View Full Version : Black Rose - Buell Softail

22-11-15, 07:44 PM
I always said I'd build another, simpler, bike at some point. Something more down to earth and usable than the last one. I didn't plan on it being quite so soon, as I've got quite a few other projects on the go as it is. But, life's for living and all that.

So when having a chat with Briz one day turned to talking about projects it was almost inevitable something would happen.

The Buell engine is from a 2003 XB9 and it was originally intended (back in 2012/13) to use it as the basis of the next Bonneville race bike with a supercharger fitted. But that never happened and Salt Flash was born as a result.

But that Buell engine sat there, just waiting for something to be done with it. Briz made a softail frame for it to complement the Sportster engined one he already offers, seemed like the sensible thing to do. The Buell engine shares a lot with the sportster, but it's actually also quite different in the way it mounts in the frame.

I like it, subtly different. To the untrained eye it's another sportster, but look a bit closer and there's a few Buell logos, giving away the fact this is a bit more potent than it's HD cousin...

So, here it is:
30 deg rake CCD Buell Softail frame, 2003 XB9 lump, 49mm Dyna forks and CCD billet yokes. Buell rear wheel, Honda Blackbird front wheel. Suzuki Hyabusa 6 pot up front should provide enough stopping power. Large sportster tank.

The plan:
A simple, functional bike on a sensible budget. Something you can jump on and ride. Something that gets a move on, goes round corners and stops properly.

What's in a name?
Black Rose - this is inspired by Sophie Lancaster (http://www.sophielancasterfoundation.com/) something close to my heart in many ways. Unlike the last bike, I'll be doing my own paint on this one. I've got a head full of designs and ideas for this one. Subtle all the way... :shhh:


Decided to attack that fuel tank first. Really I ought to have concentrated on bars and a side stand first, but that would have been too practical. :D

I cut the original tunnel out and made a new one to fit in allowing the back of the tank to drop down just over 1". To be honest most people probably wouldn't even notice, but it looks much better to me. It doesn't look like it's perched on top of the frame now and the top of the tank is at the same angle as the top tube of the frame, which helps too.

Took me most of the afternoon to do this. Spoiled the paint on the tank :lol:




Picked up a Triumph Daytona side stand for 5 and cut it down to suit. Like these as they are aluminium and pretty cool. I just need to weld a new 'foot' to it.



Decided to go with a swing arm mounted rear fender on this one. Bought a trailer one for a few quid and set about modifying it today. Still a load more to do but I need to get it roughly the right shape and fitted before I strengthen it up. I'm still not sure about it, but will see how it goes might grow on me...



After getting that far I decided that I should really get a belt before finalising the rear fender fitment so decided to get the oil cooler and reg/rec fitted.

The oil cooler is from the 2012 Weslake Bonneville bike and fits nicely between the front cylinder and the frame. The Buell reg/rec is considerably different to the usual HD one - mounts differently and it's a bit bigger.


I borrowed a 136t belt to finish the set up of the rear fender, but haven't actually finished the mounting off yet. That will have to wait until next weekend. The fender is growing on me, but is going to need some reinforcement


I'd also like to get the mid controls and bars made next weekend.

23-11-15, 07:52 AM
thats coming along nicely,, and pretty quick too, you'll be painting it at chrismas at this rate,:tup:

23-11-15, 05:59 PM
Thanks Satan. I'd like to have it more or less dry built before Christmas so I can pull it apart and rebuild the motor while I have a week off....

29-11-15, 09:48 PM
Got quite a bit more done today, but nothing completely finished.

Made up mounting bosses and spacers for the rear fender then strengthened it up. After that started making the housing for the rear light. It's going to be a combined brake, tail and indicator unit, that I'll fashion from acrylic and LED's. It's not going to pass SVA as the minimum indicator spacing is 180, and I don't have the width to do that here. I'll fit temporary ones for the SVA.

I still need to strengthen it slightly and tidy the fabrication up, but it's more or less there.



Back to the footpeg and pulley cover. Cut one from a piece of plate, machined up a pivot/peg mount. The master cylinder will mount on the lower section behind the peg. I'll also be adding some more protection for the belt as well. Then I'll trim the shape up some more and make it look a bit nicer....


05-12-15, 07:15 PM
Finished off the front pulley cover this morning. Just waiting for some suitable countersink bolts and the rear master cylinder to arrive to I can fit it properly.


Finished the structure of the rear fender as well - welded some round bar along the edges to both stiffen it up and make it look nicer. Next thing is finish beating the rear light aperture into the final shape and then make the rear light.


Thought I'd have a look and see what of the original Buell loom I could use. The fuel injection section came out fairly easily - just need to finish identifying the rest of it tomorrow then I'll see what I can make use of. Looks like I should be able to use the fuse and relay box and most of the rest of the loom after I've finished removing anything I don't need.

This is the fuel injection stuff

And the rats nest of what's left

06-12-15, 07:56 PM
Didn't get a lot done today as I spent most of the morning messing around with the wiring loom and figuring it all out. Turns out there's less space than I thought for the fuse and relay box so I'll have to reconfigure that. No major problem. Made a back plate for the fuse box, and welded some studs to the battery cradle to support it. Found a 6 way fuse box in a box of electrical stuff, will need some mini relay holders to fit the necessary relays. I toyed with the idea of using a Brainbox, but they are quite expensive and I'm trying to keep this a reasonably budget oriented build.


With that sorted I thought I'd get the coil mounted. This is the standard Buell coil, played around with where to mount it. Was thinking about hiding it up, but then thought I'd go with the simple option...


06-12-15, 08:08 PM
Love this! Great build :tup:

07-12-15, 08:12 PM
Thanks Stiff :tup:

08-12-15, 06:18 AM
Very neat, electrics like that fry my brain.:eek:

08-12-15, 07:22 PM
Just caught up, nice work and quick to:tup:

08-12-15, 08:20 PM
Thanks guys :) I'm getting there slowly, spending a lot of time procrastinating!

My bars turned up yesterday and I thought I would fit them tonight to see if they are going to work. They are some fancy Rizoma ones, secondhand but unused. I was going to make my own, but at the price I got these for it wasn't even worth it... They are 1 1/8" diameter in the centre and 7/8" at the grip ends.

Popped them on to take a look at the width and they seem spot on. Pull back is just about right as well, should be nice and comfy.

All of the hand controls are from a 07/08 GSXR1000. Think the 750 had the same... Radial master cylinder should work pretty well, and the clutch cable fits the lever and looks to be the right length too. I've got the left hand switches as well, just finished working out the wiring for them and it looks to be easy enough to interface them with the Buell loom.


I've been messing with graphics as well. I intend to have a play with texturising (is that even a word?!) the paint on this. Black base coat with a dark purple metallic over the top. Plastic bag laid over and peeled off when wet. The graphics will be done with water slide decals and then clear coat over the top of it all...

08-12-15, 09:00 PM
Black base coat with a dark purple metallic over the top. Plastic bag laid over and peeled off when wet. The graphics will be done with water slide decals and then clear coat over the top of it all...

Now that sounds interesting, looking forward to seeing the results from that! I'm guessing that you'll see both black and purple when done. Love those two colours together, my favorite (along with yellow and purple) :tup:
By texturising do you mean wrinkle/marble effect? They used to do a lot of this stuff with foil but plastic bags and plastic wrap is becoming more popular. Inflating the bag gets some interesting results too. The effects can vary wildly depending on how long you leave the bag on and how hard you press or smear it around. Definitely try some test panels first to get an idea of what you want. :happy:

08-12-15, 09:24 PM
That's the plan, I need to get some basecoat to have a play around with. :) Might do it over Christmas, but I'm in no real rush just yet.

Black and purple are my 2 favourite colours and will form the basis of the colour scheme for the whole bike. Aside from the fact they go with most of my clothes too.... :lol:

I've got loads of panels I can mess around with. It's the paint that makes it pricey :)

Thinking about Chrysler Deep Amethyst ('97 paint code CU) as the first trial. It may be too dark.

08-12-15, 09:53 PM
See,, told you at this rate it would be ready for paint by christmas,,,;):tup:
ya have a great set of skills,ideas,and the ability to keep all the plates spinning in unison, excellent and looking forward to seeing the paint effect on the finished article. :tup:

08-12-15, 11:29 PM
That's the plan, I need to get some basecoat to have a play around with. :) Might do it over Christmas, but I'm in no real rush just yet.

Black and purple are my 2 favourite colours and will form the basis of the colour scheme for the whole bike. Aside from the fact they go with most of my clothes too.... :lol:

I've got loads of panels I can mess around with. It's the paint that makes it pricey :)

Thinking about Chrysler Deep Amethyst ('97 paint code CU) as the first trial. It may be too dark.

Ask around at local garages/bodyshops to see if they have (or will bear in mind putting to aside) any old leftover basecoats knocking around to practice with the 'effects'. You'd be surprised just how much stuff most of them have that were either mixed wrong, purchased wrong or an unusual colour left over that will probably never get used on anything. Chances are some of them would just give you it for nothing anyway ;)
It's always worth asking at your paint factors/suppliers too, you never know what they've got on the shelves that they'd be happy to get rid of cheap (again, wrongly mixed etc). You don't want to be paying top dollar for experimental purposes.
As for the colour, all metallics change hue in the light, pearls even more so, so with a dark purple over a black base you'll get some lights where you'll hardly notice the effect at all and others, like bright sunlight, where it will just 'pop', depends how subtle or not you want it.
Ask at the paint suppliers if you can have a look through the colour chips at the manufacturer's colours as they'll all have a few purples (Lamborghini do a couple of nice ones) but you can always ask for a custom mix. I did a MK1 Golf for a guy a few years back who couldn't make his mind up between two Porsche brown metallics so ended up getting a custom mix between the two and it looked fantastic.

12-12-15, 05:04 PM
I've got some decal paper to experiment with, and managed to find some cheap basecoat that I can use for testing :tup:

Sorted the relay mounting this morning, on the back of the battery box. Need to make some provision for cable routing, but that's easy enough.

Spent all day messing around making a poxy headlight bracket today.... Not sure why it took so long, other than I didn't seem to be able to engage my brain today. I ended up making a jig to build it on, and then transferred it to the bike. It's part of the reason being fussy means everything takes 5x longer than it should.

And after all that, I'm not even sure I like the lights or not. But they are growing on me, looking better in the flesh than the pics to be honest.

The plan would be to mount the digi dash above the lights, and then make a small infill/fairing to cover all the cables and hoses.
Dash would one of these, not decided yet.

Anyway, pics.





12-12-15, 09:47 PM
The lights are "outside the normal" box,, but thats not to say they don't work,, I like the round multi function gauge better personally but either could work, I would like to see it all finished before making the final judgement, looking good so far.:tup:

13-12-15, 08:41 AM
Dont know if this helps but I have a load of House of Kolor paint here that I got for the T. Its Candy red, a whole system from primer to clear. About 20 tins in all. Its old but still works. Looking for hundred quid for the lot.Let me know.

Did this with the paint couple of years back for a mates kid.



13-12-15, 09:41 AM
Lights are cool....

13-12-15, 07:13 PM
Guess who got a shout on on the Murray J show on Planet Rock today? Yes me... and a mention for Sophie Lancaster too. :)

Thanks for the feedback guys :) They've grown on me enough to keep. I will be painting them though.

Here's that damned bracket that took all day. I'll be adding to it so the dash and other bits all mount off the one bracket. I better get in practice for metal bashing as I want to make a little alloy mini screen/fairing to cover the back of the dash and fill the gap between the lights and it.


This is a perfect example of why my builds take so long, little machined bosses for the clutch cable mounting.


Last job of the day was strip it all back down and weld all of the brackets fully to the frame. I just have to fit a new rear tank mount and then it's ready to go to powder coating.


20-12-15, 07:17 PM
Dropped the frame off last week for powdercoating and then picked it up on Friday afternoon.

Put it all back together yesterday - painted a few bits up first before refitting them. Rear shock, front caliper and rear pulley all needed a bit of attention.

I also gave the centre of the rear disc a polish (cos I'm sad like that). Just need to change the rear wheel bearings as they feel a bit rough.



Today I started off with the intention of stripping and painting the engine. It was a bit of an unknown, so I thought it would be a good idea to give it an internal inspection... :lol:

I got it stripped down and masked up only to find the paint I was planning to use wouldn't spray properly... So the plan to have the engine black has changed... it's staying silver and black. I just need to respray the black covers as they are a bit scuffed up. I'll also spray the rocker box covers too. That's a job for the holiday.

Anyway, mechanically it all checks out, no measurable wear on anything. I took the opportunity to drill and tap the holes in the head for the breathers as well. The Buell normally uses breathers in the rocker box covers, which I'll block off.

So I put it all back together.









20-12-15, 09:43 PM
Its really moving forward at a fair pace, And looking good too, Do you work into the night? I wish I could get half of what you achieve,,,:tup: oh and a :tup: for the colour choice. excellent combination.

21-12-15, 07:24 AM
Yep that's a cracking pace. Not easy to keep that up. Looking good.

22-12-15, 06:53 PM
Thanks guys.

I only work during the day - but I do tend to do a long one. I don't get as much done as I used to, as I don't really do anything during the week (evenings) these days.

That said, I did manage to get the cam timing reset tonight. Which is another small job to tick off the list. Just the covers to paint, then I can get the engine back in the frame and start wiring and plumbing it all, finally!

22-12-15, 07:32 PM
Xmas now. Time for a breather, some over the top food, a few bevies and BREATH........

22-12-15, 08:09 PM
Xmas is just a week off for me (we had our Yule party at the weekend) - time to get a good run at either this bike or my Camaro :)

But don't worry, I'll have plenty of time for food and drink :tup:

27-12-15, 06:53 PM
I had a couple of days break for the festivities. All that got me was a seized up back so I spent the 2 days moping about. If I sit around for more than a couple of hours at a time I'm knackered.

Dosed up on painkillers and coffee this morning and made it out into the workshop...

Got the engine off the bench and back into the frame. Got it all bolted in, then thought I'd better sort the clutch mechanism out. Should have put it together before I put the primary cover on. Doh! Ended up having to undo most of the bolts again and jacking the engine up so I could get the cover off as the chain adjuster bolt wouldn't clear the frame. Solved that by cutting 1/2" off the length of the adjuster! Can now just about be removed and refitted with the engine bolted in the frame.

I also found out I need to get a primary cover gasket, the one in the gasket kit was the wrong shape. I wonder if Harley in Newmarket are open tomorrow...?

I also sorted the rear brake hose out, just need to connect it up the other end once the master cylinder has been mounted, a job for tomorrow.

Spent most of the rest of the day formulating a plan on what order to attack the rest of the build.

Before I go back to work in January I'd like to get the exhaust tacked together and the rest of the fabrication completed.



28-12-15, 05:29 PM
A bit more progress made today. I have run out of Argon though which put a stop to progress completely. With any luck the local place will be open in the morning so I can go an get some...

Anyway, first job this morning was to machine up a few little bits. Blanking plugs for the old breathers in the heads and then some collars for the ends of the exhaust. I used an offcut of 1 1/2" SCH40 stainless pipe (which is actually 1 7/8" OD and 1 1/2" bore) and just bored it out to take the 1 3/4" OD tube for the exhaust. Then I welded that to 2 short stubs so I could put it back up in the lathe and machine the end up so I will seal on the gasket.

The result is something that looked like this



After that I spent the rest of the day cutting and tacking bends together to make something resembling an exhaust. The lowest section runs parallel to the frame and the intention is to make a 2-1 collector just under the footpeg and then a short 2 1/2" section with a turn out on the end. Probably work a bit of a baffle in there as well just to keep it somewhat sociable...

I was also mindful of loosing too much ground clearance, hence why the pipes sit offset to each other.




I just need some more argon so I can get these fully welded before progressing any further, gives me chance to work out any distortion in the final section.

28-12-15, 06:39 PM
Probably work a bit of a baffle in there as well just to keep it somewhat sociable....


We had a friend that lived 1/4 mile away and everytime we heard his chop leave in the morning we would say 'there goes Fin'. Missed it when he moved. Very tuff guy but scared to hell of my missis who is very slim and tall. Go figure.

29-12-15, 05:16 PM
Lol, my old 127" chop was phenomenally loud. You could literally hear it over a mile away, and it spat flames etc. Hilarious, but extremely tiring on a long run.

This one won't be any where near as loud - but I didn't fit any baffles in the end. :tup:

Finished the exhaust today, to be honest by the time I'd been to get some gas and then got stuck in it took me all day. So, it's taken 2 full days but I am really pleased with how it's turned out. I really ought to consider polishing it up now, but I really hate that job.

First job was fully weld the pipes from yesterday, thankfully minimal distortion and filler wire needed. So worth getting all of the joints really tight. Refitted it all then set about making the collector from two 45deg bends. Chopped through and welded together. Then worked out where the end bend needed to be, flattened the end, marked round it and cut the end off the collector so it matched up. Once the end was cut off I could get inside to just fuse the 2 pieces together where it's impossible to weld them from the outside.

I made a sleeve from another offcut of 1 1/2" SCH40 pipe so that I didn't have to try and manhandle the whole exhaust on and off in one piece. That means I can have a clamped joint on the front pipe, which is pretty much hidden anyway.

So here's the end result. Just a support bracket to make for the rear of it and it can be polished.






Last quick job of the day was mounting the digital dash to the headlight bracket. This little thing has all of the functions and warning lights you need in it. Nice and tidy. I just need to make the deflector/shroud thing to cover the back of it - I have a vision in my head, but can't explain it.



29-12-15, 10:43 PM
You make it all look far to easy :).

I've had the intention to do something over the holidays but can't get the enthusiasm.

Keep up the good work. The exhaust looks great. :tup:

30-12-15, 07:17 PM
I also had great intentions this break but all have come to nothing. This build is making me feel very very very slow.

Without going back over the thread, does this need to go for a test such as the BIVA, but for bikes, if so what are the biggest hurdles to get a bike like this through?

30-12-15, 07:26 PM
Yes, it will need an MSVA test. Similar to the BIVA but for bikes. The full manual is here


Basically you need to have all of the lights, instruments, meet the noise regs (99dB), no sharp edges. All the usual sort of stuff. :)

Been wiring today, not much to show, but I did have to put a few bits back on.


30-12-15, 10:13 PM
Metalflake paint co used to make the exact paint that you need to get the effect you're after, it's not available now (health and safety) but I found this http://www.rogerscustom.se/produkter2.php?Produkt_ID=137

Almost forgot Alsa Corp do a similar thing http://alsacorp.com/crystal-fx/

28-02-16, 07:29 PM
I've been plodding on slowly with the bike build. Inbetween the trike and Camaro :lol:

The wiring is done, and mechanically it's more or less finished. I've got a few small jobs done today - the sort that take ages.

Made the front brake line and the mount for the fluid reservoir and filled it up with fluid. Fitted the mirrors - no use for SVA, but they'll do for after. Made the push rod for the rear brake. Fitted the carb and air filter. Swapped the engine cover bolts out for stainless. Made all of the oil lines up. Fitted the rear brake switch and filled it with fluid. Mounted the speedo.

Just need to mount the idiot lights, and come up with a solution for a sidelight telltale for SVA. After that its just the tin work to finish off...






19-03-16, 05:23 PM
SJ, any more progress on this one. I know you have been doing the Camaro but this is tantalisingly close now:tup:

19-03-16, 05:37 PM
Hiya.... I'm just waiting for the weather to warm up a bit so I can do the paint. There's not really much else to do, other than the rear light and a few bolt on bits :)

15-10-16, 05:32 PM
Back on with this again. Trying to get it painted before the weather turns too cold :lol:

Spent most of today filling and sanding all of the tin work for the bike. Rear fender took the most work, and there's still a bit more to do, but I find it easier to work off the epoxy primer as a base. I also re-shaped the front fender so that fits much better now.

Gave everything a couple of liberal coats of Lechler 2k epoxy, it'll be ready for more work tomorrow...

I also finally got around to making the brake/tail light lens which fits in the rear edge of the back fender. Still need to fit the LED's in it, but it's shaped and polished up.





15-10-16, 06:29 PM
SJ, Nice to see you back on it. What did you use for the lens? I need to make something similar for the front fenders on the T and was going to use clear glass fibre resin in a mould I will be making from the actual fender so it can be inserted from below the fender and be flush with the top/painted area.

15-10-16, 06:36 PM
The lens is made from 25mm thick perspex - nice and easy to shape and work with. After cutting and then giving it a quick sand smooth it's just flame polished :)

I should get the LED's in it tomorrow and then I can put up some pics of how it works. :)