After the tank, I made the tubular rear tail section. I wanted it to have a deconstructed, inverted look instead of covering it up with sheetmetal or bodywork. I really like how it came out, very minimalist. After knocking out the rear section, I tackled the exhaust. I built the exhaust out of 22-gauge stainless sheetmetal. I had to hand-cut about 80 gores, then slip-roll them all to fit perfectly. Then came the challenge of seaming them together with my TIG welder. This was extremely difficult and time-consuming since the parts were really small. I had to keep the heat consistent so that the coloring would be the same through the entire exhaust. The exhaust was probably the hardest part of the build because I had never made exhaust pipes out of sheetmetal before, so I had quite a bit of a learning curve. I designed the mufflers and my buddy, Dennis from Circle F, machined the ends for me, then I assembled the mufflers. I wanted to put Amal carbs on the bike to give it a British flair, so I modified a Branch intake and built a stainless 2-into-1 intake for the dual Amals to bolt to. This task was pretty hard too because I wanted to keep the carbs tight against the bike and not have them hanging way out. All the pieces were really small parts. Since they were so small, they would heat up and get out of shape really easily. They were too small and awkward-shaped to hold with clamps or a vice, so they had to fit together perfectly to just zap them with the TIG welder. I then went to the scrap yard up the street from our shop and found some brass drains. I thought they would work well as air cleaner covers so I made some aluminum plates that threaded onto the carbs, then I bolted the drains to the plates with some ultra-fine stainless screen sandwiched in between. When it came to the headlight on the bike, I didn’t really have any good ideas, so I decided to make a small fairing out of 22-gauge sheetmetal and cut slots in the front for the light to illuminate out of.
As for the engine, well, I pulled the top end, re-honed the cylinders, and installed all new gaskets. I left the bottom end alone as it was in good shape.
My brother Mark helps me quite a bit by doing the wiring, painting, and assembly. We usually have quite a few bike builds going on all the time so to avoid confusion, we name all of them. Whenever we have an idea for a bike name, Mark writes it down in his folder. When I started on this bike, the name War Crimes popped into Mark’s head and it had a nice ring to it so that’s what we referred to it as. However, when it came time to paint it, we didn’t want to write War Crimes on it. Mark is a big military and airplane enthusiast, and I like Russian lettering and signage, so we decided to just write War Crimes in Russian on the side of the tank and put a hammer and sickle on the fairing. Mark did all the paintwork, and he wired the bike with some cloth wiring we got from Lowbrow Customs. Lastly Young Pon crafted the bare bones leather seat. Many people will look at the seat and think the bike is uncomfortable, but it’s actually really comfortable once you get into it. The bike is really fun to ride; it’s lightweight and runs good.
I like to build bikes that come out looking amazing but cost significantly less than what most people would spend. By doing the work myself, using parts I had and picking up other parts at the swap meet, I have about $2,500 into this and that’s including the initial $900 I paid for it. HB