Our regular contributor from the three legged Isle in the middle of the Irish Sea, turns his hand to a very useful nifty and functional ‘home designed’custom part for most Lambretta models. He encourages the unleashing of the creative beast in all of us. A big thumbs up Nick, or rather….”Props clear, contact and chocks away!”
If Only I could fly…
You know how it is, when you spend a lot of time in the garage or workshop tinkering around and you have an idea. Well this idea has been with me for a long, long time so about 5 years ago I thought why not do something about it? Just a little invention for myself, if you like, my very own custom part. So being a Formula one fan I looked at what F1 cars were doing and one of the Renault’s from the 90s caught my eye with it’s “airdro foil”s. The basic principles were similar to that of an aeroplane wing with air over the top of the wing moving slower than the air underneath it. The passing air therefore, creates “downforce”. Perfect for a Lambretta.
I drew my ‘wing’ and made one up out of cardboard, this is a good idea if you have an idea for a custom part, as cardboard is cheap and you can make plenty of prototypes. After a bit of tweaking I actually got to a design that I was happy with and wanted to have made. So I decided to seek out someone who could do this for me. This was a challenge in itsself, anyone who has a custom scooter and has had parts made will tell you they have had similar problems. The first couple of ports of call will possibly turn you down, due to workloads, expense, or just not wanting to take on a small fiddly job, but don’t be deterred. Actually finding an engineer who was willing to make it and was enthusiastic about it, was a problem. Eventually, I found one that was willing to have a go as long as it was “in-between” other jobs so I had to be very patient. After quite a few months I received my completed wings back.
More holes than a flak damaged fuselage?
My whole idea was that the wings would fit by way of the outer side of the fork link bolts, ideally the earlier Series 1 and 2 types which have grease nipples drilled into the bolt head. My intention was that they should fit without me having to drill any more holes – personally I find it hard to drill a hole in a scooter because once drilled it cannot be “undrilled”. I used an under seat rubber on the side closest to the outer forks, mounting it near the bolt hole to give a cushion and to put less stress on the fork link bolt.
Be aware of anything you bolt on to your scooter. You need to make sure your scooter doesn’t turn into a cheese grater with your scooter being the grater and you being the large chunk of Wensleydale. The last thing you want is to take a tumble with the bolted on part causing you, your pillion, or indeed a pedestrian, injury.
Maiden Flight with the Evil Fairies
Having fitted them I gingerly rode down the road, gradually increasing my speed in case the newly fitted wings tried to eject themselves, with any new self-designed part fitted, proceed with caution. After the first ride, make sure that you check the part to make sure the ‘evil fairies’ haven’t undone it, and that it’s still intact.
“Tally Ho” and have a go!
I have now been using my wings for about 5 years, I have had them made in aluminum, titanium and steel and refined the shape. Now I am looking at carbon fibre skirts for them. The main result for me is that the front end is more settled, no more lock-to-lock on bumpy roads. Also, it’s made overtaking lorries a far less hairy procedure.
The problem is now I have got used to them, I want them on all my scoots! So beware if you’re creating your own custom parts, it will never stop and it is addictive. You will always be tinkering and refining and wanting to do more but I guess that is the satisfaction of having an idea and turning it into a reality.