Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Italian Helmet


 Casco dalla calotta rivestita da una speciale vernice opaca e particolari in vera fibra di carbonio. Gli interni sono estraibili e lavabili. Una funzionalit√† studiata in particolare per i frequent bikers e per i motociclisti della bella stagione. Il design di questo modello jet prende ispirazione dal casco degli elicotteristi. Al corpo del casco, rifinito artigianalmente, viene unita una visiera termoformata a bolla antigraffio, supportata da una piastra in fibra di carbonio. La calotta √® rivestita con una speciale vernice ecologica opaca gommata, impreziosita da due decal del logo MOMODESIGN. Omologazione ECE 22.05

I have wanted one of these for a long time. Here in Italy it doesn't get much cooler than a flashy Momodesign helmet. Yes, I was going to get a full-face and be safe, but then... Matte black, carbon fiber, white lettering...  Mine at last!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

MLM Custom Magnum

I have meant to make a post about this bike since we finished it last summer, but haven't had the complete photo shoot we did of it. Now that I have some time on my hands, I thought I'd just go ahead and post it, and perhaps update it later with some of the more detailed shots.

Made specially for a Chicago customer, this Magnum incorporates some of the must comprehensive customizations MLM has ever done. The main thing the customer wanted was a powerful and flashy Magnum that would stand out from all the rest. We went a little overboard.

Starting with the frame, we cut off everything that it didn't need. As we hard wired everything, we didn't need most of the wiring brackets, harness, lights etc.; besides we ran it all through the frame. Long-time Motion Lefter Eric Vandiepenbos notched the frame and then using mysterious and time consuming methods, put a little folded slot in where the cables (brakes, clutch, throttle and wiring) would come out above the engine (pictures later). He also helped us fabricate and weld in the gusset and the rear of the frame loop. Then we brazed in all the unnecessary holes, rough factory welds, and imperfections, even adding a specially made arbour-presses semisphere where the tube frame terminates under the seat (pictures later, but you can glimpse it in the above picture).

Devon's initial idea for the bike was the Negrini tank, originally to be left polished and powder coated (my Puchavus tank was sort of a test run). While this does look great, it takes a many hours of work, and any imperfections which might occur during the time it sits at the powder coater's shop (even an hour) can ruin the finish, and by this point we were already overdue for delivery. Besides, it just isn't polished aluminum alloy... So we ended up powder coating it to match the fenders. The fenders come off a '78 Motobecane Traveler, obviously bobbed to withing an inch of their lives. The front fender goes for a standard cafe look, but the rear fender we decided to have have spring with the swing arm with a notch for the chain; more sport bike, then cafe. We left the swing arm stock, rather then adding a robot-arm to retain the vintage look. Spokes, nipples, hubs, brake drums and rims were polished by yours truly. 

The engine we knew right away was going to have be a single speed large port Metra 80 with a 24mm Mikuni. We found a clean set of cases, had them bored out to fit the massive cylinder skirt of the Metra, then ended up spending way too much time trying to get enough aluminum added to provide a sufficient base gasket sealing surface around the massive transfer ports. I think I went through the cases at least twice port-matching those things... Next we fabricated one of our notorious intakes, which, though without proof, Devin is convinced add to the intake acoustics. The Mikuni, through experiments with Devin's Pinto (in which the carb would run dry at high rpm's), required larger hosing and even petcock. The float bowl dumps we ran, neatly coiled, into the engine mount with rubber grommets. Terminated with a glorious chrome Simonini expansion chamber, accompanied by the necessary left-side pedal extension, the engine set-up was peppy and had an even, wide power band. 

We chose a dark, almost black high-gloss blue for the frame, forks and swing arm and silver for the tank and fenders. The wheels, hubs and headlight rim, neon green, with matching vinyl on the tank and fenders. M-bars, IRC 2.5" tires and a completely custom "bumstop" seat, along leather tank belt, and a water-jet cut MLM logo in stainless steel under the tank completed the bike.

 Click for larger image
With 18:45 gearing, and a stable frame, the bike accelerates quite fast . The ride is firm and stable and is gives one far more confidence at speed (easily 60 when properly tuned over time as the cylinder breaks in) than the usual moped, cough-Puchavus-cough...
 Click for larger image
The bike runs great. Unfortunately, the customer had a get off (sort of) and didn't realize the expertise necessary with such a modified engine, especially if its a two stroke, so there have been a lot of preventable problems... but then that's the name of the moped game...
Well, a moped is sort of an unpreventable problem, but c'est la vie.

"It Was Too Much of a Burden On Me Shoulders"

"...And his eyes was wide open when he saw the objects."

                                                     -Terry Herbert, 55, of Burntwood in Staffordshire, who has been metal detecting for 18 years

"Rise up O Lord, and may thy enemies be dispersed and those who hate thee be driven from thy face."

Friday, September 25, 2009

Che Bella Figura!

I have to admit the few Moto Guzzi's I've seen haven't really impressed me that much. I guess I just don't like motorcycles with wheels that are too small or have the the model name "Nevada." Maybe Utah... there are some great bikes with names from Utah.

But then I saw this Moto Guzzi in Bologna today:

 I love those cylinders...

If I Had To...

Not that I would ever go out and buy a sports bike/fighter; I hate them.

                   But if I were compelled...

The Buell XB9SX might just do.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

This Month's Polini Cup Races

Pocket bikes, gokarts and dirt bikes aren't my thing either. Ignore them. Two strokes aren't all made with plastic, or at least they didn't used to be. The Polini Cup held at The Tom Dash Memorial Speedway in Atwater, California is a demonstration of how much intelligent 20 to 30 year old's have taught themselves about 2 stroke engineering in the last 15 years. The best example and culmination of this autodidactism being Motomatic's extraordinary made-to-order exhaust pipes which can be seen with devastating results in this video, Motion Left Moped's amazing custom builds which need no introduction in the moped scene, and a certain Nate Bandit's "Burt Munro-esque" monsters. In resent years the Moped Army has, in a sense, reinvented the entire story of motorcycling, from its early days as minimally powered bicycles barely breaking 25 mph to highly technical grafted, mutated, experimental fast bikes now going upwards of 70+mph. That's a lot when your talking 65-80cc's. This may sound counter-productive, but for those of us who have experienced the joy of buying a cheap 70's moped and then learning by trial and error, through friends, old lawnmower mechanics, and word of mouth the ins and outs of engine porting, timing, carburation, expansion chamber acoustics, or best of all happening on Graham Bell's "Two-stroke Performance Tuning" it has been an infinitely rewarding experience. Riding a 80-100lb bike at over 50mph is one of the most exilarating experiences I know of. Plus, anyone can ride a Harley they bought and pay someone else to fix, you have to be care-free and with the knowledge that you can fix just about anything on your bike to sit at a traffic light on a bike with bicycle tires that weighs less than you do. But then the shocked look people give you when you scream by their car makes up for it all... It's all about how much you know, or who you can get to help you learn more, and everyone builds there own bike. After all, if you can't rebuild your mark's engine you won't be riding a two stroke for more than a couple of weeks, especially with any engine modifications. Here's some footage from the latest Polini Cup Race:

Polini Cup September 2009 Moped race 1 from rafter on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


And Remember...

If your tax bill hurts
Vote for Kurtz!

For reals...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

From The Archives

The Way of the World, Continued...
Lief to Leave

          West Elmsborough-The state of New Hampshire expects 65,000 foliage viewers to visit the commonwealth this fall. Flocking to the White mountains, swarming the scenic byways, these fanatic leaf-lovers are arriving by bus, plane, automobile, motorcycle and even canoe. The entire economy of the small township of West Elmsborough relies on the autumn leaves, whose subtle tones they describe as “the color of money.” For several years the town has been trying to further exploit this phenomenon. Doughty town councilwoman Tribulation Winthrop has even suggested in a recent town meeting the spraying of all trees with a special, diluted variation of Agent Orange to bring on the fall colors a little sooner and thereby corner the fall foliage market for at least part of the season. This could prove useful if the nonexistent fall of 1958 repeats itself, a thing not even the staunchest old West Elmboroughians can remember without an ill-concealed tremor of fear.

           However, not every town citizen shares the same feelings on the yearly death of the photosynthetic process. Arnold P. Klarmann, the scowling, blue jean wearing president of the of the New Hampshire Leaf Free Lawn League, and proud owner of a turbo charged, 450 horse power, back-mounted leaf blower, sees leaves not as a money making enterprise, or even a relatively pleasant sight, but a rotting pollution seasonally covering the earth, and more importantly his lawn. Klarmann has been petitioning the town council for the last eight years to blow the still living leaves off the trees in late August. He wants to blow the leaves into the neighboring town of North Elmsborough, which he hates almost as much as leaves because of the ignominious defeat he suffered at the hands of their champion in the New Hampshire Garden-Tractor Races, held earlier this summer. This early defoliation should be no problem as the range of his and others in his league’s leaf-blowers is over three quarters of a mile.
          Whether downwind of a hurricane-force leaf-blower, or stuck in a scenic byway traffic jam, this writer feels that all should share in New Hampshire’s passion for the color and effect of dying leaves.

Saturday, September 12, 2009