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Author Topic: Suzuki GS550 rookie budget build  (Read 1439 times)

Offline k.graham

  • Posts: 16
Suzuki GS550 rookie budget build
« on: Apr 07, 2017, 02:05:25 »
Hey y'all

Figured I'd start a build thread here as I'm trying to get my bike put together for this riding season.

Here's how it all started

Last year I'd been obsessively looking for a suitable first bike that I could learn to ride on, that would also make a good candidate for a cafe or a brat. I came across a GS550 on a trip home from Calgary one evening that I thought might be the ticket. With no cash in hand, and no trailer i asked the seller if he'd give me a day to think on it, and round up what I needed to bring the bike home. I called him the next day and made him a reasonable offer. He refused, so I had to pass on the bike.

A month went by scouring kijiji for a suitable bike inside of my budget. No luck. Seemingly everyone I would contact either flaked out, or sold to someone else. Little did I know my wife, along with my family members bought the GS550 that I first encountered and were secretly sabotaging any attempts I made to buy other bikes.

They gave it to me a little before my birthday as my wife didn't think she could keep it from me any longer.


 

So I swapped the handlebars out for some cheap clubmans and was off to the races!



Unfortunately it handled pretty terribly with those things, so I picked up some dirt bike bars at a bike salvage place. Also found some bar end mirrors. Not totally sold on them, but they may look a little better if I shorten up the bars a bit. I recently discovered that the rear shocks that are on my bike are more than 2" shorter than stock! That explains the heavy steering, so once I get things back to stock length, I may look at going back to the clubmans, or clip-ons.



I stripped the paint off the tank, along with the bondo flame on top and the cruiser-esque profile on the sides. Also scored a '79 GS1000 parts bike with no motor, but it had the original aluminum hoop spoked wheels. Swapped out some bearings to work with the 550 axles and everything bolted up perfectly.



Today I had a few minutes to play with some seat shapes. I'm a journeyman cabinetmaker, so wood is by far the easiest medium for me to work with. I had some heavy fir timbers laying around so I started cutting. Here's where I'm at so far, just getting the rough shapes and angles first, and then will be refining the curves later.


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Offline advCo

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Re: Suzuki GS550 rookie budget build
« Reply #1 on: Apr 07, 2017, 03:04:50 »
Welcome bud. Looking good so far. I had similar bars on my GS550 and it was super comfortable and handled well. I'd stick with those, unless you end up going with rearsets/clipons. Otherwise it's a waste to put low bars on with stock foot controls.

Check out GSresources for a ton of good info on these bikes. I highly recommend a new R/R unit and check the stator output. These charging systems are notoriously shoddy, but the parts are available and it's a fairly easy job.




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"He broke the mirrors off his Cadillac, 'cause he doesn't like it looking like he looks back."

74 CB360 - Luna - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=63294.0
82 GS550L - Tracker-ish - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=67229.0 - Sold
74 XL350 - The Turd - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=70252.0
Suzuki FA50 "No-Ped" - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=71189.0
73 Suzuki RV125 -http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=73875.0

Offline k.graham

  • Posts: 16
Re: Suzuki GS550 rookie budget build
« Reply #2 on: Apr 17, 2017, 01:30:13 »


Got my wheels mounted up today, as well as fork seals finished up. Found some stock length shocks for the rear end at the bike salvage place in Edmonton yesterday. They'll need to be polished up a bit, but at least I'm not riding chopper stance anymore! Fired it up at the request of my little shop hand, but it was a little louder than he was expecting being straight piped. Spooked him pretty good. I told him we'd build something to quiet it down, so I suppose the exhaust will be my next project! 


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Offline k.graham

  • Posts: 16
Re: Suzuki GS550 rookie budget build
« Reply #3 on: Apr 21, 2017, 01:49:39 »
Built some baffles today on the cheap

Picked up some muffler pipe from Canadian tire, as well as the biggest couplers I could get to work with it.




First cut the couplers into quarters so that I could flare them out to match the inside diameter of the tapered tailpipe. Then crimped it together to fit snug with a muffler clamp.



Rivet together with stainless steel pop rivets







Cut end of pipe into sections and flare out so it takes a few knocks with a hammer to get it to bottom out inside the horn.




Measure the length that it sticks out past flush, and then cut that amount from the narrow end. Repeat the end cuts and flare out



Slice through with the angle grinder at 1" intervals 1/4 the circumference of the pipe. Insert a screwdriver and start bending.



 Offset by 1/2" and repeat until you have all 4 rows done



Wrap with fibreglass muffler packing and insert





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Offline advCo

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Re: Suzuki GS550 rookie budget build
« Reply #4 on: Apr 21, 2017, 02:06:38 »
Nice work on the baffle, I am going to try something similar on the XL. Does yours get held in by a screw/bolt or is that what the flared ends are for?


Sent from my iPhone using DO THE TON
"He broke the mirrors off his Cadillac, 'cause he doesn't like it looking like he looks back."

74 CB360 - Luna - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=63294.0
82 GS550L - Tracker-ish - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=67229.0 - Sold
74 XL350 - The Turd - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=70252.0
Suzuki FA50 "No-Ped" - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=71189.0
73 Suzuki RV125 -http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=73875.0

Offline k.graham

  • Posts: 16
Re: Suzuki GS550 rookie budget build
« Reply #5 on: Apr 21, 2017, 02:35:19 »
Yeah, I'll probably pop a bolt through on the bottom side to keep things from rattling. I may try and put in some sort of adjustable flue of sorts to adjust the back pressure if need be. Ideally I'll fabricate a plate that will go in the end just to make it look a little less bushleague as well. Just pushed things together by hand this evening as I was a little pressed for time, but desperate to hear what it would sound like. Sounded pretty good to me! It did quiet it down quite a bit from being straight piped, but definitely has a nice low growl now. Still plenty loud, but not too obnoxious.


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Offline k.graham

  • Posts: 16
Re: Suzuki GS550 rookie budget build
« Reply #6 on: Apr 21, 2017, 23:12:17 »
Here's a short video of the sound those baffles produce. Sounds best through some speakers or headphones.




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Offline JamiT

  • Posts: 19
Re: Suzuki GS550 rookie budget build
« Reply #7 on: Apr 21, 2017, 23:33:41 »
Sounds pretty nice man! Looking forward to more


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Offline k.graham

  • Posts: 16
Re: Suzuki GS550 rookie budget build
« Reply #8 on: Apr 21, 2017, 23:34:43 »
Thanks!


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Offline k.graham

  • Posts: 16
Re: Suzuki GS550 rookie budget build
« Reply #9 on: Apr 30, 2017, 11:07:34 »


I whipped up a side cover for the bike yesterday evening. Going for something akin to federal moto's fade to black bike (pictured below). It's made of some marine vinyl I found at a discount fabric store for $10. I'll experiment with this stuff for the side cover bags and seat, and then probably upgrade to a nice leather a little later on as more cash becomes available. Thinking of going for something very similar on the seat as well.






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Offline k.graham

  • Posts: 16
Re: Suzuki GS550 rookie budget build
« Reply #10 on: Apr 30, 2017, 20:56:19 »
Here's the process of how they are made:




Pattern it out based on cardboard cutout of the triangular space in the frame. Add 3/8 for seam allowance all around. Cut it out



Hem the edges that will be exposed



Stitch the rectangular end panels in



Turn it rightside out, then repeat a mirror image for the other side!





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Offline alemonkey

  • Posts: 58
Re: Suzuki GS550 rookie budget build
« Reply #11 on: Apr 30, 2017, 21:13:51 »
Dang.  You have some skill.  Looking good.

Offline k.graham

  • Posts: 16
Re: Suzuki GS550 rookie budget build
« Reply #12 on: Apr 30, 2017, 21:47:44 »
Honestly it wasn't really all that difficult. Prior to 9:30 pm last night, I hadn't used a sewing machine since 7th grade home economics. I did find there are some transferable skills from my work as a cabinetmaker, like laying out shapes and templates, but I kind of just freestyled it after a few pointers from my wife and a couple of practice stitches on some scraps. I'd highly recommend anyone at least give it a try if you are so inclined, and have access to a basic machine. At $10 for materials including enough to do a seat, you really can't go wrong!


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Offline alemonkey

  • Posts: 58
Re: Suzuki GS550 rookie budget build
« Reply #13 on: Apr 30, 2017, 22:15:43 »
I covered my seat with stretch vinyl from here:  http://www.sailrite.com/Allsport-4-Way-Stretch-Black-54-Vinyl-Fabric and it turned out ok, but I'd like to try sewing so I can add some pleats.  Did you just use a basic machine?  I've heard a lot of the regular machines can't handle vinyl.

Offline k.graham

  • Posts: 16
Re: Suzuki GS550 rookie budget build
« Reply #14 on: Apr 30, 2017, 22:29:54 »
I covered my seat with stretch vinyl from here:  http://www.sailrite.com/Allsport-4-Way-Stretch-Black-54-Vinyl-Fabric and it turned out ok, but I'd like to try sewing so I can add some pleats.  Did you just use a basic machine?  I've heard a lot of the regular machines can't handle vinyl.


Yeah it's just a basic home machine with a denim needle. I specifically made things so that I didn't really have any areas that overlapped more than once. I plan to do some pleats on my seat, which may require some figuring on how to keep things running smooth where seams overlap. I did notice that the fabric had a hard time feeding through where there was an extra thickness or two near the end of a stitch line. Without a foot that will sort of "walk" along the top, it may cause an issue. I'll definitely be posting the process once I get to it. The warm(ish) weather is finally starting to show up here in midwestern Canada, so I just want to get this thing road ready so I can ride the few days it's actually possible! It's snowed here at least one day each week for the last 4 weeks. Roads are finally starting to be dry, and I think we've seen the last of the spring snowfall :)


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Offline k.graham

  • Posts: 16
Re: Suzuki GS550 rookie budget build
« Reply #15 on: Aug 10, 2017, 02:08:18 »
Slowly picking away at the GS over the last few months. Just evenings here and there when I get the chance. Tonight I built a little indicator light cluster. No more cruising down the highway forgetting that my signal is on! It'll get painted when I paint the tank, so it should blend in pretty well. Sorry the photos are so dark. The lighting in my bike shed is horrific.


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Offline dakine_surf

  • Posts: 958
  • "Stay Thirsty my Friends"
Re: Suzuki GS550 rookie budget build
« Reply #16 on: Aug 10, 2017, 06:46:24 »
Wow great work... you'll definitely want to use a commercial machine if you decide to do leather down the line.  You can try with some thin leather but it still binds pretty bad and you might break a few needles... ask me how I know

I never had never used a sewing machine either and started playing around with it and picked it up pretty quick.  My mom has a sewing room at my parents house, so I started doing basic stuff there and then picked up an industrial sewing machine from the 60's nice old singer.  Was $100 on craigslist.  Needed a new power cord which I replaced for $10.  Still haven't tried to do a seat yet but I know the machine will take it


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Well I tried but I can't run no more
Tell Katie it's her that I adore
And as long as I love her best
I'm that much further west