This is the Griffin. I"v been evolving her since 1991, in which time she's taken on many forms.
I found her when I was at a Bike breakers trying to find a petrol tap for my MZ. They didn't have the petrol tap, but I ended up buying her instead. She was a GS550L imported from California, though there is not many of the original parts left. The Griphin on the tank was designed by my mother based on Celtic designs. She originally painted it on by hand (1991 picture), but the lacquer cased it to spread out.
I then panted on a modified version myself, by first spraying it gold, then masking it and spraying on the green. This looked great until I thought Id send it to have the lacquer freshened when I was sending some bits of a bike I was building for a friend to be painted. This so called professional, unfortunately put the paint on to thickly and didn't leave enough time for solvent evaporation. Within 6 months my lacquer started to craze and on my friend's bike the paint started to crack down to the primer and started to peal. By this time the painter had disappeared.I'm currently saving to afford to do it again.
The first major modification was to have the seat rails lowered so I could get my feet on the ground properly. A friend I knew at the time called Derek did this.
Very shortly thereafter having put a filter kit on as there was no room for the original air box, I had to make the stainless carb covers as rain was washed straight off the tank and into the air filters the first time it rained. I had the ally end caps turned up after losing one of the originals and having had one of the cam end rubbers work loose. I design them so that they hold the rubbers in the center allowing clearance for expansion.
I made the foot peg hangers and controls from of cuts of ally from a mate's father's work. I make them first out of ply wood and then when happy I cut them out of the ally on the band saw and finished them off using a belt Sander and files.
The inclosed chain guard is made from ally salvaged from an extraction unit that was been torn out of a local hotel. It was inspired by my MZ chain which being totally enclosed has outlasted the small end bearing. It has an electronically controlled drip-feed oilier set to come on when the engine is running, insuring the chain is kept constantly lubricated.
After finding a burned wire from the regulator/rectifier, and having read on a forum of over hot regulator/rectifier units failing. I decided to fit a FC PGA fan (I got at the local computer fair for £3) to the fins on the unit as its quite sheltered in it's currant position. The fan is wired to come on only when the kill switch is the run position.
The exhaust and engine bars were made for me by Roy at OS Stainless. He is a craftsman of the old school who will listen to what you want and then make it within reason. The exhaust has changed the ride quality remarkably given me much more low-down torque, better acceleration and a higher top speed when required. The sound is also incredibly better, fooling a friend of mine in to thinking I had purchased an old Brit bike when I drew up at his house. More on the Exhaust and Engine Bars page.
Summer 2006 and Finally I got some inspiration to replace the front indicators which looked too big for the bike. The job had a few pitfalls, but very pleased with finished articles. More on the Front Indicators page.
The petrol cap was looking very tatty with the gold paint coming of the chrome after 12 years. I had a brain rush and thought about making a new one in aluminium with the same angles as the end caps and the indicators. Unfortunately I didn’t have any metal big enough and it’s also just a bit bigger than will fit in my lathe. Instead I decided to polish it up as it is a cast alloy of some kind. I removed the chromed tin cover off it with this in mind, but found that there is a channel in the face that makes a “pipe” along with the tin chromed cover as its top. This forms part of the breather system for the tank that lets air in but not water. Fortunately I found some brass and fastened it to the top to make the “pipe” complete. I epoxyed under the edges of the brass to stop water ingression and to hopefully limit the electrolytic action between the different metals. Once I got to the polishing it all came up a treat.
This page modified..02/09/06.