Saturday, 28 January 2012

Hubs away...

No pictures, but just a note to say that the hubs were painted satin black by DW Automotive last week, dried over the weekend and were sent up to Five-One Wheels middle of this week. I had a long talk with Steve at Five-One after the hubs had arrived and agreed on a few detail things.

Five-One are very busy at the moment but Steve loves Flattrack projects and said he'd do his best to move our wheels up the list.

Metal fuel tank taking shape.

I went over to Chris' workshop last Wednesday to see the progress. The fuel tank looked great. A very good interpretation of my foam model. I spent ages looking over it and we discussed a few different aspects, but basically he'd got it spot on.

The tank is currently just a top with no base or innards. Those comes next...

Even the rough tank was perfectly square.

Metal plates welded to the frame hold the tank in place as it doesn't yet have a bottom or mounting brackets.

The 'knee hollow' is a thing of beauty.

The lines of the bike are coming together.

Richard and Chris discuss the intricacies of metal working... either that or which curry to order...

Fuel tank fabrication

While I continued to die of ManFlu, Richard and Chris started work on the fuel tank, making cardboard templates for the flat metal they would cut out to make the tank. The tank would be made of steel as it is the easiest metal for us to work with. In the back of our minds is to make an Ally one later on, probably in a year or two.

Model fuel tank gets fitted to bike

So, I took the styrofoam model fuel tank over to Chris' workshop and with a little bit of alteration fitted it to the tank. Everyone was impressed and felt the shape suited the whole Flattracker / Streettracker idea. Chris now had a 3D forma to follow and we discussed at length how to make the tank before cutting some templates for the flat metal sheets that would make up the finished tank.

The blue tape denotes the flat line we are trying to achieve with the tank and seat unit to make the bike look like a Flattracker. My Styrofoam fuel tank only rested onto of the frame whereas the real one will protrude through the frame and follow the blue line.

Shamfa's workshop. An Alladin's cave of project bikes, cars and all the welding and fabrication kit a man could ever want :-)

Styrofoam Fuel Tank Model

OK, so it's been a few weeks since a post... I've been dying of ManFlu. However, even though I haven't blogged I have been doing things on the bike. Firstly I set about making a Styrofoam model of the fuel tank so that Chris (Shamfa) had a 3D sculpture to follow when he started to fabricate the tank.

I hadn't made any Styrofoam models since university so this was fun.

Louigi leant me a spare frame so that I could model the tank while the bike was still at Chris' workshop.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Starting the fuel tank

At the end of last week we took the bike over to Shamfa's garage. Shamfa is going to make the fuel tank for us. At the same time the seat unit and bars arrived from Five-One Wheels so we were able to offer them up and start to see how the finished bike will appear.

It's still difficult to see the finished thing without having the 19" wheels. The hubs should be going off to Five-One today and hopefully we'll get the finished wheels back some time around the end of January / early February.

We cut the seat unit to shorten it (we had ordered a long one to allow us to do just this) but it is still quite wide for the Ducati frame so a little fibre glass work will be needed to narrow it. The edge lines also need altering.

We marked out a horizontal line from underneath the back of the seat unit to the headstock. This straight line is important to obtain a true Flattrack look.

Removing the old fuel tank made a huge difference, allowing us to see the bare frame. The new fuel tank will be much smaller and slimmer. I've got some styrofoam in my garage and a spare frame from Luoigi and I've now got to find time to carve some mock-up tanks until I'm happy with the shape and then take them over to Shamfa who will have a go at making the real thing.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Cutting and Shutting the Frame

Between Christmas and the New Year we finally started cutting and shutting the Supersport frame.




Finished cut frame tack welded together. Lots of lugs removed to clean up the frame as much as possible:

Now we're really desperate to get a full rolling chasis so that we can see the stance of the bike.

The big 19" wheels and Maxxis tyres will transform the appearance and height. These should be with us at the end of January, fingers crossed.

The yokes are being machined out to accept the Öhlins forks, and should have been ready weeks ago...

Soon we will get the seat unit offered up and start making the tank, first out of styrofoam until we're happy with the shape and then out of ally or steel.

First Visuals

The design of the bike is taking shape. I decided not to go too photo-realistic in Photoshop as I knew the project would evolve as it went along. I started with the bare photo of the 750ss and worked up an approximation of my vision here:

Since doing this we have bought in a seat unit from Five-One Wheels and the lines are different to this visual. The seat unit is based on the classic XR seat. We also now know that the tank is a bit too low down in the frame in this visual, but still, essentially this is what we're trying to build.

Getting Things Going

Well, we at last spent some quality time on the project over the Christmas break.

After being badly let down by Devon Rim Company who very clearly didn't want to do the job, and wasted 3-4 weeks of our time I called an old friend who made some rims for me about 10 years ago... Steve Lomas at Five-One Wheels.

Steve was happy to hear from me and very enthusiastic about our project. He is very keen on Flattrack bikes and quite involved in the Shorttrack scene. He knew exactly what we wanted as soon as I asked and instead of facing an uphill struggle as we did with Devon Rims, Steve was immediately able to lay his hands on a 3x19 front rim and a 3.5x19 rear rim.

So, with this in place I cut the hubs out of the bent Sport Classic wheels and sent them off for chemical dipping prior to being painted and sent to Steve. Hopefully Five-One would receive the hubs mid-January.