The Name of the Bike: “Until Lambs Become Lions”
The name comes from Ridley Scott’s new (2010) Robin Hood movie starring Russell Crowe. In the movie the phrase “Rise and Rise Again until Lambs Become Lions” was Robin’s rallying cry to take up his father’s cause for liberty and a reminder to never give up against the adversity and challenges that we might face, until the docile lambs become conquering lions.
Why this name?
• I was in over my head with the bike project and wanted to give up many times but didn’t. Instead I would walk away from it until I had clarity, after which I would ask myself why I even contemplated giving up. I had to tell myself time and time again not to give up. When I saw the movie the phrase instantly registered with me as the most fitting name for the bike.
• I was taught that if you get into trouble while riding, never give up, it’s not over until it’s over. Most bikes surpass the riding capability of the rider so if your in trouble don’t be afraid to push beyond what you think the bike is capable of and you will likely recover. You won’t recover if you give up.
• Although the stock V-Rod is no slouch, I did take it to another performance level. I
like to think that I turned a Lamb into a Lion.
• And lastly never give up is largely the way I have lived my life.
About the Project:
The bike is a 2003 VRSCA anniversary edition that I bought new. The H/D exotic paint set that is on the bike now was purchased and after considerable research into what was and wasn’t available, parts to get started were ordered and the bike was torn down to the frame. The entire build took place over a 3 year period on the floor of my single car garage that I converted into a bike shop. I have no mechanical background so this would be a learning project for me. I was about to find out that it would be a huge learning project.
What I learned about motorcycles is best explained by looking at the contents of a manufacturer’s service manual. I had to learn it all, not step by step from the VRSCA manual itself but in general as there wouldn’t be much left of the stock bike when I was finished. That of course meant that I would have to document everything that I did so that I had a new service manual when I was done, which of course meant learning how to do that as well. I wanted to do everything myself and for the most part did, making my own hydraulic lines, turning parts on a lathe, air-brushing, rewiring the bike, designing and drawing parts for fabrication, working with fiberglass, to tuning the bike myself. It was both a frustrating and a very rewarding experience.
What I learned outside the motorcycle itself was the real benefit for me. The insight into hardware, fittings, metals, finishes and paints, tools, pneumatics, plastics, gases, CAD,
electronics, electrical and mechanical is something that I will benefit from for years to come.
I am very thankful to the on-line community, especially the 1130cc Forum, and to all of the providers of products and services who shared their knowledge with me. I will in turn share my experiences and results with them and others.
The more I learnt, the more I wanted to learn. The more I did the more I wanted to do. The creative thinking that has resulted from the experience has spilled over into my personal life and my business enhancing both. It was one of the best things that I have ever done for myself.
About the Bike: (see tech sheet for details)
The stock engine has been bored out by Zippers Performance to 1320 and equipped with Wiseco pistons, Z-Rod race grind Cams, 58mm throttle bodies with billet high velocity stacks, CNC port work, and Destroyer injectors. Cases are strengthened with a V-Mod billet crank case girdle, V&H case studs and a Doherty machine billet oil pan. Power is transferred through an H/D slipper clutch.
The engine is painted and dressed up with polished fins, chrome plated billet engine covers, and liquid filled engine turned – oil pressure, oil temp, and coolant temp gauges.
For extra boost and fun a 50 shot, 6 bottle (2 front & 4 rear) dry nitrous (NO2) system was added complete with safeties including a lean detector and window switch to be sure I don’t blow up my pretty engine. The NO2 system includes one-of handlebar mounted controls and status indicators, one-of front & rear bottle mount brackets and black nickel plated valve knobs, a one-of rear cylinder mounted liquid filled engine turned NO2 pressure gauge and control pod, and purge lines that exit gas out the front frame covers just for fun. The entire control system including, secondary lines, and modified Boss- Noss regulator is housed in the air box complete with quick disconnects on both the plumbing and electrical to facilitate quick and easy removal for service.
To be sure I stay focused on hanging on and get into the right body position, I can set the NO2 system from manual pushbutton fire to auto fire mode, flip down the mid pegs on the one-of mid peg mounts, enable the modified Translogic push button speed shifter, grab a hand full of throttle and when the NO2 safeties are satisfied the gas will auto fire,
the almost instantaneous shifts will auto up shift through the gear range and I will quickly run out of road. The one-of left side dash mounted speed shift light and the right side gear indicator let me know what is going on. If I want to manually control the system I can use the built in shift light of the gear indicator, (which is set to a lower rpm to compensate for the slower manual shift time), to indicate the optimum shift point.
The most satisfying moment of the entire project was after I had tested and dialed in all of the components and did my first run in auto mode. It was exhilarating and extremely satisfying, not because I broke any speed records, far from it, but because everything worked. Everything I designed and built actually worked. It took days to wipe the smile off my face.
The 2nd most satisfying moment of the project was when I had to troubleshoot my errors while testing and dialing everything in. The drawings and documentation, that I had been assembling during the build, made finding and rectifying my errors easy work. I was thankful that I had spent the time on the documentation.
Exhaust exits through a black nickel plated custom made 2 into 1 exhaust header system, (equipped with wideband O2 sensors for the onboard TwinScan tuning aid and the NO2 lean detector), and a modified Bub 7 street legal (quiet) muffler. Headers are covered with a one piece bolted on (no annoying worm clamps) chrome plated heat shield.
The front suspension uses the stock fork tubes equipped with Racetech lowering springs,and Gold Emulators supplemented with modified FCR Suspension fork sub- tanks. The forks are clamped together with a Chrome Plated Rizoma billet tree set. One- of front fork protectors with integral run turn LED’s make sure I can be seen and protect the shinny front forks. One-of front axle bolt covers also with integral LED run turns add to my visibility.
The rear suspension uses modified Arnott air shocks to hoist the rear of the bike either for aggressive riding or to use the one-of center display stand. Air pressure is monitored by a pressure sensor and will trigger LED alarm indicators both on the air gauge mount and
the left side handlebar LED pod if air pressure drops below the preset level, letting me know not to ride aggressively. Shock pressure is displayed on the liquid filled engine turned air pressure gauge.
The rear shocks are bolted to a chrome plated CFR Series II three piece swing arm that allows rear wheel removal from a single side. The swing arm has been modified to incorporate internal wiring for the run turn LED’s in the one-of rear axle bolt covers and the show LED lighting, as well as an internal rear brake line. A one-of belt guard mounts to the swing arm, along with a rear brake line dry break quick disconnect so that brakes do not have to bleed for wheel removal.
The chrome plated five spoke 19×3.5 front wheel and18x8.5 rear wheel were 3D machined from solid blocks of billet aluminum by OMP. Both front and rear are fitted with Metzler ME880 tires. A 3D machined 6 piston front caliper and wave cut perimeter rotor combined with a 3D machined 6 piston rear caliper and floating in-bore rotor provide more than enough stopping power. Brake components are connected via solid stainless tubing and 2AN steel braided lines.
The frame has only minor modifications done to it, mostly to accommodate the bottom mounted air compressor and wide tire. Frame welds were dressed prior to paint. Painted stainless upper and lower removable frame covers hide the speed shift ECM on one side, (where the ignition switch used to be), and the air pressure sensor on the other side. The ignition switch was replaced with a wireless Motogadget RFID ignition system to make room for the additional components.
Mounted on the Chromoly, internally wired, clip-on handlebars are OMP 3D machined controls complete with 3D clutch and brake master reservoirs actuated by one-of fully
adjustable levers. Connected to the reservoirs are the sleek modified Rizoma Senso mirrors. Also mounted to the left and right handlebars are LED status indicators for the NO2 system, speed shift, data recording, and air pressure alarm as well as speed shift pushbutton controls on the left and NO2 pushbutton controls on the right. The adjustable internal throttle is covered by a modified Rizoma contact grip.
Wind is deflected by the modified Rizoma Pro Gaurds mounted to the end of the grips
and by the custom floating windscreen that I had cut from an old much larger windscreen. To my surprise the windscreen actually works extremely well at deflecting air over the riders head.
The instrument cluster with its stainless black nickel plated instrument gauge face complete with interchangeable red, blue, white back lighting is housed in a modified Rizoma instrument housing to which the Kellermann LED front turns and speed shift lights are mounted.
The rider can choose between using the OMP 3D machined forward controls or the matching 3D machined mid pegs. Shifting when using the mid pegs is accomplished using the handlebar mounted speed shift up and down pushbuttons. Matching 3D machined passenger pegs are attached to the swing arm.
Fine Italian leather by Bitchin Seats covers both the one-up and the two-up custom seat pans for maximum comfort and good looks.
And just in case there wasn’t enough on the bike already pimp lights (show LED’s) highlight the entire bike from end to end without exposing any of the wiring or components.
Form, Function & Serviceability:
There is a lot of stuff on this bike. One of the challenges I set for myself was to create a show bike that could and would be ridden, is street legal, could be taken to the track, and is easily serviced by either myself or anyone else. Nothing should go on the bike that doesn’t have a function, the function has to have form and the end result has to be serviceable.
Every component on the bike can be easily isolated or removed for service, repair or replacement or to allow access to another component for service or removal. Products used were modified so that they could be broken down and placed anywhere that I wanted them and so that they do not interfere with routine bike service.
For me the real art is not what you see; it’s what you don’t see “under the hood”. Never the less, I hope you enjoy what you do see as much as I do.