:
I bought two of the above and one of the double sharknose (clear with chrome surround - not pictured):

Figured I would get both and see which ones I like the best. I paid more in shipping than I did for the product!

Here's some concept sketches for the rear end:
Crude drawings, but they help me visualize things. If you don't know me, you might not get the humor in my personalized license plate show above. I hate personalized plates!

Here's a shot of a tail end that I really like thanks to the firestarter garage in Italy:
And another of 'Nemesis':
Firestarter Garage at http://www.firestartergarage.it/ make some of the sickest customized bikes I have ever seen. They're strictly a Guzzi shop and make me want to customize a Guzzi for my next project. I've gotten a lot of ideas from these guys.

I found out about them from Visual Gratification which is a great blog on motorcycles.
Visual Gratification can be found at: http://big-diesel.blogspot.com/
One of the best blogs I've seen that highlights the pure beauty of a well made motorcycle.

The cowling on the Nemesis is a little too big for my VX. I don't think mine will be so large...
My ideas won't be pinned down until they're hashed out in steel, so I never know how the bike will turn out. I have a pretty good mental image in my head, but getting that out on paper, and getting it out in steel is the problem!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Redesign of the tail section - post 2

Here's a photo log of the recent work I did on the tail end. I've got to get this frame powder-coated so I can move to the next step, putting it together. Oh, and this is the first time you get to see pictures of me.

I made a mistake and cut off too much of my tail. I also made the mistake of throwing away the tail section I cut off! Oops. I finally came up with an equal sized steel tubing to extend my tail.

I'm adding back 3 inches to the rear end. It will look better and hold all the gear that attaches to the back a lot easier.

I started with 3" sections of steel tubing, and cut out round pieces to cap the back end:
I welded them to the ends, then ground out my welds for a smooth finish:
The new tail piece with round end welded on:
Zoom of piece (OK it's boring I know):

Now I'm fitting up the piece, making sure it's aligned straight:
Now weld up the the piece:
On to the second one:
Weld it up, grind it out, and dang I'm tired:
Now, let's weld on my new brackets:
And, finally, the finished product:
And from straight on (you can see my fab techniques have massively improved):

My original brackets were all cut and bent by hand using crude tools. I'm now a member of a great place called TechShop in Menlo Park, CA. It's a DIY machine shop with much much more and has allowed me to use equipment I would otherwise never have been able to. I'm doing all my welding at home thanks to my good friend Jim Waltz. Jim has let me borrow all the welding equipment and gear that you see in the photos. Thanks Jim! Thanks also to Jessica for taking all the photos, and putting up with my testy behavior!

I've since gone over and sanded out the frame, again, removing all the marks from the over-abrasive sanding discs I was previously using. I need to just double check everything before I send it to get coated. Next week it will go in.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Front brake caliper rebuild

And the front caliper! Jeez, I wanted to show before and after pictures, but failed to take a close-up of the front brake caliper before I reworked it.

Just coated (you can see they messed up and coated the round where the brake line attaches:

And the other side:

You can see above that the machined surfaces are pretty dirty. I even sanded those out before I got them coated. So, I spent another hour making this one nice.
Started by scraping off the coating around the brake line connection:
This took for-bloody-ever and was very annoying. Again, I chased all the threads, sanded out the machined surfaces, polished where the pistons sit, and scraped off any over spray and built up coating.
Laying out my parts:
New parts:
cylinder seals
mounting bolts
bleeder bolt cap
rubber covers
brake pads

Re-used parts:
bleeder bolt
mounting piece
piston inserts

Cylinders and seals in, with everything cleaned up:
And, oh crap, I don't have new brake pads yet, nor have I dressed up the mounting piece! Well, I'll do what I can for today then stash it up on the shelf 'til I get the other items resolved:

Rear brake rebuild

I picked up my brakes and many other parts today from the powder-coating shop. These were the first batch of parts coated in the yellow that will be going on the frame.

I took this opportunity to quit work early, pick up the parts, and go home and get to the real work.

Here's how they look:
(I tried to adjust the color of the photo so it mostly resembles the actual color)

I spent about an hour, cleaning up the calipers again, after the powder coating. I removed small built up ridges of coating at the edges of the machined surfaces, I chased all the threads, I re-sanded the machined surfaces, scrubbed out the internals and cleaned very thoroughly.
Getting my parts laid out for the rebuild:
New parts:
black plastic cover
piston seals
o-ring gasket for between the 2 halves
spring keepers
brake pads
bleeder bolt cap

Re-used parts:
brake pad pins
cotter pins
bleeder bolt
metal shims
caliper itself

And the finished product!

I'm super happy with my yellow color choice! It was tough to make the decision as it really sets the tone for the whole bike. I'm waiting for my new brake pads to come in the mail right now, so the above photo is less the pads. Additionally, I'm getting a custom made braided stainless brake line. The next step is to refinish and rebuild the master brake cylinder.

Tomorrow I'll be sand blasting the rear master cylinder, sanding out and clear coating. I'm doing rid of the black plastic cover that goes over the master cylinder. Unnecessary part!