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Palace Cycles' Latest Build

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  • Palace Cycles' Latest Build

    I saw in El Skitzo's thread that he has used Andy Brown for some fabrication work and a mention of Andy's latest build. BTW El's bike looks great and the thread is quite an interesting read.

    I've been collaborating with Andy to have this latest Palace Cycles bike built. The picture below shows the bike as it is now and it is not far from final engineering inspection and registration.

    If anybody would like a write up on the design philosophy/evolution, tech details, parts suppliers, etc just say and I will attempt to write something up and post more pics.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Originally posted by sprung View Post
    If anybody would like a write up on the design philosophy/evolution, tech details, parts suppliers, etc just say and I will attempt to write something up and post more pics.
    As if we wouldn't? Type on Sir..



    • #3
      Welcome aboard Sprung, and what a cool bike. I saw a picture of it as a complete mockup in OzBike and it certainly is different and really going to turn some heads.

      Long live the plunger!!!

      Last edited by El Skitzo; 14-09-2009, 08:49 AM.


      • #4
        I missed that copy of Ozbike. What month was it?

        The mock up wasn't quite complete, there was no exhaust, but this is going to be a 2 into 1 nickel plated with a Supertrap muffler.

        Still working on a write up.


        • #5
          Is that a Pan head you're running in this?


          • #6
            Is that a Pan head you're running in this?
            It's an S&S 50th anniversary Pan Head, 103 cubic inch.


            • #7
              PART 1

              Planning and Basic Design

              I had been thinking about a custom cruiser type of bike since the mid 90’s. It was the dream that most have and never realise, usually due to lack of access to the knowhow and parts at a reasonable cost. I thought for a long while that I was going to be one of the perpetual dreamers.
              My financial circumstances didn’t really change much, it’s just that I decided to go for it and do some research to see how practical the dream would be. I didn’t want to compromise with a modified bike, I wanted a pure build-from-scratch custom, but I wasn’t prepared for an open ended budget to achieve this. It was all or nothing.
              I bought loads of magazines and looked at all sorts of publications and websites/forums for about a year. I didn't want an expensive mural, dragstrip performance or heaps of bling, just a practical but unique bike to ride. I also wanted nostalgia, so a springer front end was a must. I wasn’t prepared to go for a rigid, so having a nostalgic rear suspension was a dilemma for a while. Then some of the old Honda and Triumph based choppers of the 70's caught my eye and that is where the rear plunger style suspension comes from.
              My original plan was to go for the Powerplus Indian engine. A bit of research threw up an approximate cost of about US$4k for this and a lot Harley Evo bits will fit it. This price fit the budget nicely.
              Next problem was how to get the frame with the rear suspension to be a reality. It was during my research over the previous year that I saw an article on Andy Brown and that he was moving to Perth, so I phoned the mobile number on the Palacecycles website and had a chat. Andy seemed interested in what I wanted so we arranged a meet. One of the first things I said to Andy was that I didn’t want skulls, Maltese Crosses or flames. That statement put a certain expression on his face and I knew then that we may be on the same wavelength. We sat down and looked over and discussed all the stuff I had put together. I told Andy that I wasn’t inflexible and intended to use his expertise to evolve the basic ideas as the bike progressed, if he took the project on. Andy also thought it could be done for about the brand new on-the-road price of a decent Harley. This estimate and the fact that we already agreed on the major aspects of the project, made it a starter for both of us.

              The two bikes that had the biggest influence on my original ideas are attached. The local Honda is just a plum and I like clean basic lines of the Indian engine in the DNA frame, so combine the two...
              Attached Files


              • #8
                Did you consult an engineer with regards to the frame modifications? Just thinking that it may be easier to get engineer sign off on the frame before you put the bike together, just incase the engineer wants to Xray any of the welds.

                Great build by the way. I don't even know of any one building plunger rear end frames any more, so it's a fantastic choice to keep the retro look and to be completely different.

                And everyone loves a pan!!


                • #9
                  Did you consult an engineer with regards to the frame modifications?
                  Yes, all done. In my prior year research I found out about all the rules and paperwork needed for both an Individually Constructed Vehicle and also for a Modified Vehicle and spoke to the motor registration branch here as well to confirm everything. Most people have the impression that this is a nightmare, but it is not too hard to follow the proceedures. Andy is also up to speed with all this stuff too and knows an engineering signatory, so it is all going smoothly with that regard.

                  I'll put all this stuff in Part 2 of the write up if people aren't already bored with the wordy part 1.


                  • #10
                    Keep typing sprung, everyone loves a Project.


                    • #11
                      Part 2

                      PART 2

                      Getting It All Together

                      Andy sourced a rigid frame and a pile of other bits and suggested that the best way to proceed would be to modify this frame, rather than build from scratch. We went to look at the frame and the other parts, which were basically a whole bike project ready for assembly. The seller was really decent and was willing to separate the bits. A deal was struck and we ended up with the frame, an S&S 5 speed box, primary drive, clutch and a whole lot of other small but necessary items. Andy then sourced the plunger suspension, which I believe came from a BSA.

                      I was also busy trying to get hold of an Indian engine. The company that inherited the rights to this engine, plus a stock of Indian’s left over engines, were really helpful with information right up until I asked for a quote for the engine to be supplied to Australia. Then nothing, all emails went unanswered. Andy had never said anything about this engine choice but I could tell he wasn’t entirely happy about it. The lack of response from the Indian people made me have second thoughts about it too, if they are uncommunicative about supply how will I go if I need their support in the future? So they were sacked and we considered alternatives. To cut a long and agonising story short the S&S Panhead was chosen. Then about 8 months later I got an email from the Indian people asking if I still wanted an engine and giving excuses about problems with their email system. As I had wanted an engine, not excuses, I didn’t even give them the courtesy of a reply.

                      I was considering spoked wheels but Andy gently steered me towards Performance Machine alloys. Not wanting to hide a nice set of wheels behind disc brakes the Baldwin-Wilson 360 brake for the front and a PM sprotor for the rear were chosen.

                      I got the front brake from Rollies Speed Shop, with quick, helpful and prompt service.

                      I made enquiries about the wheels from the local suppliers, but had to adjust my pacemaker when they told me their price. After the quote for the wheels I wasn’t game to ask the price of the Panhead. I heard some uncorroborated rumours about the price, and if they were true this was way too much for me. I have an overseas colleague who is well into the chopper scene and is active on the club chopper forum. He told me to contact Scooters Performance in Florida who always gets good reports on that forum. I did as he said and I cannot rate the service they gave me high enough. Their price, including air freight to Perth and all the extras that go with that, for the engine and 2 wheels with tyres fitted cost me about 60% of the local price. I’ll just say that I would have preferred to support local businesses, but....

                      Now that all the major components of the bike were specified I spoke to the local motor registration people and was advised the following:

                      If you are building a bike from a pile of bits then it is an Individually Constructed Vehicle. Even if you have frame number from a previously registered bike and build around this it will not be considered a Modified Vehicle.
                      Any frames or other major components must have a traceable title back to the day they were imported into this country for the vehicle to be registered. The guy I spoke to said it was because of the large trade going on in stolen motorcycle parts.

                      I then wrote the required letter to the DPI requesting permission to build an ICV on 1 July last year and had an affirmative reply on 10 July. Pretty good for a Government Department.

                      Check out Vehicle construction for details on ICVs.

                      The Federal Department of Transport website has all the information about conformance to Australian Design Rules, but it seems each state has their interpretation of these rules. The above link is helpful in specifying what our state requires.

                      If anyone would like a copy of the the permission request letter posted let me know.


                      • #12
                        great work sprung! this is gonna be a fun build. i've never been much into the old v-twin custom scene, mostly because the choppers and bobbers you see a lot of on magazines are a bit overdone for my liking, but i've got a newfound appreciation for them having been introduced to some builders that are a bit more to my liking.

                        good write up mate. i can't wait to see what this looks like when it's all done. do your best to keep up the detailed updates. they'll make for great reading as it all comes together!


                        • #13
                          So was your frame a previously registered frame, or was it a new aftermarket one?

                          Will your bike be considered a 2009 build when it's done, so having to meet current ADRs, with indicators and all that stuff?

                          Running a 360 brake up front, you may want to start using more rear brake in your riding style, as I've heard they get very very hot!!


                          • #14
                            The frame has been chopped to bits and rebuilt so it is a now a full custom that needs an engineer's cert.

                            An ICV is automatically the model year in which it is registered, so yes it needs 2009 ADR compliant indicators. switches, lights etc. Annoying things like no on/off switch for the headlight too.

                            I take your advice on the brake, I have heard similar reports but then I have heard good reports. If it is not a success I can always cover the fancy wheels with some decent Brembos. But maybe I won't be riding too fast for it to be a problem, it's all in the future and something to look forward to finding out.

                            Some pics I forgot to post, original frame and mock up before the frame was chopped up.
                            Attached Files


                            • #15
                              With your ICV, are you going to need to comply with emissions, EFI etc?