Working Girl

Ducati Chopper

This is the life the last bike I built now leads – taking me 3 miles to work and back in all weather. I know it’s not good for a bike to do loads of little journeys, but that’s all I really have time to do with work, kids, other family commitments and trying to scrape time together to build another bike. Anyway, it doesn’t seem to do it any harm, and it always starts in the morning. The lane behind my house that leads to where it lives is just a muddy slope in winter, so it’s pretty well covered in crap now (literally – dog crap, fox crap), but hey-ho – no time to ride, definitely no time to clean.

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Engine mounts.

OK. So after building the frame, while it was still in the jig, I needed to get the motor mounted properly. This is one of those area where fools rush in, and make work or problems for themselves later on. Obviously the engine needs to be mounted square in the frame, and rigidly, both to stop the motor being twisted under power and to hopefully increase the strength and rigidity of the frame to make it handle better. The problem is that how the engine is mounted, or the shape of the engine mounts, will effect other stuff later on, like where the carbs are going to sit, and the exhaust’s routing. In the end I mounted the engine in a position that might mean the front exhaust header fouls a cross brace, which will need a bit of reshaping to give clearance. It’s not ideal but it’s not the end of the world. The rear engine mounts were straight forward, and utilise what would have been the swing arm pivot – nice and big. The lower mounts which bolt to the horizontal cylinder were fiddly, but not to bad. But the top engine mount was a shit-bag. Because of the way the carbs mount, the engine mount needs to be asymmetrical to make the most use of the width of the engine to give support, but I haven’t done the carb inlet stacks yet, so there was a lot of checking to make sure they wouldn’t foul the mount, and the carbs would still be able to sit in the right place. Tedious and slow, but finally done. Now it gets a bit more rewarding as I can put the wheels on and start to see what it’ll actually look like.

Out of the Jig at last. Time for wheels and all the other bits that make a bike go ‘vroom’.

Ducati hardtail frame

Ducati hardtail frame