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Just Here For The Party
696 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Something I figured out over the winter and used on my build-off bike. Thought I'd pull together a quick DIY on how to do it. It should be noted that you can over-stiffen a frame with too many gussets or gussets in the wrong place. An overly stiff bike is as unrideable as an overly floppy bike. Additionally, the world is full of smarter people than I and I know that others have figured out this method before me, and they've probably figured out better and easier ways to gusset. This is definitely not the" Authoritative Handsome Matt Method for Gusseting, TM" so please add improvements and share links to similar or better methods.

Tools and Materials Needed:

Paper or card stock for template making
Something to cut said sheetmetal

For this I was using 20 gauge sheet metal, these were more for aesthetics than actual support. Use whatever gauge of sheet metal you'd like and just use the appropriate shaping and cutting tools.

Starting with a rough paper shape, use your scissors to trim the template until it looks and fits the way you want it to. When you're happy with your template shape, transfer it to the steel.

The GL500 has a pressed and welded steel section of frame with a lip where these brackets were going, so I had to notch them where I wanted them to fit. Use up your paper here, it's cheaper and easier to work with than steel! A few pennies worth of paper is a smart investment because it saves you time and headaches later.

Only after you're happy with the template should you cut it out pieces from the steel. Here's the progress from template to steel to final piece. So far, this hasn't been much different from making any gusset.

Here's the twist. Instead of welding two gussets together, I fold the metal over the tube I'm gusseting. If you can't find a large enough open area to use, then a scrap tube with the same diameter will do just fine. This gives a clean, almost factory look to the gusset.

Test fitted and ready for welding. A quick point on welding gussets: You don't want to fully weld the gusset to all the edges. It has to be secure and solid, obviously, but anything beyond that you can create a focus point for stress, which will result in a crack. The photo below illustrates what I mean. Notice that the gussets aren't welded all the way around on the Can-Am's factory rollcage.

Here is the final product installed and welded. My ground went to hell and the metal wasn't clean enough near the top. That's what a bad weld looks like, FYI. I went back, reground it, cleaned it, and welded it properly later.


Remi's Dad
17,593 Posts
i'd love to see some FEA testing on different thicknesses to see exactly how thin the gusset material can be. What styles work better than other. At times gussets can add a lot of weight, and i tend to overbuild my junk.

Neato burrito matt
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