Tuesday, November 18, 2003

One year since I started chopping

Well, the bike is really looking better and better now. I've installed a new rear fender that I got off of ebay. There was no model information or anything, it was just listed as a generic 7" wide Harley rear fender. All the other fenders I've found on eBay have been 7 1/4" wide, and that extra 1/4" made all those fenders to wide to fit between the rear frame rails. Even with the proper width fender, mounting it was no piece of cake. First off, the stock airbox was in the way to mount the fender forward enough to look good.

Since the airbox has the mounting points for the sidecovers moulded into it, I really didn't want to remove it. I'd also have to rejet the carbs after installing pod filters, and I have no desire to do that at this time. So, I whipped out the hacksaw and cut about 8 inches off the front of the fender. I cut the seat and fender mount from between the frame rails, and then bolted the fender between the frame, where the sissy bar mounts at the rear. For the front mount under the seat, I cut a piece of flat stock, mounted it to the bolt under the transistor ignition boxes (remember this is an '82 non-cdi bike), and then bolted it to the fender. It's relatively strong, but it does squeek and move a bit under my butt. I'm going to have to come up with a stronger front mounting method. Or lose some weight!! I can sit on the passanger section without problems too, but as this is a fiberglass fender I wouldn't want to have a passanger that weighed much more than 150lbs or so.

Other than the new fender (and all the rewiring that was involved), I've installed some 8" Z bars, and ran the wires for the control switches inside them. You have no idea how much of a bitch that was. I also added skull grips, new chrome mirrors, an extended chrome kickstand for a CB750, I've wrinkle-black painted the radiator covers and fork legs, added chrome wire covers to the wires around the headlight, and installed custom chrome mini gauges. Basically, I've spent a lot of time and money on her these last few months!

Fortunately, the bike is getting to be a lot closer to the picture I have in my mind's eye. A few more parts and modifications and the bike will be finished. So, here's the current parts breakdown:

Part or modification: Price: Got From:
•  7/8" Z bars with 8" rise $15 eBay
•  7" wide Harley rear fender $100 eBay
•  Chrome skull grips $20 eBay
•  Chrome mirrors $35 JC Whitney
•  Chrome mini gauges $75/pr JC Whitney
•  CB750 extended chrome kickstand $25 eBay
•  Chrome wire coverings $10 Auto Zone
•  Harley gas caps $30 Harley dealership
•  Pair of FIAMM horns and relay $35 Auto Zone
Cost of November modifications: $345

Parts Removed from bike to accomodate new changes:
•  Drag bars with 6" risers $40
•  Stock chrome and inner rear fenders  $0
Cost of parts removed: $40

Total cost of Modifications so far: $1133

Monday, September 15, 2003

First Action Shot

No big changes here. I just wanted to post pics of the bike in action. The rider is my good bud Benj Vanhorn. He looks better suited to the bike than I do, and he'll probably end up buying it off me for a good price come next year. Once I'm finished with the chop, of course.

I installed the gas caps, a new set of Z-bars, and I painted the radiator cowling wrinkle-black. I had fittings silver-soldered into place and I connected the tanks with fuel line. Bending one of the top brackets over resulted in a pinhole fuel leak when the tank was completely full, so I used some JB Weld to plug the hole. I also installed the other guage into the center cowl.

Bad-assery. With dorky shoes.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Built a Fatbob tank!

Finally I got the funds, the time, and the motivation to mount the fatbob tank! It's truly a thing of beauty sitting there on the CX500 frame, and it really wasn't that difficult. Building the mounts was quick and easy. A vice and a big hammer to bend the THICK steel stock, and a drill to make the holes. The bottom front tank mounts were sawed off, and the top mounts were bent down so they were horizontal.

The covering for the center part, on the other hand, was very time consuming, and quite painful. I cut the flashing with a pair of metal shears, but the flashing was very thick, and the shears left sharp edges. So my hands are all cut up. Once that was done, I cut two holes for gauges with my dremel. Then I used contact cement to attach leather to the panel. Finally, I measured and drilled holes for the studs, and then screwed them in place. Since the flashing isn't all that thick, it was easy to bend and form to fit the contours of the gas tank. The bottom part of the tank panel attaches with the stock tank mounting bolt, and it covers that ugly area of the frame. The top mounts haven't been installed yet in these pictures. There's a cross member that goes across the top of the two front brackets, and the panel bolts to that.

Next up were the headlights. I've been sitting on a dual headlight mount for almost a year now, and just recently I purchased the headlights to go with it. The whole thing mounted up in 5 minutes... but wiring was another matter entirely. Since the stock headlight was gone, all the wiring was sitting exposed behind the new dual lights. It looked like hell. So I unwrapped the wiring harness and started cutting and splicing longer wires in. I was able to move the bulk of the wiring harness to the area between the new Fatbob gas tanks. I need to re-wrap the harness with electrical tape, as it looks like a rat's nest at the moment. But everything works!

Check below for a parts/cost list!

Part or modification: Price: Got From:
•  Dual headlight mount $25 eBay
•  Two 5 1/4" dual-filament headlights $50/pr eBay
•  Fatbob gas tank $100 eBay
•  Steel flat stock to make brackets $5 Home Despot
•  Steel flashing $8 True Value (hardware store)
•  Leather $25 eBay
•  Spike studs $15 eBay
•  Voltmeter gauge $10 Advance Auto
Cost of August modifications: $238

Parts Removed from bike to accomodate new changes:
•  Stock headlight $25
•  Aftermarket headlight ears $8
•  Stock gas tank $0
Cost of parts removed: $33

Total cost of modifications: $828

Saturday, February 15, 2003

Spoked Front Rim and Floorboards

I haven't done a whole lot of modifications since November 2002, but I've been busy fixing my V65 Sabre to get it ready to sell in the spring, tearing apart a V65 Magna parts bike in my garage, and working on a number of other things. Plus, much of my money has gone to Christmas, a ski trip, and paying off my credit card bill. I still worked some chopper parts into the budget, though.

I picked up the Markland floorboards on eBay for a Buy It Now of $100. I was in the right place at the

right time. Unfortunately, I don't really like them as much as I had hoped. Because that banana seat is so low, and the bike is canted back quite a ways due to the 7" over front end, the floorboards are cramped and uncomfortable. Also, since the floorboards were made for a GL500 brake system, I had to fabricate a connection to the rear brake. I couldn't just cut the end of the brake pedal off, drill a hole in it, and connect it to the brake pedal with an extended arm like I wanted to. The angle was wrong and the bracket was in the way. So I used a brake cable

from a VT700, some shifter linkages from the Harley dealership, a piece of threaded rod, and two brackets bent out of flat steel stock. Unfortunately, I couldn't come up with a way to attach the brake light switch or the return spring. So, the brakes tend to stick after you press the pedal, and because of the cramped seating position (due to the seat and the rake), it's rather difficult to use the rear brakes anyhow.

So, expect to see the floorboards taken off and replaced with a set of home-made forward controls at the next update. I'll save these suckers for a GL650 Interstate, if/when I ever get one. One nice thing about these floorboards, the boards themselves can be replaced with any Harley board out there. Which is good, since mine are scratched and a little rusty.

The wire wheel was an easy fit to the '78 front end. I don't know how it would fit with the '82 forks and axle, though. Basically, it bolts right on, but the spacing is different. The speedo drive is on the right side instead of the left, so the stock axle (with its built-in spacer) cannot be used. Likewise, the CL360/CB400 axle cannot be used, since it is way too short. Fortunately, I had a V65 Magna axle sitting around from a parts bike. It was a perfect fit. It goes right into the left fork leg with enough threads showing to easily fit on a nut, and it clamped down securely in the right leg. The nut size is different, so I raided my hardware bins for the right size. I then went to the hardware store and got a bunch of washers to make a short spacer (about 1/2") between the wheel and the left fork leg. I used a CL360/CB400 front wheel because it is an 18-incher, as opposed to the CX's stock 19" front wheel. I wanted to lower the bike a bit, since the extended forks make it sit a little too high for my taste. If you want a wire wheel, but wish to retain the stock wheel size, the CB450 uses a 19" wheel, as does the CB550 and CB750. I've taken a good look at the CB450 wheel, and I'm pretty sure it will fit in the same matter (it looks like the same hub), but I don't know about the 550 or 750 wheel.

Do note that you will need the disc brake, speedo drive, and speedo cable for whatever front wheel you decide to use. The disc on the wheel I'm using is exactly the same diameter as the CX500 disc, but it is offset differently than the CX500 wheel because the speedo drive is on the other side. One great thing about Honda speedos is that they're all identical internally. It's the drive gear on the wheel that is different from model to model and wheel to wheel. Which means that my speedo reads correctly even with the 18" wheel and a CL360's speedo drive.

Finally, I also removed the front fender. I like the looks of the bike much better without it... unfortunately, this chopper is often ridden in the rain, and I get a facefull of water without that fender on there. I have drilled it out so that it sits lower over the new 18" wheel, so I can put it back on if I want to. However, I found a pretty slick fender on eBay that I'll probably put on once payday rolls around again.

Part or modification: Price: Got From:
•  Chrome license plate frame with integrated turn signals $35 eBay
•  Heavy duty load-balancing flasher relay. Stock relay couldn't handle the weird bulbs in the frame. $3 WalMart
•  6" dogbone risers. 4" was too short, and I didn't like hunching over $20 eBay
•  Markland floorboards for a GL500. $100 eBay
•  Modified brake system with harley parts, threaded rod, and a brake cable from an 80-something VT700 parts bike. < $20 Dealership, parts bike
•  Wire front wheel from a CL360 / CB400 (18") $40 eBay
•  Axle from V65 Magna (parts bike), and some washers from the hardware store $0 Parts bike
•  Extended speedometer cable for a CB400 $20 eBay
•  Tire, tube, and rim strip for new front wheel (18 x 3.00 or 90/90/18) $50 JC Whitney
•  Accel wires (Leftovers pieces from when I put Accel coils and wires on my Magna) $0 Advance Auto
•  Flashing red spark plug caps. (Yea, I know. But they were cheaper than NGK caps!) $5 JC Whitney
Cost February modifications: $285

Parts Removed from bike to accomodate new changes:
•  Rear turn signals $20
•  4" Dogbone risers $15
•  Home-made highway bar stuff $40
•  Bullet license plate bolts $0
•  Stock Spark plug caps and wires $0
•  Front Fender $0
Cost of parts removed: -$75

Total cost of modifications so far: $623