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Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by earwig, Feb 23, 2011.
Desert sleds are way cool!
This is a really cool story and the picture you posted as a teaser looked awesome!
Lets hear some more!
After a quick carb rebuild and a pair of new plugs, it was only few kicks to get her snarling back to life.
A handful of trips to my buddy's british bike shop had her in fresh fluids, ignition bits and fork gaiters. Road ready, if still a little rough.
So . . . Desert Sled . . . where do I start?
The seat will be very critical. I want an old Bates seat, short to expose as much rear fender as possible, gotta have high pipes, definitely a skid plate, that ugly oil tank has gotta go, replace that zener and rec with solid state . . .
During a visit to my buddy's shop I spied a nicely battered old gas tank up on a high shelf. Hmmmm . . . I never liked Trudy's slim tank and the paint job is far too shiny for a proper desert sled. It's a very faded '70 TR6 tank. I think they called the color "Spring Gold", but it's green. Usually a nice medium metallic green, but this one has really faded into a flat almost olive drab. It's got a wide black stripe up the middle, with only a few remnants of the gold pinstripes lining the black stripe. Just the right amount of dings and scrapes. We work out a trade and I'm back the next day with Trudy's shiny black tank for the swap.
Yep, this is more the direction I want to go:
My buddy also has an old set of high pipes he'll let me have really cheap. They're too dented and rusty for most people, but they have a set of period snuffers on them, and just the right look for Trudy. Cool!
I spend an evening cleaning the pretty thick layer of grime off of them and banging out the worst of the dents in the tight bends near the head. My plan is to install them the next morning.
After stripping her old pipes and all the hangers, I'm ready to fit the high pipes . . . but . . . WTF? :huh they're too small for the exhaust spigots. Oh crap! These are 500 pipes!!!
...makes for a Great Start!
You did the right thing by starting your build with deliberate efforts to make a bike that you can mix it up a bit with and not worry about it. I started out with the same intention, but one thing led to another.
If you don't mind me asking, who is your bud with the shop?
Thaddeus at Empire Classics. He had to close the storefront this Summer, but still does business out of his home.
So, while trying to sort the pipes I get back in to some of the basics.
She's never had head steadies. They're the little steel bridges between the top of the frame and the top of the cylinder head. I've got handfuls of the 60's style head steadies.
But, these are useless with the '72 motor in a '66 frame. The later style ones will bolt to the head, but won't match up to the frame, so I'm gonna have to get creative.
What I'm trying to do is bridge the little gap between these holes on the front of the head and frame:
And this similar set on the rear:
After some head scratching, measuring and visualizing, I think I can get it done with some chunks of 1" steel angle.
This little piece should be plenty.
There are some challenges with the bulges and angles of the head, but I think some judicious bending will be enough to get me there.
A few minutes with the porta-band and I think I'm on the right track.
I should have drilled at the apex, but WTH, we'll call this a prototype!
Drill a few holes . . . and I'm pretty much there.
The rear one needs a little bend, but has fewer clearance issues, so I can leave a little more meat.
Fits just right:
Wow! I should have done this years ago. Really smooths her out, feels like a new bike!
I'll have to redo them with a little better craftsmanship next time . . . but all things considered, not bad for an hour of my evening, and I still made it to the bar to meet my buddies for a few drinks.
Hey Man, OK you've got our attention!! Great story about what's lookin ' like it's gonna be a neat rider's machine and not another trailer queen. Good on ya!
Lots of other minor stuff attended to . . . in no particular order:
I thought I'd recover this old Bates reproduction seat, but it's just not the right seat for this frame. Maybe a hardtail, or something with a rear fender that sits higher in relation to the frame. Nah, there's just no way to make this work.
This rear brake arm has to go. I don't know where it belongs (Norton?), but it's not the right one for this bike.
Crappy photo, but this is the right brake arm . . . much better fit, and the correct offset.
Well . . . this explains why the speedo stopped working on that last little ride! New cable was a quick fix.
This kick start pin is definitely past it's sell-by date. A new one takes the slop out nicely.
Not the petcocks I would have chosen, but my buddy has them in stock, and they're cheap. Just right for this project. The old ones had dead seals and leaked horribly.
And it was well past time to replace the old toggle switch with an actual keyed ignition. Just a Lucas pattern repro, but it does the job.
Keyed ignition?? :eek1 I thought this was a desert sled
Maybe you missed the bar-hopper part?
Unless you're just busting my balls?
Nah, that doesn't sound like you.
I always check this thread. How about some more?
I'm in. We need more Brit bike threads
Me?? Bust balls?? That's just plum crazy
Now, how about some more pictures....
Back to the pipes.
Well, my buddy had another set of pipes that we confirmed are definitely for a 650. They are pretty rusty in places and have a few clumsy repairs and dents, but (as I keep saying) she's no beauty queen.
I hit the high spots with a wire brush (chrome is already destroyed) to knock off the heavy rust and bolted 'em up.
Somewhere along the line somebody slash cut them, not my favorite look, but I'm just experimenting here.
That slash cut landed right beneath my ears when I'm in the saddle. I'm no stranger to loud pipes () but this was way too much, even for me! Very anti-social and truly deafening. Not gonna work.
That afternoon the UPS truck came by bearing gifts for Trudy:
The old Girlings were no longer up to the task, so I'd spent some time talking to Dave at Dave Quinn Motorcycles. He liked the idea of an old desert sled and offered lots of advice. I knew I wanted longer shocks, so we ended up with about a half inch longer sprung for my weight and sans any shrouds. Every time I put new shocks on a vehicle I'm surprised at how good they feel, but this was a truly huge transformation. Wow! Every little improvement really adds up on the old girl. So much more responsive you'd think I'd rebuilt the fork as well. Even affects the way the throttle feels because the slosh is all gone. SWEEEET!
Before I go completely deaf, I'm gonna have to do something about the pipes. I looked everywhere in town, but couldn't come up with any beer-can baffles. I could order some cheapies from JC Whitney, but I'm too impatient, and the slash cut looks crappy to me.
Quick solution, make some brackets and bolt up the old mufflers. These things look like they belong on a Sportster, but have the low quality of a JC Whitney item themselves. Strangely, they actually sound really nice.
A little help from the vise grips to keep them parallel while tightening everything down:
Well, they're a little too long . . . they don't quite match (different inlet sizes) . . . they're positioned a little strangely . . . but they sound good and look OK overall. I can live with this while I keep searching for the right pipes.
ADV inmate Raindog had gifted me a set of slightly used TKC-80's a few years back. Very generous of him
I mounted the rear to my Tiger promptly, but the fronts last much longer, so I had this front lying around. What would you know, it was almost a perfect fit for Trudy's front wheel! A little wider than stock, but it would fit. Yeah, a real period sled would have had a trials tire on the front, but I wanted something good for the street and a little offroad + a nice aggressive look. TKC's were just the ticket.
Ordered a correct sized rear, mounted them up and presto!
More scrambler than desert sled, but not looking too shabby!
More scrambler than desert sled, but not looking too shabby![/QUOTE]
Needs a trials tire. That thing looks like crap. Cheng Shin makes a really good tire for not much money.
This bike is awesome!!! It was definitely among my favorites at The One Motorcycle show a couple of months back. Keep the build thread coming.
If I only had a nickle for every time I said that!
You passed the Attitude Check. Carry on!