26 February 2013

the hard(ish) work is done

Finally got around to welding the last mounting ear on the gas tank, nice fit and looking good. Obviously it'll need a final dressing up before paint...

Due to the length of the Benelli tank, I had to move the seat back an inch or so, because it mounts to the fender this raised the seat a hair. In order to mount the seat back I needed an angled extension for the seat brackets which was accomplished pretty easily by welding a piece of 1/8" steel bar. Again, still needs a bit of dressing up.

Had my wife sit on the bike to get a better idea of the fitment/modifications. Also tried to visualize the posture of the rider once the Tommaselli condor bars (clubmans) go on. Looking good again, much better than the bike looked stock in my opinion.

Loving the shapes from the rear view

Now it's time for some cleaning up of the welds and mods, then off for paint and a tank relining. I hear the kids are going to radiator shops nowadays and getting RedKote applied to the tank innards. Depending on the price I may go this route, but wonder how that'd hold up with E10 fuel... If anyone has any better options let me know

20 February 2013

I'm psyched I found that Benelli tank. It's really got the exact look I'm going for with really a minimal amount of modification

I took off the stock seat to get an idea of the fitting since the benelli is a good 2"+ longer in length. No big deal, will need to move the seat back, drill a new 13mm hole in the fender to accept a mounting bolt, and weld in extensions to the seat pan brackets for the front mounts. I'll be tackling that sometime later. I wanted to see something more immediate with the tank

I jumped into making all the adjustments to get the tank to mount to the frame.

First had to cut off the Benelli's mounting ears, too narrow and no way to bolt onto front of the frame. Only cut about half off because I figured I'd weld in a section of Aermacchi ears from an old tank I have laying around. Great success, only got one welded in though because the baby woke up and I had to go back to being a daddy. Still need to clean up the weld, but you get the idea

Stock rubber bumpers for the original tank extend off the frame like a T, that will have to be eliminated for clearance. In their place I welded in a piece of straight tube steel a couple inches back. This extends up and rests of the foam bumper already on the Benelli tank. I'm going to put a real rubber bumper on the tube, but for now a discarded plug will work. Old is what's left of the stock bracket for the tank bumpers, new is my modification

The new tank sits just about 1/8" in front of the T for the front seat mount. More than enough clearance, but I'm going to have to move the eyelet to attach the spring clip for the tank, that's going to have to wait until I get the seat refitted though

this is how it stands after today's work. I still have to weld in the hook for the left side tank ear, but I'm pleased with the fit.

Asked my wife what she thought and she's not into it. This means I'm doing it right. I can't wait to see it with the reworked Radaellis and Tommaselli Condor Bars/ Levers. Also digging the stock seat, think I might leave it on the bike instead of making my own

19 February 2013

Benelli/Motobi/Wards tank, no more leggero

Picked up this Benelli Cobra 125 tank for pretty cheap, has exactly the look I wanted for the macchi project and will spare me all the additional work I needed to do on the Leggero tank

I widened the Leggero, but still needed to clean up a few pinholes, then I needed to lengthen it, but you can kinda see a side by side that the Benelli took care of all of that.

I love the knee pockets and shape of this tank

The width of the tunnel is perfect for the Macchi, and will only need a very minor tweak at the front mounting ears to get it to mount right up. This is a longer and racier tank than the stock Sprint one, so I'll be losing the Bates seat and fabbing up on of my own - not sure if I want to go with a bench look or cowl it up yet... Still going to go with black and white paint, also want to see if I'll be able to save that faded "Made in Italy" decal

need to take care of the rust in this, but it's nothing too serious, that was the one benefit of the two macchi tanks I have, still had original tank lining

Chicks dig Benellis

but then again I'm building this for a girl... may have to reconsider the style so she doesn't pose with it in her underwear

16 February 2013

Radaelli re-work part II

Finally got the time to paint my front hub and then the motivation to actually start lacing the front wheel. Pretty impressed with the results and glad I didn't waste money by sending them out for lacing. Also happy that the paint matches the powder coating so well, VHT engine enamel saves the day again

Went from this:

To this:

To this (you can see I messed up the lacing a little, had to go back and re-do that):

And then ended with this:

I really love the contrast of the stainless spokes/nipples and the semi-gloss black powder and paint. Glad I refinished the Radaellis like this instead of springing for Borranis. Despite the bling factor of the Borranis and the weight savings, I think what I ended up with is fitting the character of the Macchi and the direction of the build much better

02 February 2013

NJ happy place

This week my world was rocked, quite unexpectedly. My bearings are off and I'm wounded. To compound things I'm on night shift, which means I'm left to my own devices, replaying scenarios over and over in my head and getting agitated. Talking to friends helps, talking to Shane last night really helped, but I don't talk nearly enough about important events, in fact by all outward appearances things are normal.

My usual response, in lieu of socializing, is to retreat to Sewaren and meditate along the Arthur Kill. I grew up in Sewaren, and even among the tank farms, refineries, power plants, and blight of what was once a resort town, I find solace sitting on a bench and watching tanker barges go by. Directly across the Arthur Kill is Staten Island, if you wore a full body nitrile suit, you could swim the 100 meters to NY and not get cancer. To the immediate south is the Outerbridge Crossing, and immediately beyond Staten Island on the horizon you can view the lower Manhattan skyline and Brooklyn. When I was a kid everybody would go down to the waterfront on the 4th of July to watch the fireworks from the East River.

When things were bad as a kid, I'd hop on my bike, sometimes with some Salems I "borrowed" from my mom, park myself by the water and just clear my head. I still do the same, except my mountain bike is replaced by a motorcycle, and the salems, well, now it's natural tobacco in one form or another... It's amazing, at home, at work, even on my bike lately, I find it hard to relax and just think about nothing. The second my ass hits that bench on Boynton Beach (nerd out on some history), instant nirvana. I looked up nirvana to make sure that's the word I meant, as it turns out it's perfect, even in literal Sanskrit form.

I don't know what I'd do if I moved out of state and lost that place. I went there after the shit hit the fan this week, I might stop by on my way home from shift and watch the sunrise... That should be just enough time to recharge and return to the madness