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mclarkson
09-15-2016, 7:54 PM
Hi, everyone. Iím new here and wanted to share my project: a 1987 Kawasaki LTD bobber build. Thereís a long story behind this project, but Iíll put that in the second post to make it easier to skip over. :)

I have very, very (very) little mechanical knowledge and skill. Hopefully I can get some advice from wiser members.

My budget is as near to $0.00 as I can manage. My plan is pretty basic:
* Lower the rear end with some Suzuki Savage shocks.
* Lower the front end a bit to compensate, by sliding the fork tubes up.
* Keep the stock tank.
* Build a new custom solo seat.
* Replace the stock handlebars
* Keep the stock pipes, and replace the stock mufflers. Iím leaning toward some Emgo shorties (https://www.amazon.com/Emgo-Shorty-Universal-Muffler/dp/B000N5UVME).
* Paint it flat black with bright red accents.

I thought about replacing the ugly air box with some PODs but it sounds like getting the carbs jetted properly might be beyond my limited skillz.

The bobber appeals to me as it mostly requires taking stuff off the bike. Taking old parts off is always cheaper than putting new parts on.

So far, Iím still in the tear-down phase of the project.

I wish Iíd taken a couple of photos of the stock bike before I started, but I forgot to do so. Hereís a photo of someone elseís 454 LTD thatís pretty much identical to mine.

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/stock.jpg

mclarkson
09-15-2016, 8:20 PM
Long background story. Feel free to skip.

Everyone has a narrative that they tell themselves about who they are. My narrative has always included ďIím bad with my hands.Ē I canít build things. I canít fix things. Iím neither mechanically minded nor Ďhandy.í

When my daughter was young, I bought a book of carpentry projects for kids. It includes a simple bird house made from a single 1x6. Iíve built that same birdhouse half a dozen times and I managed to mess it up on the first five tries. Remember, this is a book of simple projects for little kids.

Attempts to work on my cars always ended in nightmares of one description or another.

On the computer, on the other hand, I was pretty good. Photoshop, 3D modeling and animation, 2D animation Ö I could do them all but I could never translate that to creating real things in the real world.

Six years ago, I got into RC planes. (Thatís an even longer story that Iíll skip.) At first, I bought planes that were ĎReady To Fly.í And I was pretty good at flying them. Eventually I got some that were ĎAlmost Ready To Flyí (read: Some assembly required.) And I got those to fly, as well. And then I built a couple of planes from scratch and they usually flew, too. Finally I started scratch-building simple planes of my own design and darned if most of those didnít fly.

In the last six years Iíve gone from scared of cutting Styrofoam to customizing, modifying, repairing, designing and building. Iíve fabricated wings and firewalls. Iíve replaced bearings and shafts in electric motors.

And that experience began to creep into the real world. I built a simple ramp to allow my dog access to the dog door. I used fiberglass and epoxy to repair a busted drier door. I used my soldering skills to repair my granddaughterís broken toys. Et cetera.

It began to occur to me that I could, just possibly, build something on a larger scale. I toyed with the idea of a hot rod or an electric hot rod, but I have little budget and very few large tools. (My RC habit has resulted in my collecting a lot of tools, but theyíre all tiny, suited to working on airplanes a couple of feet wide and one ounce motors.) I donít have an engine hoist, or a welder.

And then I remembered the Kawasaki that has been sitting in my garage for several years. I last rode it, briefly, about five years ago but the turn signals were broken and I never got around to fixing it.

And I suddenly realized that, hell, I could probably fabricate some new turn signals. That I could probably look up tutorials on YouTube that would show me how to change out the fork seals and make sundry other small repairs. That, despite the long-running narrative that Iím ďbad with my hands,Ē I might be able to build a cool custom bike Ė something that I would never have considered a few short years ago. And I decided to give it a go.

Thatís my story. Wish me luck.

mclarkson
09-15-2016, 8:23 PM
The tear-down begins.

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/bike2-1024x682.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/stripped-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/box-of-parts-1024x683.jpg

I found this sweet trailer fender for $15 at a local store.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/fender-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/fender-test-fit-01-1024x683.jpg

mclarkson
09-15-2016, 8:26 PM
All of this crap came off of the rear fender.

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/parts-from-the-rear-fender-1024x683.jpg


I found these Suzuki Savage shocks on eBay for $50. They'll drop the rear end a few inches.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/suzuki-savage-shocks.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/shock-comp-1024x683.jpg

mclarkson
09-15-2016, 8:29 PM
I plan to cut off the rear fender bracket right here:

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/cuttemplate1-1024x683.jpg

And get a buddy to weld a simple piece of 1" tubing between the cuts.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/sissybarpatch01-1024x683.jpg

mclarkson
09-15-2016, 8:31 PM
Test-fitting the Suzuki shocks. They fit right on, and drop the back nicely.

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/new-shocks-test-fit-1024x683.jpg

My giant son-in-law makes this bike look like a toy.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/giant-son-in-law-1024x683.jpg

mclarkson
09-15-2016, 8:33 PM
Pulling the carbs apart. I need to repair or replace one piece of tubing in here, and will probably attempt some kind of rebuild as long as everything's apart.

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/carb3B-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/carb4-seperated-1024x683.jpg

Here's the broken bit:
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/carb5-broken-fitting-1024x683.jpg

mclarkson
09-15-2016, 8:34 PM
I found this worn leather coat at my local DAV store for $10. Plenty of leather to cover my solo seat with.

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/leather-coat-683x1024.jpg

PuskRat
09-16-2016, 9:54 PM
Welcome to overwhelmedness. I've tried this approach....some are Mechanically Inclined, I am "Mechnically DEclined" I don't have a lot to share, but for what it's worth...do you have enough clearance with those replacement Shocks? Bobberdom was my goal initially too, but dropping the butt end turned out to be a one way ticket to skids and sparksville for me. Luckily I got advice first. Generally I am loathe to redirect someone to a different website, but this might be of use to you: http://ltd454.proboards.com/ You may already know of it. I'm not a kawasaki guy, so I just googled this up. Let's say I feel your pain; had my 1980 Yamaha XS1100 for just over a year now and only now getting the carburetors back together. Hmmm.....What wisdom can i share?.....

Carburetion is the Devil
Ethanol is Theft
The Service Manual is your friend. It's fine to keep them stored on google drive (they're lighter that way)
Mikuni jets always
Go Go Partzilla.
MikesXS is probably not useful for you.
I take that back. They have the Mikuni Tuning guide.
Crap. No, I take THAT back. IIRC, my chopper chick told me her KZ4XX had keihin carbs

shovelpan69
09-17-2016, 9:27 AM
do a little, ride it, make friends and keep on chopping and learning. I had no idea what I was doing when i started too. Now I may be a little over confident sometimes

Townson
09-17-2016, 6:31 PM
I've always been mechanically inclined, but when I got my first bike around 4 years ago, I was completely lost lol. Just research every chance you get and everything will come out fine. Get it done, ride it and enjoy it. Motorcycles are one of the simplest pleasures in the world. I've seen alot of people end up hating them by overcomplicating things in their own mind.

mclarkson
09-18-2016, 6:36 PM
Thanks for the encouragement and advice, everyone. Lemme try to work through all your responses.

I’m pretty sure I’m good to go with those shocks. I’m going to be mounting the fender directly to the swing arm, so I know I won’t have clearance problems between the fender and tire. If my fat ass doesn’t drop down to low, I should be fine. It seems to be a pretty common swap for this bike.

I have found ltd454.proboards.com and perused it quite a bit. Unfortunately, it seems to be kinda dead, so I kept looking for a more active community.

Carburetion is certainly one of the things I’m most terrified of.

I’ve had little look turning up a Service Manual. I’ve found some that appear to be a CD with a PDF of a scan of a photocopy, but I’m hoping to find something a bit better.

I’ll definitely check out Partzilla if I need any parts.

My bike definitely has Keihin carbs – V138’s, I think.

I’m doing my best not to overcomplicate things. A major appear of the bobber style is that it’s mostly about simplifying and removing.

Thanks again.

mclarkson
09-19-2016, 1:17 PM
Time to try and fix this little bit of broken tubing (rather than pay $46 for a replacement!)

I epoxied the pieces together with JB Weld.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/gas-fitting-fix-1-1024x683.jpg

After letting it set up for about 12 hours, I cut a little 'bandage' from light fiberglass cloth.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/gas-fitting-fix-2-1024x683.jpg

I dragged the bandage through some epoxy to impregnate it and then wrapped it around the broken area in a figure 8.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/gas-fitting-fix-3-1024x683.jpg

lcheredaryk
09-19-2016, 6:32 PM
Try this site out for your manual: http://www.pdfmotomanual.com/index.php?r=site/page&view=manuales&order=t&key=K&make=1815&lang=ENG
The model you are looking for is EN 450. That covers the LTD 454. The one they have is a scan of a Haynes manual. Looks readable though.

mclarkson
09-19-2016, 8:19 PM
Thanks! I'll go download that now.

ShookOne
09-20-2016, 8:10 AM
Im the same way.
Never been good with tools or building things or even repairing.
Sometimes I felt out of place at Home depot or Pepboys lol.

One day I was on craigslist looking for an aquarium 40 mins later I was getting off the phone with a dude to come see his cruiser and Id never even ridden a motorcycle hahaha.

Long story short, a few weeks later i taught myself how to ride the thing and got manuals.Cleared up some space in the garage and now im wrenching my own bobber lol.
The bike is a pain right now because it needs fine tuning and some love,and I dont really know much about mechanics but its a joy to work with your hands and fix things along the way.

Good luck with the build, this place is great for info and advice .

mclarkson
09-20-2016, 12:31 PM
Did I mention that, since I only work on RC planes, all my tools look like this? :D

http://rc.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/4oz_hammer-1024x683.jpg

mclarkson
09-22-2016, 2:42 AM
I realized that I had this old, old (old) lunchbox around from when I was in first grade. It's beat up and rusty and not really useful for anything but I couldn't bear to throw it away. Perfect battery box fodder, though I'll have to cut it down a bit to make it fit.

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/batt-box-01-1024x682.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/batt-box-02-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/batt-box-03-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/batt-box-04-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/batt-box-05-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/batt-box-06-1024x684.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/batt-box-07-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/batt-box-08-1024x582.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/batt-box-09-1024x683.jpg

mclarkson
09-22-2016, 8:04 PM
Getting ready to start building my custom seat pan. I covered the whole bike with a dropcloth from Dollar Tree, put some cardboard over the battery box area, and went to town with masking tape.

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/seat-prep-1-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/seat-prep-2-1024x683.jpg

Next, I laid down a layer of duct tape. This will be my actual build surface.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/seat-prep-3-1024x683.jpg


I cannot figure out how to handle the front of the seat.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/seat-front-1-1024x683.jpg

Should I make it slip under here? Bolt it to the frame? I can't decide what to do.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/seat-front-2-1024x683.jpg

mclarkson
09-22-2016, 8:09 PM
Getting to work on my super-cheap custom turn signals. I bought these little yellow LED bulbs online. They're to replace standard turn signals, etc.

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/taillight1-1024x683.jpg

I soldered some wire to the terminals and then cut a rough disc from Dollar Tree foamboard to serve as a bulb mount.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/taillight2-1024x683.jpg

I slid it up inside a 45 degree piece of 3/4" PVC. Yep - it lights up.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/taillight3-1024x683.jpg

mclarkson
09-23-2016, 1:00 PM
Finally decided what to do about that piece at the front of the seat area. The whole time I was sawing, I was thinking: "The chain in those handcuffs is high-tensile steel. It'd take you ten minutes to hack through it with this. Now, if you're lucky, you could hack through your ankle in five minutes. Go."

https://scontent-dft4-2.xx.fbcdn.net/t31.0-8/14434814_10207325547519906_8815563783370684606_o.j pg

mclarkson
09-23-2016, 4:11 PM
Some more work on my el-cheapo custom PVC turn signals.

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/taillight5-1024x682.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/taillight6-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/taillight7-1024x683.jpg

Some 0.050" Lexan for the lenses.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/lexan2-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/lexan1-1024x684.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/taillight8-1024x683.jpg

LeDom
09-23-2016, 5:02 PM
I like the creativity, keep it up

mclarkson
09-24-2016, 1:00 PM
Bouncing from one place to another - Starting on the seat pan:

A layer of fiberglass cloth:
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/seat-pan-1-1024x683.jpg

Starting to add some pieces of fiberglass mat:
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/seat-pan-2-1024x683.jpg

mclarkson
09-24-2016, 7:36 PM
I drilled three holes - 2 in the back and 1 in the front - that go through the seat pan and into the frame, and put short carriage bolts through them. Hopefully, these will keep the seat in place on the frame when all is done.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/seat-pan-studs-1-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/seat-pan-studs2-1024x683.jpg

And ... another layer of glass.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/seat-pan-3-1024x682.jpg


http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/seat-pan-3-1024x682.jpg

mclarkson
09-24-2016, 9:36 PM
I wanted to share a few photos. Hope you don't mind.

Here's what custom bikes looked like when I was falling in love with motorcycles. #SpringersForever. :D

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/7405schop.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/April-1974-Street-Chopper-Magazine-Honda-750-Mag-779x1024.jpg

And I dug up these photos of me and my now-grown daughter on my subject bike, back in 1989. Dig the perm, boys!
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/pam-bike-1-1024x729.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/pam-bike-2-1024x695.jpg

mclarkson
09-25-2016, 2:56 AM
Back to the turn signals. I bought these plugs to go in the end, and was going to push them in there all the way, but I decided I like the little extra detail that comes from leaving them sticking out a bit.

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/taillight9-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/taillight10-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/taillight11-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/taillight12-1024x683.jpg

mclarkson
09-25-2016, 5:12 PM
A bolt goes through from the inside of the base to attach the blinker to the frame.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/taillight13-1024x683.jpg

Then the other half slips on and is held in place with a couple of small wood screws (barely visible on the top in this photo) and - *BAM* - turn signal.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/taillight14-1024x683.jpg

mclarkson
09-25-2016, 5:20 PM
Man, I thought I'd NEVER EVER get the seat pan pried loose. Turns out that putting two bolts through the back at opposing angles was a terrible idea. Ah well, I eventually got it off. I'm gonna put on another layer (maybe two) of glass, then trim it up.

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/seat-pan-bottom-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/seat-pan-almost-done-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/seat-pan-rough-cut-1024x683.jpg

mclarkson
09-25-2016, 9:11 PM
Holding a flashlight under the seat pan to help me trace the frame.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/seat-pan-tracing-1024x683.jpg

A rough outline traced ...
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/seat-pan-outline-drawn-1024x683.jpg

... and cut.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/seat-pan-trimmed-1024x683.jpg


Meanwhile, my fender-to-be was picking up specks of surface rust, so I decided it was time to throw a little paint on it.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/fender-paint-1-1024x683.jpg

(The fender is a Tow Zone #44911 7" wide steel trailer fender that I picked up for $14 at a local hardware store.)

mclarkson
09-27-2016, 11:09 PM
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/handlebars-1-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/handlebars-2-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/addy-tries-handlebars-1024x683.jpg

Angelking
09-28-2016, 3:49 AM
I bought a 454 LTD new back in the day. Always enjoyed riding that bike. Looking forward to seeing yours built.


AK

shovelpan69
09-28-2016, 9:44 AM
looking good bud keep it up

mclarkson
09-28-2016, 1:14 PM
Thanks. I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that my seat just ain't gonna work. It looks fine but the way I followed the shape of the frame means that there's a super-uncomfortable ridge that hits you right in the tail bone. Now I'm noodlin' about how to fix things.

mclarkson
09-30-2016, 7:45 PM
Hopefully, this will help.

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/manual-1024x683.jpg

mclarkson
10-05-2016, 9:50 PM
I used some aircraft stripper to get rid of the old paint.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/tank-stripped-1024x683.jpg

Honestly, I love the look of the flat black primer. Do I have to put on a top coat?
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/tank-primed-1024x683.jpg

Looks okay, but I'm gonna have to build a seat (and get a haircut!) :D
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/test-fit-1024x683.jpg

RussellM
10-06-2016, 5:07 AM
That's coming along nicely. That tank looks nice stripped back.

I did cringe a little when you started cuttin in to that classic lunch box, that would have to be a collectors item. But it certainly adds something to the bike.

mclarkson
10-06-2016, 7:30 PM
I know. The thing is, it was in really crappy condition. The paint was rubbed off on most of the faces. It was rusty and smelly. It was in the worst possible shape. If I'd have thought I could get $10-$20 for it, I might have thought about it. As it was, it only had worth to me, cuz it was my first grade lunch box. I couldn't find a good use for it. This way, at least, I get to use it for something.

mclarkson
10-11-2016, 4:53 PM
Since the first seat pan was unbearably uncomfortable, I cut off some bits of the frame and started on a 2nd seat pan. First, I laid some Dollar Tree foamboard down.

I covered the area with duct tape and hosed the duct tape down with a generous helping of WD-40 to act as a mold release agent.

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/2nd-seat-pan-1-1024x683.jpg
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/2nd-seat-pan-2-1024x683.jpg
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/2nd-seat-pan-3-1024x682.jpg
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/2nd-seat-pan-4-1024x683.jpg

It looks more like the poorly-tanned hide of a smelly beast than a seat pan. :)
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/2nd-seat-pan-5-1024x683.jpg

mclarkson
10-12-2016, 8:36 PM
I came home from buying some new valve stem covers for the bike to find my puppy chewing on one of my son's old toys, a little guy called a U.B. Funkey. He was really into them for a year or two before he outgrew them and they stopped being a thing. I looked at it and thought, 'That thing's head would make a cool custom valve stem cover!' So I went back to the auto parts store and bought another set of valve stem covers - their cheapest.

Back home, I popped the heads off a couple of my favorites, drilled out the neck holes to accommodate the new valve stem covers, and then shoved the one into the other with a dollop of epoxy to keep things in place. Viola!

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/valve-stem-cover-1-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/valve-stem-cover-3-1024x683.png

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/valve-stem-cover-4-1024x683.png

mclarkson
10-13-2016, 9:37 PM
I bought an EVA yoga mat for about $13. The plan is to cut it up and glue it onto the seat pan in layers.

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/seat-cushion-1-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/seat-cushion-2-1024x683.jpg

Alabaster
10-14-2016, 11:42 AM
When I read the first post, I thought by saying you had zero budget, you were looking for a cop out.. Then I remembered this is ChopCult. Rock on, man. Your project is getting rad. Love the lunch box. My sister collects them and would cringe if she saw that. I love it. Looking forward to the progression.

mclarkson
10-14-2016, 2:09 PM
Thanks. I'm definitely perpetually broke, but I'ma try to keep going, one piece at a time.

mclarkson
10-15-2016, 2:56 PM
To make a seat cover that fits my weird one-off seat, I covered everything in masking tape, sketched out the seam lines, then pulled the tape off and stuck it to some posterboard.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/seat-template-1-1024x683.jpg

Then, I cut out the shapes and pulled the tape back off of the posterboard to create my template / pattern.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/seat-template-2-1024x683.jpg

TravelingBone
10-15-2016, 3:16 PM
Nice build. I think you might have more skill/talent than you think. In any case, it's an interesting build and I'm curious to see how it turns out. :cheersmate:

mikecola
10-15-2016, 5:31 PM
Looking really good. I did the same yoga mat thing on my cafe yamaha recently.

mclarkson
10-15-2016, 6:34 PM
Thanks guys!

mclarkson
10-16-2016, 9:40 PM
Based on some advice from my daughter, I transferred the pattern to my leather coat using a bar of hotel soap.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/seat-cushion-3-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/seat-cushion-4-1024x683.jpg

My ever-faithful helper, Marmalene, checking out the results.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/marmalene-the-helper-1024x683.jpg

Everything cut out and ready for sewing, as soon as I can book some time on my daughter's sewing machine.
http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/seat-cushion-5-1024x683.jpg

mclarkson
10-19-2016, 2:32 AM
Waiting for some sewing machine time, so I decided that the stock headlight needed something, and I decided that something was black paint and a visor. Looking around for some metal, I found an old, broken reflector light thingy in the garage. I cut out a semicircle with a Dremel and cutting disc, and painted the top/outside flat black, to match everything else. I haven't decided how to mount it yet. I may just stick it on there with a handful of sheet metal screws.

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/headlight-1-1024x684.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/headlight-2-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/headlight-3-1024x683.jpg

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/headlight-4-1024x683.jpg

mclarkson
10-28-2016, 12:36 AM
Not much progress but I did decide to just use a few sheet metal screws to attach the visor. Not sure if I'll paint them black, or just leave them shiny.

http://blog.markclarkson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/headlight-visor-1024x684.jpg

mclarkson
05-13-2018, 10:22 PM
After ages of zero-ish progress, finally some progress. Got the engine yanked today.

83975

83976

83v45
06-04-2018, 1:33 PM
Could you tell me how long the forks are from the top to the axle? And how long the Savage shocks are from center to center?

TriNortchopz
06-04-2018, 2:31 PM
Could you tell me how long the forks are from the top to the axle? And how long the Savage shocks are from center to center?

Not sure about length, but from this chart, i see your fork tubes are 33mm in diameter; this may help with swapping other fork tubes:

Kawasaki fork sizes
http://www.choppersaustralia.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=925


If you are looking to extend your fork tubes, here is an option using motocrosser tubes in your existing lower legs, but the example is for the Z900s:

Extended forks for Z900...
http://www.choppersaustralia.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=445

83v45
06-04-2018, 5:28 PM
Not sure about length, but from this chart, i see your fork tubes are 33mm in diameter; this may help with swapping other fork tubes:

Kawasaki fork sizes
http://www.choppersaustralia.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=925


If you are looking to extend your fork tubes, here is an option using motocrosser tubes in your existing lower legs, but the example is for the Z900s:

Extended forks for Z900...
http://www.choppersaustralia.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=445

I'm not looking to extend. I'm building a rat right now (about to make a post tonight) and am using EN450 (454 LTD) wheels, and am slowly assembling a complete EN450 front end. Just trying to get a length so I can figure out my mockup before the forks get here. Curious about the Savage shocks because I REALLY need to bring the ass end down, and have been looking at 8.5 shocks on ebay, but if the Savage shocks are short enough I'll source those instead.

TriNortchopz
06-04-2018, 7:31 PM
...Curious about the Savage shocks because I REALLY need to bring the ass end down, and have been looking at 8.5 shocks on ebay, but if the Savage shocks are short enough I'll source those instead.

Thread: Recommended Progressive Shock for LS650 (Read 817 times)
"..I put 11.5 shocks on my savage as the original were 10.5 in."
http://suzukisavage.com/cgi-bin/YaBB.pl?board=RubberSideDown;action=display;num=11 36924522

Thread: Savage rear suspension (Read 227 times)
"...(Stock shocks are 10.5" long), or put struts on the bike and make is a hardtail..."
http://suzukisavage.com/cgi-bin/YaBB.pl?num=1442420689/4

mclarkson
06-04-2018, 10:05 PM
Hi!

I just measured mine. The Savage shocks mounted on a naked frame - no engine, no tranny, no tank, etc. etc. - are 10.5" bolt-to-bolt.

The front forks are 36" from the axle to the top of the fork tubes. The forks extend below the axle about another 2 3/4".

Hope this helps.

83v45
06-04-2018, 10:47 PM
Thread: Recommended Progressive Shock for LS650 (Read 817 times)
"..I put 11.5 shocks on my savage as the original were 10.5 in."
http://suzukisavage.com/cgi-bin/YaBB.pl?board=RubberSideDown;action=display;num=11 36924522

Thread: Savage rear suspension (Read 227 times)
"...(Stock shocks are 10.5" long), or put struts on the bike and make is a hardtail..."
http://suzukisavage.com/cgi-bin/YaBB.pl?num=1442420689/4

Awesome, thanks!


Hi!

I just measured mine. The Savage shocks mounted on a naked frame - no engine, no tranny, no tank, etc. etc. - are 10.5" bolt-to-bolt.

The front forks are 36" from the axle to the top of the fork tubes. The forks extend below the axle about another 2 3/4".

Hope this helps.

Thanks! What's the total length, fork legs and all, from the top of the fork to the center of the axle?

mclarkson
06-05-2018, 10:19 PM
Maybe I'm not understanding the question. From the top of the fork tubes (A) to the center of the axle (B) is about 35.5" - 36". It's hard to measure it really precisely because I have to go around the triple tree.

84560

83v45
06-06-2018, 7:36 AM
My man, you got it! Thanks!

mclarkson
06-07-2018, 12:32 AM
Meanwhile, I continue to slowly (slooooowly) plod along when I get a spare moment.

I've cut off a lot of bits - passenger pegs, helmet locks, the center stand, etc. etc.
84590

Got a pair of Mikuni VM30's and pods to replace the stock carbs and ugly air box.
84591

Got it outside for the first time in years, and got some grime scrubbed off.
84592

Working on my weld-less fender mount.
84593
84594

mclarkson
06-07-2018, 12:32 AM
Got a pair of cheap slash-cut mufflers to replace the stock trumpets.

84595

It's almost time to start putting it back together! :eek:

Le0n
06-27-2018, 10:32 PM
Man you and I are on the same page, but let me tell you. It’s coming out nice!! I have zero experience with motorcycles. I purchased my 454 in February because I heard it was a great starter bike, every single time I ride it, I fall more and more in love with it. I want to bob it out as well but I don’t know where to begin. I have a tiny 25 piece tool box with a ratchet and some sockets and I’m afraid to start tearing pieces down just because I don’t know what the essentials of the bike are. I had the same idea with the Pod filters replacing that ridiculously ugly air box. I want to remove the engine and paint it chrome or make it chrome (IDK which is the one to do) essentially the same thing that you did with the beautiful flat black pint on the tank, except my tank has a dent on it from the previous owner. I will compliment your handle bars and your skill of creativity with the turn signals AND headlight housing. That visor is a gorgeous add on.

My idea for my bobber looks like yours and you’re the one that’s doing it. I look forward to seeing your beauty come to life, for you have inspired me to start on mine! I just don’t know where to begin hahaha.

TriNortchopz
06-28-2018, 12:05 AM
Man...I have zero experience with motorcycles. I purchased my 454 in February because I heard it was a great starter bike...I want to bob it out as well but I donít know where to begin. I have a tiny 25 piece tool box with a ratchet and some sockets and Iím afraid to start tearing pieces down just because I donít know what the essentials of the bike are...you have inspired me to start on mine! I just donít know where to begin hahaha.

Hey Le0n, it sounds like you have no experience, donít know what the essentials of the bike are, and don't know where to begin. Maybe you need to do some reading - do you have a manual for your bike?

Here is an online course which may be of interest:

DAN'S ONLINE MOTORCYCLE REPAIR COURSE

Below is the Online Motorcycle Repair Course. I will try to take you from knowing nothing about Motorcycle Repair to being able repair your own and others Motorcycles. How much you learn and how well you repair your motorcycle will depend on you.

If you are just looking for general Motorcycle stuff go back to index and pick from there.

This course is designed for three types of people.

People who want to do their own work.
People who want to know how the work is done, but do not want to do it themselves.
People who want to do it, for Pay, for other people.

There are a few weird quotes, (... "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily"...), but most of the information is sound.
http://www.dansmc.com/mc_repaircourse.htm

mclarkson
06-28-2018, 8:21 PM
Wow! Hi! It's great so see an actual reply to my old thread. I'm still working at it. I did find and purchase a repair, and I bought a cheap angle grinder to cut off extraneous bits but, other than that, I'm so far making due with the bare rudiments of tools and materials. (I don't have access to a welder, for instance, and I can't weld very well anyways.)

Plus I'm old, broke and busy, so I'm going really, really slowly but, so far at least, I haven't stopped altogether.

TryNort - thanks for that pointer.

mclarkson
06-28-2018, 8:24 PM
Me and my new angle grinder:
85194

I'm painting my pipes flat red using VHT rattle cans.
85191

85195
And I'm working on my *sigh* third attempt at a usable seat pan.
85192

85193

mclarkson
06-28-2018, 9:05 PM
I had the same idea with the Pod filters replacing that ridiculously ugly air box.

I am NO EXPERT on carbs but, based on my reading a buncha threads, it sounds like making that work with the stock CV carbs is really, really difficult. CV (constant velocity) carbs rely on differences in air pressure (read: partial vacuum) to work; the air box provides that and removing it messes up the whole system.

I broke down and acquired a pair of Mikuni VM30 slide carbs - so far, the only major purchase for this project - which will hopefully be easier to get working.

mclarkson
06-29-2018, 10:38 PM
85211
85210
85212
85213

BruceKoukalaka
07-05-2018, 10:27 PM
Keep up with the old girl, I just read your thread and like what you've done thus far.

mclarkson
07-06-2018, 10:15 PM
Thanks, man. I haven't given up yet. :)

Odioanonimo
07-11-2018, 8:32 PM
nice! i feel you, i had no idea what i was doing when i started, and had not a single tool to do it with. now i know half as much as i think i do, and have enough knowledge to really fuck some shit up. but! i have a ton of fun, and make some shit that i think is super cool! youtube is my hero, and the shop manual is my bible. and i just sweat and bleed till its done. great bike man! also, you have the coolest battery box ive ever seen

mclarkson
07-12-2018, 6:31 PM
Thanks, man!

mclarkson
07-12-2018, 7:41 PM
A few small things. I built a simple tail light mount from a 1" strip of aluminum. It sits on the rear lip of the fender and has a tab that goes under the fender. A pair of small bolts hold it in place. (I'll use smaller bolts when I'm done. :))

85584

85585

The clamps are holding the LED strip in place for a quick test.

85586

mclarkson
07-12-2018, 7:43 PM
I'm working on a new mount for the tach, using a strip of steel left over from the seat pan.

85587

85588

I'm thinking of attaching it down low, by the radiator, but I may end up sticking it between the handlebars.

mclarkson
07-12-2018, 7:47 PM
I built a simple tail light bracket and light using a 1" strip of aluminum, bent into an 'L' and attached to a handy bolt. I still have my old license plate from 10+ years ago, so I decided to use it to fabricate the light hood. I bent it and hacksawed one end off. I fitted a small LED strip light underneath. The light hood just bolts onto the back of the bracket, using the same bolts that hold the tag on.

85589

85590

85591

85592

Here it is lighting up what's left of the tag.

85593

mclarkson
07-13-2018, 3:20 AM
85599

85600

mclarkson
07-13-2018, 4:36 PM
85631

mclarkson
07-17-2018, 10:06 PM
85727
85728
85729

mclarkson
07-24-2018, 5:05 PM
85881

85882

85883

mclarkson
07-26-2018, 8:52 PM
I was gonna leave the front fender off altogether but the more I thought about the radiator setting right behind the front wheel, the more that started to seem like a bad idea. So I compromised by chopping the front off of it and painting it black.

85979

mclarkson
07-29-2018, 2:43 PM
86072

86073

mclarkson
08-05-2018, 8:13 PM
Slowly but surely, bit by bit. Got the plugs, plug wires, and coils re-installed. I had to replace the lower radiator hose, but the radiator and hoses are now all back in place.

86266

mclarkson
08-08-2018, 3:28 PM
86318

86319

86320

mclarkson
08-11-2018, 6:09 PM
Had to get a new blinker unit to accommodate the LED lights I'm installing.
86393

My brother-in-law 3D printed me some little medallions that match my tank design. I put one of them on my new fork bag. (I also dirtied up the bag a bit, cuz it looked too "new.")
86394

86395

RedReaper1776
08-11-2018, 9:39 PM
Love what you've done here.. I've always been attracted to bobbers and wanted to build one. You have inspired me to keep that as a goal. You've got some serious creativity and more skill than you give yourself credit for. Keep up the great work sir!

mclarkson
08-11-2018, 11:56 PM
Thanks! Go for it, man. If I can do it then (nearly) anyone can do it. I have literally never even changed the oil in a bike before this.

My son-in-law came over tonight and we pulled all the existing wiring apart. I'm planning on re-building the wiring harness from (sort-of) scratch, leaving out all the stuff I no longer need.

86400

86401

86402

mclarkson
08-13-2018, 12:27 AM
I got the taillight, brake light, turn signals, tag light, etc. wired in. Thus begins my new wiring loom.

86425

mclarkson
08-14-2018, 3:37 AM
Who doesn't love wiring?! WHEEEEE! :D

86446

86447

mclarkson
08-14-2018, 8:05 PM
There were a lot of electronic components mounted up under the original big-ass seat. Now, I've got to find someplace else to stick them.
86464

Let's see if we can fit them in, on and around this plastic box.
86465

86466

86467

86468

I think that may work. Now, to get it mounted to the bike somewhere...

mclarkson
08-17-2018, 3:26 PM
Ignition wiring sorted and wrapped.

86525

Luky
08-17-2018, 9:26 PM
[QUOTE=mclarkson;796744]Thanks! Go for it, man. If I can do it then (nearly) anyone can do it. I have literally never even changed the oil in a bike before this.

My son-in-law came over tonight and we pulled all the existing wiring apart. I'm planning on re-building the wiring harness from (sort-of) scratch, leaving out all the stuff I no longer need.

86400

You really need a work bench to lay out that wiring.

mclarkson
08-18-2018, 6:22 PM
My son-in-law is a "Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead!" sort and he was pulling the wiring harnesses apart before I'd really realized what was happening.

I'm putting the wiring back together a chunk at a time, not trying to lay out everything all at once. The photo above is the IC igniter, pickup coil, ignition coils, positive / ground section, for example. Next, I'll probably do the starter wiring, then the more 'general' wiring: lights, fans, etc.

mclarkson
08-22-2018, 5:36 PM
I did the whole 'apple cider vinegar to remove rust' treatment on the tank and it turns out that the rust was the only thing keeping the gas in the tank. :(

86684

rabidrider
08-22-2018, 6:03 PM
Slap some bubble gum on it and ride

mclarkson
08-23-2018, 5:40 PM
Ordered a new tank. In the meantime, re-wiring continues. I got the left handgrip down from an astounding 20 wires to only 7.
86706

Thanks in part to a new ON-OFF-ON switch for the turn signals.
86705

mclarkson
08-26-2018, 9:31 PM
And ... the starter is shorted out. So, as a way of avoiding pulling the starter, I got all the non-ignition stuff wired up and working today. I forgot to show that the light on the tach works, as does the horn.

Enjoy my DIY PVC turn signals! :)

https://youtu.be/cVP0akTMdm0

mclarkson
08-29-2018, 3:43 PM
The starter, in pieces. :(

86864

86865

86866

mclarkson
08-29-2018, 3:46 PM
The new tank has arrived. It's a King P-nut from Lowbrow cycles. (https://www.lowbrowcustoms.com/lowbrow-cutoms-king-p-nut-frisco-shallow-tunnel-gas-tank-2-4-gallon-motorcycle-gas-tank.html)

Seeing where it should go on the bike.
86867

Playing with the size of the tank design emblem.
86868

Painting it black.
86869

mclarkson
09-03-2018, 8:43 PM
The old rusty tank goes in the trash.

87012

mclarkson
09-03-2018, 8:45 PM
I finished painting the new tank.

87013

87014

87015

87016

87017

Went to put everything together and discovered that the new tank doesn't clear the ignition coils. Because it's always gotta be something. :(

mclarkson
09-04-2018, 9:46 PM
I got ready to mount the gas tank and discovered that it didn’t clear the ignition coils. (When I test-fitted it, the ignition coils were hanging loose.) What to do?

I cut two small pieces, about 1 1/2” by 3/8”, from a scrap of aluminum strap I had lying around. I drilled holes in both ends, one inch apart center-to-center. The arrangement lowers the rear end of the ignition coils by an inch, allowing them to clear the tank.
87034

87035

87036

mclarkson
09-10-2018, 9:38 PM
I got tired of the crappy lighting in my garage, so I replaced the single 100W bulb with three 5-meter strips of 5630 LEDs. Got a big honkin' DC power supply and screwed it to the ceiling. Replaced the single bulb socket with a 2-plug receptacle that fits the same box and plugged the power supply into that. The difference is striking, and all for about $50. All three strips only pull about 125W, so my power consumption stayed about the same.

87202

mclarkson
09-10-2018, 9:41 PM
A cool, old-timey petcock for the new tank.
87203

The wiring is nearly finished.
87204

87205

I put some oil in today, and charged up my new battery. Soon it'll be time to try and fire her up!
87206

87207

mclarkson
09-11-2018, 3:56 PM
Guess who forgot to tighten his drain plug.

87236

mclarkson
09-15-2018, 5:19 PM
I finally traced down the fault in the starter electrics. Turns out, the ignition switch (the key) is flaky. Turn the key: no power. Jiggle the key: power. Jiggle the key again: no power again.

87374

87375

87376

mclarkson
09-15-2018, 5:20 PM
Sooooo ... I'm going the "discreet switch" route instead. Fortunately, I had this cool switch I was looking for an excuse to use.

87377

87378

87379

87380

mclarkson
09-16-2018, 6:54 PM
The bike fired up for the very first time this afternoon!

https://youtu.be/OwaxP5G6rzw

TriNortchopz
09-17-2018, 8:12 AM
Good job, it definitely crackles!

mclarkson
09-23-2018, 7:13 PM
https://youtu.be/hnjpJq2_Vzg

mclarkson
09-25-2018, 2:25 AM
87611

87612

87613

mclarkson
09-25-2018, 6:11 PM
87635

87636

87637

87638

87639