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  1. #1

    Default My GS850 project that everyone said was impossible or stupid to hardtail

    From the cold, rainy day I brought it home (for free) with 22,000 miles up until today where I finally figured out my 6Ē stretch contraption.

    After screwing around and daydreaming and experimenting with the best way to go, I tore everything apart until there was no return.

    But I hit a snag when I snapped header bolts off in the head then snapped an easy-out in the head too. I finally found a 9,000 mile engine with great compression and valves newly adjusted for $150.

    Now Iím back on track. Iím slowly moving forward using almost exclusively money from my change bucket.

    Figuring a way to rake it a few degrees and use 1982 XL500 forks will take some time without an actual jig but Iím blessed with extreme stubbornness which is rivaled only by the gears in my brain turning constantly.


  2. #2

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    I have new (single) backbone material, 7 feet of perfect slug stock (a 29mm steel Olympic barbell) and will buy something like a Sportster tank as time progresses.

    I’m saving up for a TC Bros. Universal Hardtail kit. I’ll eventually do forward controls and possible 4-into-4 exhaust.

    The XL500 21” or 23” spoked wheel and hopefully a Suzuki Madura spoked rear will round off the mods.

  3. #3

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    Here’s a couple pictures of the new, extended backbone. I intentionally left it long until after I get the hardtail tacked in.

    Again, everything will be tacked in as many places as needed to keep it in one place then it’ll all be welded by a pro.


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    162

    Default

    Good job, show those nay-sayers what a little elbow grease can do!
    I constantly get the "why would you do that?!" on my current build. The more people hate on it, the more I'm determined to do it.

  5. #5

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    Thanks! I’m really gung-ho now. My limited funds is self-imposed. I have a big family so I’m doing 97.6% of this in my shed with no shop doing it for me. I think I’m even going to surprise myself by the outcome. I honestly believe this’ll end up looking like a much older bike than a 1980 and have the proportions I want and not look like some half-assed, rushed, shitty looking monstrosity.

    (My avatar is a cemetery in Plymouth Massachusetts. I saw you’re from New England)
    Last edited by GSBobber1980; 07-28-2019 at 4:23 PM.

  6. #6

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    Hardtail kit is on its way! Can’t wait to start in on it!

  7. #7
    Senior Member

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    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    8,131

    Default

    Cool. Post plenty of clear pics of the hardtail install to help the next guy. Shaft drive works great and many shaft drive GS are close to free because buyers don't know better.

    Study how pipe weldors lay out their work. Lazer levels are wonderful things.

    Are you a decent weldor? If in doubt, weld some scrap and post pics. We have at least one CWI here and plenty of weldors to give useful advice.

    Pros practice on scrap before testing and to set their machine. We covered the indicators so our students had to do it that way and it paid off. Also remember you don't have to do out-of-position welds because it's easy to reposition frames.

  8. #8
    Senior Member

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    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    886

    Default

    Why would this be stupid or impossible? Gs850 is probably the perfect inline four to chop up since they are ugly, cheap, boring and many in stock form.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by datadavid View Post
    Why would this be stupid or impossible? Gs850 is probably the perfect inline four to chop up since they are ugly, cheap, boring and many in stock form.
    I’ve heard everything from “Ugh, shaft drive” to “don’t cut up a classic”, to “Leading axle forks are awful” and everything in between

    Even this “I don't understand people building hardtails.

    My bikes are faster and handle better when I'm done.

    That being said, if you're working with a Virago or a Maxim, it can't really get much worse.”

    That last comment kinda pissed me off when I read it. So screw ‘em, I’m doing it!
    Last edited by GSBobber1980; 07-31-2019 at 2:05 PM.

  10. #10

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    To Farmall:

    I’ll take plenty of pictures. I have to say, the way I’m using the swingarm as a jig to stretch and lower the bike is pretty ingenious! I think it’ll be clear once I get more pictures.

    And if anyone needs clarification, let me know. It’s incredibly simple.

    As far as the welding goes, I’m just setting everything up, making my slugs and tacking everything so it won’t move but I’m gonna leave the final welding to a seasoned pro. I don’t have the setup to do a good enough job to trust my life to the welds.

    Not yet anyway.

    And yes, the bike was 100% free with title!
    Last edited by GSBobber1980; 07-31-2019 at 2:12 PM.

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Posts
    176

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GSBobber1980 View Post
    ... (My avatar is a cemetery in Plymouth Massachusetts. I saw you’re from New England)
    Ah, my old stomping grounds. I grew up in Plymouth and had a collection of cool grave rubbings of 17th century headstones from Burial Hill.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skjoll View Post
    Ah, my old stomping grounds. I grew up in Plymouth and had a collection of cool grave rubbings of 17th century headstones from Burial Hill.
    Burial Hill is my avatar! Please tell me you have a rubbing of Fanny Alexander’s stone!

    (Well, she was 1800’s: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/...anny-alexander)

    Pretty off-topic but I’m a 13th Generation Mayflower Descendant (Brewster).
    Last edited by GSBobber1980; 08-01-2019 at 6:11 AM.

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Posts
    176

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GSBobber1980 View Post
    Burial Hill is my avatar! Please tell me you have a rubbing of Fanny Alexander’s stone!

    (Well, she was 1800’s: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/...anny-alexander)

    Pretty off-topic but I’m a 13th Generation Mayflower Descendant (Brewster).
    I no longer have them, they were obtained during the 70s, but I'm going back to Plymouth in a few weeks and intend to acquire some again. I'll keep an eye out for 'Fanny Alexander', that plot info should help out quite a bit. Brewster certainly is one of the surnames with a lot of history in Plymouth, I'm sure I don't need to tell you that.

  14. #14

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    Yes, Brewster is everywhere. The waterfront has Brewster Gardens for instance. Depending on how long it’s been, there’s been a lot of changes, a lot of building and construction. I think it’s all for good though which isn’t always the case.

    And the Mayflower is in Connecticut getting an overhaul:

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