Print Story Project Chopper: Week 1
By creo (Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 02:48:15 AM EST) bike, chopper (all tags)
The Kawasaki SR650.

A chopper barely alive.

Gentlemen, we can rebuild her. We have the technology, we have the capability, we can create the 6000 Dollar Chopper. She will be better than she was, prettier, nimbler, faster.

This diary is the first installment of Project Chopper. If pictures and narrative of motorcyle (de)construction does not excite you, then mosey right on along.

Otherwise - walk this way for our first installment.

The chopper in question is a completely original Kawasaki SR650. It used to belong to my old man, and before him there was one original owner. It's had a pretty easy life - mainly used for commuting and only has 65k on the clock. Despite the fact that the engine is as rattly as a bucket of bolts, and that the clutch grabs rather than slips, the bike is pretty reliable. On occaision it has been known to round up sport bike ponces in the twisties...

However, she has been getting long in the tooth, and I have decided to spend a bit of money, and make her stop, start and handle just a little bet better. Some mild engine work will be done so that it will be a bit of a street sleeper, but not too over the top.

Here she is:

A side shot. Notice classy taped in jam tin over the exhaust muffler. Also the exquisite terry towelled seat with vinyl flap. I also told one porky, the headlight shell is not the original. The original only had a bulb, whereas this one is a halogen.

Front view.

Rear view with battery charger attached. It has sat in the shed for 6 months without running. Five minutes on the charger, it started second kick. Yes, kick. Real men kick start their motorcycles, none of this nancy starter button crap.

After a quick degrease and dump of oil - into the shed and onto the operating carpet. Now begins the deconstruction....

I found the original owners manual and warranty card under the seat. She was sold in 1980. I was pretty chuffed about the owners manual actually, because it's an old school owners manual and has a wiring diagram. Anyone who has worked on old machinery knows that electrics are a fricking nightmare.

For old machinery buffs - notice the construction of the seat. All metal. The hinges are actually bolted on - with nuts. Everything is heavy duty. No wonder the thing weighs a ton.

Rear view with the tank, side covers and seat off. Once again it's all metal. Everything is bolted, with real nuts and bolts. All the flange items are steel - even the top of the battery carrier is steel. The air filter was in remarkably good shape.

Side on shot. Everything is set up and ready for next week.

Next week is the serious stuff - all the paintwork stufff needs to come off to be carted off to the painters. The Chrome items are all going to the chrome guy to be rechromed. The engine is to be dropped out and sent off for examination.

Look - get rid of the baby poo brown. Use a black, but with flecks that show as faint silver. Silver trim where current lines are. Original badges restored and fixed to current locations.

Rechrome original chrome. Metal polish clutch cover, altenator cover and tappet cover. Metal Polish front fork legs. Re powder coat all black paint work, including frame.

replace all metal bolts with lightened polished/chromed (depending on location) fasteners.

Suspension - Koni rears, sprung for weight. Rebuilt front forks, revalved and resprung for weight.

Brakes - Possibly upgrade with modern 4 potters - jury is out on this at the moment.

Wheel - Would like to get wire spoked wheels, but if not, then either metal polish the currernt wheels, or maybe black powder coat hubs and polish rims.

Engine - depends on report. Possible big bore kit/different carbs/different cam. Will be getting new headers, and will get my mate to make a tasteful carbon fibre silencer.

So far, no real costs expended. I have a new rear stand and a front stand coming, but as they are to be used for all bike projects, they are not considered budgetable to this project.

Money Spent: $0.00

Time spent was about 1 hour to clean up the shed, prepare the bay and about 2 hours to degrease the bike, drain the oil, transport to the shed bay and strip off the tank/seat/side covers.

Time spent: 3 hours.

Cya next week for installment 2.

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Project Chopper: Week 1 | 14 comments (14 topical, 0 hidden)
This looks like a fun project by mmangino (2.00 / 0) #1 Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 03:56:02 AM EST
It kind of makes me wish I had my old CB750 back. Aside from the single disk front brake, I really liked that bike.

I've been thinking about it for a while by creo (2.00 / 0) #2 Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 04:12:06 AM EST
If I was really serious, I would do the engine rebuild myself, but I'm too old for that shit now. Plus, the engine guy is a Kawasaki Z motor based specialist. He did my blueprint and balance for my supersport racer, he does good work.

The CB750 was a good one - the one that started it all. From memory the disk was pretty horrible in the wet - the fronts on this bike are not actualy that bad - I think that with the front end tightened up they might be good enough. It just depends if I want to dick about with machining the carriers and spacers for the calipers.

"I shall do what I believe to be right and honourable" - Guderian

[ Parent ]
Good stuff by cam (2.00 / 0) #3 Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 04:21:38 AM EST

Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

Going for chrome pods? by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #4 Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 05:59:20 AM EST
Instead of a paper air filter? You got lucky on the kick starter, I think Kawi started getting away from them in 1981 or 1982.

The Aus naming system must be different, I think we call it a Kz650 over here, or perhaps I'm ignorant. Regardless, KZ Rider is a good resource for pics, plans and ideas.

Depends by creo (2.00 / 0) #9 Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 04:08:30 PM EST
On what is done to the engine - once the engine guy gives feedback, we will be looking at the carb/lump/header system and make decisions.

Had a quick browse of KZ rider - looks good, and will have a closer look once I get this annoying work stuff out of the way.

Technically you are right - the model is a kz, I would need to go down to the shed and have a look, but I think it is a kz650D SR. On the covers its an SR650, so that's what I call it.

"I shall do what I believe to be right and honourable" - Guderian

[ Parent ]
It might take a few days, but... by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #5 Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 08:53:51 AM EST
I can get you a feral kid with a metal boomerang for the back.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

I think I might have one of those by creo (4.00 / 1) #8 Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 04:03:03 PM EST
He just needs to learn howto throw the metal boomerang I will machine up...

"I shall do what I believe to be right and honourable" - Guderian

[ Parent ]
Good luck! by blixco (2.00 / 0) #6 Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 09:48:47 AM EST
I have a 1980 GPz550 that has been in stage 1 of a rebuild for 2 years.  Some day....some day.
Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco
That's the danger by creo (4.00 / 1) #11 Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 04:15:30 PM EST
I have already budgeted Sunday (or portions thereof), chopper day - so it does not stall. Once I have done the deconstruction, there will probably be a few weeks where the various major components are refurbished.

I also have to get around the next few weeks and source bits like the rear suspenders and fasteners. Hopefully pesky work will not get too much in the way...

I need to get her done, as racing season is starting up, and I want to put the supersport back on the track for a bit of fun. At the moment that is my road steed. Either that, or sell the supersport anf buy an Aprilia Tuono....

"I shall do what I believe to be right and honourable" - Guderian

[ Parent ]
Nice! by Cwis (2.00 / 0) #7 Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 11:50:08 AM EST
Those lumps are bombproof - if you strip it down I doubt you'll find much wrong.

Watch you don't lose midrange torque if you use pod filters - I bought a 400/4 with some on (and the loudest exhaust in the world ever) and they stuck huge flat spots all over the midrange. It was a race bike and top end power was up, but it was so frustrating to ride on the road...

Just won a Boyer/Todd race ignition on eBay for the Jota - summer is on it's way over here.....

I know the clutch is roo-ted by creo (2.00 / 0) #10 Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 04:11:40 PM EST
but I'm  hopeful the bottom end is in good order - it should be, the bike has had a pretty easy life.

re pods: as I mentioned to Mr Ha, it depends on the feedback from the engine guy, and if we go new/different carbs. Whatever we do, after I have run it in, it's off to my dyno man, and we will tune the beast up. It's kind of a pity I did not run her upto the dyno and do a pass - it would have made for an interesting data point.

"I shall do what I believe to be right and honourable" - Guderian

[ Parent ]
Creo Choppers by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #12 Mon Mar 20, 2006 at 05:11:36 AM EST
Shouldn't you be filming this for Discovery Channel?

Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
Heh - if it was a real chop by creo (2.00 / 0) #13 Mon Mar 20, 2006 at 01:14:56 PM EST
like those guys do then maybe...however, it's only a soft factory prebuilt chopper, so I'm happy with my Husi audience.

Plus I'm being lazy - most of the hard work will be done by outside "contractors" - I'm too old and impatient to do the work myself. In my younger days spraying, engine rebuilds etc. were fun, now they are just painful.

"I shall do what I believe to be right and honourable" - Guderian

[ Parent ]
I don't know by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #14 Mon Mar 20, 2006 at 01:43:39 PM EST
Doesn't Billy Lane do old school?

Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
Project Chopper: Week 1 | 14 comments (14 topical, 0 hidden)