The 250 build, nearing the end.

A slight diversion today as finishing the story of the 250 build is way overdue. So some words and pictures of painted bits, metal bits and a nice piece of leather.

 

With three coats of base black applied, a series of white stripes were then masked and added. Everything was left for a couple of days to harden up before a very fine rub over with extra fine paper prior to the lacquer going on. For reasons of cost more than anything I’d elected to use rattle can lacquer rather than 2-pack on all parts apart from the fuel tank, which would be treated to a good couple of coats of petrol resistant lacquer, again from a rattle can. In retrospect I wish I’d gone the 2-pack route but it made the whole paint phase way too expensive, the petrol proof stuff works well but has yellowed in places and was quite tricky to apply evenly. With the lacquer all hardened it was time for a good polish and I can’t recommend Autoglym Super Resin Polish enough. Fantastic stuff and everything was just so shiny shiny.

Two important pieces of metalwork remained to be fabricated as all the painted parts made their way onto the bike for the final assembly. I knew the area at the back of the seat needed tidying but hadn’t been able to do much about it without the seat so it was stroke of luck that the seat arrived back just in time from being recovered. The first task was to make a piece to shut off the open area between the new mudguard and the seat mounting assembly. this then wrapped over the seat mount and formed an infill sitting below the rear of the seat base moulding.As before I worked it all out with thin card first which meant I could create a pretty accurate template for marking and cutting the sheet steel which was cut flat and then bent up in the bench vice.

For ages I’d been wondering how to finish off the rear of the seat. Knowing that there would have to be some kind of cover plate didn’t seem enough, there needed to be something else in there to give a more finished look. The answer came to me out cycling one day when I spotted and old bicycle with a little pouch hung from the back of the saddle. I ventured onto the internet to see what I could find for motorcycles. As it turned out, not too much unless I wanted something that looked like it had fallen off the back of John Wayne’s horse, and tassels are definitely not my thing. Taking the bicycle route proved more fruitful and in a fit of extravagance I splashed out on this lovely little number from Brooks the saddle makers. I quickly made up an angle bracket to fix the panel to, mounted to the seat base, and again using some card drew around the profile of the seat and transferred it to another template for cutting. A couple of holes and two slots later I had a neat little cover panel that the pouch straps attached to directly.

 

With these two new parts painted black final assembly could continue apace, my deadline for borrowing the workshop was looming.

 

 

 

Paint it black.

Song titles eh? Always good inspiration for a post title, thank you Rolling Stones.

Man was I pleased when I’d chopped off those spars at the back end. The overwhelming sense of progress really hit home. The bike had suddenly taken on a completely different look. Whereas before the chop it had seemed as if the whole mass of the bike had been centred somewhere around the back wheel or just in front of it, now it all seemed to move forwards, it gave the whole thing a much needed sense of increased purpose, like the bike really was about going forwards.

As I said previously I filled the ends of the resultant open tube sections with hard body filler. At this point in time I’d never used a welder of any description since my college days and a brief acquaintance with some oxy-acetylene gear. So neatly welding a plug into each tube was not something I was up for as I doubtless would have made a complete pigs ear of it. So body filler it was and, at least I knew it would give me a lovely smooth finish. I painted the cleaned up ends with the smooth version of Hammerite, or Smoothrite as some call it. For those of you who don’t already know this is wonderful stuff, provided you apply it in accordance with the instructions. It’s an enamel based paint that you can apply directly, via spray or brush, onto bare steel without the need for all the fuss of a priming coat. It flows and dries into a lovely glossy black finish. Accept no substitutes.

It is perfect for things like this if you’re not going to be going the whole hog and having the complete frame sprayed or powder coated. I’d elected to use it to touch up all the little chips and blemishes on the main frame and for the small spots where I was going to grind off things like the pillion footrest hangers etc. A few dabs with a soft brush and hey presto. As you will see in later posts I also used it, because you can buy it in rattle cans, to paint all of the steel pieces I would make for finishing off the back end. It has proved utterly durable since the bike was finished and is well up to the job of protecting various bits through both foul weather conditions and the battering that a bike can get in the parking bays of London at the hands of carefree scooter commuters.

The parts that I’d ordered for taking the back end to the next stage, shocks, rear light and fender section had not yet arrived, so I diverted my attention to the front of the bike for a while. My plan was to fit a lighter and smaller front fender, some smaller clocks and do something about the front brake.

You will notice in the shot of the top yoke that the standard brake master cylinder was now sitting at an odd angle to the handlebar. Its orientation now that it was on flat bars was significantly altered from when it was attached to the high bars of the standard bike. I didn’t want the hassle in the future of trying to bleed the brake with the reservoir at a distinct angle, nothing worse than brake fluid to ruin anything it touches, like paintwork.I’d visited the local autojumble at Kempton Park to see if I could find anything appropriate but to no avail. However, a quick call to a contact alerted me to a good breaker in Aylesbury called Breaking 125′s (sorry no link, he’s not got a site). When I got there it was the usual Aladdins cave of bits and parts from all manner of bikes. I came away with a Magura master cylinder and reservoir from an old Aprilia and a plastic front fender off I don’t know what, but it looked kind of right.

The clocks had arrived early on so the main task for them was to make some kind of holding plate to fit the top yoke. I’d elected to keep both speedo and rev counter functions but had chosen different sizes, the speedo being the larger of the two. I could have done without a rev counter but I like them and thought that it might actually stop me over-revving the engine as I had no idea if it had any kind of limiter on the ignition.

The speedo on the other hand came with some tiny built in idiot lights and double odometers. How to mount them? I didn’t have any machine cutters big enough to make collars for the clock bodies so decided I’d put them on a plate in front of the bars roughly where the standard clocks had been.

 

 

I measured up the space and mounting points and drew up a simple plate on some graph paper that night, including all of the fixing points and cable holes needed to make a neat job of it. At times like this graph paper is such useful stuff. The grids are a fantastic guide for creating very quick technical drawings for parts you want to make and the drawing tools you need are no more than a pencil, compass, ruler and circle guide. For me, much faster than trying to knock something up on the computer. Finally I wanted to complete the clock mount with some kind of foam surround, a kind of homage to all those Ducati and GSXR clocks seen in the 90′s and on innumerable race bikes. There was a great bit of scrap seat foam in the workshop I’d had my eye on and quite by coincidence it was the same depth as the clocks themselves. Just perfect.