1982 GS450E Scrambler-ish to Cafe-ish


Zuk's Rock!
Hey all, first up be prepared for a slooow thread here! Wasn't sure if this should be in the scrambler or cafe forum... but seeing as I'm sort of moving from scrambler inspired more to a cafe style I figured this will do.

Quick back story... bought my 1982 Suzuki GS450E way back in 1998 when I was flat broke, and it served me very well until I had to buy a car to drive for work and couldn't afford to register and maintain both, so it ended up sitting for a while.

This was then...

https://flic.kr/p/2hLHmMA]IMG_0267[/url] by https://www.flickr.com/photos/89703844@N08/]starpoint73[/url], on Flickr

Fast forward to when I'd spent a number of years fiddling with it off and on and then getting serious about getting it back on the road, ending up with what I call a scrambler inspired build.

https://flic.kr/p/2hLHrXL]2012072614[/url] by https://www.flickr.com/photos/89703844@N08/]starpoint73[/url], on Flickr

It's had a few minor changes along the way such as a smaller LED tail/brake light to replace the chunky Honda one that I put on there, have relocated the battery into the tail section, replaced the hand made rear rack with a genuine one with a top box for the commute, and various other things. I've also added headlight and coil relays and swapped over to an Acewell gauge as well.

As it's my commuter, hasn't had a lot of cosmetic TLC in recent times although mechanical is always kept up to scratch with servicing, tyres, chain and sprockets, etc.

Unfortunately it's been down the road three times now... once courtesy of a ute changing lanes on me, once courtesy of being rear ended, and once courtesy of me missing a line of diesel in a corner and having the rear tyre spin up ending in a slide down the road. The latter was on New Years eve morning of 2018 and I've not repaired the header or muffler that were damaged.

Here's where it is now, not pretty! Oh, ignore the second set of footpegs, I'll explain that below...

https://flic.kr/p/2hLHdQJ]Untitled[/url] by https://www.flickr.com/photos/89703844@N08/]starpoint73[/url], on Flickr

Anyway, long story short (already getting too long!)... over the last three and a half years or so I've built my dream bike (1984 Suzuki Katana 1100) but have still enjoyed the 450, it's definitely a fun little bike and is a great size for the commute.

The downside with all this is now that I'm comfortable on the Kat, I jump on the 450 and am feeling extremely uncomfortable. I feel like my elbows are out in the breeze with the motorcross 'bars and my wrists don't like the angles, and I've been missing a few gear changes due to the different footpeg positions, and I keep missing putting my feet on the pegs because I'm looking for the more rearward Kat peg position. The Kat has also proven to be great at filtering through the traffic due to being a bit narrower and the 'bars and mirrors are below the traffic's mirrors, whereas the 450's mirrors are generally at 4WD mirror level and the 'bars are at car mirror level.

My initial thought was... I need a bit of a ratty 750 Kat for my commuter... but then reality kicked in and I figured it would be far more sensible just to make some changes to the 450 and see if that solves the problems.

So, ordered some clubman 'bars on Friday to see if they fix the elbow and wrist issues, and I grabbed a set of ZX12 rearsets off a mate yesterday that he had lying around.

I mocked up the rearsets this morning and it seems like they should do the trick and I can even use an existing mounting bolt. The big trick is going to be getting enough leverage to actuate the rear drum, but I have a bent brake lever here from when I was rear ended that can be a donor towards that, and I'll just extend the brake lever actuator on the rearset and connect to the brake lever with some sort of linkage. Probably a horrible explanation but I know what I mean in my mind :) (Had to take the brake lever off the rearset for the mock up)

https://flic.kr/p/2hLDs4X]Untitled[/url] by https://www.flickr.com/photos/89703844@N08/]starpoint73[/url], on Flickr

https://flic.kr/p/2hLDs58]Untitled[/url] by https://www.flickr.com/photos/89703844@N08/]starpoint73[/url], on Flickr

That's all for now, will mock up the clubmans when they arrive to make sure I have clearance for the tank and see how they work with the brake master cylinder and so forth.

I'll be getting some thick 6061 T6 aluminium stock to make up some brackets for the rearsets, 12mm thick seems to be an optimal size to keep them out enough from the frame so I won't be getting my ankle resting against the exhaust.

Oh, and I have a fork brace to suit which I got by mistake (meant to be for the Kat but too small fork diameter) and I'm thinking of trimming the stock front mudguard down and putting that back on as the fork brace won't work with the current setup.


Zuk's Rock!
Finally! Over a week since I ordered the clubmans they rocked up today. Did a quick mock up and I think they'll be ok but the front master cylinder reservoir is going to be awfully close to the Acewell gauge I think. Didn't bother with a mock up photo as it's a bit hard to make any sense of it with the existing 'bars just shuffled up out of the way.

I've been making plans for the rearsets (see my Rearset drum brake thread) and I think I have a plan that should hopefully work.

At this stage the plan is to stick it up on the centre stand Wednesday after work so I can drop the swingarm axle and use some timber to work out the rearset brackets. I can also start swapping out the clubmans and see how that goes. I need to figure out some 'bar end mirrors yet, eyeing these two off at present if anyone has tried either:



Here's the clubmans although it's not an exciting pic...

https://flic.kr/p/2hQDoGW]Untitled[/url] by https://www.flickr.com/photos/89703844@N08/]starpoint73[/url], on Flickr


Zuk's Rock!
Very quick picture-less update... started on the clubman install over the last couple of nights and it's proving interesting.

Despite my measurements saying it was ok, the 'bar real estate is borderline particularly with regards to the throttle block/right control block and front brake and reservoir. I need to be ultra careful there's no interference there. Ideally I'd like to replace the front brake setup with a '90's GSXR master cylinder and a shorter braided line but there's no budget for that at present.

I also need to re-route the throttle and clutch cables otherwise they're going to have really tight radii which will not be nice at all!

Hopefully by Sunday I'll either have the clubmans ready to go otherwise Sunday will be reverting to the motorcross 'bars while I figure it all out.

My hope was to be working on rearset mock ups by then but that may have to wait.


Zuk's Rock!
The clubmans are all but installed after last night.

Fiddled with the clutch and choke cables so neither has a tight radius and rerouted the throttle cable around the left of the steering stem. Most definitely going to need different mirrors, don't think the existing ones will work too well at all.

I've replaced the headlight brackets as I'll need to have the headlight lower than the stock position to accomodate the new brake line and throttle cable positions, but I haven't sorted the headlight out just yet.

It's always been a fun little bike to ride but after sitting on it in the garage last night it now feels absolutely tiny!

https://flic.kr/p/2hSs3VH]Untitled[/url] by https://www.flickr.com/photos/89703844@N08/]starpoint73[/url], on Flickr


Well-Known Member
The narrow bars will do that. Hope they are low enough to fix your filtering problem without putting strain on your neck and wrists.


Zuk's Rock!
Got the headlight reinstalled and mirrors somewhat readjusted etc. last night so that'll let me test ride today and find out for sure :)

I'm not expecting adverse neck/wrist issues as I find the Katana incredibly comfortable and the clubmans aren't quite as low as the clipons on the Kat.

I suspect it'll feel a little weird initially though as I still have the stock footpegs while I figure the rearsets out.

Conveniently enough, with the rearsets in the mock up I posted earlier, the vertical seat to footpeg measurement is the same as the Kat, although that mockup has them a bit further rearward which is why I'll bring them forward a bit. I think I'll end up with close enough to the Kat position I'll be able to jump between the bikes without any more discomfort.

So far I think my biggest issue is going to be choosing which 'bar end mirrors! There's lots of variety out there...


Zuk's Rock!
Test ride done and dusted yesterday, had to navigate through some pre-Christmas shopping traffic and even with the stock mirrors it's so much easier to filter!

I definitely need 'bar end mirrors and weights, the vibes aren't great on the hands and the mirrors I have on there are barely useable due to the angle.

I definitely need to sort the rearsets out too as the footpeg position just feels wrong, even with toes on pegs like I normally ride.

Yesterday after that I took the footpegs etc. off and swingarm axle out so I could remove the stock hangers and mock up some timber brackets, will post some pics and details once I know what I'm doing. I can use an existing spare Katana shift linkage I have, but the brake side is a big question at the moment. Going to need a spacer each side for the swingarm axle too as I suspected as well as the drum brake actuator. Those run through the stock footpeg hangers so are too long without those in place.


Zuk's Rock!
I was able to mock up the rearsets with some scrap timber I had around from an old packing crate. On the downside, I put a little pressure on the right one and it snapped... oops! Still useful though.

The excellent news is that my spare shift linkage and rod ends I have are the right length for the gear shift linkage, and the existing shift linkage is the same length as what I need for the brake lever side. Bargain!

I've put the bent brake lever on for reference, it'll get cut down although I may rotate it one spline further down yet to compensate for the fact it won't have 90 degree angles (I hope that makes sense!).

https://flic.kr/p/2hU1yDS]Untitled[/url] by https://www.flickr.com/photos/89703844@N08/]starpoint73[/url], on Flickr

https://flic.kr/p/2hU5eYm]Untitled[/url] by https://www.flickr.com/photos/89703844@N08/]starpoint73[/url], on Flickr

I picked up some 12mm thick 6061 T6 aluminium flat bar so I can get on with making the brackets now.

I also need to make up two 10mm spacers for the swingarm axle.


Reminds me of...me No, I'm sure of it. I hate him
Looking good!

Just use your heel to actuate the brake and you're golden! /Sarcasm


Zuk's Rock!
Hahahahaha well there are heal and toe shifters out there, why not brakes too? :p

Haven't really gone any further yet except to make a cardboard template to mark the aluminium ready for cutting, need to pick up some new hacksaw blades hopefully this arvo so I can get stuck in.


Zuk's Rock!
I've been plugging away at the rearset brackets, slow going cutting 12mm aluminium plate with a hacksaw and stitch drilling the curves but the first bracket is cut out ready to be drilled and have the edges filed smooth. Didn't get a photo yet but will once I've got the second bracket in the same state.

I'm heading down to a mate's place tomorrow to borrow his lathe to make the swingarm axle spacers.

My 'bar end mirrors arrived yesterday, fitted them last night but need to test ride with them yet. So far they look like they'll do the job and are heavier than I anticipated so I'm not sure if I need to figure out 'bar end weights or not yet.

https://flic.kr/p/2hVA4hX]Untitled[/url] by https://www.flickr.com/photos/89703844@N08/]starpoint73[/url], on Flickr


Well-Known Member
looking good. Do they have the convex mirrors? I had a set with those and they gave a great view behind.


Zuk's Rock!
Cheers guys!

These ones are just flat glass, I would've liked some convex ones but all the ones I could find with convex glass seemed to require allen keys for adjustment, whereas these have the typical ball adjustment. Given it's a commuter I need to be able to adjust the mirrors without tools.

Next update should have some rearset brackets ready for testing and some spacers made up providing all goes to plan today.


Zuk's Rock!
I borrowed my mate's lathe yeserday to make the 10mm spacers for the swingarm.

I've roughly cut the rearset brackets out and have drilled and tapped a hole for an eyelet for the brake lever return spring. Will be heading back down Wednesday night to use his milling machine to clean the brackets up.

So far the weight of the 'bar end mirrors seem to have solved the vibe issue so I'm keen to see how they are on the commute this morning. So far visibility is good.

https://flic.kr/p/2hWu4xa]Untitled[/url] by https://www.flickr.com/photos/89703844@N08/]starpoint73[/url], on Flickr

https://flic.kr/p/2hWu4wy]Untitled[/url] by https://www.flickr.com/photos/89703844@N08/]starpoint73[/url], on Flickr


Zuk's Rock!
I got the centre stand bump stop mostly made last night, all that's left to do is drill the hole for the rubber stopper, paint it, then mount it. I'll figure the diameter for the rubber stopper when I properly test fit the rearsets which should be over the weekend. I do need to round the edges and tidy it up yet also.

https://flic.kr/p/2hXtFnC]Untitled[/url] by https://www.flickr.com/photos/89703844@N08/]starpoint73[/url], on Flickr

The bump stop simply mounts with the right swingarm axle and uses the mount on the frame as support (yeah it's filthy under there!).

https://flic.kr/p/2hXr9nY]Untitled[/url] by https://www.flickr.com/photos/89703844@N08/]starpoint73[/url], on Flickr


Zuk's Rock!
And I'm all set for a short test ride this morning!

I still have to shorten the stock brake lever I've cut down yet but it'll work for a test ride, so providing all goes well I can take everything back off and get some paint done later today. I need to get some proper fasteners during the week and then everything should be good to rock and roll.

The spare Katana shift link I have is exactly the right length for the gear linkage, and the stock gear shift linkage is exactly right for the brake link. That worked out well! I may need to get a shorter return spring for the brake yet but the brake lever travel feels right sitting on it in the garage, will verify that on the test ride.

https://flic.kr/p/2hZ6b7Y]Untitled[/url] by https://www.flickr.com/photos/89703844@N08/]starpoint73[/url], on Flickr

https://flic.kr/p/2hZ8Drg]Untitled[/url] by https://www.flickr.com/photos/89703844@N08/]starpoint73[/url], on Flickr


Zuk's Rock!
Cheers! Had mixed success on the test ride yesterday. The rearsets feel good and the levers are in the right positions, so I've given all the bits the satin black treatment ready to get reinstalled this week some time.

I was concerned about leverage for the drum brake, and with the new pedal the drum feels wooden and horrible but is still useful for hill starts (all I use it for really), so in other words it's just as good as it was before trying the rearsets :)

On the down side my Acewell gauge appears to have carked it after the torrential rain I rode home in on Friday so I need to figure out a solution to that now. I don't really want to do the cheap eBay digital gauge as I know I'll just be back here again very soon. I'm thinking mechanical speedo again but I need to figure out ratios and cable threads etc. now. Time for some research!


Zuk's Rock!
The Acewell is definitely toast. It looks like the LCD itself has mostly died. I can scroll through all the functions ok and the bottom numbers all show up, but the large speedo display only shows a few segments so it's completely useless as a speedo.

I'm likely going back to a mechanical speedo, looking at this one: http://mostynindustries.com.au/product/speedo-60mm-black-with-warning-lights/

The brackets and bits are all painted ready to be installed and I've cut the stock brake lever down as well. Hopefully get those on tonight.

https://flic.kr/p/2i1eaNY]Untitled[/url] by https://www.flickr.com/photos/89703844@N08/]starpoint73[/url], on Flickr

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