15 Oct Hell On (Two) Wheels 16 – Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 seat 300mm rear tire build
After this blog post, barring a few small things which we’ll cover later, we’re all caught up on the Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 seat 300mm rear tire build!
Last time you saw the bike, it was covered in plastic sheeting. No, it’s not a terrible Halloween costume for the motorcycle, it’s to keep the body of the bike in good condition as we prepare for the final step in creating the base of the seat. We also started taping off the skeleton of the seat, as it will need to have a complete shape prior to this next step. On top of the yellow tape, we’re adding a layer of different tape that will prevent adhesion of the seat’s upcoming skin with the tape, so it can be removed later. Taping to match the intended contours of the seat’s frame was a little tricky, but with time on our side we eventually completed the task.
With the tape helping to shape the seat the way we want it, we broke out the next material we’d be using to form the base of the seat — fiberglass! And also some very pungent resin. Although we don’t believe it’s meant to be huffed.
The next few steps were relatively repetitive. After laying down the first layer of fiberglass mat, we used the resin to dry the fiberglass around the contours of the seat’s steel frame. Once the resin and fiberglass were applied, the seat was left on the bike (on top of the plastic sheeting, which should now make a lot more sense) and put under a heat lamp for a several-hour drying period. At this point, it was rinse and repeat for a few layers of fiberglass, in order to ensure the seat’s base would be strong.
Once the layers of fiberglass had hardened, we took the seat off the bike (along with the plastic wrapping) and proceeded to trim the dry fiberglass into the shape we wanted in preparation for the next step.
Now, we weren’t just going to fiberglass the top of the seat. We also wanted to fill in the skeleton underneath the seat. So, once we removed the tape from the innards of the skeleton, we set about using loose fiberglass and quick-drying resin to fill in the gaps. Constant hand work kept the air bubbles mostly at bay, which can contribute to a lack of structural integrity. It was a mixture of finesse and quickness.
And with that, we have one seat base ready to send to the upholsterer. Well, there was actually one last step in-between; after the loose fiberglass had dried underneath the mat layers, we made sure that the connections between seat and bike were unperturbed, which involved a little bit of additional trimming, but not too much. We tested the structural rigidity of the seat, and it’s more than capable of being a two-up seat for just about anybody. Hell, it could probably take three or four without much give.
The seat has since been sent to the upholsterer, and we should be receiving a completed custom seat either tomorrow or Wednesday. We still have a few small tasks to undertake, so there’s still a blog post or two left (not counting the painting/powdercoating) before we get this bike out of here. Although we do have a lot of content to feature this week — some new, some old — so stick around and see what comes up tomorrow! Have a great start to your week!