Project CB690 (KTM 690 engine in a CB550f frame)

goodoltup

Member
I'm embarking on a project that I've had in mind for a long time, and finally have the funds to start. I want to make a bike that I would like to ride. A classic bike, with a standard riding position. A modern bike, with disc brakes and good suspension. A fast bike, but with torque and low end power. A bike that does not exist yet, or at least not one that I am completely happy with. I also kind of want to make a custom bike as a protest against some of the trends that see and dislike, such as uncomfortable seats, missing fenders, and rear brake lights that no one can see. I want to make a safe and comfortable bike, too. Are you with me?
A little about me.. I've been riding for 20 years, but not the whole time. I went to MMI in the early 2000's and worked as a Honda mechanic in LA for a few years. After that I switched to small engines and did that for a number of years. Now I am a mechanical engineer, and I live in England. The company I work for makes hermetic connectors for aerospace and military applications, and I am very happy doing what I do. I currently ride a 1976 Honda CD175, but have owned CB550s, CB750s, an XL350, a CB350, and a Suzuki SV650. I am mostly a Honda guy, but that SV650 was just a dream to ride.
I chose the CB550 frame because it has the classic looks that I want, and I am most familiar with Honda. I chose the KTM 690 because I like singles, and because it's a street bike, the engine will have a proper alternator, neutral light, electric starter, etc. I was considering using a CRF450 engine just to keep it all Honda, but I would have to compromise on some of those things.
Lets begin!
 

goodoltup

Member
I built the workbench specifically for this project. In this picture it's not completely finished, and I am still organising my wrenches.
 

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goodoltup

Member
Here is the KTM 690 donor bike. It was cheaper to buy the whole bike than to buy the engine, injector, harness, etc. Plus, I get the handlebar controls, rear brake master, rear wheel, possibly front wheel, and lots of other parts. What I don't use will be sold off.
 

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goodoltup

Member
I did some work on the bench here. I put up plywood to hang wrenches and things on. I will put some cabinets up top when it warms up a little. It has been like 0 degrees F for weeks, and I can only spend so much time out in the garage right now. I need a heater!
 

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Tim

Administrator
Staff member
This is a crazy idea - gotta keep watching!

Nice little work space. Inspiring me to go clean up my garage but not till it warms up a bit more. In England, with 220v all over the place, can you get a decent electric heater in the shop?

Here in NA (Canada for me) of course everything is 120v unless you run a 220v circuit specifically for things like welders, dryers, heaters and whatnot.

How does it work in England? I'd expect for higher amperage draws there would be a different outlet style and naturally heavier gauge wiring to avoid plugging a welder into the outlet for a TV.
 

goodoltup

Member
This is it, the beginning of my dream. I bought a 1977 cb550f frame from a nice guy up in Essex. The engine more or less fits in as I expected. The swingarm pivots will be removed from the 550 frame and new ones constructed that move the engine a few inches forward. A new swingarm will have to be constructed, as well. I may have to modify the left hand tube under the engine to allow it to come down a little, it sits a little high right now.
 

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goodoltup

Member
The other side.
On the shop heaters, I might get a propane one and leave a window open. I had one with electric coils in it, but it was weak.
The plugs in the UK are huge, they look like the ones for dryers and welders back home. Most are 30A though. The British are very proud of their plugs, because of all the safety mechanisms like the on/off switch on every outlet, and the automatic gate that covers up the holes when the plug is removed, but it means that even a small USB charger is way too big to put in your pocket.
 

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goodoltup

Member
The wiring harness. This entire thing has to fit in the CB690 somehow! There is a ton of stuff on it. Tip-over sensor, barometric sensor, two different computers, just lots and lots of connections and switches.
 

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goodoltup

Member
Just an updated picture of the workbench with wrenches all hung.
That brings us up to the present! I will try and post every week, as I will be doing work on the weekends. I expect the whole build to take about a year and a half.
Next steps, removing tabs and swingarm mounts from the frame to get the engine situated, and mockup of the new engine mounts. Then the swingarm construction.
Stay tuned!
 

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goodoltup

Member
Just overpaid for a seat on eBay. I need it for the mockup, I'll refoam and recover it later. The pan is in good shape which is the most important.
This is from a K model, and I don't actually know if it will easily fit on the F model. We'll find out when it arrives, these pictures are from the auction.
 

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whynot

~~~If it ain't raining, I'm riding~~{iii}?~~prost~
I like it.

Gotta watch, seems interesting.

Good looking work space, as Tim said above, inspires me to go clean my spot up.
 

irk miller

You've been mostly-dead all day.
DTT BOTM WINNER
I like it so far. Good stuff. Looks like you lucked out with counter sprocket level.
 
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