Eclipse

Mu­sic and lowrider looks were what in­spired the cre­ation of Bob Ball’s fan­tas­tic scooter, Eclipse. We think he achieved his goal...

Scootering - - Contents -

Win­ning tro­phy after tro­phy, this scooter is some­thing to be­hold, de­liv­er­ing un­for­get­table looks and en­gi­neer­ing.

Two sub­jects blend

Bob had al­ways wanted to build a lowrider scooter, which would be rem­i­nis­cent of the Amer­i­can 1950s lowrider look and have a paint theme based on The Eclipse, the first le­gal all-night ‘rave’ club. You could be for­given for won­der­ing how the two sub­jects blend to­gether but it’s sim­ple: don’t over-think it be­cause Bob has done it, and it works per­fectly.

The way it should be seen

“I’d been think­ing about how to go about de­liv­er­ing the looks and the feel of the scooter,” Bob ex­plained. “I wanted it to be per­fect and choos­ing the right model in the first place was crit­i­cal. The body­work needed to lend it­self to the lowrider look, and the scooter needed to have the space for the art­work. The slim-style body shape wasn’t right for the project; it didn’t give the right feel, but the more gen­er­ous broad-style of the Se­ries 2 was per­fect.”

In Jan­uary 2016 Bob got on with things and pur­chased an API Li150 Se­ries 2, which would pro­vide the blank can­vass for him to work on.

Love no mat­ter what

To get the lowrider looks it was ob­vi­ous that Bob would need to lower ev­ery­thing, which would present a real chal­lenge at ev­ery stage. Not sat­is­fied with giv­ing him­self a fab­ri­ca­tion moun­tain to climb; to get the 1950s lowrider feel ab­so­lutely per­fect Bob de­cided he would add lou­vres to the body­work, which en­hance the look of the scooter and serve as a prac­ti­cal ad­di­tion to cool the en­gine com­part­ment.

De­vel­op­ing the look

When Bob set about the body­work, all the body pan­els on the scooter re­quired var­i­ous ad­just­ments. The out­rig­gers were dropped by 2in, as were the legshields and horn­cast­ing. The front mud­guard was given an ex­tended ‘skirt’ all round it and to cre­ate the ‘dropped look’ at the rear of the scooter the back end of the side­pan­els was also ex­tended.

In the mean­time, Bob made his own jig to jig out the forks and short­ened the fork stem by 2in to make them sit in per­fect align­ment with the front end.

See­ing the big­ger pic­ture

The un­der-seat frame sec­tion was ex­tended width-wise by one inch at each side. To com­pen­sate for the ex­tra frame width the rear foot­boards needed to be ex­tended, and as a re­sult the kick-starter needed to be ‘swanned out’. In turn, the low­er­ing of the body­work meant that the stand had to be short­ened by two inches. The lou­vres were then painstak­ingly made by hand. A hole was drilled at each end of each lou­vre’s po­si­tion and then, with self-tap­ping screws, an MDF tem­plate was at­tached to the body panel. After the tem­plate had been at­tached to the body­work each lou­vre was then in­di­vid­u­ally tapped out into the shape of the tem­plate. “The align­ment of each lou­vre had to be per­fect, and the shape of each one had to match the ones at ei­ther side of it. There was no room for er­ror and there were no sec­ond chances; each one had to right first time or the look would be to­tally com­pro­mised,” Bob ex­plained. The lou­vred side­pan­els were then welded to the un­der-seat frame sec­tion to cre­ate a sin­gle rear frame/ body panel, which lifts on a hinge sit­u­ated be­hind the rear wheel.

In­tel­li­gent think­ing

The sup­port at the rear of the seat is made from a Se­ries 3 front mud­guard and blends into the body­work per­fectly. The un­der-seat fuel tank is a one-off item fab­ri­cated by Bob.

The at­ten­tion to de­tail is out­stand­ing; Bob has welded a ver­ti­cal tube-way through the tank, which al­lows the choke and throt­tle ca­bles to run through it to the carb with­out ob­struc­tion. The un­der-seat tank also sits pur­posely slightly out of cen­tre on the frame to al­low room for the ‘up-and-over’ high-level ex­haust, which was hand-crafted by Bob from what he be­lieves to be a Janspeed item he picked up at a parts fair. The ex­haust runs per­fectly through the en­gine com­part­ment and when the frame is closed only the very end of it can be seen emerg­ing down­wards from be­hind the rear of the ex­tended side­panel.

Spray booth

To get things go­ing with the paint­work, Bob built him­self a spray booth and set about adding the colour. He chose to put cherry red on top of sil­ver, and then metal-flake base, which was fol­lowed by nine coats of deep red candy and fin­ished off with six coats of lac­quer.

With the ini­tial deep red base-coat com­pleted the pan­els were handed over to Dewey Franklin for the art­work to be added. Dewey had ini­tially sug­gested that the art­work should be com­pleted in black and white, but Bob was adamant that he wanted coloured im­ages. “I be­lieved coloured im­ages would sup­port the rave scene bet­ter as they would show the DJs in ac­tion, the lasers shoot­ing around the dance floor and gen­er­ally cap­ture the at­mos­phere of the scene per­fectly.”

On the top of the head­set, the art­work shows two fin­gers reach­ing to­wards each other with a spark con­nect­ing them blended into the gem light. The ‘Eclipse’ graphic on the off­side legshield is taken from an ‘Eclipse’ event flyer.

The front mud­guard shows a mu­ral of The Eclipse night club. The in­ner legshield fuel tank shows an image of DJ Sasha work­ing the dance floor, which is filled with rave go­ers danc­ing to Ali­son Lim­er­ick’s Where Love Lives. The graphic, ‘Last Rhythm’ ap­pears above the mu­ral on the back end of the scooter, which shows Saf­fron from ‘N-Joi’ com­mand­ing the dance-floor over a packed room.

To fi­nalise the paint­work, it was sub­jected to six more coats of lac­quer and a del­i­cate ‘flat­ten­ing down’ process, which in­volved 1500 and 2000 grade wet and dry pa­per fin­ished off with com­pound pol­ish.

De­tail

The front disc brake is on the op­po­site side to the usual po­si­tion and is a mod­i­fied Gil­era Run­ner item, which Bob also picked up at a parts fair. Bob ex­plained that the han­dling of the scooter is the best he’s even rid­den, which is due to the low cen­tre of grav­ity and heavy forks. The LED lights are off-the-shelf items, which have been per­fectly frenched into the side pan­els. Bob painted the num­ber plate onto the frame, which keeps the lines smooth, and the num­ber plate light was po­si­tioned in such a way that it would sit per­fectly with the flow of the back end of the frame.

Achieve­ment of a life­time

When you’ve been able to sin­gle-hand­edly pro­duce a scooter of the cal­i­bre of the Eclipse; it shows a level of tech­ni­cal abil­ity, knowl­edge, cre­ativ­ity, un­der­stand­ing and com­mit­ment to de­tail, which is at the top end of the scale. Bob has com­pleted a mas­ter­piece. At the VMSC Ex­trav­a­ganza this year, Eclipse took the award for ‘best cus­tom first time shown’ and ‘best en­gi­neer­ing’. The scooter is some­thing for the eye to be­hold and it de­liv­ers looks and en­gi­neer­ing in a way you’ll never for­get. Words: Stu Smith Pho­to­graphs: Gary Chap­man

An en­gi­neer­ing mas­ter­piece. Cre­at­ing the love and the at­mos­phere.

His head’s‘gone west’. Rear end lifts ef­fort­lessly.

Below left: One-off self-fab­ri­cated high-level ex­haust tai­lored to fit its sur­round­ings.Below right: The Eclipse night­club mu­ral on the mod­i­fied front mud­guard.

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