Of Minds and Motorcycles

“You can't trust other people. If it's important, you have to do it yourself.” - Neil Gaiman

After two nights of having what I like to call a "pre-sleep", before instead passing out and waking up hours later in my clothes with the lights on, I can safely say that I'm burning the candle at both ends.

El Citron

Yesterday I received some bad news about El Citron. As of course would happen to a bike nicknamed "the lemon", it turns out two out of three of the connecting rods on the crankshaft are destroyed. One from a bad piston pin bearing, and the other from detonation. With each rod costing about $120 US, my engine rebuild budget is getting used up pretty quickly.

I was planning on doing some interesting engine modifications on top of simply building the engine, but at this point I think I will just restore everything and rebuild it the way it was. Now I just have to get the cylinders bored, engine cases cleaned up, and new pistons before I can start putting everything back together. The engine builder everyone uses is known for taking his time, so I may not get my cases and cylinders back for a few months. That is unless I go with another engine builder.

Big Bertha

Ok, so back to the main bike I have to work on. To keep me on track and working hard, I made a bet with Nathan that I could finish the bike by April 13th. If I finish it by then he owes me $100 and gets to take it around the block. If not, well, I owe him $100, and I'll have to watch as my friends get to ride their bikes without me.

With that in mind I ordered a few parts from Cognito Moto:

  • Bates Style 4.5" Black Bottom Mount Headlight
  • Acewell 2853 Round Black gauge
  • MotoGadget m-Unit V.2
  • MotoGadget m-Button
  • MotoGadget m-Flash
  • MotoGadget m-Unit Cable Kit

Basically with the MotoGadget kit I should be able to wire everything up, and have a somewhat simplified electrical system. I was going to go with a keyless ignition as well, but I think I'll just relocate the ignition under the seat instead, for that custom bike "wow" factor. Nothing says "wow" more than relocating things where you thought they weren't supposed to go.

I was going to order a lithium-ion battery as well, but with what's been going on with El Citron, I am trying to save some money. Since the bike is already heavy, and I'm not racing it, it makes sense to simply have a regular battery.

Ok, now onto the good stuff, the seat pan:

I made a seat pan out of metal instead of fiberglass because that stuff just seems nasty. I fancy myself becoming more of a metal fabricator of sorts, and having an all-metal bike is the sort of thing I go for. Even if fiberglass is easier to work with, I'm going with metal!

So I ordered some hot rolled 16 gauge mild steel, and marked off the shape for the seat pan.

sheet metal seat pan

seat pan

Then I used some metal cutting shears to cut out the shape. Worked like a charm.

seat pan

Then I cut some more around the tail section, and set up a bending jig. I used 1" tubing I had sitting around, and clamped it to my welding table over the rear section of the seat pan. I then pulled on the long end of the sheet and bent it by about 30 degrees.

seat pan

Then I fit it to the bike and ground down the sides to make it sit flush against the frame tubes.

seat pan

And it's almost done. Next I'll be fitting a section of sheet over top of the tank mount and welding it to the existing pan. I'll also have to weld a couple of support bars to the frame, and drill holes to attach to the seat pan. I'll be welding some threaded nuts to the pan to hold it in place.

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