After what could have been a show stopping announcement by Buell, Mac motorcycle founder Ellis Pitt and his team kept their eyes firmly fixed on their goal and as a result will soon achieve a significant milestone in the companies history, the completion of their first working prototype.
The prototype bike will be based on the "Spud" concept which was one of four concept designs Mac announced on their website when they launched. The Spud prototype will be powered by a secondhand 500cc Buell Blast engine even though this motor cannot be used in any production versions of their motorcycles (due to the discontinuation of their production). One of the most exciting things about this prototype is how closely it resembles the initial concept designs. This has always been a gripe of mine with big automotive manufacturers who unveil a radical concept vehicle only to dilute it so much that it loses it's original appeal when it goes in to production. This of course if because boutique custom motorcycle builders such as Mac aren't aiming to mass produce or meet shareholder expectations...but it still annoys me!
The Spud prototype is now at the bodywork and wiring stage. On Mac Motorcycles's Chin Wag blog they have been documenting the build since it began but I have grabbed some of the highlights and complied a quick run down on how they got to this stage below:
August 2010: Ellis and Steve Harris of Harris performance release the first image of the Spuds custom built frame. The arched spine of the Spud was one the stand out features in the original concept and it looks even better in the flesh.
September 2010: Keeping true to their commitment to create a bike that is highly functional the guys incorporate an adjustable headstock in to the Spud. The type of technology you usually only find in performance motorcycles allows you to alter the bikes rake and trail to "achieve the best balance between stability, rigidity, quick turning and riding experience".
September 2010: A photo of Ellis atop the Spud appears on the Blog. With a fair few mock up parts in place the Spud is looking like Frankenstein's monster. However in the background you can see a scale cardboard cut out of the Spud prototype which show just how close the prototype is to the original concept.
September 2010: A shot of the Spud showing the conversion from Belt to chain and giving us a good look at the bikes Bobber influenced design. You can also see the extra frame work above the engine which has been added to strengthen the design. It's not pretty but essential and it will eventually be hidden beneath the fuel tank.
November 2010: The Spuds battery needs a home. The question of where to mount the large battery is always a difficult one. Also the carburettor is set at a new angle. The original design had the filter poking out in to the riders crotch which could have resulted in a testicle being sucked in to the combustion chamber (well not really but it would have poked you in the leg). Adjustable pegs are also fitted which may remain a feature of the production version, again a testament to their commitment to functionality.
November 2010: The Spuds current stage of development. The guys are already talking about a wiring loom, oil lines and some carbon body parts. The first shot shows the bikes swing arm and single rear shock.
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