From the shed
The story I did in the last issue about John Horan’s Bitsa prompted Ken Butler to give me a rundown on his unusual machine which is best described as being Feet Forward. Ken started to build this in 1987 and took some 18 months to complete. The chassis was made using 25mm x 38mm steel tube. The centre-stand lifting handle is similar to a Vincent. As a Vincent owner since 1954, Ken was familiar with that mechanism, but he claims that they in turn had taken the idea from Rudge who used it in the 1930s. As he was building his own frame he decided on a 500cc engine with an electric start. With the engine sitting between his knees legroom was going to be short. The cheapest machine he was able to purchase fitting these parameters was a 1981 FT500 Honda. He got this bike mechanically sound before removing the engine and swinging arm. The wiring loom and instruments were removed later. Ken decided to try and build a single-sided front end using a Holden Gemini disc, hub and ball joint support arm. This meant a lot of work and cost, building up a wheel with off-set rim to take a bike tyre. Although this did work it was far too cumbersome and is still under his work bench. The next step was to use a head bracket to take the original Honda forks. He slid the legs through the clamps about 75mm which still left 100mm of movement. This worked very well once coupled to a drag link and the bars. With the rider sitting low there was very little fork dip which is the trouble with a telescopic front end, but you still had full steering lock. This is less with the Difazio set up which Ken acquired. Once this front end was fitted and sorted it was time to think about covering it all with fiberglass. This was found to be a mammoth task in itself, making plugs and moulds from them. Luckily Ken changed jobs about this time to a manufacturer of agricultural machinery, part of which involved the making of fibreglass tanks. He realised that with his feet in a forward position the wind blew up his legs and he needed some form of covering which was duly completed. One of the gurus of the Feet Forward scene, Royce Creasey stated “if it fits, use it”. Hence Ken used a S.U. fuel pump from a 1954 Riley, bits from Holden, Ford, Mazda and BMC. A friend made the 3 gallon alloy fuel tank. The electrical gear from the Honda FT500 was retained and all other connections and relays were attached without any undue problems. The rear chain is longer than normal so a spring loaded jockey wheel is fitted with an automatic oiling system. In 2003 Ken replaced the 4 rose joints and the bush the handlebars pivot on, from a type of nylon called Vesconi which is apparently self lubricating. The problem encountered in 2004 was that the steering was getting a little tight when the engine was hot. The bush in this area was not self lubricating, the remedy was to give this a light hone and install a grease nipple. Ken named his machine, Crusader. This name comes from an article where a tester of a machine with this type of front end asked, “will Jack Difazio be a lone Crusader” using this type of front end. With that, curiosity got the better of me so a Google search soon gave me the background of Jack Difazio and his designs of centre hub steering. Very interesting and I suggest that those wanting to know more have a look at it on Google. Ken has travelled approximately 30,000 km on his Crusader but with age creeping up on him he know believes that it should have a new owner. He can be contacted email; kenneth_but[email protected]pond.com (03) 5678 2245 or 0409 004 017.
BSA M20 parts
After many years of trading in BSA M20 parts well known dealer Bill Green has decided to call it a day. Over the years he has managed to acquire substantial quantities of New Old Stock and reproduction parts. These include Pistons, Rubbers, 276 carburettor and engine parts. Bill can be contacted via email: [email protected]pond.com or phone: 0419 280 650. See you next issue, Pete