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Old 09-11-2010, 08:52 PM   #1
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Flying Merkel tribute build... the Flying Merkin??

Here we go... my first bike build and my first thread so bear with me.

About a year back I decided I wanted to build a motorcycle from scratch. I've always liked the style of the old board trackers and when I came across the Flying Merkel I was hooked. I had to build one.... well my version at least. I definitely don't have the kind of money to build a replica but I think I can pull off a really nice tribute.

First was the inspiration.....



Second was the design. This is the first project where I've designed and had almost every part purchased or figured out prior to starting any fab work. It's much easier to change it on paper than steel. It took me nearly 6 months on and off to get everything worked out. This unfortunately is not my final drawing, but you get the picture... so to speak. It get's better, I had to start somewhere.



And finally the real work can begin.

This is where the design work really paid off. I had to have a handrail company bend the lower hoop so I had to modify the radius to match their mandrel dies. Cost me $300 but it came out perfect. You can imagine how nervous I was making that first fishmouth with my cheap Chinese jig.



I couldn't have done it without the full size pattern. Glad I work at a sign company.


Top tube was bent on a friends hydraulic tubing bender the mid tube I bent on my Chinese pipe bender to get a larger radius. The other tubes are for the rear triangle... also bent on the cheapo pipe bender.



The motor I chose was a Yahama XT500 because they're single cylinder, the exhaust allows for a single down tube and I got a whole running bike with title for $300. **side note** The further I get into the project the more I question my motor choice but it's too late now. I may have to do some work to modify the look of the case and cylinder to fit the look. Should be enough power though.

After tacking the hoop to the other main tubes I sat the engine in place to get the mid tube placement. Tack, check for straightness, repeat.





Getting the rear dropouts ready. Again, the use of a pattern is essential.



I made a jig on a CNC router to get my dropouts and rear triangle aligned perfectly to the main frame. I used the jackshaft in the bottom bracket as the mounting point. More on that later.







Here's a good place the throw in a thanks to my friend Tyler for hooking me with the waterjet dropouts and sprocket mounting ring on the jackshaft.... as well as other parts to be named later.



Even with the jig I was nervous about alignment so tack, check, tack, check and repeat.



More to come... I just want to get this first post out of the way.
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Old 09-11-2010, 09:03 PM   #2
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This should be fun to watch.
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Old 09-11-2010, 09:04 PM   #3
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That's just all kinds of cool so far! great idea to do it around a more modern powerplant while emulating the lines! Love it.
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Old 09-11-2010, 09:40 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by drooartz


This should be fun to watch.


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Old 09-11-2010, 09:46 PM   #5
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So once I got the frame all tacked together I started mocking up the drive line to make sure it fit.

I didn't get any pic's of the work but the rear hub is actually a front Honda hub that I added bosses to accept a sprocket. I did this for three reasons... one, it's going to be my only break and it's larger than a rear. Two, it narrows the rear end 2+ inches. Three, because it's narrower it allows me to match the original Merkel design. I'll post some completed pic's of it later.







I had a hunch that there would be a clearance problem in this area....



....so I had to make some room.











I case you're wondering about the jackshaft/crank situation, here's what's going on. The bottom bracket is DOM tubing machined to accept large sealed bearings as seen above. The jackshaft is 1.125" O.D. DOM tubing machined on the outside to slide into those bearings and on the inside to accept roller bearings that the crank spindle will run on. Basically the jackshaft will spin around the stationary cranks..... hopefully... otherwise it'll be hard to keep my feet on the pedals.

I got the cranks and pedals off Ebay. The sprockets are for some ATV and I got them from Dennis Kirk. I'll get them Nickle or chrome plated.

Instead of running the high dollar white replica tires and clincher rims I'm going with 21" rims front and rear with narrow and tall trials tires (basically the same tire shown here). Here's the mock-up that came off the donor XT500. Tires were a hard decision but I think these will work out great.







Once I had the wheel/tire placement I could tack in the upper support/fender mount.



Up next is the Fork.... stay tuned.

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Old 09-11-2010, 10:21 PM   #6
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Way COOL man, I likes the ways you think.....
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Old 09-12-2010, 04:30 AM   #7
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Beautiful work !


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Old 09-12-2010, 05:06 AM   #8
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Superb


You do know what a Merkin is though don't you? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merkin
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:03 AM   #9
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:14 AM   #10
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This is really neat.
I've always been fascinated with people that have to fabricate/mod their own stuff to restore a bike almost back from the dead, and I'm trudging my way through a restoration along those lines, so I have learned to really appreciate the abilities of others.

But to completely build one from scratch is something I've never gotten to see yet.

Will be watching. With a drink.
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:48 AM   #11
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Good show, I had the same build in mind (different motor) and I know Dorkpunch had done a bunch of preliminary work but this is the real deal.

Not bad for a first post
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:23 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by anonny
Not bad for a first post
A fine bit of understatement .... fine
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:03 AM   #13
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Thanks for the interest guys. I'm quite a bit further along so allot more pic's to come.

Rob Farmer - Yes I know what it is, but most people don't... that's the funny part. Imagine a bunch of people standing around it saying that's a cool Flying Merkin.I crack myself up. I'll probably wuss out and go with Merkel though.
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:11 AM   #14
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I'd got visions of you standing proudly next to it while people sniggered behind their hands

This is an inspirational project. I'm really looking forward to seeing the bike coming together.
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Old 09-12-2010, 12:07 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Reebuiler
I case you're wondering about the jackshaft/crank situation, here's what's going on. The bottom bracket is DOM tubing machined to accept large sealed bearings as seen above. The jackshaft is 1.125" O.D. DOM tubing machined on the outside to slide into those bearings and on the inside to accept roller bearings that the crank spindle will run on. Basically the jackshaft will spin around the stationary cranks..... hopefully... otherwise it'll be hard to keep my feet on the pedals.
So your pedals will just be stationary?

Do you happen to know how the old board trackers were set up? Some sort of one way clutch? I know there are rear end freewheels on bikes, but I've never been able to figure out how this was worked out on the old school bikes.
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