DiXiE - in association with IPE, my "local" Indian shop - Part 1
Some of you will
have seen my latest "creation" on the VI
website. The frame is from a 1927 or '28 Police Special Scout. I am sure
there are experts in this world that could date it far more accurately
than I. All I know is that it predates the 101, which would have been my
first choice of frame if I had had one! Oh well, maybe next time (next
time! are you mad?). I have used 101 forks, though. I don't think they
are in any way different from the pre-101 version, apart from the brake
anchor, of which I have added another, so there is now one on each leg.
To the early Scout frame I have added a 1929/30 Chief engine. This would generally be known as a Chout in Indian speek. There are other examples of the traditional Chout (101 frame with late Chief engine) on this site, and in the links in the right column, but early Chief engines in pre-101 frames are not often seen.
I have been asked about the name, why DiXiE? For most people spring to mind "South of the Mason-Dixon line", Confederacy, Johnny Rebel, Gone With the Wind and stuff like that. But my Oxford Dictionary also has: "Dixie - Large iron pot, often used on campaign, to cook together foraged stew, or brew tea".
And that is just about the summary of this bike. Most of it has been foraged, then cooked, mostly by me but with a little help from my friends, built to be used on campaign - and I'm sure I've brewed more tea on this one project than all the others put together!
DiXiE - just a cooking pot of Indian parts!
By my own sheer bloody-minded stubbornnes, I was determined to do everything myself but, to my cost, I was finding out that that is almost impossible unless you have all the time in the world, just to yourself, and a workshop the MOD would be proud of.
The chassis work had taken far longer than I hoped and the more I got into it, the more I found to do. Also what started out as just another "special" became an obsession to build a Vintage Racer (Vintage in the UK is pre 31st December, 1930).
I wanted to build a bike that looked like the factory, or at least a top line dealer could have turned it out, something that would not of looked out of place on the Brooklands banking - or a speed event like Pendine Sands, a venue used in that era by Joe Wright to claim a land speed record at 150.736 mph (245 Km/h) on the controversial OEC below - in fact any where in the world in the early 1930's were bikes went fast!
To the Indian afficinado, use of a 1929/30 Chief engine for going fast is a no-no. Or, as it was put to me, "She ain't one for hotrodding" - or "It'll go off like a bloody handgrenade, mate!" - or "You nutter!!!"...
So, apparently, building a fast early Chief engine is considered a foolhardy proposition (to say the least). It comes to a point were you start to doubt yourself. Have I started on a fool's mission, is this the wrong choice, should I just cut my losses and run? Probably...
But I sincerly hope she's not a wrong'un, as I have fallen for this engine. She has an elegance all of her own, for something that was supposed to be a utilitarian sidecar hauler. We in the UK have more than our fair share of these - like the grumpy old "Toby Jug" of a Big 4 Norton, that just looks stubborn. But the early Chief has seduced me like Gomez was, by Morticia doing the tango! (yes-yes, I know: "weirdo!")
Now we have made the foolhardy decision and come thus far we better find out why this engine is a non-starter for speed work.
To my mind what is needed is an update to a later specification - and a quick trip to my local Indian shop, IPE, has fired a few ideas in my direction.
I didn't want to go straight into hotrodding the engine. There is no point until the whole bike is proven. I want a bike that steers good. Some sprints are hillclimbs with bends (the euro type, not as in Widowmaker!), so I need good brakes as well, and a generally well-balanced bike (unlike the rider!).
So for the time being, and after many a correspondence with Moen at IPE, we are fitting late type Chief flywheels, still at 74" but with a positive oil feed instead of realying on splash (more about this later). I'm quite happy to keep it at 1200cc for the time being, after all it's to be stuffed into a 600cc frame!
The next thing to consider are the conection rods. As we are not going "wild and hairy", a good set of stock late model rods were smoothened and blasted, and magnafluxed to check for cracks. The radiuses of the sharp corners around the female big end were increased to reduce stress raisers here. Then they had the standard IPE rebuild: straightened, rebored for big end roundness, new races fitted and sized, new pin bushings, etc.
The other thing that sticks out (well, two things) are the steam-era pistons and rings. Bless them, they were state of the art in their day, but monstrous great slugs for our needs. So check-out them JE forged blighters! Sexy, aint they?
All this wonderfull little lot has had more IPE magic, with a 62.5% flywheel balance factor, imposed.
Main DiXiE page here
More Chouts and Vintage Sprinting:
how I can hear the why and wherefore of 62.5%! What's that all about? Is
this the sacred mark?? Has this secret number at last become a revelation???
Answer: No, it was the first number out of the magic hat!
The next instalment will be - the instalment!
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