As far as a name, I’ve been referring to this bike in my own head lately as “The Bride” — as in The Bride Of Frankenstein. It fits, because I’m creating it in large part just to use up all the left-over parts that I’ve purchased for Bultakenstein, but ended up not using on that bike for one reason or another. Also, it’s taking on a life of its own. Alarmingly, it’s a life that doesn’t seem completely under my control. It was already a bit bizarre, and it just keeps getting stranger.

As you may remember, I ran into trouble with the XVZ1200 wheels I bought for it. The front is waaay too wide to fit the existing front forks. I did a bunch of research on how to resolve this, from new triple clamps from a CBX or ATC350X to creatively machining the width of the wheel, to buying a complete Venture 1200 front end and machining a new steering stem. Going with a different wheel on the front would ether mean mismatched wheels, or two new wheels and two more new tires. And even more cast-off crap filling my tiny workshop space. The whole idea of buying additional parts, at added expense, instead of using stuff I already have really goes against my whole motivation behind this bike.

The whole time I was working on this, there was a little subconscious voice in my head. It would murmer, “You know you have to consider…” — at which point I would always cut it off. I promised myself I would never to go there. But in the end, I couldn’t deny the logic; the front wheel for this project might be staring at me from the shadows under my workbench, where it had been lurking for the past fifteen years.

You see, back in February of 2006, I bought a Honda VTR250 Interceptor front wheel off Ebay. Yes, that one — a weird 16″ cast wheel with the funky single inboard disk. I really didn’t have any use for it; I was just curious about Honda’s inboard disc brake. I looked at the purchase as a $30 interactive tutorial on exactly how the system worked. I took it apart, examined how it all went together, shrugged, and put it back together. Since then, I’ve moved it from one corner of my workshop to another to keep it out of my way, until it wound up under the workbench for the past few years, mostly forgotten behind some salvaged sheetmetal.

Like Santa arriving on the Island of Misfit Toys, I dragged the wheel out into the light, almost in spite of myself. I grabbed a spare axle from my Box Of Long Bolts, and damn if the thing didn’t fit, and fit nicely.

From calculations I’d made a long time ago with this front end on Bultakenstein, I knew that the leading-axle forks would result in insufficient trail. A small, 16″ hoop would just exacerbate the problem. Since this arrangement would require a custom brake stay instead of mounting a caliper using the stock bosses on the fork legs, I flipped the forks around. I did some measuring and sure enough, in a trailing axle configuration I get a very suitable 4.5–5″ trail figure. I can’t explain it, but it’s as if the bike wants this front wheel. So I’m going to give it what it wants.

Like I said, I’m amazed that it just keeps getting weirder.

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