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  #1  
Old 16-02-2012, 12:24 PM
Oobyscoot Oobyscoot is offline
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Default New Project and Clueless.... Help and advise Please.

I have completed many projects over the years, moslty they have been restorations or small mods to suit a purpose / use. Both bikes and classic cars.

Now I want to build myself something that is just for me. I dont want to be building myself a complete frame, and I have no intentions of building an engine from scratch either. I am just here after any usefull advise any of you more experienced and knowledgable guys can supply. I have downloaded and studied the MSVA handbook, (even understood most of it), but so far, this is as far as I have got.

My wish list is this :

I want it low.
I want forward controls.
I want it to be comfortouble for me (no leaning forward arse in the air stuff)
I want only 2 cylinders - pref air cooled for ease.
I want minimalist and understated
I dont need silly power, anything upwards of about 500CC will probably do


I guess my first question is where do i start?

What donor bike to look for? how to go about modifying the frame? how t go about fitting an engine that is maybe not from that same frame? Any donor bikes make this kind of thing particularly easy?

Can anyone recommend a good book or source of information?

My mechanical skills and fabrication skills are above average but I have never undertaken a project such as this before and want to know what I am getting myself in for.

Any suggestions gratefully received.
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Old 16-02-2012, 12:50 PM
cruisin chris cruisin chris is offline
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Start with a half decent diner bike for starters, preferably one with a steel frame not alloy and these are getting scare as most modern bikes 90s onwards aren't. A single backbone too.This will make welding engine mounts, tail end easier and a single backbone means most off the shelf tanks. Old english jobbies. Such as bonnys and the such ate just too expensive so look for something like an xs. Already an air cooled twin but a good one of these are starting to hold there money.The cheapest option is to by a chop thats already done but badly on ebay take it apart and redo it. A bad chop is worthless to anybody other than someone who's looking for a project so they go cheap but it's all there. Good luck buddy going to start myself a small hardtail chop soon so watch this space. P.s spelling mistacks are my phones fucking predict what it liked.
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Old 16-02-2012, 01:36 PM
Oobyscoot Oobyscoot is offline
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Cheers for that, I had guessed on a steel frame, I'm ok with the mig or arc welders, but never tried aluminium, probably way out of my legue. Good point on the single backbone though, I can see that would make things easier.

Can anybody give me a few suggestions of single backbone steel framed bikes to look for?
Also, can anyone define "extensively modified" as used for MSVA purposes? How modified does it have to be before it is officially a different bike?
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Old 16-02-2012, 04:28 PM
cruisin chris cruisin chris is offline
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Extensively modified means basicly chopped frame. The neck angle or hard tailing the rear end of the frame will require by law an msva test but many get away without doing so, but i wouldn't recommend as it only takes a tug and you could lose the whole bike, seen that happen with reliant trikes that haven't been properly tested after being converted. Keeping engine with same chassis helps as it can still be identified as a certain make and model only modified but if many bits from different makes then it gets qplated as unspecified. I hope this helps, it might have changed a bit since i did last but at a guess it would only have got harder thanks to our europeon slave masters. I would suggest an xj900 frame but i did use a four cylinder. Other than that an xs if you can find one.
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Old 16-02-2012, 09:13 PM
Oobyscoot Oobyscoot is offline
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Thanks again.

The neck angle I will probably leave, but I was planning on a hardtail. Are insurance companies not funny about Q plates though? I have been told they can be difficult to insure, or is it just as easy as any custom? I'm way past the age of having to worry about massive insurance premiums, but will I have to use a specialist?

Sorry for all the questions, just like to know what I'm getting myself into.
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Old 16-02-2012, 11:04 PM
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There is a Sportster rolling chasis on ebay at the moment, 255.00. Good starting point. Has a steel frame too.

Depending how big an engine you want to go for, there are quite a few jap twins around for pretty cheap prices. Stuff like the ER500 Kawasaki. I know it is water cooled but I have seen one that was chopped and it looked pretty tidy.

Part finished chops are a good option but you may find that you end up spending as much on putting mistakes right as you do on starting from scratch.

In your position, I would look fora bike that is running well. Cosmetics don't matter as long as the engine and gearbox are good. The electrical components will all be there as well. You may find the other major components like wheels and forks are useable for your project. If you start with a complete bike that is running, you may be able to sell off any parts you do not use.

Take a magnet with you to check the frame is steel. Making the frame a hardtail means that you can lower the bike pretty much as much as you want. If you are not doing the frame yourself find someone that DOES know what they are doing. Having a frame collapse under you is not funny.

Autojumbles are a good place to find a project. Check out the events pages on forums and MCN.

Good luck with your plan.

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Old 17-02-2012, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChopperFXR View Post
Part finished chops are a good option but you may find that you end up spending as much on putting mistakes right as you do on starting from scratch.

Chopper
Been there, done that, (with cars) often the worst part of a restoration is putting right the previous owners "repairs". For this reason I think I would like to start with a complete and mostly working bike.

I plan on doing the frame myself, I am OK with a welder, I dont claim to be an expert frame builder (never done one before) but I done a C&G in welding a few years back when I was made redundant and went to the job centre and basically said "I paid shit loads of tax for the last 10 years, now what can I have". I got a C&G in design fabrication, cavity wall insulation, loads of work done to my teeth and about 65 quid a week. When I got another job I had to delay the start date to avoid paying for the course. I now design ECU's for ford and GM, but I digress........ anyway, I plan on doing the frame myself, just need to do a little research regards to tube size and wall thickness etc. I have experience of welding car bodies and chassis from the restorations I have done in the past (VW beetle, 3 minis, triumph spitfire, triumph dolomite, several series landy's).....

As for engine size, I am keeping my options open, I dont need it to be silly powerful, my daily commute is currently done on a beat up old GS500 and that is pleanty for most things, the big bike is just a weekend toy. so anything 500cc and upwards would do. I have nothing against liquid coling, just going for a minimalist look, hence the preference for air cooled. Also I have nothing against inline 4 engines, but for the minimalist thing, I think a twin would be better as there is just less stuff needed around them, pipes, carbs etc.

I have quite a few bits I have ammassed over the years in terms of forks, wheels, rear shock units, seats, etc.

I know exactly what I want, I see it clear as day in my head, but I am not a good wordsmith or an artist, so trying to tell others what I want is a bit of a nightmare for me.

I am hoping to get 1 more MOT out of the old goose which is due in june, so basically I have until June 2013 to get this project completed, I hope this ienough time as realistically, I only have sundays and 2 evenings a week to devote to it and I dont want to rush anything, as Chopper said, Having a bike colapse under you is not fun.
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Old 17-02-2012, 09:57 AM
cruisin chris cruisin chris is offline
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I would use and old english frame bsa maybe if your going to hardtail and try considering a gpz 500 engine. Yes i know its water cooled but the rad is tiny i've seen bigger oil coolers and it is smooth sided which takes a paint job much easier also the loom id nice and simple and they are as cheap as chips at the mo. Would need a steel frame to put it in bit the mounts are easily made and chain driven rear end so you can make it as long as you like. You would need to strengthen an old bsa frame if you where to put more than 60 odd ponys in it tho. Just an idea, let you know if i get any more. Also look inn ebay under hard tail they do a weld on kit.
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Old 17-02-2012, 03:41 PM
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I will be on an eBay mission this weekend. Any body have a rough idea of what to budget for this kind of project? I realise it's a bit like asking how long is a piece of string, but some of you more seasoned builders may have a rough idea of cost and how much I should budget. I have a maximum budget that I have saved up, I think from the research I have done that I should be able to do it, but there is always something not accounted for until you actually do the job.
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Old 17-02-2012, 03:55 PM
devon-tony devon-tony is offline
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you can build for as little or as much as you want

I built from scratch a perfectly presentable one off hardtail chop, less than 500, a half decent trike for 1500ish

trick is to take your time and get the bits at the right price.
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Old 20-02-2012, 01:13 PM
Oobyscoot Oobyscoot is offline
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wow, didn't know it would be possible for that little.

My first weekends hunting has shown nothing so far, but I will keep hunting. I am also keeping an eye on local dealers, some local to me often sell of older part ex bikes for cheap on a sold as seen no warranty basis.

Something will come up eventually and then the fun begins. Also the wife has given her blessing for this project as she says bikes have smaller parts than cars and she gets a bit fed up with car body pannels in the house when they have been sprayed all nice.
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Old 20-02-2012, 01:31 PM
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Just seen on ebay, local to me a GS423 EN and a honda 250 superdream.

Anyone think these may be likely candidates for a project. I know 250 is a little small, but am I correct in thinking the 250 and the 400 shared the same frame? Would this frame handle muche of a bigger motor?

Cheers again.

Edit : anybody know if the YAM XJR 400 has a single backbone?
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Old 20-02-2012, 02:50 PM
wurzel wurzel is offline
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Ooby the gs425 / gs450 / gs500e all use basically the same motor - so as you say you have a running gs500 that you commute on that could be worth a serious look as a donor frame to allow you to merge with your current motor and create a one off.
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Old 20-02-2012, 10:55 PM
Oobyscoot Oobyscoot is offline
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Wurzel, are the mounting points the same? It looked as is the gs425 was a single backbone jobby, would the GS500e engine slot straight in? My gs500 is very very tired, but had a good second hand engine last summer following a rather spectacular bottom end failure so the engine still has life in it, this may be an option, but I was hoping to keep mine on the road while I build. I'm reluctant to commute on the big bike due to fuel costs, it uses more than my car and I'm reluctant to commute in the car as it is a piece of crap and I hate it. Allthough I guess I could build around the old dead engine and do an engine swap as the last thing.

Anybody know if a bike has to actually run for an MSVA test, or could I get it tested with the 'dummy' engine in place? I would guess it needs the actual engine for the numbers and such.
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Old 21-02-2012, 08:43 AM
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As far as i am aware the engines are externally identical - as for mounting - i believe that is why the 500 has those big spacers between the front mount and the frame - the mount is designed for the old steel cradle and the mount is bodged to fit the "deltabox" frame.

Lifted from another site

If ever there was a bike bred to be a workhorse it's the GS500E. Its ancestry can be traced right back to the first generation of air-cooled GS motors, Suzuki's first four strokes incidentally. Those 550, 750 and 1000 cc fours gave rise to a 400 cc twin which grew over the years to 425 cc. Just like the fours, this twin used a roller-bearing bottom end and was considered unburstable. In 1985 the motor was bored out again, this time to 450 cc, but more significantly it got a plain bearing bottom end, bringing it into line with industry practice. This is the motor that in 1989 was bored out by another 3 mm to 74 mm and used to power the first GS500EK.

Also gear ratios look the same on here http://www.eurospares.com/gsfaq.htm
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Old 24-02-2012, 03:43 PM
Oobyscoot Oobyscoot is offline
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Thanks everyone for the info. However this project is now on hold.

Been given 2 bits of news yesterday.
1 - I am gonna be a daddy - great news.
2 - landlord wants to sell the house we are in -- not so great news, got 6 months to find a 20 grand deposit.
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Old 24-02-2012, 04:44 PM
wurzel wurzel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oobyscoot View Post
Thanks everyone for the info. However this project is now on hold.

Been given 2 bits of news yesterday.
1 - I am gonna be a daddy - great news.
2 - landlord wants to sell the house we are in -- not so great news, got 6 months to find a 20 grand deposit.
Congrats - but I once asked the givi guys at the NEC bike show if they did a mount to fix a Britax child seat to a GS500E - They don't.

For a while they all went a bit pale - as they thought I was serious

As for No2 if you find a way I am sure the rest of us would love you to share it
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Old 26-02-2012, 01:28 AM
Oobyscoot Oobyscoot is offline
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Ha ha. I like that idea. I was thinking more along the lines of a small baby sized sidecar.

As for the finding of 20 grand in 6 months....... Looks like we will be moving instead. Shame cos we like it here and we have bike friendly neigbours, but we just ain't got that kind of money.
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