Friday, March 25, 2011


Finished up the fabrication on the tank, including the hinge, rubber mounting and latch.  The ignition and seat lock came in so I'll be working on finishing up the seat next. Tried test fitting up a fender for the rear, but I will fabricate a new one instead, something wider that will extend to the swingarm pivot in the front.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Lots got done on the XS this weekend, the battery was located and a mount built so that it will sit inside and under the rear of the tank, keeping it's weight centered, as opposed to some builds which thoughtlessly stuff it under the seat, where the extra mass is at exactly the wrong place.  The rear frame hoop was sheeted in so that the electronics can be mounted, some of the wiring was cleaned up and all the remaining sockets were replaced with gold plated connectors.  The seat was also built for the most part, it will end up being covered in leather or vinyl, so the aluminum wasn't polished.  

 The tank still needs to have the bottom welded in, mounts fabricated and then matching frame tabs welded on to the frame, now that the battery is mounted, building the bottom of the tank can go ahead.  The seat will be hinged and lock as well, so some more work needs to be done there as well.  The kickstart relocation is almost done, and once finished, the exhaust can be built and routed so that there is no interference.  Shocks, chain and swingarm should be on the menu for this week.

Monday, March 7, 2011

XS Manx

I started carving the tank from a built up block of insulating foam over the weekend, and when I was happy with the shape, I cut the pattern at intervals and used it to build a plywood buck for the final tank.  The pieces are interlocking so it's very strong for clamping your pieces as you fit and form the next section of metal. 
This shows the beginning of the forming process, the pattern is broken down into workable segments which are then cut from aluminum and formed to fit the pattern, then clamped so the next section can be formed and fit, the two kneewells have been formed in this picture and will be finished up and tacked to the main section before moving on to the tank sides.  I tend to form both the left and right parts for tanks before tacking, as this keeps things more symmetrical.

Toby spent the day on the lathe working on our elegant solution to the interference problem caused by the kickstart lever and the rearset controls.  I didn't have room to take pictures of this, but the finished mechanism will be documented.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

XS Manx

I spent the better part of an afternoon making a hanger for the new brake caliper, to adapt it to a 320mm rotor and the fork tube from the 1100.  I also machined a spacer for the rotor because the caliper was very close to the spokes.  Seems to have all gone well, though we discovered that the rotor is actually warped, and since the setup is all done, we'll have to replace it with the same type.

Toby and I worked Monday to get a lot done on the bike, starting with getting the engine back in the frame.  That took some bubble wrap and wrestling, but it went in and mounted up well.  The wheels are back on for now, so we can check the swingarm and neck angle, and see what kind of offset to build into the fork yokes.  
Some $5 angle finders come in really handy.

With the length of the xs1100 forks, the swingarm angle came in about 11 degrees and rake was about 26, which is pretty good for a stable but agile bike without much squat under power.  The swingarm will be replaced with a box section steel arm, though the length will likely be kept the same.  The offset on the stock yokes is probably too high, and will be decreased by about 20mm when the new yokes are machined. 
I spent a good amount of time getting the riding position set before starting to design the tank, I first machined plates to bolt to the frame, and accept the bolt for the footpeg, then moved and moved it around until it was right, and matched well with the position of the handlebars, which also got moved a lot.  Right now the position is very good, no weight on the bars and feet under the rider c/g.  I'm using some of my adjustable stainless rearsets on the project as well, along with my adjustable clipons.  Good combo in my opinion.  
While Toby was machining a part for a special kickstart relocating mechanism, I decided that I could go ahead and work on the front fender, since the front end won't change from here on out.  This took me a couple hours and draws on vintage racing fenders for the look.  The masking tape will hold things in place until I can screw the bracket into the fender.