Published on January 20th, 2009 | by Boris
FROM B-KING to B-CZAR – THE SUMMONING Part I
“How’d you like to do up a B-King as a project bike?”
“Who the hell is this?”
“It’s Eoin from Suzuki.”
“Eoin, you’ve called Boris,” I said. “Hang on, I’ll put you through to Matho…”
“I don’t want to talk to Matho, I want to talk to you.”
“About doing up a B-King?”
“Eoin, is that really you?”
“Yes, mate, it’s really me.”
“And you want me to pimp a B-King?”
Instantly, lurid scenes of customising apotheosis flickered into my head: my mates and I, in my fully appointed workshop, surrounded by gleaming racks of burnished tools… exotic motorcycle elements and hastily ripped-open courier bags in evidence everywhere… a hulking B-King centre-stage, like a chrysalis awaiting our divinely guided ministrations… every bubble-wrapped bit of bling a perfect fit… every thread truly tightened, every nut skilfully unstripped… every swear word cheerily unsaid…
Sadly, the reality is far different.
My mechanical adventurisms normally consist of me lurching clumsily around my dingy little garage, looking for tools I lost centuries ago, so I can attempt to do shit I don’t understand and am not qualified to do to a bike I don’t own with parts I don’t have and that won’t fit even when I do get them.
Add beer, bongs, some blues on the stereo and a mate who’s on his way with a multimeter and a bottle of Turkey… and, well… stuff just seems to end up being hacksawed, drilled, cross-threaded, stripped, painted matt black and ridden around the block until the paint’s properly cured and my eyes stop watering, then acclaimed as “Great!”.
Clearly, there were things Eoin would need to consider down the track a bit. But at this early stage, there were things I needed to consider.
“You got some kind of owner’s manual I could use when it’s time to do up the engine?” I asked Eoin.
Eoin was ominously silent for almost 10 seconds.
“You still there?”
“Yes, yes, I’m still here.”
“I need some kind of reference book for the motor. I’m really shit at mechanical things and a book with simple diagrams in it would be a great help when I’m welding in the high-lift cams.”
“Yes, I imagine it would be. But it might be better if you left that stuff to Phil.”
“Phil? I don’t have any mates called Phil.”
“Christ, you are serious.”
“I told you I was.”
“Does Phil know about this?”
A week later the B-King was sitting in my garage and I was on the phone to Phil Tainton.
“Phil, what should I do? I am confused. Help me. Its arse-pipes are an affront to the Baby Jesus. It already goes very fast. Is it all that clever to make it go even faster? How much faster can you make it go? Its arse-pipes really are an abomination.”
“Go to a racetrack,” Phil said. “Do a few laps and tell me what you reckon. Then I’ll have a look at it.”
“The pipes, Phil. They make children cry.”
“Yes, I know. I’ll sort that.”
Meanwhile, I had posted the project concept up on BIKE ME!, reasoning that the collective genius of the hive that is BIKE ME! would offer some very interesting design insights.
Basically, Ramjet and Leigh set about mocking up a range of rather stunning concepts — all of which would make Phil tremble and Suzuki cry… and I’m not saying that like it is a bad thing. But the bike’s final appearance will doubtlessly be the culmination of an evolutionary process… um, which means if shit doesn’t work in real life, or we think it looks too crap or involves major hammering, it probably won’t happen. After all, the bike must be rideable on a day-to-day basis.
That sorted, I went to a Circuit Breakers Ride Day with Ian Buckley and we did a few laps.
Interestingly, we discovered the B-King was perfectly happy to do the whole of Eastern Creek in one gear. Any gear, actually. That perception-altering motor never ceases to amaze me. It is beyond strong. After about five laps each, Ian and I agreed the B-King tended to push rather wide when you got on the power out of corners. This was due to the amount of power available to be getting on to. And it wasn’t a light bike, either — but provided you were ready for it to drift happily towards the vegetables, you were fine.
Shamefully, I didn’t get it out of fourth down the straight. With the speedo reading a glacial 242km/h when it was time for me to consider the entry point of Turn One, I realised I needed to find a higher power, i.e. Shawn Giles.
“You need to ride this around the track and tell me what you reckon,” I said when I found him in the pit area. He returned after three laps of chasing Glen Allerton around.
“The tyres are shit. If you got better tyres and did some work on the suspension, it’d be pretty good. But it just spins coming out of corners.” “What gear were you in and how fast were you going there?” I said, pointing to where I begin preparations for Turn One.
“Fifth and 280.”
Shaking my head at the cosmic injustice of it all, I went to seek a second opinion from Glen Allerton. He respectfully declined, citing a need to feed himself from the proceeds of his championship cheque, which wouldn’t arrive if he was seen to be out scraping the pegs on a NotaHonda.
I went home, called Phil Tainton and told him what Shawn had said, and that if I could ride like that, I would agree with him.
“Right, send it back and I’ll make a start on it over Christmas. Meanwhile, you chase up some tyres and whatever else you might want to put on it,” he said.
I’ll let you all know how it turns out…
NOTE: A shorter version of this yarn appears in Australian Motorcycle News (January 21 edition).
Phil Tainton Racing — Motorcycle Engineering 500 Stud Road, Wantirna South, Vic, 3152 Ph: (03) 9801 1287 Mobile: 0418 581 598 Fax: (03) 9887 0325 Email: [email protected] Website: http://www.ptr.com.au