One Step Forward

Finding time to be in the shop or garage can be the hardest part of any motorcycle project.  I think if you're not continuously making some kind of progress it's easy for the motorcycle to end up on the back burner.  Eventually being buried under yard tools and the kids bicycles along with all of your good intentions.  I haven't had nearly as much time with the bike over the past few weeks as I would like.  Stealing a few minutes here and there isn't really the right way to get anything accomplished, but I've been determined to hit my deadline.  So cramming in a few minutes here and there is what I have been doing.

 I specifically chose one day and set aside sometime that evening to install the TC Bros hardtail.  Getting this hardtail installed is the next big step I need to get done if there is any chance of hitting that deadline.  With that in mind, I measured everything until I was confident in where the tail was sitting on the frame.  I fired up the TIG and set in some tacks.  Once that was done I was eager to start welding the two pieces permanently together.  I did one final check to make sure everything was lined up correctly.  It was evident right away the something went wrong and the tail was out of place.  I cut off the tacks, adjusted the tail, measured twice, and re-tacked.  Once again I checked my measurements and found that it wasn't lined up correctly.  Let's try this again, third time's the charm.

  Eventually being buried ... along with all of your good intentions

This time once I cut off the tacks I slowed down to take a look at what I was doing wrong.  Immediately it looked like the hardtail wasn't sitting in the right place.  I wasn't sure how I didn't catch it the first time.  It looked as though the bottom of the frame needed to be trimmed back in order to line up the seat post.  I quickly cut off what I thought would be the right amount, lined everything up and tacked it for what I was hoping would be the last time.  Again it ended up in the wrong place.  I cut off the tacks again and decided to walk away for a minute.  Sometimes you can stare at something a little too closely and completely miss what's going on. 

I spent a minute tidying up the shop to get my mind off of the hardtail.  After a minute or so I took another look at the frame and could see how out of line it was.  I realized that in my rush to "fix" one problem I created another.  I had decided that the bottom of the frame needed to be cut to make the seat post line up.  Looking at it again I realized that was a mistake.  I was frustrated that I had made the same mistake twice, and in rushing to find a solution, I convinced myself of a problem that didn't exist.  As it turned out I had it right the first time but I just didn't have it sitting in the correct spot. 

Sometimes you can stare at something a little too closely...

By this time I had to accept that I just wasn't going to get as much done as I had hoped tonight.  Once I accepted that things went much smoother.  I slowed down, lined everything up and made sure all of the measurements were correct.  I fired up the TIG one more time and then tacked in the hardtail.  This time the lines from the backbone to the tail fit perfectly.  The bottom was sitting where it should be and everything was square.  I was out of time but at least I was leaving it in a good place.

Having a timeline on a build is a good idea.  I know of too many motorcycles that have been started but never got close to being finished.  They sit in the corner as a constant reminder of what could have been.  I guess the trick is to have a goal that keeps you going but doesn't drive you crazy.  Especially in the case where the build is just for you and not for a motorcycle show.  There is absolutely no reason that I need to have this done in time for anything.  That deadline isn't beneficial if it's causing me to rush and make mistakes. 

Author: Perth County Moto - Jeff O'Neill @perthmotojeff

1 comment

  • Alan Thwaits

    Nicely written. Nicely explained. I liked the process of thinking it all through. And, though I don’t weld, I recognize that feeling of stopping, looking again, and proceeding slowly. It pays off.

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