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 ...
December 9 2014 I reached my main goal: 12 years and 3 months after I made the first sketch, the Dutch vehicle licensing authority RDW declared my V8 bike stree legal.
This success didn't come out of nowhere. Update #7 tells the story: 'The Way To and Past RDW'.
Starting small. The bike needed a so called identification plate. On it the name of the manufacturer and its VIN, vehicle identification number (source: 93/94/EEG-2006/27/EG). Well, I am the manufacturer so I put my name on it.
An always returning theme: heat protection. Willy Naves welded small brackets on the exhaust's heat shields.
On July 5 Peter, Knut and I solved some electrical problems at the dyno.
Some problems were easy to solve, like replacing this tortured fuse.
The bike's cooling system was still a big problem. In no time the coolant temperature rose to 110 degrees-plus, which is far too high.
First he measured the flow of the coolant: no flow means no cooling, no matter what size cooler or fan you install.
Problem found: only 4 liters per minute passing the radiator (and thus cooling air) is not nearly enough.
We took out the waterpump to test its capacity ...
... and solved the problem by switching the polarity of the pump: 4 liters per minute got 46 liters per minute!
I was relieved and very annoyed at the same time: the wires were connected according to the pump's manual. It might have been a production error, or an assembly error. Anyway: we found the problem fast, and furthermore we now know the real flow capacity in this configuration.
Multiplying the flow by factor 11,5 certainly made a difference. On the dyno the temperature did not get past 69 degrees Celcius; 40 degrees less than before!
The waterless coolant Evans NPG+ claims not to expand while heating up. We'd already found out that was bullshit and decided to construct a dismountable overflow tank.
I drew it ...
... fabricated it ...
... tested the main component ...
... and assembled it.
If the pressure in the system gets above 0.9 bar, the valve opens. It takes the fluid back when the engine cools down and the pressure drops to -0,2 bar.
On July 12 Niels came to do some final wiring.
August 18 turned out to be a very black day: Klaus Sarembe died.
I asked Klaus in 2002 to help me with this V8 project. Hundreds and hundreds of hours we spent together, deliberating and building. A great, great loss.
But life goes on; he certainly would have wanted this project to finish.
The rear brake, although constructed brutally, still wasn't doing a proper job. I had to increase the stopping power.
So I stepped up from brutal to insane.
No flow jet but oldskool drilling ...
... and milling ...
... and tack welding ...
... and grinding ...
... and welding. By 'der gute Hans'.
Say hi, Hans! ;)
O yes, and milling again.
From a massive piece of alloy ...
... I lathed a new drum for the new brake discs.
Brutal: on the lower right you see the old brake system, two 240mm discs with two six pot calipers.
Insane: attached to the wheel you see the new brake system, two 320mm discs with two six pot calipers.
The brake discs are so big the calipers barely fit in the wheelrim. I even had to shorten the bleed nipple to do so.
October 15 2014, a big day. It had been 15 years – literally in other century – since I was there, with the CBX. The RDW (Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer) is the Dutch vehicle licensing authority: get past them or never get on the road. Peter joined me on this trip.
Normally it's not allowed to make any pictures at the test site; I got allowance under the condition that I only photographed bike-related situations.
Inspector Niels Schmidt took his time to inspect the bike on a sh*tload of points.
After that I explained testdriver Robert Begeman how to operate this bike. It not only weighs 530 kilos, it is very powerful, has just one gear, an exceptional position, a centrifugal clutch and a manual hydraulic clutch which operates exactly opposite a normal motorcycle clutch. Are you still there? ;)
"O, and when you open the throttle the heavy longitudinal crankshaft will shake the bike to the right. Just like a Moto Guzzi. Like seven Moto Guzzi's, to be precise."
Robert is an experienced rider, a very experienced rider. It's his daily job to test all different bikes and cars to the limit. Still I was a bit nervous. More than a bit.
Here I attach the kill switch to his glove so the engine stops if he might fall of. God forbid.
Getting familiar with all parameters takes some time.
The test center in Lelystad has a huge oval track. Every new round Robert opened the throttle a bit more. For the first time Peter and I saw the potential of this bike. Every time he passed us it sounded like Nascar, ending acceleration with a loud whistle from the blow-offs. Wow! Klaus should have been there.
He tested no less than three quarters of an hour. Acceleration, brakes, sound, ground clearance, stabiltiy and tons of more demands. German bike builders often make fun of our RDW as their TÜV is said to be far more strict. Peter, bike builder ánd German, was very impressed though: he admitted that the tests were very thorough and exoteric.
The result: I was very satisfied! Nothing broke down, no one was killed, and both inspectors were positive. So did I get my licence plate? Nope. There were some issues that weren't quite satisfying yet. Robert and Niels offered their help and expertise, which I appreciated very much.
Some small issues, one big issue. I started with the smaller ones.
The inscription on the identification plate was not correct: exit 93/94/EEG-2006/27/EG. This surprised me but hey, that was easy to fix just by making a new one.
I had to change the indicators ...
... on the front and on the back. And the rear light. And the number plate holder had to be much larger than the Dutch one, due to European regulations. So I bolted on a dinner-tray.
The side stand needed a kill switch. This means the bike can never run while it's on the side stand. Strange, but no problem either.
Than the biggest problem (uhhh, 'challenge') of them all. Heat, you might think but no: the sound. I did not expect that at first because the bike has a low-revs engine, two big silencing turbos, and no less then four mufflers. Still, as Robert rode past us, Peter and I got a little worried; I mean, Nascar...
To know is to measure. On November 15 Peter and I put the bike on the dyno to find out what exactly was the source of the sound: the air going into the turbos, the engine itself, the whistling blow-offs or the exhaust?
We concluded that it wasn't the turbos intake nor was it the engine. We were not sure about the blow-offs so decided to disconnect them, in the context of 'better safe than sorry'.
After that I increased the clutch's excentral weights. It makes the bike run at lower revs. At first this point was at 2,000 rpm, now it is at 1,400 rpm. Converting revs into speed instead of sound.
On the internet I found a lot of threads on forums about how to silence a bike. All experts, of course, and they all disagree. I wasn't too keen on going to Lelystad over and over again so I contacted EPS: they are the specialists in V8's and exhausts.
22 November my sister Cécile and I rode to EPS. It was quite a trip to the north of Holland (see the red dot), and the weather wasn't too promising.
Owner of EPS, Roelf de Haan, did the dynamic test. That turned out not to be very useful: a wet, slightly muddy, concrete-asphalt country road wasn't a appropriate location for going full-throttle.
But that was no problem: we knew where the noise came from so discussed the options with Johan (middle).
They showed me their extensive muffler storage. Roelf made me an offer I could not refuse so I left the bike there.
A week later we were back. Two days before I was warned that they'd spoiled my design with two immense silencers; I was thankful for that because it dampened the shock somewhat. My God.
But as I tested the bike, for the first time I heard the fan, the water pump and even the fuel pump while riding. A huge difference, very effective.
December 9 2014. Second time RDW. I'd reinforced the trailer and installed a 2,000 lbs winch: it instantly proved to make life a lot easier regarding getting-a-massive-bike-on-a-trailer'.
The weather forecast for this Tuesday was very good.
As we had an appointment at 08.00h, my wife Frederiek, our dog Yoda and me left for Lelystad at 05.45h. The trip wasn't sunny at all: drizzling rain, fog, and even glazed frost.
I'd asked the RDW for the same inspectors as the first time. It would be more efficient, and I didn't want another rider on my bike. So Robert did the technical check on the lights, side stand and number plate ...
... and that was all, folks. Due to the glazed frost it was far too risky to do the sound check on the track at that moment.
Even salt couldn't speed-up the procedure.
We made a virtue of necessity and visited Batavia Stad, a very touristic but still entertaining place.
Five hours later it was safe to go 'on the road' again.
It didn't take very long before Robert returned. This full body man-hug tells the result. What a relief!
We had to do some paperwork after that. He explained me the results of the sound-ranging.
Man, this day was one giant leap for mankind. Congratulations followed fast.
What now? Ready? On the road? Don't think so.
What comes next: water-methanolinjection, NOS, performance test, disassembling for final paintjob, and finally on the road. It all fits in one sentence so this can't take ages. But don't pin me down: it's still all R&D.
So: to be continued ...