Thursday, June 20, 2013

Honda Trail 90 Project, Part 4: Rolling Chassis

In this installment, my Trail 90 project starts looking like a motorcycle! I install the rear swingarm, wheel, tire, brake, and sprocket assembly. If I had the engine ready and a few associated parts (chain, etc.) I could be riding this thing within an hour or so. Speaking of the engine, I have one that I am doing a top-end rebuild on. It is an original Honda engine from a 1971 model. But the Chinese Lifan clone engines are a siren song that I don't think I'm gonna be able to resist. You can get a brand new engine with carburetor and all associated parts for less money than a comprehensive rebuild on the Honda engine that you already have, and most people who have them say the quality is actually better than the original Honda. There is no question that the performance is better, because the most popular size is 125cc as opposed to the 89cc original Honda. The Lifan is also updated with 12 volt electrics and CDI ignition. So while I am committed to getting the old Honda engine running for the first ride, I will probably buy one of these Lifans as soon as I can find money for it in the budget.

Honda Trail 90 Project, Part 3

In this section I complete the front end assembly of my Trail 90 project.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Honda Trail 90 Project, Part 2

This is the second part of my Trail 90 project, described in this post. In this part I create a hybrid triple tree that will allow me to use the forks, handlebar and front wheel from a Honda XR100.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

(Yet) Another Power Outage

Today has been a relatively nice day, except for the heat (99F, and that's not the heat index). But no storms, or anything like that. Which means it's a likely day for a power outage. And that is exactly what happened. This video is not from today; it is from another recent power outage. As I type this the old Chinese diesel genny is out there chugging merrily away, as it has been doing for the past four and a half hours. I'm really happy it's out there, because that means I can continue working on the computer in air conditioned comfort.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Honda Trail 90 Project

I have undertaken to build myself a motorcycle that I have wanted since I was in my early teens: a Honda Trail 90. I bought a frame to start, and am in the process of gathering the rest of the components I will need. My goal is to have a rideable bike for less than $500. Based on what I have already gathered, I believe I am going to be able to accomplish my goal.
The Trail 90 or CT90 is an offshoot of the Honda Super Cub series of adult-sized motorcycles using horizontal single-cylinder, 4-stroke engines. The best way to describe the Super Cub is to state what it is not.
It is not a scooter. Scooters transmit power to the rear wheel via a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), usually of the rubber belt type. They also carry the engine either on the rear swingarm (suspension member) or directly over the rear wheel. Lastly, they have floorboards instead of foot pegs.

It is not a moped, although a few people refer to it as such. The term "moped" came from the words "motor" and "pedal" and refers to a two-wheeled vehicle which has both; either a bicycle with motor assist or a light motorbike with pedal assist.

It is not a dirtbike. Although several different on / off-road versions of the Cub have been built, they are designed to transport passengers and cargo over rough terrain at a relatively slow pace for utilitarian purposes, while dirt bikes are designed to travel at speed through rough terrain as a recreational pursuit or for competition.

The Cub series consists of a pressed steel frame incorporating the rear fender, with a heavy steel tube angling up to a headstock which mounts the front fork assembly. The engine mounts to this frame and is a unit assembly with a three- or four-speed geared transmission and an automatic or manual clutch. The CT-90 version also adds a dual range sub-transmission for extremely rough terrain and/ or heavy loads. Earlier Trail versions used an overlay dual rear sprocket arrangement for the same purpose.
The rear suspension consists of a swingarm and a pair of coil-over shock absorbers, to which the rear wheel mounts. The bike has 17-inch spoked wheels front and rear, and a pair of foot pegs for driver and passenger. All of these features set it aside from both scooters and mopeds.

So there you have it: a utilitarian motorcycle that can haul an adult rider and a heavy load of cargo over just about any terrain, while returning over 100 miles per gallon (Honda says 178 mpg at a slow cruise of 25 mph) of the cheapest, lowest octane gasoline you can find.