Friday, 27 November 2009

I'm gonna be relaying some old tech documents for you over time that may be helpfull...
Just click on the images to enlarge

Sunday, 22 November 2009

The love and death of motorcycle building

To love to build and ride motorbikes is in no comparison table like the love of a girlfriend. Undeniably I love my girlfriend with no ounce of hate becoming involved whatsoever but with motorbikes it is somewhat different.
I can be in love with the build, even reciting poetry to it as we develop our relationship towards the crescendo of the sucking of air and the exit of carbon and all of a sudden it acts like a fucking bitch.
Firstly I have never before set the timing up wrong so the engine will ram the pistons into the valves and whilst we're on a magical tour of a nightmare like state I have never, within a matter of mere seconds afterwards, dropped a bike with a freshly painted frame onto a motorbike lift causing the meeting of metal that should never have met.

Hate. A very fine line between that and love which I have fluttered across today without the stealth of a tightrope walker.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

mounting the engine in the frame

I had a couple of minor battles with the cam chain this morning but I eventually won after a few false starts. Also got the engine in without destroying the frame which is quite a feat when your by yourself.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

blocks and laquer

The cafe-racer engine blocks have been re-assembled, only got to get that FUCKING cam-chain back on. The bain of my life everytime. other than that a couple more coats of cream were applied to the frame and 2 coats of laquer, I'll apply a couple more tomorrow but as you can see from the photo you only can do so much without an extraction unti before you get concerned about the vapours igniting!

Sunday, 8 November 2009


Today saw the complete clean up of the frame, i.e. grinding flush the un-used tabs and the remaining paint and putting a couple of coats of primer on so no surface rust appears. Also broke the fibreglassed rear end off its mould so all is looking sweet there. Annoyingly I won't be in until wednesday so it'll just have to sit there annoying me to get done until then.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

lucky 13?

Today I ripped the engine out of the frame and took everything else off too, stripped the frame of paint and fibreglassed the rear section. sounds productive ay? well, for once it felt like it was. score.
I have given myself until the 20th November to finishe this so that leaves me 13 days, thats right a total of 15 day strip and rebuild. crazy beans but it can be done.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

I'm gonna murder you

All that happened today was I went from this:

to this:

all because at some point during the last 30 years someone put the wrong bolts inside the engine. moron.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

getting the hump

A fair amount of the un-neccesary frame work has been cut from the cafe racer and the new tank put on, removed the clocks and also ordered a smaller headlight and the arms to hold it. Most of the afternoon was taken up with making the tail section and seating mould ready to be fibre-glassed (many thanks to karen & wayne for their help).
Plans for this bike include :
  • Upgrading the front end to double discs
  • Re-build the engine due to gasket leaks and polish ports etc during re-build
  • fit lower bars
  • move electrics to centre of the bike
  • make aliminium rear sets (footpegs and associated levers)
  • make twin stub exhausts
  • make a lighter and more attractive chain cover
For more photos of the build look at the photo album on facebook titled 'cafe racer'

Monday, 2 November 2009

bits and bobs

The Avenger has had a couple of little peices completed now from the gear linkages being complete to the rear mudguard struts being finished now the next major peice is to mount the exhaust. I've obtained the girders for the frame jig to start making full bike frames now. And here is a picture of the next project about to start, here we have a '79 Honda CB which some will recognise as my own hack until recently. This over the next couple of months will benifit from a engine re-build with some tricks installed and a lil bit of customising to become a cafe racer.

Monday, 19 October 2009

cnc plasma machine is go and Poker Guards

- insert bollocks justification here as to why no direct work has been done on any motorbike - but aside from that the cnc plasma design is coming on with a honking success. I have picked out and priced up all the frame work, finalised on a rack and pinion drive for each axis but trying to find out the potential benefits of a roller pinion system over the conventional and whether the probable extra cost is justified. If anyone has any thoughts or input on this I'd be most appreciative. I've also found the drive units to run the stepper motors and it is surprisingly cheap, the software that it'll be running on is Mach 3. But before anything is purchased I shall be popping down to see the guru of such things Mr Stuart this weekend for him to look over my designs and see if he can spot any potential disasters. The ratitude finishes in a couple of days from now and I'm pleased with its current success on ebay as I didn't put much effort in, all I gotta do now is figure out where the other end of the expansion tank is meant to be...

On a side note, I good friend of mine is making these great looking poker chip guards for your evenings activities, they are made from solid brass and have a great surface finish and what is even better is they can come with whatever you like milled ontop! I think for £15 a piece they are a bargain. check them out here - Poker Chip Guard

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

clip on bars

Not much work has been done on the Avenger recently as I've had to be getting the ratitude ready for ebay, buying a few other hacks (a Yamaha Maxim 750 & Yamaha Seca 750) and preparing to take my stock 1979 Honda CB550 off the road to be cafe racered for next spring, my inspiration being Stonebridge Motor Company's bike called 'little miss dynamite'.

Anyways, I have put the clip on handlebars onto the Avenger and I have been nibbling at the gear linkage's again but just to prove I havn't been kicking back I have also been sorting out the workshop even further as more and more gets rammed into the ever enclosing space.

Above and beyond all that the Iron Monkey Store has also been starting to roll in preperation for its currently un-dated launch.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

I know this hasn't been updated for a little while but things have been going on. The gear linkage on the Avenger is 3/4 complete now so the linkage takes the suicide clutch over to the right hand side of the bike, the front on is complete and attached to the bike after it having to be dismantled for a extra sleeve for the lower bearing. The regal raptor is 3/4 back together and looking very shiny indeed and the rat only needs one more clip for the tank and a battery and they'll both be put on evil-bay on friday. Also, some other behind the scenes business activities have been set into motion for some (not too far in the) future aftermarket parts to be available.

Friday, 25 September 2009

footpegs & handlebars

This morning we located and fixed the electrical fault that was stopping ratitude from starting, knowing that was ok I then rushed off to a kind gentleman who goes by the name of stuart. Located within his workshop is a fantastic old Wilson Lathe. No newish lathe is anything like an old one, the old ones you cant really break, the new ones will fall apart in your hands and Wilson sure had lots of character. Inbetween the chuck seizing tight due to a lack of oil I turned the footpegs with grooves for o-rings to sit in for grip and bored out the handlebar grips. I'll turn the outside diameter of the grips tomorrow as I have to dash off to dinner with family tonight but shall complete tomorrow morning and check out how they look, sweet.

Monday, 21 September 2009

nothing much but paper shuffling happened today but I took some photos of the Avenger for you all to enjoy of the first layer of paint.

The only other thing is this site I recommend called Bike EXIF, it has a different (mainly) custom bike everyday by some real top class dogs but not your mainstream stuff. They do favour their cafe-racers and classics but its good to flick to each day for some fresh input, check it out here -

Sunday, 20 September 2009

a little bit of this, a little bit of that

this afternoon I was doing a little more work on ratitude, I turned the exhaust around and re-routed them to sit in a more agressive and suitable position. Also, I welded a couple of cross frames and securely attached the rear fender and fired the thing up. She started with relative ease as it's been sat for some time now. I finished welding the fuel inlet and tank and also decided two other smaller ones would suit sitting each side of the main tank also, it just seems right. The Avenger's first colour, nato green, has been put painted on by Wayne of Dirty Fish and next will be the lettering on the side of the tank, the rust and then laquer. I would have taken photos of it but I got distracted stripping one of keiths bikes with him which on re-sale should fund our new lathe so it was a worthy distraction.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

here's nothing at all

today has been pretty un-eventful. I spent most of the day waiting on the lovely establishment we refer to as banks with no success whatsoever. awesome, thanks guys. so I popped down the workshop late afternoon to meet a chap who came to measure up an engine I'm ebaying to see if it'll squeeze into a frame he has. so between the chap, brushing up and generally shifting bikes around I took a quick picture of the current state of the ratitude for you to enjoy. In this photo here you can see the fire extinguisher tank that I have shortened to look more appropiate and the petrol cap I have started making. I've cut the hole and tack welded the tube in and cut two location holes for aki's old piston to be the cap cover and using one of aki's (yes he frequents, er, frequently) old chains to make sure it doesn't get lost when filling up at a station. I also crudely mounted a speedometer onto the side as I do believe crude is the term with rat bikes. does anyone have a old rat toy I can seperate from them to donate towards the project? I feel it may be suitable. Also, I now have a suitable project for this sticker I picked up some time ago now as I knew it would be good sometime...

Monday, 14 September 2009

It's all about your ratitude

The last couple of days I havn't been working on the Avenger at all as I've been forwarding my attention to my own hack called ratitude. A friend of mine had a head on crash (fortunatly still grooving along nicely) so I relieved him of his crash victim ( a Kawasaki GPZ) and decided to rat it out. I took the front end of a redundant kawasaki I had hanging in the corner and bastardised it on, adding a front lamp I've had hanging around for ages. I cut off the gay tailsection and shortened a fire extinguisher that (I thought) was empty to use as the petrol tank. Also, married up the old dragstar seat and the mudguard from a Honda CB I got in once. So far the efforts are as follows...


Thursday, 10 September 2009

exhausted with exhausts

today was one of those days where you spend 6 hours doing something to realise a: its not very good, b: it can be alot better done another way. so after much bending, cutting, welding, bleeding, beating, muttering, drilling but no milling I came to those aforementioned conclusions. but now all is much better, I started the day knowing nothing about how to mount, rotate and case the eccentric exhaust I have created and ended by having half of it done and a scribbling of material lists to be able to finish it tomorrow.

Also decided to put a suicide shift on the right hand side of the bike for something a little different, I know technically that isn't a suicide shift but I'm not sure what it is right now. A little history is as follows -

'suicide shift' - clutch operated via left foot and gears via hand shift
'jockey clutch' - clutch operated via left hand lever mounted ON hand shift

lesson over.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

mechanical movements

I fired the engine up today after a little tweaking to the ignition timing and realising the temporary tank I was using to feed the petrol didn't let fuck all run through the tap. It was very tight and sweet indeed so pleased there. I finished mounting the electrics box too so the whole thing is actually mobile without dragging its electrical guts everywhere. I got the material for the exhaust cover this afternoon also so shall be doing that first thing tomorrow morning and then I can figure out how to mount the damn thing. for your viewing pleasure here's the tank decal idea direction too...

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

electrics box and engine timing topped with nato green dreams

This morning I set the timing chain on the bike between the valve shaft and the crank, so I'm glad that's done as its been on my brain as a must, now the valve covers are firmly locked down on top. I also welded two extra trianglation pieces into the frame and made the internal support structure for the electrics box which now only requires one more 'pin' to be welded onto the side of the frame to support the box itself. As I'm confident I built the loom correctly tomorrow is going to be mainly geared towards firing the engine so I'll have to fill it up with oil, pop some fuel in and be getting my kicking leg ready. even with a set of dyna-coils on I've been at bikes kicking for a good half hour before they decide to blub into life but we've re-conditioned this whole engine so I dont see what'll be stopping it. On another note, the mudguard and tank have been primed and I managed to get the suppliers who er, supply, the paint to the army to supply me! sweet, so thats two lots of 'nato green' I have for the first layer of the paint job before the rust is applied.

Friday, 4 September 2009

welding, welding, welding...

well, almost all welding today apart from the endless drivel of driving to pick up materials. I got the rear fender cut to length, streched the radius and the locating pins welded into place with the bracket. Also, welded threaded bar to the front where the tank straps meet and are bolted down, welded the locating pins for the trust-rod and made the spacers for the rear wheel axle. I dont know if I've actually put up a picture of the exhaust to date (which is causing problems sourcing certain materials for) so here is the Gatling Gun exhaust too....

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

working leather

Howdy all, I am back from me short travels. Today I was mainly cleaning and sorting out the workshop as way too much stuff is getting ontop of itself so I've been taking down a work bench that isn't really used whilst tomorrow I'm gonna be putting up a corner rack to hold more gear. I've been getting fustrated at the way bike bits and spares are spread all over the shop along with materials so I'm making a good effort to seperate these and taking the opportunity to have a good brush down is no bad thing either. I'll be pimping up the security in the shop some more too. I didn't get a huge amount done though as I was helping a good friend with his motorsickle problem. Tonight though I turned my hand to some leather work for the strapping to hold down the tank on the Avenger, I just want a simply 'Iron Monkey' lettering going down each strap, nothing fancy so this is my results, not to bad for a free-hand first go...

Thursday, 20 August 2009


Going AWOL for 10 days people. catch you when I'm back. Ride safe.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

absent with leave

ok guys Im gonna be absent with leave for a while, Im away until tuesday then Im off to france for a not well earned break on friday for 10 days or so. Then its right back on it to finish the bike in marathon time plus Im gonna be intoducing a mental challenge which will have to be designed and completed in 3 weeks or so, it may come as a shock to some of you but its gonna be tasty, watch this space and keep kickin the tail lights dudes.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

PHAT yokes part 2

Decided to turn the yokes upside down today to have the nut at the bottom giving a cleaner look, also, instead of just having 2 stopping pins decided to run 2 bars between the yokes which make it look more agressive, didn't get chance to put the headlamp back on but now it will be mounted from the bottom yoke as that was previously the top. Was caught up fannying with another bike for a little bit and catching up with a mate so that was it today. I did take a couple of photos on the phone but my computer seems to be allergic to them.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

PHAT wideglide yokes

today was a short day due to fabulous weather outside so I spent the morning drilling and tapping the PHAT 2" thick yokes so they can secure themselves onto the headstock and the stanchions, also drilled and tapped for the light to fit on upside down from the underside of the top yoke and of course the pins to stop the bars swinging too wide. Happy to have that done now as it was a job that has been on my brain for a couple of weeks as I milled the yokes out nearly 6 weeks ago now.
Drilling and tapping 9 holes may not sound like a big job but bear in mind there's 6 drill bits needed for each hole and the drill bed has to be moved for clearance of the chuck each time, a timely and patient job...
I'll bring some photos back with me tomorrow as I was in a bad mood and just wanted to leave after my hand came in between my mallet and the yoke.

Also, decided to learn how to work leather as the previous thoughts were to strap the tank down with army belt webbing but that idea has changed to leather and of course it cant just be plain leather, not in this game....

p.s - Nathans confirmed new rule - I dont touch fairing crap. even if you are my best friend.

Friday, 7 August 2009

the Avenger - so far

ok, so this bike is in the last throws of being built now so I'll give you a quick background catch-up.
This bike is built from a 1977 Honda CB550, heavily influenced by the GAU-8 Gatling Gun, AKA 'the Avenger' . We've half built a revolving exhaust and have yet to complete but this is the taste that the bike is heading towards.

So far we've:

Re-conditioned and re-built the engine, Hard-tailed the frame, adjusted the wiring loom to work from the back rather than the front and hidden it inside the frame with the battery and other gubbins inside a ammunition box on the left rear of the bike, made a pair of solid 6082 (2" thick) wideglide front yokes, added a set of Dyna-coils as only the kickstart will be available, thats right none of this new-school shit.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Rock n Roll Bike

This was the last bike created, built around a 2001 Yamaha Dragstar it consisted of one-off made z-handle bars, one-off made risers, custom straight-through pipes wrapped in ceramic, custom 'finned' tank, one-off made rear fender, custom made rear light, hand-pressed aliminium seat, custom wiring loom/switches, one-off suicide clutch and one-off ''rock 'n' roll'' footpegs.

Check out t
he video :