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  • Dec 20 2012

    Working on forks

    Suspension rebuilds: They’re one of the middle-of-the-road maintenance jobs on a motorcycle. Dismantling a fork is more complicated than replacing a chain or a tire, but less complicated than engine work.  Maybe it matches up with rebuilding carbs.

    Our Ducati 900SS was in dire need of better suspension.  We have the CR model, with non-adjustable and wildly undersprung forks.  The common fix is to replace them with adjustable Showas from the higher-end SP model.

    While the forks were out, we decided to rebuild them with stiffer springs, new seals and bushings, and new fork oil.  That proved to be quite a big job.  We ordered a Race Tech seal driver and Traxxion Dynamics fork tools (spring compressor, syringe, damper-holder, etc.), as well as new springs and spacers.  Instructions are best found in a maintenance manual, but this page will give you a pretty good idea of the process.

    Everything came apart and went back together fairly well, though the whole job took hours.

    Now, the bike feels completely different.  We haven’t finished setting the preload and dialing in the damping settings, but it doesn’t bottom out over sharp holes (or bend wheels) and it doesn’t stack up under braking.  Before the new fork, our fresh Sportec M5 Interacts were going to waste—the bike wouldn’t have been much fun on the track.  Now, however, the bike is much better balanced, and we look forward to pushing those tires to the limit on the track next summer.

  • Dec 14 2012

    How’s this for a first custom build?

    Okay, the geometry is so far off—that fork rake and control positioning will soon grow tiresome—that it almost looks like Andy Copeland designed his Express Post without a rider in mind.

    Still, it’s a gorgeous interpretation of a Honda CT110. The plates of aluminum look a bit like some old Honda frames, and the engine retains its basic position.  The forks, wheels, and swingarm stay, but the electrical system is all new.  Copeland stayed up all night the two days before the Rusty Kustoms ‘Biker Build Off.’

    The rules for the buildoff were simple:  250cc max, low budget, homemade, and had to be able to zip around a short course.

    From the interview on Megadeluxe:

    The bike took you just 4 weeks to complete. How many hours did you put into it?

    The physical build of the bike was completed in 4 weeks working most nights after work until 1-2am. Prior to the physical build I had sketched drawings what needed to be done and had a list that I worked through methodically. Yes it did take 4 weeks to build but around a year to decide how it was going to “work”.

    From Megadeluxe

  • Nov 05 2012

    A mad dash through Manhattan’s blackout

    Most of Manhattan has power back now, but that wasn’t the case just a few days ago.  Look at this video of a trip around the southern part of the island. It is eerie; nearly all the buildings were without power, and all the traffic lights were black. Traffic flows suprisingly well; anyone who wants to cross a busy avenue need only barge their way through a gap. Of course, at a busier time of day—this video was shot at 1:30 AM—the traffic would get snarled up.

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    We still believe that roundabouts are they way to go. They can manage traffic with integrated stoplights during the day. Shut the lights of at night and let the thin traffic flow.