GS-550L to GS-674 Frankenbike project

Toast

New Member
This is my first bike, I found her on Craigslist for cheap. I was originally looking for a CB but they're so overpriced where I live finding a running and titled one would cost me around $1000. I saw this little Suzuki, not in the best shape cosmetically but it's been a daily rider for a few years. Here's how she looked after getting her home, pretty rough and DIRTY. Everything was caked in grease and oil, I don't think it had ever been cleaned. I had to spend the next two weekends scrubbing.








The seat was covered in duct tape and looked terrible, I was originally going to try and reuse the stock seat pan and foam.

Under all the tape


Rusted


Seat foam trimmed



The tank got primered as well, I got sick of looking at the peeling paint.
 

Toast

New Member
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project

I ended up giving up on trying to use the stock seat pan, it was so rusty and I didn't have a good way to mount a new cover. Plus it was such an odd shape I didn't think I could easily make a new pattern for it anyway.

I had an old road sign in the backyard that I used as a base for the seat. This is after an hour of hammering. Ive never formed anything before so I think it turned out okay.






Got some extra foam from work and cut it down to fit.



I found some thick leather look vinyl at a local fabric store and paid my sister a couple bucks to stitch in some lines and batting. The bike also got some superbike bars and Oury grips (comfy!!) and smaller indicators to get rid of those giant lollipops. The 4 into 1 got sanded down and sprayed with BBQ black.

Before


Parts


Looking better!


Notice that the sprocket and rear wheel are actually silver and not black lol.
 

Toast

New Member
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project

When I bought the bike the PO told me he had to pop it on a charger once a week, I should have let that warn me. The first time I really rode the bike around it died on me a couple miles away from the house. I was just riding and I lost all power and had to coast into a side street. I wasn't able to push start it and had to push it all the way home. I kept it to short test trips until I figured out what it was.

Quick ride with my friend



Being a motorcycle noob I had to do some reading and figured it was the stator, and I might as well make sure before I drop the money for a new one... Yea, it was bad.

Burned to a crisp :eek:


Shoddy wiring from the PO, he didn't want to take off the starter cover (it is a PITA) so he did a crappy job of splicing the wires.



While I was waiting for my cheap ebay stator to come in I tinkered with a few other things.

The stock fender drooped down and looked like crap. I shortened it slightly by rotating it back a few inches.






The rear disc was in terrible shape and had some funky deposits on it, I found a good replacement on ebay and swapped it.




Getting help putting in SS lines
 

Toast

New Member
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project

I installed the Caltric stator and she fired right up, charging at 14.5 volts at 5,000rpm. I rode her around quite a bit for a while, as much as I felt comfortable on 15 year old Dunlops.








Around this time the valves got done for peace of mind. It's pretty easy if you use the ziptie trick.


New tires, valve cover gaskets, Morgan Carbtune and the seals for the leaky output shaft came.



The tires got installed and bike earned my trust enough to take it work. I work in San Francisco and it's a 120 mile round trip, nothing in a car but it's an epic journey on a bike.

Made it!


This was on a Thursday, the next day on Friday I was planning on making a road trip down to San Diego with my friend with the CBR.
 

Toast

New Member
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project

So the trip never happened... I took it to work again the next day (Friday). All was going well, the bike was running great, I didn't get killed by crazy California drivers... I got off the freeway far to the right in my lane about to make a right turn. Everyone was stopped and waiting for traffic to clear, I see an opening and pull in the clutch and BAM.

























The a-hole in the Fit apparently forgot I was there ( ::) ) and accelerated hard into me. The cops show up and call in the tow truck, the guy admitted it was his fault. The tow guy pulled it out of the Fit and I rode it the last 1/2 mile to work. I was so bummed I has just put in so much work to get it road worthy and this dumbass ruined it all. At least he did thousands of dollars in damages to his car, heh.

On her way home :'(
 

Toast

New Member
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project

After I got home and looked over the bike, and riding it around some, it seemed like the only damage was to the rear fender, demolished tail light and the very back of the frame. I took it to the shop to have them appraise the damage. The guy was cool, I told him I didn't want the bike to get salvaged if the frame wasn't tweaked. He checked everything and confirmed what I thought, just the rear rail was bent and that's just there to mount the fender it's not structural.

SOOOO, I rode it to work again the next week and made it look nice for the insurance inspector. Fresh paint on the headers and tank and polished up the chrome.


I got more money to fix the bike then I expected and I decided to just fix the bike up. I was going to leave it the way it was and someday build a cafe bike. Screw it, lets just do it. I ordered a set of nice set of Hagons, a seat from Roc City and some new (much brighter) turn signals.

I rode it to work for a couple weeks without any issues. One day about 30 miles out I noticed the dash lights going a bit dim... Uh oh. I turned off the headlight and made it the rest of the way to work, until I got off the freeway (same one I got hit at). I hit the brakes and the turn signal and the bike died. I pulled off onto the sidewalk and waited for a break in traffic to push the bike across the busy street and the rest of the way to work.

The bike got another ride home in the pickup and I looked at the stator.




F*##(U$K!!!!!!!!!! The cheap stators just cannot hold up the extended high RPM load and was burning up like a mofo. I got fed up and just did what I should have done in the first place. I burned two cheap stators, they only lasted 1,000 miles each. So I got a Ricks Electric stator and a Compufire. My wallet cried for mercy but at least I'll never have to worry about it again.
 

Toast

New Member
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project

More stuff!



The seat from Roc City came in, man it's like a work of art. Roc City makes some legit fiberglass parts.




I also found an XV920 tank on ebay to try and modify to fit the bike.

Mocked up





The chain and sprockets where in pretty sorry shape. I had adjusted the chain slack after I bought the bike but the PO had apparently been running it REALLY tight. You can see some flashing on the sides and the teeth look mashed. I got new sprockets and an X-ring chain from Z1 and installed those.



The carbs needed to be cleaned, it was running lean and had a hanging idle.
Before:




After:
 

Toast

New Member
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project

I ended up finally mounting the seat. I didn't want to be shooting screws through the frame and I don't have a welder so I used a different method. I don't have pics of the mounts but I saw this on another forum. Get a hose clamp, a rubber stopper/foot thing from the hardware store, a carriage bolt and some shrink wrap. Drill the rubber foot top to bottom, drill a hole in the clamp, stick the carriage bolt through both and clamp to the frame. You can use the shrink wrap to blend in with the frame and keep from scratching it. The bolts stick up and have a thick rubber base and it worked pretty well. I used a thick plastic I got from TAP to mount the seat to so it wouldn't crack.







I sprayed it to match the old tank for now. I lost one of my bar end mirrors on the freeway so I went back to long stem ones, I can see better with those anyway.


 

Toast

New Member
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project

I'm pretty much caught up now. As of a few weeks ago I got sick of the terrible oil leak it had, after every ride I would have to wipe off the bottom of the bike and the drop or two that got on the rear tire (I know...). After I came home one night and saw the rear tire was covered in oil on the left side I parked the bike.

Some PO sometime in the past had tried to replace the output shaft seal with a chisel or something and gouged the heck out of it. I replaced that seal once but it chewed through it again. A real bummer since I had FINALLY got the bike running reliably.



I would need to split the cases to fix it legitimately so I bit the bullet and pulled the motor.






Since I committed to pulling the motor and putting the bike out of commission for a few months I might as well make it a big winter project :). Anddddd, I kinda went crazy. I've started amassing parts, OEM and replacement to be installed this winter.

New clutch springs (mine were pretty worn), a new stator gasket (I made one and it started leaking a bit), new output shaft seals, swingarm bearing, exhaust gaskets, stainless bolt kit from Z1.


LED tail light from Lossa Engineering (DOT approved)





I found a good deal on a complete set of R6 rear sets from a local forum. I'll have to modify the shift side but I've seen people make it work.



Stripping the bike more. Stuff in boxes and racked.








Looking at the tank for inspiration.
 

Toast

New Member
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project

More stuff I bought for the project. I wanted clip ons and a digital gauge sooo bad I broke down and got them....

Woodcraft 35mm clip ons (in black). I'll post a better pic of the actual ones today.


Tomaselli brown gum grips





Acewell gauge







Box o'stuff
 

Toast

New Member
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project



They hit the bar mounts when I install them on top of the triple, and the stock headlight ears wont let me install it below.


Either way the bar mounts needed to come off. I had some time when I got home from work last night and I started on it. It is so much harder then I thought it was gonna be...


One side cut


I couldn't get a good angle with my cutoff wheel so I had to do it all with a hacksaw. The aluminum is way tougher then you'd think.


I ground down as much of the metal as I could, used my big wire wheel/grinder and started filing.


Good enough, it was midnight.


I want to clean it up a bit more and prep the upper and lower for paint since it's supposed to be nice today.
 

sphynx88

New Member
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project

Holy crap what a journey! Amazing progress, I was so worried when I saw the bike smashed in the accident. Glad you brought her back to life.
 

Toast

New Member
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project

Thanks sphynx, I'm glad too haha. I probably should have let them total and taken the money but I put too much work into it to let it go :p


I still want to use the Yamaha tank, but it's gonna take wayy more fabrication then I first thought. Pretty much nothing on the frame lines up at all so I'm gonna have to make and weld in front and rear mounts for it, plus make clearance in the front for the top triple. So until I get a welder and better fabricating skills Im gonna go with an easier tank to mount.

I put on the clip ons and the 650E tank I got and wheeled her out front.





I wanted to make a bracket for my Acewell, I was toying with the idea of putting the gear indicator lights on it.


Cut away, the red 1-2-3-4-5-6 inlay sits on top of that


The lights themselves





There wasn't any room to mount it with the plastic housing so the first bracket I made I made a window for the bulbs to poke through. It ended up looking like ass so I made another mount and left that out. I'll find somewhere to use it, when I put a half fairing on it I'll probably stick it some where on that. I know the bottom is crooked, it was too long and hitting the steering lock. I'll file it down straight later.



The aluminum controls and levers got hit with the big wire wheel. I was thinking of buying a new pair but all I can find is Emgo ones and they aren't nearly as quality as the stock units. Once the old paint and yellowed clearcoat got taken off they looked pretty good. The semi shiny machine brushed look is nice I think. The Tomaselli grips are on there too.


I don't have the clip ons angled way down and back because it's so much more comfortable this way.
 

Hoosier Daddy

Earache my eye...
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project

Nice to see another "L" getting some lovin... You have really come a long way!
Personally I like that "E" model tank best of all. Keep at it and posting updates, glad you're still able to after the Fucker in the cage tried to make you a speed-bump.
 

Big R

Heaven is so far away.
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project

Yep - signed up too. I remember that pic of the accident. Glad your still here to tell the tale man.
 

Toast

New Member
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project

I couldn't sleep so I did a photoshop mockup of the bike.

So I really want to paint the bike Battleship Grey, like this



Battleship grey tank, gloss black tail for something a little different.


Or just battleship grey for the tank and seat




And what's a cafe racer without some extra power?



I found a decent deal on a complete GS650G engine, it's getting crated to me as I speak. The top end is getting put on the 550 block so I can keep the 6 speed tranny 8) . My little 550 is getting bumped up to 674 cc's, and getting an additional 24hp+. This should be fun.
 

Hoosier Daddy

Earache my eye...
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project

OH REEEAAALLLY...
So a 650's cylinder/ pistons and head on a 550 gets you 674 cc's, this I did not know. So the 550's rods are longer to increase the stoke over the stock 650? and a 24hp gain to boot? DAMN!
I want to do the 7/11 swap (1100 engine for my 750) so I can make some BIG numbers... someday. ;)
 

rockcitycafe

I make things.
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project

650 top end will basically bolt on, you'll have to bore the top cases to accept larger sleeves... I did one with a 650 top end resleeved with cb350 sleeves which were machined a bit to fit properly, then bored for gs750 pistons, went from 550 to around 730
 

Toast

New Member
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project

Roc City Cafe said:
650 top end will basically bolt on, you'll have to bore the top cases to accept larger sleeves... I did one with a 650 top end resleeved with cb350 sleeves which were machined a bit to fit properly, then bored for gs750 pistons, went from 550 to around 730
Roc City, I read your thread on old skool Suzuki a bunch of times. The one where you were getting ideas for the gs550. Did you have to get the 750 pistons machined down? Did you end up having to run an oil cooler and make a new cam tension adjuster? Man I would love to see a build thread on that.
 
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