Tuesday, September 24, 2013

CAFE CM400 BUILD - New Tank

 Ok, back to this sheit. After the last fuel tank debacle, I stumbled on a Suzuki GT250 tank at a salvage yard. I liked the way it looked and the cost was about $10. The tank inherently offers up two separate projects in that I will be making new emblems as well as a filler cap. The fuel cap will be a billet aluminum quick release type. As for the emblems...just don't know yet, but probably cast aluminum or bronze. The smallish squared tank looks good in the frame and just needed to be picked up in the rear. The bottom line of the tank follows the line of the tailpiece About an hour to cut fit and fab the existing tang to fit to the frame. I found a grommet that fit the tang and fabbed an oval piece of steel to fit in the strange new hole. All in all a good fit. I was lucky that the front mounts fit relatively well, just needing two plastic inserts to put the tank rubbers outboard a bit. This project is running more than a year now and time to work on it is scarce. It will however be done one day. Can't wait just for it to be gone. I ride most days I can and I adore riding, but building is an entirely different pursuit. I find when there is no demanding deadline...its so much more enjoyable.

Now that the tank mounts are set and the seat pan, I will be doing battery box mounts and all other frame welds so I can get to the paint stage for the frame. Till next time, cheers.

Monday, October 22, 2012

If You Like Small Honest Bike Shops...

Help my friend Kendrick by casting a vote for him to win a [small business] grant. It doesnt matter if you're in Alaske or Florida or Sweden, or Germany or anywhere!  Its easy and quick and FREE. The grant would help his biz as well as his customers enabling him stock a deeper selection of parts as well as many other sweet things little independent bike shops need.  Quaker City Motor Works is a small bike shop here in Glenside Pa, specializing in Brit bike repairs and customs, and Kendrick is a good bloke! Have a minute?...cast a vote for him. Below you will find a link-click it and cast a vote.
 Philip Peck

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cafe CM400 Build - Tank Test

The tank started to look pretty good after grinding. This tank was going to have body filler added, but needed to be tested for leaks before Bondo. I thought I would just add some air pressure with an air gun. The tank folded and buckled at a surprisingly low pressure. I was shocked. I did indeed find the leaks as well as turn many hours of work into scrap metal. The next step is deciding on the new tank.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


This is the BMW R75/7 Cafe racer build. Its been in progress for some time. I wanted to do the frame stiffening and the stiffened swing arm. The tank will be aluminum as well as the tail piece. I will be showing more on this build in a while.

side bracing turned out well-the sockets have internal tapers that seat on tapered bosses welded to the frame.
Final drive in place to add rigidity while I welded.

Tacked and ready for beads

DOM tubing, torch bent over a mandrel
Tank coming together, its quite large.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Philip is on a buisness trip, he's in a far away land, northern Jersey to be exact. He is peddling his wares as they say, "gone to market" might say others. So why is Philip writing in third person? Drama, simple as that. He is not in his shop where he can access photos and work on bikes and make postings of real metal bits being added to motorbikes, and he resents it. My friends, this will be an intellectual posting, when we set down our wrenches, we click off the Miller Synchrowave, and we reflect. Its time for some prose.
   The jacket is on already, the gloves are stuffed impossibly into a side pocket. The helmet is in the left hand and the keys are in the right. All time stops as the key is slid into the ignition switch. The kill switch is then flicked on and the starter button pushed. The engine fires, time starts again. As the bike warms up, we gear up. The air rich with hydrocarbons  as the machine is rolled out, and mounted. We are chambered and cocked, kick down, eyes up, and now clutch release. It begins...this dance we do, this song we sing, our bodies riding an impossible projectile traveling in our minds eye. Not only head but heart as well for our reference point. This exercise we move through has a cleansing effect, scrubbing away all but the essentials of the moment, such as braking and entry, apex and track out. Our attention riveted to road and target, the two hundred yard focus and glimpses of red line. Are we not space men? Are we not Cyclonauts drawn desperately to our type of space, the one in our minds, where we fly using our organic instrumentation  and the most spectacular invention...our beloved  motorbikes. Ride we say, fly... escape this world.

BMW CHOKES - The Blue Rat Drops A Valve

My '74 BMW R60/6  ...AKA The Blue Rat...dropped a valve due to badly worn valve guides. Learning curve...if you get a flat spot after 3000 RPM's it may not be the carbies. Here are some nice shots of the damage.

Very nice cratering of the piston crown!

Beautifully embedded valve tulip. Well done!

One cycle lift is not enough.

Bragging rights...got her down low enough to grind her heads! She's an old girl...but she puts out.
(yes I was scared)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

HONDA CM400 CAFE BUILD-Steel Tailpiece

 The tail piece  is fabricated out of steel sheet. First card stock patterns were cut to lay it out on the sheet steel. I then made a run to my bud Jim at Marquise Auto Restorations to use the shear and box and pan break. The seat pan was done in one piece and the round tail, in two. One hour and the two tail sections were shaped on the english wheel, trimmed and ready to be tacked together. The seat pan was pretty much done on the break, I just needed to tack and weld the cuts. A hump had to be put in the front of the pan for some clearance for the frame, visible just behind the tank. Next the round tail and the seat pan were tacked in place and final welding was done. As a finishing touch, I ran the lower edge through a Pexto bead roller to stiffen the assembly and define the bottom of the tailpiece.

I wanted to slam the pan as low as I could against the frame, following the contour of the frame. So far Im ok with how it looks. Its coming together as a "look" with the modified tank. Right now I have an 18 inch rear wheel temporarily on there to make it a roller, and my brother says I gotta keep it. The CM400 had a 16 inch rear wheel which does look stupid in this case. so I will probably stick with the 18 inch rear. Tail lights are always in issue/decision with a cafe bike. Im really not sure what I'm going to do with this one. Possibly a little 2" red dot in a sheet metal cone contoured into the hump. but the hump has a beauty left naked. That's for a later day.