A tank ain’t just a tank…
It’s week 3 of the Kommunal Kustom Build and both teams face critical decisions based on the choice of tank.
When a stock bike leaves the factory floor, let’s say the ratio of Practicality:Design of a tank is about 70:30, which let’s be honest is what you need- a vessel for fuel not just for turning heads. However, a few more head turns would be nice, right? It’s no surprise that tanks are one of the first significant mods most of us consider when customising our rides. All too often, stock tanks are clunky, generic in their colour scheme and altogether uninspiring. Go back through all those Instagram and Pintrest screenshots on your phone and I bet you a crisp green note that most of them have something about the tank that caught your attention while you sat scrolling on the toilet after your morning coffee. That’s not to say a tank mod or swap has to be wildly different to the stock; most of the time a subtle curve or a stripe of paint can make the world of difference, combined with the new tank’s relation to a new seat and the way these two features dictate the line of a custom (or customised) bike. The point is, a tank ain’t just a tank!
The initial choice of tank for both the flat tracker team and adv scrambler team has been called into question this week but for different reasons. The flat trackers had favoured a slimline retro Honda number but as their subframe mods evolved, the need for a straighter bottom line was undeniable, otherwise is it even a flat tracker anymore?! Also, the Honda tank was looking pretty tired, so in the name of choosing where to invest time and energy, they opted for something truer to the flat tracker principles with a flatter bottom, albeit a bit bulkier than they ideally wanted.
While chatting with Brendan over a couple of cold Panhead tinnies, he sung the praises of Matt and his unwavering vision in the design department, which soothed any anxieties in the ranks regarding the new tank and kept things moving forward with confidence. Shout out to democracy and compromise and also a shout out to Lenny who’s been getting stuck in into his welding game and is ready to cook any scrap of metal that looks at him!
The adv scrambler team faced a different set of hurdles based on their unorthodox choice of a Harley split tank. First of all, if the tank is grafted to the frame where the original one was, the bulbous front curve means a rider wouldn’t have full range of movement in the front end- no good, especially when it comes to tight turns. Paul assured the crew that this problem can be overcome by cutting a section out of the front and reshaping it in a concave fashion but the question remains: is the juice worth the squeeze? Murmurs of an alternative tank began to rise. Secondly, the issue of a custom oil reservoir has been a hot topic this week. The original, which sat under the rear of the seat on the left side and resembled a metal lunchbox (Jon it seems, is keen to repurpose it as such- a good idea given that off-roading is hungry work) has been removed to allow for a subframe chop but where will the new one live? Steph and Michael had the brilliant idea to utilise a military-style canteen, in keeping with the rugged utilitarian aesthetic, in the gap between the two halves of the tank. This could work but the team will have to make sure the volume of the proposed vessel is adequate, if not, where will the rest of the oil reside? Also, how will it look if the ‘canteen’ sits above the top line of the tank instead of being tucked away out of sight? While the rest of the team debated their tank conundrum, Jon and Tony started rebuilding the carbie and Kyle set about troubleshooting the engine and ignition system, harbouring a suspicion that the magneto might be cooked.
Tune in next time for the news and views from Week 4 and once again, thanks to @Jake Simkin for the images!
The Kommunal Kustom Build is just one of several social endeavours we’re getting stuck into at the moment. If you’re keen to learn more about our Kommune Konnections program funded by the DGR and Movember, check this page.
Written by Tom Ansell