110 Sco­madi 400cc – The Dom­i­na­tor

Mar­ry­ing the en­gine from one par­tic­u­lar make or model with the frame from an­other make or model is far from a re­cent phe­nom­e­non. Es­pe­cially re­gard­ing two-wheeled ve­hi­cles, this one is an ex­cep­tional ex­am­ple though...

Scootering - - Contents -

Tired of wait­ing for elu­sive 400cc ma­chines to come to mar­ket? Do what Neil Kent did in­stead… build your own!

The arch ri­vals of orig­i­nal 60s Mods, the rock­ers, ar­guably pop­u­larised the par­tic­u­lar prac­tice of en­gine trans­plants, cer­tainly in Bri­tain. Their cafe rac­ers were no­to­ri­ous road rip­ping rides. Of­ten, but not al­ways, cafe racer hy­brid mo­tor­cy­cles were based around the Nor­ton feath­erbed frame. On the scooter scene cre­at­ing a be­spoke scooter util­is­ing a frame from one make or model with an en­gine lib­er­ated from a dif­fer­ent make or model is also noth­ing new. Fit­ting Lam­bretta Se­ries 3 en­gines to older In­no­centi mod­els such as a Se­ries 1 or 2 has been done and doc­u­mented. Both small frame and early Fatboy Ves­pas have had large frame Vespa mo­tors shoe­horned in.

Lammy en­gines in Ves­pas and vice versa have come to the fore over the years. There’s been auto-en­gined clas­sic scoot­ers around since twist and go’s gained a de­gree of ac­cep­tance on the scene. Mo­tor­cy­cle en­gined scoot­ers in­volve some se­ri­ously trick en­gi­neer­ing, again there’s been count­less ex­am­ples, in­clud­ing the short-lived Rossa 350LC. Taffspeed’s Lammy pow­ered, road le­gal fair­ground dodgem car is one of the most rad­i­cal, ex­treme ex­am­ples of a scooter pow­ered hy­brid that I can think of. When is a hy­brid two-wheeler not a hy­brid? Would it be when a one-off ma­chine is based on an idea that has gone be­yond be­ing a con­cept ve­hi­cle, a work in progress that has al­ready had a launch, in a ba­sic for­mat, al­beit as a pro­to­type?

You de­cide. Neil Kent, who rides with Skelby Scooter Club, had in mind a de­sire for build­ing a high pow­ered four-stroke scooter, which would ef­fort­lessly carry him to far dis­tant ral­lies in the UK and be­yond. Af­ter read­ing about the planned Sco­madi fuel in­jected 400cc scooter, Neil took the de­ci­sion to pre-empt the pro­duc­tion model ar­riv­ing on the mar­ket, some years down the line, by build­ing his own ver­sion. Ob­tain­ing a TL200 Sco­madi and a com­plete Burgman 400 fuel in­jected scooter in Novem­ber 2016, he had the ba­sics to em­bark on this project. His in­ten­tion was to trans­plant the fuel in­jected Burgman en­gine into his Sco­madi frame. Thus cre­at­ing a hy­brid scooter which was ahead of the game. Sounds straight­for­ward? Be­lieve me, it was far from straight­for­ward!

Tie me up, tie me down

Rewind­ing to the sum­mer of 2016, Sco­madi un­veiled a pro­to­type 400cc scooter at the pres­ti­gious Milan Mo­tor­cy­cle Show. The en­gine fit­ted to that show model pro­to­type was a 28bhp, 385cc Ital­ian made power unit. Based loosely on a car­bu­ret­tor type Bergman unit, it was made un­der li­cence by Moto Morini for the Ma­ga­lutti Madi­son. Paul Melici and Frank San­der­son, along with their Euro­pean dis­trib­u­tor have ac­quired the nec­es­sary rights along with tool­ing, to even­tu­ally pro­duce an up­dated ver­sion of that en­gine.

The plan is to go from car­bu­ret­tor to fuel in­jected, along with a strength­ened Sco­madi frame and body. Look­ing to the fu­ture, they are aim­ing to com­ply with Euro 5, with the Sco­madi 400, which in­cludes anti-tam­per leg­is­la­tion. Go­ing from pro­to­type through stages of de­vel­op­ment will, of course, be a long and time-con­sum­ing process. The ear­li­est that a pro­duc­tion Scomdi 400 will ar­rive, as­sum­ing ev­ery stage hap­pens with­out any prob­lems, is go­ing to be late 2018.

A more re­al­is­tic guessti­mate of the Sco­madi 400 be­ing avail­able through deal­ers would be 2019 on­wards though. But, if any­one can turn the Sco­madi 400 from a con­cept into a pro­duc­tion model in a rel­a­tively short time frame, Paul Melici and Frank San­der­son can.

Whips and chains

Neil had the ideas for what he wanted to cre­ate. Af­ter ob­tain­ing the two donor ma­chines, he had the key in­gre­di­ents. Next was to find some­one who had the pre­req­ui­site en­gi­neer­ing skills, com­mit­ment and knowhow to trans­form his ideas into re­al­ity. En­ter Steve Robin­son, who agreed to take on the build work. As with any such at­tempt to join an en­gine from one make with the frame of an­other, there were a num­ber of ob­sta­cles that arose, and even­tu­ally they were over­come.

There were three ma­jor prob­lems which could each have eas­ily prompted the builder to give up. Not Steve Robin­son. He tena­ciously, de­ter­minedly and sys­tem­at­i­cally over­came all of them. Some of the ac­com­pa­ny­ing build pics may il­lus­trate a few of the is­sues en­coun­tered. How­ever, the stages of build im­ages only give an out­line of them.

“In ret­ro­spect, if Steve knew when he took on the project what he knows now, if he’d told me to ‘do one’ it would have been no sur­prise! Al­most from the very start, it proved to be a ma­jor ball ache. The first ma­jor is­sue was get­ting the Burgman 400 Fuel In­jected en­gine to fit in the Sco­madi frame.

“It seemed what­ever was done, as a knock on ef­fect, caused no end of prob­lems. Firstly a be­spoke new sub­frame to take the en­gine cra­dle and silent block had to be made. Along with an ex­tra rear shock mount welded to the en­gine with an ad­di­tional, aux­il­iary, one-off rear shock mount on the frame. With the en­gine and sub­frame fit­ted there was not a lot of room un­der the Sco­madi frame, (and side pan­els), in places, there was only one-mil­lime­tre clear­ance! Which then made the sec­ond ma­jor prob­lem ap­par­ent – the stan­dard Sco­madi fuel tank wouldn’t fit.

“I didn’t want a tank mounted on a bar be­tween the legshields and frame loop, nei­ther did I want to mod­ify the legshield tool­box into a fuel tank, be­sides, I wanted it to have the stan­dard Sco­madi shape. Which meant build­ing a tank to fit from scratch. Us­ing card­board tem­plates, trim­ming them un­til it was the right size and shape to al­low for ev­ery­thing else there al­ready, then the fuel tank was hand built and fit­ted. Due to lack of space the fuel in­jec­tor unit had to be repo­si­tioned.

“The third ma­jor prob­lem was the cool­ing sys­tem. Ini­tially, the Sco­madi ra­di­a­tor was tried, but Sco­madi (200) has a pres­surised set up which didn’t work prop­erly, it was caus­ing no end of over­heat­ing. A Burgman ra­di­a­tor over­flow bot­tle was tried with the Sco­madi rad’; that caused the top of the over­flow to keep blow­ing open, due to the pres­sure. Ra­di­a­tor mount­ings needed to be repo­si­tioned, to al­low the Burgman cool­ing setup to be used. Which in turn needed a bit of at­ten­tion to the rout­ing of the cool­ing hoses.”

Cuffs and re­straints

Neil’s hy­brid scooter had a num­ber of nig­gles that re­quired sort­ing out too. For ex­am­ple, he chose to name his cre­ation Dom­i­na­tor, in­spired by the ex­haust that was in­tended to be fit­ted. Name be­stowed was also a state­ment that this scooter would dom­i­nate oth­ers out on the road in the power and per­for­mance stakes. Other fix­tures and fit­tings were equally in need of tweak­ing or mod­i­fy­ing, at­ten­tion that was in­te­gral to en­sur­ing the fin­ished ma­chine per­formed as it should

“I went with a Dom­i­na­tor ex­haust to start with, though I was never that happy with it. I didn't think it looked right on the scooter it didn't sit right ei­ther. I re­cently changed the Dom­i­na­tor ex­haust with a one-off, hand-built per­for­mance sys­tem, built to fit and suit. I was very pleased with the price NRP charged me, a very rea­son­able £150. Quick turn­around too, it came with a car­bon fi­bre end cap which was a bonus, as I'd al­ready had all the shiny stuff de-chromed and matt blacked. Although the Dom­i­na­tor ex­haust has been re­placed, I'm stick­ing with the name. The air­box caused a few nig­gles, lack of space dic­tated that the stock Burgman one had to be re­made. Graft­ing the Burgman wiring loom to the Sco­madi loom so all the electrics were fully func­tional took some do­ing. Given that the Burgman 400 FI en­gine is a heavy lump, weigh­ing a lot more than a Scomdi 200, there was a bit of con­cern weather Sco­madi 200 forks would be strong enough. Be­ing aware that when the Sco­madi 400 into pro­duc­tion there will need to be strength­en­ing to var­i­ous ar­eas, I had a chat with Frank (San­der­son) about it. Front forks were re­in­forced by weld­ing steel tub­ing around the stan­dard fork legs, then added car­bon fi­bre to ex­pand on the in­side. Steve Robin­son worked en­gi­neer­ing mir­a­cles build­ing this scooter. There was one stage of the process that held ev­ery­thing up, I sent a few parts off for pow­der coat­ing with a quoted turn around of six days, ex­cept, de­spite the as­sured quote, they ac­tu­ally took be­tween six and seven weeks to get the parts back!"

Thigh boots and rat­tan canes

Neil be­ing an up­stand­ing all above board kind of chap had reg­is­tered the com­plete Burgman with DVLA af­ter he ob­tained it. Which un­in­ten­tion­ally could have thrown a span­ner in the works of com­plet­ing his project. Burgmans made dur­ing a par­tic­u­lar times­pan were be­ing re­called for a rec­ti­fi­ca­tion re­quire­ment. Trou­ble was the Burgman reg­is­tered in Neil’s name was no longer a com­plete scooter, with the en­gine now re­sid­ing in his Sco­madi frame.

“I got the let­ter about a fac­tory re­call when my scooter had just been fin­ished. It was for the rec­ti­fiers to be re­placed, some ma­chines from a par­tic­u­lar year of man­u­fac­ture had it turned out, faulty rec­ti­fiers. It could've been re­ally prob­lem­atic, as the re­call was for Burgmans. Luck­ily for me, my lo­cal Suzuki dealer had a scooter lad work­ing there. Although the en­gine was in a Sco­madi the rec­ti­fiers were re­placed, with the pa­per­work ad­justed ac­cord­ingly. Tak­ing my scooter out for a road test af­ter re­plac­ing the rec­ti­fiers, the scooter lad was

I re­cently changed the Dom­i­na­tor ex­haust with a one-off, hand-built per­for­mance sys­tem, built to fit and suit.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.