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  1. #1
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    Default iChambers Suzuki GS750L build thread.

    Hey everybody! Im excited to be a new member of the forum. To introduce myself a bit, I am a product designer and I develop concepts for new products and give direction to the evolution of existing products. I have a little back ground with auto body work and minor fabrication but nothing major. My first motorcycle was a 1983 honda GL500. It was a great first bike, but when my brother in law got in a motorcycle accident and almost lost his leg, my wife freaked out a bit and urged me to sell the bike. Well a little more than 2 years have passed and I miss riding. I am working in the motorcycle industry now as well so that wasn't helping the urge to buy a bike again so here I am. It wont be my primary transportation, more of a 1-2 time a week ride to work and an occasional ride on the weekend.

    I purchased a 1979 GS750L. It was a pretty good deal but needs a little work, like syncing up the carbs replacing a leaking valve cover gasket and some other very minor fixes.



    Here is a picture of the bike as I bought it.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I know some people will say that is is in great stock condition and to keep it as it is, but that is not what i bought it for.

    My plan is to do a fairly practical build without too much major modifications. I will be reworking the sub frame a bit, repainting (red is not my style), swap out the bars, get a lower seat height as I am a bit vertically challenged at 5'5", and swap out the lights and guages for some more modern sleeker technology, but not particularly in that order.

    I am kinda just gonna see where this build goes as it is a pretty budget build i will have work with the best I can afford to do. Although I do have an image in my head of what I would like the bike to end up looking like it tends to evolve and shift as new ideas come up during the build.


    I know that was a lot to read but most of my posts should not be so long winded, and i like pictures so I will be posting pics of progress along the way!

  2. #2
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    So to start things off, I ditched the sissy bar and the handle bars. I put on a pair of Tracker / Super bike style bars. It is still comfortable for me but I feel much more in control of the bike and a bit less like a parachute when riding at higher speeds. I also got a pair of Progressive suspension 13" 412 series rear shocks. I will eventually do new fork springs and lower the front a couple inches, but I am waiting on parts to rebuild the front forks, they are pretty spungy and the PO said he had never changed the oil. I don't have any pics of these modifications in progress but they are all pretty straight forward so far. Here is a pic of the bike after these mods.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I forgot, I also removed the front fender and started to cut it down a bit in the front. I will use it as a test for my paint.
    Last edited by ichambers; 06-13-2015 at 5:03 PM.

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    Today I fitted a new seat. I didn't want to loose the travel in the suspension by going with a completely flat brat style seat, and I wanted to keep a two passenger seat. The seat I used is a Burly Brand Brat Seat for an early sportster. Here is a pic of the seat set onto the bike before any modification.
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    The only thing that was really in the way was the front stock seat mounting hoop. After grinding that off the seat sits almost like it was made for this bike. The other issue is that the GS has a two part rear fender and now the plastic inner fender is exposed and a bit ugly.



    I wanted to shorten up the rear a bit any way to give it a bit more of a street tracker compact feel. I removed all the rear fender parts and signals and with an extra rear fender I had did some experimenting. It worked out that i was able to move the rear fender forward quite a bit by drilling two new holes in the fender and using the stock strut bolt holes. this made almost all of the exposed fender the metal fender which will get painted later.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Then I took the stock rear inner fender and with some tin snips cut it to an appropriate length to overlap the metal fender like it would normally.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    The sportster seat uses a simple mounting bracket with a single bolt in the rear fender and a metal tab that slides into the receiving seat bracket in the front. Here I have made up the metal tab for the front, It will get welded on to those two stock frame blocks.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I wanted to do something creative to dress up the void that the new seat leaved under the rear of the tank. I happened to be on a walk with the kids the other day when we past an empty computer housing someone had put out on the curb. The side panels where metal with these cool louvers that looked like they where just the right size to fit in that area, and they where! I cut the part and hand bent it to fit up in the area just right. I am still determining the best way to mount it since it needs to be removable for getting to the tank bolt.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    and I have officially maxed out the pictures for one post... to be continued
    Last edited by ichambers; 06-15-2015 at 4:09 PM.

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    So here what it looks like with and without the louvered plate
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    Once I was happy with how things where sitting i ground off that front stock seat hoop and checked how it sat. It was perfect!. I drilled the hole in the rear fender for the mounting bolt and secured the front mounting tab with duct tape until I can get it welded on. Here is the pic of it all mostly put back together.
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    The seat is a much more comfortable height for me now. I can now put the full ball of my foot on the ground. After lowering the front I should be able to put a flat foot on the ground. All that and i still have a full amount of rear shock travel and the bike already is looking way cleaner.

    The one downside to all this work is that i discovered that the lighting is not all working the way it should. The running light works but the brake is not coming on. Both filaments are good and the swtiches work cause i tried wiring in several different combinations to check everything but it didn't want to work properly in any of them. Also my turn signals have been kinda funcky since i got the bike like only the left blinker actually blinks but not of the headlight is on... It looks like i'm in for a re-wiring job
    Last edited by ichambers; 06-16-2015 at 11:59 PM.

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    So today I sketched out my rough plan for the look of the bike. It may evolve a little bit, but this is pretty much what I had in mind.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Looking at Lowering the front a few inches, a dominator style dual headlight, custom slim bags to replace the stock side covers which do not line up to the frame but are designed to line up with a stock seat, and some other simple leather pieces to tie it all together as well as some cleaner lighting. The paint will be a dark Graphite Grey metallic solid color for now but I keep debating if I want to do something more so the bike looks less plain. Maybe some simple pin stripes down the road. Also debating if I should ditch the badge and bondo it smooth. I have a few small repairs to do to get this running well, but I am counting on riding it to the Born free show. It most likely wont be painted by then though.
    Last edited by ichambers; 06-17-2015 at 4:30 PM.

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    You should paint the bike green, and put the recycle logo on the tank.

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    Ha, Im not sure if that was meant as a dig or a compliment but I will assume it is in reference to my upcycling and repurposing the components in my build. If I had all the resources and funds, I might design a lot from scratch and fabricate much more. That would make this a whole different build, but the fact is I have a very limited budget and resources so I will be making use of anything I think can be upcycled that is beneficial to the build. There will definitely be some unique parts that I will be fabbing from scratch during the build ( contemplating a low sissy back rest / side luggage rack to carry some extra fuel bottles and act as a tie down if I want to take a bag or somthing on a longer trip). I like what challenges it can bring to a build though. I have seen some awesome details on custom builds that came from repurposing and integrating unique items into the bike.
    Last edited by ichambers; 06-17-2015 at 10:44 PM.

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    I wasnt putting down on ya man.
    I dig the reusing of stuff.
    For work i go to tire shops and county barns and pick up their old tires, and half the stuff on my bike was found out laying in the dirt and I thought, "I can use that."
    If we all had perfectly machined parts for our perfect bikes, itd take the fun out of it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hotel View Post
    I wasnt putting down on ya man.
    I dig the reusing of stuff.
    For work i go to tire shops and county barns and pick up their old tires, and half the stuff on my bike was found out laying in the dirt and I thought, "I can use that."
    If we all had perfectly machined parts for our perfect bikes, itd take the fun out of it.
    Cool, I didn't think you where but I am a bad judge of when people are messing with me in general. I'm glad you dig it. I actually think it brings more creativity to the table cause it makes you really think about how to make things work instead of just buying stuff that was made for the bike. I know this isn't gonna be a chopper but I hope people around the forum still dig the build.

    Today I replaced my leaking valve cover gasket, and after went on a nice 30-40 min ride through a local canyon road. It all seems to be running good now i just gotta break out the degreaser to clean up the engine since it has had oil leaking on it for a couple weeks and years of grime.

    I also decided that Im gonna ditch the tank emblems and smooth over the mounts. I do want to do something cool with the tank paint but I will probably keep it pretty simple. I haven't decided exactly what yet, but it will use the existing color I already have chosen for the base it a duplicolor spray (Mazda Graphite Mica Metallic ). I might use a light silver and black also. I will probably sketch up some concepts and post them up here if i do.

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    Well, I took the bike into the shop to have the carbs properly synced and tuned which was no problem but I also had them check out the seeping gas from the petcock bolt. Looks like the bolt was stripped so now Im waiting to hear what they think they can do to get it fixed.

    In other news I had started working on the gas tank body work, and got all the emblems smoothed off and primed and close to ready to paint. But I guess I will have to wait and hear what the deal with the petcock is now. Here is a sketch of the direction I decided to go for the paint on the tank.



    Also I got the tail lights I ordered online and they are crap, barely bright enough to see in low light let alone daytime. I will have to figure something else out.

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    getting the bike back tomorrow, not really gonna have enough time for paint before born free but oh well. All the other issues are fixed so it will be good to ride! Also I like this pain scheme but am debating if it is what I really want.

    Opinions on the paint?

  12. #12

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    I like it, not too flashy but not boring like a solid color.

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    FYI.. if you are planning on removing the side covers the electrical plate can be used under the seat.. keeping all the electricals mounted in their spot and it tucks up real nice.

    it's the huge battery that's a pain so I left it on mine.

    I removed the air box under the seat and just use a single pod filter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rshutchinson View Post
    I like it, not too flashy but not boring like a solid color.
    Ya That is kinda why I landed on this one but I also keep feeling like I want something a bit more aggressive. I don't know i will probably do a couple more sketches before committing to a paint style. But I do feel this is a pretty safe option. I am also doing this paint with duplicolor spray cans with eastwood 2k clear overtop so I cant really do anything super fancy, well I could but it would just be pretty challenging.

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    Quote Originally Posted by loddytoddy View Post
    FYI.. if you are planning on removing the side covers the electrical plate can be used under the seat.. keeping all the electricals mounted in their spot and it tucks up real nice.

    it's the huge battery that's a pain so I left it on mine.

    I removed the air box under the seat and just use a single pod filter.


    That is pretty cool, I will have to check it out. My brother in law had purchased a GS550 like a week before I bought my bike and we totally stripped his down, we built a custom sheet metal box to sit under a new flat seat pan ( brat style / cafe seat ) it looks pretty clean and it also holds a antigravity 6 cell lithium battery. His rear triangle is pretty clean.

    I actually plan on making those custom leather side pouches that would stay on the bike all the time so I am not super concerned about cleaning up that rear triangle as I am planning on keeping it covered with the bags.

    Today, I fabricated the bracket for the license plate and new brake lights set up. here is a quick pic it is currently just primed, I will eventually paint it black. I also added a flexible LED strip on the underside of the rear fender hooked up to the brake light so it only lights up when I step on the brake and casts red light onto the tire. It only really shows up at night but the added glow is pretty cool but not overly flashy. I might add another strip or two to make it brighter it was a pack of 4.

    Last edited by ichambers; 06-27-2015 at 10:34 PM.

  16. #16

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    Good thread - I really admire your imagination and 'have a go' attitude.

    Looking forward to seeing it finished.

    Nick

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    Ok so I wasn't completely 100 percent on the paint scheme for the tank. Here is what I think I will change it to.

    It's still simple, but it has a bit more aggressive direction to it. Im not sure about the pinstripe yet, I will have to see how clean the masking line is after pain, and how good the contrast is, since it will be dark grey metallic with a non metallic black in the swoop.

    Probably won't get to the paint for a little while since there are a few projects running in the house as well, repainting a bathroom etc.
    Last edited by ichambers; 07-01-2015 at 12:03 AM.

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    Finished the paint this weekend. I will try to get a better pic soon but here is a quick one.

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    Here is another picture of the paint, its a bit clearer on the tank graphic.

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    Woah, I gotta say, I wasn't so sure about this one at first, that seat just didn't look quite right. But with that color and tank graphics... it kicks ass! Only thing I'd say, is you should find a way to support the fender from the underside, and eliminate that piece of steel running over the top. It'd just clean it up a bit.

    Awesome bike dude!

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