Every now and then I'm asked about the progress of my V8 project; so did Stefan Reekers in my guestbook. Not a very strange question considering I'm busy for more than five years. On the other hand I'm not too keen on providing any information so I choose this compromise: an update, a glimpse behind the scenes, but not a overall picture. Well, I suppose it's better than nothing ...
September 2002, shortly after finishing the CBX, I decided building a motorcycle based on a V8 engine; in fact a very natural sequel after the sixcylinder CBX. As the Chevrolet is the undisputed godfather of V8 I had no doubt about the choice of engine.
Koen Roemaat, a friend of mine since ages, spontaneously lended me a Chevy smallblock for indefinite time. Lucky for me: it's still in my garage and serves a great job as mock-up.
Of course I visited 'rival' Boss Hoss, situated in Venlo (NL). The salesman certainly did not get the point: "Why build a V8 if you can buy one here?" Well, that's easy to answer: 1. what they sell does not appeal to me at all (lazy chopper-look, too massive, too much chrome, too much plastic), 2. buying = boring, and 3. €50.000 Euro is a lot of money.
Next I made a trip to 'V8 Motorcycles' at Kwintsheul (NL). Result: see Boss Hoss.
I met Theo Verbeet (r) who ownes a V8 Motorcycles-bike. He was quite enthusiastic about it, although the frame revealed a lot of sloppy construction errors. Is that why this company doesn't exist anymore...?
On the left you see Klaus Sarembe: friend, skilled craftsman (he does almost all the welding), dragracer and my most important compagnon during this project. Building a bike is 80% debating and 20% actual constructing; so it's important you get along really well.
Is a V8 engine always doomed to degrade in a chopper frame? No, proven by this beast based om a Dodge Viper V10: the concept-car named Tomahawk. Fantastic design, despite the fact that its four wheels technically makes it a car.
Futuristic, innovative, incredible loud and not allowed on the public highway. Nine replica's were built, each kosting $555.000,-. Not too much money for us Europeans, considering the low dollar exchange rate ;-)
For me it's very important to get this bike legalized: it's no use to build a trailerbike. This one, like the CBX, must make its miles on the road. And, no less important: make its quartermiles on the dragstrip.
Like the CBX the design started in the computer: I modelled my body in a 3D program and did the same with the Chevy engine. My design evolved step by step, not into a chopper or cruiser, but rather into a streetfighter or dragracer. Such a 3D program provides photorealistic pictures and offers great help for the physical realization (milling, lathing). By the way: sorry for the the picture being so out of focus ;-)
Arthur Rottier provided me with an overhauled 5.7 liter Chevy engine, imported from the States. Op eBay I found valve covers, a high-intake Edelbrock manifold and a fourbarrel 600cfm Edelbrock carb. Altogether an impressive powerplant.
Also on eBay I bought two 320mm Spiegler brake discs, and a set of Tokico brake calipers ...
... and a second set. Four six pot calipers? Yep.
I had two 15mm aluminum sheets milled to become the centre of my wheels. Early 2003 I didn't own a mill to do it myself.
Bolted between two 18 inch dragrace rims (10 inch wide) and a - temporary, of course - Bridgestone 275/35-18 car tyre it looked like this.
Almost a bike, isn't it?
An airfilter was planned on top of this voluminous intake manifold and huge carb. My design did not include a monstrous tank with a tower piling through, so I had to make a drastic change: eventually I decided to sell both Edelbrocks and build myself an fuel injection system. This would be far more compact and offers some nice new opportunities like putting a turbo on the bike ... or even two turbos ... and injecting NOS. If you're building bigger, why not going brutal?
A tower like this is what I wanted to prevent.
I met Niels Saarloos, bikebuilder since kindergarten and expert motormanagement and injection systems. He offered me his help.
The wonderful world of turbos was unknown to me until then; I studied books and the internet to get familiar with this matter. Fortunately Klaus and Niels were experienced, and I got some advice from Pjotr Bierman at C&P USA Parts.
My choice had even more consequences: a standard two-bolt Chevy engine would survive the violence of turbos and NOS for just a few seconds, and those extras are not only for showing off. After consulting Ronnie Spijker and John Bakker a company called PAW in the States built me a brand new high performance four-bolt engine. I keep the exact specs a secret, but believe me: this engine can take some beating.
Aluminum Edelbrock cylinder heads, some hightech dragrace stuff: let the games begin!
Heads mounted, rocker arms, pushrods.
On eBay I bought, at the suggestion of Niels, a Ford EDIS module which will take care of the ignition.
Along it came a lambda probe to watch over the gas mixture, sixteen (16) injectors and a MegaSquirt computer to manage all hardware. Amongst with, yes, two big Garrett turbos. Niels will be 'ma main man' to get this combination running: not an easy job for sure.
I used the 3D-program to design the injection system. First in wireframe ...
... followed by solid view.
A BBK throttle body...
... milled almost completely in the trash bin.
A heavy steel mould prevented both lower plates from moving.
The intake manifold turned out to be a good excuse for buying some new tools, like this folding support.
Willy Naves did the welding the Willy Naves way: perfect (see CBX). He's involved in building the aluminum tank as well.
The finishing touch on my own mill.
I lathed the injector caps from stainless steel and silverwelded it to the fuel line.
Finally it looked like this. Note: still far from finished.
Cooling the engine is a chapter of its own. I found Chris Jansen, inspired owner of Hartgers Radiateuren on the internet. His site shows a button called 'maatwerk' (made-to-measure) and that's what it's all about. After some consultations and calculations I started designing the radiator. I made a mock-up from polystyrene foam, he made one from wood and finally an aluminum one. You can see the result on his site at the button 'maatwerk' ('custom'); where else?
The rear brake started as a massive lump of steel ...
... transformed to its final shape after many hours milling.
To mount it I had to construct a steel bracket.
On the background you see my favorite bike of 2007: Evil Relikt by Marc Schusters.
After consulting Rob Westenberg at SO Products I ordered their strongest monoshock. Which, of course, had to be modified.
For me it wasn't an option to bolt one huge alternator on my bike, like at this Boss Hoss; I prefer two small ones.
So I visited a company called GeeWee in Oosterbeek (NL): they have a lot of alternators in store. Finally I found the two I wanted. They too had to be disassembled and modified.
Two HKS blow-off valves prevent overpressure in the intake manifold. I used the computer to choose the right position ...
... Klaus welded the airsupply tube ...
... until it looks like this.
The making of the water thermostat.
Both Walbro fuelpumps must be integrated in the fuel tank. I designed the construction ...
... and this is how The Real Thing looks.
A huge waterpump ...
... got a slimming-cure ...
... and a new aluminum housing.
Not even the balancer could escape the lathe.
I contacted mr. Huis in 't Veld and Richard at Tubex. They supplied the loose parts while it was my job to to saw, grind and build the exhaust.
My loyal GSX-R served many times as a fast pack mule.
In the summer of 2006 I met Eddie Duine during Nitrolympics at Hockenheim (D). He repaired the exhaust from the CBX and offered to do some welding of the V8's exhaust. So he did, and again he did a good job.
For polishing the frame and exhaust I built this tool, based on a angle grinder. It does its job real good without those unwanted facets.
Superfluous to mention the fathering took place in the computer.
I wanted the mufflers to be made from 90mm tube. At some point these had to be forced to 60mm diameter. This turned out to be fairly impossible: Tubex couldn't press it and some other companies (like Star Twin) neither. So I lathed a massive press mould ...
... to shove a redheated tube over and hammer it. As you see the first experiment was a failure ...
... but practice makes perfect.
Zodiac mudguards fell victim to the grinder.
This is the rear light. The transparant part is made from a special resin by Cock Springer at PolyStone.
It's difficult to design a fuel tank in the computer because of the ergonomic aspect. Polystyrene foam offers a great solution ...
... although it's a very messy one.
I wanted my Samco hoses not in the standard blue color. It took no less than seven months to get them in my preferred black. It's very true what they say: 'special orders take time'.
Some parts, like this oilpump drive, demand a lot of thinking.
A bit disappointing when such part disappears under the intake manifold once and for all.
Attention for detail is essential: here you see the original NOS tap. Not quite the way I want it to look.
So, again: first the computer ...
... then lathe and mill ...
... and finally the result.
Going from big (the engine) to small (a tap) without revealing a total image, nor information about the frame, the transmission, the exhaust, the handlebar, the paintjob, the seat. All of it carefully evaded. But hey, I think it gives a nice impression anyway.
Have I forgotten to mention anyone? Yes: Roelf de Haan at EPS gave some good advice about the engine and exhaust manifold, Marco Kleijssen clarified troubles with the oilpump. Together with company Holl I fight the War on Threads like UNC, UNF, Metric and NPT (just to name a few), companies like Eriks give a huge discount on their products to support this project. In the (near?) future Frank Fijlstra will do the paintjob, Lothar Obst will take care of the seat. Talking about 'the near future': I don't have a definite timetable because it's very hard to predict what (set backs?) awaits me. My most upbeat prophecy: ridable and M.O.T.in 2008, paintjob and finishing in 2009, on the road in 2009. Supposing it'll be 2010 it would have taken 8 years. V8 ... 8 years ... 8 in Italian is 'Otto' ... would be quite logical, wouldn't it?
Update November 21st 2009: read the continuing story on this bike build here.