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  1. #1
    Jetblack
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    Default The Butter Glide 454ltd..slightly NSFW

    I figured it about time I started a thread on my build. Love it or hate it, it is what it is. The Butter Glide; with wabi sabi overtones.

    Wabi connotes rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, and can be applied to both natural and human-made objects, or understated elegance. It can also refer to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness and elegance to the object. Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object and its impermanence are evidenced in its patina and wear, or in any visible repairs. Or basically an excuse for "good enough" instead of perfection.

    I camped Craiglist for a few months daily for a cheap ass start for a new build, like many of you here do. I found this GEM one Saturday night and was up all night waiting; for 10:00 to roll around when it is polite to call someone on a Sunday morning. I was on it and the early bird got the worm. 1986 Kawaski 454ltd for 100 bucks with a title, a couple of new oil filters a box of plugs and an incomplete tool bag.

    The day I brought it home, hanging out on the trailer:





    So I took out the motor for a rebuild and new paint, polished all the covers etc.





    I had an idea in mind of where I wanted to go with it, and got to measuring for after market parts, after spending many hours cross referencing etc. New seat, Fenders, Bars, and some sprung struts were on their way. It was time then for a loose mock up







    As I was taking care of other business, I set this up just to gauge the mojo for a few days.



    I decided nope didn't like it. While sitting an staring at it I decided I didn't like how thin the forks were. I had taken off the rear shocks to mock up the spitfire struts, and was sitting rolling them around under my feet, when it struck me.



    I hack sawed the shock apart, and measured between the trees, and cut about 2.5 coils off the springs then cut the springs edges flat.

    I had a color scheme in mind all along black and orange. Here's the frame setting up right after I remounted the forks, it is hard to notice from the pictures but there is a slight fade in blacks on the frame, part of the Wabi, the lower legs also got paint.



    The bike gods required a blood sacrifice when removing the stock stickers off of the legs



    So now we start nearing where I am at; sorry for not starting this thread sooner. Current status pictures, rear fender on and mounted seat sitting in mock up, tank in the middle of paint..lots more left to do.









    Working on wheels today:





    Thanks for viewing; more to come.
    Last edited by Jetblack; 01-18-2014 at 3:38 PM. Reason: Separate pics/easier to read

  2. #2
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    The use of the spring on the forks is crafty. Hope you don't mind but I'll probably be stealing that idea. Lol.

    Bike looks good though. Can't wait to see more.


    Tapatalk user, Sons of Anarchy- iPhone Chapter.

  3. #3
    Jetblack
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    No worries man, feel free to use it. Make sure to leave a little tiny extra for the top tree to push down so they don't jingle jangle or need shims. If you have any questions hit me up.

  4. #4
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    lookin good---that seat fits perfect. i rode a 454--85 year model as primary transpo in the dfw metro for 2 years--it was a tad short so i had modified the bars and seat--before it was "cool"

  5. #5
    Jetblack
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    Everyone I've talked to about the 454ltd, say never sell it and if you do you'll end up regretting it. I bought it to customize and flip for profit; it's what I do as a hobby, But I've decided to keep this one. There's a guy that has over 400k miles on one, stock belt, reg. valve adjusts and fluid changes is all he's ever done. Stock the 454 is one ugly sonovabitch though. The seat is just sitting there, it'll get tighter lines when I clamp it down.

    Here's the numbers for straight up stock:

    Weight 398 lbs, 50 HP @ 9500 RPM, 0-60 in 5.3 seconds, 1/4 mile 13.386 seconds @ 98.07 MPH, and over 50mpg It was Kawasaki's R&D motor for the Ninja, so it can be bored and stroked to a 500 and there's hot cams for it etc. I hate crotch rocket shit with a passion, but I like the motors.

    Updates...







    Last edited by Jetblack; 10-11-2012 at 3:21 PM. Reason: easier viewing

  6. #6
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    Man...that looks great so far.....giving me ideas for my Vulcan 1500. that shock spring on the forks is tits! Colors are coming together nice!

  7. #7
    Jetblack
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    Quote Originally Posted by snakeman40 View Post
    Man...that looks great so far.....giving me ideas for my Vulcan 1500. that shock spring on the forks is tits! Colors are coming together nice!
    Thanks man, still waiting on some parts and doing all the other little stuff in the mean time.

    Your Nomad is a nice bike http://www.chopcult.com/forum/showthread.php?t=22223 ; I've always liked big beefy bikes, the springs were born out of an idea to add some beef up there...Otherwise; it was like 2 toothpicks stuck through a couple of french fries. The Nomad makes me think of exile's Fat Bloke when I see it. http://www.exilecycles.com/index.php?section=16

    I've read posts talking shit about Russel, but all Maxipad drama aside, they are clean bikes. Perhaps, looking at the Bloke will also add some visual aid for ideas?

  8. #8
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    yeah that's a nice bike! def got a few ideas. my rear section is the way it is because my wife wants to still ride with me so i didnt want to hard tail it just yet. but im gonna put some shorter shocks on it and see how she sits then.

  9. #9
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    Has to be one of the ugliest starting points there is.

  10. #10
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    Not a purdy bike to start with but the progression looks great, some of it's not my flavor but I can appreciate it. I really like the springs on the fork trees, I've seen it done before but they were left nekked on an XS 650. I feel the same way about the Honda Rebel 450 we used to have, my wife almost immediately regretted selling it, it was the perfect size/power/weight bike for her. Maybe after she decideds the 1200s is too much bike for her I'll have to add the 454 to the list of plausable smaller bikes.

  11. #11
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    Nice build. You seem to have moved away from the wabi sabi concept though.

  12. #12
    Jetblack
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    Stock it is one fugly beast. The frame can be made into a Kong style without much effort at all.

    The 454 stock will keep with the 1200 no problem, the 0-60 and 1/4 mile speeds are not even a second off of each other, anything heavier than a sporty and the 454 will walk all over it all day long, including almost any crotch rocket under 1000cc's if you upgrade jets change to pods hot cam it with an en or ex 500 cam; a stock 1200 will walked all over too.

    The motor has three weaknesses the starter clutch plate can crack, and the cam chain tensioner is the mushroom type instead of a stepped type, and the magnets can come free from the flywheel, if someone used a detergent oil. Fortunately, the newer starter clutch plate doesn't have the weakness, and the cam chain tensioner can be swapped out for the stepped type as well, all of the 500 engine parts swap, except for the fly wheel but it can be used with some easy mods. Otherwise the motor is bullet proof.

    A lot of other things are interchangeable with other Kawasaki bikes too, especially the en500 besides engine stuff, frame stuff, such as the swing arm that can add I think 3 inches, and some Shadow parts are a direct swap many people that have these use shadow shocks which will lower the rear by around 2 to 3 inches.

    The seat height is good for shorter legged people, anyone over 6-1 usually make forwards or relocate the pegs for more comfort. The stock tank is right at 3 gallons.

    Aside from being ugly as hell stock, this bike has just about everything else going for it to chop up.
    Last edited by Jetblack; 10-11-2012 at 4:40 PM.

  13. #13
    Jetblack
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    It's still there, in many ways the pictures hide some of it. I ran out of the orange I was using the other day and used some other I had so not all the newer orange stuff since the pictures match shades. The colors are not exactly peaceful and on the loud side, but it was intended to be that way for more visibility to the cagers, so it is a sneaky safety feature not exactly understated but fresh and vibrant compared to what it was. Some mounting bolts are still rusty, and the fork spring mod came out of a moment of zen.

    So there's shades of wabi sabi all through it, I could admit more construction faults but in person they are more apparent. The sabi will continue to grow as time passes and it meets the elements, this is going to be my everyday kick around machine, that gets tune ups but that's it. Trying to use nothing but already worn tins etc. for a certain look in my opinion is even further than the true spirit of wabi sabi but I don't feel there's anything wrong with doing that either.

  14. #14
    Jetblack
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    Time for a small update: Front fender mounted, and the header paint is a high temp with ceramic. I have more parts coming in...so this build should be satisfactory enough to ride around and call "done" before October is out; and then mod the little shit I don't like...from there.




  15. #15
    Jetblack
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    So yeah, I willingly to changed out my fork seals...just because they were old, and to be on the safe side...they aren't all that bad; but I never want to do them again. The whole internals can just keep spinning without jamming them up in some way...sans a special Kawasaki tool made for it, and oil everywhere even after draining them.

    On the bright side that shits now in the past, and I don't have to worry with them again...for a good long time...even then I'll probably get a springer or girder front end instead of fucking with those things again...or over inflate the seals and blow them the fuck out haha.

    Here's some updates...exhaust, new tree, headlight mock up it may change...since I have 2 of those lights, bars mocked and left side mirror and plate mount...in no particular order.












    Last edited by Jetblack; 10-13-2012 at 11:41 PM. Reason: size

  16. #16
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    Dude that is SICK!...I want one! lol

  17. #17
    Jetblack
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    I'm flattered but it hasn't been a difficult or complicated build. The fork seals have been the only real pain in the ass...and only because the shit inside wanted to spin, still no big deal though.

    From measurements taken and researched, pretty much everything became a direct bolt on; except for a few fender mounting holes. So it's really been just a strip down, rebuild, paint/polish, drill a couple holes, and relocate a few things...with all the parts in hand it could be done in less than 3 days at very a relaxed beer sipping pace...sad really how little it's taken, but I'm happy with it for what it's meant to be; just a daily rider kick around heap; that will continue to get little mods over the course of riding, and my needs...

    Thanks to everyone that appreciates it; I have odd design tastes and I can't in good conscience; make it out to be more than it really is.

    I'll be happy to make a parts list, and put measurements up; for anyone that wishes to do the same thing.

    I'm about to go out and do more on it over night with a few beers, as I'm about ready to roll this flea between my fingers and call it done.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by TraumaJunkie View Post
    The use of the spring on the forks is crafty. Hope you don't mind but I'll probably be stealing that idea. Lol.

    Bike looks good though. Can't wait to see more.


    Tapatalk user, Sons of Anarchy- iPhone Chapter.
    pretty cool. i did this back in 06 and had it posted up a few people took notice ,i guess thats cool
    Last edited by Jetblack; 04-09-2013 at 12:51 PM.

  19. #19
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    Default Springs on forks

    LOL! I guess this proves the point that original ideas are hard to come by. I built a Honda 750 last year and did this, because my fork tubes were a bit pitted between the trees. I thought I was a genius! Someone always beats you to it, it seems!

  20. #20
    Jetblack
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    So, I've been burned out on my build for a few weeks; so I figured maybe buying a new seat might pull me out of my slump. Here's what I bought and what I had...I am so used to looking at the old one sitting on there; that I haven't gotten used to seeing the new one on it, so it is looking really fucking weird in the mock up; it's like seeing someone you know that wears glasses without them on, no bad but bizarre...thoughts would be appreciated.

    If I go with the new seat; I'm molding the tank and rear fender to the frame; to smooth the lines, I don't like gaps, or abrupt edges around the tank/seat area.












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