STILL GETTING THERE
(c) Tony Foale October 1986.
As anybody who has done it will confirm, work and more work is mainly all that is necessary to produce a pattern from which to take moulds for the production of bodywork. Well, since last month's progress report, Bob has finished the main pattern, leaving just the bellypan to do.
Brian Wightman of Acrybre Products worked hard before their annual shutdown in order to get a screen made for us to fit. Despite the rush I was quite pleased with it, as it showed that the required shape was possible to make without any problems. I am hoping that on the final machine we will be able to glue the screen in place and avoid all those nasty bolts going through it.
To finish the rear end off nicely I decided to go the whole hog and have a moulded seat made, instead of the usual low production method of cutting and glueing foam to about the right shape, so more pattern making was involved to get the seat shape we required. Moulds have been taken from this, but before they can be used to shape the foam they must be widened by 7mm and lengthened by 13mm because the foam material shrinks somewhat in the process. Bet you didn't know that! When making the seat pattern it became obvious that the seat as drawn did not conform to one's anatomy as well as it might. So, after conferring with designer Dan Parry- Williams, it was decided to split the seat and have separate knee pads. This will be more comfortable and help to keep abrasive, dirt- impregnated waxed cotton strides off the paintwork. It looks better too.
As I expected, some readers disagree with the judges' choice of winning entry. But as explained in the competition preamble, not only is this bike being built as a project for the magazine but the design will also be used on chassis kits that I shall offer for sale. Now, as I earn my living building such bikes, it is important to me to make something that others like enough to mortgage their house for, and since the design was chosen I have had many inquiries and a few orders for similar machines. The overwhelming view is one of admiration for the shape.
I personally doubt if any of those moaning minnies would seriously contemplate the purchase of such a bike even if their preferred bodywork had been chosen. Just in case I am wrong, if anyone out there can convince enough of their friends that another body style is worth buying, then I am prepared to make it. But don't expect it to be cheap, because body patterns take time, lots of it. Unless of course the moaners are prepared to make it themselves?
Because of the production schedules of monthly magazines, you will be reading this about one month after it was written, and by this time the nearly completed machine will be on display at the Cologne show on the MOTAD exhaust stand. Perhaps by then TM will have decided what colour he wants it.