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Just Here For The Party
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Project Gojira is born!







I pulled this from a barn outside of Delaware Ohio, it was being guarded by ducks. Runs, clean title, $600 delivered to my front door. Cannot beat that.

I originally planned to do a little cafe racer action to it and ride it until the build-off started, but that never happened. A bathroom, kitchen and serious structural remodeling took precedence. I kept ordering parts for the build-off.



So it sat in the garage for a few months biding its time. Waiting.

The GL500 is not a spritely ride by any stretch of the imagination, I took one trip down the block, and while the motor pulls like a champ, the complete lack of feedback from the squishy rear shock and dead steering left me a little concerned. I started looking for components from motorcycles with a similar weight as the GL500 (530 pounds wet) but with better, well, everything!

First order of business:

Organizing the space!!!

 

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Just Here For The Party
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The plan is pretty straightforward and just a little bit beyond my current capabilities to help grow a little as a builder.

Deceptively Simple Master Plan:
  1. Steering Stem Swap
  2. Finish Gas Tank
  3. Custom Mufflers
  4. Comstart to Wire Rim Conversion
  5. Headlights
  6. New Subframe
  7. New Rear Shock and Mount
  8. Bodywork
  9. Paint
  10. Rejetting


In the efforts of full disclosure: I did bang in the knee and steering dents before the build off, and I do work for a vintage race shop part time. I guess that qualifies me as a professional builder. I'll quickly dispel that opinion.



Inside the boxes!





Quite a few of the parts are already here, I just need to do work. Apart from organizing the garage, this weekend's plan is to do the front end swap. I need to machine a new steering stem that fits the lower triple of the ZX9r, but matches the bearings of the GL500. That should be done this weekend.

Running Costs:
$600.00 GL500
$99.00 ZX9r Master Cylinder, Reservoir, Lines, Calipers
$9.09 GL1000 Left Control
$27.99 GL1000 Right Control with Throttle
$33.99 GL500 Complete Steering Assembly
$5.40 LED Turn Signals
$13.58 1.5" x 12" Stainless Steel Round Stock
$30.00 ZX9r Upper Triple
$61.00 ZX9r Front Forks with Lower Triple
$13.99 Bar End Mirrors
$35.00 VTR1000F Rear Shock
$150.00 Spark plugs, new filter, battery.

The idea is to combine new and vintage pieces together, hence the modern front end with vintage controls. The stainless steel is for the new steering stem. Overkill? Definitely.

The GL500 steering assembly is in case I royally FUBAR everything, and need to return the front end to stock.

Total Spent: $1079.04
Cups of Coffee: 0
 

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Just Here For The Party
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The before:




And the after:







Garage organized and cleaned, look at all the junk... That's a contractor bag full of crap. With the space cleaned, work can begin. There's still a few things left to do on the organizing front, but this is a much more relaxed space to work in. I don't know why I let it get so messy every time...
 

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Just Here For The Party
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·


Nothing says "good idea" like the realization that your motorcycle looks like it just puked. This is as good a point as any to begin. Off with the front end!

The rust on the right fork (left one in the picture above) had me worried. It was a pain to get the fork tubes in and out of the triple trees as well. When I got everything apart, my fears were confirmed.





The tank did have a decent crease in it where the stock handle bars would have hit which made me wonder if the bike had been laid over. This confirms it. Probably the only time that a break is better than a bend. The majority of whatever forces were involved snapped off the steering lock instead of bending the frame.

The new front end is off a 1998 ZX9r. It's a reassuring feeling when the fork tube is wider than the old shock entirely. It's only 1-1.5" shorter than the stock forks, which will bring the geometry away from cruiser and towards sportbike.





And a little motivation to get the steering stem machined up tomorrow.





Cups of Coffee: 3
 

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Just Here For The Party
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Came down with the flu last night. No steering stem swap today. With the garage cleaned and organized, I've got a decent amount of parts to list on ebay now to help fund this build. I can definitely do that while I'm sick

 

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Just Here For The Party
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Had to put in some more work on the house over the last few weeks. A fully functional bathroom trumps a working motorcycle most days. Not all of them, but most.

Looking for a 17" wire rim, 40 spoke, preferably 2.5" in width. If anybody has any old dirtbike rear rims laying around, I'd be interested!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just wanted to let everyone know that I have not abandoned this project. The semester got a little crazy, life got a little crazy, but I've got more time in my schedule now so I can get cracking on this. Pictures soon!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Between work, class, life, the weather, and this years TT Zero bike; I haven't had a chance to work on my own bike. The weather was supposed to be gorgeous today, so I wanted some Matt time. My fiance was in complete agreement with this, she even encouraged me to get out in the garage this weekend. She even bought me lunch today (if you're in downtown Columbus, Hubert's Polish Kitchen at the North Market is amazing! Great food, amazing owner!)

It felt amazing to work on something that was wholly mine. My bike, my vision, my execution, my deadlines. No criticisms, second-guesses, or input apart from my own. Heaven on earth for most of the afternoon.

I had been putting this off at the beginning, but decided over the winter to jump in head first. It also helped when NeverEnough started posting photos of his CX500 in the build off AND on Facebook. A daily reminder of my inability to do work that quickly withered my masculinity. A little tape...



Double check the lines.



Perfect.



Off the bike it doesn't look that bad. I'll probably find a use for this at some point.



Now I'm committed to finishing this project out. Nobody will want a chopped up GL500 frame for any decent money, title or not. I have to finish it.

Cups of Coffee: 3
 

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Just Here For The Party
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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
My first test ride of the GL500 after I got it home revealed that the rear shock and stock seat were so soft I couldn't feel any feedback. It was disconcerting to say the least, and I almost dropped the bike in an under 10mph turn.

The original idea was to use improved components from bikes with similar weights. The Honda VTR1000F was pretty close to the GL500 in curb weight and the shocks shared the same style of mounts. It also looks much nicer and much thinner. Much. Thinner.



The stock mount is to low, to wide, and I'm worried about the longer shock over stressing the drive shaft joints. Also, the ZX9 forks are shorter in overall length which is going to drop the front some. So I cut off the mount and installed the shock.







That's starting to look like something exciting! I didn't realize how much I needed garage therapy until after the fact. I'll work on new tabs for the shock tomorrow bright and early.

Cups of Coffee: 4
 

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Just Here For The Party
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I got up early today and kept going at it in the garage. With the weather getting nicer, I've got even more motivation to get this bike finished. I've noticed with previous projects that I reach a point where I get overwhelmed and don't know what to do it gets demotivating. Even worse is when I forget to do something cool/important. I've been trying to develop the habit of making quick checklists. It helps to have something to fall back on when I get lost or frustrated with a project. I can quickly jump to something else on the checklist and keep the momentum going.



Quick checklist..... check.... Also, Zebra stainless steel pens and mechanical pencils are amazing. Great overall, and they take a hell of a beating. I threw the battery onto the trickle charger when I got out to the garage, and I started working on the new shock mounts.

Three pieces of 1/8" thick 2" flat stock later and I'm on to something good. I don't have a break at the house and my vise was too small to handle the lengths but I do have access to a welder and a full machine shop through college. This will get drilled, cut, and welded tomorrow. Then I'll start fitting it to the frame.



I'm going to keep the stock tank, so I tossed it back on to start figuring out the lines for the subframe. A piece of cardboard and some painters tape helps immensely. I also have a Ninja 500 front end hanging around the shop that's destined for another project, but for right now, it's going to help with moving Project Gojira around until the steering stem swap is finished (which it almost is!).



There's a really good line on the tank and it has a great angle; both from an aesthetic and riding style standpoint. I like to be forward a little bit on my bikes anyways and I'm working to make this more performance oriented; A little more rider weight on the front end is exactly what's needed. Some tape and cardboard helps bring the bike together.




With my trust shop stool acting as a tire, I was able to step back and admire. I like the space between the subframe and the rear wheel. However, I realized how long the swingarm looks on this bike. It's an optical illusion that's been exaggerated by the angle of the photo below, but it puts the kibosh on running a shortened solo seat. Extended swingers aren't my cup of tea. Since I can't shorten the swingarm (easily) I'll have to extended the tail piece to make everything flow.



Thankfully I didn't throw out the subframe from yesterday. A few quick cuts with the angle grinder and I've got the pieces I need for a new subframe. As an added bonus it looks like I'll be able to use the passenger pegs as rearset mounts!



At this point I called it for the day, and checked on the battery. Charged and ready to go. Not to shabby.

Cups of Coffee: 6
 

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Just Here For The Party
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Got to campus today with the goal of getting the new shock mount tacked up. That quickly became a pipe dream. The MIG machine was in use by one of the other teams, and I had to help put out fires for the project. So I spent the afternoon working on the molds for our fairings.



The second it took for my cellphone to focus, the ridiculous expression on John's face disappeared. When all is said and done, the new fairings should look pretty cool. We've had to spend an inordinate amount of time on things for a variety of reasons, very few of them have been legitimate reasons in my mind. It's been an exercise in patience to say the least. There have been a few solid standouts, so if anyone reading this is looking to hire an engineer send me a PM.

The shock mount has to wait until tomorrow it looks like.
 

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Just Here For The Party
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I had work all to myself yesterday, the boss had to leave town. He's got a bad case of OCD; so I was left with orders to not finish off any of our projects, but to not do busy work... The paycheck is nice, but some days are more annoying then others. This build is clarifying quite a bit about what I want to do with my career, where I want to end up in life, and how I want to get there.

The list of "approved" tasks I was left to work on took five minutes, which left me free to do real work!

Exhibit A: 16x3 DOT 40 spoke wire rim from a Harley of unknown make and model.



A little time in the sand blast cabinet later.



It looked so good blasted that I decided to throw a couple coats of clear wheel paint on and leave it that way!

I saw that you can dismantle and convert Comstars to run wire rims using a couple of steel plates. MotoSynthesis is the website that is making them. They're asking $129 for the adapter rings. That's not a bad price at all, but since I have access to just about every toy imaginable, I figure I can make them myself.


In other news, I figured out my color combination thanks to a random tumblr post. The current front runner is black with a blue racing stripe and cream pin striping. I'll probably play with the finishes. I have been wanting to do something in British Racing Green for a while, and something about using the beat up, sun bleached yellow of the tank as a racing stripe (a la Classified Moto) seems really REALLY appealing.

British Racing Green and Yellow:



Black and Blue:



Tomorrow is a day to run errands (including a front end pickup near Akron, thanks to Joel aka NeverEnough! Check out his for sale post) and pick up supplies to finish this bad boy off! Light at the end of the tunnel!

Running Costs:

$30.00 16x3 40 Spoke Rim off eBay.

Total Costs:

$1109.04

Cups of Coffee:

9
 

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Just Here For The Party
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Would somebody please talk me out of the idea of making my own gas tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Good weekend overall, updates will be coming soon. Here's a hint:


it rhymes with "schmeering shmem schmop"
 

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Just Here For The Party
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Despite Ants best hopes I was not "screwing some shmut" last weekend I was working on a steering stem swap. Sorry to crush your dreams Ants. Seriously though, Ants XJ600 build is amazing, definitely check it out.

I attempted to press out the original steering stem and it just didn't want to budge. So I cut if off close to the triple and then used a mill to level it off. It was going to get faced in the lathe anyways so I wasn't to worried about the finish.



When I started working on this, I wasn't really in a "do work" kind of mood, but I just went at it, and a few hours later I was ready to press the GL500 stem into the ZX9 triple.



A few tons of pressure later.



Boom! Swapped! I'm a little rusty on the lathe and I was rushing to get out of the way of Buckeye Current work, and it showed. The stem is just a bit off center and at an angle, so I'm going to make a new spacer to press in later today and do it properly. Do it right, do it once. :oops:

I typically have work off on Fridays anyways, and I decided to skip my calculus lecture today so I could do work. I've got a pretty solid morning ritual involving coffee and blog reading. Occasionally I have company. Either the cat or the dog decide to join me on the couch, sometimes they both do. The cat is a fan of Magnus Walker apparently.



After a few cups of coffee and some breakfast, I headed out to the garage. I needed to get the bike down off the blocks of wood so I could get a better feel for angles and seat height. I've got an EX500 front end with a 16" rim and the right sized tire, so on it went. I've also got a GPZ1100 tank floating around that I decided to toss on there.



Love it! Good lines and it fits almost perfectly. While a fully custom tank is not off the table, I do want to finish this up for the competition. We'll call this a solid plan B. I double checked the overall length of the EX500 forks as compared to the ZX9 forks and they're the same so this is a good approximation of how it's all going to look. Bonus!



I'm out of welding gas and for a second thought about skipping out, but I remembered what happened with the steering stem. I broke the buzz box out of storage so I could tack the subframe into place and start fitting it up. Next week is payday, and a new bottle of welding gas will be purchased.



I quickly realized why I bought a MIG welder with a gas shield. It's almost point, weld, done. You flux core guys are crazy.





This is all just to hold everything in place so I can check fit for the bracing and reinforcing gussets.

I'm in danger of completing a project on Custom Fighters, I don't know how I feel about this...

Cups of Coffee: 12
 

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Just Here For The Party
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·






Work. Was. Done.




I'm looking at this bike and wondering why Honda ever decided to make a cruiser out of it. I'm also wondering how I let my garage get so dirty... not cool.

Cups of Coffee: 13
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·




Subframe is done, on the bike, and despite my best efforts rock solid.

Now it's time to gusset and reinforce!

Cups of Coffee: 15
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I finished up the gussets and thought I'd show everyone how I did it. I had to make a set of gussets at work a few weeks ago and I wanted them to look factory stock. It took me about twenty minutes of thinking and staring before I finally figured out how to do it easily.



These are the tools you'll need. I was working with 20 gauge steel as these gussets are meant more for giving a clean(er) look then for strength so I could get away with shears as opposed to a grinder or band saw.



Here's the piece I'm trying to gusset. I want an upper and lower gusset and they need to meet in roughly the middle of the tube. Out with the paper!



I started with a long rectangle of paper and just eyeballed the shape until I got it lined up and looking good. This section of the GL500 frame is pressed steel, so I'll need a notch when I cut the piece out of steel. The whole thing wraps around both sides of the tube, and the final cuts are made with the paper folded in half so I get the same shape for both sides of the gusset.



There are two lower pieces on the bike, so I just flipped my paper pattern over to make two mirror pieces. A few snips with the shears later and I've got two blanks. Here's the basic process so far and nothing is really different from making any other gusset yet.



And here's my little twist on it. I centered the gusset on the subframe tube and wrapped it around the tubing instead of cutting two pieces and then welding two plates on. Here's another shot of it. This is why I wrapped my paper template all the way around.




The whole thing from paper template to gusset. Time to weld!



I made the upper gusset up in the same way, and now I'm ready to weld them on. I said earlier that these aren't really for structural support, but I'm going to weld the lower one first so that it welds to the subframe tube and adds a little extra strength to the whole thing. The upper piece will be welded onto the lower piece.



A final check for fitment, and then I tacked it into place to check to see if anything needed persuading. A c-clamp helped form the gusset to the tube and then I welded it up. I also welded on the upper gusset as well.



Some dressing with the grinder and this will be finished and ready for action. The sheet metal was lying around the garage so no change in cost at this point!

Cups of Coffee: 16
 

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Just Here For The Party
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Finished welding all the gussets up and after that I was feeling so good I tackled the monoshock mount and a few other things.







As I'm thinking more about it, I'm not in love with the rear sets. I'm probably going to redo those. My handle bar clamps arrived in the mail yesterday!

Total Cost

$18.00 handle bar clamps

Cost Thus Far:

$1127.04

Cups of Coffee:

19
 
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