Hi from the UK - INDIAN Board Tracker tribute, my first build

indian22

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Dec 31, 2014
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We make plans and God laughs. This virus has us all messed us up in a variety of ways. It's also exposed many tenuous connections that have too long been taken for granted. Much of what we 've thought were strengths are now being unveiled as weaknesses. Experts and theories abound and are presented as truths where facts are few or totally lacking, and leadership is exposed as frightened, uncertain or totally lacking in areas that are most relevant.

Sounds quite like history repeating yet again, though with a different cast a remade production in the theater of life.

Rick C.
 

PeteMcP

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Jun 27, 2017
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Thanks Rick,
Slow going - but progress none the less.
Waiting for a few more of BLUE BAMBOO's parts to be delivered means I'm able to fill time by working on a couple of other projects. The set of vintage stamped steel girder forks I recently scored on eBay showed up and I was disappointed to find they were missing a couple of components. Namely, two of the four side links and three of the four pivot bolts. The good news is I've been able to get a pair of matching side links plasma cut to shape. See pics. Pivot bolts may be a little trickier to source. Maybe I'll just substitute the pins using high tensile threaded rod.
Also in the process of tarting-up the Honda Solo's tyres with stenciled custom lettering. Pic attached.
Been thinking hard about how best to conceal as much of BLUE BAMBOO's multitude of electrical wiring. Decided the best way to hide the rear disc brake cable was in a rebated groove cut into the top of the bamboo-clad 'tank' panel. This has worked out great. See pics.
Wiring from the throttle, 2 x brake levers and LED display meter will probably just be neatly routed in a 'cable tidy' down from the bars to the controller which will be encapsulated at the bottom of the frame behind custom-profiled aluminium side panels.
Tomorrow's job is to apply the last of the body putty needed to blend-in the brass bamboo rings on the seat post.
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indian22

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Dec 31, 2014
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Thanks Rick,
Slow going - but progress none the less.
Also in the process of tarting-up the Honda Solo's tyres with stenciled custom lettering.

Pete I typically read a post before taking a look at the photos & I actually winced when I read the bit about lettering the tires, but dang they look sweet! How 'bout this Solo guys? You really nailed this one, as is usual for you, Pete.

I really like my hand lever shifters, really easy to adjust to and they give the bikes an unhurried feel underway. Have you enough time on the Solo to comment on the ride experience?

Rick C.
 

PeteMcP

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Rick,
Solo is a superb machine. Honda has made some fine small capacity bikes and this is no exception. Total winner in my book. Took it for a half hour ride yesterday before Jen woke. Still fitted with the original 50cc Honda motor, so it's placid for sure - not that you'd think so from the very loud burble emanating from the new exhaust I fitted. I'm not about speed, so it suits me fine.
One of the things I like best about the Solo is it's semi-auto gearbox. Can only describe it as a kind of 'rotary' 'box. It auto-shifts back to first gear after coming to a halt in top gear, without having to down-shift. It's this factor that's holding me back from swapping out the original Honda motor for the 125 Lifan semi-auto sat here waiting to be installed. The hand shifter definitely further enhances the ride and it's this feature I like most about the bike - visually and ergonomically. I'm happy with the shifter lever's current position, but I need to try swapping it round so the handle is situated behind my left leg - proper Jockey style - before deciding which way I'll settle for.
Parked up in Alnwick, it doesn't take long to draw a posse of admirers taking photos - even with the present lockdown situation. Guy at the coffee van on Sunday refused to believe this Solo is only a 50cc bike. Looking forward to the day when I can ride to Rothbury and park up at the cafe amongst the sea of Jap racers and big cruisers round the village green. Even in that kind of company, I just know this Solo will be quite the star it is. And I can guarantee no-one will ever have seen another.
 
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indian22

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Dec 31, 2014
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Guy pulls up on a $35,000. Ducati & hardly draws a glance, yet a poorly restored Vespa draws a crowd. Same with cars and trucks. What was once common to see in Japan but not widely exported is equivalent to a spectacular one off build. Your Solo is a scarcity, well presented uniquely attractive.

Shifter looks great but Jockey style would also be a nice look.

Rick C.
 

PeteMcP

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Pal Malcolm confirmed BLUE BAMBOO's side panels have been sent off for profile cutting along with his latest batch of Kawasaki Drifter parts. Decided to do these in mirror polished stainless rather than aluminium. As supplied, aluminium has a brushed finish and I didn't want too many competing materials going on. Polished stainless panels will better match the bike's shiny parts.

Received no interest from hauliers/shippers after listing my Drifter on the US uShip website. Bike was still safely stored by the Tampa dealership I purchased it from. So I called the UK shipper I used when importing my '41 Buick a couple of years back and within two days my Drifter was collected from the dealership and is now at Miami container port. Been informed that because it's Japanese, the Drifter will attract only 6% import duty rather than 20% if it were a US made bike. Works for me.
 

indian22

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Dec 31, 2014
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Pete finding vendors large and small that not only can but will do any work required in small quantities is key for those who want to do one off builds and don't have their own tool rooms, especially for Old guys, like myself, that have always done most every fabrication in house. That ship sailed with the selling of my machine and fabrication shop with all associated equipment. In order to continue, building unique bikes, I see the need for utilizing the abilities of others rather than relying on my own fabricating skills. I'm adjusting to this, begrudgingly, but father time encourages me to rethink how I utilize each moment.

Rick C.
 

PeteMcP

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Decided to go with a rear fender after all on BLUE BAMBOO. Bike came with this chromed fender when I purchased it but it had some issues. Had to beat a couple of dents out of it and figure out a way of securely locating the lower edge of the fender to the frame. Pic shows the primer painted fender in place and it already needs re-priming due to chipping whilst faffing with the chain line to eliminate any chain/fender rubbing issues. The cnc'd alloy chain tensioner I've installed may be a little overkill, being intended for a motorcycle. I originally purchased this to install on my Honda Solo but it's specifically designed for fitting to a frame with square or rectangular stays - and the Solo has round stays. Oh well, every cloud has a silver lining, 'cause it turns out this tensioner clamps securely to BLUE BAMBOO's rectangular frame stays perfectly.

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indian22

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Ditto what Tom said.

I'd not noticed the spring tensioner before so either I'm inattentive or it's just installed, no matter I like these and use the model you've selected on four of my bikes, built for motorcycles they work well and look good to me. I assume you had good reason to mount it on the seat stay to control the drive section of the chain rather than mount to the chain stay & assist the return chain feed part of the train. Perhaps using the tensioner as an idler to keep the chain off the motor case &/or the fender, rather than notch the sheet metal? Whatever it looks good where it's at.

Rick C.
 

PeteMcP

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Well spotted Rick. Tensioner is mounted where it's at so the flange on the idler wheel can be used to keep the upper run of the chain from scuffing the rear fender's paint. Chain just needed the gentlest of nudges to avoid contacting the fender. Still had no choice but to notch the fender to avoid the lower chain run before painting it yesterday. Could've just gone with a large enough notch to accommodate both chain runs - but doing it this way at least gave me the opportunity of using the chain tensioner which, until now, had been consigned to my 'rash purchase' parts box. What you can't see in the pic above is that I've also added a second flanged idler wheel to one of the tensioner's fixing bolts and the chain goes over/under the idlers in an 'S' fashion.
Also bear in mind the tensioner is really intended to be used where the chain on most motorcycles is located - on the left side. My install just meant getting creative.
Pics here show freshly notched & painted fender and the tensioner's idler arrangement viewed from the rear.
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indian22

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Nicely done Pete. I favor leaving extra long bolts like these in place, just in case they're needed for attaching brackets etc. during the build and tidy things after I'm assured they're not required. I'd say this is an elegant solution which saves the frame from additional drilling or welding. Especially important on a painted frame that you don't want to completely mess up. This looks far better than a double notch.

Rick C.
 

PeteMcP

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Thanks guys.

That chain tensioner is yet another example of Oriental cnc'd components that leave me wondering how they sell it so cheaply. There are plenty examples of Chinese PoS to throw your money at - but this isn't one of them. Highly recommended.

Glad you like BAMBOO's twin headlight set up Steve. Worth me saying the brackets I used to attach the lights to the fork legs are once again very useful and versatile items from the Bimini range of stainless marine fittings intended for use on canopies for various watercraft. Well worth checking these out.
 

indian22

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Dec 31, 2014
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Pete the marine SS tube hardware is excellent quality, not inexpensive, but less than using motorcycle hardware of similar quality. I've used the various SS tube hardware on offshore boats, motorcycles and various bike constructions for many years and they are problem solvers and weld eliminators. The clamps you've chosen to employ for the lamps look great....classy!

Rick C.