Farmuell – Custom Buell Blast
Farmuell – Custom Buell Blast
By: Paul Noskowiak
The Farmuell as named by my friend Mark “Spanky” Boettcher was a project built over the winter of 2006/2007. The bike is a salvaged 2001 Buell Blast, purchased by my boss, Brett Donahue. After sitting for a while I determined I needed to confiscate it for a winter project.
The whole tractor theme derived from a few conversations over the viability, and rationale of putting a tractor seat on a bike. I had a vision in my head of a nice little chopper with a tractor seat. Then the conversations turned to a theme for the bike, and I said: “Why not build a tractor bike?” I figured those “guys” on TV are always building theme bikes, so why not?
Thus, the Interblastional was born.
Why an International? A few reasons. 1. There is too much green in the world.
2. Red is my least favorite color, and I’d told the guys that I always end up with red vehicles and 3. If you are going to make a scene, be seen. Plus, I already had the key chain for the tool box!
The first step naturally was to put the bike on a diet. We proceeded to cut off the rear sub-frame, remove all of the electrical equipment and wiring, and all other non- essential items. Like choppers, tractors operate on a bare minimum of equipment.
Just the required stuff here; headlight, taillight, ignition, and a battery.
Here are two photos of the hardtail assembly:
We basically used some heavy flat stock to weld the stock swingarm to the backbone of the stock frame. This not only allowed us to keep the stock frame, (and VIN #), which is also used as the oil reservoir, but was an easy way to maintain the stock geometry of the chassis as well. This allowed us the use of the stock belt and pulleys.
In this photo you can also see the battery box / kickstand support as well.
Another photo of the hardtail assembly that also shows the seat mount tabs, shock mounting, and initial rear fender fitment. Here we are about a month into the build. We have achieved the status of “roller,” the first chance to see a vision of the final product.
We added the oil puddle for effect of course. The tank was donated by Scot, and it is an original early 70’s Harley Davidson tank. It had some pretty neat vintage pin striping on it that we hated to paint over.
The pipe is the front head pipe from a cheap set of aftermarket Sportster drag pipes, the muffler is an original I-H Cub muffler.
Here we are ready for disassembly and paint. This is the phase when the Vise-Grip showed up on the shift shaft. We had been having a hard time coming up with a shifting / clutch mechanism.
This is when I made the executive decision that any well used tractor should have a Vise-Grip on it somewhere and thus the shifter came to be.
This is the start of the final assembly. Most of the parts were powder coated, I painted the seat, tank, rear fender, wheels and engine myself. That’s a lot of red!
Here is a close up of the I-H oil pressure gauge and the forward control mounts that we fabricated. You can also see that we converted this motor to have chrome push-rod tubes instead of the stock Buell plastic cover. The tubes are a little more tractorish.
This is the finished Vise-Grip shifter and clutch lever. You can see the original International Harvester fuel bowl as well. We have also added a little chrome to the seat shock.
During the build I had the title transferred and wanted to get an appropriate license plate. I was trying to get HRVSTR, but had to settle for I-H.
Here is the finished product. Total build cost including the bike, but not including many hours of labor, was about $2800. Not bad for a pretty neat custom bike.
The yellow bike in the back is what we started with six months earlier, a stock Buell Blast.
This is a picture of the bike in its intended atmosphere. One of my favorite places in the fall is at the Albany Pioneer Days, . It is a steam, tractor and threshing show held every September in Albany, MN.
Its three days of old men, old tractors, and stuff like this that people have built. The bike was a big hit; I had a lot of people tell me: “I never knew International built a bike. ” I would then proceed to tell them the story behind the bike.
Send me an email if you have any questions!
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