Archive for February, 2011

28
Feb
11

Passenger peg mount

On the 2003 and earlier XL’s, H-D thought it’d be a good idea to mount the passenger pegs to the swingarm. I don’t know about you, but if I was ridin’ back there I sure as shit wouldn’t want my feet bouncin’ along with the swingarm for the 800 mile trip I make from La Crosse to Sturgis. On the Pro-Tour ‘S’ I left just enough space between the front of the mid-frame storage compartment and the rear downtubes of the chassis to create a frame-mount passenger peg set up. I grabbed a piece of 1 inch round bar, stuck it in my Smithy Lathe, drilled and tapped both ends (1/2-20) then milled flats and offset drilled the mounting holes. I’ll use slightly longer-than-stock bolts on the top two holes of the rear engine mount to fasten this in place. Now I can pull the rest of the bike apart, make a jig for the frame mods and send the chassis out for blasting. As my inspirational friend Mark Platt says “The finish line is in sight”!

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28
Feb
11

Quick peek at the taillight

I’ve only got it taped in place in these images, but I wanted to give everyone a better idea of how it’ll look when the bike goes together in a couple of weeks. I had to cut the lense into two pieces in order to get the LED board to sit at the correct angle, and to position the face of the lense in a handsome fashion. All this fiddlin’ around has taken up my entire morning, but I’m liking the results! As you can see the LED board kills the running light on the side that has the directional activated, and the directionals on this particular light are sequential – making them VERY noticable. I’m always concerned that the duppa in the rearview mirror may not be paying very close attention to what my intentions are when riding, so I like to make it very clear to them, and this type of taillight does a great job.

26
Feb
11

Taillight rough opening

I did the freehand pinstriping on Chip’s helmet this morning and, after baking it for 1/2 hour, I shot the final clearcoats on it before I started fitting the taillight into the clamshell. Here’s a quick shot of Chip’s brain bucket. Keep an eye on ESPN2 and their coverage of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Beginning the weekend of March 10th the Pro-Stock Motorcycles will start their 16 race schedule for the 2011 season, and Chip is back on a Buell owned by Harry Lartigue, and sponsored by Kuryakyn.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m using an aftermarket LED taillight designed for the Yamaha Warrior, flipped upside down. I cut out a rough opening for the taillight today and, as expected, I also ended up cutting the lense away from the housing (they’re epoxied together from the factory).Ā  I’ll need to reshape the lense to conform to the shape of the clamshell, then epoxy everything back together again. I expect that’ll take me a few hours to get everything to fit just right, but after that I’ll get the rest of the bike torn apart so I can finish all the welds and create a jig for the frame modifications – then the frame is off to the sandblaster. Here’s an image of the lense taped roughly in place in the taillight opening, and yes – that Rocker ‘C’ wheel you see in the background is the one I’ve decided to use on the bike. I like the open and simplistic look of that wheel, the price was right on Ebay, and I like using as many stock components as possible to show that it is possible to make something look nice without a bunch of spendy components.

24
Feb
11

Thanks Mark Jags!

And WELCOME to all newcomers to my blog, especially those who’ve come by from XL Forum www.xlforum.net. They’ve got a superb forum over there, filled with tons of great ideas and advice. Being a forum rookie I learned I was using poor etiquette on the forum by mentioning too much about my business and not staying on the subject (I tend to be a real blabberbox sometimes). Well thanks to Mark, one of the faithful who’s been watching the Pro-Tour ‘S’ go through this transformation, he got the word out for me that I can’t answer any questions that may come up over there because the administrator has blocked me. I’ve begged for forgiveness, but to no avail šŸ˜¦

I’m always availableĀ  to answer any questions over here. So if you want to inquire about any part of this project, or have a gripe about it, I want to hear from you. I don’t expect everyone to attach themselves to this transformed XL and as long as you air out your laundry with respect I’ll post those comments as well.

Just a quickie update: I’ve got Chip Ellis’ helmet almost completed, and I’m creating a chin fairing for a Big Dog Wolf, and once that’s done I will be 100% ballz out on ONLY the Pro-Tour ‘S’, as it sounds like Justin is about done assembling the engine/tranny and the Donnie Smith show is in exactly 4 weeks!

22
Feb
11

The toughest mold is done

The second mold I’ve made is the one for the clamshell. It took me most of yesterday to get it done and I’m relieved to have that project out of the way! In these images you can see I block sanded the clamshell to get it silky smooth before I created a mold from it. I purposely made the mold BEFORE cutting the taillight into the clamshell because the options for taillights are endless. By not having a taillight provision in the clamshell it leaves the taillight choice wide open for every Pro-Tour ‘S’ conversion client. I toyed with the idea of smooth LED’s, oval ‘HotRod’ style taillights on each side, curvy wedge shaped LED’s with a carbon fiber surround, and a few more ideas, but what I will be using on this one is an LED run/turn/brake light that is used on a Yamaha Warrior – but I’m flippin’ it upside down. That is the next thing I’m going to attack on this – the install/mounting of that taillight. Once thats done I can finish tearing the bike completely apart and concentrate on getting the mid-frame cover molds made and then painting everything. Justin will probably have the engine assembled by the end of the week, so the only person holding me back from getting this thing finished is ME!

17
Feb
11

one mold down – three to go

Over the last couple of days I finished a paint job on a Softail for a client, did some one-off paint work on digital clock faces for a local manufacturer, and am in the middle of a helmet paint job for Chip Ellis who once again has a ride for all 16 races of Pro-Stock Motorcycle on the NHRA Drag Racing Series, which begins on March 12th in Gainesville, Florida at the Gatornationals.

As I mentioned at the end of the last post, I’m making molds of all the fiberglass components in this kit so they can be quickly (relatively speaking) duplicated. The first is the one you see here for the seat pan. It took me about 3 hours to prep the seat pan, shoot a few coats of orange tooling gel on it and hand lay 3 layers of chopped strand mat. I expect it’ll take about the same amount of time to lay-up a seat pan out of this mold.

Its crazy when you look at a finished part and realize how much time it took to create that very first one. In the case of this seat pan, I had about 30 hours in it before I was satisfied with it’s fit and shape. Now it’ll only take 1/10th of that time to recreate it, with a mold handy!

Next up is a mold of the clamshell – that’ll take a while, but I’ve gotta get it (and the mid-frame covers) done quickly if I’m going to get this thing painted and assembled in time for the Donnie Smith show.

12
Feb
11

Seat pan is finished

I finished shaping the seat pan today and this is what it looks like after I shot a few coats of heavy filling primer on it. At the widest part the pan is 14 inches wide – about one inch wider than a stock StreetGlide seat.Ā  Cushioning on the pan won’t be what most will expect to see.Ā  There will be three separate cushions – one on each side of the ‘buttcrack’ line you see in the image and a third for lower back support. There will be a gap between the two base cushions allowing air to pass ‘through’ the seating area, keeping the rider more comfortable. Also adding to rider comfort will be impact gel under 3/8 inch foam on the base cushions. The thickness of the rear portion of these base cushions as well as the lower back support cushion can be adjusted for different height riders, allowing a precision fit for each rider. These cushions will be held in place with heavy duty velcro, so if more than one person rides the bike you’ll have the option of a couple different ‘size’ cushions for each rider. Now that I’m all done creating fiberglass parts, I need to begin making molds of all of this stuff!