Building to Victory
By Anthony van Someren - 20 Nov 11
Bare behind - and battery box gone...First on my new - and growing - list is to lose the ugly battery from between the rear subframe supports between the shocks. Ducati have done a pretty good job of tucking it away in a discrete black box, but all the cafe customs I lust after have clear space under the seat, and I wanted that lightweight look. The guys at Spirit recommended Racing Batteries, so I called them up, and 24 hours later I had two tiny Lithium batteries that needed to be wired in parallel, to provide about 30% more cold cranking power than my OEM battery. Amp hours are less, but I'm not running an alarm or leaving the bike standing for weeks on end. The weight difference is also astounding. These two batteries combined weigh less than a third of my clunky huge OEM unit - and now that I've relocated my Reg/Rectifier under the undertray there is plenty of room for them to sit under the seat.
A bicycle made for two... Batteries, that is.Also on my list was to sort out the rear light and plate assembly. It all looks "ok" but it's based on a stock aftermarket item from RG Racing, albeit it chopped and painted, but the clear LED oval rear light just looks too modern for my changing tastes. I'm not after rure retro but I am going for for a timeless look - so I'm really drawn to more simple shapes, ovals, circles, smooth lines... I'm also not a fan of indicators - although they are kinda useful for doing right turns on bust road on a dark night, - so I was really pleased to find a pair of round-lensed, bullet-shaped integrated tail/brake/indies from Shin-Yo in Germany. I wanted to mount them up and under the rear of the subframe, with as little bracketry and fuss as possible, but they were going to occupy the space where the numberplate bracket would normally be, so I need something custom...
Bug-eyed monster, or retro-cool?...cue a day with Rex and Victory Motorcycles in Camden - the home of Untitled Motorcycles. It's amazing what he has just lying around there. Not to mention the gear in the shop upstairs.
Yes, that IS a Mike Hailwood Rep. "The Tank is elsewhere being Caswelled"
An ancient MotoGuzzi. Just hanging out at Victory MCRex very kindly agreed to let me come over for the best part of a day, and do as much of the donkey work as possible myself, stripping off the old battery, tail unit, removing the alarm, and designing a template for the number plate bracket. The icing on the cake was that Adam from UMC was also there building a new Untitled BMW for a customer and bike photographer Damian McFadden was there, building his own bike from the ground up, having just got the frame back from the powerdercoaters. Damian is clearly insane. He has only recently discovered his passion for bikes and the streetbike/cafe racer scene, so instead of just taking his test and buying a bike to get started, he bought an engine... ...and then started building a bike from the ground up. Brilliant. And bonkers. The three of us shared bench-space with Rex and Anita, probably getting in the way and making a mess (sorry Rex) but it was good male-boding stuff as we helped each other out with positioning, cutting, bits of old metal, locating tools and generally being proper blokes, down in the Shed.
Velocette something or other... An old Police bike, apparently.At the end of the day my donkey work was finished, so Rex welded the bracket's mounting points on for me so I could fix up as many parts as possible, leaving him to finish the wiring. The electrics are something I could have done myself, as wiring-in lights and indies is something I do at least three times a year on various bikes, but it's reassuring to have a Pro sort out your basic power/battery stuff, as I don't want to blow up my ECU or melt anything important.