The Stock Bike

jpmobius

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Greetings all. A while back I saw a Craig’s List add for a bunch of Yamaha RD parts. It looked like a lot of stuff, so I went to go look at it. Well, it was a lot of stuff, about 5-6 bikes worth, almost all in bins and boxes and most of it in pretty wretched condition. 2 bikes were kinda-sorta all put together – though pretty obviously assembled from parts. One of the frames had a clean title, so I offered half the asking price and loaded it all up in two trips. Then about a year later while out for a Sunday ride on one of my own RD’s, I met a guy that asked me if I had one for sale. I told him no, but that I would be happy to build him one! (figured I had plenty of parts!). Well we struck a deal and the pictures that follow document some of the outcome. I decided to call this thread “the stock bike” because while this project did sort of spiral out of control from its original plan, it did hold true to the initial concept, which was to not create an obvious custom. I think it turned out more like a Café’ bike than anything else, but it is pretty mild. Lower bars but not clip-ons, pegs back and up a bit but not rear sets, but it did get a solo seat and cowl. The main theme was handling though, so I decided to put it here. Now a Yamaha RD350 is a pretty recognizable machine, so it’s pretty obvious to many people when one isn’t stock (on the other hand, when was the last time you saw a totally stock one!) so the notion was to build a bike that “looked” more or less like a factory produced machine – one that could have been “a stock bike”. This turns out to be rather more difficult than it at first sounds. It is one thing to fabricate custom parts, but when factories make thousands of parts, they do so using processes that are likely to be very different that the process an individual would use to build a part to function the same way. So while there is indeed the odd (and obvious) “built from scratch” part, most things were made using factory made parts and “adjusting” them to suit. Likewise, the bike was to be practical and reliable – like a stock bike. Hey, but actually this was NOT a stock bike, so there would be changes to make it go a bit faster, and handle a LOT better!
This bike will be shipped off to Australia in a few weeks, but I’m fairly pleased with how it turned out and plan to build another one very much like it for myself (project #867, so don’t hold your breath for a write up!). So opinions on this, and suggestions for “Stock Bike II” will be greatly appreciated!

Started with this beauty. Rd350 frame with minor butchering but mendable – more importantly complete with title. Mostly RD400 bits, some R-5 bits, and quite a few unknown bits. Man, that 400 engine was hard to get out of that frame despite being nearly identical to a 350 - now I know why the 400's have a removable front engine mount on the right side! Don't know how the previous owner got it in there!
 

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jpmobius

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DTT BOTM WINNER
First things first. Mocked up a rolling chassis to test fit the new owner. Not going to use any of the bits here except the frame, but had to determine the bars, and peg and seat location. Once those things are determined, it’s off to the races!
 

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jpmobius

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I knew I wanted to use the stock fenders and cut them back a bit. My customer wanted the old school brit bike taillight. I think it looks pretty good and surprisingly does not seem to flavor the bike like it has inappropriate brit bike bits on it like I thought it might. Turn signals are small (compared to original) but not too small to keep the stock vibe.
 

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jpmobius

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DTT BOTM WINNER
Decided to go with the “superbike” bars and stock instruments. I spent a LOT of time with my customer deciding on the bars, and determining the foot rest location and seat height/location. It takes a lot of trial and error and time sitting on the bike to make a determination, but pays off in the end. Now all I have to do is make everything be in the right place. Bars were a set I had already, and already cut down some time in the past. Seem to be the perfect thing. Pegs will be 1" farther back and 1/2" higher than stock. Also determined to raise the chassis a bit for ground clearance. The seat height will be a lot lower, Most of the parts here are for mock up and trial fitting the owner. Going to use a larger headlight, and an RD400 tank which is a bit longer than the 350's.
 

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jpmobius

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DTT BOTM WINNER
Probably not what you’re used to seeing, but the pipes, footpegs and side stand do not like each other and it’s going to take a lot of negotiations before they get along like OEM parts. The empty engine case and cylinders makes flipping the bike upside down much easier!.
 

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jpmobius

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The center stand will not be coming back to the negotiating table. This mess will get prettied up later.
 

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jpmobius

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Pipes fit excellent as long as you chuck the side stand and stock pegs. These are Moto Carerra. Very nice in stainless steel, but no way can they be fitted to a stock bike without building new foot controls and pegs as well as a new side stand. I think ditching the center stand goes without saying, but don’t recall any mention of needing the other mods. Immaterial for this project, but seems a bit rough if you wanted to run them on your otherwise stock bike. That said, they are very nicely made and the price is fair. I will buy them again.
 

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jpmobius

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A little adjustment to the worlds heaviest foot peg mount. Sadly the stock rubber mounts had to go too to make clearance. Replaced them with nuts welded to the frame in their place. Still a heavy hunk of hardware, but very strong and will end up quite a bit lighter than stock. This will get a lot more surgery and hopefully look like a factory part when done.
 

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jpmobius

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As you can see there is no room to spare. This part will get quite a lot more welding, bending, cutting and finishing, just mocking up everything to make it all work at this point.
 

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jpmobius

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Here is the left side foot peg. The stock mount makes a big loop around the outside of the factory exhaust pipes. As you can see I have cut them off much shorter, bent them to tuck up close the frame and welded the factory peg mounting back on. The pegs are about 1 inch further back and about ½ inch higher than the stock location. Yes, it was a fair bit of work to get both sides right on the money! Note also the hole in the side case where the shift shaft will extend. I had to allow room to install the lever onto the shaft without having to remove the pipes and then the foot rest bracket. Not hard to do, just hard to anticipate before paint, final assembly, and "oh s**t"!
 

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jpmobius

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The right side. Evidently I should have quite working and devoted my attention exclusively to drinking by the time I took this pic!
 

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jpmobius

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Now that I've sobered up, time to start cleaning up this frame. The not very factory looking rear brake master cylinder "through frame" mounting had to go. Note the lovely swingarm!
 

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jpmobius

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DTT BOTM WINNER
Factory side stand mount removed and relocated on a new reinforcing plate along with a stop for the up position. Welded in mounting nut for footrest bracket can also be seen. Both looking mighty chunky in this close up. Quite a lot of remodeling on the original side stand. Still has a ways to go in this pic, but the difficult clearance issues are done - just have to get the foot to sit flat on the ground once I get the rest of the suspension sorted out. The stand may look pretty feeble in this pic - but it aint!
 

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jpmobius

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Very pleased with the look in the retracted position against its new stop. Looks better with the pipe and foot rest mount installed and is easy to get your toe on to deploy. Looks trivial without the engine and pipe installed but it was actually a very fussy job to get it to work well, look good and not scrape the pipe, drag the ground, etc. It has to clear the foot peg mount, (not installed in this pic) which is why it seems so far from the frame.
 

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jpmobius

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Steering damper (or is it dampener?) installed. You can also see here I have started cleaning up the lower triple.
 

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jpmobius

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Steering lock removed and "patch" welded over. The steering locks are quite pitiful on RD’s (like most bikes) plus I don't have the key!
 

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jpmobius

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DTT BOTM WINNER
Front engine mounts. A lot of the factory frame fab is pretty rough – I welded this over and filed it smooth. Not very noticeable, which is good compared to the noticeably BAD original. Have to be a bit careful not to get carried away and have the frame look obviously custom – just cleaning up the really bad spots. It is a lot of work for a pretty small return – definitely not worth it unless you follow through likewise on the rest of the project, and even then I guess it depends on who you ask! This is much more evident after it is painted and the bike finished – you don’t have some really obvious blemish distracting your eye. I hate spending a bunch of time on say, the engine and then bolt it in to some obvious and easily subdued or eliminated eyesore.
 

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