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Another new project - not American, not British...

6762 Views 30 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  DesmoDog
Original plans were to build a hard tail with a sporty engine, but looking around the basement I realized I had a heck of a lot of Italian parts sitting around. And then a buddy had a frame with a trashed rear section, and I'll have a spare engine once I get another of my projects going, so why fight fate?

It's obviously not very far along and I hadn't planned on "presenting" it this soon, but what the hell. Here is my '66 Ducati hardtail. It'll be 250cc of romping stomping single cylinder Italian horsepower. Should be good for about 80mph+ which will be more than enough. Rear fender isn't trimmed, seat is held up with a roll of masking tape, nothing's welded yet, tail light is in the wrong position, and the background is so cluttered you can't see many of the details, but hey, other than that...

Seriously though, I threw this together to see if the tail was going to be too short. I don't want the bike to look stretched, but I also don't want it to look stubby. Rear wheel is all the way forward in this shot - I think I'm going to run with it. (Edit - this configuration is a little over an inch longer than a stock 250's wheelbase, which is a little longer than a stock 160's wheelbase. Frame is from a 160)

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I decided to order a set of rims for this instead of trying to match something I already had. I painted the original spokes, decided to go with the stock Ducati front hub, and started to build the front wheel. Surprise! 36 spokes. 35 nipples. Great. I stole one from the back wheel and kept going. Today I got a replacement for the missing one from someone on the bevelheld list (Thanks again, Frank!) and finished lacing up the back wheel too.

Obviously the rear fender still needs to be trimmed. I've changed headlight shells - it's the same size (130mm) but this one has a boss for an igniition switch, plus I have the internals for it. The sidestand will likely be removed so I can use it on another bike.

Flanged rims were not my first choice, but the non-flanged rims I found that were affordable had been out of stock for ages. So, I went with black flanged rims hoping they wouldn't look as massive as silver. The day after I got the notice that these had shipped, I got an email that said the silver non-flanged ones I wanted were back in stock. Oops.

I trimmed a front fender to see what it'd look like. I was a little restricted by the damage on the donor part but overall I don't think I like the shorty fender, so back to the valanced front once again. And that means the matching "round" rear fender. I like fenders but it sure would be an easy way to go...

It may not look like it, but this is the most progress I've made on this thing in ages. Now it will get shoved to the side once again though so I can start working on a 900ss trackbike project that needs to be freshened up a bit before spring. I might work on this at the same time but don't quote me on that.
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And 12 years later, I've dragged it out of the corner and started working on it again. It doesn't look all that much different than before I suppose, but a lot of decisions have been made and a few details worked out.

I retired a few months ago and have a few projects being resurrected so we'll see how far I get on it this time before something else comes along and distracts me.
Man, I like this little Ducati a lot! Please finish it and let us follow your endeavor.
Please finish this. It's going to be so much cooler than the cookie cutter Yamaha XS customs that are everywhere
Thanks guys, I have every intention of finishing it but I have to get the trackbike ready for spring.

My goal is to have this done before the Barber vintage festival next October. It's still where I can see it when I work on other stuff, so I keep getting reminded it's still around.
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Key-ripes this thing keeps getting shoved to the side.

When I last posted I had started working on a trackbike project. Long story kinda shorter the trackbike neared completion, had a setback, and then became a donor bike when I unexpectedly obtained a limited edition of the same model that I had wanted since 1993. It had been sitting for 20 years so I knew it needed TLC, but it became a problem child I still haven't gotten running right. It's now sitting in a corner thinking about what it wants out of life and I've gone back to working on this instead.

So here's some of the stuff that's happened over the past year.

The seat mount is worked out with everything tacked in place. I cut the footpeg mount off a frame from another project to replace the bent one on this frame. The other bike has rearsets, it doesn't need the stock peg mounts anymore.

On to planning the electrical system. I wanted to get a battery box and hide a modern battery and maybe a fuse block in there, but I can't find the size box I used on my 160 and don't like the stuff I can find. Hmmm... I pulled an old SAFA battery off the shelf that I had bought for my 160. It's an NOS part from who knows when, Cosmo was selling them back in the day I think? It's not something I'd ever use as is because 1) people who did try to use them reported they didn't last very long and 2) I despise old school flooded acid batteries.

But dang it's a nice size to fit the bike. I took some measurements and started poking around the interwebs, and wouldn't you know. One of the popular modern batteries people are using on these should fit inside the case of the SAFA battery. Well, if the case was hollow. Alright, let's see how these things are made. Just to clarify, this battery is old but has never been filled with anything. No acid or voltages involved. There is some lead involved, but I wear an old respirator when I do stuff like this because of all the dust anyway.

Here's the battery as it's sat for the last 50 years or so. That thing behind it is a top cover that will hide all the modern parts inside.

First step was to scrape the tar off the top and see how this is put together.

I thought the top was one molded piece, but when I started cutting it I discovered it's three seperate covers that are just sitting on the cells, the tar held it all in place.

Bash the covers off and the cells pull out in one piece. Much easier than I was imagining.

Once the case was empty, I had to deal with the internal walls that seperated the cells.

I ended up cutting slots in walls and breaking them out in pieces. They were brittle so breaking them was easy, but I tried to be careful not to break the outer walls. There is one spot where the break went into the wall but didn't go all the way through. For the most part I got to where there was some left on the outer wall and then shaved that off with a wood chisel.

So there it is, an old school dummy battery box. If all my measurements are correct I'll have enough room on the end to place a terminal block if not a fuse block. Next up I'm trying to source a regulator for it. I was looking for a new, small, cheap part off a CB125 or something, but may have found an original one that I wouldn't have to hide. Which is good because as I recall the originals aren't small.
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I had been staring at the now too long centerstand for years trying to figure out the best way to shrtne it. Finally I decided enough was enough and it was time to start cutting things up and just deal with mistakes instead of building it in my head over and over again.

The stand is basically made of a bunch of plates welded together, but they all run at angles to each other so shortening this results in that being too wide and/or too low to fit back together again. I considered solutions that involved cutting and bending and patching and rewelding, etc. But this isn't going to be a show bike. So finally I took the thing off and cut the top off of it. Then I put the rear wheel on a block of wood and set the centerstand in place next to it with the two pieces overlapped so I could mark how much to cut off. Did I mention that somewhere I have a spreadhseet with all the geometry calculated to figure that out? Yeah... whatever, nerd.

I decided I had to cut an inch out of it to get it where I wanted. So I cut it again an inch further down.

Just as expected, nothing fit back together when I was done, but all that cutting and and bending and patching and welding wasn't going to fly. Instead I bought a strip of 3/16" x 1/s" wide steel, laid a few pieces of it where the gaps were, and started welding.

It's no masterpiece but if you see that once it's installed, something has gone horribly wrong.

After it cooled down I put it on the bike and tried it out. Oops. I was shooting for the tire to be an inch and a half off the ground. It was more like half an inch. At most. Hmmm...

No worries. I also thought it was maybe angled too far forward so I stuck an 1/8" shim where the swingarm hits the frame when it's down. Perfect. It's more like an inch off the ground now but that looks fine to me. I cut a strip of metal and welded it in place.

Don't mind the red parts, that's stuff I 3D printed and those are only to check the fit. They are printed with TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) and the only black TPU I have is four times the cost of the red I have, so I use the red for trial parts...
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I had been chasing my tail on a battery tray and brake cable stop because I was thinking about ways to tie them together while still leaving room for a regulator. But I don't HAVE a regulator yet so I needed to figure that out. While I thought about that I printed a demo battery tray pad thingie - again, never mind the red. It will be black in it's final form, this is just a test fit part.

I also printed out mock ups of a few battery trays to get an idea on how all of this is going to fit together. I used to use cardboard but this maybe reveals screw ups better than cardboard - I messed up the tray on my 160 when it went from cardboard to steel, this would have caught the issue. I got a lot of things wrong on early tries of this one too but I think I have it pretty much worked out now. I still have changes to make.

After spending WAY too much time trying to figure out a regulator/rectifier for this I decided I'm going to take a Powerdynamo ignition and alternator set up from a 350cc project and use it here instead. The 350 is a long time away from being done and there are other ignitions out there that might work better for it anyway. Problem solved, now I have my regulator. Problem added; now I also have a black box for the ignition that has to go somehwere. More crap to hide. Not only that but the bike will now be 12 volts, and 12 volt batteries are bigger. As in, a 12 volt battery won't fit my gutted vintage battery case.

Solution: Screw the battery. A Powerdynamo can run the bike and lights without one and that frees up space in the battery case for the ignition black box along with some sort of fuse panel. I sense more 3D printing in my future...

But the real progress today was the brake cable stop/stay/mount whatever it's called. I've been looking at different ways to do this for much too long, it was time to just do anything. I went with the simple solution of not trying to tie it in to anything else and just made a post for it and tacked it on. Pretty sure that'll work but I'll save the final welding until everything else is in place.

I'm not a big fan of that style brakelight switch but it should work, and it's simple. And I've got a back up plan for when I decide it sucks and I go with a different style switch.

I also managed to knock the bike over onto the concrete floor, but indications are it crashes pretty well. The tank did get a little ding but it had worse spots already so no big deal.
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Cool detail, the recess in the tank is in line with the upper hardtail tubes . Looks like ment to be.
I was distracted by bicycles for awhile, but I'm back. Sum it up to say after decades of thinking about something the fates aligned and I did it, which led to me buying four bicycles in about three weeks, after going ages without buying any... and I now also vounteer at a local bicycle co-op on the weekends.

One win was figuring out that the black box will fit under the tank right next to the coil. Woo hoo! That frees up a lot of space in the battery case. This is basically proof of concept, it gets tight when the tank goes on but it will work. I'll probably tidy it up more but this inspired me to proceed with mounting the battery box

I've been doing other work too. I modded my 3D printer and had to start over with calibrations so that took some time. I don't even want to say how much 3D printing I've been doing, of things that mostly end up getting tossed. The good news is I finally ran out of magenta filament so no more pink parts. SO close to finishing the final part but had to change at the end. This shows a progression of battery tray designs, I've decided to make it a bolt-on part to make it easier to connect all the crap inside the battery box. The regulator attaches to the bottom.

I've drawn up about 14 versions of the strap that runs over the battery. I've printed 4 or 5. Each time I print one I think of something I want/need to change. I've printed 4 versions of the pad the battery sits on. Some of those changes forced changes in the strap. The funny part is, I finally decided to bolt the battery case to the tray which means some of the pad changes and therefore strap changes are no longer needed... now I'm keeping details in the pad I don't need anymore just to use the current strap! It's like they say, at some point you need to shoot the engineer and start building the damn thing...

Here's the general idea. I'll add a fender mount also.

I still need to add the mount to the other side. I'm thinking it's going to tie in to a brake pedal return spring and maybe even an alternative brake switch mount... but we'll see. One step at a time. And that step usually has a lot of redos. There's a reason or two this project has been ongoing for 15 years or however long it's been.
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I like it, your battery strap is really cool too.
Slow going on this but there has been progress made.

I was going to use a Sparto tail light, but it was made for a larger fender and none of the radii fit. I printed up an adapter for it but that made everything look massive and patched up. So I figured why not just print an entire light? It will need to be painted but that's fine. I set it up to use an LED insert from another stalled project. Here are the basic designs I went through before settling on the white one.

Then I spent entirely too much time printing up chain guard mock ups. It did help me figure out what I wanted, but when the time came to make it I bought some rectangluar tubing and cut that up. There is still more work to do on it, but today I got the shape done and the mount tacked on to it.

Somewhere in there I worked on the exhaust too. I have the layout figured out, but I pulled the muffler apart and it's going to be modified before it gets put on. More info on that when it happens but here's the basic layout. yeah it doesn't look like much cuz it isn't.

Oh yeah, I also got an intake for it. The original carb slide was damaged but I found an NOS one. Overpriced but whataya gonna do. I also decide on the "air filter" I'm going to use. The stock set up was ducted into side covers that aren't there anymore. The Scrambler stand alone filter is expensive and clunky. So... Boy Racer it is. Good thing the slide is new cuz it's gonna have a rough life.

Hey! Don't be a hater. The last one project didn't even have the screen on the velocity stack. So I'm getting better.
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