The Stock Bike

jpmobius

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Making some progress. Sharp eyes will note the polished upper triple. That got changed to another painted black and the polished triple will have to find a home elsewhere! The rear drive hub is masked off because I am going to polish the center and I already painted it. And that chrome ring is a vanity trim for the 500 hub on the side that has no disc. There is quite a bit of time in those fork legs smoothing out all the casting parting lines, and some may notice the missing fender brace mounts. Since I trimmed down the fender, it no longer needs the front braces, so I removed the no longer needed mounts on the front of the fork legs.
 

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jpmobius

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Got the new front wheel built. 19” rim. No idea why the disc is not bolted on in this pic – must have run out of beer! That is a stock RD350 disc with holes drilled in it - sort of an old school pattern, but I didn't want it to look like a modern bike anywhere.
 

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jpmobius

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These bits are ready to go to the chrome shop. I have learned that if you make your parts look like they are already chromed when you take them, you have a much better chance of accepting them when they try to give them back! These are nearly the only chrome parts on the bike aside from the headlight ring and a few other bits here and there. Most everything else is stainless steel.
 

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jpmobius

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Ok, a lot of progress all at once. A lot of this is still a mock up, but quite a few bits are there for good. Lots of stuff I wish I had photographed and detailed, but didn’t. Front end is assembled with tapered rollers and is fairly complete. Engine in. Got the rear wheel assembled. Swing arm is installed – one of the things I really wish I had documented.
 

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jpmobius

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Front mounts have been modified to use 4 12 mm bolts instead of the 2 long 8 mm stock ones. Engine cases are threaded to accept the bolts. Other engine mountings are stock. You can see how the cylinder head mating surfaces have been milled flat in this shot. Stock cylinders have a recess for the copper head gasket.
 

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jpmobius

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This is a fairly good shot of the smoothed out side covers and the right side foot peg and rear brake pedal. This pedal is a bit shorter to match the slight re-positioning of the foot peg. It is also rather a great deal different than the stock piece, as the original goes above the foot peg, while the new one goes below. Making it was a lot like making the side stand – it is a moving part that has to not conflict with anything else, so it is a good deal of trouble constantly re-installing it with everything else in its permanent position to test the operation while making it. It started out as the factory piece, but got bent to fit the new situation and then cut shorter and had the original foot pad welded back on.

The sharp eyed RD gurus will notice a different electrical connector coming from the alternator. The ignition and lighting system is from a Banshee.
 

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jpmobius

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I made up some little stainless bits to clean up the brake mechanism. Wanted to eliminate the spring and visible threads on the actuating rod. The pinch bolt on the crank arm was stripped and I didn't realize it before having it chromed, so I made a little stainless sleeve and fixed it with a bolt and nut rather than making up another one.
 

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jpmobius

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Shifter side. Not much to see here except the smoothed over side cover. The shifter pedal is long per the owner’s request. Actually super easy to make – it is stock (!)– made longer due to the peg being farther back. I find the bike a bit awkward to ride because of it, but not as much as you might think. Also obviously using a temporary side stand.
 

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jpmobius

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Temporary Cylinder heads installed, as well as fenders and controls mocked up. The reliefs bent into the fork brace portion of the front fender for the stock brake lines will have to get flattened out, and the fitment adjusted, but good enough to get an idea. Headlight is a SOHC Honda 750 replica. Notice I have not yet put the screens in the brake backing plate, and you can see the gratuitous “custom brake stay arm” I whittled up out of aluminum. The stock one is heavy, and I thought the “speed holes” balance out the drilled disc nicely. Lots still to do, but coming along!
 

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jpmobius

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So I’m looking at some of these photos from a pretty fresh perspective, having not seen them for some time and it struck me how unattractively dowdy this bike looks in its present form. As a rule I have a mental picture of what whatever I am building will look like when completed, so in the main it does not strike me how unappealing things look along the way. Well it occurred to me that less experienced folks might not easily see past the functional hardware on their own projects and make poor choices making changes or even discarding components like fenders in the name of aesthetics. I thought this bike in this condition was a good example.

With a more objective eye, it really struck me how un-sporty and low performance this bike looks. The bars look really high and wide and out of place, and those fenders! No doubt the contrast of the comparatively bright grey epoxy to the black everything else magnifies the effect, but they sure do look absurdly overlarge, and surely an attractive motorcycle cannot be concocted around them. I can see getting pretty discouraged – hard to keep working enthusiastically when it looks like your grandma should be riding it!

Whether that turns out to be true or not likely depends on who you ask, but I thought it a good thing to consider at this stage. I think the completed bike turned out rather differently than how it looks here, despite the fenders staying exactly the same. A good motorcycle has high performance parts – including high performance fenders. Hopefully these high performance fenders will actually look a bit more high performance in the end. With any luck I will get this thread completed in the next few days – and you can judge for yourself!
 

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Dale

New Member
I guess throwing the tank on will answer a lot of those questions straight away. :)
Great build and beautiful exhausts. They scream 2 stroke performance.
The tank and color scheme will have to be as "performance based" as the motor - what were your ideas regarding those? But yeah, that's my subjective opinion - as you say... :)
Love the details you've got going here.
 

jpmobius

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canyoncarver said:
very clean.
Dale said:
I guess throwing the tank on will answer a lot of those questions straight away. :)
Great build and beautiful exhausts. They scream 2 stroke performance.
The tank and color scheme will have to be as "performance based" as the motor - what were your ideas regarding those? But yeah, that's my subjective opinion - as you say... :)
Love the details you've got going here.
Thanks Guys. Yea, I am quite pleased with the pipes. They are biased a bit toward high rpm power compared to the cylinder porting, but still are pretty practical considering. They fit the aesthetic requirements I had as well mimicking the chrome OEM pipes with the polished stainless, and also have a smoother, more manufactured quality than most of the options. I didn't want a hand made look regardless of the craftsmanship. This bike gets an RD400 tank - totally stock except for the paint and mounts, and a solo very cafe' looking custom seat. There is not really a color scheme but the graphics are the same as a '74 RD350 but scaled a bit differently - trying to retain the OEM flavor. My main point was trying to demonstrate that despite the fairly overwhelming appearance and nearly full size of the fenders now, they will (hopefully) seem much less prominent on the finished bike and their presence does not detract from the overall appearance of the bike - at least that is the goal.
 

jpmobius

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Onward. Fabricated a mounting plate for the electrics out of a piece of scrap aluminum. Not much to it – just a little solid state regulator and CDI box. Rd’s vibrate rather fiercely so I will rubber isolate the whole works.
 

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jpmobius

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Here it is installed. The bottom mounting bolt uses the original mount for the factory side cover, and I made it long enough to double as a stud to mount the cover with a nut. You can also see the rear brake light switch mounted and the long actuating wire/spring I twisted up out of some stainless wire.
 

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Dale

New Member
Nice bracket.
The RD 400 tank will look fantastic...
This is great quality build mobius.
Subscribed. - But I guess it's gonna all be over pretty soon :)
 

Dale

New Member
Btw, is that a bug eye sprite in your avatar? At first I thought it was a triumph TR, then a Healy ... But then saw the plate ?
 
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