Monday, 6 October 2014

Fixing the cheap and nasty (or "Doing it right")

Production bikes are generally built down to a price rather than up to engineering excellence.  This means that there are plenty of areas where improvements can be made. Usually people only think in terms of those big modifications which invariably cost a lot of money, such as new suspension, wheels etc.  However there are many small detail features that are equally important but which only cost a little time.  Sometimes these small detail fixes are necessary in order to provide a sound base on which to add the fancy bits.  Of course there is rarely any Bling benefits to be had from the small oft hidden changes.  We are all familiar with the term "blueprinting" when it comes to engines, but "blueprinting" the chassis is equally important.
The pix. illustrate just what I am referring to.  The Suzuki SV650 internal swingarm axle spacers cum chain adjusters are terrible bits of sheet metal poorly tack welded to a spacer. The external spacers are of too small a diameter and when the assembly is tightened, pressure is only applied to a very local area of the flat swingarm sides instead of the whole vertical face.  In combination with new larger diameter external washers/spacers the pictured chain adjusters provide a more rigid connection between axle and swingarm.

On the left is the original chain adjuster, the witness marks above and below the axle hole clearly show the limited area of contact with the swingarm.  The new block is shown to the right.

Front and rear of the replacement blocks.

Fitted block.  Note how the upward force from the axle is passed to the top piece of the swingarm section, also how the sides of the swingarm make full contact with the block.  Larger axle spacers and washers are needed as well to ensure a more rigid connection when the axle is tightened.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Cologne show 2014

I have just got back from a couple of days in Cologne.  Probably the two most noteworthy exhibits were the super-charged Kawasaki with 300bhp claimed and the Ducati Scrambler range.
The Kawa uses a mechanically driven impeller type supercharger.  The impeller is of small diameter and so it must be spun at very high RPM. There appears to be a planetary gear system on the drive shaft which is there to gear up the drive to get the required speed.  There is definitely a trend away from the dual beam aluminium chassis toward the oft called trellis tube frames and the new Kawa is no exception.
Personally it was the Ducati Scrambler range which appealed to me.  It looks like a real fun bike and quite small by modern standards.  A welcome change from the overweight monstrosities which seem to be in the midst of a breeding cycle.
I took about 500 photos but here are just a few for now.

The new Kawasaki with integrated supercharger.

Cutaway of supercharger.

Entrance and exit doors and where it goes BANG.
Upper sprocket on supercharger shaft.

Upper sprocket on supercharger shaft.
Lower sprocket for chain to supercharger shaft.
More superchargers at the show. 

Early BMW racer with integrated blower.

Early BMW racer with integrated blower.

Early BMW racer with integrated blower.
Even earlier BMW racer with integrated blower.

Even earlier BMW racer with integrated blower.  Note longtitudinal drive shaft.

 Ducati scrambler.

I wouldn't mind one of these.

Retro is the future
These are certainly nicer looking than the majority of over styled modern bikes.

Kawasaki got in on the retro phase before most others.  Even got TT100 tread on the tyres.

It is amazing what the absense of "do nothing" plastic panels does.

A bit of Deja Vue.  CB900 given a bigger engine but it looks much the same.

What else should we expect from Triumph, but "THRUXTON" haven't the new people heard of Velocette?
What's in a name?

Identity crisis?  I'd have said scitsophrenic but I can't spell it.

Fans of Hawkeye perhaps.  Young viewers should Google.

Dual identity, is this the new HD?  If they called it the Monster then it would be the Monster Mash.   Young viewers should Google.

Kawasaki concept. 

Giant thermos for coffee?

Black hole.

Shades of the Chrysler Tomahawk.

Fuel cell Burger van.

Fuel cell Burger van.

BMW's find the spark plug puzzle.

Odds and sods of interest

If you thought that there was little left to develop with the humble spoked wheel then consider this. There is no penetration into the interior and so tubeless tyres are no problem, The straight spokes should give a long life and are easy to insert for wheel building.  Expect to see them on a new MV.

This Horex uses the new wheels.

Multi-cylinder Horex is an example of smart packaging.

Sawn through head from the Horex showing clever packaging.

We are used to modern brake discs being mounted on separate carriers, here is an example of doing the same with sprockets.

Look mum, no hands.  Nobody would let me ride any of the bike exhibits but I got to try a knee steer Segway rip-off in the exit hall.  The real Segway was there with their electric bicycle, a far cry from the advanced electric motorcycle planned 6 or 7 years back.
Extreme limits

If there is an absolute maximum to the scale of ugliness then this has to be close to it. At the show it was a hard fought battle with many bikes vying for the title of worst styling.  This picture hardly does it justice though, it looks far worse in the flesh.