The "Yellow Frank" Project
What is the "Yellow Frank" Project?
It is a project conceived by longtime TGSR supporter Don Pepe. It came about when I (Frank, TGSR Admin) found myself without a motorcycle. Don was looking to thin out his herd of motorcycles and found out that I was without bike. We had several discussions about him donating a bike to me with the intention of me documenting how to a restore a bike to it's former glory and to allow me to attend more TGSR motorcycle rallies. Don then decided to donate his beloved Mr. Ratley, a 1982 GS1100GK, to the cause.
Why is the bike called "Yellow Frank"?
That is an answer only Don can answer. According to Scott Marvin the term 'Yellow Frank' refers to "... long running insider knowledge of the existence of the ever elusive motorcycle known as the "Yellow Frank". What that insider knowledge is I couldn't tell you.
In order to make the name stick Don had all the major parts on the bike painted Corvette Yellow before he delivered it to me. And yes, it is yellow!
How about some history on the bike?
According to Don...
Mr. Ratley has a long GSR history. I purchased him as a pretty much stock brown GK from a GSR forum member (no longer on the site) in upstate New York back in 2003. The main thing about it that wasn't stock was the exhaust which may have been from a different model GS. It worked fine but the pipes didn't allow the centerstand to quite come to the full up position (a key part of the plot). The first ride I took on it was from Canada to Florida in less than 24 hours as a certified Iron Butt ride. I wrote about it on the site at the time.
A month or so after I bought it I took a trip on it to a military reunion in Las Vegas that started out with another 1100+ mile day though this time not recorded for Iron Butt. On my third day out the stator burned out in the desert north of Phoenix and I had to limp into Vegas at dusk without lights keeping charge barely in the green (luckily had charge meter installed) by closely maintaining a narrow RPM range. Once in Vegas I put out a help call and Billy Ricks responded with the name of a former GSR member and mechanic who lived in the area. I got a new stator and R/R fedexed and we got everything replaced in time for my ride back.
Then the following year leading a GSR ride down in the Ocala forest area the bike and I came upon an unmarked curve and had to lean it way over until the centerstand (see paragraph 1) dug in. I got highsided and the bike did a series of end-overs, pirouettes, and half-gainers for couple hundred feet more down the roadside.
Interestingly, starting with that crash, the bike that had seemed to have an issue on every long ride became the most reliable mount in the stable always taking me from point A to point B any time is was called upon including carrying me back home immediately after the crash.
I then began accumulating the various parts damaged in the crash.
The trunk I picked up from WillT at the first GSR 'convention' at a state park on the Missouri-Arkansas border south of Branson. He had ridden a GK and had to take it to a shop with I believe an electrical problem. While there he saw a Moto Guzzi he liked and traded in the GK on the spot. Luckily for me had taken the box off the GK before he rode to the shop. I did not have room for it on the 850 I had ridden there, but fortunately Scotty (aka Slowpoke, aka many others) had trailered so he got the box back to Florida for me.
The exhaust and a flat G model seat were shipped to me from Planecrazy in Chicago. I then bought a running but rough GK from Miss Fab in upstate New York. I rode mine to a GSR ride she held and there switched the brackets and bags. A year or two later Mark Harrop was looking for an 1100 engine and I told him he could have the one in NY for nothing if he moved the rest of the bike down to me which he did. later on Wazz was parting out a GK and I got the tank from him.
My original intention was to get the bike painted a solid color once everything was replaced. But when I looked at all the pieces with their attached stories I realized that what I had was a rat bike but not just any rat bike--one with tales to tell and a lot of class. Hence, Mr Ratley was christened.
I doubt there is any other machine that has been touched by as many GSR members as Mr Ratley has so far. By the time we finish this project there should be many more members involved. It will truly be the GS Resources GS.