Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Winter's Wolves

Sorry I haven't been posting much lately. There are still things going on though... secret things... sort of. Anyways I'm involved in a local Team effort to build up some formula Racing Mopeds and field them in 2009 for an event called The Polini Cup, taking place outside San Francisco in a town called Atwater. Hopefully it'll all come together. Another reason I haven't been posting is because Liz's bike and my moped are both runners, and there's a bunch of snow on the ground. I guess this is the most snow they've had here in over 10 years or something...? The people of Seattle get an A+ in preparedness, they've been sporting their high-tech clothing for awhile; all they had to do was attach their skiis to get around. Yes, people skiing in the streets. I also saw a lady with snow shoes on at the grocery store. It would be tragic if she accidentally fell into a huge chasm covered by only a few inches of snow - in Fremont. The City of Seattle gets a F- in preparedness. They were calling snows days with a bare dusting on the ground. I haven't seen any snowplows, just cop cars and busses with chains on the wheels. -One bus was disabled on the side of the road, maybe it's chains broke?

Anyways... (sorry for being snarky) ..I've been mostly trying to get another job, which isn't going really well, probably because of the time of year, more than anything else. For those of you who don't know, I went to art school, which explains my lack of talent, and wild liberal politics. I graduated from CCAD in Industrial Design, the most macho-sounding art major. Basically, it means I figure out what stuff should look like, and why. There's all this gobbledy-gook about 'sustainability' 'design code' 'user interfaces' and 'manufacturability' that I just ignore. I just put flames and a spoiler on everything.


What'd I tell ya, Flames. Yep. There's more of my stuff Here, if you're interested.
Also, Merry Christmas everybody, I hope everyone travels safe and enjoys plenty of fruitcakes and egg-nog.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

we have Contact?

Ok, so I didn't make out last week due to a noise in my gearbox. After digging around in there, I sorted out the issue and My bike does now indeed run.... (?) But! Its now making a different noise, which bothers me, though its not as threatening as the previous noise. -Also it used to not be able to roll backwards, which it now does (1st speed clutch was in reverse). In just riding it, it did seem somewhat ballsier and the transmission mods did seem to work. So hopefully it'll run fur rillz, and I'll try to figure out what ever is that persistant noise... fret. fret. fret. -In addition to all the other issues: Lighting, jetting, legality, lack of centerstand, non-functional tachometer, etc...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Close-up Shots & Counter-tops

Yeah, so Liz has been able to get out on the P200 to practice since my last post, but isn't completely ready for the road yet. It doesn't really help that shes been really busy with school. We went to 'moped monday' last week and her and some classmates shot some footage of the the members and the meet-up for a school project. We were supposed to follow the Fleet on scoot, with Camera, but when it was time to leave the throttle cable promptly disconnected. Curses! Anyway, so interested parties should expect some video in the near future.

So, because my unemployment has freezed up my work on new projects, I decided to put my Newport's engine back together as it was a long while back. A few changes have been made since last time, largely in the effort of building up the motor my custom cylinder was planned for. They include:

-Upgraded connecting rod with caged bearing instead of the brass journal of the original (Thanks to Motion Mopeds on that)
-New 2nd speed shift pucks, again MLM
-Lightening of the 2nd speed clutch and secondary gear of about 120 grams
-Tensioning of the 2nd speed clutch
-Tomos 12V lighting coil
-Optimized header & (hopefully) improved tuned length
-Del'lorto 21mm PHBG

I'm planning on installing the motor today. I'm still not sure if the 21mm carb will jive with the Tomos cylinder, as the 19mm I used to run seemed big enough. I'm also not sure what if any changes need to be made to the wiring to accommodate the Tomos coil. The goal here is to show up at a Mosquito Fleet meeting with an actual running moped. How Novel!

Its quite a difference going from a semi-functional 'shop' to working on a kitchen counter. oh well...

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Upon moving here to Seattle, it took me about three weeks to get a job going. (late September) Today, along with several dozen other people, I have been laid off from that job. Obviously that's going to slow down my progress on projects as I look for a job and pinch my pennies. Boo! I suppose this has more to do with the company being brand new with a loose business plan than with the current U.S. macro-economic plight. The place I used to work at: Eagleview Technologies

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Game ON!

Radical. After exhausting some other possibilities, I decided to re-check the ignition timing on Liz's P200. Sure enough, the ignition timing mark on the stator plate and engine case didn't mean anything. After retiming the ignition, the bike ran Much better. That was a few days ago. The jetting is still off, maybe from elevation or the temperature or something, but the bike runs well enough. After some tinkering Liz and I took the bike down to Husky Stadium and I gave Liz her first riding lesson. Woot! I'm happy this project has reached some significant level of completion. Theres plenty of work remaining, but the scooter is actually 'useful' for Liz.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Step by Step

Finishing Liz's P200 is my first priority, and work continues to show progress. I believe I have remedied the fuel starvation issue, I also adjusted the ignition timing and used valve-grinding compound to correct a blow-by concern on the cylinder head. The bore and piston are in rough, but I believe usable, condition. If compression persists as a concern, we'll probably chip in the buck-oh-five for another cylinder and piston. The bike runs briefly then when throttle reduces to idle, stalls out. At this point, I believe the sparkplug is fouled from the excessive 2-stroke oil I used when refitting the cylinder after lapping the cylinder head. I'm hoping a good long ride will tidy things up, and produce Liz a runner. I still have doubts about fuel flow, though.

Even though I haven't been working on the furnace and custom cylinder, I'm thinking about it quite a bit. The furnace I plan on building will be a good bit better than my previous rigs, which were good for about 2-3 burns and then needed to be disposed and replaced. The set-up I used was a lot like This one, but I was using larger cans and a shop-vac for the blower. Here's an image of one of test test molds I did earlier this year in Ohio at a Cutters Shop Night. It's rough, but I'm fairly pleased how well it turned out, considering the casual way I made the model and the casual "eye-ball'd" method I used it melting and pouring the aluminum. It probably would have cast better, if I had used a larger crucible and coated the model with wax before investing it into plaster. You can tell from the picture the inconsistent surface texture, and shape isn't 'full'. Because I'm going to build up a more durable furnace for the custom cylinder pour, and because of everything I've learned up to this point, I'm considering attempting a short run of cylinders for machine that have none available. Or maybe manifolds?? Just a thought.

I thought I'd also share a sprocket I bodged together. I bought a 15T Puch sprocket, and a 22T Tomos sprocket. I chopped off the teeth of the puch sprocket and had Dave Force weld it up. Obviously this is a retardedly tall gear ratio. I worked on this earlier this year when I was hot to trot for the Decepticons' 'Race to End All Races' -essentially a 35 mile highway run from Kalamazoo to the Lake Superior coast. I figured I would want the longest legs I could possibly get, racing against a bunch of 80cc & variated bikes. I don't think I'll ever use it out here, as Seattle has these things called: 'Hills'. I never ran the race, due to not having a operable machine and not really being that pumped to go because of my lack of operable machine. Its a pretty common afflicition for me.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Brick by brick

So work on Liz's P200 has nearly produced a running machine. I still struggle to route the fuel line properly, and the Vespa fuel starves quickly. Hopefully by this time tomorrow, Liz's wait for her running scooter will be over. It still needs work, but the essentials are all there. I'm still surprised at the luck her bike has had, and feel somewhat ashamed that I couldn't produce similar results with Ellen's P200. Replacing the missing and damaged body parts given Liz's P200 a 'quilted' look.

In other news, in the near future I hope acquire the remaining elements to put together a new furnace for my custom cylinder project. In the meantime I've done some peripheral work with the Puch newport. Here's the shift pucks, courtesy of Devin at Motion Left.
Also, awhile back I acquired a used 2-stroke tachometer, then made by Daytona. It's still being made under the different marque of Koso. I was going to use it on my Vespa ET3 Racer, until I noticed how well it dropped into the stock speedometer housing of the Newport, with only a little modification necessary.

Finally, here's a video of me (losing) in a moped race a few years back in Dayton. Apparently I missed turn. Forsooth!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Prestige

As I mentioned earlier, and as many already know, I'm in the midst of crafting a custom cylinder. Theres almost constant debate swirling around the realm of 2-stroke cylinder design and tuning. I'm posting this for any interested parties. The numbers on this barrel are pretty severe, the most peaked figures I've used to date. But I'm determined to squeeze as much blood from this 50cc stone as I can, so yeah...

Also: Illustrations are for reference, and Not to scale.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Shannons Stolen PK

So, awhile back I put a 'shit-ton' of labor in my friend Shannon's Vespa PK50S. It was a really rare bike, and I helped make it go tres fast. Anyways, shortly after its return to Shannon (after much back n' forth) It was promptly stolen off of her street. A few years pass, and I spot a posting on the ScooterBBS looking for PK50 parts in Kentucky. I follow the links around, and sure enough, some fella has recovered Shannons PK50 for himself. I was pretty excited. The bike was pretty beat up, and will need lots of love. Shannon has moved on to larger machines since, so shes not interested in its return. Anyways, its nice to see the bike being rebuilt.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Brief History of Nerd

So I've been working on Liz's Vespa P200, and to my surprise things are actually going rather well. This is a bit of a surprise because Ellen's bike ,which was in definitely better shape, was very difficult to finish -particularly the electrical system. Liz's P2, though more banged up, seems to have dodged that electrical bullet somehow. We're currently waiting on some parts to make the machine abit more reliable.

I'm also turning my interest onto my own machines, particularly my Puch Newport II Moped. I bought it off of Scottie, an older fellow who was a race announcer at Vintage Days at Mid-Ohio, and a regular at Supersonic Scooters when I worked there. It was well-ridden and came with a biturbo pipe and had a ZA50 motor. This was about July 2004. It took me awhile to get to it, as I was still working with my first Puch, a Maxi-luxe I had built up for racing.

My set-up on that bike:
-Gilardoni 75cc Cylinder & Head
-Homoet 8p
-Dellorto PHBG 21mm
-Customized Athena Intake manifold
-Homemade Electonic Ignition set up (bodged Tomos, Puch, Hero gear)
-13x45 sprockets for the track, 18x38 for top speed
-Michelin M29s Tires

Back when I built this racer, nobody was using any of this stuff outside of Rigid and the Dutch tuners who developed it all. I had to use online dutch translator to email 18 year olds about their jetting set-ups. Most American moped tuners were skittish about using carbs over 17mm. My point is that my bike is not nearly as radical today as it was a few years ago. When I finished the bike back in 2004, I went to the Decepticons' Moped BarBQue, which was my first moped rally (not scooter rally, though). I wanted to participate in their annual illegal road race, the "no-rules" race. The problem was my bike was 75cc not 50cc, a requirement to run. Still, on a borrowed 50cc machine it was a great run, with carnage, cops and intensity. I promised to return with my own 50cc machine.

It took me awhile, but when I turned my attention to the Puch Newport, I wanted to turn it into a easy-riding street bike that could still be competitive in the No-Rules race. I also didn't want to dump a ton of money into it, as I had done with the Gilardoni racer. After fiddling around with Will Laing's Tomos Racer, it occurred to me how similar Tomos and Puch equipment was. The Tomos A35 was superior to nearly every Puch cylinder, with a reed valve and four ports being standard. After a few measurements it dawned on me that a Tomos A35 cylinder would drop right onto a Puch motor with No modifications necessary. -At the time this was not common knowledge, though other moped riders had also discovered this , i.e. Bret Walker. So I built up my Newport motor, heavily porting the case transfers on the block and cylinder, enlarging the reed intake and intake ports. I sent the barrel off to be machined, raising the deck by 3mm to push the port timing for more potential. I adapted a manifold to fit the Tomos reed, fitted a dellorto PHBG 19mm and had Dave Force re-weld the biturbo to fit the tomos angled exhaust flange. I affixed a tall rear sprocket (38) and headed for Kalamazoo in 2006. That year the racing was less crowded, and my Newport performed well, clearing the pack handily by the second checkpoint. Unfortunately I was too excited to read the handout at the third checkpoint, and lost the race thereafter. Still, the bike did what it was supposed to and there was no 50cc machine at the race as fast.

Here's me at a scooter rally
(Roll in the Hay Hay) doing a burnout:

The Newport with that set-up had a Top speed of 48-53mph, depending on how that speed was measured. It was also reliable, and my sole source of transportation for several months. Still, I recognized the flaws and limitations of the set-up and looked to iron out those kinks. The first was the biturbo pipe. The header had a diameter that limited its torque, and the tuned length of the pipe limited the powerband. The second was the exhaust port of the tomos cylinder. The piston ring end-stops faced the exhaust side of the barrel. This limited the maximum width of the exhaust port to nearly stock. While raising the deck increased the overall port timing, power was limited by the exhaust port's small area.

My first consideration was to side-step this obstacle by installing a Puch piston with the tomos-style intake windows cut into it. Puch pistons havd ring end-stops facing away from the exhaust. But I would need a 2nd over piston (38.5mm) which are difficult to find. During this time of indecision, more and more Tomos cylinders were being installed onto Puch engines and it seemed to me that my next effort should considerably improve the bikes power. Gradually, the prospect of fabricating a unique cylinder for the moped grew on me. Working at Zoots Scoots, I was frequently in contact with Kymco Super 9's which are 50cc's and aggressively ported. From a few measurements, I determined I could build a unique and powerful cylinder using the Kymco Super 9 as a basis.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Getting Started

I feel the need to make some record of the things I'm working on, as over time lots of stuff gets discarded and forgotten about. My situation at present is that I've moved to Seattle about a month ago, and that I just a few days ago found a job. I've tried to stay busy with the job search over the last couple weeks, most working on my resume and portfolio. I also decided to do a topical self-portrait, imitating Barack Obama's 'Hope' image by Shepard Fairey. I've also been working on Liz's P200, which is in semi-rough shape and needs quite a bit of attention. I've also worked on my aluminum casting project, when money is less strained, I'll rebuild the furnace and try another melt & pour into the final model. More on all that later.