A bright restart

Freshly powder coated frame

by classic-bike |
Published on

The Magnum project is back on the rails, with a painted chassis, anodised brackets and an engine refurb underway



Alan Seeley attempts to make a fast period-style bike from a bunch of old bits

Back in January the Harris Magnum project came to a juddering halt when we discovered the horrors lurking within the Suzuki GSX1100 power unit. Stripping down our secondhand engine revealed that it had eaten a piston, with the subsequent case of indigestion rendering the barrels and crank cases as scrap too.

After standing back to take a deep breath, we decided that the best way forward would be to find another set of cases and barrels, and take the opportunity to rebore and fit oversize pistons to increase engine capacity. We have now found those parts, and the new cases are being Ceracoated in anticipation of engine reassembly next month. But as you’d imagine, the budget has taken a big hit. It’s all part of the reality of building a project bike.

Meanwhile, we can jump ahead and arrange for the finishing of various chassis parts, so that assembling the complete bike can be done as soon as the engine’s finished.

The first step was to have the frame, swingarm and wheels powder coated. Modern powder coat offers an extraordinary array of colours and finishes. Forget the thick, plasticky coatings of 20 or 30 years ago, the latest finishes are equal to that of the best paint. The modern automotive industry only uses old-fashioned wet paint for bodywork.

Specials deserve a level of bling, so we wanted to push against the boundaries of good taste with the colours of the Harris. For the frame, I considered something with a light metalflake effect that would reveal itself only in sunlight, but that didn’t really fit the period feel I’m after for Project Magnum. Then someone suggested a clear finish that would show off the raw steel of the tubework, and the exquisite bronze welds that hold it together. Not a bad shout, but the work required to remove blemishes and polish the steel soon ruled that out. Eventually, I came full circle and plumped for the striking red that has always been the hallmark Harris hue. No metalflake either.

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