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Stupid motherfucker
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Everyone goes through a project, looks back, and thinks to themselves how they could have done something better or what would have been a better sequence to do something. It could be as simple as painting a frame before realising that you need to notch it to fit the new tank, or as complex as machining a new shock mount that leaves you with not enough clearance between shock and frame under full compression. What are some bits that you've all picked up? I'll go first.

Don't paint ANYTHING until you're absolutely, 100% sure that the part and everything immediately surrounding it no longer needs to be in place to check fitment etc.

When painting things out of rattle cans, make sure and stick with the same brand throughout. Some mattes and satins are a different colour or finish between different brands, and occasionally you'll find they react if you lay one over another.

Remove the wheel weights from your wheels before you get them beadblasted/powdercoated, because normally the guy on the gun doesn't care.

Set your ride height/stance before you work on tank/seat height/angle. If the stance is all fucked up you'll only be masking it by changing your seat height to suit.

Again, anything you guys can think of to add, speak up. This is shit I would have given money to know prior to starting on my first build 8 years ago.
 

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Stupid motherfucker
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6,826 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If you're throwing a new motor in, make sure that the engine aligns with the frame. The sprocket can be easily adjusted to suit the swingarm and wheel, but a bike that has a CoG slightly to the right will never handle properly.
 

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Never assume anything will fit. Test fit it first.

Never assume that something will work the way you think it will. If you're not 100000% sure ask here that's why we have this forum.

Get a digital caliper dial gauge (or whatever it's called) exact measurements make life so much easier. It's no fun having to remake or buy another part because it's 2mm short
 

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10,850 Posts
my green Zed was dry build and chain run checked, changed arms but didn't recheck chain, so had to make new engine mounts to alter the height of the drive sprocket on a complete , painted and powdered bike.

always fit a chain to the dry build
 

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lɐʇuǝɯᴉɹǝdx&#4
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3,516 Posts
Prototyping and jigging can make the difference between effective fabrication and wasted time and materials. Building a wood (or cardboard, or plastic, whatever) prototype and testing it for fit can prevent a lot of headaches and help you refine your design, even for a simple part. Building a welding jig is a must for some things, and a good idea for most.
 

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Any time you are putting something from another bike on to your build research research research ask questions search every possible source you can and then after you've done all that do more research so you don't end spending hundreds of dollars on parts that won't work for whatever reason it is. Weather it's the wrong spring rate there is no way to safely do it or if it is possible but the bike runs/handles/rides like shit.

Learn what spring rates are what rake and travel are learn every aspect of the part you swapping TRUST ME IVE DONE IT
 

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Sick of being frozen
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In my experience, taking a bunch of stuff off a bike can, and most likely will, be more expensive and difficult than you'd expect. *if done well*
 
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Stop & stand back to look at your work at regular intervals something may look good from 2 feet away but look shit from 10 feet

Always "dry" build the bike fully & ride it for a few miles before paint powder & polish, that new swingarm & shock might look the business in the shed but it might handle like a pissed pig on rollerskates out on the road, altering something thats already clean tidy polished or powdercoated is always going to cost more than altering something left in the bare metal
 

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Just Here For The Party
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696 Posts
From my experiences a "professional" and from personal builds.

  1. Don't buy parts because they're off a "fast" bike, buy parts because they'll improve your bike or fit within your vision for the bike.
  2. Make a plan and schedule for your build, then follow it. Include regular goals to keep your motivation up.
  3. Don't get caught up in the details. The style of headlight doesn't matter if the bike doesn't run.
  4. Keep the workspace clean!!!
  5. Ask lots of questions.
  6. Pick up the hammer and do work.
  7. Be realistic, but push yourself just a little bit past your comfort zone.

From my experience the most important ones on the list are following the schedule, keeping the workspace clean and doing work. The clean and organized workspace makes working on the bike relaxing and enjoyable. Whenever I start to find myself really stressed about a project, 99% of the time it's because I let my shop space get disorganized and messy. A day spent cleaning and organizing in the middle of a crunch is rarely a wasted day.

Making a plan and schedule means the build has been thought through and gives a timeline to follow, having a definite end date means the bike won't languish forever in the garage. It could be something as personal as your birthday, or as big as FighterFest. It doesn't matter, just set an end date and work your schedule back from there. Having regular milestones (engine in frame, suspension installed, wheels fitted, etc etc) helps keep the work pace moving and gives you reason to crack open celebratory beverages!

I've seen plenty of projects (not just motorcycle builds) derailed and abandoned through too much planning. Last years TT Zero bike came dangerously close to it, people were still trying to design parts after we already sent plans for said parts out to be manufactured! There's a time to plan and a time to build, if you do one without the other you fail.
 

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Stupid motherfucker
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6,826 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thought I posted this last night but here goes.

If you're drilling a pilot hole, or trying to daisychain holes to cut out a big chunk of metal, use your off sizes. Breaking a 6.5mm drill bit isn't as bad as breaking a 6mm at 11pm when you can't get a new one til Monday.
 

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Research everything! Keep your life foremost in your mind. I don't care how cool it looks, if you get hurt or worse on your first ride out, it ain't worth a shit. A lot of things can be done and almost anything can be accomplished. But it can't be accomploshed by anyone. If someone says something about your build, don't take it personally. Most of us don't know each other's personal knowledge, at least not the full extent. So sometimes things are over explained. Not to insult but to educate "just in case". Thing I've found most important.... Fuck a budget!!! It'll cost three times as much as you plan. You'll redo everything at least twice, you'll forget things even if it's wrote down, you'll change your mind at the last minute, and ultimately, the most important, keep at it, do what you can when you can and you will accomplish your goal of riding what YOU built! Now dw
 

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watches you sleep.
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9,116 Posts
-Theres nothing wrong with stopping what youre doing and taking a break from a build for a little while if youre getting frustrated. Its better to walk away, cool your jets and reset your brain. Your bike will thank you later when you decided to just drop your tools and get something to drink rather than flipping out and breaking something or fucking up the finish or a part on your bike.

-On the other hand NEVER miss an opportunity to do work when you feel inspired to do so. If youre sitting on your couch watching TV and all of a sudden you get the urge to go work on your bike, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT! That to me is when working on a build is the most satisfying.

-Try to catalog all your parts in labeled baggies. Also take a ton of pictures and videos when disassembling something. Sure it seems like it would be super easy to remember how to put it all back together, but when youve got to take apart and put back together 20 other components on your bike, youre gonna forget some stuff.

-A safely build bike thats done right and its something youre truly happy with to me, is more important than finishing for a deadline. This mainly pretains to our buildoffs but also applies to the start of a riding season. I would rather take my time and know I did something like a tail section or a headlight shroud exactly how I wanted and was thorough cause once that bikes on the road youre never gonna want to take it off the road for an extended period of time to do something over.
 

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Just Here For The Party
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Stupid motherfucker
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
If you're uploading pics to your build thread, use imgur.com and have it automatically resize images for say a 19in screen. I know I'm more likely to look at pictures if they're already there and small enough that I can see them on my screen in one hit, but I'll pass by if the pictures are attached to the bottom of the post or are so huge all you can see is a quarter of a fork leg. It makes constructive criticism a lot easier, and makes it easier for people to comment on your build. Kinda subjective, but certainly important to some.
 
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