Thursday, 27 November 2008

Carry on Racing!

Now then!

Here’s a little insight into what has been going on over the last few weeks. The bike’s been at Ash’s place out in Manningtree, home of the beautiful Robert Adam-designed Mistley Towers...

However, I digress, for I did not go out there to admire the fine architecture.

Oooooh No! Missus!

I went out there (on the coldest day of the year) to help young Mr. Norrington put up his new shed. It was a fabulous erection; although I do owe him heavily for his help with the 640 Tigcraft.

It became apparent that our steering stem (previously using a 12mm bolt...!) wasn’t up to snuff, so we knocked out a stem from Ash’s old (crumpled) frame, and with a bit of engineering work, this can be reused. We had to play about with the steering head cups a bit, and I’ll need some bearings but these are not major problems.

Despite the lever being attached to the cheapest nastiest clip-ons in existence, the front brake seems to be working, now it’s been bled.

We’ve also re-sited the pipes, and now they appear to sit a bit better.

The heavy and rather large... seat unit may be ditched in favour of an ally subframe and lightweight race seat unit..., ...but as it is, it works, so maybe we will start the season with the original.

However, there is more important news than mere motorcycles! In an effort to play to combined strengths, we have decided to consolidate our (your?!) own Team Thumper with Ash’s Moto450Supermono. So now that we have become a happy threesome (can a threesome be anything else?!), and, given the grave world financial situation its 2 for 1.

2 bikes, 2 vans (neither warrant a photo), 2 riders, and Boyd Brooks- the 2Bs!

Ash's CRF450-derived racer is full of the trick bling, nice wheels, and looks the business. A welcome addition to the usual rag-tag which has so far defined Team Thumper!

Derby’s finest has been sorting out a remanufacured front fairing stay/tacho mount. Soon this will also be down in Manningtree and we can get a bit more progress once she is back on her own 2 wheels.

The only other thing we need is a name...


TeamThumperSMR (as in SingleMindedRacing)?

Answers on a postcard plase to the usual address. Any suggestions welcome...

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Bling Bling!

Well, here’s the rather lovely R6 radial caliper mount. I’ve not seen it in the flesh, but Ash sent this from his mobile. Technology eh??

The bike’s at his place now, thank you matey. And to Mark at DBR for the beautiful looking chunk of ally on my forks! And if you need any more convincing of his prowess, I hadn’t realised, but it turns out that he also made the blanking plate for where the water pump used to be. He recognised it when we turned up with the bike. Small world, eh? I wonder if the nice swirl which has finished it off will make it any faster….?

And given the press fanfare of the recently re-anglified Norton Motorcycle Company, a name forever associated with single cylinder race bikes, we can hardly not wish them the very best of luck… Ok, so we’ve been here before, and the great name has had a rough time over the last decade or so (Norton Nemesis, anyone?) but if they can turn up beautifully engineered bits of kit as quickly as DBR then they’re half way there. Will the Crighton and Garner partnership result in new Nortons on the road in the next few years? Lets hope so. Now, could a single-rotor rotary motor ever be considered eligible for Supermono…?!

Saturday, 25 October 2008

What News, Sire?

Well, this week has been relatively fruitful. Long, dark, cold nights are no better spent in the closed season than in a short, dark, cold garage.

The sloppy swingarm has been cured by using the correct spacers, and the bike now sports a single 320mm disk upfront. After a long day at work Wednesday, I got home, loaded up the van and completed a 200 mile round trip to deepest darkest Essex. After a couple of hours driving I met Ash Norrington at a layby off the A120, with him as ever grinning like a loon! I think he had been dogging, actually…

He took us (me and the bike) out to see Mark, who runs D.B. Racing in Thorpe-Le-Soken, specialising in CNC-machined bits and pieces for racers and roadbikes alike. His workshop was more like a lab (fastidiously clean, spacious, well lit, no sh*t lying around- clearly not MY lab!!), and I was impressed by both his facilities and his attitude. Nothing was too much of a problem, “Yes, we can do that”. Great!

Ash is still concerned about our rear shock keeping the back end rather low, but he may be able to help us out (again!) with something.

Will post some piccies of the bling-bling brakes when I pick up the bike.

***STOP PRESS!*** I just got a call from Ash. Its done! Will try to pick up asap and post a coupla photos.

Monday, 13 October 2008

A bit of video...

This is a bit old, but shows the first time running.

And how stupid we can be, trying to bump it in neutral!

I couldn't figure out how to flip it, so one of the videos is on its side. Just tilt your minitor to enjoy the buffoonery! :)

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Nic says...

Update yer blog!” So in answer…

The bike runs, its just about complete, electrics such as they are, are ready to be laid on, the bodywork fits, cables, levers, bars, steering damper, all good. Brakes… After our screwing around with the (knackered) KR1S callipers, and twin FZR400 300mm disks, Ash came up with a great solution, which suits the Scotsman’s wallet.

He has been an absolute diamond by sorting out Team-Thumper with an R6 calliper and RS125 master cylinder. And Supermono stalwart Nick Oliver also threw a 520 chain our way; top bloke, thanks Nick.

We caught up at the final round of the British Supermono Championship of 2008. Although we weren’t in a position to compete, we did witness to some great racing, and met up with old friends. Ash’s CRF450-based racer is a thing of beauty, and I’m looking forward to a bit of a scrap next season.

So now we need to get a calliper bracket machined up (probably CNC, from DB Racing). It’s a radial calliper, onto our distinctly 1990s fork legs. We also now have 320mm disks. One for our wets, one for the slicks, as we are now going to run a single large disk, saving a decent amount of (unsprung) weight, as opposed to twin 300mm disks.

The whole thing has been dragging on a bit, not helped by the van needing an MOT… So there’s been a month of hand-wringing, and head scratching, before finally forking out. Cos a race team without a van is like…. a chav without Burberry. Or Sovvy rings. Or a Staffie. Or something like that.

I thought that the swingarm needed some spacers turning up, but on tidying the garage last night, I found a suspiciously homeless looking ally spacer which I’m willing to bet takes up the play between frame and swingarm.

No photos on this post, cos nothings changed! But we won’t leave it so long next time- promise! Testing soon?? There’s really not too much in our way now….

Monday, 11 August 2008

She Runs!!


We got her on the rollers last weekend, and ran like a good un!

Even with the approximate timing and jetting, I'd say the motor is now ready to test. She sounds nice tho, even if I say so myself.

The chassis will definately require a little tweaking to give me confidence to test it on a circuit tho! I think Ash is gonna help me out on the braking side of things... Watch this space!

I think there is a little bit of video floating about. As sson as I can get it off my mate's phone, I'll post it up here.



Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Ash-en Faced!

Given the unholy speed with which fellow supermonoist Ash is throwing together his very tasty looking CRF 450-based project, (click it; he puts us to shame!) and the excruciating pace of ours, we had better get the finger out.

Its not that we’ve not been working, but there were some minor yet fundamental details which needed sorting:


oil lines- check! Thanks Ben at Pirtek...
exhaust springs- check!
clutch lever assembly- check!
front brake line- check!
stripped thread on the brake caliper –sadly, also check….
the all-important kill switch –check!
ignition timing- check, check and check again!

You can see the trigger for the latter on the end of the crankshaft. Its a Silent Hektik unit, and allowed me to ditch the hefty alternator rotor/flywheel unit.

It also became evident that the cam was a tooth out, so I’ve had the engine out and back in as well. One tooth- “a minor yet fundamental detail”

So these photos now show rather less of a mock up and more of a near-final machine.

Boyd will soon be on the case with a battery box and a few little brackets (ahem! once I send him some details on sizes etc- sorry mate!). However, as previously, these can be secured with cable ties. We just need to get her on the rollers. Because now I think with some oil in the frame, some fuel in the tank, and a car on the rollers, she may be in a position where she'll bang and pop. I do have the feeling that the 145 jets in the Keihin CR33s will be too big (these were feeding a 690 motor), and that the ignition timing is very approximate. But we need a starting point and now its tantalisingly close.

However neither of us can meet until 3 weekends from now. Life has seemed to get in the way of Team Thumper. This is piss! More on that later. And priming the oil system would seem like a very good idea. This will require running (plug out) on the rollers until we are sure there are no air locks and that its all getting where it should. Even when the motor turns by way of 4-stroke internal combustion principles we then have the chassis to address. Of course, a test day at Mallory may show that she handles absolutely beautifully, runs in without any drama and then gives herself a lick of paint whilst driving us back from the pub. Although I feel even most optimistic reader will know that this is not an entirely likely scenario.

It has been noted that it has taken us an unfeasibly long time to get ourselves into a semblance of shape. And we have had a lot of help from lots of people, to whom we are indebted. Thus the executive decision has been taken that we will have to compete next season. However, the author hasn’t quite broken it to one of the (generally) silent partners of Team Thumper. I am almost certain that she does not read this….

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Poco a Poco...

So now we have a rear master cylinder, and some exhaust brackets. Every day she grows a little more!

And I know the exhausts look a bit daft from the back, but at this rate there wont be anyone behind me to see them...

Am not sure whether to take a front disk off, or add a second caliper. Either way, not a massive job, I am sure testing will sort that one out!

And once I get a few little fiddly jobs out of the way I'll have to get wiring in the Silent Hektik ignition system. Oh...! And that reminds me, we'll need to make a battery tray too!

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Slow but Steady...

...kind of sums up Team Thumper I suppose!

A bit of a progress report on the current state of play:

Today I fibreglassed the necessary fixings and exhaust brackets onto the tail unit; you can see the standard of workmanship here...!

I also got a (barely) functional rearset linkage on the go, to at least allow me to knock it into gear when the time comes to try to run it.

On top of that, we now have a chain (to facilitate the same), and I've cleaned up the front fairing bracket to allow a bit of welding to be done.

But its almost a bike now: the tail unit is ready to go, and the brackets for the little ally tank have been bodged out of some flattened tube. I have the distinct feeling that when it comes to actually running (reliably), then they'll have to be re-made, but they'll do for just now. She is beautifully narrow across the waist tho; we have faith in the belief that when she runs, she should be a good 'un. Getting to that point has just been more problematic (for oafs like us) than we'd ever though would be the case...

Slightly more problematic may be mounting the rear master cylinder as space would appear to be rather tight. Nice rearsets tho, eh??
Note the lower bolt in this pic (there are 4 in total) which support the seat unit and rider's weight; impressive given the lack of subframe.

Oil lines should be on within a week. Ditto the front brake line. Then after a bit of wiring, and finding a clutch lever and handlebar bracket, I would hope that we can start to think about fuelling up and putting some oil in... then Boyd can break a sweat pushing me and a dead bike up and down the street!!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008


3 sets of valve stem seals, 2 camshafts, lots of thinking and stupid questions, long hours filing collets and a complete lack of any engineering prowess.

The motor is now in the frame and all the major bits are hanging on it. It even rolls... Oil lines have been problematic, tho Ben at Pirtek at Kings X has been trying hard to sort out the niggles.

I have a chain on its way, an immediate problem is the shift linkage. I have RH thread rose joints (M6 thread and 6mm pivot hole), and some M6 bar which will do for a link rod just now. However, all of the gear shaft clamps I have have old knackered rose joints (with LH threads) pressed in... And they wont press out. I need a clamp to bite onto the gear shift splines, with no rose joint on it...

Back the the Electronic Bay. Do such items exist? I'm about to find out...

Piccies soon!


Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Terrible Headaches!

Here’s a bit of an update after a rather prolonged silence. Rest assured that while we’ve been a little lax in updating the blog since Snetterton, things are progressing. As usual there’s been more thinking than actually doing!!

Oil lines should be on their way from the friendly and helpful guys at Pirtek at Kings Cross (cam feed and main tank-motor and motor-tank oil lines). They’re also fixing me up with a front brake line. However, inside the motor, I’m still fretting about the valve gear, and we are acutely aware that time is marching on. Having received the oversize shims from Rog Key, I re-checked the spring installed height; they’re all now spot-on. However, I then wanted to just make sure that the collets weren’t going to do anything comical with the valve stem seals at full lift.

The subject of much domestic strife….!

The valve guides have already been shortened for use with the Stage 4 Megacycle cam, and the motor apparently ran very well. It may have broken the bottom end, but the top was fine!

However, the pattern valve stem seals I received were not a particularly good fit. At full valve lift (measured rather inaccurately at 12.1mm for the inlets and 11.4mm exhaust) there was indeed contact. I only tried it on one inlet valve, but turning the cam by hand was enough to feel contact. I tried to get the seals to sit a bit further down the guide but to no avail. They may have been cheap, but I can hear my old man warning me “Buy cheap, Pay dear”. Paying dear would almost certainly result from a dropped valve. I resent the time and hassle more than anything: rockerbox on, rockebox off, cam in, cam out, setting/checking the tappets every time. Measure, turn, check lift, blah blah blah! So now you see why the blog’s not been updated?? This part is just too boring, and time consuming!

A second old adage of my father’s is “Buy cheap, Buy twice”. Another accurate observation from the old felly. I duly received my new Yamaha valve stem seals Fowlers on next day delivery, having placed an order at 4-30 the previous afternoon. Top service. I was pleased to find that as a result of their better fit, there was now clearance. Not as much as I’d like admittedly, but there is clearance. And the new collets are no bigger than the old ones, so I’ll probably go with it as is. Unless of course I could remove just the slightest amount of metal from the bottom of the collets…? Hmmmm, probably not.

As a little aside, measuring lift accurately is difficult as I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, an engineer. Working with a only vernier (“very-near”) caliper is difficult in the confined space of the head. And the curves of the valves and inside the combustion chamber make it hard from that side.

So having previously made a note of the lift, I then built up the collets and retainer without the springs. You can see this here, and underneath the R/D bottom cup is Rog’s shim.

So how to measure? I ended up bodging on a bit of plasticine, removing it and measuring the distance between the top of the seal and the bottom of the collets.

Obviously not the most accurate, but just about the only way I could think of doing it. And I think it will do, in the absence of any other expertise…! Or am I just showing myself to be a fool, who can’t build an engine? Well, you can all say “I told you so” when it drops a valve!

Right. Lets get this head on!

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Irritating Minutiae?

Or important details?!

Since our outing at Snetterton, some things have happened...

1) My missus finally hit the roof with the prolonged head-build on the dining room table. Much cooking and grovelling to be done this evening.
2) I have dremelled the inlet manifolds such that they line up with the (enlarged?) inlet tracts in the head
3) I received from Rog (you lovely, lovely man!) some shims of 1.6 - 2.0mm to sit under the lower cups under the valve springs. These allow the installed height to be as per the R/D spec. Effectively this preloads the valve springs. I'd think that failure to appreciate/rectify this would result in valve float at high revs.
4) Ordered some spangly new oil lines.

So last night (having promised that the head would be off the table and atop the motor that evening) I got my shims on, and just before putting the springs & collets etc together, I thought I'd make sure that at full lift the collets & top spring retainer don't foul the valve guide seal.

Guess what?? There's contact... I can still turn the cam, but I wanted about 1mm clearance. The spec sheet recommends 50 thou, but I reckon 40 would do. Anyway, its a no go.

I tried tapping the seals on, taking them off, grease on the guide, etc etc. No f'cking joy. This would surely be asking to drop a valve...

The seals are pattern parts. I have now ordered genuine Yamaha parts, so we'll see if these are any neater... Failing that, it will mean (god no!) machining the already shortened guides.

Its a puzzle, as the motor ran with this cam. Although not these springs collets and retainers... I tell you what, building this motor is fast becoming a pain!


Thursday, 17 April 2008

SuperMono Championship (Rounds 1 & 2 - Snetterton)

Friday 11 - Sunday 13 April 2008

Friday practice was the low point of an otherwise brilliant weekend. Having been fairly confident that Steve Lakes bike, TZR250 chassis and SRX640 engine, would be reliable for the whole weekend Andy promptly dumped it at Russell’s chicane. I think he had a genuine excuse as the tyres were not brilliant (road-biased), it was on the first lap (cold tyres) and although not actually raining, it was damp. Andy suffered minor, but I expect painful, injuries – hip and hands bearing the brunt of the impact. Unfortunately his long serving Arai splat-hat also took quite a battering as he slid face down along the track.

Having walked from the pit-lane over to the scene-of-the-crime, thinking that Andy might need a hand pushing the bike back to our camp, I saw him being whisked off towards the scrutineers shed. This walk across the Snetterton paddock was to be another feature of the weekend. When I finally got there the hobbling Andy and myself were directed towards the Senior Scrutineer as he wanted “to have a word with us”. He then produced a pink sheet that listed all the following faults likely to keep us off the grid the following day (this was in addition to what they might find during the real scrutineering – Merde!). Both fuel and oil tank (Monza) caps needed wire locking shut, steering lock was too limited, no lower rear chain guard, fairing oil trap too small, and a few other minor problems! It took us several hours to rectify all the problems as best we could, and we were still not certain that the bike would still be eligible. We also replaced the broken kill switch, which was to cause much grief later on.

Saturday morning was bright and breezy as we pushed the re-built bike to scrutineering. Much to our surprise the very helpful Senior Marshall gave us the green light. We walked back ready for the first practice. This was when the kill switch came back to haunt us. After only two laps Andy began suffering an intermittent electrical fault, only rectified by judicious waggling the kill switch with his thumb. This couldn't go on forever, and after a few threatening intermittant faults, eventually the bike stopped all together. This may have been a blessing in disguise as we also uncovered a few issues with the front brakes. The electrical fault was easily solved and a new brake lever bolt was installed. The next problem surfaced during Sunday practice; the re-jigged front brake locked itself on. Being stuck, unable to move, with racers passing either side at full-chat, must have been a brown-pants moment. Enter stage right the recovery van, again! Upon its return the brakes were finally sorted by replacing the master cylinder (Thanks Dave) and using new, not sludge brown, brake fluid. After all the traumas we did the only sensible thing and retired to the pub. We had a good laugh with Ash, Nick, Sam and Liam, mostly arsing about with our new, sponsor provided, Buffs, drinking beer and eating chips.

The race on Sunday, by comparison to the previous days disaster, was slightly anti-climactic as everything worked more or less as it should - no crashes, no breakdowns. Andy finished, albeit in a foul mood. The borrowed bike was still rather underpowered compared to the rest of the field (sixteenth out of twenty six starters is OK, isn’t it?). Perhaps our rather poor showing could also be attributed to a lack of confidence after a fairly fraught weekend. However, we are supremely grateful to Steve for his loaning us the bike. Thanks, you're a gent!
And very sorry for smashing it up! We promise it will be returned (more or less) as we got it!
When we next come out to play we should have the ‘real deal’ bike ready, and I think we will both be disappointed if times/positions don’t improve.
See you at Brand’s………… July!

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Down... But Not Out!

A team without a bike is like a Friday night without a kebab. Rubbish!
The Tigcraft is still in need of a bit more attention; the chilli sauce, if you will. However, the motor's in its final position, the controls are getting there, and some parts are winging there way in from far off lands with a good exchange rate. Not having the bike for this first Supermono weekend at Snetterton makes us Glum and Glummer; however our good chum SteveL has stepped into the breach to lend us his trusty track iron forthe weekend.


Moreover, he put a fair bit of graft in last week to get it back in one piece. Thanks a lot Steve, you're a gent. We are no longer glum, and Boyd will make you a cup of tea and a fresh cream canape over the weekend in the paddock.

To get it race legal, we needed only number boards, a bit of lockwiring, some attention to the fairing, a kill switch, and that's about it. We've changed the sprocket for Snetterton's long straights.

Like our Goode mate John, its a TZR250 chassis, with a 640 Yamaha motor. Its not the easiest to access the motor, so I am glad we didn't have to do any real work.

Steve reckons it was raced about 10 years ago in this class. Either way its a step up for me. Its got an ally tank (so it must be good), and I am finally dragged kicking and screaming into the 1980s with a monoshock rear end...

With a little paint and some stickers we reckon she looks so good that we've decided on just that colour for the Tigcraft when she finally graces a circuit near you (sometime!)

See you at Snetterton? We're #16, look for a non-beutiful ex-ambulance in the padoock. Boyd will be serving the cream teas in a french maid outfit...

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Measure twice, cut once

Well....! Back to work then.

Boyd came down on Saturday with more big lumps of carbon fibre, a pair of exhausts and more importantly his grinder! Thanks to Alan Stringer for his lovely job repairing the rather second hand pipes and the spring reatainer at the head. They're now good as new, and fit to carry fast, hot, high pressure gas from cylinder head to just in front of the back wheel.

The fabled British Motorcycle Industry was always quite good at building good-looking but non-running mock ups. Preserving this tradition, we checked out Boyd's nicely repaired carbon fibre seat unit and fairing. And yes, they look good, they fit, and are functional. The tank-cover needs a bit of relief at the front, but looks like it will work. Boyd is justifyably pleased!

Looking quite good I think....

...and it even seems to fit me!
So we stripped it off again (nice and quick, and quite robust which is good- much more so than my rather Heath-Robinson effort with the SRX), and set about removing the lower engine mount to fit the XTZ cases.

Before Boyd had arrived, I measured and marked up the frame, the numbers you can see here.

And then here's the lopped-off frame mount. However it STILL culdn't be persuaded in, so the GrinderMan trimmed it up a wee bit.

However, by nightfall, the motor still wasn't in. WHY NOT?!?
Well, I'm not sure, I'll have a think, and a jiggle, and a jack, and kick, and lever, and a swear, and see if it will go. It very nearly lines up, but not all bolts will go in. Well, they'll all go in, but they wont all go in at the one time!
As a plus, with the whole back of the lump moved over 7mm, the chain alignment looks much better, and shouldn't require too much more fiddling.
However, I think its fair to say, sadly, that Team Thumper is not goinng to be able to make the grid for Rounds One and Two of the British Supermono Cup at Snetterton on 11 & 12 April. There just isn't going to be time to build, finish, and more importantly test and set-up. Safety is paramount both for us and other riders, so I think we'll have to be realistic and not rush onto the grid half-arsed. We are gutted, but circumstances dictated that its not to be. Oh well, philosphical as ever, we'll just have to get on as best we can.
We'll go and support all the other teams however, and will post a bit of info here.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

David J Duncan 1936-2008

Davie finished his last lap slightly unexpectedly on the 27th February. He is sadly missed by all who knew him. A first rate engineer, Manx GP and TT racer 1958-1966, father and husband, he lived life to the full until his very last day and was my inspiration. My father's determination and tenacity in all of his endevours have shown me what can be achieved in life, in racing, in engineering and even economics when conditions are less than ideal.
I cannot consider what my own life would be if I had not known him. Always family man (once he'd hung up his race leathers leathers!), I can hear one of his adages:
"Enjoy yersel' now son. You're young for a short time, auld for a long time, an deid for a helluva long time!". Quite.
See you in the paddock, Auld Yin!
Life, however, goes on. Thus Team Thumper will endevour to get to the grid for the first two rounds at Snetterton, but we're now way behind schedule. Boyd is coming down on Saturday for a bit of head scratching, measuring, cutting and tea drinking. So after our enforced hiatus, we'll keep you posted on how its going.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Crisis, What crisis?

ONLY six weekends left before the first SuperMono Round at Snetterton, and the bike is still in large chunks. In the next fortnight we need to have it up on its wheels and running. This will give us just enough time for a practice session at Mallory and any insuing remedial fettling.


Uncle Boyd

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

No Woe!

So we are idiots. The frame's not twisted, just my dour Scottish outlook always expects the worst. One is rarely, in such cases, disappointed...
However, I think the motor's mounts are not where we want them to be... Or rather the lugs on the frame are for a differernt motor. Possibly an XT? I know that it previously held an SRX lump, the current cases are XTZ.

Anyway, here are some pics for the anoraks to show what I mean.
These were posted further to a bit of discussion on the forum of the ThumperClub.

From above. You can see that the head mount is central, but the centre of the cases is offset to the left (look at the mating surface cf the rear shock mount)

The rear of the engine has 2 mounts, upper and lower. The upper mount requires spacers to me made up, so is currently a (laterally) sliding fit. The lower mounts (left one is the ally "tab" you can see here) is a welded piece which locates the motor, each side of a boss cast into the rear of the cases.

And here's the one on the right hand side of the motor...

From underneath, it looks something like this:

The right of this picture is the rear of the bike. The motor is to the left of the image. Centrally, (vertical in the image) is the lower frame tube, running between the left and right "spars" of the frame. The two mounts to our right are for the rear shock linkage (the pivot of the rocker). These are central to the frame. This illustrates nicely the offset nature of the two "tabs" I described above. I am presuming that these should be central (ie each equidistant from the left and right rocker mounts). Are you with me??
I haven't yet measured up what I think the offset is, but I'll get the vernier (or the "very near" out and get some figures tonight. I do know that the cylinder head mount is central...

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Oh Woe!

Boyd arrived bright and early yesterday morning. Bringing with him such goodies as a frame, front end, pipes, cans, and our little ally fuel tank.

After I had lightly bolted down the head and cambox, we had a motor-shaped object. It will take a bit of time to get the valves sorted, but the motor is certainly getting close to Team Thumper’s exacting standards. We are professionals, after all…

In a jiffy, Boyd had assembled the front end (one nut and bolt!!) and slipped the rear spindle thru so she was on her own 2 wheels again.

First thing we noticed was that the front engine mount was fouling the XT barrel fins.

So a little judicious use of the cheap n nasty £15 Aldi Dremel-copy reduced the bottom fin to allow the ally mount to bolt onto the two front mounts.

All good so far! And without too much further ado, we soon had the engine in the frame, resting against the cylinder head mount, supported by the lower rear mount.

Interestingly, the lump is off-centre in the frame , it appears to sit closer to the left spar than the right.

After some recreational sawing…

…I put the carbs on, while Boyd tried to hide convince me that “hide-and-go-seek-seek” was more fun. Silly man!!

I found him easily! We sized up the tank against the frame

and made sure it cleared the carbs.

And although appears small, it actually holds over 5 litres.

However, whether or not this is enough remains to be seen. UK Supermono races are approx 20 miles, so maybe we’ll have to weld an extra box onto it. We also talked about the possibility of making a still air box. We’ll need to make up a support for the rear of the tank, so maybe this could somehow the tank could rest on to top of an airbox?? Despite Boyd trying to chat up the pretty 3rd member of Team Thumper and her playing all coy, we soon got back to work. However, it wasn’t too long before our dreams of victory dissolved into despair.

We couldn’t get any more engine mount bolts in. Despite giggling, pushing pulling, and modifying the front mount, we started to suspect that the engine wasn’t going to bolt up after all. To our untrained eyes, it would appear that the frame may be twisted… Which would explain why we cant get any more than 2 mounts secured at any one time. This is a definite blow to Team Thumper’s schedule to get the bike built by mid march and tested by the end of that month for the first race at snetterton . I’ll try to get it to the Maidstone Motoliner asap, and get their opinion…

The clock’s definitely ticking pretty loudly now. I thought I had my work cut out to get the head built up and bolted down. Now its become a lot more complicated for a number of reasons. Ally frames are a pain to straighten. Especially slightly fragile 17 year old ones which have housed tuned large capacity singles. And in order to straighten the frame, ideally the motor should be bolted up. But we cant do that yet. And I can’t get on with finishing the head until it (goes to and) comes back from the motoliner man.

I will give him a call on Monday, and see what he advises. Either way, this isn’t going to be cheap. Or easy. Is it ever??! Will we be racing in april? Here’s hoping.
Andy n Boyd