In the beginning I thought I would buy a bike and use it to accelerate my learning and understanding of engineering through a hands-on project. I had already decided that I would to take the bike and transform the dual shock suspension into a mono-shock suspension. I had no idea where to start, so I jumped on Google. I tried to look for similar project builds and Sure enough I found some people who had done this sort of conversion on caferacer.net, motorcycle forum. I got really excited because the people on the forms really seemed to know what they’re doing and I thought they would definitely help me out. I created a new thread and proceeded to post my project ambitions (here is the link check it out.). This was a pivotal point in my project because through series of harshly delivered criticisms and outright insults I seriously began to question the “why” of my project. This is especially good timing because in my introduction to engineering class at Bunker Hill we were covering the engineering design method. This is also known as the 10 steps of engineering. They are as follows in the book “Concepts in Engineering” – Holtzapple & Reece,
1. Identify the need and define the problem
2. Assemble design team
3. Identify constraints and criteria for success
4. Search for solutions
5. Analyze each potential solution
6. Choose the best solution
7. Document the solution
8. Communicate the solution to management
9. Construct the solution
10. Verify and evaluate results
I came to the realization that I couldn’t call this and engineering project if I couldn’t actually explain what I was doing and why. This is exactly what happened in the forms, the motorcycle builders began to ask me why the conversion they asked me what’s wrong with the current suspension and I didn’t have answers to any of these things. As one user put it “I didn’t know how much it didn’t know”. That comment was a revelation for me at first it made me angry because I felt betrayed, here I was a curious kid with a project and all these guys do is bash on me for trying to make something but then it quickly turned into excitement and motivation because I realize that you’re always going to run into negativity and the best thing you can do is tackling head on instead of runaway from it. So I stuck around in the forums and I just ask them where should start, they said that in any build you have to make an initial assessment to create a baseline once you have a baseline you can make you change and modified vehicle so that you can compare before and after the modification to see if you’ve made an improvement in performance or not long after, some of the guys who initially bashed on me started a give me credit for sticking around and changing my attitude towards the project. I realize that before I thought of a solution, if I can call the mono-shock conversion a solution, I had to identify and define the problem for the conversion to solve.
So my first real step was to clean up the bike this way I can get a good all around look at the bike. While washing it I took notes on all the different things that had to be fixed.
-oil and filter had to be changed
-fuel filter change
-final drive oil change
-needed new spark plugs
-replace the stator
-cracked coolant hoses
-flush the brake and clutch hydraulic lines
With this list I finally had some direction, and as confident as I was I knew I could take care of all this stuff for sure, piece of cake!…… or so I thought.