The Amazing Shrunken FXR Project Part 3

Bandit and I were checking out the Amazing Shrunken FXR. “Thedamned thing,” referring to the shrunken FXR project we had beenhammering at, off and on, for almost two years, “has attitude,” hegrowled, “a bad-assed attitude.”

“Yeah, but will it have sound attitude?” I mused. “I want it toget attention. I want it to be felt in their chests before they seeit. I want them to hide their children from the evil they fear.”

The Amazing Shrunken FXR has developed into a mythic ethos. Froma cardboard box full of rejected, beat-up, and cast off parts, thebike has become a sculptured icon, a physical dream, and perhaps awrong turn down a bad dirt road, three miles back.The project began back in the spring of 2001. After a lot of fitsand starts, the Buell Project, the Sturgis Run, the Deer Gut stewadventure, Bandit’s painful recovery, the Red Ball prep, variousevents including a trip around the world and soiree’s, we slappedparts on, hammered steel into shape, welded this and that, cussed andfarted and got to where we are with the help of a RevTech driveline,Custom Chrome, BDL belt, Joker controls, Cyril Huze sheet metal andCompu-Fire electrics. The bike is raw boned, trimmed down, and meanlooking. That’s where it stands, inert and waiting for inspiration,up on the rack at the Bikernet garage.


Bandit regarded the raw metal frame with squinty-eyed intensity.”What you thinkin’,” I asked, keeping my own gaze focused on thepotential of the bike. At my question he stretched out his gangly,egret-like frame to its full 6’5″. “It’ll be a loud mother fuckereither way you play it,” he intoned in his gravitas basso-profundodeep voice. “We’ve shortened the frame and rear wheel base so muchthat it’s barely a cunt-hair from the exhaust port to the rear wheel.”

rear manifold
We cut a piece of an Samson Evolution system with a Mikita touse the exhaust port, then started welding other pieces in place. Wecut it back to make a tight turn and create space away from the oiltank.

“Fuck it,” I responded in my best Pancho Sanchezimprovisation, “let’s just start from the port and see what happens.”

We rummaged through a pile of Samson scrap exhaust pipes that wehad scavenged from a dumpster behind the Sampson factory. Flingingout fish tail tips, shot gun systems and swoopy cruiser exhausts,most of them dented and damaged so they couldn’t be re-used. Mr.Samson gave us only the best to modify. We eventually came up withenough pieces to fabricate a Frankenstein exhaust system.


As I grabbed for a section 1 3/4-inch chrome pipe, Imistakenly grabbed a goodly chunk of fur. Bandit’s midget, crazeddemon of a feral cat yeowled in protest and sank his needle-liketeeth into the back of my hand.

“God damn that crazy bastard,” I screamed, “he’s as crazyas a peach orchard boar.” I’m sure Bandit has a mescaline salt-lickfor that freaked out feline.After I extricated my hand from the jaws of Bandit’s feline Cujo, Ireturned to the exhaust system at hand.

Our intent was to minimize the exhaust system as much as possible.We ran the pipe straight down from the front exhaust port, thenturned it to hug the bottom of the engine case. We had originallyhoped to put a flattened pipe under the frame, but reasonable roadclearance dictated a different path. So we tucked it in and aroundthe engine case, then inside the frame, coming out just at the edgeof the back wheel.

“Our first mistake,” Bandit spouted, “we needed a smallerdiameter chunk of exhaust to form guides when welding chunks ofexhaust together. If we had slipped it in one piece even a quarter ofan inch. it would have held each chunk in alignment. That’s onetheory to building pipes. The key to fabing your own pipes is havingenough scrap to slice and dice, then cutting and working each pieceuntil it’s as close to a perfect fit as possible. Finally the tackingprocess is critical. That’s were the guides didn’t come in. If we hadguides we wouldn’t have offset pipes tacked into place. That problememerged severely a week later during the grinding process.”

“It took two days of playing, cutting, fitting and welding toform a completely custom exhaust system in place,” Bandit added.”Make sure you wet towels and form a fire barrior around your tackingarea to protect the rest of the bike. I used a small 0-sized torchtip and common hanger to tack the segments of pipes together. I’m notconfident enough with our new MIG welder with thin sheet metal, so Istuck with the torch.”

two in to one

” It wasn’t perfect, but it was ours,” Bandit added, “acompletely unique system that would be tucked under the transmissionand attached to the driveline solidly under the tranny backing place.Then we faced the muffler aspect. The pipes were too short to be openor we would have been arrested within a block of the headquarters.”

Needing some kind of ‘standardized’ muffler elements, we went toour local San Pedro Kragen Auto Parts store. With the clamp-on piecein hand, we found parts and pieces enough to create a 7″ mufflercase. “Most of the elements were too heavy and glass packed,” Banditspouted, “We couldn’t weld on a glass pack.”

Back at the garage, with torch in hand, Bandit cut out a sectionof baffles from some scrap Sampson muffler. Spot welding the bafflesinto our jury-rigged muffler, we produced something that may, likeJapanese Fart Wax, diminish the painful ‘Brap-rap-rap’ flutter ofunrestrained exhaust back pressure. A right-angle turn-out willdirect the dragon’s breath exhaust from the screaming 88cc Rev Tech,high-performance engine to an unsuspecting public standingslack-jawed and terrified at the curbed edge of civilization, theirhair-dos blasted straight by the sizzling after-burner of the AmazingShrunken FXR.

“He gets sorta twisted,” Bandit muttered shaking his head.”Actually with the baffle in hand we went to San Pedro Muffler Shopand looked at the myriad of tips and tubing alterations we couldmake. We found a tip and had a chunk of 1 7/8 tubing spread to matchthe tip. That formed the other end of the muffler. We just had toweld the three elements together.”

baffle in place

I welded the baffle in place, positioned as it was in theSamson System. I discovered that the two elements didn’t want to weldtogether. I have a feeling the tip was made of an inferior metal.

cutting clamp notches
With the die grinder we cut notches for the muffler clamp.

muffler to pipe tip

muffler in place

“After welding and fitting I stood back and was proud of ouruniquely tight system that would allow Giggie, from Compu-Fire, tomachine mid-controls for a final touch,” Bandit interupted. Theexhaust played perfectly into the Shrunken aspects of the project. Iremoved the tacked system and began hours of gas welding to make itwhole. That’s when all hell broke loose. While working on anotheraspect of the bike with my back turned to my partner, he began togrind the welds. The college art history professor sought perfectionwith each weld and ground right through the thin walls of the18-guage exhaust pipes. It was amazing. I was sure the system wasruined.”

better grinding shot

grinding holes in pipe
This shows the amount of area ground down so far we were forcedto fill it or destroy the system and start over.

grinding pipe welds

“Some builders tack systems together then take them tomuffler shops for professional construction. I thought that was mynext move. Unfortunately a regular muffler shop doesn’t have themandrels to make the tight bends we had proposed. I was devastated,but the man told me that he could fill the welds with his MIG welder.

nuttboy cleaning welds

muffler fill welds
More welds to fill the mad grinder’s cutting work.

“Unfortunately each weld was now a 1/2 inch tall and wide zit atalmost each junction of the pipe. Nuttboy began the grinding processagain. More holes were found and I filled them with gas welding usinghanger rods. I joke now that if the bike runs like shit we blame iton the exhaust system. If it runs well, it’s the same roll of thedice. We’ll see.”

“Making your own exhaust system can be a blast, just don’tget heavey handed with the grinders. Pipe is thin and a little weldthat shows won’t matter much since we didn’t plan on chrome, butblack Jet Hot coating. I’ve sworn off chrome exhaust systems on mybikes for the future.”

That big bastard just won’t shut up. The next episode in thismechanical adventure will feature Giggy’s attempt a electrifying thesteel monster. Next weekend, barring any new bike projects, Giggy’sinopportune finger damage at the power tools, splattered deer guts,San Pedro political insurrection, Sin Wu’s beguiling charms, a caseof beer, or any other form of diversion or chaos, we will be closerto cranking this monster over.

To Continue……..

Back to Part 2……..

Back to Custom Chrome on Bikernet……..

Back to Joker Machine on Bikernet……..

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