loosely assembled and precariously balanced in the cleaned up frame – surprisingly
not a bad fit! Those hideous springers were made of solid bar and
weighed as much as the engine and frame put together. You will see
the springs off them later.
Number 2 & 3
Note the seat springs,
yep, the only thing worth saving off them springers. Z650 wheel and
gearbox sprocket lined up and engine mounts done. Foot pegs made,
handlebars bent, butchered Norton tank and cardboard kick start quadrant.
Number 4 & 5
The M21 forks needed
shortening as they had been made 18” over stock and the YDS2 Yam wheel
fitted in them, brake and clutch peddles done, gear lever made, air intake
box done – more on that later. The front guard bracket is made from
stainless steel scrap – that was as tough as kryptonite – I burnt out a
Bosch drill on it. It must have been a very funny sight to see me
running around the garden with it held aloft, burning like an Olympic torch.
Note metal kickstart quadrant this time.
Brand spanking new
heads oh yes! The engine all assembled and the brightwork done.
Gear box to do – snug fit isn’t it? You can see the kickstart shaft
carriers that share the same bracket as the gearbox, the front brackets
have a tube welded between them to stiffen the front half of the lower
frame without stressing the engine cases.
Starting to look
like a bike now, but still about 18 months to go before we scare the life
out of Natalie and the cat! In case you’re wondering, the pipes are
central heating lagging – excellent stuff for sorting out exhaust pipe
runs. The dimensions are just about fixed at this stage with an overall
height at the handlebar of 37”/.940 metric. The length, wheel spindle
to wheel spindle, is 62”/1.575 metric. The seat height is 27”/.685
metric and handlebar width is 29”/.750 metric with 4.5” fork trail (.115
metric) and as much engine and gearbox weight mass below wheel spindle
height as possible. All aids in an attempt at the goal I was after,
which was a small, light, manageable, bobber-styled, blatting iron!
You can just see
the kickstart shaft sticking out the back of the clutch cover. It
now has a square end to accept a Sportster kicker with the pedal swivel
back to front. The clutch lift lever is a cutdown 9/16 spanner and
the air box is a BSA Bantam flywheel cover with the Indian script fret-sawn
out so that the Linkert can breath through it. I have made the head
steady out of sprung steel riveted to a mild steel bracket so that the
stresses from the frame don’t pull on the engine. Vincent used to
do similar to this with a sliding bracket on the rear head.
Oh yeah, Moen.
Guess what the four spare brackets are there for on the front down tubes?
(Grizzy & I had been talking about superchargers,
so my guess is a surplus WW2 Spitfire cabin blower, but I may be wrong...
Not bad for a junkyard
special that has, so far, cost me about £2,500 and 8 years of head-scratching.
There are 101 things like the tail light being the front fender war bonnet
light with the face dyed red and making rivets for the rear mudguard out
of wood screws with the slits brazed up. Mouse mats used for seat
padding. Lining up the flywheels with a straight edge and feeler
gauges, making all the gaskets out of brown paper or Cornflakes packets.
But it all becomes an itinerary and boring. So if anyone is interested
and want to know more, can they e-mail through the VI Website or mailing
I hope I have shown
that there are alternatives to big buck restorations, not that there’s
anything wrong with museum pieces if that’s what turns you on. But
I find it sad that Indians have now reached the status of “dollar on the
hoof” rather than fun on the road. As Moen said, “rolling your own
ain’t a bad thing if it keeps another Indian ALIVE”.
I have joined the
Vintage Club this year as they have a road class in their sprint events
so we will see if Geronimo can stand a bit of gentle persuasion down the
strip! I will keep you posted.
The (ex-) BSA
Bantam clutch cover!