25 January 2013

Alfredo Rocco - 1925

"Socialism, then, as experience has shown, leads to an increase in consumption, to the dispersions of capital, and therefore to poverty. Of what avail is it, then, to build a social machine that will more justly distribute wealth if this very wealth is destroyed by the construction of the machine?"

wake up and get to work

23 January 2013

Glory, glory


East coast nightlife tradition

22 January 2013

Radaelli re-work

Typical of 60s Italian bikes, ther Macchi came stock with Radaelli chrome steel rims, with the thinnest possible chrome plating. Between Italian chrome and paint, I think they wanted their bikes to decompose at an accelerated rate, probably good for keeping up sales.

The Macchi appeared to have been stored properly for the 46 years of its existence, there was minimal rust and the original Pirellis didn't even have dry rot cracks, but the rims were rusty and chrome was peeled off all over the place. This is the front rim, the pic is bad, but everything that doesn't shine is rust. Actually the pic makes the room look much better than it actually was...

What you also can't really see are broken spokes and seized nipples, they are all being replaced by stainless, expensive, but worth the money in my opinion... I figured I had three options for cleaning things up 1) wire wheel it and respray black, probably the cheapest option but the least desirable 2) media blasting and powder coating, sounded good but I never had anything powdercoated and was concerned about the price, and 3) Replacing the rims entirely with alloys

Option one was out of the picture pretty quickly, I'm building this for my daughter, I don't want the paint to chip and flake after only a few thousand miles of use.

Option three was looking like the way I was going to go, but was the most expensive route. I could source new Borranis for about $150 a piece, but they'd be blank stock that would need nipple holes punched through the dimples right off the bat. That cost would work out to about $50 per rim, so going with alloys before I could even factor for lacing and truing, I'd have about $400 spent on the rims (with the punching) and $200 for the stainless spoke kit. I like the look of black rims, so maybe even tack on the cost of black anodizing... The one way to justify the expense would be the weight savings and trying to eke out every last bit of HP from the 250 engine, and the fact that I'd be rolling Borranis, and that racing pedigree would really fit the bike.

The cost got me thinking more and more about option 2. I'd already spent the $200 on the stainless spoke kit, but by using the existing rim I wouldn't have to worry about getting new rims punched out or the $300 for new rims, and I assumed powdercoating black would be cheaper than anodizing aluminum. The deciding factor would be the cost of powdercoating, if it was close enough to $300 I'd just go with alloys, but having never gotten powdercoating done I didn't know what to expect. As it turns out, it wound up being only $35 a wheel which included all the prep (blasting, sanding, and cleaning). Option two won out, big time, and I'm really pleased with the results.

Nice semi-gloss black finish, smooth as glass. I told them not to worry about the inside of the rim since the tube and tire would be covering it, so you do see evidence of pitting there, but the stuff visible when the bike's in use is beautiful. Powdercoating is definitely the way to go.

When I dropped them off I wanted to make sure the Radaelli stamp would still be visible and they said they couldn't guarantee it, but it made it... Now the world can easily tell just how cheap, errr shrewd, I am. Hey look how greasy my fingers are too!

Since I'm not shedding any weight by keeping the stock steelies, I figured I'd drill out the hubs. I probably only shed about a gram of weight, but it looks good.

I saw a guy with a Sprint H that made an Ala d'Oro replica and he added a brass mesh behind the holes, it looked sharp, gonna have to try some things out...

Now the question is, do I polish the aluminum to match the stainless spokes, or make the hub black to match the rim? I'm leaning toward the latter

13 January 2013

Infidelity and Italian sex

A strange thing happened the other day after a longish ride on the BMW. Had a good ride, parked the bike on the centerstand in the garage, went to bed. A couple days later I want to take the R90 out for a midnight run and the rear tire is flat. So flat I could take the tire right off the rim with one hand... Fuck me, put some air in it and couldn't hear any leaks, spin the tire and can't find any punctures or tears, check the rim for cracks and the like and nothing... Decided to let the bike sit overnight and see where my tire pressure winds up... Wake up fresh and head to the garage where the tire pressure is exactly where I left it. It being exceptionally nice out for a January, I just want to make sure my tube is good, without spending the time myself to whip out the tire irons and dunk the tube in our claw foot bathtub - I think my wife would've killed me anyway - so I take it to a shop.

The whole ride I keep looking down at the rear tire, waiting for a flat and the inevitable dilemma of limping along or getting a tow - it never came. Made it to the shop, checked the pressure, awesome. They dunk my tube, can't find any leaks, but I tell them to replace the tube anyway because all that air had to get out of the tube somehow and I don't want to risk it blowing out going 110mph on rt. 440 - took all of 20 minutes and a little chunk taken out of my wallet. Honestly my pride wasn't hurt that much because tire mounting isn't something I pride myself on, in fact I've only had to do it once. Since I've owned my BMW I've replaced most of the electrics, clutch, rear main seal, trans. input seal, had my flywheel lightened, redid the top end (well a machine shop did the major stuff I didn't have the tools for), rebuilt my final drive, and alot of other crap I can't remember now. Part of those involved the complete removing of the entire drivetrain and trans, or taking apart the engine and that's cool, I don't shy away from mechanical stuff, but I did rip a tube my first attempt at mounting a tire.

The thing that did hurt me, quite a bit actually, was seeing someone else test ride my bike. It's how I imagine it'd feel to catch a dude banging your wife, well maybe not. Here's a bike that I built, that I've been inside so many times it's now romantic. There's not a part on the bike I haven't had my hands on and I know every detail like it's in my DNA, and some stranger is taking it out for a couple miles. I never want that to happen again.

There was one benefit though. I've never seen how my bike looks with a rider on it because it's only been me on it and the roads in NJ aren't curbed with mirrors. I've also never heard the sound of it from any other perspective of being on it, along with the wind and other vehicles. That was something... my pipes sound damn good, and the bike looks good with a rider on it. It was interesting to see the riding posture assumed by the test rider, and it was cool seeing him come back with such a huge smile on his face... This brief spat of moto infidelity sucked, but it offered me a fresh perspective of MY bike and made me appreciate all my work that much more...

And that got me thinking about sex... kinda

Sex in general is probably on my mind more than most, I blame it on the fact that for half the year I can't sleep with my wife, it's the nature of working rotating shifts. I really never think of it relating to machinery though. I've always had an affinity for German stuff, and that's about as unsexy as it gets. Function over fashion triumphs every time and I love that. I love the boxer engines on my old VW and my BMW, I love that the BMW one looks pretty much just like an aluminum box with cylinders sticking out of the side. I get it and scoffed at people who referred to their cars and bikes as she, especially the harley guys.Then I saw a show on MagRack about Italian bikes...

They featured this guy with a collection of vintage Italian motorcycles and he was breaking down how the early designers (the Benellis, Tonti, Bianchi, etc.) were designing bikes in the feminine form. He had a few backbone frames like the Macchi I have an was going over the details.. "See this is the spine, see the shapely curves in this tank and how the frame narrows at the waist..." Now I see it, now I get it... If any culture could be said to be opposite the Germans it'd be the Italians, I only have to look at my mom and dad as proof. They also take the cake in the category of appreciating fashion over function.

I am enlightened, and richer. Thanks to a football pool I won (first time ever), I should be able to swing some Borranis to replace my rusty Radaellis :-)

09 January 2013

Gas tank fab part 1

I've been thinking about how to go about cutting up this tank for two days now, trying to determine the least amount of cuts and thereby the least amount of welding. This is my first shot at welding up a gas tank and I only have a MIG welder

The pitch of the tunnel makes a vertical cut pretty hard to get straight. I had to use a sawzall just to get in there and sure enough it was uneven, but this it the part of the tank that needs 1/2" of widening to accommodate the 250's wide frame.

The rust on the inside wasn't nearly as bad as it looked from inside the tank

I welded a 1/2" piece of 18ga mild steel to the left side, you can see on the right side that the sawzall didn't cut so straight... unfortunately the tunnel is so deep in the middle/front area that my angle grinder couldn't get in. There's a couple tiny pinholes that'll need patching, but a pressure test when all is done will reveal just how much more work I'll need to do to make this leak proof. I'm going to have to make a horizontal cut to deepen the tank, so I'll fix that gap still

I put a few tacks on the top to hold it together as the widened bottom looked good with the top of the tank in the original position. You can see how the widened bottom affected the front of the tank

I still need to cut horizontally across the tank to deepen the tank by about 2", but that's going to have to wait, my neighbors will kill me if I start up with the angle grinder at this point in the evening. Once that's cut, I'll get a better shot at joining up the two sides of the tunnel area, from the inside of the tank. Then after welding in another 2 inches to deepen the tank, I'll finish the welding on the vertical cut on the top side of the tank and start pressure testing. This is a little intimidating being my first tank job and having to weld something not for structure, but for holding liquid, but I think I'll be able to work through it and have something neat

put it on the bike for fitment and the tunnel area is just right, though the rest of the tank is a little out of proportion

a little work with photoshop came up with this

A little off, but a lot closer to the direction I want to go

more to come when I get some more free time, lately it seems to be harder and harder to find my way to the garage

06 January 2013

Leggero style

I've been mulling over the stock tank on the Macchi again, especially after seeing a nice Motobi Barracuda one up on ebay all cleaned out and ready for paint. The guy wanted quite a bit and I thought the tank might fit the 250 SS, but the measurements the seller sent me just won't jive unless I cut up the tank and widen it.

If I'm going to cut up anything it's not going to be a rare tank like that in such nice shape

Now, I've got a rare Aermacchi M65S Leggero tank at home which is pretty beat up and rusty that I wouldn't mind cutting up.

At the least I'm going to have to widen it a couple inches down the center to accommodate the wider frame backbone of the 250SS, then I'll probably have to make it a little bit taller so it looks good on the bigger bike, and then I'll have to change the mounting ears on the front, but those are easy to make (or I could cannibalize them from the other Macchi tank I have that came with the bike)... Maybe it's my taste in vintage racers, but I like the longer style tank with knee pockets as opposed to the stock one on the bike which could pass as a 60s Sportster tank. I just hope there's enough meat to weld to because it is definitely rusty on the inside

"Styling as fresh as a sudden smile," who can argue with that kind of ad gimmick. I'm surprised they didn't push the "Italian design" angle

Naturally the tank change would probably force me to change the seat style as well, but we'll cross that bridge when it comes, maybe the stock flat tracker seat will look alright... I like the typical cowled single style but that look is kinda overplayed and I don't necessarily want another cafe bike in the garage, my BMW is more than adequate.

There's more stuff I should be worrying about with this bike right now, like sourcing Borranis or some other alloy wheels, and new spokes/nipples so I could actually mount the Heidenaus and take the bike for a real ride... butttttttttt... my budget it super tight and I have all the metal for welding sitting around the garage

and this came in the mail yesterday...

Choppers don't fit my riding style, but I can respect and appreciate them. I like their look and their attitude, but you've got to value comfort even less than I do to ride one. It's great seeing guys building amazing bikes in their garages and hearing the stories that go along with them. More importantly it's great seeing old bikes resurrected and worked on by hand, using swap meet parts, and American ingenuity, instead of just getting a new S&S engine and parts fabricated with a CNC being bolted on to a pre-made frame.

I've been looking forward to seeing this film since Lou Metal posted the kick start trailer, maybe I'll see if Max wants to get drunk and watch it after I get out of work tonight, or save it for another Moto Wednesday at VW Dan's, along with the 1956 Isle of Man TT DVD for a repeat showing. I really hope it doesn't disappoint

Now back to work and moping around about Manny BaDildo winning today's football pool... prick