Bike of the Month June 2017

Build it, run it, break it, fix it then repeat. The life of a drag racer can easily be likened to that of a drug addict. They spend all of their available cash and time working towards their next fix, even if it means ignoring the trivial things like food, clothing and sleep. The principle difference is that while a drug addict wants the hit to last longer, the drag racer does all that they can to shorten the experience. I’m reliably informed that once you’ve tried it, you either love it or you’re wrong.

Our bike of the month for June goes to Gary Hester AKA et1170. Gary has been evolving and racing this bike since he bought it nearly 7 years ago. Starting life as an 1100ET the bike now sports Katana styled bodywork. Gary was one of our first Winged Hammers and I like to think Hanma-Shin has had a hand in his results this year.

What I love about this bike and Gary’s story is that he has clearly never had serious money to throw at it. His success is a steady one. Carefully building on the previous years results with the parts that he could get. There are no turbos, no nitrous, no mega bucks cylinder head work- just oldskool, DIY air-cooled engine tuning in a shed. That, said if you read Gary’s thread you get the sense that Gary’s addiction will inevitably lead to forced induction and more…

Congratulations Gary you are June’s Bike of the Month.

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Bike of the month January 2017

 

botm-january-2017A stylish beast of burden.

Style, we all want it….don’t we? but at what cost?

The thing about developing your own style is it takes time and effort…and a total disregard for excuses. An idea that you feed with whatever it needs and 99% of the feedback is negative…or a positive negative. The time and effort spent on the various ways of how not to do it is far from wasted.

More failures than success, but once you hit that sweet spot you make it look so effortless and flowing….but then comes the crux as the audience offers praise and, undoubtedly critique, your mindset has changed….more, more, more.

I have no idea how many times Blower1 failed to succeed in his style, but style he has. Congratulations on bike of the month.

It’s not important what you think but how you think, the mind is a beast….feed it in anyway you can.

Viz

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We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.

711-in-the-sunWhat comes to my mind when someone mentions a motorcycle road trip around Europe? A large capacity sports tourer with hard luggage and a gel seat? Perhaps it’s an adventure bike with unlimited luggage capacity and the finest Gortex multilayer touring gear?

This story is about a motorcycle road trip that is the antithesis of what you might normally associate with motorcycle touring. In contrast to the norm, this story is about toughing it out, without compromise, on a two wheeled, air-cooled weapon of choice.  This story is about an almost Zen like minimalism all wrapped up in a “fuck you” sense of style. The bike and the rider are motorcycle touring nonetheless, because nobody told them they shouldn’t or couldn’t, and if they had,  I don’t think they would have been heard over the sound of one Suzuki’s finest engines being piped through a titanium Racefit growler.

mental

It all starts with a bike you would not normally associate with any kind of long range two wheeled odyssey. A 1230cc EFE powered Suzuki  ET special with a unique, tweaked and braced bare steel frame. It has no room for panniers. It has rear set foot pegs, a high level sub-frame and a single seat unit that comprises of little more than a thin layer of high -density seat foam.

The choice of equipment for the camping tour is both careful and clever. When you can’t carry very much you must choose carefully.

a-house

The choice of clothing consists of one pair of lace up boots, a set of one piece leathers from the 1970’s and a Simpson helmet. Not everyone’s choice of riding gear for such a long trip but now you might be beginning to understand what made this trip so interesting to me.

gear-on-the-bed

Welcome to the strange ways of frame building guru and OSS stalwart Alan (Strangewayz) Caven.  Alan called this trip Air-cooled, steel framed Anarchy! I think the trip sums up the uncompromising, meticulous, unique, creative and thoroughly considered approach that Mr Stragewayz brings to most things that he does.

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I had followed Alan’s trip over the summer through social media updates and I loved every instalment. There was very little narrative in his updates, mostly just pictures and one-liners but despite that the whole idea really appealed to me so I asked Alan if I could stitch it all together and get some background behind his motives for the trip. Here’s what he told me:

I went through a phase of not finishing any of my own builds due to always working on other people’s stuff, along the way I got tagged by a few people as falling into the category of enjoying building a bike more than actually riding it.

Nothing could be further from the truth; I don’t actually see the point in building something if it isn’t going to get some proper use. It’s the ultimate test of workmanship, seeing if the design, choice of components and execution were good enough.

Some people live for the dragstrip, track days or weekend ride outs… For me it’s all about a road trip, which has to be overseas and on something home built because that combination makes things edgier, takes you out of daily life home country comfort zones, tests both the bike and yourself physically and mentally (I broke both my elbows, right wrist and left ankle in a crash years ago so have a few war wounds to deal with).

I nailed my colours to the mast years ago – Air-cooled – Steel framed – Muscle bikes! Un-faired and loud is the way to roll.

Those of us that know Alan know that his unique take on Suzuki’s GSX 1100 ET was built as tribute to his late wife, who he tragically lost to cancer back in 2010.  Alan lost his last  remaining link to his wife when, not long ago, he also lost their dog Ozzy.  Alan explained that the bike and the trip were an important part of his climb out a pretty dark place.

gsx-tank

Whilst I built the 711 out of 7-Nov Rip Mrs Strangewayz with the intent to hit European streets with it, the real catalyst for this actual trip was when I also lost Ozzy – my Dobermann. The last link with my wife,as he’d been ours. He got me through some tough times he was always there for me. In that moment life was pretty shit, my whole world had gone and life didn’t actually make much sense – what was the point of it all if that was what was served up? I knew needed something positive to concentrate on.

The Provisional MotoGP calendar for 2016 came out with Austria GP & Czech Republic on consecutive weekends; that was it! I knew that by planning to travel minimal and mostly camp it would occupy my mind with how to actually do that. The easy route would be to leave mid-week and roll from Germany straight into Austria…. but that was too easy !!

Heard about Tavullia (Rossi’s home town) seemed a cool place, the man had a bar and pizza place so hey rock up over the alps and drop down into Italy before heading back up to Austria.

I just need an excuse to go and then join the dots up, I used (road) racing but as you can see the journey is more important than the destination, as is what you choose to do the trip on (bike).

The Icing on the cake was that the dates would work to end up back in the Isle of Man for the Classic TT Races. Game on!

I knew this was going to be a busy year because I was also going to the NW200 Road Races mid-May and the TT Races start of June.

Whilst I had some serious reasons for planning the trip, the trip itself was an adventure with a lot of spontaneous stuff going on.

This was how the actual route ended up :

Sat Day 1             Northampton to Bastogne in Belgium

Sun Day 2            Bastogne to Lake Constance (Germany)

Mon Day 3          Lake Constance to Riva Del Garda (Lake Garda – Italy)

Tue Day 4            Riva Del Garda to Tavullia (Rimini near San Marino)

Wed Day 5          Tavullia to Spielburg (Redbull Ring – Austria)

Thur – Fri – Sat – Sun all Moto GP

Mon Day 10        Spielburg to Linz (Austria – OSS Greg Sochor)

Tue Day 11          Linz to Brno (Czech Repb) Chance of a pit pass J

Wed Day 12        Brno to Prague (Czech Repb) no pit pass lol..

Thur Day 13        Prague to Brno (loose keys….)

Fri – Sat – Sun     all Moto GP

Mon Day 17        Brno to Nuremburg (Germany)

Tue Day 18          Nuremburg to Etalle (Belgium)

Wed Day 19        Etalle to Northampton (England !)

Thur Day 20        Northampton to Isle of Man

Fri – Sat – Sun – Mon all Classic TT Races

Tue Day 25          Isle of Man to Northampton

Wed                      Back to work….

map

After speaking to Alan I realised the best way to recount this tale was in the way that I had first experienced it on social media, so I have chosen my favourite updates he made during the trip  below and embedded any words as he used at the time.

 

Early start this morning 4am ish… Neighbours love the sound of a Racefit exhaust clearing it’s throat..

160 miles later it was ferry time, off & the down the road a bit now. Just had a broken English sign language ‘you look like the Stig’ moment…….

Long time since I did a 400 miler, good to be back t it.First night stop over, clues on the bar.

Lol worst camping pitch I ever had, lucky I got a 3/4 Thermarest + Jungle Juice & a Balaclava to survive the midges by Lake Constance as I put tent up in the dark last night. Strangewayz 1 – Midges 0

Think I’m in a different world… The locals are going to love the sound of the 711 clearing it’s throat Racefit style…

Stopped to pull pants out of crack & lovely view of Alps in background

Rocking late 70’s Dainese one piece, genuine retro race gearI scored off Italian eBay last year. Just these & a pair of shorts, non armoured so not as bulky as modern stuff. Looks cool as on the 711

Wasn’t sure but having worn them fucking brilliant, these are the ‘Adventure’ ones, they also do Cruiser or Sport. Have computer designed pads so yeah like posh cycling shorts.

Kriega Hydro 3, wouldn’t be without it. I buy a 1tr bottle of water each day & throw it in. Leaves space for other easy grab gear & so light it’s feels like wearing nothing. Has bladder pocket + 1 other zipped side pocket & the elastic string on the back. The mouth piece is easy to use whilst riding.

Ready to roll, still got the Tavullia cardboard sign to strap somewhere 🙂 Heading north to Czech Repb for their MotoGP race. Stopping off today to see Oldschool Suzuki Greg Sochor in Linz some 200km away. Prague on Weds then back to Brno Thurs ready for the racing. Austria MotoGP was awesome event 215,000 people over the 3 days. Great racing, atmosphere & the sun came out to play.

Side of the road rain gear & visor change, car travel this isn’t haha… Strangewayz keeping it real !

US Urban battle Goretex, gaiters & Red Wing boots – oh yeah & no quick shifter lol

Wrong sport but if your into VW’s this is the famous She’ll garage (now Eri) outside Velden which is ‘The’ place to hangout at the annual Worthersee show. I will be back out this was in my Mk1 Golf in a few years when it’s done. My stupid idea was to get here then find somewhere to wild camp. At silly am it was hard trying to find anywhere as built up with resorts & posh hotels. In the end pushed 100km onto the Red Bull Ring running low on fuel (all shut), IPhone battery (Google maps) & energy. But I did it & I love my bike, 711 was awesome, better than me !!

Definitely regard it as a badge of honour when, so far I am the only motorcycle on the campsite for a bike race ! Especially when I had to move my tent this morning being considered in the way of the the blue awning the couple are putting up who just arrived this morning in their van from up the road (Austria). Hey who knows maybe they will share their beer with me later hahahah….

Road trip shite Austria MotoGP Not really on the piss, that’s when riding solo parked up for a few days is hardest. English speakers thin on the ground but I’m in a good place. Side of a mountain, village part of the track, cool shit, locals love the visitors, bit Euro beat/pop 24/7 sausage feast – why the fuck do you want to dance on a table with your mate – that’s for girls to show off haha… but didn’t do this to feel like I was down the local. General admission ticket (grass) but shite, Isle of Man has spoiled me, but found a good spot with the boys leaving rubber. Dovi & the Maniac at each other all day, Vin what a boy! Cru at times top Honda. MotoGP app excellent with live sector times & a track graphic showing rider positions. Good times, memories lots, ride your bike & go do shit.

It’s all about Suzuki, rockin’ Rizzla T today

T shirt drying, would make a good paint job…

Ahh tent life, big grin, chilling out, road tripping again in the morning, good times rolling.

Fuck yes, tent up at Brno circuit, beer going down hatch.very pretty bar maid, could get to like this haha !! Too you sir that will e£1.20 a pint woo hoo hell yeah

Hanging around feeling lucky…

Czech MotoGP pit pass gig didn’t fall into place, hung around for 2 hours & can you believe as I was riding out along the back lanes the wagon rolled past in a group of 3 ! Turned round asap but by the time I caught them up the guys were already through the barrier. Had a cool time hanging out & wasn’t meant to be. On way to Prague & seriously the main motorway from Brno up is the worst piece of shit road I’ve been on. Bone shaker of a road with a nasty split/crack between lanes 1 & 2. Pulled over for a coffee to check out other routes ! Still smiling though 🙂

85km away form Prague river campsite, needed chocolate so hey park under 3 cameras. Girl too right was seriously sexy….

 

The Girls are Pretty & the Roads are Shitty. Czech roads are the worst piece of crap I’ve been on, might be different in ya cars guys but on a bike you get hammered, Garmin satnav plastic mount just broke because of it, will be on the hunt for cable ties & duct tape 🙂

Ffs we have lost key, Hotwire plan… seriously no photo setup, but still smiling !

Look it’s all about priorities, sweat talking the bar maid to get…… the Suzuki pics from her calendar haha go Vin !!!

Hmm describe Al in a pic ! Yeah beers going down well…….

Seriously impressed the Dunlop Q3 is keeping it’s profile, had to do some serious straight line miles in 30 deg air temps with all the gear on the back & it hasn’t got a shite flat section yet. Too many UK cars showing up around Brno, keep it on 2 wheels guys !!!

After yesterday’s Hotwire after loosing keys on trip 5km away to local atm…. got 3 days parked up as track is walking distance. Re checked my spares kit & lucky boy I did pack a few goodies, should be able to do something ok to last the 1500km trip home 🙂

Having a shite time as you can see whoo hooo

Err so it’s not 8am & sat by the side of the road drinking beer with a dude from Panama also called Alan lol either that or it’s all a weird dream. I only stopped for an espresso because the girl was pretty but the machine wasn’t warmed up……….

Brno MotoGP !

Suzuki out spotting, MotoGP Fp3

Cup say “100% energie” hope it works 🙂

Agh the moment the sugar rush hit whoo hooo caking my way through Germany….

Pffff not impressed my Oberon mirror has fallen apart on me again ffs. I like the gear but for what it cost I don’t expect to have to hold it up on my knuckles whilst waiting for a foreign motorway services to pull over & take if off. Fail 🙁

Hmmm choices choices ok both !!

Chasing the sat nav down, got a good number on it that gets me on the ferry. Fuel stops only, cake later !

Time to roll again 🙂

Sitting at the Creg taking in all the wonderful sounds from the different classes out practicing. Fantastic views in the background which is why I didn’t bother taking a picture of the pub !! Awesome to see 250cc two strokes back racing on the island with their own class.

Ready to roll again, off to watch the Superbike Race & then will be on the ferry home…..

Still going strong – Aircooled forever !

Any day I ride the 711 is a good day just some are sadder than others.

So if you’re reading this and you still don’t understand and or admire the sheer insane and inspirational brilliance of  this road trip then you are probably on the wrong website. Alan, OSS salutes you sir. Here’s to building  them, riding them , and smugly enjoying what you have carved out using your hands, your ingenuity and your imagination and here’s to never letting anyone tell you that you can’t.

This is Alan’s story, so it’s only right that he should get the last word.

What an awesome bike! Still riding it every day to work, need to pull it off road soon as brake discs, pads, rear sprocket almost shot – had to put some winter tyres on (Michelin Pilot Road 4’s) as the Dunlop q3’s which I had on for the trip & did everything I wanted but won’t grip below 5 degrees.

Discuss this article here.

Bike of the month November 2016

botm-november-2016

Ticking all the boxes…

BOTM first of all must fit within the rules, after that I haven’t picked bikes I’d like to own, just builds that have a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’..be that in the amount of info the member has shared on the site, through to ‘I can’t believe that’s the same pile o’ shyte from the first post’.

A bike that has evolved to Tom’s exacting standards (these can sometimes be winced at but never shunned, Tom has not got all his frequent flyer saddle miles on luck alone) and as I type this he is still awaiting a part to complete the next episode, which I’m sure is not the final chapter.

I’d ask any newcomers to the site wondering what OSS is all about to firstly RTFR, then read Havocs AnerchEZ RatRod thread. Pretty is as pretty does….. congratulations Havoc on BOTM, the evolution will not be televised.

Discuss this article here.

Piston-deck height

Deck height is defined as the distance between the top edge of the piston crown (with the piston at TDC) to the edge of the cylinder liner. The closer the edge of the piston crown is to the edge of the cylinder the high the compression ratio will be.

So if you have pistons that are 10.5:1 and they are 0.010″ below the edge of the cylinder and you are able to reduce the deck height by 0.010″ then the actual compression ratio of the cylinder will be increased.

The reduction of the piston deck height can be accomplished in several ways. Machining the cylinder block is the most common method.

A word of caution you must know exactly the minimum valve to piston clearance that is required. this varies in different engine designs. To increase the piston to valve clearance usually the valve relief pockets on the piston’s crown are enlarged or the height of the piston at TDC must be lowered in the cylinder.

Oversize Valves

Some tuners believe that larger size valves enhance Hi-RPM power at the expense of Low-RPM power. This has proven to be false due to the results of dyno tests and theory. Larger valves enhance Hi and Low RPM.

When a valve is closed it has no size whatsoever for a cylinder’s ability to induce air flow. A valve that is opened, 0.015”, appears to the cylinder as a small valve. Only when the valve reaches 25% of its total lift point does the cylinder actually experience anything near the true size of the valve. If a cylinder was stuffed with valves as big as possible to create a greater movement of the air/ fuel mixture and exhaust gasses and the larger valves proved to be excessive (too large), the solution of the problem would be to reduce the valve’s lift, besides reducing the air flow it would also reduce the wear and friction on the valve train. In the real world, the criterias for the intake and exhaust system for making peak HP and torque at a given engine RPM is the cross section area of the intake and exhaust ports, not the size of the valves.

The real advantage of using oversize valves is that, for a specific rate of the valve’s opening, an oversize valve will give a greater breathing area to the cylinder quicker. This is equal to as a smaller valve opened at higher rate of acceleration. Any time there is a higher acceleration rate in the valve train, more stress is created.

As long as valve shrouding is not a factor then the largest possible valve in a cylinder head will allow the engine to develop power over the widest RPM range, not just increase the flow at high lift rate. If a dyno test of a engine with a cylinder head that has oversize valves reveals a loss in low RPM power it is because the engines camshaft has to much overlap.

For carbureted normally aspirated Suzuki engines in the 9.5 to 12:1 compression ratio range the exhaust flow needs to be 75 percent of the intake flow. Overall when the compression ratio of an engine increases, in order to obtain the maximum results an exhaust valve can be made smaller in relation to the intake valve. This is due to the power developing earlier in the expansion cycle of a cylinder in high-compression engine, thus allowing the exhaust valve to be opened sooner and longer without any problems. A small exhaust valve will create the opportunity to use a larger intake valve.

Nitrogen

Nitrogen
RACING: NITROGEN “A GAS THAT CAN HELP YOU WIN YOUR CLASS”.

If you read my previous post about ‘AIR DENSITY’ in this thread then it will be easy to understand the advantages Nitrogen has over Air, for those who haven’t, I would recommend to do so.

The first advantage of Nitogen is for it’s use in your tires, by doing so you will eliminated tire pressure build up, this is a really important factor in order to maintain a tire’s performance criteria. The Racing Displines of Road Racing or Drag Racing require consistency of a tire performance and the use of Nitrogen will give you that advantage.

In Drag Racing when using an ‘Airshifter’, the use of Nitrogen will add the the unit’s reliability ( No Water contained in Nitrogen) and you will find that the shifter activation responce time is faster.

Longer exhaust duration

Most stock camshafts from production 4 cylinder engines manufactured today are ground with the longer exhaust lobe duration,or that they are ground with shorter intake durations. This can be viewed that either the Exhaust Ports or Exhaust Pipe system is somewhat restrictive, and needs assistance, or that the intake system is very efficient and cam timing can be trimmed back without a sacrifice in power, in order to maximize throttle response and cruising efficiency. There is no absolute correct viewpoint in a stock engine running at conservative RPM levels, for the sake of overall efficiency, fuel economy and a quiet smooth running engine, this staggering of intake and exhaust duration is quite common and appropriate.

High Performance is another thing entirely. Change one factor, such as the exhaust system installing headers and larger pipes and the need for that longer exhaust lobe has been eliminated. Now add to this change a different carb system and camshaft and you have really changed the equation. But, why is it that so many racers & cam grinders insist on running a cam with longer exhaust duration regardless of what equipment is used? The answer is habit, many have been somewhat successful in doing it this way and will never change unless forced by circumstances.

The best result comes when we realize that an engine is basically an air pump. Air is pumped in and out and there are problems when one side or the other is restricted. Balance and flow is our objective, unless you are NOT trying to make more horsepower!

Most experienced Tuners run a single pattern cam, equal on intake and exhaust duration. This type of designed cam always make more torque.

Logbooks

THE LOG BOOK:

I have 2 Log Books, the first one is for the engine and the second one is for the bike.

ENGINE LOG BOOK:
Contained in this Log is every measurement or weight of components that are subjected to wear, this includes the transmission, clutch plates, clutch springs, crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons, piston pins, piston rings, camshafts, valve guides, valve stems and valve springs, drive chain and sprockets . Although you may consider this time consuming the benefits are substantial. Once you have a baseline of your measurements then the next time you disassemble your engine you will have a very good picture of the wear rate of all the components. This process will virtually eliminate parts breaking from fatigue and you will be able to determine what aftermarket parts are more durable. For example I know using a certain type of piston ring in my 1327cc EFE race engine that for every 165 passes down the race track that both my top and second ring end gap wears 0.001″ of any inch. This was the same wear rate that I encountered with my 1230cc EFE race engine using the same type of piston rings. So I know that the oil that I am using is working and the quality of the part is consistant no matter what the power out put is and that after x ammount of passes I have to replace the rings before the power starts to drop. Utilizing this measurement process for the last 20 years I have found that the one part of the GS /EFE engine’s that wear out the fastest are the valve springs, and by the way I have never broken a valve spring in over 7,100 passes down the track.

RACE BIKE LOG BOOK:
In this log I list my tune-up ( jets, timming, drive sprocket size, tire psi,), in additon to the brand of race fuel and octane, my launch and shift RPM for the particular track that I am racing at. Also before I unload my bike, I list measurement of the temperture, humidity, wind direction including approximate speed, and air density and record the time of day. I remeasure and list all of the above items every hour that I am at the track. The info gained from these measurements is very beneficial when you are racing a dial-in type of class, because it makes the tune decission for every round easier. Also once you collect all of the above info you will have an insight on your bikes performance the next time you race at the same track if the weather and time of day is very close.

Intake & Exhaust Port Surface Finish

As long as the intake port surface finish is fine enough so that the highest protrusions are not above the air /fuel mixture boundary layer thickness, then improvements on the finish will have little effect on air / fuel mixture flow . A rougher finish is actually an advantage. Do not over polish an intake port because of its wet fuel flow capability.

A polished exhaust port will increase the exhaust gas flow and will reduce the potential for carbon to build up on the exhaust port surface.

In conclusion 97% of a performance gain from porting a cylinder head is from the shape of the ports and only 3% is from a polished finish.