I always said I'd build another, simpler, bike at some point. Something more down to earth and usable than the last one.
So when having a chat with my mate Briz one day turned to talking about projects it was almost inevitable something would happen.
The Buell engine is from a 2003 XB9 and it was originally intended (back in 2012/13) to use it as the basis of the next Bonneville race bike with a
supercharger fitted. But that never happened and Salt Flash was born as a result.
But that Buell engine sat there, just waiting for something to be done with it. Briz made a softail frame for it to complement the Sportster engined
one he already offers, seemed like the sensible thing to do. The Buell engine shares a lot with the sportster, but it's actually also quite
different in the way it mounts in the frame.
I like it, subtly different. To the untrained eye it's another sportster, but look a bit closer and there's a few Buell logos, giving away
the fact this is a bit more potent than it's HD cousin...
So, here it is:
30 deg rake CCD Buell Softail frame, 2003 XB9 lump, 49mm Dyna forks and CCD billet yokes. Buell rear wheel, Honda Blackbird front wheel. Suzuki
Hyabusa 6 pot up front should provide enough stopping power. Large sportster tank.
First thing is to get that gas tank sitting nicely, needs dropping about 1" at the back.
A simple, functional bike on a sensible budget. Something you can jump on and ride. Something that gets a move on, goes round corners and stops
What's in a name?
Black Rose - this is inspired by Sophie Lancaster (http://www.sophielancasterfoundation.com/) something close to my heart in many ways. Unlike the
last bike, I'll be doing my own paint on this one. I've got a head full of designs and ideas for this one. Subtle all the way...
The 2 convicted of murder were up for parole a couple of years ago, both got denied. As far as I'm concerned they should be there for the
entirety of their lives. Scum, pure and simple.
First things first, the fuel tank - it just didn't sit right on the frame so...I cut the original tunnel out and made a new one to fit in
allowing the back of the tank to drop down just over 1". To be honest most people probably wouldn't even notice, but it looks much better
to me. It doesn't look like it's perched on top of the frame now and the top of the tank is at the same angle as the top tube of the
frame, which helps too.
Took me most of the afternoon to do this. Spoiled the paint on the tank :lol:
The oil cooler is from the 2012 Weslake Bonneville bike and fits nicely between the front cylinder and the frame. The Buell reg/rec is considerably
different to the usual HD one - mounts differently and it's a bit bigger.
I borrowed a 136t belt to finish the set up of the rear fender
Made up some mounting bosses and spacers for the rear fender then strengthened it up. After that started making the housing for the rear light.
It's going to be a combined brake, tail and indicator unit, that I'll fashion from acrylic and LED's. It's not going to pass
SVA as the minimum indicator spacing is 180, and I don't have the width to do that here. I'll fit temporary ones for the SVA.
I still need to strengthen it slightly and tidy the fabrication up, but it's more or less there.
Back to the footpeg and pulley cover. Cut one from a piece of plate, machined up a pivot/peg mount. The master cylinder will mount on the lower
section behind the peg. I'll also be adding some more protection for the belt as well. Then I'll trim the shape up some more and make it
look a bit nicer....
Welded some round bar along the edges of the rear fender to both stiffen it up and make it look nicer. Next thing is finish beating the rear light
aperture into the final shape and then make the rear light.
The orginal bike is EFI, but I wanted something simpler than that for this chop. The fuel injection section came out fairly easily...
This is the fuel injection stuff
And the rats nest of what's left
Turned out there's less space than I thought for the fuse and relay box so I had to reconfigure that. No major problem. Made a back plate for
the fuse box, and welded some studs to the battery cradle to support it. Found a 6 way fuse box in a box of electrical stuff, used some mini relay
holders to fit the necessary relays. I toyed with the idea of using a Brainbox, but they are quite expensive and I'm trying to keep this a
reasonably budget oriented build.
With that sorted I thought I'd get the coil mounted. This is the standard Buell coil, played around with where to mount it. Was thinking about
hiding it up, but then thought I'd go with the simple option...
Sorted the relay mounting on the back of the battery box.
Spent a whole day messing around making a poxy headlight bracket today.... Not sure why it took so long, other than I didn't seem to be able to
engage my brain. I ended up making a jig to build it on, and then transferred it to the bike. It's part of the reason being fussy means
everything takes 5x longer than it should.
This is a perfect example of why my builds take so long, little machined bosses for the clutch cable mounting.
Last job before powder coating was to weld all of the brackets fully to the frame.
Painted a few bits up first before refitting them. Rear shock, front caliper and rear pulley all needed a bit of attention.
I also gave the centre of the rear disc a polish (cos I'm sad like that).
I started off with the intention of stripping and painting the engine. It was a bit of an unknown, so I thought it would be a good idea to give it an
I got it stripped down and masked up only to find the paint I was planning to use wouldn't spray properly... So the plan to have the engine
black changed... it's staying silver and black.
Anyway, mechanically it all checked out, no measurable wear on anything. I took the opportunity to drill and tap the holes in the head for the
breathers as well. The Buell normally uses breathers in the rocker box covers, which I'll block off.
Got the engine off the bench and back into the frame. Got it all bolted in, then thought I'd better sort the clutch mechanism out. Should have
put it together before I put the primary cover on. Doh! Ended up having to undo most of the bolts again and jacking the engine up so I could get the
cover off as the chain adjuster bolt wouldn't clear the frame. Solved that by cutting 1/2" off the length of the adjuster! Can now just
about be removed and refitted with the engine bolted in the frame.
Exhuast next! First job was to machine up a few little bits. Blanking plugs for the old breathers in the heads and then some collars for the ends of
the exhaust. I used an offcut of 1 1/2" SCH40 stainless pipe (which is actually 1 7/8" OD and 1 1/2" bore) and just bored it out to
take the 1 3/4" OD tube for the exhaust. Then I welded that to 2 short stubs so I could put it back up in the lathe and machine the end up so I
will seal on the gasket.
The result is something that looked like this
After that I spent a whole day cutting and tacking bends together to make something resembling an exhaust. The lowest section runs parallel to the
I was also mindful of loosing too much ground clearance, hence why the pipes sit offset to each other.
Next I set about making the collector from two 45deg bends. Chopped through and welded together. Then worked out where the end bend needed to be,
flattened the end, marked round it and cut the end off the collector so it matched up. Once the end was cut off I could get inside to just fuse the 2
pieces together where it's impossible to weld them from the outside.
I made a sleeve from another offcut of 1 1/2" SCH40 pipe so that I didn't have to try and manhandle the whole exhaust on and off in one
piece. That means I can have a clamped joint on the front pipe, which is pretty much hidden anyway.
So here's the end result. Just a support bracket to make for the rear of it and it can be polished.
At this point is it's starting to look like a bike...
Made the front brake line and the mount for the fluid reservoir and filled it up with fluid. Fitted the mirrors - no use for SVA, but they'll do
for after. Made the push rod for the rear brake. Fitted the carb and air filter. Swapped the engine cover bolts out for stainless. Made all of the oil
lines up. Fitted the rear brake switch and filled it with fluid. Mounted the speedo.
Just need to mount the idiot lights, and come up with a solution for a sidelight telltale for SVA.
Spent another whole day filling and sanding all of the tin work for the bike. Rear fender took the most work, and there's still a bit more to
do, but I find it easier to work off the epoxy primer as a base. I also re-shaped the front fender so that fits much better now.
Gave everything a couple of liberal coats of Lechler 2k epoxy, it'll be ready for more work tomorrow...
I also made the brake/tail light lens which fits in the rear edge of the back fender. At this stage I still needed to fit the LED's in it, but
it's shaped and polished up.
One panel painted, flatted, polished and fitted....It's really dark purple, almost black in the shade, but shines purple in the sun.
All of the other panels have some graphics to do so they will be going to the painters at some point (arty stuff isn't my strong point!)
I also made the instrument bracket and fitted some new throttle cables (GSXR ones were just the right length)
I live reasonably local to bacup and worked in the town at the time of the tragedy so remember it well, Sophie's mother now goes round to
schools educating the kids with inspiring talks about Sophie and how being different isn't different, she was at my daughters school very
[Edited on 15/7/17 by chris_smith]
[Edited on 15/7/17 by chris_smith]
The secret of success is to know something nobody else knows."