Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

1st Bike, 1st project, too much?

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' started by Recon, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. Hey there all

    This is my first post as I'm new to roadbiking at the tender age of 31, having just got my bike license, and am now looking for a project to combine with my first bike - really something I can use to learn about bikes, learn how to maintain them and get a feel for what I can do in my garage and what I should farm out to experts! Now I have next to no mechanical experience but am a quick learner!..

    So, here's the plan...

    I want to take a Honda VLX400 and bobber it.

    So from this:


    to this:


    So I have a couple of questions please!

    1st - is this a big job? ie is this too big for an enthusiastic amateur to sink his teeth into?

    2nd - cost wise, is this likely to break the bank? Budget for the mods would be about $2k (after purchasing the bike)

    3rd - where would be the best place to source parts like the seat, handlebars etc? Do you recommend the US, or are there some good local places in Vic/Aussie?

    4th - Am i likely to need much mechanical know-how for this? Or are the changes mostly cosmetic?

    Thanks all very much for any and all advice, sorry if i seem rather green on all this and if i ask stupid questions! As I mentioned i'm just catching the bug that is riding and working on bikes!



  2. G'day Recon

    I say you should have a go.

    I've got bugger all mechanical knowledge but I started bobbing my v star today... Awesome fun!

    I'm just learning as I go so probably won't be much help but there's heaps of info in these forums.

    And parts can be got for any budget.
  3. All looks fairly straight forward.
    Rear indicators look aftermarket. I'd check legalities on position though. (plus rego plate etc.)
    Front indicators are just lowered.
    Bars look like they're just swiveled upwards!
    Springer seats can be bought. Just need to make the base.
    Probably find the air filter somewhere. (or something like it)
    Headstock angle looks changed. Do Not try this as you need access to alignment equipment to do it properly.
    (I'd just leave that part stock)
    Rear frame sawn-off & cut the crap out of the rear guard,,,,Done!
    'Bout a weekend's work!!!
  4. just check with the legalities of the rear hugger/ guard tho.
    i know someone got done for not having a rear hugger (didn't come on the bike) and had a FE on instead of the OEM fender.
  5. No front fender will probably be illegal as well. Most expensive thing will be the tank.
  6. Nice one, thanks guys for the advice and help! Yeah I think the "after" pic above will be a guide, I will want to make it street legal of course, and there are a few other mods I might make along the way - drag bars for a start..

    Also I'd like to paint parts of the engine black - is this really hard to do? Could a novice take out an engine for painting? (I understand that putting it back together is likely to be the tough part..)

    Are there any good sites you would recommend for parts here in Aus? It would be good to get an idea of expected costs before undertaking the task, getting the financial controller (read wife) to agree is going to be hard enough as it is!
  7. Taking apart an engine and putting it back together is not hard as long as you are clean and methodical. You need to know the torque needed for the bolts/studs etc, and a repair manual would be helpful here. Painting chromed parts black needs the chrome to be removed or at least severely scuffed for the paint to have anything to adhere to. It's not that hard, but don't assume that a new coat of paint will stay there if the proper prep is not done. Engines get hot as well, so make sure the paint is up to the heat.
  8. The cromed parts of the engine will be a problem as middo said, the cylinders look like bear metal or like they have been painted silver though, so they should be easy enough with the proper prep.

    And for the love of dog, DO NOT PAINT THE INSIDE OF YOU ENGINE! Ivé owned one and seen several over bikes where this has been done. Not fun scrubbing paint flakes out with each oil change let me tell you!
  9. Yep - like the other folk here have said - go for it.

    Doesn't look all that difficult getting from the stock bike to the bobber you have in mind, and you will have a ball along the way.

    Just keep us posted.
  10. I don't think he meant full disassembely of the engine, just the outside!!!
    As others have said, just make sure the chrome is fully scuffed. Fine emery is best for this (not ordinary sandpaper as chrome is very tough) an etch primer is also good to use before the primer as it helps the primer to bond better.
    I've had plenty of experience with this sort of thing as I used to own a panel shop & did a lot of hot rods & street machines. Never had any comebacks as far as paint goes!!! (y)

    Good idea to get a workshop manual, also take plenty of pics during disassembly. This will help putting it all back together when the time comes.
    The pics help, as manuals aren't always self-explanatary, especially for novices.

    Here's a start for bits
  11. Thanks guys for all the advice, I must admit I'm having loads of fun just surfing the net planning the project!

    I have though stumbled a bit down the black hole of too many choices, and am now torn between my original idea and a cafe-racer build project... It may come down to money, the cafe racer might be the cheaper option..

    Needless to say I will keep you all posted!

    As far as rider fun and comfort goes, anyone have both a bobber and a cafe-racer? How do they compare? I know this is a tough question and a little like comparing an apple to a watermellon as both are so different, but any thoughts much appreciated! :)
  12. Cafe Racers can be cheap to build - that is part of their heritage, the DIY aspect of them.

    Go Cafe!