PROJECT DRAG BIKE
PART 5: FITTED LOOM LIFTS THE GLOOM
Wiring underway at last and air shift plumbing too. Really? Yes
Bird’s nest of wires emerges from Lidl bag and the Big G gets to grips with electrics. Al wrestles with the pink floral shears. Chris, from across the road, gently despairs
Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. That’s how we roll when it comes to projects on Practical Sportsbikes. Although when we do get down to it a lot tends to happen very quickly. Project Drag Bike has suffered from the misapprehension that because it’s a simpler build than a road bike, it requires less time. And Drag Bike doesn’t always get the love it should. Not that we’re not always thinking about it.
Another thing we’ve been thinking about is the pending window for entries for the Brighton Speed Trials. The event itself isn’t until September but entries open for only a brief period from May. The Vintage Motor Cycle Club invites only 60 bikes to take part and we really want to be one of them. To that end we better have something to show them and soon. To the shed, Big G and see what you have gathered with your magpie ways.
The Grumpy One pulls a pretty complete wiring loom out of a carrier bag, like Lidl have just started doing big electrics. “This,” he declares, “should go on alright. It’s a GSX-R750K loom.” It says something about the interchangeability of all things Suzuki of a certain era that the GSX-R loom will happily link everything we need to run our 1200 Bandit motor fitted onto a GSX1100 frame. All the more surprising, to me at least, is that we will be using the 750 ECU that’s still attached to the loom. “It does have a slightly higher rev limit but you won’t be over-revving now, will you?” asks G with an admonitory look. He obviously remembers the last time PS rode one of his drag bikes, former features editor Chris Newbigging blowing G’s GSX1100 into a million little pieces [Funny, he never mentions that – JM]. I suggest that I’ll see what I can do about sourcing a shift light from somewhere. Wouldn’t want to give any guarantees given that anything can happen in the heat of competition.
“Anyhow, let’s get it on the bike,” he says, laying it along the frame. Gary pulls a pair of used Dyna coils out of a box and lays them alongside their tabs on the frame. These give him a starting point for the fitted position of the loom. He wrestles the headlamp wiring around the headstock and tucks it into the bottom of the bowl. We still harbour some notion that Project Drag Bike will be easily convertible for road use.
A new pack of cable ties is rapidly depleted as G weaves the loom to the frame. With everything
“THE AIR-SHIFTER WILL BE ACTIVATED BY THE HORN BUTTON, A PARTICULARLY APPEALLING FEATURE – BEEP, BEEP, COMING THROUGH”
forward of the back of the engine tied down, we can see the problem we really want to address; there’s a bird’s-nest of cabling with the CDI, fuse box and a variety of relays plugged into it. This little lot we have decided to arrange on fabricated aluminium plates above the battery box, which itself sits deep in the chassis, more or less where a damper would sit on a monoshock bike.
We elect to approach the making of the plates for the electrical components in time-honoured fashion, first cutting some cardboard templates. There are many useful things in Big G’s workshop, but a pair of scissors does not number among them. He heads indoors to borrow some from his other half, Jacki. He returns with a pair of bright pink floral shears. By now I’ve learned that it’s best to say nothing…
With the templates made the next logical stage is to break out the aluminium sheet but with ‘the engineering department’ located over the road in the form of the long-suffering Chris Whitworth, Gary prefers to get him to knock them up instead.
That frees us up to look at the installation of the MRE air-shifter. There’s a small amount of plumbing involved in this plus we’ll have to mount up a rechargeable gas bottle so it can do its thing. When it was on Gary’s Katana, a mini 12-volt compressor charged the reservoir. The air-shifter will be activated by the horn button, a particularly appealing feature – beep, beep coming through. I think we should leave the horn in circuit, after all we still have the wiring for it.
We still have a few things to sort out. A removable subframe will plug into the main rails to provide a backstop for the one-piece bodywork. We need to organise some kind of fuel cell. A pair of very short shocks will be required to keep the bike low. All this and we still have no idea whether or not the engine is any good. Still, we do have a spare or two and sometimes you just have to take things on faith…
Gary never uses six cable ties when six hundred and sixty six will do. As long as he’s not paying for them
GSX-R750 ECU with higher rev limit to be grafted in
And in goes the 750 ECU (with a bit of gentle encouragement)
Plumbing is critcal on any bike, doubly so on any competition tool
He likes pulling his wire does our Gary
Shame to ruin a perfectly good cardboard box
Good to see the gender-non-specific scissors out
Air for the air-shifter will live underneath the carbs
Horn not what it says on the button any more