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1,063 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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1986 KDX200 my brother picked up several years ago in semi-running shape with completely thrashed plastics and seat. It has now come into my possession and I obviously need yet another project, this time with a stressful deadline, so here we go.

Cost to date in actual money: $1,060.00 US

Turned out my inventory was all screwed up and included some stuff that apparently didn't get ordered-had to buy handlebars even though I thought they'd been on the way for like a week. After christmas I'll tease apart the statements and figure out what individual parts cost, ish. SELF: DO THAT THING YOU SAID

I ended up trading my brother some camera gear for his interest in the bike and made sure he felt like he was getting the better end of the deal - Christmas, Family, and I'm a soft touch anyway. Seen one way I probably made the bike itself cost me a notional extra $400 or so but in effect it was stuff I had but wasn't using so it feels more like $0 to me. Full disclosure, buildoff officials feel free to interpret it as they like for final cost purposes

The idea is streetable, plateable 2-stroke motard, light weight and dead simple, nothing on the bike that doesn't absolutely have to be there.

The KDX was 221lbs stock, and I'm hoping to better that when I'm done. I won't need several gallons of fuel for bombing around my local area, so I want to build a 2-gallon or so steel fuel cell with a fibo cover, glass mud guards as well since I won't be taking it onto anything nastier than a dirt road.

As always, I want to use as much stuff that I already have as possible - should be able to source calipers, maybe master and clutch perch, cables and maybe brake lines off the top of my head, probably some other odds and ends.

1,063 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Wood Engineering Machine City Industry

Went up to the farm yesterday morning, spent about two hours playing maintenance man and then about twenty minutes with my brother in the back, pulling out likely looking boxes. Found a bunch of KDX bits, an old KDX service manual and some potentially useful parts.

When I got home I started taking the front end apart, and found that the '12 Ninja 250R front wheel has the same bearing ID as the stock wheel - convenient. Doesn't look like there will be anything too difficult re spacing and sorting caliper bracket or anything on the front end. I found a seal kit that matches the forks, so I assume that I never went inside these and will need to do a quick rebuild. I also found levers.

The bars are tweaked several degrees right near where the clamp is, go figure.

And the brace.

The clutch perch is good.

Forks are fair uggo, (ORIGINAL PATINA!) but I love having things to smooth casting marks etc off of so I'm sure they'll fettle up nicely when I get to that point. Fork inners look mint - had to chisel the fork gaiters loose.

The risers are the opposed-rubber-cone, vibration damping kind. I don't really like that, but I'm not sure if I'm even using the stock triples yet.

Wheel Tire Crankset Automotive tire Motor vehicle

Flopped some calipers I already have around next to the forks - these Nissins actually match directly to the stock bracket hole spacing, not that it matters since the radial spacing requires a caliper bracket making up. Will need pads - prob have some, somewhere, that were intended for this set, but likely in a box full of spilled brake fluid or something at this point. I think these are CBR sourced, have to look into it.

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The motor is a bit more goobered up than I remembered. The kickstart shaft has had flats angle ground on it and the clutch cable boss is snapped off the cover. Those parts from eBay would eclipse the total cost of build to date, so I will be papering these deficiencies over with copious amounts of my time instead.

The cable issue I will solve with a steel bracket that will attach with clutch cover bolts, and the kickstart shaft I will probably clean up a little bit on the mill and then make up a keyed collar.

1,063 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Still waiting on my rear tire to show up, FedEx is now saying tomorrow.

Last night while I was stacking the bike into a semi-roller so I could have a look at her with the 17s in place I noticed that the stock swingarm isn't going to be used on the final bike:

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Automotive tire Wood Bumper Bicycle part Gas

Nearly 5mm deep and 20mm wide. Sprocket studs/nuts, I imagine. "Spacers? Nah, you don't need all of 'em."

So, need an arm. I'm thinking this is a great excuse to build one - I have material, and my bender is begging to be justified. Not to mention my as-yet-unpaid-for TIG.

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Ignore the ZX front wheel... Rear dual disc is the future of performance.

Jokes aside, I'm really liking the looks of her bones with 17s so far.

I will have to get up to the farm again soon and get some lathe time. Need to sort spacers for the front wheel, and start making bearing cups and stuff for swingarm.

1,063 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Nothing much accomplished this afternoon but some speculating about various things like brake master ratio, checking myself on my sprocket changes to account for the change in tire diameter and putting together an initial shopping list for eBay.

This caliper is from a 900RR, and the anecdotal stuff I've looked at overnight sounds like people liked these best paired with a 14mm master - but I'm running one of them. So, 7mm, an unobtanium size AFAIK - might be able to source something from scooter, pit bike size stuff, not sure.

Except that's wrong, too, because it's not half the diameter I need, but half the area. So 14mm diameter is roughly 1.5 square cm, then I need .75 square cm of area to have the same ballpark feel with one caliper. Which means I really need a 10mm master, which I CAN get, with roughly .78 square cm of area. Hopefully that'll put me in the ballpark of a workable pull-to-gee/d ratio.

If I've screwed that all up it wouldn't be the first time and I trust someone will throw rocks at my thinking over in discussion. It'll be too late though, because BANG, Brembo 10mm master for an EXC for $26.

Wood Auto part Household hardware Monochrome Monochrome photography

Needs the sight glass replaced, but that's usually trivial. Clean up, some bling bling hardware, soon we'll have spent more than a new one!

1,063 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Making a adjustments to the shopping list and fuming because FedEx hasn't delivered my tire that I don't really need two hours early!

Ebay man accepted my offer on an '80 KDX400 tank. Same capacity, different shape.

Wheel Tire Motocross Automotive tire Vehicle

Tire Wheel Fuel tank Automotive fuel system Automotive lighting

Now, mine looks like this, of course, but it was $50 and it's got all the bits. I should be able to send the '86 tank down the road for at least that much.

Natural material Creative arts Gas Clay Art

Bit rough, but mostly not major gouges, supposed to hold fuel at least. Usually you can brush the dust off and whack these with a torch and get the surface looking pretty good - polypropylene I think?

And if not, well, ve haff vays of gettink vat we want.

I should break down the roller, throw it in the car and fly down to the farm to visit the machines.

Edit: I'm also pleased with the tank because it keeps it in the family, Green wise.

1,063 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Got my rear tire. Went up to the farm and sized some stuff up, finalized a couple of ideas and ordered a raft of miscellaneous stuff, which I have now added to the running list and total in the first post.

Now waiting for front master, brake line, lever. Still need to find a rear res (edit: Master cylinder) - I know I have three or four of the ubiquitous Nissin ones somewhere.

Front rotor I pulled out of my parts pile, 310 I think from an R1, uses same diameter bolt pattern but 5-bolt instead of 6, so EZ PZ adapter plate is out.

Found the pipe, and also a ruined pipe from a guy I used to know's '82 model. And the chopped up rear fender.

I also grabbed a bunch of bits of miscellaneous mild steel round stock to fumble through with an eye to bearing cups and stuff.

1,063 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Trying to keep momentum here. Coffee and starting a fire in the stove out in my shop are the next order of business. Going to start stripping and cleaning stuff that I do have in my possession so I can start coating things.

I find morale management is key on projects, and cleaning up or painting parts lets you put some stuff in a very visual "done" place in your head and feels like significant progress, at least for me. It's difficult to maintain enthusiasm for long when the ideas are moving forward but the pile of parts is staying largely unchanged, rusty and reproachful in the corner.

Basically, DW

1,063 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
If you're cold, they're cold, I've been hearing for the last few years, so I took it to heart. In what I understand to be long-standing Cameron tradition I have moved most of the project into the house, although not the cellar.

I didn't like these triples at first, they seemed needlessly busy and motoguzzi-like, but they've grown on me as I handled the parts and once I started filing off mold lines and stuff I was sold. Several areas need fairly extensive smoothing out but other than that I'm thinking I'll just break the edges around the clamp bolt mating surfaces.

There's an outfit that makes a kit to replace the rubbers with aluminum cones for $50, so I'll be making my own out of a piece of old aluminum clip-on I expect.

Bicycle part Auto part Rim Nickel Gas

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Various stuff for playing dress-up has also made its way inside. This is the consolidation of five or six Mystery Boxes that I carted home earlier in the week.

Some of this stuff belongs to other projects already but it'll help give me a sense of what does and doesn't work for me.

I'm down to only three rolls of blue tape, which for me is like having negative five rolls. Will muddle through somehow.

Wheel Tire Bicycle tire Automotive tire Vehicle

I have to make some decisions around the motor so I know exactly how far I'm taking it apart then finish cleaning it up and paint.

Motobucket. There, I said it.

Automotive lighting Orange Wood Fashion accessory Metal

Was talking with some more knowledgeable folks and it's sounding like I may be able to swap either internals or lower tubes or both between the 43mm KDX forks and one of several other sets of 43mm units I have surplus from other bikes. That's an exciting prospect.

Worst case I should definitely be able to swap in a set of stiffer springs from one of the donors which, I hope, will help out the absolutely wallowingly soft front end I remember from riding other old KDXs. I think the 6R springs are .9kg and the 900f are .8kg so that would give me a couple things to try - when I get there.
Tire Bicycle tire Crankset Bicycle wheel Automotive tire

Waiting for parts to start trickling in. I need the brakes so I know what I'm doing with front and rear wheel spacers, caliper brackets, fancy carbon fiber jamming frammis covers...

The front - 330mm from a 954 馃榿 馃榿

Font Rim Jewellery Circle Automotive wheel system

I have no affiliation with these dudes, but my ebay history says I've bought a couple of things from them and I don't remember being burned. (y)

Wheel Tire Bicycle tire Circle Jewellery


I accidentally bought a front rotor for a YZ, in my eBay-brained state it didn't occur to me that a rear rotor probably wouldn't be full-floating. It's 250mm, so... Fuck it. Sportbike rears are 220mm, it's only an inch difference.

I'm making a caliper bracket and a rotor adapter anyway, so it isn't any more work.

Not saving any weight on either of these rotor choices but BLING BLINGINNNNNNN'


1,063 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Scrounging around in old mouse poop, ordering parts on ebay, waiting for parts to come from ebay...

Stuff is trickling in, but nothing very exciting.

Here's what has shown up since the last update.

'08-12 Ninjette rear axle, spacers, axle nut
O-ring chain
Clutch cover gasket
Clutch kit - steels, frictions and springs. As I remember the clutch in it was 'good' in that it worked when I pulled the thing apart initially but I got a good deal on the clutch kit and figured penny wise etc.
Front sprocket matching KDX output shaft - 13T
eBay Magura clutch master
Rear brake line

The Magura clutch perch looks like nice parts. The banjo is 10mm but fine pitch, so I can't accidentally hook the brakes up crossways and underhanded. I've never used a non-cable clutch so it'll be interesting to see how everything works - when the slave cylinder and other stuff arrives.

Hoping for brake rotors to arrive in the next couple of days as they're supposed to, eager to get dug into making some chips and feel like I'm knocking pieces off the block here. Rotor adapter> front wheel spacers > caliper bracket > Broad strokes it's a front end. Various shippers are warning of bad weather. If I had planned this more than a couple of days out from the buildoff starting... 馃懡

1,063 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Turns out it's just that I'm an uncultured, non-euro-part-having swine; fancy man stuff from Brembo and Magura are all fine pitch and it wasn't a clever plot to keep me from stoppy-ing myself into someone's Nissan Rogue after all.

Luckily I ordered two of them banjos (calm yourself Steve Martin) for the clutch side in case the slave cylinder was also M10X1.0-it ain't, sonny, it's dirtbag 1.25 so I'm all golden there.

I, uh, noticed that there is a lot of Chinese titanium (Chi-Ti?) hardware that is barely more expensive than the stainless steel stuff CF knows I'm such a slattern for so a bunch of pointless stuff is Ti (well, we'll see what it is when it arrives won't we) :D

I also managed to force myself to actually get the lathe going up at the farm and zapped out a couple of wheel spacers for the front.

I measured the nominal distance between the axle bosses on the forks and then the distance between the outer faces of the inner races of the exposed bearings - using technical means and basic math to avoid having to pop the seals out.

Then I subtracted one from the other which only told me roughly how much stock I would need because of course the bearing stack isn't centered side to side relative to the wheel centerline. So I got the wheel centered to within 1mm, measured the one side that was relatively straightforward to measure, then added a couple of millimeters and popped out a brake-side spacer.

Wheel Tire Hand Bicycle wheel rim Bicycle

Then I subtracted the non-padded dimension of the brake side spacer from the fork-distance-minus-bearing-stack number, added a couple millimeters again and knocked out the spacer for the other side. They'll both need to be trimmed down to keep the forks from binding but this way if I need to offset the wheel a little bit to accommodate the rotor I'll have a bit of wiggle built in and in the meantime the stupid speedo drive lugs on the wheel will no longer KLACK into the fork and lock everything up while I'm doodling the front end around the shop making brap-braaaaap noises.

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They sure look... Spacery

I'll be making little dress up caps for the wheel hub area whenever I trim the spacers, I figure.

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As AvE says "careful-ing..."

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Don't leave the toolpost wrench on the toolpost while you're cutting, like me. It's a bad practice. Luckily I'm not machinist.


1,063 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Cool stuff is supposed to start showing up today (IE, manky CBR rotor and other stuff I need to get on with turning more stock into chips and swear words) so I'm puttering around the house trying to get the energy together to move the whole mockup and parts pile up to my office and out of the dining room. You should be able to carry your dirtbike up a flight of stairs or it's too big for you, right?

1,063 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Well, I ordered the wrong size sight glass buttons for the front brake res. I strongly considered just boring the first step of the sightglass hole slightly oversize and putting an 18mm unit in there, but restrained myself and ordered correct 12mm buttons. My fault for not measuring, obviously - I literally only saw 18mm when searching for products, assumed it was standard and just never checked. Bling bling res cover came though, and some other misc parts. Photos to follow.

Tool Rectangle Blade Hunting knife Utility knife

Hand Finger Household hardware Engineering Thumb

Hand Helmet Sleeve Finger Vehicle brake

I figured I had better use an appropriate tool to disassemble this field expedient temporary permanent fix.

Finger Household hardware Wood Thumb Nickel

Here's the hole. It's too small. I made a pout face.
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Pretty cover made me feel like I did something while I wait for the right parts. The stock cover says Brembo on it so I can probably sell it for more than the master cylinder cost.

1,063 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Okay, so, looking like to move forward on the front end I need to machine the rotor mounting surface back, say, 10-12mm or so, to allow for the width of the rotor, adapter, and the rotor offset. I could probably set the wheel up on the Bridgeport in one of a few ways and get a reasonable result, but I've been reminded that there's an old German lathe in the back of the shop at the farm with a gap bed feature, so I'll be looking at getting that thing put together and then attacking the wheel. Being able to machine whole wheels w/tires on them, even, would be pretty boss moving forward, and worth investing some time in getting the tooling operational.

There will be a short tactical pause over Christmas, I expect.

1,063 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Wood Finger Art Font Wrist

Made a bunch of these...

Wood Table Rectangle Machine Hardwood

So I could put a chuck on top of this thing...

Motor vehicle Automotive tire Gas Wood Auto part

Like this. Or, you know, with four bolts and centered and stuff. Not pictured is the little quick-centering bobbin I turned so I can stack the chuck on pretty close to centered quicklike.

Tableware Food Table Plate Dishware

Then it turned out I didn't even need to machine the wheel - hopefully. Made this MDF thing. Cut the face back to make a centering boss first for the old rotor, which I used to lay out the outer bolt pattern, then cut down for the new rotor to do the same, in two spots because I wasn't sure what I wanted to go with yet.

Automotive tire Wheel Bicycle part Rim Spoke


Anyway, the idea is that instead of machining the wheel, I'll just flip the rotor and machine the face of the adapter back to accommodate the carrier's offset and stop the rotor from hitting the fork. This'll be cool because if I wreck the front wheel I can just grab another Ninjette front without having to set it up and machine it, etc.

Tool Rim Gas Metalworking Automotive wheel system

Screwed around with some different sized water glasses, bottle caps etc to get some idea of what might appeal to me.

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Also noticed one of these risers is bent, so I'll have to see if the studs unscrew but I'm kinda wondering if they are cast in place based on how it wiggles slightly but won't turn at all. Won't be a huge problem to make risers or buy some but if I can just swap some studs or switch to bolts or something I'm for that. I have a ball-end milling cutter that is sized to make 7/8 bar stuff and I have to do some of that anyway to replace a broken piece on the clutch master.

Wood Curtain Art Flooring Machine

1,063 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Bicycle part Red Font Auto part Tool

Screwed around in Photoshop and came up with this thing. Simple. May end up with more meat and less scallops in the end, not sure yet. Shouldn't be heavy. I'll be starting with a piece of 3/8 plate but the end result should be a bit skinnier.

1,063 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Should have ordered a cute nut for the swingarm pivot. More fool I.

Bearing kits for swingarm showed up, so next is get up to the shop, find some steel of suitable diameter and start making bearing cups. Excited.

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Camera accessory Auto part Household hardware Machine Cameras & optics

Looks like those inner ears are there to get support for the shock or linkage mount, whichever it is, back there, so width of the swingarm front eyes individually isn't a concern, which is nice, cuz I don't have to customize the KTM bearings I bought and can keep buying them off the shelf if needed. I don't expect to need to replace these any time soon in road use. Much better seal and general design than the KDX stock items were.

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