Things are progressing rather well on the bodywork front so far – which is rather worrying, as this is the thing that I’m least competent and confident in when it comes to bodging up motorcycles. The fact that, so far, nothing has gone horribly wrong probably just means that I’m storing up the catastrophe for later. But anyway, one thing that I did notice when I offered up the main fairing is that the side fairing mounts could do with extending a bit. Not much – just a couple of centimetres. And of course it would be very easy to bodge this with a spacer but I decided in this case to attempt a proper bodge, rather than a quick bodge. So, here’s one of the brackets that needs to be made longer:


Luckily, I had a spare pair of top fairing mount brackets (the previous owner couldn’t work out which end of the spanner to hold to remove any of the fairing brackets, despite removing the fairing, which I now consider to be a bit of very good fortune). So, I marked up one of the spare brackets to make a patch to weld into the bracket:


Rather than get the angle grinder out to make these tiny cuts, I used the Dremel, as it’s easier to be a bit more accurate with it. A few minutes later, and the patch was cut, and the bracket also cut to accept the patch:


That was easy enough. Next step then, was to fire up the MIG. Actually, no, the next step was to get a cuppa, and clean up the ends of the metal that I was about to weld. A few minutes of MIG action, and a bit of a seeing to with the flap wheel in the angle grinder, and things started to look like I know vaguely what I’m doing:


Finally, a quick blow over with some primer and satin black:


It’s not perfect – but then again it’s only a fairing mount. The welding seems to be solid, and it’s even reasonably straight. I will, of course, clean this up properly and give it a proper paint job in the future. But for now, that’ll do. The fairing now sits nicely (on this side at any rate… need to do the other side still) and is ready for the final fittings to be added.

In other news, I now have a clutch. This sounds easy, but actually turned out to be a bit of a trial. And it’s way too boring to go into in any detail. Loads still to do – I suspect the next thing will be the fitting of the headlight unit, which needs a bit of thought and some mucking around with glassfibre. But it’s all coming together now. Electrics are pretty finalised (could do with replacing one connector, but that’s not urgent). Controls are fitted and now no longer foul the clocks. Need to consider the brakes still, but I have most of the parts for those – just need to spend some time putting it all together. Oh, and I need to work out the lights and indicators at the rear of the bike still. Yeah, loads still to do.


Wrappers Delight

Quick update. One of the most satisfying jobs when fixing up old bikes is taping up the loom.





That was probably 15 minutes work with a roll of Tesa tape and a pair of scissors. Admittedly, modifying the loom to get to that point had taken many hours of soldering and crimping, but the last step of wrapping it all up again is one of those moments where you can stand back with a cuppa, and think “yeah, that looks alright”.

The Mercy Seat

Been a bit of a while since the last update, so I have a feeling this one could be a long one. Best get the kettle on… As we left things last, the clocks were mounted, and I’d started work on the electrics. In order to finish the work on the loom, I needed to locate things like the battery and ECU. And in order to do that, I needed to have the bodywork mounted so I could check that everything fitted just nicely. And before I could do that, well, I had to order the bodywork. And as with the clock mount I engaged the services of my international translation and banking dept. (Thanks Michael) and a few weeks later, a large box arrived:


It was like Christmas! Inside the box was the fairing, screen, lights, seat unit, and undertray. At this point, I’d publicly like to thank President Trump for this happy turn of events. I work for a large US telco, and a while back, he passed some tax legislation which meant that all employees were awarded share options. As a non-US citizen, I wasn’t allowed to keep the shares, so they converted to cash, which matched (almost to the penny) the amount that I paid to get that boxful of bits shipped over. I put most of the bits to one side, and started on the seat unit. First thing to do was just balance it on the subframe, and see what needed changing.


Errr, quite a lot was the simple answer to that. If I wanted to keep a nice clean area between the seat and wheel (and I did, very much so) I’d need to relocate the battery and ECU up under the seat hump. And for that, I needed to make up a mounting tray, and get busy with the angle grinder. I also needed to lose the luggage mounting rail thingummies, and as I’ll never be taking passengers, the rear footpeg mounts could come off. Given the amount of modification required, I did think about making a completely new subframe, and indeed, may still do. But, keeping the current one did have several advantages, mainly that all the mounting points were there, it fitted well, and it didn’t cost anything.


Out with the angle grinder then… As you can see from the photo, I take PPE very seriously, with proper gloves, safety specs, ear defenders, and the safety Converse All-Stars. Once the necessary bits had been massaged into shape (or in many cases, removed completely) it was time to channel my Inner Binky and get on with some CAD to form the shape for the electrics tray. This was really immensely straightforward, and shows my healthy choice in breakfast cereal:


Next thing on the shopping list was some 0.8mm Zintec sheet, as while I’m sure that the cardboard was probably structurally more sound than a lot of the Suzuki metal that I’ve been dealing with, it’s rubbish for earth points. In an ideal world, I’d have cut this out as a single piece, bent up the sides, and just tack welded down the corners. However, I don’t have the tooling (or ability) to bend anything bigger than a pipe cleaner, so I cut four pieces out of the steel, and just set to with the MIG. Now, it’s safe to say that I’ve never been a good welder, and welding 0.8mm sheet is always going to be a bit of a challenge. Particularly when I forgot to switch on the shielding gas. But, after a bit of practise and only a small fire in the shed I had the tray fabricated, the welds were ground back, and the whole thing given a coat of primer and welded into the subframe. I’d already ordered the battery cables and terminals from the superb Kojaycat electrical bods – I can highly recommend the hiflex battery cables:


As well as running the battery cables, I also rewrapped the ECU loom in proper Tesa tape. The LiFePO4 battery is a lovely little thing. I reckon it’s about 20% of the weight of the original, and can be mounted in any orientation. I know I need to be careful about charging it, so I’ll be wiring a voltmeter in so I can keep track of what the 20yr old Suzuki regulator/rectifier is doing. If it goes above 15V, it could spell disaster inna barbecue stylee for the battery and bike. Something I’d like to avoid if at all possible. And after all that, I was finally able to bolt the seat unit on:


The undertray isn’t fitted yet, but other than the footpeg mount that still needs an appointment with Mr. Angle Grinder, I reckon that looks alright. Nice clean lines, and no battery box sticking into the space behind the shock. While I’m here, I’m hugely impressed with the quality of the bodywork. When I got the clock mount I was pretty nonplussed with the quality of it, but the bodywork is a different matter. It’s very well moulded, with reinforcements in all the right places. I reckon it’s quite likely to outlast the rest of the bike. Also evident in the picture are some lovely footpegs and controls, courtesy of the rather super Sol of GSX-R1216 Katana fame. They look lovely, and fit well. Nice. And now I’ve got the rear bodywork on, and the clocks mounted, I can get around to sorting out the front end. I know I also need to do something about the clipons, as I can’t quite get the clutch lever where I want to. But if I’m down to this level of detail thinking, it kind of indicates that I’m running out of Big Things to worry about for now. Well, other than the paintwork – I know that’s on the horizon. I did briefly think about a Stars and Stripes them in honour of the supplier of funds for the bodywork. Very briefly, that is.

I guess it’s time to have a quick recap on the costs so far:

Running total

  • Bike: £250
  • Starter solenoid: £11
  • Resistors: £1 (for 20)
  • Frame, yokes, swingarm: £11.50
  • Fork lower (bent): £15 (wasted)
  • Scrap forks for spares: £22
  • Air filter: £0
  • GSX-R shock: £0
  • V5: £25
  • Fork seals: £12
  • Tie-rods: £0
  • Rear brake hose: £0
  • Various carb screws: £0
  • Assorted allen headed fasteners: £4
  • Front wheel spindle: £10
  • Fork oil: £11
  • Alternator cover gasket: £3 (yes, really. Genuine Suzuki gasket for three quid).
  • CR8E spark plugs: £0 (found an old pair of CR9E in the garage. These will do for now).
  • Oil filter: £6
  • Sold fork leg: -£17
  • Clocks: £10
  • Sold frame: £-1 🙂
  • 41mm Clipons: £0
  • Oil: £0 (taken from spare)
  • Exhaust gaskets: £0 (had them for the TRX rebuild)
  • Exhaust studs (42 x 8mm): £6
  • Rear caliper, footrest, m/cyl: £28 (bit of a risk)
  • Disk bolts: £0 (bodged with stuff found in the garage)
  • Clock & top fairing mount: £97. Faaark. Exchange rate disaster.
  • Clutch pushrod seal: £5
  • Sold ZXR750 bodywork: £-38
  • Head and base gaskets: £40
  • Valve oil seals and camchain tensioner gaskets: £20
  • Connectors, cables, loom tape: £80
  • Bodywork: £570. Gulp.
  • Battery: £70
  • Steel: £12
  • Clutch lever and mount: £12
  • r/h switchgear: £15 (another eBay disaster – you’d have thought I’d have learned by now)
  • Grommets: £5

(Note – not included delivery charges where I’ve bought stuff online, as I’d have paid petrol money to go and pick stuff up anyway).
Shopping list

  • Clutch actuator
  • Brake pads
  • Brake hoses
  • Brake rebuild kit
  • Brake fluid
  • Exhaust clamps
  • Chain
  • Sprockets
  • Brake lever
  • Tyres
  • Paint
  • Number plate
  • Plugs for bar ends
  • Quarter-turn fasteners for undertray