Author Topic: Going Custom  (Read 2299 times)

bobforcha

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Going Custom
« on: November 18, 2016, 08:30:51 AM »
After much inspiration from the threads in this section, I've decided to go full custom with my Ascot.  I'm doing my best not to modify the frame at all, so that I can return it to stock if the mood strikes.  I have no plans to ever sell this bike, and if I take my sweet time, I won't need to sell any of the stock parts to finance the project.  I've started with the front end.  For now, I think I'm going to keep the stock forks, wheels and trees.

So far, I've replaced the headlight with a round EMGO 6.25" headlight.  This means the fork cover no longer fits, so I'm debating whether to custom fabricate a new one, or to relocate the horn and junction box.  This weekend, I will be replacing the stock bars with drag bars for a slightly more aggressive riding posture. I also have some shorter turn signals arriving this weekend that I hope to get wired up before returning to the grind on Monday.

I am also replacing the instrument cluster with one I am machining as I'm writing this.  This includes conversion to electric speedo and tach.  I'll attach a rendering of the cluster, and pics of the real thing as soon as I get it done.  I plan on having it mounted before Thanksgiving.  I will also be replacing the mirrors with some that don't stick up quite so high, but haven't decided on which ones yet.  That should also be next week.  After seeing it in a couple of other threads, I really like the look of the water buffalo tank on the Ascot frame.  That, and almost doubling the tank capacity.  I haven't quite figured out exactly what type of seat pan I want to include (I'm going for a scrambler / cafe crossover, so I have a few options, but I'm leaning toward a GB500 seat), so I'll hold off on mounting that until I have a more complete idea of the rest of the body.  I will definitely be removing the airbox for pod filters and changing out the exhaust during the cold months ahead (and all the rejetting and tuning that goes along with it), and I think I'm going to replace the battery with a smaller one I can put under the seat.

Anyway, this forum has been an inspiration, and I hope I can put something out of comparable quality to what I've seen here so far.  Any advice or suggestions are more than welcome, seeing as this is my first customization job, and you folks seem to be pros!

Cheers,

Bob

Dynachuck

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Re: Going Custom
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2016, 08:06:03 PM »
I like your instrument panel. I think you are doing the right thing by checking in with other people who have already tried the things you want to do. My two cents/ do not install pods ( I believe a pod filter is only adequate for about 200cc. Max due to plenum volume. The filtered plenum should be sized equal to at least 3/4 of a soda can. Uni and K&N make good filters that are appropriately sized. For the battery I have used Shorai and anti gravity lithium batteries, they are a fraction of the weight and size of the originals and work great, but expensive and you have to buy their " special " chargers. They tuck under the seat pan nicely though. Also I recommend making a fiberglass seat pan and get the seat you want. It's real easy.

J6G1Z

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Re: Going Custom
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2016, 11:03:54 AM »
I recommend you research the removal or modification of the air box & intake tract.

Several have tried, only to experience dismal results. There are a few things that can be done to improve the intake capacity, but it will upset the jetting immensely.

There are several posts in the Technical section that you should read.

Good luck
J.

bobforcha

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Re: Going Custom
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2016, 02:09:55 PM »
Thanks guys. After watching a few videos, I think I am going to make the fiberglass seat pan myself. Looks pretty fun. Also, thanks for the advice on the intake. Perhaps I will keep the plenum. I've read through most of the articles in the tech section, and i know it will be some work getting the tuning right once I change the intake and exhaust. Luckily, I'm a mechanical engineer with a machine shop and a dyno available at work, so as long as I take the time to do it right, I can hopefully get some good results! Once I park the bike at the shop for the winter, I'll start uploading pics as the project moves forward.

J6G1Z

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Re: Going Custom
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2016, 02:28:31 PM »
I removed the air-box & attached a large UNI type of oiled foam filter on the end of the common intake plenum. I went through several jet changes & was not satisfied with the results. Was able to run O.K. unless you opened the throttle real quick & then it would just bog on too much air before catching up. I finally grew tired of messing with it & put the modified air-box back in. Ran great again & I left it alone after that.

I still have that foam filter if you are interested. Nice & clean, still looks like new.

J.

Dynachuck

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Re: Going Custom
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2016, 08:18:07 AM »
If you make your own seat pan, I would build up your frame about 1/8" with something pliable like duct tape (lots of layers, my tendency is not to build it up enough so it fits too tight on the frame) so the seat cover can wrap under the pan nicely and still Hug the frame. I also like to use rebond foam for at least the base. On The first sea  I made, I used the firmest foam I could get from an auto upholstery place and it was still too soft and would mush down to the pan. I switched to using rebond foam with a 1/2" layer of regular auto upholstery  foam on top and really like it. The rebond is hard to find locally but easy to find on line.

bobforcha

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Re: Going Custom
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2016, 09:29:07 AM »
J,

I'll definitely get back to you about the filter.  The previous owner of my bike replaced the stock filter in the box with a UNI filter, and didn't re-jet the carbs, so it runs really lean right now.  I'm taking it into my shop to park for the winter tomorrow, and I'll begin the tear-down shortly.  I'm almost finished with the instrument panel.  I'm waiting on some 1 mm end mills to arrive to do the finishing cuts and engraving on the top plate, and I'm cutting the sheet steel base plate tomorrow.

Dynachuck,

Thanks for the advice on the seat making.  This is going to be a completely new experience for me.  The only thing I've ever made out of fiberglass is a rocket nosecone, and I was able to turn the profile for the mold on a CNC lathe.  Cutting one by hand out of foam is going to be interesting.  I'm not sure if I'm going to wrap the seat cover around the base pan, or make a smaller pad to mount on top, like the Legendary Cycles seats.  I'll definitely still pad the frame up though, to make mounting less of a pain.  I have a 2 kW laser cutter at work, so I'm thinking I can cut a top/bottom profile out of pretty thin sheet metal (or foam-core if I find any laying around the shop), then cut the side and front/rear profiles and tack them together, and surround that skeleton with the florist foam to make the mold.  I'm kind of hoping to be able to "french" a tail light into the rear hump of the seat this way.  I'm going to get started on those models this week.  I'm going to take your advice and use the rebond foam.  What overall thickness did you go for for your pad?

I'm really glad I asked for input before starting this.  You guys are already giving me lots of help.  I greatly appreciate it!

Bob

bobforcha

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Re: Going Custom
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2016, 08:49:17 AM »
Alrighty, first piece finished.  I finished the new dash assembly and test mounted it.  Everything fits nicely!  Now, I just need to wire it all up and test it out.

bobforcha

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Re: Going Custom
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2017, 10:48:01 PM »
Hey everyone,

It's been a while since my last update. I've been busy lately, but I still find time here and there to put work into the bike. Here are some things I've done so far:
  • ditched drag bars for clip-ons
  • replaced control switches and throttle
  • relocated electrical junctions to headlight bucket
  • replaced steering stem with one from everyone's favorite donor bike, an '88 Hurricane. Has the same dimensions, but no bar clamps or headlight mounts sticking out in inconvenient places for clip-ons
  • drilled and tapped a couple of holes in the new top triple clamp to remount my instrument cluster. It sat way too high before, but I really like it now.
  • stripped and primed the fuel tank, and installed a new petcock
  • removed airbox, battery, and everything else midships. I think I like it empty.
  • installed MAC exhaust I bought from John. Freakin' Sweet.

Works in progress:
  • making a new wire harness, and just generally updating the circuitry.
  • the fuel tank. A new cap assembly is on the way, at which point it will be fully functional, but I have a decent amount of cosmetic work to do.
  • waiting on a shipment containing replacement ignition, bar end turn signals and mirrors, and a shorai battery
  • the seatpan. I've made a fiberglass casting of the bottom of the stock seat and modified it to fit with the new tank. I'm going to attach the casting to the bike, fill it with a shitload of spray foam, cut it off level at the top, and build the rest of my foam mold on top of that. I'm also still working on the design for the battery / other electronics compartment. I do have a taillight for it already, but I'll save that for a later post.

Lastly, Colorrite was able to match the stock candy red, so I'll be painting the tank and seatpan the original color (yay!), and keeping the front fender. I really dig that fender for some reason.

Here are a couple of pics.

Cheers,

Bob

J6G1Z

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Re: Going Custom
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2017, 08:27:04 AM »
Looks good. Glad to see those pipes found a good home.

J.

bobforcha

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Re: Going Custom
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2017, 07:27:53 AM »
OK, it's been a while, but I've got some updates. Not quite done yet, but getting close. I got her up and running 2 weeks ago, as I had to vacate the space where I was working. Due to that, I had to do a bit of a rush job finishing off the seat and the electrical. Some of the connections are a little sloppy, so I've got her parked at home while I make a new wire harness. I also have a little more body work to do before painting, but overall I'm pretty happy with how things are looking. Here are a couple of pics.

murdo

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Re: Going Custom
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2017, 03:09:27 PM »
Nice. Like the pipes.

Bucko

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Re: Going Custom
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2017, 03:56:18 PM »
I'd like to hear how those dual pipes workout.  There's a theory that the bike won't run right without the OEM 'power chamber' because of the unusual piston/crank timing (not sure I buy that theory so some real world experience would be nice).

Also, agree with J6G1Z about the airbox.  Typically CV carbs seem to require a bit of vacuum (accommodated by the restricted flow of the airbox) in order to run properly (or perhaps more accurately, in order to run most efficiently). Other folks seem to have to done it though (not sure if that's the case on the Ascot) so it's not impossible.

J6G1Z

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Re: Going Custom
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2017, 07:51:39 PM »
I'd like to hear how those dual pipes workout.  There's a theory that the bike won't run right without the OEM 'power chamber' because of the unusual piston/crank timing (not sure I buy that theory so some real world experience would be nice)....

I've owned two VT500FT Ascots. One with the MAC dual exhaust like shown above & one with dual Super-Trapp mufflers. They run great without the "power chamber".

I've heard that theory before & it's not accurate.

J.

scott s

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Re: Going Custom
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2017, 08:18:23 AM »
I'd like to hear how those dual pipes workout.  There's a theory that the bike won't run right without the OEM 'power chamber' because of the unusual piston/crank timing (not sure I buy that theory so some real world experience would be nice)....

I've owned two VT500FT Ascots. One with the MAC dual exhaust like shown above & one with dual Super-Trapp mufflers. They run great without the "power chamber".

I've heard that theory before & it's not accurate.

J.

 What carb and/or jet changes are needed when running a true 2-2 exhaust and getting rid of the power chamber?
 Did you notice any flat spots or loss of torque?
 My VF500 Interceptor has a Kerker exhaust. It screams up top but, I'm told, at a loss of some torque down low.

J6G1Z

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Re: Going Custom
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2017, 09:00:25 AM »
First bike I went up two sizes on the mains.

Second bike required more fiddling/testing due to air-box mods.

Each engine should be treated as being unique depending upon condition, modifications, elevation, air density, riding style, etc.

J.