Saturday, December 29, 2012

5) Oh that's right, I mentioned modifications...

(AKA down the Rabbit Hole) 

Many people would have given up long past this point, but I refuse to be beaten, and be it due to my tenacity or pig headed stupidity, I carried on with my grand plan to make the bike what I wanted it to be, not what IT wanted to be. This is where the addiction really took hold.

All too Avant Garde for me!
First thing I did was re-paint it. The paint was pretty average in places and the previous owner had a heap of stickers on it (cleared over unfortunately). Not my thing. Also 'not my thing' was the PURPLE brake calipers. (Hmmmmm) Of course, because I had the annoying braking issues, I figured I might as well rebuild the calipers before I got them painted (a nice tasteful gold). 

Because the custom subframe was set so much lower in order to accommodate the Supermono fairing, the Ignition Barrel obscured the instrument panel. The answer was (obviously) to cut the housing off the top triple clamp and mount the barrel on the frame between the V.  A bit of media blasting was required, them some paint to match the lower triples and gold wheels.   

The headstock nut was standard Kawasaki and pretty rough so I designed a new one.  
Custom head stock nut design.

I took my design to my old mate Rob Selby from Britten Motorcycle Company. Rob machined a lot of the one-off special parts for the Brittens and now works for a company that restores exotic cars from all over the world, old Astons, Bugattis, Ferraris etc. 

Billet alloy footpeg adjuster and milled out gear lever
Another thing I noticed was the gearshift linkage fouled the fairing. Rob made me a billet alloy footpeg adjuster, and I got him to mill out my gear lever & foot brake lever while h was about it. Already the bike was starting to look a bit more purposeful. 

Finished. Or so I thought...
After over $800 in paint for the fairings, upper triple, calipers, (not to mention the cost of machining) I decided  the dash, which was in poor shape, needed a freshen up as well, so I bought a new unit, designed a custom tacho face, and got a carbon fibre instrument cover made. Here's the end result (including the nut Rob Selby made me). 

A few years ago I'd bought a personalised plate: DCATI. So, I got the guys who made me the carbon fibre instrument cover to also make a carbon number plate holder (tail tidy). The QB Carbon 955 Corsa tail fairing differs from all other 916 fairings in that it has a rounded hump rather than a flat top with vents. Again, just that little bit different. A set of carbon fibre cam belt covers also managed to find their way onto the bike. 

Before we go totally down the Rabbit Hole and as you get deep into this blog (and you will come appreciate just how deep it is!) it is appropriate that I issue both a warning and a disclaimer.

When building a custom motorcycle, consider that everything you change will have a flow-on effect. And that effect will possibly have an additional (flow on) effect. THINK before you change stuff. The internet is your friend. Forums are FRIENDS. Learn from the advice and mistakes of others. If you're planning on becoming an Obsessive Compulsive Modifier you will have good days and bad days. I'm not a trained mechanic, so in most situations I only kinda know what I'm doing. Over the years I've learned by trial, error, Haynes manual and the occasional sage advice from my mentors - an A-Grade qualified mechanic, whose workshop I am graciously allowed to use, and my Dad, who is a highly qualified Engineer and probably the cleverest engineering problem solver you could ever meet - when they have time! Even with help, sometimes I'm out of my depth and sometimes I'm totally over it. (Usually when I "F" something up.) Having the attention span of a shrew, that usually only lasts until I see something else I can work on. (That’s a useful tip by the way.) This sort of project will cost you more time and money than you have budgeted for - believe me! If you don't have the passion, vision and money for a project, you may not have the stamina for it. However, if you're a mad passionate motorcyclist, have a reasonable mechanical aptitude, no sense of the value of money and no wife/dependants, the Rabbit Hole awaits. =) Oh and lastly, at best you'll waste some money and a bit of time (it'll be more than worth it!), but at worst you could lose your life. Do not rely on any of the solutions I have come by as optimal, especially mechanically. I recommend you obtain independent, qualified advice. And now, down the Rabbit Hole. 

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