In the Beginning
It all started with a night in a local bar. was talking to a guy that owned a royal enfield. Got to thinkin that i miss riding. i miss 2 wheels and thunder. My harley is a great bike, but a bit much for just dickin around town.. this royal enfield was really a greatinspiration. enter kikker thanx corbin. turned out they were just about to start rolling a 200cc.. i was one of the first few.
I finished my chopper. But i'm sure everyone is now wondering why i havent been riding it? well i finished it right before that 1st snow we had. that snow was hard and stuck. i wasnt gonna ride till spring so i figured thats one great time to do some custom work. I wanted to move the fuel petcock to a lower location on the tank, giving me more out of each tank. When your tank holds 1.5 gallons, not being able to reach that last half gallon is a big deal. One of my step cousins was recommended by a local bike shop as someone that could do this.. 4 months later (well into the good spring riding weather) i finally got it back.. i say "it" because it wasnt a tank anymore, and that chunk of slag wouldnt even fit on the bike anymore.. let alone get gas to the engine. i was pissed. So now i'm tankless. But thanx to the kikker nation I got to meet up with a few people to look into different gas tank options and even have jforbes going to bat for me and getting me a stock tank. I was thinkin about putting a harley peanut tank on , but the time, mods, and $$ that woulda needed to be done far outweighed a basic stock tank. i just wanna ride. so hopefully by next week i'll be back on the road.
hot coil and a performance CDI
It wasn't long that xmas was coming and dad, being there for the entire journey thus far , and ended up being there the whole time, wanted to know if there was anything special that he could add to the bike in time for the holidays. 2 main upgrades i heard alot about were the Hot coil that produces a juicier spark, and the CDI that controls the engine curve much better than the stock. Retrospectively, These 2 upgrades were worth it. They added a bit of response and punch to the performance, but it really got me thinking... what else on this bike needs to be scrutinized? One more call to mick's Customs and i had a sweet new (far more functional) stop light to boot. :) This was the beginning of alot of customizations to come.
knocked out 4 teeth..!
To continue on my quest to right every poor design flaw in this bike, on my very first ride, i had a tantalizingly wild ride. A little too wild. The clutch system on this bad lil dog, is a suicide shifter. That means the clutch is operated by the left foot.. and your gears are changed by hand on a shifter knob.. That took a bit to get used to. I found myself at a stoplight. Cars piled up due to the redlight, and i was about to get a green. Release clutch. give it gas.. Rad.. killed it. Everyones watching.. intrigued. now amused.. dont kill it.. dont kill it. I revved harder, clutch slipping out, the bike rocked into a hiho silver and i tore across the intersection in a wheelie. All the while screaming like a girl. Took me a while to shake that off after not dying, but what really got me was the amount of torque the stock gear had.
The Death of a Tank
I started off with great intentions. The stock tank that i got, had the gas line coming from almost the top of the tank. See, The tank sits at an angle. so after 2/3rds of the tank was used up the system would be slurping and sucking for gas that it couldnt reach.. thats a poor design flow in my opinion, so i set out to change it. I talked with a guy at my local motox shop and told him my plan. "How hard would it be to seal off this bung up ttop and weld in a new insert that i could stick a petcock down low, ya know.. where the gas IS" "oh hell thats easy!! ya know who i'd talk to is your cousin! he welded his own tank up and everything"
great idea! so i got ahold of my cousin and sent him off with my tank and the insert. Months past without word. At this point it was getting late into the spring and i was getting ancy to ride what WAS a working bike. FINALLY i got ahold of him, he said he had complications but the tank was ready. When i got it back he insisted it was no charge. As soon as i saw it i knew why. . . .. who the fuck thinks using an arcwelder on TIN was a wise idea? He had blasted a hole clean thru the tank. To top it off He had continued to use an arc welder apparantly to patch up the hole and jimmy rig the tank.. it was COMPLETELY unusable. But thanx to tim at Tims Kustoms I had a knew tank ordered and oon the way within the week. Still havent spoke to that numbnuts since.
The starter was a bit flaky, causing a huge racket from the flywheel disengaging too early when the starter lost power too early. This was due to a not so good ground to the frame. So while i was reinstalling the new bars i added a ground wire from the buton to the brake casing. making a perfect ground. My starter never sounded better. (not great, but better)
So the last item i really wanted to get for the bike, kind of relied on getting the bike running long enough to really give it a spin. After 100 miles, i really got a good idea of how it handled, and that gave me a better idea of where i'd rather have my hands. So i started to sketch my bar idea. Dusty, my rad architect bud in San Diego, through together a nice blue print of the idea to elp whoever ended up being the master welder.
one of the guys that i was ordering a sproket from heard i needed bar material for my custom bars, i went on the forums to ask where anyone else might have found bar.. he shot me a message saying that he'd throw 2 extra sets of drag bars in the box with my sproket and charged me $25. bam.
Louie, the same guy to weld my new tank back to life offered to slam the bars together no problem after seeing the blueprints. Brought him the bars and in 2 days he had the prototype to try on the bike. I was so happy with the way they were i went back and he drilled the holes for the electrical wires and had em ready to paint that night.
This is where the problems arose. Grant suggested we use ceramic engine enamel for the paint. You have to drop 3 good coats in an hour then let them cure for 3-5 days before done.. on the third coat a bug landed on it smearing the paint. The only thing to do was remove the paint and start over. 3rd coat, run #2.. a bug, same spot. no shit.
It was the third run we put the bars INSIDE in the garage, and did a perfect 3 coat run. that night, not realizing where they were anchored i opened the garage door only to watch my new bars sling across the garage, skittering across the floor. W... T... F...
Run #4 i left town, and came home to new bars. :) I got home late, but immediately began installation. The next morning i really gave it a run, only to find that there were wide, just like i wanted.. but a little TOO wide. i felt like and Ape. So at lunch i pulled the grips off to hacksaw the ends off a few inches, only to find the paint came right off just about everywhere something touched it. After it was all hacked to size, and put back together, theres not a spot of metal showing, and the bars look AWESOME, let alone feel SO much more stable.
A Horizontal License plate deflects swine flu.
After being stoppped by the local Empire more than once and hassled about everything from signals to "fender length" (which made me laugh) the common factors were that the license plate was vertically mounted.. and i finally realized that due to the oversized neck muscles in these neanderthals that make up the police system, they were unable to turn there heads sideways to comprehend the numbers that show my bike as LEGAL. So i go t fed up and hacked the plate holder into pieces and welded it back together so it holds my plate horizontally. This sucks, cause it now hangs about shin level and a good 8 inches off the bike. But hey, small price to pay to get the fuzz to EFF OFF.
THere was more monkey business involve in the stock shifter than one could imagine, a 2 foot shifter post mounts to a lubricated joint on the electric starter.. this had an arm that bolted to a linkage arm, which bolted to the spline arm. It was amazing that i didnt have more trouble than i did trying to shift. So the plan? chop the shifter in half and take out all the BS. I welded the shifter to the spline arm and bam, a lowdown shifter that feels great and looks fantastik.
Thanx to the wonders of ebay i found a set of LED turnsignals that would look great on the bike. It took a little fanaggling getting them where i wanted them. The biggest hurdle was finding that the LEDS didnt pull enough juice to trigger the flasher relay. So it was back to the internet, where i found superbrightleds.com They not only had the relay i needed.. but also LED brake light replacements and alot more!
The Carburator Problems I had for the first few month of riding the bike was just obnoxious. A fellow kikker, Brian Barlow, got me in touch with his old friend and megaMachinist, Lon Miller, who was really good at combustion engines in general. We musta tinkered with that stock carb for months. Even boring out the main jet only to finally find the majority of the problem was my pants getting stuck in the kool looking, yet poorly designed air intake. So I gave the whole thing the finger, yanked off the stock carb, and replaced it with a 30mm Mikuni, as well as got an aftermarket reverse cone shaped air intake. Theres no way i'm gonna hear that dreaded noise of my engine dying as it vaccuums my right nut into the intake.
So much of this bike is a chincy chinese POS. The headlight blew out after only riding it 300 miles. The Hardknock Forums are amazing. Hands down. I searched and found 2 different headlight modifications that not only fixed my light, but made it so this wouldnt happen again. A sylvania h9006 fit in the headlight housing with only a very minor snip to the placement ring.
Neutral lite added
While i had the Headlight popped open i figured WHY NOT!! I found on the forums a mod for adding a nuetral light while trying to fix my headlight. The mod was EASY. Using the existing wires, all i had to do was add a bulb, drill a hole for it to sit. and run a ground line to the nuetral pin on the engine. BAm. After seeing this, barlow had to have one too. 2nd time around i think i modded his headlight and nuetral light in 15 minutes flat. hAHhaha..
A sick new look
Last, but definately not least, it was time to break out my airbrush along with some latent talent for art deep within me. But first i needed paint!
I knew of this paint by Createx called Auto-Air that was an automotive grade aint that worked well with uerathane clears, yet was WATER based. That means WAyyyy less hassle with the maintenance and cleaning of my airbrush. So i headed to portland to find some.. only to find it right here in my home town.. wtf? The kitchen was quickly designated as a paint center. All cooking and traffic ceased and for 3 days I held it ransom as I painted. Gurnett snapped pics as i went and when it was all done, Dawz came over to shoot the clear in a makeshift "booth" we made in my dads garage. I learned alot. I musta fucked up the paint 8 times and learned to fix those screw ups each time. Even the clear wasnt flawless and after the clear fully hardens we gotta go back and snad a bit and polish to remove the reminant solvent pops. But its