Finally, I am making a start on Loki. What took me so long? Well, I moved to Seattle part-time, found myself this killer modern urban apartment in Ballard, and then landed what has to be the best job I've had ever: Motorcycle Tech at Seattle Used Bikes. In the last five weeks I've been there my knowledge of motorcycles has grown exponentially. I can be working on an ancient CB350 with abused carbs, or plugged into a 2013 Ducati 1098R diagnosing electrical issues, or everything in between. The whole shop is a pleasure to work in; Dave, the owner, promotes such a great community spirit about motorcycles that everyone who walks through the door leaves happy. Bard, the Lead Tech, is the most patient and kind teacher. His knowledge of motorcycles is phenomenal, and everyday I learn something new. And Don, the other Tech who started a week after me, is such a solid guy who is learning like me. We both listen to Bard and his words of wisdom. There is also a lot of sarcasm thrown about, Python references, and general fun banter, which I've missed working by myself for so many years.
I've been given this gift of an opportunity. I love my job, and I've never really been able to say that before. I certainly love my photography business, but there is something more tangible about delivering a working motorcycle to someone. Being able to see the immediate satisfaction that your work creates is quite lovely.
Anyway, even though I work on bikes all day I am excited to get started on Loki. For me it's not just the actual work that is appealing but the documentation that goes along with it. I wrote a lot about Natasha, and I hope to go into the same level of detail with Loki.
I built Natasha for my best friend, Laura, so Loki is actually going to be more for me this time. I don't want to do too much, rather take what is already there and upgrade/improve/customize to my style. I'm not going to rip out the airbox, put pods on, rebuild the electrical system. No, this is a subtle cosmetic makeover. Of course I'll work on the engine, but hopefully nothing more than a good carb clean, valve adjustment, sync the carbs, and we'll be doing the ton soon enough.
Here's my ideas so far:
Seat: I saw this custom seat at a recent BackFire meeting and really want to recreate it in a deep red color. I'll use the original seat from Loki and have someone redo the foam/build the leather to fit.
Tank/Side Covers: As you may or may not know, I have a very monochromatic wardrobe, so Loki will follow that somewhat. I know the red seat is an anomaly to that style, but I do love red and you have to have some color somewhere. I would like a deep black tank with gold script, similar to this Norton tank, with the words "Live Fearlessly" on each side of the tank. The side covers will have "SIN" in a deep blood red color, since this is my somewhat infrequently used nickname. I thought about the 450 logo, but that would confuse the hell out of people, wouldn't it?
Tires/Wheels: The chrome on the wheels is in good shape but the spokes would benefit from being replaced with stainless steel ones, so that will be quite the project. As for tires I am in love with these classic Firestones.
Instruments: As tempting as it is to replace the triple clamp with this fantastic machined one from Cognito Moto, with built in digital LED speedo/tacho from MotoGadget, and add some clip-ons, I think I will just remove the OEM idiot lights and keep the clubman bars that are on there already, tiding up the triple clamp with some cleaners bar clamps. (image from CognitoMoto website.)
- The throttle control is missing the starter button. The previous owner wired the ignition to start the bike on the Park setting. Not something I am thrilled with so it'll be going away and I'll do another RFID keyless project as with Natasha (MotoGadget already make one that is pretty much what I have created. I might cut a corner here and just buy their one.);
- The license plate needs to be mounted better, as it gets messed up going over a big bump;
- New front suspension boots;
- New mirrors, the same as I used on Natasha;
- Install a fuel filter;
- New air filter;
- Oil and oil filter change;
- New plugs;
- Brake flush and fill; check back brake.
- New chain and sprockets.
So we'll see how long that all takes. Ideally he'll be finished for the May BackFire event. But I know how these things go.