Well, I'm new here so I'll try not to be a dick.
Meanwhile, the last kid is outta school, my tour of Fatherhood duty in the freakin Ozarks is over and it's time to back to my hometown of Hollyweird. Kinda hard to get around or pretend to be a biker there without a bike so I traded a 6mpg old GMC Topkick for this '82 Kaw donor bike. I would have preferred a Harley or at least a chain drive but 5 years in the economy of the Ozarks took it's toll on my ability to solve problems by throwing money at them. Lucky for me I have zero loyalty to corporations so 2 wheels and some go fast is good enough for me. All I really cared is that it was a bike model that had been made in abundance so that parts, wrecks and experienced wrenches would be easily available. I figured KZ, CB and GSXR would all be good places to start.
So as of today, I have the bike running well, put a couple hundred miles on it, got it inspected, tagged, insured and spent enough time on it to know what I like about it and what I don't. So now I have some direction to go in and my main goal is have a unique, low budget chopper that gets me around LA, looks fairly wild and provides me with a rolling storefront to show off my leather working skills. I am also hoping to do the bike in stages which don't take more than a few days of down time per stage. So I won't be stripping this all the way down to the frame and starting from scratch.
So first things first. Here is what this ugly green monster looked like when I brought it home. Not exactly my style.
Obviously the first required step was to fix this ugly ass green paint. Nothin a few cans of Satin black, high temp, rattle can paint wouldn't fix.
Ah soooooo much better.
Next is to push the bars up a bit, cut off all the ugly turn signal trash and start adding some temporary leather patches here and there to make it feel like it's mine while I start figuring out the more complex stuff and collect parts. Since I am a leather tooling guy who makes biker gear, I figure make use of stuff I have laying around the leather shop. Nothin too nice since it's all gonna change anyway. First thing is cover that ugly square gas cap with some gator and some imagery which properly conveys my internal dialog regarding current fuel prices.
I was taught how to do leather work by Pascal at RiffRaff of Hollywood. He's a pretty well known guy who spends plenty of time in various magazines and documentaries. His specialties are custom Cowboy boots and Chopper seats but the guy seems able to make just about anything out of leather. Out of the hundreds of seats and boots I have seen him build from scratch, I have yet to see one I didn't love. Perhaps there are other people in this world who can claim to be better at one specialty but I don't know anyone who can do it all as well as this guy does. Now he even does awesome metal engraving.
Anyway, a while back he made a seat that got a spill on it so the cover ended up in the trash. This guy is soooo freakin good, I have a collection of just stuff I pulled out of his freakin trash! lol Anyway, the "King Rat" patch is the only thing on this bike I didn't make and it was cut out of that seat cover I found in Pascal's garbage. How perfect is that for a rat bike eh? hehe
I Just slapped that puppy on there and didn't take the time to form it so there are a few wrinkles but it's only going to last until I build the new tank so I didn't put much effort into it.
I just slapped other various patches here and there to break up the black.
OK So I got some of that crap up there. The next step is going to be building the forward controls. Here we have some junk laid out on the table that I am going to scab them together out of.
So I'll have those old bike pegs for the pegs, welding tubing to the frame, weld bolts into the tubes and have more tubes over the bolts. I'll weld the wrenches to the loose tubes for use as the linkage and weld the chains into the brake pedal and shifter. Down the shifter side of the bike, I'll use that old sword looking corn knife as the shifter linkage rod and on the brake side I am going to use doubled up old chainsaw blades welded stiff. The pegs will have the old spurs welded under them so I can rest my heels on them if I like and I'll wrap them in leather so they don't scuff up the custom boots I made.
A few other things in this picture are the old brake light I found for 50 cents at a yard sale, the old lantern I am going to re-bulb into the headlight, one of two turtle shells I found that will get reworked into the rear view mirrors and some old shotgun parts I'll be cutting up into turn signals by filling them with red or yellow LEDs. Not sure what I'll do with the .50 caliber machine gun shells which were fired as blanks on the War of the worlds" movie I briefly worked on. The flask will get strapped on somewhere as well.
Other plans include building a hard tail section out of 3/8 welded chain with a matching bar to strap my gear too on long trips (I don't allow passengers any more). I am also going to build the ape hangers out of the same heavy duty logging chain welded to shape as well. 7/8 Solid bar at the risers and Harley sized at the controls so I have more choices available when it comes time to rewire and such. I'll prolly cut and rake the front enough to level out the bike when I lower the rear end during the hard tail process. Nothing too extreme.
The other thing I am gonna do is since this beast just gobbles gas and I don't want to cut up the backbone ( I am 300 lbs and it flexes enough at speed as it is) I am going to build a very large coffin gas tank that will trick the eye into feeling like the hard tail section continues at the same angle through the backbone. So the tank will wedge a bit. The tanks top line will match the top line of the hard tail. It will still carry 5 gallons or more and cover the 3 tube backbone.
I'll then cover it with leather and carve it up to match the wood grain in the other coffin patch. I'll prolly add eyes peeking out of broken boards and maybe some skeleton hands trying to break out. I may then carve chains "Locking the coffin" or even put real ones around it.
The goal is for the bike to be easily recognized around Hollywood since I am a stand up comic and also show off my leather skills since leather is one of my day jobs along with various things in the film industry.
Here is the vest I wear which I am trying to get the bike to match.
No idea what I am going to do for the seat yet. Perhaps an old saddle?
Well that's where I am right now. It's a start. I'll add pictures when I get the forward controls done in the next few days.