Sunday, 29 January 2017

Suffern Rufftin Dick Dastardly

Mallory Park on the KTM 690, November 2016, the sportsbike riders are not amused when you pass them on the inside..........................

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Rim Tape (part one)

Rim Tape

Air-cooled Ducati. Love them. In my often late night trawls of the 'tinterweb and in between checking out the various football forums and rare soul blogs I also peruse Google images to find gems like this one. I'm sorry. I have no details about this particular machine. Another early-hours 'save as' photo, downloaded no doubt in an alcohol inspired stupor. So peeps, what we are looking at here is the bike that I wish I had the skill and dinero to construct instead of my feeble effort with the 'Peaky Blinder' / 'Not a Ducati TT2Replica' I know this bike isn't the finished deal. No oil lines etc. But really, just look at it, perfection in my eyes and it just gives me a feeling of inadequacy when I look at the skill to produce a machine to this level. What I strive for is the often overused term 'factory', that level of build quality where the lines blur and a 'one-off' (hate to use it but 'custom') bike looks like a production machine. Yes, Yes, Yes, I know that's a massive contradiction, how can a 'custom' bike look like a bike anyone could purchase from your local, friendly motorcycle emporium?  And that's what I'm trying to get at. All too often 'custom' bikes, or specials look like they really are, a half-arsed compromise, often ruining the standard bikes handling and performance in the pursuit of aesthetics, hey, beat me up I'm as guilty as anyone for doing it! Lord knows I've made some monumental fuck-up's. I've spunked hours and my pension fund chasing that dream only to realise that I'm playing at it and that there are a very few gifted individuals who can actually achieve that 'factory' perfection without compromise. Pass me the rim-tape...........................................................

Friday, 20 January 2017

Ducati Sport Classic

It's been bugging me all day which bike the Speedymoto crash bobbins that we modified to fit the KTM Supermoto were from, I had a feeling that they were on the Ducati Sport Classic that we built about ten years ago? Searching through my photos and I found them, don't think I ever posted photos of it up on the old loveless blog? I May be wrong, (I probably am) but here it is, just a very tidy slightly modified bike, no over-engineering just stainless machined fasteners holding the plot together, the bee-ute-ee-full Zard exhaust system, open clutch cover, Pazzo's, Oberon rear indicators and shed-made tail tidy. Ducati were giving these away for nothing then. They couldn't sell them for toffee, we paid  four grand for this one, sold it for two and six, ( twelve and a half pence in new money) oh well, at least we recycled the crash bobbins...""

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Health And Safety

After the incident at Mallory Park in November when Dangerous lobbed the Ducati Scrambler up the track I must confess that I am a convert to crash protection for the bikes. Thinking about the damage, ( and money) saved by fitting crash bobbins and axle sliders to the Scrambler got me thinking and both my bikes now have them fitted especially as they are going to see some trackday action, (and even racing in the case of the Supermoto), so both bikes now wear shed-made front and rear axle sliders. The axle sliders are made from good quality machinable engineering nylon and mounted using 8mm stainless round stock, threaded to length to accept an 8mm Nyloc nut on both ends, the Duke already had the KTM Powersport engine /radiator bars fitted when I bought the bike but the Supermoto needed some frame bobbins, luckily Dangerous had a pair of Speedymoto bobbins from another Ducati in his stash so it was a simple job to machine a couple of mountings up to fit them, job done. Health And Safety? Well, I'm all for it. I cut my thumb on one of the very sharp stainless exhaust shields on the Supermoto so had to order a couple of carbon Akrapovic exhaust shields to prevent another unfortunate occurrence. Carbon whoring? What me............

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Mike Baldwin

Mike Baldwin, no not the cheeky cockney character from everyone's favourite northern based television soap opera, rather the '80's AMA super bike racer and team-mate of 'Fast' Freddie Spencer, hustling the massive Honda CB900 based superbike around. I would watch the 'Fast Freddie' video over and over again back in the day, remember, these were the days of the two-stroke and two-strokes were the weapon of choice, seeing these production based four-stroke monsters being wrestled around by the likes of Cooley, Lawson, Baldwin, Spencer, Pietri and Steve 'Motormouth' McLaughlin struck a chord with me. I sold my Yamaha RD 400 and signed on the never, never for a year old Suzuki GS 1000S, the blue and white 'ice cream van' model, you know, the same one Wes Cooley rode........

Saturday, 14 January 2017

The Best MZ In The World. Ever.

Me, Chalky and Dangerous had a day out today. Dangerous had spotted that a dealer around 40 miles away had the new Ducati Desert Sled in so we had a ride up in the Mystery Machine Van of Doom to have a butchers. Except that they didn't actually have one in stock. In fact they aren't having one in until March. Oh well, we had a nice sandwich, a good coffee and some sport baiting the salesmen and listened to some cool tunes and good conversation. One of the topics was the MZ racer that we built back in 2009/2010 and which I raced with the BMZRC. Dangerous reckoned it was one of the best bikes we've built. I went a bit further. It's the best MZ ever built. There you go. Prove me wrong. I'm waiting.........

Friday, 13 January 2017

Taste The Difference

'Taste The Difference' the tag line from a wank Sainsbury's advert, but really, check out the machined stainless loveliness compared to the OEM stuff. I've tried to be grown up, polite and more family friendly with the new blog but fuck it, I've decided to go back to being the self-opinionated, stubborn, grumpy old fuck that I really am. Hold tight..........

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Get A Life!

Seriously, I really do need to get a life, why spend all those nights in the shed machining stainless bolts? I mean, who really notices them anyway? You know that old saying 'Clothes make the the man' Well to me 'Fasteners make the the bike' I cannot stand tatty, rusted, rounded-off, spanner scarred bolts, to me they scream neglect and 'don't care' and I've seen many projects where the owner has spunked a fortune on paint/ parts/ bling for the whole look of the machine be ruined by using the standard fasteners.
        I buy my stainless from a local merchants, it's good quality and a high grade and machines well, I used to hunt around at the auto jumbles but the standard is generally poor, a lot of time the heads are not even concentric to the shank of the bolt and the grade is very low meaning they are brittle and likely to fail in use or when assembling/disassembling components. I never use stainless fasteners in high-stress areas like shock absorber mountings, instead I bite the bullet, unchain my purse and buy titanium items from Pro-Bolt, not only are they used by top racers, ( so they are far and above anything I need for the road or my humble efforts at track days ) but, they are just beautifully made and look great too.
         On 'domey's' or 'dome head' allen heads like the ones in the photos I machine them to a 45 degree angle to mimic the Pro-Bolt titanium items, on 'socket heads' I taper them to 35 degrees and machine the makers grade and manufacturing stamping so for a clean look, a quick rub with Scotchbrite finishes them off a treat. So, there you have it, it might take two or three nights in the shed but once done you can forget about corrosion and the bike will look all the better for a bit of effort, oh yeah........

Sunday, 8 January 2017

The KTM 690 Duke

So, here's the KTM 690 Duke on the bench, bought this when I sold the Ducati Hypermotard just before the Classic TT Festival in the Isle Of Man. The previous owner had already added the Powersports engine bars and hand guards, I junked the OEM mirrors and added an Oberon bar-end mirror on the throttle side, just so much clearer and unobtrusive than the standard items which are frankly wank, they blur at any speeds and you can't tell what's behind you. Next purchase was the Akrapovic titanium and carbon exhaust can although I have left the standard under engine catalyser on as the forums suggest that the bike runs better with it left on, you don't lose any midrange and with a cat delete pipe they are horrendously noisy, verging on the offensive. I have removed both rear footpeg mountings and used the Akrapovic exhaust mount for a cleaner look, made a carbon heel guard and mounting bushes and added an RG tail tidy and radiator guard. I've started swapping the OEM, wank plated 'gutter-bolt' fasteners for some machined quality stainless replacements too and of course the traditional Pro-Bolt sexy race spec caliper bolts (lock-wired) a sprinkling of orange Powersports bling and I reckon it looks pretty stealthy which is the look I was planning. Loads more stainless bolts to machine up and replace and a rather disappointing find when I started to change the oil today, some ham-fisted dog wanker has stripped one of the threads in the crankcase where one of the four oil filters fit. Yep, you read that right, there are four oil filters on the 690 LC4 engines, two are paper filters, two washable plastic gauze filters, not expensive to replace and a real belt and braces job. Well, down to the local tool merchants to pick up a 5mm helicoil kit tomorrow then, pissed off with the dealer I bought it off, they just 'liquid metalled' the bolt back in! Oh well, you live and learn.........

Saturday, 7 January 2017

The New KTM 790 Duke Prototype

Must have watched this a hundred times already, the Duke series finally looks like moving away from the tried and trusted LC4 single cylinder configuration and evolving into a 790 cc parallel twin, if they can keep it anything like the prototype with the short, stubby seat and under seat single pipe I reckon it will be a real contender, just awesome......

Friday, 6 January 2017

Jay's RD 500

I've known Jay since he was a little boy, I used to work for his dad as a subby pipe fitter/welder back in the day. I thought I was a die hard two-stroke fan but Jay takes it to another level, a very competitive moto-cross rider who broke his neck and risked paralysis if he raced again  instead turning his attention to building a series of two-stroke specials instead. He turned up at work one day with the most mental RD 400 Yamaha I've ever seen, he invited me to have a blast around the industrial estate where we were based, the thing was an absolute beast, virtually unrideable and it cost a fortune to run commanding a rebuild every few hundred miles, I almost soiled myself riding it, the power delivery was unbelievable, frightening even. Jay eventually tired of it and the ridiculous amount of hard-earned he spunked to maintain it and moved it on, over the next two, three, four, five years he would occasionally drop in to my works with updates regarding the new project with tantalising blurry photos of the new bike and a tail of woe regarding the trials and tribulations of building a special. When he turned up late last year on the 'finished' bike I could hardly believe what I was seeing, I heard it before I saw it, when he pulled up I sat on the floor outside the unit and just drank in the details. This is the last frame Spondon Engineering built before Sweary Bob died and the rest of the craftsmen were employed at Donington to build the new Nortons, carbon fibre wheels, Ohlins suspension, Brembo brakes, exquisite JL titanium and Kevlar expansion chambers, Tyga carbon fibre bodywork, cut, shut and narrowed to get the perfect profile, everywhere I looked spoke of quality and bespoke engineering, just a beautiful bike. Jay isn't a traditional engineer, don't get me wrong, he knows his way around a socket set but he works long and hard to fund his dreams. So, I'm sat there in awe of this machine, soaking in the details when I spot something vaguely familiar but something I can't quite place, 'Jay, those mesh filters over the carbs? RG500?' 'Nah youth, tea strainers from Asda' once a pipe fitter, always a pipe fitter............

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Eddie Lawson

'Steady' Eddie Lawson on the Yamaha YZR 500, can anything compare to a full-blown two-stroke racing machine on full chat? I know Marquez, Lorenzo et al are gods amongst us mere mortals and I do not mean to underestimate their undoubted mastery of riding a GP machine but I cannot watch Moto GP without harking back to the days before traction control, wheelie control, abs, lean control and the hundred and one other rider 'aids' that the modern era jockey has at his disposal.
     Lawson, Luchinelli, Mamola, Spencer, Roberts and Sheene had none of these devices to try and tame the hairy old two-stokes and with a throttle like an on/off switch, there was little room for error, get it wrong and things often went very pear-shaped in a matter of milliseconds with the unfortunate rider being high sided off the machine in a violent and injurious high speed crash.
     Two-strokes, a bit like Marmite then really, you either love them or hate them, I love them and so does my friend Jay and wait until you see what Jay has built........

Monday, 2 January 2017

Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun

The central heating boiler decided to throw in the towel the day after Boxing Day leaving us without hot water or heating at Bailey Towers and no chance of getting the parts needed to repair the bloody thing until this Wednesday. To say I was delighted would be a bit of an understatement and let's just say that the good folk of Derbyshire were treated to me doing my best Basil Fawlty impression, hitting the boiler with a wet towel which I had used to soak up the leaking heater matrix and turning the air blue with profanities, ( all done in my best low, guttural Cradle of Filth growl I hasten to add) As you know, the boiler is located in the shed. Mrs B. required more room for kitchen cabinets so I moved the boiler, piped up a couple of radiators that I scored cheap and Roberto is ones Mothers brother, a toasty shed and more room for Her Majesty.
       Well, what we have here is a full blown emergency and I despatched Mrs B forthwith to procure some electric convector heaters especially as the forecast  said we are in for a cold-snap. We are now in possession of three heaters, one for the house and two for in the shed, well, you have to get your priorities right, right?
    Oh, here's a photo from this morning taken while walking the dogs on the Portway the ancient prehistoric track which runs from Nottingham to Mam Tor in north Derbyshire.