In my experience, everything worthwhile is made so by the people involved, and by that measure, this is going to be a great program! There are a few adv'ers I can't thank enough, but I'll try starting here: Ganshert, who is not only great company but also pretty good with composites, c.vestal who brings incredible energy and mad skills to everything he turns his attention toward, and GSNorCal, who is positive and helpful and centered, not to mention smart and creative. 2 weeks ago (really? Am I that late? Jeebus) we got together on Friday night and got started. We'll call it a work session, but we laughed so hard through the whole thing that barely seems fair.
I had made the decision against racing Jonah's 2007 bike (which is now for sale, PM me) because it's hard to justify starting with a used bike. Even when everything works perfectly as it does on that bike, I didn't want the mental worry of wondering what I'd forgotten.
Further, I really wanted to make the simplest possible bike. I have a ton of miles on 530's, the 450 is essentially the same and I trust the package. I debated buying the RS Concept setup, but the cost was high and Scot, Chris and I decided we could get this done on our own. This saves me a ton of $$ and means I can have spares... so the decision to fabricate was made.
Chris has been developing a roadbook mount system for a while anyway, so we had a very solid starting point. The tasks we had to accomplish break into essentially two categories- setup and bolt-on stuff, and fabrication. Our goal was to focus on fabrication, on the theory that the setup/ bolt on stuff could be done whenever, but the fab stuff is not only long lead, but also high risk. The pre-weekend list had three big boxes to check off- Electrical System design, Rear tank mounting, and biggest of all, Fairing Fab.
First step on the fairing is to imagine the shape we might want. Here we go, construction paper, tape, and crayons.
The plan was to get an idea of the shape we wanted, and carve the first side out of foam before quitting Friday night. Here's where we stopped at 2 AM:
The windscreen is a 990 screen from SGMoto (Scot's company), no you can't buy one, yet.
Like the plastic surgeon says about boob jobs, the first one is easy, it's making the second one match that is a trick.
This man looks serious!
Shaping the foam:
Meanwhile, Dave (GSNorCal) and I were busy working on rear tank mounting.
Here Aurel (who was stopping at my house at the time) supervises, and C.Vestal advises:
Mounts complete on the 530, we transfered to the 450. I don't get no respect.
Here Erika, the graphic designer who made everything to do with the effort look good, tries to break a foam block, while her husband looks, uh, frightened.
With the foam shaped, it's time to cover it with Fiberglass. Once that cures, another part will be taken off, which will become the mold.
Vacuum Bagging the plug:
And then it was time for Crepes made by Marion, Aurel's wife.
The team hard at work:
At the conclusion of the weekend, the bike didn't look much different, but we had made a ton of progress. The fairing was moving forward, the rear tank was mounted, the electrical system de-mystified, and generally, while most of the physical work of making a rally bike remained, many of the mental barriers were put to rest.