Monday, February 8, 2016

Way Back Machine

Photo From Here
TVI and I saw her with Ask Rufus at Indiana Beach way back in the 70's. At least I think so - long time ago and it was the 70's after all. For you young 'uns, that's Chaka Khan by the way. 

I've had the dials on the Way Back Machine set to the early-seventies lately since I've been working on bikes from that era - both the 900 Kaw and the BSA are that vintage. Surly came down the other day and worked on his designs for the BSA, so maybe that project will pick up a little momentum one of these days soon. I'm still forging ahead on the 900. 

The back end is pretty well sewn up. I machined the wrench flats on the brake stay and cleaned up the welds on the exhaust pipe. I also drilled and tapped the aluminum insert in the pipe for a small screw so it wouldn't fall out of the pipe while riding down the road. I'll get some high heat paint on it this week. I might wrap some header tape around the pipe where it's close to the master cylinder. If I add a sidecar later on it would keep some of the heat off my foot as well. 

I noticed that the fins on the clutch cover will be grabbing my toe when applying the brake so I'm working on a little piece of sheet metal to cure that. Should have that done this week plus I'm planning on making some bits for Surly's shock spring compressor. Nothing too tough with either job, just making parts.

Surly and I have been exchanging some e-mails about designs and the design process. I've never really given it much thought other than what's required to make a specific part. When it's time to make the next part, I design that one. Not really the best way to arrive at a cohesive design. However, since most of the pieces I make are a result of the same influences and inputs, usually things work out to a level I can accept. And since I no longer do things for outside customers, I don't have to please anyone but myself. So that helps.

Since my skill level has improved over the years, that has opened up new design possibilities but it hasn't changed the way I look at making a part. Now that I'm starting to feel the pressure of the clock ticking, I'd sometimes just as soon build things from someone else's print or sketch so I don't have to spend a lot of time working up a solution. That was partly the idea behind the BSA project. I build it to Surly's design. Play to our strengths and have some father - son time working on the kind of thing we both like to do. He's just been swamped with other work and family time so that hasn't achieved lift-off yet, but as I mentioned, he's working it back into the loop. 

All of this brings us around to a design for the 900 sidecar. I know I can build one, I already have. I've got a couple of ideas I'd like to try out for the suspension but I don't want to fart around with a bunch of R&D for a one off project when there's a line of things waiting to be finished. And if I did manage to get things on the frame and suspension spot on, what about the chair? What kind of design goes well with a 70's Superbike/Hooligan project? It would be nice if the bike and sidecar looked like, if not married, at least as if they were engaged. I'm not even sure right now what the intended purpose would be. Use it as a utility vehicle? Maybe something that looks like a small pick-up bed? Maybe something that could be used as a camper? Maybe a miniature tear drop design. I don't know that I need to be dragging a person around with me. I know the Missus isn't interested in touring the country in a hack. 

I'm going to keep kicking ideas around in my head. Maybe the brilliant solution fairy will pay me a visit some night. In the meantime, I'm sticking with the goal of at least two more wheeled vehicles completed this year. Three'd be even better.


Traveling Pirate said...

Chaka Khan was at Indiana Beach? That's awesome! I only ever saw a band doing Freebird there.

Shop Teacher Bob said...

She was young. Maybe 18 was all. I think she had just joined the band. She was from Chicago, so Indiana Beach was relatively close to home. Probably trying things out before taking the show on the road.