I just love this Bike. I wish I knew more of its History. Whilst working through it with my boy, we never cease to smile at the previous keepers ingenuity as how he managed to keep it on the road / Field.
Whilst emptying the oil from the engine / gearbox / final drive we we genuinely take aback by the mudslide descending from each orifice…. how this thing ever ran is beyond me!
Anyway, on clearing out the gearbox we had to wonder what the selecter lever was for…. it transpires that you can change gear by hand on the right side of he bike too!!
So I thought I’d put a side stand on it given that the bike was designed to be glued to a side car and the centre stand secretes itself so far up into the frame its nigh impossible to get down when needed. Simple (I thought) buy an off the shelf jobby to fit this model ….. Oh no…. no idea who designed it but I’m guessing that when he / she did there were no exhausts on the bike! – Enter the marvellous Heisenburg and later Alex with Oxy Torch and a new bracket was forged to accomodate the stand
Mistake – NEVER pick at the “chrome” on anything Russian
So. New oil in all receptacles, relocated the battery into the faux petrol can, new side stand, some more WW2 German- esque modifications around the bike and it’ll soon be ready for the re-enactment festival coming up ….. Looks like the bike Tom Hanks dies up against in ‘Saving Private Ryan’ now.
So, The XS Cafe Racer is a close to finished as it can be, just needs oil and the timing setting. I should have taken more photos as I went along as this build has been extremely time consuming (and expensive) John Slenzak came up trumps again with the engine despite having to totally rebuild it in the end due to the previous owners attempts at spannering resulting in what looked like an internal explosion of miss matched parts ……. I cant believe that it ever ran . anyway … all new parts now covered in a lovely coat of black.
Wolfy waved his magic welding stick over an old 2-2 exhaust I had in the work shop to produce this lovely little number then it was down to fettling all those awkward parts that so often see bikes in the “90% finished project” adverts. My boy did a wonderful job of the black art that is wiring .
Then ……. I was offered an XS frame ……. this time with a log book so it was out with the angle grinder again, then off for powder coating and rebuild part two. Luckily I had my mate Alex to help me get the engine into the frame as I’d run out of ideas as to how to get it in (literally) single handedly.
Once the timings done and its had a good shake down then it’s up for sale and I’m back onto the Harley FXR project.
I have let things have slip …… literally …… the reason for no update for some considerable time is mainly through laziness and a hatred of computers but also due to an ‘Off’ I had whilst green laning. A slow speed wobble that turned into a tank slapper which turned into a cartwheel. Unfortunately for me the weather had been good for a few weeks and so the ‘mud’ I fell into was like concrete resulting in me smashing the ball of my humorous into four pieces. 13 weeks later the doctors realised that it wasn’t mending on its own …. oh and they’d missed that what was left was also dislocated and so I was in for an op within days and hey presto a new shoulder……. bugger!!!!
Couldn’t resist …. like one of those ugly puppies that just stands there with it’s sad eyes and yards of drool.
Would transpire that as soon as we started pulling the bike apart to check it over … that the engine is made up of all manner of types of the model. We did wonder why there were two sizes of carburettors to start with and so sought advice from the fella who sold us the bike who very kindly sold us some later K68 carbs as the 301’s were mullered anyhow and not the best design. …. strange how the bike ran so well….
Whilst awaiting the carbs the front wheel was stripped, new bearings and brake shoes and a bit of shed engineering to get the cable to sit in an adjuster that didn’t slide through the drum housing. Josh hit the electrics (all six wires) – but more to do on this …. when the sun actually shines and everything isn’t covered in snow …. It’s great to see some of the antique / agricultural technology on the bike …. like the cable on the handlebars to the headlight … that operates the high / low beam ….. brilliant.
Rear wheel checked and greased …. it was then that we realised that all the wheels (presumably on a side car too) are the same with drive splines in the hub …. make perfect sense really .
The K68s had horizontal bolt patterns and the 301’s vertical so a set of adapter plates were aquired …. however on putting the new ones on we saw that the cylinder heads also mismatched. Photos on a ‘Soviet steeds’ forum suggested that one cylinder is from an MT- 9 and one from a K650 – both having different valves and compression so swopping one or both was a no brainer….. this of course then rang alarm bells as to why the exhausts didn’t sit right …….. time for new exhausts.
New exhaust acquired – came in bare metal so treated to lashings of VHT paint and are now stored up awaiting the cylinder heads to arrive from Russia.
In the mean time the tank has been cleaned of 50 years of rust courtesy of some dodgy industrial strength chemicals (Thanks Heisenburg) and an internal coating of tank sealant. …. what to do next?
How’s about some panniers?? Shiny Givi jobbies wont do on this bike (with so much ‘Patina’) so onto ebay …. two used jerry cans for 17 quid posted, a couple of hinges, a clamp and some edging and hey presto a pannier. Not sure whether i’ll do two or just mount this one for now… who knows.
Got my “new / Old stock” cylinder heads from Russia today …. Wrapped in a thick layer of some orange grease and 50 year old grease proof paper. Now this is real shed therapy …. sitting for half a day with a toothbrush and some petrol cleaning orange scum reminiscent of six month old ear wax out from between the cooling fins.
Unfortunately whilst unwrapping one cylinder hear it became obvious that a lower fin had not survived the trip back from Russia … hardly surprising given the state of the box it arrived in.
Well after some weeks of Sh1t weather my boy and on seized the opportunity to take advantage of the sunshine and crack on with the project.
New heads on, torqued down properly (two of the bolts were finger tight when taking them off) both heads now have valve caps (none on before) and the valve gaps sorted. Oil in (after removing and cleaning the sump as below) and it seems to be staying there to avoid any further arguments over the pool of oil on the patio.
Carbs on, new fuel lines with filters (as the tank had to be cleaned and sealed) but I will need to get some new rubber hoses as these no longer marry up due to the new carbs. Exhaust on and treated the girl to a new set of rubber boots as the old Russian ones were a little tyred and pickled (see what I did there?) Bought some 4.00 instead of the 3.75’s which look great but were a bitch to get in the rear as you now have to rmove the nearside shock absorber so that you can wiggle the wheel back onto the dif. Looks awsome!
I was lucky enough to get the FXR with a fat rear end in it already … however this has caused all sorts of issues with clearance for a rear mudguard and nothing I have will sit over the rear tyre and still squeeze into the frame. I didn’t want to do the whole small mudguard thing and so whilst playing around with the bike I decided to junk the whole mudguard idea and instead go for a tail unit instead which should give the whole bike a more aggressive look. Enter a fibre glass unit from evilbay. Far too narrow for the American bottom sized frame so it was cut up the centre and re fibre glassed with strengthening plates. Once I’m happy with the strength of it it’ll be time to pretty it up.
Seen below as I’ve started peeling off the cardboard ‘mould’
Hours of filling and shaping (stupidly in the garage as it was so cold ….. and covered everything) and finally it started to look like it might actually work … time for paint. I went for the same gun metal grey as the XS was being sprayed in both for simplicity cost and I actually well love gun metal grey.
After receipt of the paint the centre console (also painted) was reunited to the tank with it’s new digital rev counter mounted. It looked a bit bland so I added a splash of carbon fibre to perk it up a bit.
Time to address the seats (need to do the XS too). 1mm metal bought and shaped, foam cut to suit and cap in hand to my lovely daughter to fire up her sewing machine to make the cover .. still more to do – watch this space.
the rear of the Harley has the indicators fitted into the frame tubes at the rear. So without cluttering up the rear with lights and number plates – where to put the rear light/ brake light?
New seat …. not much more to do now … just need the engine back (looking pretty)
One of the many jobs I wanted to do on the FXR is to clean things up including the choke cable. On my sporty I made an adaption plate to mount the choke next to the carb – so seemed natural to make another for this bike.
Saw this in a popular furniture outlet as I was wandering zombie like behind a trolley. Saw it, wasn’t sure what I’d do with it but thought it’d look good on a bike…. somewhere.
Loving the look but will have to see how far it protrudes before I decide to use it.
Things are moving on (a little faster than expected) meaning that I’ve had to jiggle stuff around to create space. The XS frame went off to paint along with the tank, tail piece and front mudguard and the Harley frame went off to powder coat, The XS frame came back sooner than expected and so is down in the cellar….. as much as I’d love to build it there’s little point as I’d have to pull it apart again to get it back up the stairs, so I’ve got as far as I can. I’m assured that the engines only a few days away from completion, the frame for the Harley will be back this week and …. the ‘sporty’ is due back (the fault was found to be a cracked carb and a faulty coil) this week …. I know “no Biker ever said” but I really do have too many bikes …. time to find some storage!
I was finally able to convince ‘Oaken shield’ to part with his bike that he’d had sat in his garage for seven years.
Having started to break it down its obvious that he’d already put some work into the project but as happens to the best of us, time and funds dictate a different path in life …. so my gain ….. Hurrah.
This is my first venture into “Big Twins” and their ‘interesting’ engine/gearbox arrangements (the sporty was so much easier) … and who thought of having the gearbox as part of the rear swing arm?? Anyway the bike is almost stripped and as the frame has seen better days it’s time for a visit to the powder coaters and the engine will go off to my good friend John for him to go over it with a fine tooth comb to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises.
I’m unsure exactly what I am going to do with it yet …. I am assured that the frames for these bikes are well sought after so I’ll probably use the grinder somewhat sparingly and go for a mild custom / refurb job. I have been told by my good lady that this is not to be a keeper ….. but the more I’m working on it the more I like it…….. Ummm.
Ok – Soon established why this bike has never been fully stripped down … evidently a “common problem” is that, through poor maintenance, the swing arm shaft ‘welds itself’ to the inside of the gearbox housing through which it runs . It was obvious after a few delicate slaps with a hammer that it wasn’t gong to budge – so what next? For those of you (that included myself until this week) that are unaware .. the swing arm runs either side of the gearbox that in turn bolts to the engine which is suspended solely by a rubber mount at the front of the frame … So how to progress???
Following a visited to the marvellous and talented Mr Chris ‘Cooperman’ Cooper, He managed to undo what 34 years of mother nature and poor design had done to the shaft servicing the rear swing arm (that runs through the gearbox housing).
After what seems like forever of soaking in all manner of oils, fluids, acids, snake oils and bodily fluids, then heating and freezing (then repeat the above over and over)… then hitting it with a variety of hammers …. we placed the offending item(s) onto Cooperman’s 15 tonne press and I was a little upset (given the effort I’d put in) that it ONLY took six and a half tonnes to get the shaft to part company with the ally casing – with, I must add an alarmingly loud bang! A few extra slaps with a hammer and the bearings we free. Happy bunny!!
Frame back from powder coating …….. Hadn’t really thought this through so for the time being this and the XS project are living in the cellar / bar.
After seeing what Heisenberg has achieved with his XT / Honda hybrid I must admit that when I saw this on evilbay I had to have it ….. even though I have no idea what I’m going to do with it yet. A trip down to sunny ( yes it was sunny) Bournemouth and greased the palms of a lovely fella called Andy it was time for chips on the sea front before bringing this lot home. Now ….. what to do???