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The epic quest to build my dream bike

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' started by slygrog, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. Before I say anything about the aforementioned quest, I must announce that I have no experience OR exposure to anything vaguely mechanical. I 'installed' a sidestand on my first bike last year and I am still resting - proudly - on that laurel. It took me like an hour to do it, and my bike inexplicably exploded a week later. That's what we're dealing with.

    (Specific questions at the end of post, after self-indulgent ramble)

    And I think it's total rubbish. For some reason, I feel it's irresponsible to have no understanding of how a motorbike works if you ride one. I don't know why I never felt this way about cars, but whatever.

    Instead of giving in to my recent urges to trade in my Suzuki GS500F for a Honda GB500, or to buy some new and shiny things to put ON my GS, I am considering doing something more productive with my time and money. I am considering buying a POS motorbike and spending the next 12 months turning it into my dream ride, so that when my restrictions are up I can give myself a nice present.

    I imagine that with enough time and reading, I could figure out how to do all of the things just fine, but I am also looking for some guidance from you guys.

    Just for your reference, a bit about my likes and plans: I want a capable bike - reliable, fun, agile and torquey - and while I do have a clear preference about appearance, I am more interested in what something feels like than how it looks. I've always imagined myself buying a Thruxton or a W650 or a Kawasaki GT/GPz or a BMW R65. I've recently been looking at other, weirder stuff though - like adventure bikes and supermotards and vintage dirt bikes - thinking that I could have fun making them unrecognisable. I like the idea of a scrambler but I doubt I'd ever go off-road. I've never ridden a single cylinder but what I've read about them makes me think they represent all that I look for in a motorcycle - this could be romanticised and mindless faff though.

    I am a 5'6 girl (this is what mostly crushed my motard dreams), and while I intend to make my way to the twisties semi-regularly after I've done an advanced riding course or something (I know I could just go there and learn but I try to nerd out over everything before experiencing it, bear with me :D), I mostly see myself commuting through the week and meandering through the hills and backstreets on weekends.

    SO! Thoughts?

    • Is this too ambitious?
    • Is 12 months a reasonable window to give myself?
    • What do you consider when you choose the base bike for your custom project?
  2. 1. you will learn along the way
    2. plenty of time depends on what you want to do
    3. PRICE, carburetor
  3. do it!
    get something with carbs, easier to tune yourself.
    a friend just bought an R65, its awesome. i have a yamaha xj900 '83 im rebuilding. It's heaps of fun, a great way to spend free time.

    12months is plenty of time.

    firstly work out how much you want to spend, then look at what style of bike you want.

    You might like the yamaha xj bikes from the 80's, the suzuki gsx bikes, honda cb750. basically the theme is air cooled 4cyl bikes. they have enough power for street use and with a good clean up can run pretty darn well.
    As you've mentioned, the thruxton or w650 are cool bikes with bullet proof engines which are easy to work on. they may be the go first up.
    I'd suggest jumping on a few bikes to work out what your comfortable on.
    have fun!
  4. reliable and custom don't often go together, but it sounds interesting and when you do get it right it is quite rewarding. Imo it's hard work to polish a turd, not that it can't be done, but I think you really need to do a bit of research on your base bike and what you can really except to get out of it.

    Best thing imo is don't let the build go on for to long. (unless you get your kicks from swing a spanner.) 12 months is a long time to be working on something without riding it and from my experience (it's to long) from the sounds of what you want to do, I would aim about about a 2-3month build time. (so long as no custom parts/machining are required.)

    Good luck which ever way you go, and there are tones of forums with lots of information about custom builds/mods to get you started with a few idea's.
  5. what do you call custom ????????if you think buying of the shelf parts and bolting them to your bike . any one can do that ,,,or are you going to get parts CUSTOM MADE for your bike ???if so you will spend a lot of money for not a lot ..you first must know what bike you want to ride , and then see what you can buy or get someone to make it the way you want . what style of bike are you after ?cafe racer ,bobber,chopper , flat track racer ect ect ,have you got any photos of the style you like ??,BEFORE YOU START you must know what the bike is going to look like when your finished ,,,,one year is a good time frame for a bike build,some times you will be waiting a long time to find the right parts your looking for ,,,or waiting a long time for the parts to be made,,, have you some where to build this project ,have you tools ,, ?? a vice,, and a garage to work on and store your bike out of the weather , do you have a budget to work to ,??
  6. [​IMG]

    i basically want this. RIGHT NOW.
  7. Is this too ambitious?
    If it's what you want to do, then go for it...... If you said that you wanted to race in MotoGP with a homebuilt bike, then it may be a little bit over ambitious......

    Is 12 months a reasonable window to give myself?
    How many hours a week/month are you planning on spending on building/designing/sourcing parts? If you say 5 hours a week, gives you 260hours a year. Keeping in mind that in the Summer months you'll want to go riding on your daily commute and during Winter, you'll find plenty of excuses of why it's too cold to stand in the garage.

    What do you consider when you choose the base bike for your custom project?
    My projects are based around the one manufacturer and similar era to each other (currently 70's Sukuki's GT250, 380 and 550 in various stages).
    Price is always a consideration. Availability of parts is always handy, less so if you're not overly concerned about looking original.
  8. it will be easy to mod a older jap bike in to a cafe racer style like the photo.off the shelf so called custom parts will make this a easy job for you ,bolt of your old parts and bolt on the new custom parts ,,,,to easy ,, but you might have to cut the rear frame to get that clean look at the back of the bike ,,so go for it ,,, there are lots of good people in the cafe racer style bike seen in sydney ,,,check out http://www.sydneycaferacers.com/ and there face book page ,these guys are in to it big time ,,,good luck with your build and remember its all worth it when your rideng YOUR dream bike down the road
  9. Just quickly, from my phone, I have been doing some reading and think an XR650R (maybe L) street tracker conversion would be goddam awesome. It ticks all my boxes, light and agile etc with the styling I am into.

    Only thing is I dreamed of low initial investment as being part of the romantic vision, so I am wondering if you guys know of a similar base bike that might be older or something? Cheaper basically.
  10. (Thanks for the replies, guys, I will respond when I get to an appropriate device!)
  11. Older versions of the XR650R were the XR600, and the XR500.
    Edit: Oh, the earlier bikes don't have the alloy frame of the 650 - which is actually better for customisation (much easier to weld and/or drill holes in steel).
  12. word. i was reading about the xr600. i just kept seeing 'they're not even comparable' so i wondered if there was a better alternative.

    i feel like there are SO MANY trail and dual sport bikes out there. it's hard to get across them all! klx looks pretty cool too.
  13. custom might have been an overstatement. i just intend to take a reliable base bike and alter it to my needs. change the way it looks, upgrade anything that needs to be brought into the future, maybe swap out the front end (this seems to be a common practice with a few of the bikes i've looked at), that sort of thing.