Hahaha. I had to do a new post, you can only do 10,000 characters per. Warned ya it'd be long. Anyways.
Right when the shop was finishing the motor, one of the owners asked me if I wanted to buy his old race bike, this bad boy, "Frankenduc":
I told him I'd think about it, went to bed that night, and woke up in the morning knowing I had to have it. This bike is special. The shop built it in the early 90's and raced it extensively and successfully in various pro and club events. It was the 2nd place finisher 2 years in a row in the old BEARS series (the shop's 900ss won first both years) and placed well at many AMA endurance and Pro Thunder events. The frame and most of the rest of the chassis are 851 Corsa pieces, the motor is an air cooled 900 with a 94mm bore and a 2mm over stroked crank displacing 999cc's (hence the Frankenduc moniker) and has the full race treatment. At various points, this bike was a 1080 making over 70 ft/lbs of torque, but I'm told it was virtually unrideable in that tune. Currently weighing 322# without gas (everything is either carbon, ti, or mag) and with a true Corsa close ratio trans, it's still a handful. Body position is key; too far forward and it spins the rear, too far back and it'll wheelie out from under you. Much better riders than me have raced this bike, but I still managed to win my first (and only, so far) expert championship on it, and it's awesome fun, too.
As it's a true Corsa frame, with no vin, mated to an engine that wasn't original to the frame anyway, it's only GP legal under CCS rules, and therefore only legal in 2 points classes, GP and GTL. (It's also legal in Supertwins and F40, but those are non-points "support" classes, and besides, 2 classes is fine by me.) As I said above, I won GP, and would have won GTL too if the bike had a starter. (Oh yeah, it has no starter. there's a whole 'nother story there, but this is already a damn novelette, and I'm nowhere near finished. I will tell this story though.) I lowsided the bike nice and easy in wet grass after saving a near high side while running in second behind Ed Key, who had missed a prior event, and who wouldn't likely have a shot at winning the championship unless I couldn't finish a race for some reason... LOL. The bike was still running when I got up, with no damage except a broken clutch lever (I now also run nice, expensive, ASV levers on all my bikes) but, with no starter, I had no way to pick the bike up and keep the motor running - and with 12:1 compression and being so light, bump starting is not an option. If it had a starter, I could've at least got the bike going and into 4th or 5th gear, finished the race, and earned some points. The second best part is that I lost GTL by 1 point, that's all I'd have needed, and I'd have gotten at least that if I'd finished. It gets better, though, the best part is that the very night before, whilst drinking beers with my buds, I was going on and on about how expensive levers were poser gear and how I swore by cheap eBay replacement spares... Kismet, I'm the poster boy. Still, though, a class championship, a class 2nd, and the #10 midwest plate to boot, running only 2 classes at that? I'm so thankful for all of it, and I have this awesome bike as a cherry on top. Sorry, digression over.
The poor old Monster, though. The very first weekend of '11, I loaned it to another racer. The first race of that weekend, he got out ahead of me on the start, but I wasn't worried. Like Ed, Kevin is a much better rider than me, but I knew he couldn't beat me on the M when I was on this bike. I was so right about this that he crashed my M right in front of me going into the bus stop at BHF on the 2nd lap. I distinctly remember my thought process throughout: he tucked the front at the entrance, and I thought "Aw crap, my bike!" As I was at the apex, he was sliding off the track: "Aw man, I hope he's ok", and, as I exited, "Well, at least I don't have to worry about him beating me." Next lap, I saw he was up and ok, so that was good. The M wasn't so bad, either, although I still had the S2R, which became my B bike, and which I never turned a wheel on all year, riding Frank to the above results, so the M went into my garage for the rest of the season.
So, '11 was a good year. I continued to train in the off season (another key component to racing) and looked forward to more improvement and learning, but life has a way of interfering with the best plans. A herniated disk that had given me on again/off again problems since 2000 now had progressed to the point where I needed cervical fusion surgery, so 2012 was a bust. Then, both of my wife's parents became progressively ill and passed away in the following year, after which, we had to resolve their estate, which was exacerbated by the fact that they lived 1200 miles away, but besides that, there was no way I was going to further complicate things during the whole process by getting hurt racing - it happens. Thus, the old M sat in the garage until 2014, when I started in on this build. (I'm sorry if you're irritated that it took me this long to get to this point. The words just come out when I get going.)
I decided I was ready to get back on the horse in '14. I'd still been going to nearly every race event in all that time I'd been off, pitting and cooking for guys, partying, and learning as much as I could from the side of the track. My new plan was to build the M into a proper race bike, in the mold of Frankenduc, but simply and inexpensively, without all the exotic and irreplaceable parts that bike has. I feel a sense of stewardship for Frank; I want to ride it, and I do, which is good and proper, but I don't want to crash it and destroy it, which is also a valid position. My ego doesn't require me to have something exotic or exclusive; I just wanna ride.
I'm in my late 40's now, and don't plan on running a lot more championships, but I do plan on racing for fun for years and would also like to try for some expert national championships, so the concept that made the most sense was putting the DS motor from the S2R into the '96 chassis. The DS motor still has a lot of untapped performance potential, and bolted right up simply by machining inserts for the mounting lugs, which are 12mm, so that the 10mm bolts from the M would work. Here's what that netted me. Here too, you can see the 10 spoke Marchesinis, they're one of the few exotic bits on this bike.
Simple. Now I knew the motor fit, but now I also had to figure out what I was going to do for an exhaust and wiring harness. Originally, I'd planned on reworking the stock wiring harness to be able to place the various components where I wanted them, although I wasn't thrilled about having to keep the stock dash and key setup. I figured, though, that I'd get the bike built and running and upgrade to a race harness and ECU down the road, along with the eventual motor upgrades, but this all turned out to be moot anyway as I wasn't familiar with the joys of CanBus wiring harnesses. I was stymied as soon as I peeled the first bit of insulation back. I made some inquiries, and was told by some that it was nearly impossible to build a new harness and by others that it was possible if you used high grade wires and connectors, but I didn't really feel up to trying. I'm an analog type of guy with little interest in newer technologies, but there were also a few other factors steering me away from the DS motor at this point anyway.
First, the motor itself was 15# heavier than the carbed unit. Beyond that, I figured the harness and all the attendant components would add at least another 10#, and I had a target weight of 330, maybe lighter - again, the yellow bike was my benchmark. Using the DS motor alone would guarantee a weight of at least 360#. Beyond that again, though, a pro built race harness and ecu would be something like 3K, and I wanted to keep this cheap and accessible. Then too, I had no idea what to do for an exhaust. The 2 into 1 I had wouldn't work (and I'm sure the DS would be hobbled by it), and the only off the shelf item that would work would be a system that was made for an '03 Monster 1000s, the only bike that used the DS 1000 motor in a chassis similar to what I had, and which was only made that year, so an exhaust would be as rare as the proverbial hen's teeth. An SS1000 system would work with mods, but those are nearly as hard to find as the M system would be. So, any which way, it looked like an exhaust would be at least another 2k, or more. So, the fact that the carbed motor was lighter, and simpler, the harness would be more of the same, I had a workable exhaust, and this would save me at least 5 grand, was, as they say, a no brainer.
Hmm, I wonder if I'm at 10,000 characters again yet? Think I'll post this just to be sure.