Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009


With out question a double sided four leading shoe brake (4LS) is the coolest kit out there for a cafe racer hub.

There is a dual single leading shoe (SLS) one from a Benelli looks pretty cool. If you could get one for less than $500 it would be a good deal.

Available new is the Grimeca 230mm stopper. On the same hub as the Benelli but has different backing plates. available for about $700+ I have one of these on my SR500 and the only complaint I have is the weight. This is not for guys that like to wheelie! It will stop you fast though.

Also keep a look out for a Suzuki GT750 double sided drums (also called a 4ls brake) could be a good cheaper option for a good drum. Usually available for about $250 - $350. They're really good brakes for the money, but usually need to be restored. Like re-chroming the arms turning the liners and getting new shoes. could be spendy if you get a cheap crappy one. For that reason it can be worth it to look for one thats in really good shape. I have 2 of these in my collection: one is fully restored and the other is somewhat less attractive. :-)

There are other truly exotic (and sweet looking!) 4ls brakes available Ceriani and Fontana come to mind, If you have deep pockets these others are a good option, if not, they'll likely cost more than a complete project bike. Unless you are playing the "I'm better than you" game in the ARMHA paddocks these are a little over the top.

Another consideration is the displacement of your bike. I don't know if I'd want to have drum brakes on a bike bigger than a 650cc. If you are doing a 750 or larger discs would be a sound idea. (or life insurance.)


Booo yaa! this is the rim you want. This style rim is the standard of light and strong. It comes in a few different guises. the most notable being the Borrianai and Akront from Italy and Spain respectively. These are the most sought after and will cost accordingly. I've found the Takasago from Japan to be a very well made rim and prefer it to the DID version. However, I still run the DIDs on one of my bikes and have no complaints. The key here is the high shoulder. Great for rigidity and it looks superb. Downside: cleaning them is a chore.

for the BSA, it really depends on how wide you want the rear tire but if, for example, you get a 19 front and the 18 rear, its a pretty common combo. the larger dia. front will have a lower profile tire and the rear will inherently have a little taller profile. this makes them pretty close to the same o.d. after fitting rubber. It makes the bike handle quite controllably and smoothly. I, however prefer the look of matching Dia. rims -and nineteens would look the dogs bullocks on your bike! If you get a matched set of the Takasago rims from the XS650 they will be pretty thin for a rear tire. but it can be done

BSA Cafe Racer

I'm helping a friend build a 67 BSA into a cafe racer. He's not really new to biking but he is pretty new to the whole custom cafe racer and modifying culture. So I thought I'd share some of the emails I send him.

I hope this stuff will help others out there keep from making costly and or hideously ugly mistakes while chasing the cafe racer dream.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Burt Munro. Nine letters that spell HERO. That guy was truly a gifted human. How is it that some of us can live a passionless life? True passion is what Burt had for his bike and for Speed. I have not yet had the pleasure of studying about his life, but Anthony Hopkin's portrayal of him in the World's Fastest Indian was inspirational. What would Burt say if he saw the time we waste blogging or watching TV. His days were spent in his shed solving complex engineering problems and finding solutions to unsolvable problems. All I have to Say is: Burt, GOOD ON YA MATE!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I really think in the grand scheme of things, the importance of life and possessions are really central to the existence we lead. For example in social interaction, I've noticed that the mere mention of motorcycles will usually ostracize me from a potential new social group or employer. Like a motorcycle (or 4) in my garage relegates me to the fringes of society where crystal meth fueled brawls and unkept beards are secretly being filmed by the FBI (or History Channel's Gangland.) Instead of being a "fascinating hobby" like photography or rock climbing, it's like a blot of gravy on a resume.
Well, here I am, not belonging to either of those worlds. Half of my days are spent denying my 2 wheel impulses so I might be presentable in hopes of regaining some kind of reasonable employment to support my family. The other half of my day is spent either wrenching away at some greasy hulk in the corner of my current garage or studying the aesthetics of classic race machines like pornography for my mechanical fetish. So, is it these impulses we feed that are shaping us socially and professionally? Is it these machines that define us as humans that allow us to stand out in relief against the smooth surface of society? Am I wrong to feel that my life and possessions are one great unemployed blob of mechanics and aesthetics? Maybe...