Thursday, September 7, 2006

Record confirmation / inspection

The bike getting its motor measured in the impound area to confirm its displacement. Only then can they confirm a record run.

The paperwork has been signed and our record confirmed by the AMA.

The team, left to right:
Mark Braunstein
Chris Bernard
Django Zaloom
Scott Kolb
Tom Romano
Greg Meola, not pictured.
Victor Vondracek, not pictured.

Warming up the bike before the start.

Tom lends a helping hand to get the bike underway. We try for four days and miss out on the 'special construction partially streamlined' record by 4 MPH. Our top speed is 129.5 and the record is 133.5.
The other record we hoped for is 'special construction unstreamlined.' So for our last run of the event we pull off the streamlining and run for the unstreamlined record.

The unstreamlined record is 115.5
and we run 119.368, yahoo! We were the last bike to run at the event. This picture shows the bikes configuration when we took the record.

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Sunday, September 3, 2006

It takes us 20 hours of assembly and packing before we hit the road, with about 4 hours of sleep we embark on a 48 hour drive, straight through to Wendover, Nevada. The first day of the event we get the bodywork mounted onto the bike.

Big thanks to all involved.

Right side of the bike. We were trying to keep a vintage feel to the bike. I have too say we were heavily influenced by whoever photographed for Popular Mechanics circa 1970.

This detail shot shows the steering damper, required on all bikes running at the BUBS speed trials.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Home stretch

We tear the bike down and get the frame powder coated. A view of the front swingarm and its Mountain bike shock.

The finished product less bodywork.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Test ride and details

A quick test ride of the chassis on a small grade to ensure the steering works.

Wow, it actually works.

With the chassis sorted and the bodywork well on its way we take the time out to mount radiators and manage the plumbing.

Also on the to-do list, have chris re-route the stock RS expansion chamber to fit our chassis. Very nice.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Buck finishing and lay-up

Our quick and dirty technique is as follows. The wire form gets attached to a rigid board, the black piece on the bottom, in an area that will remain open on the finished part. The foam attached to the front of the rear cowling form is in place to make the back of what will eventually be the seat.

Stretch packing wrap or seran wrap is gently wrapped around the form. I say gently because if you pull on the stretch wrap it will deform the wire form. Two layers of fibreglass are layed over this plastic to create a part rigid enough to have bondo applied to its surface and faired out to create a finished buck.

The finished bucks with a coating of mold release.

Greg and Django handle the Carbon fabric being layed-up with resin onto the finished buck.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Aluminum welding rod has been shaped and hot-glued togethor to create a tear drop shape around the bike and rider.

Front view of the fairing.

Side View

The front wire form has been removed from the bike and will get prepped for fibreglass and bondo.

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Thursday, June 15, 2006


We will need fenders for the front and rear wheels. All of our composite parts will be layed up over a male form or 'buck.' Its hard to justify the construction of molds when you only need oneor two of each part.

This Buck starts with the front wheel and tire. A street tire is wrapped around the originol tire to create the air gap needed between the finished part and the tire. White foam core board is hot glued to the sides and blended to the tire with 1 gallon of body filler (aka Bondo).
"The smell of bondo in the morning reminds me of victory!"

Tom and Oliver lay-up a carbon and kevlar composite over the buck.
After pulling the part off of the buck it was trimmed and fit the bike just right. They will repeat the lay-up process one more time to create a fender for the rear tire.

Front view.

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Thursday, June 1, 2006

Rider mock up

With the chassis coming togethor we do a mock up for rider position to determine mounting points for the handlebars, knee cups, seat / chest support, and airbox.

The hub center steering is now assembled and works flawlessly.

The Hub center wheel assembly has been mounted to the front swingarm.

The vertical bar is the right handlebar with throttle. You can see the push pull control cable used to connect the handlebar to the hub center steering arm. The left handlebar is configured in the same way with both bars pivoting fore and aft. It seems to work quite well.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Hub center design and machining

With the Chassis well underway i design and machine the Hub center parts. It all needs to fit into a modified Marvic magnesium wheel. Parts include:
-Axle pinch blocks, these will be welded onto the front swing arm.
-Kingpin, at 10:00
-Inner hub at 2:00
-Low profile bearing at 4:00, we need two of these, they are $200.00 a piece. 2.625 i.d. with a .312 x .312 cross section
-The bearings at 7:00 are to support the kingpin within the inner hub.
-Not shown is the outer hub which will spin on the low profile bearings. It will be epoxied into the modified wheel.

Inner hub with kingpin assembled onto the axle.

The Marvic wheel having its center milled and then bored to accept the outer hub.

The nearly complete assembly. A circular plate on either side of the wheel sandwich the outer hub and do double duty as they will also preload the bearings. The holes in the plates allow 4mm bolts to secure the plates to the outer hub and to secure the plates to the wheel as I do not fully trust the epoxy. The 5 visible holes on the inner hub are for the attachment of a steering arm. There will be a steering arm on the left side as well.

Monday, May 1, 2006

Swingarm and chassis.

The rear swingarm bolted into the rear uprights which represent the starting point of the main chassis fabrication.

Close up of the rear swingarm pivot. Plastic Nyliners are used for pivot bearings.

A fox Air shock from a mountain bike should do just fine. 1.25 inches of travel front and rear.

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The chassis has come togethor. the bored holes in the front are for the front swingarm pivot.

Friday, March 10, 2006


We did a quick mock up with the totalled RS125. It is quickly apparent that a hub center steered vehicle will help keep the frontal area to a minimum. A standard fork and triple clamp will force the riders head up a another 2-3 inches creating greater frontal area and additional drag.

Chris and I start building the frame. I machine all the hard connection points and Chris joins all those points with tubing.

We are feeling the need for speed and let
speedy building techniques override aesthetic
decisions. It yields a product slightly agricultural
but gets the job done.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006


As many of us new to land speed racing rookies now say "This all began after watching the film, The Worlds Fastest Indian." This film documents a mans quest for speed and sparked memories of a visit to the museum of Science and Industry in Chicago as a nine year old where I viewed "The Blue Flame" jet car after reading about it in Popular Mechanics. The Blue Flame owned the outright land speed record of 622MPH set at Bonneville in 1970. This was more than an incredibly exotic object, it represented romantic motor sport adventure. So it was now time to start planning an our own adventure to the infamous Bonneville Salt Flats.

A friend, Chris Bernard of Puffin Engineering, had mentioned going to Bonneville with a race car he had built but we were such bike nuts it seemed best to do this on a motorcycle. Another certifiable bike nut and friend, Dwight, had just survived a wreck on his Honda RS125cc grand prix bike destroying everything but the motor. The AMA 125cc records looked achievable so off we went with Dwight's motor. We set our sites on the Special Construction class as Chris and I both own machine/metal fabrication shops and figured building it from scratch was the best idea. Given we had four months until the BUBS speed trials, maybe it wasn't. Onward.