Phat Trakka 2 - Dress Up


The front end of a GT750 is quite nice, in a dated sort of way.  The large instruments and chrome headlight look very cafe racer like and naked fork legs mimic Ceriani forks of the sixties. Not a bad start, but not the look we were after.

I poured over dozens of photographs in books and on the web looking for the perfect Flat Track look, and surprise surprise it didn't exist. There are a couple of nice front numberplates on some, but they all make those skinny forks look spindly and weedy. I finally realized that the look I was after was a cross between the simplicity of a Triumph twin, but in a more updated style, and a German or Dutch Streetfighter with that sleek, smooth look, but without the extremely wide USD forks.

So the design intent was simple as an old Triumph TT bike and as sleek as a modern Streetfighter. Not much to ask.

Looking at both source bikes above - both 74 L models -, the design intent is clear.  Not a bad looking set of legs but the naked part below the lower triple clamp looks very skinny. Both sets of headlamp ears were cracked and bent, so I decided to remove the ear part and leave the fork cover. The ear assembly consist of a slightly tapered tube, the outer ear and an inner brace.  The ear and brace are spot welded to the tube and were easy to remove with an angle grinder to grind the piece nice and thin, and then remove it with a small cold chisel. And then I had to smooth out the remnants of the spot welds, get rid of the rust and beat out some of the many dents and distortions in the fork covers.


I tried several different designs of headlamp brackets until I finally came up with a simple clean arrangement that is almost invisible. I fabricated a matching pair of brackets out of a length of 1 inch square steel tube. They took about 15 minutes each with the angle grinder, my sculpting tool of choice. They could be manufactured on a milling machine or bandsaw for those so equipped. 


The brackets were gas welded to the tubes without any drama, though my welding technique still could use fine tuning, to be polite. The way the are now, they are almost invisible, and yet they are more than strong enough for the job. They will be tided up slightly before they are painted or powdercoated. The fork upper covers now look sleek and sexy and slightly more shapely than stock.


Next I installed a pair of those fork boots from Mike's XS to cover up the naked legs and add a touch of black. Fortunately, the lower edge was easy to slip over the fork slider in place of the original chrome dust covers.  At the top they are slightly large for the legs, but slip inside the stock chrome lower triple clamp covers. Nothing wrong with a nice pair of legs clad in a thin black covering.  Very Mrs. Robinson -  for those among us old enough to remember that movie.

Fork sliders were polished and swapped from side to side to move brake calipers to the rear to reduce inertia to make the steering lighter and more responsive. Of course that moves the drain screws to the front of each leg, which is not a problem, but the old cross head screws were replaced with new stainless steel cap head screws.

At this stage of the build, the stock disks are still on the wheel, but they will probably be replaced with lighter Honda CBR600F4i disks which I bough years ago for a different project. (That is a phrase that will be heard continuously throughout this build - I'm trying to use up all those surplus parts)



Of course those long legs need to be topped off with an appropriate pair of Fat Bars to complete the Flat Track look. And to be true to the Phat Trakka moniker, the bars had to be oversized at 1.125 inches instead of puny stock 7/8th steel bars. 


A pair of inch and eighth 6061 gold bars and adapters turned up on a certain auction site and were ordered post haste. Now things were starting to look good.




Remember that the design intent is a simple minimalist Flat Track racer look, and that meant replacing the large chrome headlight with something slim and low profile. I found this pair of auto lamps at the local Auto parts store and arranged the brackets to stack them vertically. Once they looked right, I welded the two brackets together for extra strength and less visible fasteners and sent them off for a coat of satin black powder.


All it needs now is a lick of paint and it will look clean and sharp.  When the bike is together, if I don't like that look, it will be easy to change to dual side by side lamps or to revert to stock headlamp ears and that large chrome headlight. No change so far is completely irreversible. Au contraire mon amie, it will be a simple task to change the look or even to revert to stock.   


Next task is to find a place to hide the horn.  We can't have the stock horn hanging out front making the place look untidy now, can we. Hey, I think this will work.


Ok so the next task is finding a neat way to mount the horn and to mount a race type front numberplate. And then a nice neat way to mount  a pair of min indicators that work as effectively as stockers but as small enough when not illuminated to be totally unobtrusive. And let's not forget a fork brace or steering stabilizer as they are sometimes called. And that reminds me.  A steering damper might be a good idea.  With all the new found power and so much less weight on the front end, this could be the start of something nasty.

To be continued.... Well to be finished would be a better line....


Part 4 Swinging in the rain..