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Blue Collar Customs

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' started by mattb, Oct 29, 2008.

  1. Check out these cheap rolling chasses http://www.flyritechoppers.com/Pg/FRCFrameChassis.html
    These guys also offer good engines, but I was thinking how comparatively cheap it would be to go to wreckers (or eBay) and get from a crashed bike the engine and electrics - eg Virago 750 for the US v-twin, or Suzuki GR650 for the Brit in-line twin. Only dreaming now, can hardly afford to do what needs doing on my bike, but it's a *comparatively* cheap project sometime down the line! I guess compliance would be your hardest issue, though these are less extreme than other chopper / bobber builds. Somehow I'd have more pride in a bobber built this way with a good old Japanese engine - a kind of finger to the pose element that unfortunately attends these cool bikes...

    I found them because I came across their $600 springer front ends on eBay...yum...am doing a slightly bobber mod on my SR500, though nothing to that extent...

  2. If you want to build a cheap custom bike, it's often best not to even start :shock: .

    However, if you do happen to be clinically insane, my recommendation is to go hunting on Ebay for old issues of Back Street Heroes magazine from the 1980s and AWOL from the early 90s. Lots of very cheap bikes in there from the days when it was expected that someone building a bike would do most of it themselves. A couple of hundred quid on a universal hardtail frame was considered an extravagance.

    Most of those bikes didn't look bad either. In '85, the machine that won Best of Show at Kent (the UK's premier chop and custom show at the time) cost 700 quid to build. No I didn't miss a nought off. Even allowing for exchange rate variations and inflation, you're still looking at well inside $10,000 for a national show winner.

    Admittedly, a lot of the chops of the era didn't work very well. Mind you, I'd bet my left testicle that most of the modern, six figure catalogue specials don't either if you actually tried to ride them. It's just a general feature of one-offs.
  3. Yup, that's what a lot of the bikes I'm talking about looked like.

    Interestingly, the boom in useable budget customs of the 80s was a reaction to the massively overblow, gothic and unrideable show bikes of the late 70s. I can see some striking parallels with the current situation to be honest.
  4. Pat good points, I would add that if you want a custom today you really only have the choice of buying a HD and adding $$$$$ or doing it yourself and basing it on a cheaper donor bike, witness cafe racers and this bloke.


  5. Hey Matti-san re frames that shop is Australian. I don't know if it's them or another bunch but I've also seen on eBay a mob selling hard-tail ends ready to be welded onto an XS650 frame.

    Bring on the rise again of cheap tasteful backyard builds!

    I just discovered the Choppers Australia website and forums. I'm not a big fan of choppers so much as bobbers (insofar as they look more to the 50s hotrods than the 60s / 70s and Easy Rider) but it's great to see local guys doing these budget customs. A fellow in Boort gave himself a budget of $2000 and bought and chopped an awesome KZ450 (or 400?) chopper (mind you I preferred it before he stretched the front end, but that's a debate of taste).

  6. Yeah with you on the bobbers, big hot rod fan myself. :cool: But a nice springer front end is a joy! :grin:
  7. I just fitted some higher bars to the GR and SR today. The GR got quite high ones and man does it feel cool! Really comfort and makes you feel really laid back! The higher ones will eventually go on the SR for which they were bought (along with an extended brake line which I fitted today...and messed up 'cause now I got no brakes!) except that I've blown the budget and still need longer cables, they are the same height as the ones in the pic below and I'm going for exactly that look. I want to get some drop down mirrors. I've also got some vintage saddlebags off eBay which I'll fit this weekend, though they are composed of leather bags around tin boxes, so I'll need to cut large squares of tin out first to halve the weight (what they call "bobbing" a bike!:)).

  8. On the topic of Bobber type customs, what is your opinion of HD's attempt, the Crossbones?


    I don't mind it, has potential for a fair bit of individualisation.
  9. Love it!

    There's one in Melbourne CBD (Peter Stevens). Drool-worthy...
  10. Styling of the crossbones is great - love to see it with flatter drag bars :cool:

    Not a huge fan of softails, but hard to beat the look. The Dyna frames just feel nicer riding the big V Twin :grin:
  11. Agree, saw a nice Fat Bob last week, matt black, with matt black groundsweeper vance and hines pipes with chrome tips, very impressed.

    BTW, dropped into the new Polaris Victory showroom in Elizabeth street and if the models on display are anything to go by, then this brand may give Ol HD a run to the line.
  12. If I was in the market for a new HD crossbones is 100% the way to go! I love it but I want something a bit more "homemade". What about this bobber? I love what deus do with bikes.


  13. Check out some of the stuff on jockeyjournal.com, theres some excellent builds there. Also, try their $3500 and under build thread...excellent bikes for the outlay!

    Cheers - boingk
  14. I've never ridden a ridgy. What's it like(anyone that has)? Could you seriously commute on it for example?
  15. Based on limited experience (ridden a few, never owned one) it's surprisingly pleasant on a smooth surface. You feel very much in connection with the road and there is no poorly controlled suspension movement to upset the handling. Certainly better than the majority of undersprung, underdamped twin shock bikes that were once my staple fare.

    Throw in a few bumps and the picture changes as the bike reacts in the inevitable fashion to the back wheel leaving the road momentarily by skipping sideways. It is, however, predictable (again, no crap shockies to upset) and is more uncomfortable than unsafe in most circumstances.

    Comfortwise, much depends on (a) the back tyre and (b) the seat. Once upon a time, all bikes had big, sprung saddles for good reason :grin: . Given that, I'd say a rigid was practical. A lot of chops that I've seen rely on the seat foam. OK if it's thick and decent quality closed cell stuff. Thin foam seats aren't nearly so nice. One way around this was to run the traditional Avon SM MkII rear tyre at 10-15 psi to get a bit of resilience. Made life easier for your spine but didn't do much for the precise handling that's one of the nice things about a rigid.

    Riding one long term, I think you'd get quite adept at scanning the road surface ahead and lifting your bum off the seat over rough spots. Easy to do if you haven't got forward pegs.

    The two main pseudo-rigid approaches (Triumph's Sprunghub and plunger suspension) are, IMHO, notably inferior to a rigid by providing very little, poorly damped suspension movement, mechanical complication and weight, giving the worst of both worlds. Interestingly, many of the plunger mounted historic racers over here have spacers in their plungers converting them to rigids.

    As far as commuting's concerned, once upon a time you didn't have a choice so I guess that it is practical, depending on your local roads and your level of masochism. It's worth bearing in mind that, until recently, the vast majority of pushies were rigid at both ends and loads of folk commuted on them over bad roads, at speeds not too far removed from a motorcycle in heavy urban traffic.

    I'd give it a go.
  16. There used to be a bloke on an xs650 ridgy on my commute home. I had a chuckle when I first saw him, but the bastard planted the seed crystal of thought in my head.

    The biggest hurdle is the cost of a bender. I've probably got enough scrap on hand to make a bender, but the die set is still going to be close to $500 landed in Australia.
  17. Depending on the design of the die and the radius you want to bend, if you know anyone with a big lathe and access to some scrap steel plate, I don't see any reason why a suitable die couldn't be machined from the solid. that would give you a max bend radius a bit less than the centre height of the lathe.

    Thinking about it, I can see how it might be done on a mill too, without any practical restriction on bend radius (maybe up to 1 m).

    Any frame design would need to minimise the number of differing tube sizes or bend radii so you don't have to make a full set of dies (at which point you might as well buy.

    As an alternative, designing a frame with no bends in it would be an interesting challenge. See if you can turn up any pics of a "Built Like a Bridge" Francis-Barnett and youll get the idea. I've seen it done, but the results were always either pig ugly or unlikely to work terribly well (or both). Old Harley and Indian frames have surprisingly few bends in them too (and could be made with fewer), relying as they do on big iron lugs to change direction. A welded equivalent might work.
  18. I'm hanging to do a SR250 custom which is only on the backburner because I need to focus on nothing but my thesis for eight months - later in the year it begins. And the thing is, I really want to do a hardtail. The design concept is 'make your own vinatge motorcycle'. Something that looks like a BSA Bantam, except it'll be an SR250, pre-registered, then bored out to 300cc and made up out of new (cheap!) Royal Enfield parts. Anyway, my one concern...who wants to place a bet on how likely it is to end in tears when, due to the cut frame, Mr Policeman gives it a defect notice which can't be gone back on without $$$ ?! I've never had any bike inspected on the roadside in ten years, even when I spend half the time doing hand signals because old indicator wiring is failing me.

    Earlier in this thread I referred to high bars - here they are, compare to the previous page's picture