Clas­sic Cob

From the shed

Old Bike Australasia - - CONTENTS -

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]­ (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]­ or phone: 0419 280 650. See you next is­sue, Pete

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