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moron with a hammer
119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm about to embark on a project the likes of which I've never undertaken before...

I'm going to build a bike for cheap.

My roommate, who is a long-time friend and otherwise dope gal, has decided that she wants to get into motorcycling. She actually decided a year ago, but between buying an old house and all the bullshit that comes after that, has found herself without the necessary funds to cover the bike plus gear, her license, bike registration, insurance, etc. I told her that if she'd provide that stuff, I'd provide the bike.

I found a likely suspect- an '81 Maxim 550- that I plan to turn into a mean little cafe fighter using spares from my collection and whatever else I can source for bottom dollar. Why a Maxim 550? Because I don't have a truck, and it was on Craig's List, running, cheap, inspected 'til 2018, and two miles from my house.

The plan is to remove the heavy crap, undo a third of a century of questionable wiring "fixes", abate the truly unholy amount of oil leaking out of everything, fix the ergos and the looks, and maybe do some heavier-duty stuff depending on how all that goes and just how far into the parts boxes I dog. Oh, and definitely make it so that it can survive a tip-over.

Here it sits, wearing today's edition of the finest free periodical I could find at the local Metro station:

This will be fun...

moron with a hammer
119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Update time. Finally.

Fun things that have happened since my last update, in no particular order:

- The contractor replacing our sewer stack abandoned ship mid-project, leaving me to finish it.
- The neighbors finally complained enough that we had to re-sod the yard.
- My roommate finally complained enough that I rented a storage unit and hauled all of our crap over into it, since the basement is apparently not going to be finished anytime soon.
- My work week went from five to six days.
- It rained.
- The used parts guy sold me the wrong stuff three times (he's an hour away).
- I was laid-up with the death flu.
- I accidentally erased all of my documents from my computer and from my backup drive.
- My buddy was desperately trying to get his GL1000 running before the weather went horribly south, and as part of that he needed me to completely rewire it.
- Another guy I know worked his last day at a bar down the street, so I had to go get unnecessarily drunk and put Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" on the jukebox repeatedly.
- It took three weeks of penetrating oil and gentle prodding before I finally gave up and cut the headers off of the cylinder head.
- I ate twelve Taco Bell tacos in one sitting and did absolutely nothing productive for a solid 72 hours.

If that sounds like a lot of excuses as to why I haven't gotten any work done, that's because it is a lot of excuses as to why I haven't gotten any work done. (The GL is going to be fly though, if you've never seen a large couch hanging half-out the back of a Toyota Matrix, it's hilarious, and I may never eat Taco Bell again.)

... and strictly speaking, I have gotten some work done. I haven't updated because there have been no pictures (or at least none worth showing), and updates without pictures suck. Really, a bike this excellent doesn't need much, so I have made some rather significant progress by removing the few things that were less than perfect for refurbishment or replacement:

I've also managed to pick out most of the parts and carefully stuff them into various plastic bins or stack them in piles in the corners of my shed.

The big project for tomorrow is to separate motor from frame, which may not even require a torch. Then the fun can finally begin.

If anyone has a line on a gasket kit or a set of clutch frictions for an XJ550 on the cheap, let me know.

moron with a hammer
119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Mmm... grime!

More grime! Also cut fins! ('sokay... they compliment the busted ones on the other side.)

Super-sweet star ten-spokes from an FT500.

The front was a straight-across swap. Just need to cut spacers. The rear was a little more complicated. Fortunately, I have some high-end machine tools at my disposal.

New bearing spacer (that was totally not just hogged out with a spade bit and shaved down on a wood lathe) plus 6204 bearings from a CBR600F2, and it will now go on the 20mm axle.

A little trimming to the frame, and the Duke swingarm fits.

(Note the conspicuous absence of a straight-from-the-back shot, traditionally used to show perfect wheel alignment... we're not there yet.)

I de-grunged a bit more, and then it got windy and cold and dark, so we're calling that a day. More tomorrow.
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