We’ve already covered a lot of the thinking behind the electrics in Part 6, and will test the viability of the chosen systems later on, but regardless of the theory, somebody needs to make the chosen electrics work by making a wiring loom to join it all together.
That person was never going to be me!
I seem to write a lot in this blog about not being able to do stuff myself; this part is exactly the same.
Cue Andy Woolrich of Electro34.co.uk
Electro34 is a motorcycle electrical engineering firm, handily in Old Stratford, a northern territory of the place most know as Milton Keynes – just 20 minutes up the road from me.
Andy volunteered for the job a while back and after the briefest of meetings to sound each other out, we agreed it would be brilliant to work together. Why? Well, we like the same stuff, we’re from the same era, we’ve both raced, we both love endurance racing and we both like doing things “the right way” (well, I do most of the time, unless it involves cheap paint).
Andy is a qualified electrical engineer that has a background working on things much more complicated than motorcycles – namely radar systems! It just happens that his passion for the last few years has been wiring 2-wheeled stuff. He’s doing enough of it now that it’s a good time to make it into a business.
And yes, the 34 in Electro34 does mean he’s a Schwantz fan! He even owns quite a lot of Schwantz’s original RGV bodywork, which may or may not be featuring on a very special 570cc project of his own… I’ll leave it to him to tell you about another day!
Here’s the full list of things that Andy will be wiring together;
The loom itself is taking shape and already well advanced. Watching Andy work proves that whilst this is a job most of us would think of tackling, we’d be well advised to have a think if that may be the best way forwards! His work is easy to write about, because it’s so nice to watch it happen. The results are clean, beautiful wiring.
Basic. Ideal. Left hand light is for low oil pressure, right hand light blinks the charging/battery
I pulled up a chair alongside him during an endurance soldering session and picked his brains about what makes the difference when tackling wiring such as ours. Some of the answers are as you’d expect, some less so.
In a bullet point list, here’s what Andy from electro34 thinks are the key points in making a loom great.
Andy shared his thoughts on how electrics are treated as part of the average project plan – “it’s the last thing the project builder thinks about – I’ve seen and worked on bikes which have had massive amounts spent on them, only for the wiring thrown on at the end to resemble something you’d expect to see on a field bike!”
Given the late nature of my call to Andy to get his part of the project done, I ashamedly resemble that very person. Although I am not guilty of bodging the wiring, I am guilty of treating it like the last job on the list “get someone to throw a few wires on it, it’ll be alright…!!!”
I learnt it’s not a good thing to partition the electrics as an “easy/quick job” amongst all the other difficulties of the build.
Try finding someone that will build you a loom quickly. Take a look around, see how many auto-electricians with proper motorcycle experience exist, then see how busy they are and get a price/waiting time…it’s not a pleasant experience; fancy a 9 month wait for a £1000 loom?…that’s a real lead time, and a real price, based from first hand feedback on a project a good mate of mine has that needed electrics. Frightening.
I’ve already joked with Andy (who at the moment at least promises not to be as expensive or as unavailable) that he’ll be retired to the Bahamas in 5 years, I think he’s going to be that busy.
I’m glad we got him to wire the Katana up before that happens…