Showing posts with label project bike. Show all posts
Showing posts with label project bike. Show all posts

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Complete Connie

Thanks to the kindness of CoG, some much needed bits and pieces from Murphs Kits, parts from my local Kawi dealer Two Wheel Motorsport and an awesome Givi box and windshield from A Vicious Cycle, the Connie is finally back on her feet!

The parts I needed consisted of your basic filters and fluids, some clutch lever bits, a number of rusty connectors, a speedo gear housing (the cable got replaced too), and replacement levers for the rusted out old ones.  At a CoG suggestion I looked at Murph's and found a full set of stainless replacement fasteners.  The bike was missing a number of them and the rest were in various states of disrepair.  I now have a pile of spares and new ones on the bike.  They look great and the whole deluxe set was less than seventy bucks.  Murph also had stainless replacement clutch and brake levers for only twenty bucks each, so I picked those up too.

The nicest surprise was the Concours Owners Group (best membership fee I've ever paid for!).  When asking about aftermarket options for the master cylinder covers I broke getting rusted bolts out, one of the moderators offered to mail me up a spare set from Florida in exchange for an adult beverage at some future time.  If you own a Connie, COG is a must do.  I get the sense that even if you don't have a Concours, COG is still something special.

With everything back together she hummed around our cul-de-sac in fine form.  No leaks, controls feel sharp, I think she's ready for a run at a safety.  If she passes I'm going to semi-retire the Ninja and put it up for sale and spend the rest of the season seeing what the Connie can do.  Once the snow closes in I'll break it down again and do the body work so next spring it looks as good as it runs.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Intercepting Possibilities

I just came across some dream project bikes.  There are a pile of '80s Honda Interceptors online this week, and an interesting little VT500.

Low mileage but not in working condition, just what I need to break down and rebuild!

Asking only $400, but it's a hike out the other side of Toronto.

For $700 there is a higher mileage but better cared for Interceptor just up in Angus that comes with all the shop manuals.

Or I can drop $700 on bits and pieces in Kitchener and put an Interceptor back together again, because dude took it apart and now has a garage full of unspecified parts.  Brilliant.  Seven hundred bucks might be a bit much to clean out his garage, though it's close by and it'd be easy to go pick up.  Might be a good choice further down the road, but not for a first project bike.

Another possibility is the Honda VT500.  This air cooled beauty is in great shape and would be a fantastic starting point for a cafe racer build.  It's been well taken care of and I could probably ride it home from out Brockville way.

Lots of possibilities on Kijiji this month...

Monday, 17 February 2014

Dream Project Motorbikes

Some dream project bike builds...

Stock (before)

1970s Honda CB750 Cafe Racer Mod

I'd take the standard CB750, strip it down, refinish it and modify it into a cafe racer along the lines of this Dime City Cycle build.

I'd modernize the pieces that need modernizing.  This isn't a period remake, it's about creating something new with old bones.

A cafe racer build (after)
The CB750 that Dime City put together gives you an idea of what could be done in customizing an old CB750, but I'd do something different.

I'd hope to be able to pick up the bike for less than a couple of grand and then put at least that much into it again as I stripped it and put together a personally customized cafe racer.  The CB is a big bike, which would turn into a bike cafe racer for a big guy.

Being Austin - build my own Mondo Enduro Machine

Austin on his mighty Suzuki DR350
Find a Suzuki DR-350 or DR-400, hopefully one that's been sleeping in a barn somewhere, clean off the straw and strip it down to nuts and bolts.  

In rebuilding it I'll not only end up with a dependable long distance off roader, but I'll also have laid hands on the entire thing before it inevitably breaks somewhere far from anywhere, meaning I'll know how to get it going again.

Long distance and modernizing modifications would include a long range tank, updated suspension and an engine rebuild with performance carbs and a re-bored engine. 
Find a 1990s DR350 Suzuki dual sport
bike and prep it for long distance off
road work, Mondo Enduro-ize it!

The goal would be a minimalist go-anywhere machine that isn't all about branding.  So many adventure bikes are all about the BMW-ness or whatever.  This bike would be a capable, light-weight all rounder that isn't about advertising but all about going anywhere.

Anime Dreams: taking the bike I loved as a kid and building an anime custom

The bike that was on my wall when I was younger was the Honda Interceptor.  With a complex, powerful v-4 engine and the sharp edged eighties styling, this bike was the bomb.

I'd want to do a rebuilt / customization that keeps the feel of the bike but also feeds into the Japanese animation fixation I've had forever.

Influencing the build would be Akira and Robotech.  BBB-Bike has already done a Cyclone customization, which is a bit more comicon than I'd be aiming for.  

My Interceptor would still be an Interceptor, but with little tech-touches that bring out the anime in it.  LED lights, a customized, anime inspired seat/rear cowling and mirrors, that sort of thing.

Real Restoration: a Triumph Bonneville the same age I am

an new old Triumph Bonneville
Henry Cole did a restoration on a '70 Triumph Bonneville in the last season of The Motorbike Show on ITV (not sure why ITV isn't offering a webpage for that show, they should be).

What they started with

Henry and Peter Thorne (the restorer), of Aspire Restorations, take what can only be described as a complete wreck (a frame and fairly useless lump of engine) and completely rebuilt it.  It ends up pretty much being a new 1970 Triumph Bonneville.

I'd like to find a British bike built on the same day I was born (in the UK) and do a restoration on it, then we could both age gracefully together.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Snow Honda

Driving in to work I pass by this old CB750 (?) Honda every day.  As the snow has piled up and the temperature dropped I've watched it get buried.

It looks in pretty well cared for, other than the sitting in the snow in -30° winter.

My first urge is to leave a note on the door asking if they'd be interested in selling it.

While my Ninja is getting cleaned with a toothbrush, this old classic sits in the snow, it makes me sad.  I've been looking for a project bike.  This might be a bit more project that I was first thinking, but there it is.

I've been reading a lot of bike history.  The big Hondas were one of the first super bikes.  There was a time when someone brought this home and it was the bleeding edge of motorcycle engineering, it must have oozed cool.

Of course, these old Hondas make for fantastic cafe racer projects too...

Maybe one of these days I'll swing by and ask if they'd want to sell it.  I'd wait for a day with clear roads, get it going and ride it the few kilometres down the river to my garage, where it would get stripped down next to the Ninja and prepped for spring.

Everyday I go by it reminds me of fantasy art pieces of skeletons lying forgotten.  With the morning sun shining on it, I'd like to go with something other than the smartphone and take some serious photos of it - it strikes me as buried sculpture, a story slowly being forgotten, an opportunity being lost.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Winter Is Coming

My first season in the saddle is rapidly coming to an end.  I'm sad.  I've been OD'ing on magazines and media in the past couple of weeks but I'm also doing more concrete things to keep the dream alive over a cold, dark Canadian winter.

This weekend I'm finishing the garage (insulation & ply-board) which should make it more inhabitable for stage 2 of Tim's cunning winter motorbike plans.

With the garage organized (a tire rack for the car's off season tires, new workbench, shelving, etc), there should be a lot more room!  The Ninja will find a nice corner to spend the winter (while I strip the fairings off and refinish the frame).  In all that empty space I feel a strong urge to project bike!

One of my earliest motorbike urges was driving by an old Honda on the side of the road over and over again.  That bike was selling for $450.  If I can find an old bike that needs some TLC I'm going to get it home and give it a place in the garage.  I'll spend the winter stripping carbs and breaking it down to nuts and bolts.  The best way to understand is to lay hands on.  Having a rebuild project would be the perfect way to keep myself immersed in two wheel thinking.

Come spring I might be kick starting an old beasty that hasn't rolled on roads in years.  My recent infatuation with Cafe Racer culture might inform this process a bit.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The Blueing of the Ninja part 2

I spent some sweaty hours this weekend de-blacking the Ninja.  The coolant got flushed as I was waiting for paint to dry.  With the fairings off I got more done than I intended.  I stripped the tank and repainted it, my first attempt and recovering the stripped back to blue paint.

Original Kawasaki Paint codes courtesy of Color Rite
I was able to find a metallic blue that would work with the Ninja original Candy Plasma Blue.  Going on it looks almost identical, but it dries a darker blue, a more royal blue, though since it's metallic it pops like the original factory metallic paint does.  The paint I found was Rustoleum's Metallic Cobalt Blue.  It's readily available, I found it at Homedepot.

After laying a couple of coats of the new blue, I followed it up with a couple of coats of a gloss clear coat.  The picture of the tank on the right shows you what kind of finish you can get out of these basic tools.  It won't satisfy a perfectionist, but at under $20 to paint the front fender and tank, it will satisfy your accountant.  I waxed it once everything set (I let it sit for half a day), and it looks pretty sharp.  I've driven it 200kms so far this week since and no scuffs or scratches on the paint, so it's pretty tough too, even after an impromptu ride through a driving hail/thunder storm.

I could agonize over stockness here, but I don't think I will.  The vision I've got for the bike isn't stock anyway, but it's a far cry from the flat black bike I started with.  I'm still working out the orange for the frame.  I've got a gloss red and a gloss yellow and intend to mix my own.  The only oranges available seem to be traffic cone inspired (see the pics below), I'm going for a burnt orange as an opposing colour to the royal blue.

From the pictures you can see that the blues are mighty close, though the camera does flatten the differences a bit.  When you're up close you can see where the new paint is slightly darker, though just as rich and metallic.  With the clear coat on top it's silky smooth to the touch and polishes up nicely with wax.  I've been riding in rain all week and everything now beads off where it used to just get wet and sticky on the flat black.

The back end is still stock blue, the tank is the new metallic cobalt  blue
This is a closeup of the seat fairing - the front is the new blue, the back is
the old blue - pretty damn close - matches the spring nicely too
The headlight and front fairing is stock blue, the front wheel
fender and tank are the new blue
Another angle on the tank.  I taped off the filler cap and silver surround,
it came off clean.  I wiped any overspray before clear coating everything
After and before - the metallic blue covers up the bruises well, and where
the bike was already blue, you've got a strong undercoat that supports
the top colour.  It took a couple of extra coats to cover the bruises.
Next up: cleaning up the frame and getting it a metallic burnt orange
While I've got the fairings off to do the frame, I'll have another go at the blue on the big front fairings.  It's a time consuming, tiring process taking that black off, so the fairings might be a while longer before I get them done, then I can finally call my beaten up black bike blue again.