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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a few motorcycle related projects...some completed over 10 years ago and some still under construction. I was heavily into (or on to) 2 wheels back in the day. Hard to admit that I'm more comfortable in the seat of my riding mower than scootin' nowadays.

So I'll contribute to this new off topic forum a bit as I go along. I was selected (or convicted) to build a custom bike (metric, not HD) for a 13 week series that aired on one of the ESPN networks...ESPN2 I think it was. That was back in '05. Of course, I was one of the original 5 "rookie" builders being one that doesn't actually do it for a living like the pro class. There were a dozen pro builders, 5 rookies (that ended up being 4) and I believe there was a dozen or so sport bike or crotch rocket types. I'll post some images as I go along if it fits this forum. My apologies if admin is focusing more on mopeds, etc but these will be "2 wheeled".

Here's a little bike I did up and it eventually was bought by a guy in England when I put it on eBay. He came over and was visiting family or friends in Arizona and a truck picked it up at my place and transported it to him in AZ where he took it on a western USA journey to Colorado then crated it for ship back to the UK. He told me he'd have to make some changes to lighting, etc to make it legal in the UK.

Stock 650 Yamaha except for air and carb jets and exhaust. The black & red on it is powdercoat. Lowered the suspension but still kept it from being a "hardtail". Neat little bike that got a lot of attention everywhere I took it. I guess because it was simple and cheap. Who don't like that?



 

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Holy crap, that's cool! You got skills dude :ThumbUp: Wow, our new little forum is paying off already. Awesome. Love to get the title of the show you were on, so I can try and track it down.

This is for all two wheelers, and very much means motorcycles! Ok, so lets see some more :pics::pics::pics::pics::pics::pics:

Thanks for sharing :howdy:
 

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Woah!!! That's so cool!!!! :2th:

What a thrill to have been chosen for that build off! :2th: You have some talent there. Really cool bike and thanks for sharing!

Looking forward to hearing and seeing more about your bikes.
 

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This is exactly what this new forum is for! Post away with the pics and stories.
What a neat experience that must have been to be part of a show like that.
Not to mention you are a dog person too ;)
 

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Dude! That is a sweet ride! Like the other guys, I'd be psyched to see the show you were on! That must have been a really cool experience! :ThumbUp: :cool
 

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Wow! That's got to be one of the slickest looking bikes I've seen in a long time. What a neat story to go along with it. Have you had contact with the fellow who bought it since he took it back to the UK?

And you acted like you were reluctant to dig into your mower engine!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hehe...I wasn't acting. I was very reluctant to go complete tear down on my lil mower. I can rip stuff apart...it's puttin' it back together right that i was worried about.

Thanks for the good words above on this lil Yamaha. I'll add a few more images and details later tonight when i get settled. Been cleaning & arranging my shop most of the day and Wifey just informed me she had cooked some kind of dessert she called "Better Than Sex". That would tend to peak an old fat guy's interest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Some More Bike Pics

Well, the dessert was good but I don't know if it was "Better Than Sex". Come close I guess. I do like my sweet stuff.

To answer a few above inquiries, I'll just start with a little tale of how it started. I should break it up as I go because it could be a long post in this thread and it might be better to add to it as I go along.

Back in '05 (10 years ago...how time flies)...Yamaha sponsored an annual gathering event and that particular year, it was St Joseph, MO as the host location. They moved it about the country each year being a new place. One year eastern US, next year west. This one is more in the middle as I see it. Anyway, I loaded up my recently finished bike and trailered it out from here in the BlueGrass. Thought it might be fun to see how others "individualize" their scooters.

Upon arrival, I was itchy to ride and I unloaded my bike and strolled around the area just enjoying the good riding weather even though it was rather hot. I can remember that much...it was summer and it was hot. I was approached by some folks about whether I might be interested in participating in a TV build-off of sorts but this was for metric bikes only. Sounded intriguing to me. What would you say? I told em yes, I'd be interested. They had a lot of bikes to look at, they told me and they would be in touch if I was selected. I just went on enjoying the comraderie and events and talking with the people that ride. I got a lot of positive feedback from a lot of people and after a day or so, I was asked if I'd bring my bike into the set up area where a big supplier for custom stuff for all makes of motorcycles was displaying bikes. Come to find out he was one of the big boys back then in the biz...customizing bikes for the manufacturers. This cat ended up being one of the 3 "hosts" on the TV show when it filmed. Good guy and I've lost contact with all those folks over the years but I heard he had sold out to someone else and maybe he was in real estate now. Not sure about that. Let me break this up with a pic.



The image above is the bike I took to St Joe and it was first first real "custom" build. It started as a bone stock Yammie Road Star. I first added bags and a lot of bling and I liked the bike that way but I always wanted to do something different. I eventually raked the neck, added a air suspension so I could drop it to the ground with a flick of a button...I found a used Magnasupercharger , re-done the stock swing arm to make room for a fat tire...stuff like that. The Road Star back then was a carb'd, belt drive beast from the factory...good heavy bike and I saw some good potential for customizing in it. The supercharger made it a real beast. Awesome bike. I enjoyed that bike more than any I've ever owned I guess. That pic was taken by the show people down in Daytona Beach after I had been notified by phone that I was chosen as one of the 5 original rookies for the show.

Continued as I can...
 

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This is great stuff!! :2th:

Nice chop!! You definitely have a vision for these and it's not hard to see why you were selected. :ThumbUp: What's even more impressive is that you did all the work yourself beginning with a completely stock bike.

As bwdbrn1 (Bruce) mentioned earlier, that Honda rebuild was a cake walk!

Looking forward to reading more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
By the way, the bike above is still on one of the MagnaCharger's websites as the example for the Yamaha model they make.

This show was back when all the biker build off stuff was going on and was a big draw for the Discovery Channel. All those guys did "Harley" based based with a few Triumphs, etc tossed in if you will recall. I watched those shows too...entertaining but I got some good ideas for metric application especially on this factory belt drive v-twin bike Yamaha was putting out. Air cooled, carb'd, belt drive. Thumped real good too. This was NOT Discovery Channel related however. It was dreamed up by some producers down in south Florida and they wanted in on the action I guess. Who am I to complain? I thought it would be a fun thing to do to further enjoy my "hobby".

The premise was that they (producers and manufacturers involved in the show) would give each of us a new bike to completely customize. Great! I'm in whole hawg! There was originally going to be 25 builders...5 rookies (me), 10 pros and 10 sport bike builders. In all classes, there were rules we had to follow. For the rookie class, we were to retain at least 20% of the original frame. I think it was 20%...getting old and forgetful but it sticks in my mind the 20%. I held to that rule but none of the other rookies did. Don't know why they didn't chastise the other guys because keeping that 20% of the frame limited me to what I might have done differently and it certainly took more time...of which we were to have 120 days to complete and get the bikes to the Vegas rollout which was being held during the Las Vegas Biker's annual gathering.

The bikes were beginning to come from the manufacturers, being delivered many times from local dealers for the manufacturers that got on board. Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Triumph. Can't remember if Kawasaki got in or not. Time drug on and I was getting a little concerned about which make model I would receive because I was trying to get this head start in planning, etc to hit the ground running when it happened. Of course, I was hoping for a Yammie Road Star because at this point, I was very familiar with the bike and I had done a somewhat custom as pictured above.

Finally I got the call and drove to Lexington KY to the Triumph dealer to pick my bike up. I had been given a new Triumph Speedmaster...nice bikes but small in comparison to others that were being doled out. V-twin...but that "V" stood for vertical twin instead of the other more popular base. Air cooled and chain driven. Brand new black, shiny Speedmaster. The Speedmaster back then (don't know about whether they even still produce them) was worrisome to me because I didn't know exactly where to go with it but Triumph had a good rep in the custom circles and they were loved by the old skool. I would figure it out.

The bike I was given looked a lot like this one. I'm sorry but I have lost a lot of images from back then due to hard drive issues, etc. This is an image I found to show what it was to start with.

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, Austen.

Since I felt I was at a disadvantage, I decided to do something realy drastic to it and totaly re-engineering the bike would be the only way I could bring it home. Instead of hiding the smallish powerplant, I made it the focus point...at least in my opinion I did. The end product was really radical and I knew it would have to be because of the competition. Looking at the bike, I began going over in my head what was the most drastic, radical thing I could do to this clean, stock bike? The it hit me like a freight train.

I sat down and actually drew out my design on a piece of paper. When it was done, I went back and compared my "vision" to the end build and I was fairly amazed myself at how it turned out to be the same image I had in my head, drawn on paper and built. I made changes along the way from the original drawing but for the most part, it was just like my vision put down on paper. Don't really know what happened to me but it was almost like it was meant to be.

The Triumph, for those that are familiar, is a right side chain drive. Most everything else is left had as far as I can remember. The Honda entry was a shaft drive...I think it was a 1300 cc at that time and it was water cooled so there was that to work around. But being right hand drive, I had the crazy idea of turning the engine around in the frame and giving it a friction drive which the right side drive, when reversed, would create the correct direction spin to pull this off. I had saw someone on the biker build-offs do a friction drive one time. I figured if someone else could do it, so could I. Kinda like my Honda mower engine rebuild. Lots of research and engineering went into this one aspect of my project. Being from KY and near coal country, it hit me one day that the coal mines use big rubber belt conveyors to haul a bunch of tons of coal out of the hole and they have used friction drive apparatus' to accomplish that. I went searching for an industrial supplier that would talk to me and agree to undertake this small idea I had. I found a guy that told me of course it would work. He told me how it worked for them and the process to make the "rollers" they used and I went to work. Cut from a big piece of aluminum, I machined a billet roller with a concave design to fit the rear rubber tire. I took it to the guy that I had talked to and they bonded the rubber surface to the billet roller. He guaranteed it would not come off the aluminum. There was a lot of calculations to be done to get the proper size diameter roller for the drive.

There's so much more involved in the build and I don't want to cut it short but I could use up all the internet paper in the world and never tell all the story that goes with this build project. I'll just cut to the chase as I go on and post an image of the end product. I called it "Ratikul" because it was just that and the Triumph RAT has always been well known in Triumph circles. Here is what I built and hauled to Vegas for the debut and eventual qualifying ride in the Red Rock area near Vegas.



You will notice there is no chain or belt or shaft on that rear tire. :2th:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Filming on location up in the desert near Vegas on ride qualifying day.

 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Here is a peek at an old project I've had for a long time. I need to get it going but after the show thing, I got a little burned out. Since having moved north a bit to be closer to the grandbabies, I anticipate bringing it up here once I get my shop arranged and finish it. It's another Triumph project and it's not hardly as radical as my other Triumph but it is total custom. Frame that utilizes the top front mounts on the engine as down supports for the frame. 300 rear tire. Chain drive. Hard tail. Haven't decided what kind of front end I will go with. Thought about a springer but I may not. I haven't messed with a springer front end previously. But for the power, it's got a stock Bonneville engine I got from a wreck down in Georgia way back when...I'm going to stroke it however to get a little more thump under my butt.



I'm gonna cut this off for the evening. More projects for tomorrow. Almost got the pontoon done and now I need to mount the Honda outboard and get her going so I can catch me a mess of them shellcrackers that'll be swarming when the first full moon in May comes. And by my calculations, that's gonna be May3...think I'll hit it Monday if the creek don't rise. More later.

:ThumbUp:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Good morning, Bruce.

Appreciate the good words. It needs to be said that a project like this doesn't come without much input & work with various suppliers and talents. I am not a body man. Always wanted to do that but never got around to spending the time to learn it well enough to pull off the kind of job that I figured would be needful to top this off. I located an enthusiastic old gent near me that was a painter in his spare time. His day job was a high school teacher. We worked together on deciding the best way to accent the crazy tank, etc. He prepped and laid down the paint. I spent many hours grinding and shaping the metal. Never did get it exactly how I wanted it but I guess that's the way it is on something like this. At some point you have to call it "done" and go for it.
 

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That is just unreal!!!

What an ingenious idea to flip the motor and design a friction drive. Wow!!! I'll bet that gets people talking at the shows- "How is the bike powered?" I couldn't imagine the design and calculations that went into that design alone. I can definitely understand how you could go on for days talking about the build as every aspect on it is custom in some way. You are quite the craftsman and artist and you have something to be very proud of. I'm speechless. Where did the bike end up going after the airing of the show/event?

How did the friction drive feel in comparison to a typical chain/belt or even shaft drive setup when you rode it?
 

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Some very cool stuff. I'll have lots of questions at some point, but for now I'm just sitting back, absorbing and enjoying the ride. Really appreciate you sharing with us :cool
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Ask away. I'll divulge all I can remember. The friction drive was only part of the engineering mountain I undertook. I also found a used Aerocharger turbo on eBay and turbocharged it. I was interested in MegaSquirt back then and made my own fuel injection for that with the help from a wizard in Denmark. That's a whole 'nother story. The guy actually tuned this bike from Denmark via the internet and helped me troubleshoot some issues. I made my own plenum out of a hilborn style aluminum hood scoop. It helped create the image that the engine was larger than I had been given. Like I said earlier, I wanted to make the engine the focal point. I took the head off and sent them to be diamond cut out west somewhere. Can't remember the place but I could probably find em if they are still doing it. I had the guy that was doing auto-clutches for Harleys build me the first Triumph brand auto-clutch. So much more. If I had to do a MegaSquirt today, I don't know if I'd remember all I need to know but I'm sure technology has changed and it's probably a little simpler now.

As for how the friction drive worked vs chain or belt. I would not build a bike with a friction drive to ride. This was a show deal and judging was in 5 diff categories...engineering being one of them. Strictly for the show. I prefer simplicity. Belts & chains have been proven and believe it or not...I prefer old skool. I just knew what I was up against and I called on everything I had in me to do this one project. Like I said earlier...the whole thing really burned me out on the 2 wheel thing. I ate, lived and slept that bike while I was doing it. Took a toll. But I'm proud of it. Wouldn't never do it again but I'm glad I did it. I proved something to myself more than anything. But rebuilding my own little single cylinder Honda mower engine is another one of those firsts for me and just as satisfying because it turned out so well. One of life's little things ya know. Add em all up and chunk you in a hole and put 6 feet of dirt on you. But at least I used it up & didn't save anything to take with me. :)

Here's a pic of the mock up as I was fitting engine to frame and the scoop etc. That was another Triumph engine I had I used for mock up. That valve cover was cut out of a solid piece of billet aluminum. I have another one just right like it for the other Triumph custom if I ever get back to finishing it. This scoop was sealed off and made the plenum for the Aerocharger. It was functional...just in a different kind of way than it was intended. :)

 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
From the rear...another mockup pic. Painful to look at these old pics. I remember the effort. These are the first pics I ever showed anybody on this bike and it was done about 10 years ago. Lotsa folks saw the finished product but these were the "dirty" pics...bike porn, if you will. I'm lucky to find a disk with a few on it. I packed all that away somewhere until the grandbabies find em someday and say "Papaw was a biker????"

:eek:

 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Here's a set of cool pics. Looking at these I could still smell the wood burning :)

This is how I got the bend in the backbone for the frame. I didn't have the machines or tools to do such a task. A hillbilly will figure it out someway. :idea:





 
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