Not Really a Bob, Not Cafe, GS300 Suzuki

Mike Lawless

2006 HD Softail Deluxe - 2014 Triumph Bonneville
It's been a long long time since I owned a bike. Being widowed a little while back, I'm pretty much free to do what I want. I also needed something to keep occupied. So, I picked up a very low mileage 1983 GS300. A very nice, low mileage and good running cruiser with a big squishy seat, a windshield and quiet exhaust. Not to mention a shiny chrome sissy bar! Almost a shame to cut it up. I've been drag racing (4 wheel variety) for quite some time. About 15 years with my current ride, a '65 VW Karmann Ghia. I've taken that about as a far as I can, as it runs well into the 9 second zone at over 140mph in full street legal trim. In order to keep busy, here we go with this.

The way I see it, it's simply a hunk of metal. The worst that can happen it what ever I do it, will have to be redone. No big deal. I got time and a bitchin' set of tools! I looked not at what it was, but what it could be. Something loud and obnoxious to piss off the neighbors!

Initially, I was going to make it into a cafe racer inspired street bike. I pretty much got hammered on a cafe racer forum about it being the wrong bike, and that it was a waste of time, and how I would be labeled as a poser for doing so. The purists were unrelenting. With that, I not only decided to not post my build there, but to shift directions a bit. I had a vision, and it wasn't totally "cafe" yet it wasn't totally "bobber" either. I'm gonna stick to my guns and do it my way, haters be damned!

The plan is for a strip down of all that is unnecessary. Flat drag bar, overall lowering, little or no mufflers, lose the fenders...bare bones. Then paint it black. I don't hate the fuel tank, but it is pretty big. I'll live it for a while.

At first, I was gonna go with a solo seat, but I only like the way those look on hard tails, and I'm too old and rickety to ride a hard tail. So, I built an abbreviated cafe style seat. Short with a small cowl.

First order of business was to do a deconstruct of the rear section and remove anything else I wasn't gonna use. Rear "sissy bar", turn signals, fenders, side covers, mufflers, etc. Once I had a plan for the seat, I chopped off the tail section and fabbed up a new one. I also cut off any tabs and mounts that will no longer be used. Rather than a simple "U" bend, I made one up from sections of a "U" bent piece of tube to give a more pointed shape for the seat cowl to follow. The tail light tucks underneath.

I have a 7" headlight assembly on the way from DCC, and I'll use the new front turn signals thru the headlight mount holes.

I then got to the task of bending up sheet metal for the seat pan and cowl. I used 16ga sheet steel. A little light on the thickness, but I made a center stiffening channel that not only stiffens the structure, but provides a channel for wiring for rear lighting will run inside of. The seat cover will use snaps. That's at the upholstery shop now getting the cover made.

I made side covers from .050" thick aluminum sheet leftover from the Ghia project. They attach with quarter turn Dzus fasteners (more leftovers)

On the front, for the time being, I've simply slid the fork tubes up in the trees. I only got 3/4" and then they contact the bottom of the handle bars. I reckon I could slide 'em up more and use clip-ons. I've ordered a set to see. Over the winter, I'll disassemble the forks and alter the spacers inside to drop it about 2".

The wheels are kinda fugly. I'll just paint 'em black for now. Once I get the whole thing where I want it, I'll knock it back down for finish work. If I haven't found a set of wire spoke wheels by then, I'll get these powder coated and call it good.

I also found out that turn signals are required on post 1973 bikes. So I bought the most minimal indicators I find. I got 'em locally at a place that caters to the Harley crowd.

Just this week, I've filled the indents in the side of the tank, and painted that. Came out pretty dang good considering I used urethane that I've had on the shelf since 2002. Seems we can't get good paint in California anymore. Rather than bondo, I used metal filled epoxy to fill the indent. It has a strip spot welded in that the name badge attached to. I cut out all the paint, used the Devcon epoxy, and I had to shape it with a metal file. After several rounds of high build primer and block sanding, I squirted the black on yesterday using my touch-up gun. I put enough paint on to color sand and buff. I really don't like the way the tank raises up at the front. I'd like to bring that down to close the gap to the top of the motor. I'll address that another day

Meanwhile some "In Progress" pics....
As purchased...

And then....



Reminds me No, I'm sure of it. I hate him
Hey nice job so far and welcome to dtt.
Build something cool end we don't give a shit what you call it ;)

Mike Lawless

2006 HD Softail Deluxe - 2014 Triumph Bonneville
SeanGSUK said:
Love it! Some nice cars hanging about!
Thanks guys!
The Challenger is a sheep in wolf's clothing. I bought it for my wife. It has a V6 and get 34mpg on the open road.
The Ghia is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Turbocharge 2.3 liter that makes around 500hp and runs on methanol. Full street trim and legal. Very much the sleeper

The long as it pisses off some of the neighbors, I'll be happy!

I was looking at your GS55o thread. I really like what you've done there. I really like it with the spoke wheels.

Mike Lawless

2006 HD Softail Deluxe - 2014 Triumph Bonneville
Some progress over the last couple of days, then a bit of a delay while waiting for parts.
I got down to the DMV and got the registration sorted, so it's now legal to ride.
I had a 7" H4 headlight assembly on order from DCC and that showed up yesterday. But, it won't fit into the stock mounts. I shoulda known to order mounts with it too, especially since the stock stuff is fugly. The headlight needs to mount a little lower to clear the gage pods. So, I wait while mounts are enroute.
The seat hasn't come back from the upholstery shop yet, but that should be anytime now.
With any amount of luck, I could be riding this week, and being able to work out any bugs.
Weather here in Central California should be OK for riding for the next 45 days, then it turns to cold wet fog. The kind that wraps you up like a 35° wet blanket. Then the plan is to knock it down to the bare frame and do a bunch of detail and finish work.
I've gotten quite a bit of inspiration and "know-how" from this site. That's made things easier than they might have been otherwise. Thanks!

Mike Lawless

2006 HD Softail Deluxe - 2014 Triumph Bonneville
Took it for the first ride this morning of any length. Four miles to work! Big ride! I got there in one piece with a couple minor glitches.
First, it won't run on any other petcock position than reserve even with a full tank. Does this have something to do with the second line from the petcock to the vacuum side of the carbs?

Second, the idle is a bit high once it warms up, and I have to run with the choke lever pulled out ever so slightly to smooth the transition from idle to part throttle, as if it's on the lean side until it warms up completely. The carbs don't have a visible mixture adjustment screw, but there is a pressed on aluminum cap on the side of both carbs where one would expect those adjustment screws to be. My guess is that was done to prevent owner tampering for emissions. Is that the case for a 1983 model year?


Well-Known Member
more than likely yes on the mixture question. you may be able to remove the caps and find the screws. I know in 81+ the honda bikes had shit like that added to them for emmissions. Nice build whatever you call it, it's a cool little scoot.

Mike Lawless

2006 HD Softail Deluxe - 2014 Triumph Bonneville
Thanks Maritime. I know that if I remove them, they'll be destroyed. They are very thin. Beer can thin. No guts, no glory I reckon!

I think I'll call it the Little Black Bitch! Not very original, but it fits

Hoosier Daddy

Earache my eye...
Before you try removing the aluminum caps post a pic of the ones you are talking about . You want the one on top, centered above the air inlet. The Mikuni BS had aluminum caps on the sides that were over the drillings for the throttle shaft and you don't want to pull those off.

Mike Lawless

2006 HD Softail Deluxe - 2014 Triumph Bonneville
Thanks Damian.
I've looked around at the obvious places for custom tanks. I honestly don't think I'm gonna find what I'm looking for without having to do some serious modification, either to the tank or the bike itself. The tank tunnel on the stocker is pretty wide to accommodate ignition coils mounted on either side of the top bar. I'm looking for something with a much smaller profile, that I can get to mount with the bottom edge level rather than kicked up at the front like the stock tank.

This right here is what I like...It's part of a kit that cost three times what I paid for the bike! So, I'm not gonna buy this one.

Mike Lawless

2006 HD Softail Deluxe - 2014 Triumph Bonneville
Hoosier, you were spot on. Thanks!
The caps were directly in line with the throttle shfts, and I did find some adjustment screws centered on top, recessed down inside a cast in boss. I didn't know if they were air bleeds or fuel, but about three quarters of a turn out smoothed it right out. My thinking the lean spot was due not only to a less restrictive exhaust, abut because of the ethanol content in California gasoline. I had to "tune-up" my pressure washer by open the jet up up a bit. Yamaha generator too.

Anyway, I'm certain some other bugs will pop up.
So far, turn signals don't blink, and one of the fork seals leaks. Easy stuff


West Tennessee
Nice job with it. And I recognize that front tire, have one on my front drum conversion Suzuki Savage. Same bike that Ryca conversion started out as, but mine looks like a half or 3/4 scale DuoGlide these days, have to save up for my weld on rigid rear section...

As to the other part of your thread, been there. Redhead number 1 got hit and killed on her Harley by an illegal driving drunk. Redhead number 2 came along just shy of 2 years later and has been riding her own motorcycle since before we hooked up.

Mike Lawless

2006 HD Softail Deluxe - 2014 Triumph Bonneville
Scruffy, same result, different cause. My wife of 37 years fought cancer for three years, then it took her. Either way, it's not an easy thing.

Anyway, after adjusting the mixture screws last night, I rode 'er to work again this morning, it seemed to run pretty good until it started getting heat into it, then it started blubbering at low speed. I think I may have gotten it to fat now. At least I hope that's what's causing it.

Mike Lawless

2006 HD Softail Deluxe - 2014 Triumph Bonneville
Headlight mounts and clip on bars came in, as well as my front turn signals. These are little bullet shaped pieces from Drag Specialties. Upholstery guy finished the seat on Friday.

Had to but a new flasher unit. I just bought a generice two prong unit. Plugged right in, and now my turn signals work. New 7" H4 headlight assembly from DCC fits nicely in there now.

Here are some finished least finished for now. I'm gonna ride for a month or so and see what kind of issues creep up.
Thanks for the help and advice guys. I'm certain I'll be asking about things again once the winter teardown happens


Mike Lawless

2006 HD Softail Deluxe - 2014 Triumph Bonneville
A bit of a set-back this morning. Jumped on the Little Black Bitch to ride to work. Got about a mile away and it starts running REALLY bad. Sputtering and popping with a part throttle bog. Then it dies. So I pull over and look things over. After a couple of minutes, it starts back up, and I decide to head for home. Same story all the way home. sputters, bogs, dies. But I made it.

So.... I guess I'll be getting into a carb cleaning sooner than I anticipated! My guess is that sediment has accrued in the fuel system since it sat in a shed for a long time, and got jarred loose since I've had it running and put some heating/cooling cycles on it.

But, at least it looks OK!

This might just be the point where I hang it up for the winter and just go ahead with the complete disassembly and do all the finish work

Hoosier Daddy

Earache my eye...
Dude... If it were me, I'd check your voltage output to the battery. Older Zooks charging systems are their Achilles heel.
Almost sounds to me like it depleted the charge, then the battery recovers, then depleated the charge again on the way home.

A wise man once said "90% of all carburation problems are electrical" ;)

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