Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Friday, September 16, 2016
Making A Custom Seat
...a very quick tutorial based on the Husqvarna build.
Have a general idea of what you want to do. Admittedly the below sketch is too thin for comfort so I'll be beefing it up some.
Make a seat pan. You can use aluminum, stainless steel or mild steel. If you use mild you'll need to powdercoat it (like I did). 16G is a good steel thickness. You may want to use a 14G for aluminum. Do not paint it. Most professional upholstery glues will eat through paint.
Go to your local upholsterer and test out some seat foam densities. Buy a roll of it (around $75 for 6'). Also pick up an electric carving knife. Get a nice one. The one shown here was only $20 and it burnt out within the first 10 min. You're going to put a lot of load on the motor cutting through dense foam.
Cut out a rough shape, leaving some overlap off the edge of the pan. Use a spray adhesive to attach the foam to the seat pan.
Layer up the foam as thick as you want, using the spray adhesive to bond them together. I went with 2 slabs of 1.5" foam. After you get your cake layered use the carving knife to trace the shape of the pan, cutting off the excess.
Put the stack up on the bike and test the comfort. Remember you'll be taking material off so if you're on the fence about it's comfort now definitely add more foam. You shouldn't be able to feel the seat pan if you bounce up and down on it. Depending on the kind of seat you're after this is also a good time to grab a Sharpie and mark where you land on the foam. You can use these marks later to draw out contour lines to follow when you start carving.
Measure and draw in your guidelines with the Sharpie. Try to get your lines as symmetrical as possible before carving. Going at it freehand will likely cause you to take off more material than desired as you go from side to side trying to get them even.
*Note - mines's looking a little chunkier than desired since my knife died on me halfway through. I ended up buying a new one and smoothing it out further from here. You can also use a vertical belt sander to smooth it out.
Make sure you keep testing it throughout the process to assure you're not taking too much off.
If you want crisp edges keep them sharp in the foam. When the upholstery is stretched over the form it will round them off quite a bit. For the upholsterer you can either draw up a stitching diagram of the seat or draw out your stitch lines right on the foam. Head over there, pick out some materials and throw your money down.
Vinyls are much more water resistant than leathers and look identical. Downside being the leathers wear in nicer and can be conditioned. Vinyls can be prone to creasing and cracking over time. The CX500 seat is vinyl. It's been on there for about 6 years now and just started cracking this summer. I probably put a couple thousand miles on it a season.
Here's how the Husqvarna seat turned out. Black alcantara on black vinyl with a champagne stitch. If you're looking for a tuck and roll the upholsterer will lay down a 1/4"-1/2" layer of low density foam on top to give it the depth. Below is 1/4". Go for the 1/2" if you want it deep enough to hide the stitch. Vinyls will give more definition than leathers due to their stretch.
...back to finishing the rest of the bike.
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Thursday, September 8, 2016
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
A few months back we were invited to take part in a 72 hour build competition called Wrench Against the Machine. Two teams of 3 get $3,000 and 72 straight hours to build a custom bike. We had mattresses on the floor in the back of the shop, an ice cold shower, and a Big Gulp worth of 5-hour energy. Over 3 days we lost 47 Sharpies, shaved off 3 years of life, and built a bike entirely out of short cuts. It was a terrible experience and I'd happily do it all again with that crew.
Esquire decided to put it on the TV:
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Thursday, September 1, 2016
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Friday, August 19, 2016
Friday, July 29, 2016
Honda Sportbike Concept
It's some of my favorite elements from Daniel Simon's Lotus C-01 and Husqvarna's Vitpilen with a healthy dose of street fighter.
Monday, July 25, 2016
The Shop Rag Shirt
With 5 years of development under it's leather backed buttons the Shop Rag Shirt is the magnum opus of Godspeed Company. Owners Chris and Allan cut the fat, trimming everything they disliked about men's shirts and distilling the goodness into it's details. In partnership with the Merrow Sewing Machine Co. Godspeed utilized their MG-3DR sewing machine to produce the "Merrowed edge", an over-locking edge found on the iconic red shop rag. It's a fitted slim cut that won't leave you feeling boxed out like Shaquille*. (*sports!)
Will you actually wear a $175 shirt while sliding under your bike on the garage floor trying to find your drain plug? No, probably not, but you can throw a few of the age old shop rags in with your order. They sell those too.