I now have enough parts that I need to stop collecting and start making them all work together. But this is definitely a “back burner” project, and I’ve only been able to devote a couple of hours a week to it. I’m starting to get a clear picture of the enormity of the task. Every step in trying to make a motorcycle out of junk takes more effort and expense than you can predict.

For example, take a look at my cylinder.

I bought a jug off Ebay that’s from a 200cc Bultaco Model 45 (Sherpa S 200 Mk 1, circa ’68–’69). Upon arrival, I was disappointed to discover that the bottom fin was bent during shipment. I got it for under $150 (incl. shipping), so it still isn’t necessarily a bad deal …but it’s not the killer deal I thought it was, and it has added one more thing to my list of to-dos.

This be straightened, but what’s the proper technique? So far I’ve been told to heat it with an oxy torch, to only use a somewhat lower heat such as propane, to heat it to about 500 degrees by putting it in an oven, and to NEVER try to heat cast iron…simply bend it very, very slowly with light taps on a wooden wedge between the fins.

I decided that trying to fix it be tempting disaster. I have so many other things to worry about on this, and I’d rather have a bent fin than a broken off fin. Still, I’m kind of bummed about the appearance. It’s an otherwise good barrel. Someone told me, “Bent fins add character.” Good advice.

If I ever get to the point where this is complete, running, and doesn’t look like total crap for a thousand unrelated reasons (all big ifs), maybe I’ll worry about it then.

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