22
Feb

Project Storm: The Beginning

Ok, so now you know why I’m doing it, let me fill you in on the story of Project Storm so far. I love bikes. I’m a V twin guy and the KTM RC8 has always been a favourite bike of mine. Earlier this year, a mate of mine spotted a damaged one at the auctions and sent me a link, so I had a look. It was an online auction for written off bikes and before this guy sent me the link to the auction, I didn’t even know such a thing existed. I always thought you actually had to go to the physical auction and stand around all day waiting for your lot to come up… this online setup makes it too easy!

I already had this bike build idea in my mind and thought the RC8 would make a good donor, so I signed up and put a few bids on but it ended up way too rich for me to justify. So while I was there, I put in a notification alert for more RC8s and also the VTR1000F, which I already own (a red ’98 model which I love). Two weeks later, I got an alert fparor a red ’03 Firestorm with front end damage… a few bids later and a quick trip in the ute, and I had two red Firestorms sitting in the garage and Project Storm had become a reality, after this I needed to start thinking about storage to keep everything safe.

To be honest, I’m kinda glad I missed out on the RC8 as I think I would have been a bit hesitant to start chopping up a bike like that which was still in pretty good condition! Not to mention the difference in purchase price between the RC8 and the Firestorm is going to pay for a lot of custom bits for this build. To me, the Firestorm is an ideal basis for this project for a few reasons:

  1. I’ve already got one and I know my way around them pretty well
  2. Even if this damaged bike turns out to be no good, I can still use it to develop parts then swap them over to the good bike… having two of the same bike is going to be handy for a lot of reasons
  3. They’re a V twin and sound tough with the right exhaust
  4. They’re a good, reliable bike with plenty of grunt for a streetbike
  5. They’re not bad to look at, but there’s definitely room for improvement to bring the styling up to date
  6. Similarly, they’re not high tech (even the latest models still run carbies), so there’s room to bring the technology up to date too
  7. There’s lots of them around, meaning there’s parts available and hopefully a reasonable market to sell a few bits, make sure to check out Shoppok.

As you can see from the pics, the front end has had it, but the rest of the bike looks to have come out pretty much unscathed. Apart from the obvious panel damage at the front,  the forks are very bent, rotors are bent, rim is bent, etc etc, so much so, that I can’t even push it around. Unfortunately it didn’t come with a key either, so I’m not sure if it even runs yet, but given there’s not a scratch on the engine, I can’t see why it wouldn’t.

So what’s the plan from here? To be honest, I’m not 100% sure. I know it won’t be having fairings on it, and I know it’s not going to look anything like a standard Firestorm when I’m done, but I don’t have a clear picture of what that’s going to look like just yet. My plan at this stage is to do a CAD model of the overall bike so I can chop, change and modify it on the computer screen until I’ve got something that I’m happy with. It’ll also help me convey some ideas to the engineer that will be signing off on the modifications for road registration, which should make life easier for both of us.

Part of me just wants to get stuck in and start building stuff, but I also like to “start with the end in mind” and CAD is a great tool for doing this and exploring ideas, so I think it will be well worth the time to put a model together of what I want the bike to look like. It’s also how I’m used to designing things, having cut my teeth in engineering in the CAD department at GM Holden, where we had a CAD model of every part, nut & bolt in the car. I won’t have the luxury of that kind of detail here though… just enough to get an overall picture of the bike, the layout, stance & proportions I’m after. Should be fun…

Cheers, Brett.

About Brett Longhurst

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