Author Topic: SUZUKI SAVAGE ROADSTER BUILD...  (Read 35903 times)

Offline teabowl13

  • Posts: 88
« on: Dec 13, 2011, 15:43:18 »

I'm brand new here, but I've lurked around off and on over the years.
Now I am finally involved in something interesting, so I thought I would share a little...

I lucked into this 1994 Suzuki Savage; 12,000 miles, and in surprisingly good shape overall for $250! It was running pretty good, only the carb had gotten a little gummy from sitting, so my friend, Jay and I decided to have some fun with it...

That was the donor bike that's on its way to being converted into a Savage Roadster! Here's the concept drawing:

It's a winter project for sure. I'm too lazy to post all the stuff and pictures I have so far all over again, but I posted a build thread on the Savage forum, if anyone wants to check it out... (If ya'll are realy into it, I'll keep you updated here too...) I think it's going to be quite a HOOT when it gets on the road this spring...

Let me know if you have any suggestions or thoughts!
« Last Edit: Dec 13, 2011, 15:45:08 by teabowl13 »

Offline Flugtechnik

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  • My bike is not transportation, it is a respite
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« Reply #1 on: Dec 13, 2011, 17:29:21 »

Offline beachcomber

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  • TJ - Beachcomber
« Reply #2 on: Dec 13, 2011, 17:36:54 »
Keep us updated here as well - please.
"if at first you don't succeed, you've already been a failure once"

" we're not going back to the sixties - we never left "

"yep, nostalgia ain't what it used to be"

"I used to be indecisive - now I'm not so sure"

Offline teabowl13

  • Posts: 88
« Reply #3 on: Dec 13, 2011, 22:35:42 »
I've gotten in way over my head here, and I like it!

It all started with an innocent conversation. My friend, Jay, who has been a client of mine for 12 years or so... (I'm a tattoo artist...) came to me this Fall to start a rather large project that will carry us through the Winter. For all the years I've known him, he's been working on bikes and hot rods. Mostly bikes. He's a painter at Stone's Custom Cycles in Massachusetts.

He's their cust paint guy, but there are only 4 full time guys there, so he's had his hands in everything. He's spent most of his years working on Harley projects, but more recently he's been interested in vintage bikes and cafe bikes. He's been doing a few projects and some small builds for friends on the side, and he tells me he's excited to do more. He gets to do a lot of this stuff in the winter, when the shop slows down, and he's got access to all of their stuff.

As for me, I got married recently, and my wife and I have a gorgeous daughter who just turned two. As you can imagine, a couple of years ago I whittled my bike meager collection (including a Yamaha 250 cafe project that I knew would never get off the ground..) down to the most sensible and practical thing I could get; a 1992 Nighthawk 750. Don't get me wrong, I love the bike. It's bullet proof and will go anywhere I want to go, but I have it outfitted mainly for touring and two-up camping trips, and while it's perfect for that, it's just not as awesome for those Sunday afternoon blasts around the lakes...

So the question was obvious?
Hey Jay... Wanna TRADE?

We started talking about bikes and what to build. I wanted something small and more fun around town. I really wanted a single. Something super-simple, and something a little unique. He wanted to build me a CB350, but that didn't really jazz me up at all. We started looking around and thinking about it...

Turns out a buddy of his had gotten a GS550 and an old '94 Savage a couple of years ago for just $500, and he'd sell us either of them for the $250 he had in it. Jay wanted to work up the 550, and I can't blame him, it would make a nice ride, but I really didn't want another 4 cylinder; I wanted something REALLY different from my nighthawk, so I got to thinking about the Savage and poking around on the internets....

I found the RYCA site and was amazed at what they were doing with the Savage. I knew I liked the motor, but I really didn't want a cruiser or any kind of a bobber. I figured we'd have to find another old bike frame to squeeze that motor into, but RYCA prooved us wrong... Maybe we could do something with our Savage after all?
I was really hooked on something more vintage looking than the RYCA bike: Norton Manx, Vincent, etc... something like that. The RYCA kit is a great Cafe, but a bit too modern for me. Then I found this picture...

This thing is amazing, And it's almost entirely stock! (If you know this bike, then you'll notice that I photoshopped the seat a little bit... the real one is a bit lower profile.)

I showed the RYCA site and the picture above to Jay, and we both agreed that we had found our winter project. Between the British one and the RYCA bike we were going to build something pretty cool out of this old Savage.

I still had the old 1969 Suzuki T350 tank I had bought for the 250 Yamaha that was never to be (I loved the shape of it, and the color is great too) So we decided to use it...

We'll cram it on there somehow...

I decided I wanted clubman's instead of clip-ons, so I found a bar from a new Triumph Bonnie. Factory take-off for $35, and I decided that I wanted one of those old headlights with the speedo mounted inside, and I found one from a 1969-70-ish Hodaka Ace 100; complete with the speedo!! (It's just the bucket in the photo below, but you get the idea...)

13" New-old-stock Red Wing shocks from the '70's

They look pretty hot!! especially with the 18" Akront rim all laced up and ready to go...
We decided that 18"wheels front and back were a must for the right vintage feel, so i found two rims on Fleabay. The front one is still in limbo; waiting for Jay's wheel-pro-friend to get it laced up, but the back is done!
(Turns out, the swingarm cross brace will have to be re-worked to fit the Kenda tire. It's a Kenda Challenger, which I got because the one's RYCA uses don't come in an 18" for the front, but the rear is a 90 instead of a 70, so it's just a smidge too tall... It's Jay's problem; he's the welder... more on that later.)

We decided that to get the right period look, we needed chrome fenders. The front was pretty easy; from a 1972 Kawasaki S1 (sorry, no picture right now... later...) For the rear, I decided to look at larger front fenders, figuring I'd turn one around backwards and use it that way. Turns out that the front wheel on a 1977 Goldwing runs the same size tire as I'm running in the rear, and the fender is pretty sweet! With a 1960's BSA rocket taillight mounted back there it'll look something sorta-like this...

Jay, holding it up for some guess-work...

At this point, we've got enough going on that I decide to work out a fresh concept drawing, so here's the master plan! (I know, it's pretty rough, especially coming from a guy with a college degree for drawring...)

The rear fender will get mounted fixed to the swingarm; bobber style. We decided this would look a little more Buck Rogers, and be easier for Jay to fabricate that trying to create an entire rear sub-frame from scratch...
It'll get a Dyna muffler, a Mini battery of some sort; somehow mounted behind the gear-box in the charcoal-cannister-holder-mc-thing-a-ma-jiggy. A K&N cone filter ($15 used on Fleabay) And an 18/47 chain conversion...
With the electricals all tucked neatly under the seat; the whole rear area behind the cylinder will be completely open. I find this VERY EXCITING!
Jay is going to fabricate a custom seat pan, and I have another client here in Portland who has offered to do the upholstery once we have the foam figured out and carved... That'll be a while yet.

So Jay sets to work and he sends me this crappy photo...

And I think, "Hmmm... that's strange, something's missing... what could that be?"
Oh, Don't worry says Jay, that's just the BACKBONE OF THE FRAME...
Turns out he decided that rather than to have to cut up and re-weld the tank to get it to fit the frame, it would be easier to get the frame to fit the tank...

Add in some rails to hold the seat pan...

And then add the tank support and the tail piece!!

This thing's got a long way to go, and a lot may change along the way, but the first snows haven't even really gotten here yet, and there's along winter ahead of us, so we have plenty of time!!

You say you can't wait to see what's next? Well, ME NEITHER!  ;D

Offline teabowl13

  • Posts: 88
« Reply #4 on: Dec 13, 2011, 22:39:35 »
And yes, I know... that loop on the back end of the frame is NOT what I had in mind.
Jay tacked that on really quickly, but we've since come to an understanding about it. It's gotta go.
He will be re-doing it with the right sized tubing, and working it in so that it flows seamlessly from the rest of the frame.
(He was thinking it would be covered by the seat pan... not really looking at the drawing while he was welding... Ahhh...)

Offline john83

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« Reply #5 on: Dec 13, 2011, 23:05:16 »
I am definetely in on this one! I loved the look of the RYCA kits but I'm glad to see someone doing it on their own. That tank is the business for sure! Keep the updates coming!

Offline ben2go

  • Posts: 442
  • Two Wheel Projectile
« Reply #6 on: Dec 14, 2011, 02:29:12 »
Interesting.I've always thought a lot of the Savage but never really liked the HD knock off styling.

Offline teabowl13

  • Posts: 88
« Reply #7 on: Dec 14, 2011, 08:50:32 »
That tank is the business for sure!

I agree! I actually bought that tank about 5 years ago for another cafe project that never came to be. In fact I had just given up on it and given it away to a friend of mine here when this opportunity landed in my lap. Fortunately, he stil had the tank and was happy to give it back.

It's got a great color and patina, and is nearly new inside.
We've basically decided to build this bike around the tank, in fact I don't think we are going to strip it or re-paint it at all. (Ironic, since Jay is primarily a custom painter...) We want the whole thing to look like it's truly old; not some newly built super-clean show bike. I hope to be riding the stink out of this one come Spring...

SPEAKING OF PAINT... With all the work happening to the frame, the whole thing is basically going to need to be re-painted, and I'm thinking about doing it in color instead of black. I don't want anything gaudy; no red, yellow, or hot pink, but what do you guys think would look good but still look true to the late 1960's feel we are aiming at?

Offline JustinLonghorn

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« Reply #8 on: Dec 14, 2011, 09:02:28 »
yep, I am on board.
I'm going to eat your brains and gain your knowledge.

Into The Sunset, CB750 build

TT500 the Animal

Offline flatcurve

  • Posts: 354
« Reply #9 on: Dec 14, 2011, 09:32:00 »
I'm liking this. Particularly the way you're doing the seat. I've thought about doing something similar. I'm also really jealous that you have a skill like tattooing that you can trade for work like this. I don't suppose you know anybody who would help me weld up my frame in exchange for some robot programming, do you?
« Last Edit: Dec 14, 2011, 09:34:06 by flatcurve »
1979 CB750L - Current Project Bike
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