ON DRUM BRAKES

ON DRUM BRAKES

QUESTION: Drum brakes?  ANSWER: No, thanks.  QUESTION:  A front drum brake?  ANSWER:  What are you? A comedian?  This fictitious exchange captures the essence of the spirited and enjoyable debate sprinkled with just about the right amount of sarcasm and humor that ensued when Motorcycle Daily featured BLACKSQUARE a few days ago.  Most spoke with authority and conviction: No…

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EXHAUST NOTES

EXHAUST NOTES

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  • On 23rd March 2015

“What mufflers should you buy?” Pea shooters, megaphones, Dunstall style, British standard, fishtail, cigar type, grenades, shorties, clip-on’s or slip-on’s? As with most things today, the variety of available aftermarket exhaust components is overwhelming, indeed.   The choice will depend primarily on looks and then perhaps fit, but performance and sound are probably just as important (and…

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GOLDEN RATIO

GOLDEN RATIO

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  • On 18th March 2015

Mona Lisa conforms to it.  So does Michelangelo’s David.  And so does “The Creation of Adam” on the famous ceiling of the Sistene Chapel.  These are, the scholars enlighten us, the very best works of art in the world because of the Golden Ratio.  That is precisely what makes them so beautiful, so owe-inspiring and so memorable.  Golden Ratio? Really?…

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ONE, TWO, THREE… FOUR!

ONE, TWO, THREE… FOUR!

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  • On 9th March 2015

Many experienced custom motorcycle builders can probably start with an idea of the finished motorcycle already in mind and then build the bike in a single assembly step by just putting all the finished components together.  Like Mozart, who, legend has it, could hear an entire symphony in his head and then just simply write down the…

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MINIMALIST APPROACH

MINIMALIST APPROACH

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  • On 7th March 2015

“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”  Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Another guiding principle in building BLACKSQUARE was the quintessential bobber principle of “nothing superfluous”.   I personally find it very appealing (but do not necessarily endorse it).  As a result of my affection,…

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DESIGN PRINCIPLES

DESIGN PRINCIPLES

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  • On 3rd March 2015

I am not a designer.   I only found myself forced to think about “design principles” in order to keep this project manageable; confined within certain boundaries.  After all, it had to be finished. As I spent hours looking at the bike in the workshop and as the notion that I would eventually have to work…

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REAR HUB BEARINGS REMOVAL

REAR HUB BEARINGS REMOVAL

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  • On 2nd March 2015

The HONDA CB500 and CB550 Service Manual (and all other popular manuals like CLYMER for example, who have simply copied the HONDA Manual text word for word) gives only the briefest of instructions on how to completely disassemble the rear hub in order to replace the ball bearings. The instructions pretty much say, “Remove the…

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STAINLESS STEEL HEADERS

STAINLESS STEEL HEADERS

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  • On 2nd March 2015

Don’t make the mistake I did (driven by enthusiasm and ignorance) in buying a set of CB750 header pipes and thinking they would fit your CB550 engine.  They won’t.  Header pipes for the CB750 are much wider in diameter (and probably different in shape and length).  The CB550 header pipes are 1 and 1/4” O.D. …

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IRRATIONAL EXUBERANCE (I-MIGHT-AS-WELL)

IRRATIONAL EXUBERANCE (I-MIGHT-AS-WELL)

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  • On 2nd March 2015

When all this started, I had no intention of building a custom motorcycle.  The idea didn’t even cross my mind and at that point I wasn’t even sure I knew what exactly a “bobber” was. My plan was to take the engine apart, learn what was what and how all these things inside worked, put…

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CUSTOM FOOT PEGS, BRAKE PEDAL & GEAR SHIFTER

CUSTOM FOOT PEGS, BRAKE PEDAL & GEAR SHIFTER

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  • On 1st March 2015

During this entire project, I never stopped marveling at HONDA’s designers’ ingenuity, style and sense of balance and proportion.  Everything looked and felt as close to perfect as it could be under the circumstances in the 1970’s particularly considering the limitations imposed by competitive pressures and the need to minimize cost.  Every time I thought…

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KEIHIN CARBURETORS REBUILD

KEIHIN CARBURETORS REBUILD

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  • On 28th February 2015

There is a wonderful sense of satisfaction at the end of a carburetor re-building/restoration project.  You step back and look at your work: the glitter of the polished brass, the soft reflections of the polished aluminum, the bluish hues of the anodized bodies, the perfect symmetry of the assembly, the stunning complexity and the freshly…

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CARBURETORS EXPLAINED

CARBURETORS EXPLAINED

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  • On 28th February 2015

A bank of 4 KEIHIN carburetors is a sight to behold.  Intricate and elegant as a piece of fine jewelry, it must, at the same time, perform its function with the precision of a Swiss watch.  And just like a precision Swiss watch, the carburetors must do everything that they do precisely, repeatedly and reliably under all circumstances and…

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