Monday, 24 March 2014

Evolution Chopper Bike

Looks Good on the stand...
The first new models to be released for a few months have all arrived here at Laughton Towers in one go! I immediately ear-marked the Evolution Chopper Bike to build. It looked like a nice model if the picture on the box is anything to go by. I don’t know why I tend to go for the motorbikes as I have never ridden one or even wanted to. There’s a bloke who lives down the road opposite who owns an immaculate Harley Davidson that looks and sounds great. I often see it on my way to the shops and come back home enthused, much to Ralph’s bemusement. I just like the engineering mixed with the artistry.

...from both sides
The box art model shows the new shock absorbers and the ‘V’ twin engine is convincingly portrayed. The back of the box shows the alternative model and I will have a go at that one soon. That looks more like a trial bike than a chopper. On opening, the contents are packed in plastic bags and are loose in the box. The instruction manual follows the same format as the other Evolution models in that the box-art model is featured with download instructions for the alternative. However unlike all the previous models, this one is a complete new build from the ground up, no common assembly instructions - See Evolution Alternatives.

A look at the parts list confirms the introduction of the new shockers and lots more of the new Evolution parts. This is going to be fun there are lots of small parts including 34 washers and 16 fishplates!

Let’s build
There are a few unconventional ‘moves’ here. Step 1, bolts one bit to another. That’s fine but then Step 2 requires bolts to be passed through tri-axle driving dogs but they don’t fit! They have to be screwed in cutting their own thread as they go. I was reluctant to do this at first. I didn’t need to worry as the threading does not hinder the function of the tri-axle hole at all. Construction continues up to Step 17. Here the instructions show the previous assembly being attached using an obtuse bracket. From the factory these brackets are set at 45°. Left like this, there is no way the sub assembly will fit. The bracket needs to be flattened to a much shallower angle to allow the parts to fit together.

Hold that there please Ralph...
... Thanks! The bracket need to be flattened to make it fit better

At this stage the frame needs a bit of manipulating to get everything in line and looking right before the cylinder blocks are fitted. when I was happy that it was as good as I could get it, I tightened all the nuts and bolts to be reasonably but not fully tight as I suspected the fitting of the cylinders might be a fiddly affair. In the end it was not too bad. Before any of that I needed to build them. 

Cylinder block assembly
The next step in the instructions shows the assembly of the air-cooled cylinders. The fins are represented by fishplates spaced by washers. This is much easier to do by standing the long bolts on their heads and building the washers and fishplates up, finishing up with the double narrow brackets and nuts.

On to step 21. This is where I tripped up. If you look at the diagram you will see the bolts are different lengths. I just did not notice this as I was building. Even if I had, I think I would have assumed it was a mistake. As it turned out it is perfectly correct.

Note the different lengths of the bolts
The long bolt is there for a reason that does not become apparent until later in the build, It receives the end of the rubber 'pipe' that is used to represent the exhaust pipe which is pushed on to the thread of the bolt - a short bolt is just not long enough to do the job properly.

The exhaust pipe terminates on that long bolt
The rest of the job is straightforward, if a bit fiddly. Some adjustment is required to get the wheels to run free but this is not a big problem as the model makes a good display piece in it’s own right. For a collection of relatively small parts it builds into a very solid model. Now for me it is time to tackle the Alternative model. His Nibs is messing about with a neat little digger – I expect he will be talking about that next.



  1. Cool! The use of fishplates for the engine block helps reduce the number of specialised parts. I see the muffler is made with standard grey plastic spacers but is the exhaust a specialist bit?

    It's nice to see Meccano coming up with the odd new part, but specialist parts for one model, like the hand brakes on the quad bike, are not to my liking.

    Great job Sue! :)

    1. It's just a little piece of rubber pipe John