Beer Runner on A Budget


Article by: Wayne at Wicked Willy’s Choppers

Wicked Willy’s Beer Runner on a Budget – Part 4

In part 4 of this segment, we got the frame and rear end back in our shop. I will set the pre-load on my shocks and set my ride height of the frame so I can start machining the frontend and get the motor set into the frame. We will also cover a couple tricks I learned over the years.


First thing I want to do is set the height of my frame. I am using a good brand of adjustable Softail shocks. As you can see here, I can adjust them by loosening the jam nut and turning the eyelet in or out. In my case, I screwed it in and locked it down. Make sure when adjusting that you turn each one the same amount so the load will be equal. Also, if you look at the right side of the shock shaft, you can see another lock nut. Loosen that and you can change your pre-load by screwing in or out. Since I know that our trike will weigh around 600 lbs., I will set my pre-load high so the trike will not be soft when going over bumps.


Here, if you look at the front of the frame, I used a scissor jack to aid in setting the ride height. I want this hot rod low but don’t want to forget about those damn speed humps. Nothing worst than to scrub across one of those on a nice fresh painted or powder coated frame.


Before I get too far ahead of myself, I need to add the brackets for the controls. I left them off when I built the frame because I did not know if the customer wanted mid control or forwards. He has chosen forwards so before I set the motor in, I wanted to get them welded up. Shown here is the right side mounting bracket.


Shown here are standard Softail brackets we use. Notice the two holes which is the right side and the three holes will fit the left side. The reason I am using these is the customer may want to use a different control down the road and they can use any Softail type forward control.


I start off by bending two pieces of 1 1/8 tubing. I cut and fit the tubing to the frame and the control brackets. Once in, I place and tack weld it and also checked the alignment.


Once I have my brackets tacked and lined up, I go back and weld them in. Notice I have to work on my knees. I think it’s time to fix one of my bike lifts to hold a trike. I am way too old for this type work.


Here, you can see my control brackets welded in. After I complete the mock-up, I will come back and blend my welds in to give it a nice smooth finish. The only reason I am not doing it now is I am sure there will more welding as we do this build.


Now that our control brackets are on, we can set our motor in to check for alignment and to let my customer see what his motor looks like in the frame. This 125 looks very nice in this little hot rod.


Once I have the motor setting in the frame, and I will keep it there throughout the mock-up since everything will be a one-off fit, I use painter’s tape to cover up all the flat lying areas. This will protect the motor from dust, scratches, and some welding splatter as we will still be tacking up parts.


Now that we have our motor taped up (which looks like a green mummy), we can move on with our build. This looks like a step that is not necessary but trust me, this will save you a lot of clean up and maybe even re-chroming.


The next step is to build a frontend. The customer wants me to handcraft him a Springer frontend. Here are the parts that I have water jet cut. Now this is not a finish cut but water jetting sure saves a lot of time roughing out the material. Notice I have the centers of the holes marked when cut in the water jet. This gives me a reference point to indicate when I put them in the milling machine for the next process.


Shown here is my bottom tree as I machine the holes for the legs. I have bored and tapped the bottom tree to except the neck stem. When I set this up, I indicated the machine to make sure it was in square and I indicated my part to make sure it was flat. Building a frontend is not the type of work for a drill press so it’s best to leave this work to someone that has the equipment and the know-how because this is one part on your bike that you do not want to let go.


Here you can see the top and bottom trees after I have done my machine work. Now it’s time to clean and polish the parts so that I can assemble and weld them up. We will cover that part next month.

If you have any questions about our trike build so far, feel free to e-mail me through my web site www.wickedwillychoppers. com or call me at the shop at 828-303- 0422. I have enjoyed the readers that I have talked to already about this build.

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