Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Project Frankenbike

Project Frankenbike is steadily taking shape on the Mid Life Cycles’ operating table… errr, workbench.

A combination of mid-Eighties Honda XBR and GB parts, Frankenbike will be lighter, quicker and prettier than his XBR daddy (maybe not a difficult task…), with a few touches of mama GB and an unhealthy dose of custom or cut-about parts, from front guard to LED tail-light, Cycleworks exhaust to Nitroheads seat.

Cycleworks custom exhaust
Cycleworks custom chrome exhaust, polished footrest hanger-exhaust mount and Yoshimura black-n-gold shocks all follow the Frankenbike build plan

The Yoshimura-badged shocks out back pick up on the black-n-gold theme we’ve set for Frankie, but it’s the deep gloss-black tank with gold GT stripe and matching front guard, both courtesy of painter Trevor Whitty, that make this bike stand out.

Add the Cycleworks chrome exhaust, polished alloy footrest-exhaust carriers and the dull sheen of the external braided oil lines, set it against the black engine and pick out a few details and you’ve got a bike that’s less than fugly.

Nothing like a bit of gold jewellery, Cloth-ears, to offset the severe black 'n polished alloy penguin suit.

And then there’re the wheels with black powder-coated hubs and rims laced with stainless spokes, all courtesy of Lightfoot Engineering and a wallet-induced fainting spell, plus a small but special artistic touch, the gold chain stolen from a hairy-chested southern European… there’s no stopping the Frankenbike deconstruction squad.

Wiring spaghetti all the simpler without stupid-box and sundry bits…
We put Dr Roger in charge of the electrickery and he immediately performed a stupid-box-adectomy on the Honda wiring loom, removing all those civilised bits that tell you the tail-light bulb is about to blow, or the headlight is on… stuff that you either don’t need to know or don’t care about, or both.

Honda frame has lost its ugly bits, replaced by this neat rear loop and seat mount, with tail-light mount shaped and grafted into place.

Surgeon-in-charge Dr Darling has already put in the hours on the frame, removing the unsightly tail and grafting in a frame loop, seat mounts and a neat tail-light mount that follows the line of the seat and cleans up the beast’s back-end.

Standard dry-sump oil tank sits low and tight in the frame with K&N filter hiding under the tank.

We're stuck with the dry-sump oil tank, but it sits low in the frame and looks purposeful in black, as does the K&N filter tucked up tight between the top frame rails.

The Shorai battery sits neatly in place, with a few electrical tidy-ups to be done before the tank is re-fitted.

The standard battery box and bits are long gone, and Dr Electrickery’s assistant has fabricated a neat mount beneath the tank for the regulator and wiring, and the light-n-lean Shorai battery. Mount this electric-stick sideways or upside down and it’ll still crank the starter and illuminate the road ahead.

Standard Honda tacho takes pride of place in fabricated mounting.

The front-end has rebuilt forks and a custom gauge mount for the tacho. Dr D. will find somewhere out of mind, if not out of sight, to fit a speedo. We wouldn’t want Frankie to get a ticket the moment he emerged from the side lane outside the laboratory…

Napoleon bar-end mirrors are neat and effective and the quality matches the rest of the bike.

Then there are the Napoleon bar-end mirrors, courtesy of our friends at Motociclo in Sydney.
These are fitted to the neat ‘n standard Honda clip-ons, bolted above the top triple clamp so that Frankie’s new daddy doesn’t suffer spine-seizure after the first short ride.

There’s not much more to tell really… the plan is to have Frankie ready to crank over in the next week and maybe to set out on a short shakedown ride. Check everything, tighten everything else, hand over to Frankie’s very patient daddy… and start to plan the Bride of Frankenbike…

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