Tracker-ish cb550

7aliveatlast7

the bearded hessian
So I bought a ‘76 cb550 a few years ago that came with a titled extra frame. I’ve slowly been gathering parts for it and thought it might be time for a proper build thread. Progress will be slow with a wife and kids that take priority, but I’ll post updates as I’m able to make them.


I scored a nice set of triumph Daytona forks for cheap and wanted to use them on this. Threw on an old xl350 (I think) tank that has been laying around for years, and I’m excited to use it. I also got a wheel setup and swingarm off a cbr500. Here’s how she sat for about a year until the past few days when I grew a wild hair and decided to jump back on this thing.





Lopped the back end off and started to work out a new one. Nothing like a toilet paper prop to get angles just right...





Tacked in. Figured I had to get this part set, angled, and centered so I had something to aim for with the supports underneath.





This is the new support. Nailed the notches even without a tube notcher, but making another to match on the other side has been a pain, haha. I’m super close, but it’s quitting time once the kids are in bed, too loud doing this stuff in the basement!





That’s it for now.
 

7aliveatlast7

the bearded hessian
Bootsey said:
Like that wheel, fork and tank combo - following.
Aussie Steve said:

+ 1

Sent from my SM-A530F using Tapatalk



Thanks for tuning in guys, I appreciate the interest!


I got the second side of my subframe cut to match using a handy little trick. I rubber banded toothpicks all around the support tube and slid them up until they touched the upper frame rail. Once they were all touching, I secured them in place with tape and was left with a perfect template for the notch I needed to cut.








Slid the template down, traced it onto the tube, and viola, the results speak for themselves. I’ll be using this method to cut my compound angle notches from now on.







Next up is the two front supports that will tie into the front of the new frame hoop and the backbone.
 

jordandogtown

Washed up Weekend Warrior
DTT BOTM WINNER
Genius. That would have saved me a ton of "refining" on mine. Definitely writing that one down
 

7aliveatlast7

the bearded hessian
jordandogtown said:
Genius. That would have saved me a ton of "refining" on mine. Definitely writing that one down

I can’t take credit for it, I YouTubed how to notch tube and came across a guy who did this with welding rod. I don’t have any of that, but figured toothpicks would do the same. Those I have haha.
 

canyoncarver

'hacking is learning'
DTT BOTM WINNER
That's a neat trick for the tube notch. I know somebody else will say it but you need to check tire clearance at full shock compression on that straight tail loop. It's a detail that bites many in the butt.
 

7aliveatlast7

the bearded hessian
canyoncarver said:
That's a neat trick for the tube notch. I know somebody else will say it but you need to check tire clearance at full shock compression on that straight tail loop. It's a detail that bites many in the butt.
Yes, I am often in awe of brats, cafes, etc that I see with just a couple inches between the tire and hoop/fender. Sure it looks low and mean, but how the heck are they not slamming on the rear tire? I definitely had that in mind when setting my angles, and I’m still planning on an upsweep on the back to increase clearance, just haven’t done it yet. I think I’m going to end up cutting the back of the hoop off and welding it back on at a steep enough angle to create a pocket for the rear fender to nestle up into. Here’s a little photochop of what I’m thinking. This should give the rear a bit more clearance still.


 

canyoncarver

'hacking is learning'
DTT BOTM WINNER
7aliveatlast7 said:
Yes, I am often in awe of brats, cafes, etc that I see with just a couple inches between the tire and hoop/fender. Sure it looks low and mean, but how the heck are they not slamming on the rear tire? I definitely had that in mind when setting my angles, and I’m still planning on an upsweep on the back to increase clearance, just haven’t done it yet. I think I’m going to end up cutting the back of the hoop off and welding it back on at a steep enough angle to create a pocket for the rear fender to nestle up into. Here’s a little photochop of what I’m thinking. This should give the rear a bit more clearance still.

Good call on the kickup. IMHO they look way better too.

Most of those slammed bikes seem to have the suspension set so stiff it might as well be a hard tail. Either that or they don't really ride them at all and it's for the Instalikes.
 

7aliveatlast7

the bearded hessian
canyoncarver said:
Good call on the kickup. IMHO they look way better too.

Most of those slammed bikes seem to have the suspension set so stiff it might as well be a hard tail. Either that or they don't really ride them at all and it's for the Instalikes.

Haha, yeah, I think the gram has a lot to do with it! I built an xs750 for a guy a couple years back and he would often send me pics of bikes he found on Instagram and ask if we could do something similar. I had to burst his bubble more than once and say yeah, we can do that, but it won’t be rideable anymore haha.
 

7aliveatlast7

the bearded hessian
so updates are taking place at a twice-a-year pace right now, haha. got a rare weekend with nothing going on a saturday, so i started work on my shock mounts. the swinger i'm using is off a monoshock cbr500, but i wanted to keep a more classic look and run twin rears, so modifying the swinger a bit seemed to be the next step. plus i scored a super nice pair of koni's a few months ago for an unbelievable price, so i couldn't wait to use them!
i decided to cut the mounts off of my old cb550 swinger and weld them in place on the cbr arm. thankfully both were made of steel, so that made things easy for a novice welder like myself.
turned out great, with one hitch...you'd think for having done nothing but stare and thoughtfully deliberate how i was going to go about things since march, i would've taken most things into consideration when finally going about the work. wrong, haha. i planned and marked out the shock mount locations perfectly square, straight, and even, only to realize once i mounted it back on the frame with the shocks that the swinger was not manufactured perfectly symmetrical. the left side kicks out a bit more to account for sprocket and chain clearance, i suppose. after staring at it for so long, i cant believe i missed it till today. but once the shocks were mounted, it was a dead giveaway when the top of the right shock was 1" away from the frame, while the left one measured 1 1/2". at least the mounts are only tacked in place!
i also changed my mind on the tank. i've been looking for an dt250/400 tank for a couple years, but they are always much more than i care to pay, or they show up for a decent price when i'm a little tight on my motorcycle budget. anyhow, this one popped up for $80 shipped, and although it was completely covered in surface rust, it is almost perfectly straight, which is pretty rare for any dirt/trail bike. there are two or three very tiny dings that will fix easy. and the surface rust sanded off no problem. i'll get to painting it up at some point.








 

kerryb

Member
Your project is coming along nicely, I feel your pain on the shock mount situation.
I have a question about your swingarm selection. Are you using that swingarm because it goes with the wheel, or is there another benefit to that swingarm over the original one with the frame? It's not too late for me to change mine for a good reason...
 

Attachments

teazer

Well-Known Member
DTT BOTM WINNER
That's a nice long stiff looking swingarm. Just out of idle curiosity, what is the wheelbase now with that fitted?

With modern triple clamps (smaller offset than old bikes) and that long swingarm, it might be "too stable" which is a nice way to say slow to turn. It's worth check before you get too far on with fabrication.
 

irk miller

You've been mostly-dead all day.
DTT BOTM WINNER
To add on to what Teazer is saying, on my CB550 framed 650, I went with a shorter than stock swingarm to accomodate the TL1000r front end. For me the trade off is on how I intend to use the bike. No long distance traveling or long highway interstate miles will be expected. I'll take in on the twisties in the mountains, and mostly around town stuff. I prefer the quicker turning of a shorter wheelbase for those applications.
 

7aliveatlast7

the bearded hessian
Your project is coming along nicely, I feel your pain on the shock mount situation.
I have a question about your swingarm selection. Are you using that swingarm because it goes with the wheel, or is there another benefit to that swingarm over the original one with the frame? It's not too late for me to change mine for a good reason...
Hey man, so sorry for the delayed response! Hope I didn’t catch you too late to make a change if you want to! I’m using this swinger for a few reasons...I wanted something more ridged, also I knew I wanted a more long and low look to this bike, and this swinger is definitely longer than stock. Not sure by how much, though. In my opinion it just evens out the bike visually...more modern, beefier forks, and a more modern, beefier back end.
 

7aliveatlast7

the bearded hessian
That's a nice long stiff looking swingarm. Just out of idle curiosity, what is the wheelbase now with that fitted?

With modern triple clamps (smaller offset than old bikes) and that long swingarm, it might be "too stable" which is a nice way to say slow to turn. It's worth check before you get too far on with fabrication.
To add on to what Teazer is saying, on my CB550 framed 650, I went with a shorter than stock swingarm to accomodate the TL1000r front end. For me the trade off is on how I intend to use the bike. No long distance traveling or long highway interstate miles will be expected. I'll take in on the twisties in the mountains, and mostly around town stuff. I prefer the quicker turning of a shorter wheelbase for those applications.
I am not sure what the difference in wheel base is with the newer front and back end as I got this as a titled frame only. However, I totally understand and agree that it will not be as agile as a stock 550.
 

7aliveatlast7

the bearded hessian
So things stalled for a quite a while again while the hunt started for a lump for this thing. I finally picked one up in pretty decent shape last week for $100! Can’t beat that. I need a motor in frame so I can align the rear wheel/sprocket. Then once those are set, I can finally figure out my shock mount location. I had started to set those, but realized the left lower mount was gonna be super close to the chain, so I’m leaving it go until the motor is in and I know for sure where the chain will be in the mix.

18AE66F7-D8FA-4A8A-986F-6EE7282D0169.png
 

NoRiders

Well-Known Member
Just spotted your build thread.....although slow, it's coming along nicely.

FYI: I also went down the rear subframe flick up route, there are preformed U available with 20* upturn and plugs supplied to suit most subframe diameters. It suited the rear guard style I was after and the seat I planned fitted snugly too. I'm not a fan of the flat seat look tbh.

I have to say, I preferred your first choice of tank...much better lines to suit the look I think you're going for, just my opinion.

Here's a shot of my street tracker thingy.
20181028_103857.jpg

I'll keep an eye out for your updates.
 

7aliveatlast7

the bearded hessian
Just spotted your build thread.....although slow, it's coming along nicely.

FYI: I also went down the rear subframe flick up route, there are preformed U available with 20* upturn and plugs supplied to suit most subframe diameters. It suited the rear guard style I was after and the seat I planned fitted snugly too. I'm not a fan of the flat seat look tbh.

I have to say, I preferred your first choice of tank...much better lines to suit the look I think you're going for, just my opinion.

Here's a shot of my street tracker thingy.
View attachment 224664

I'll keep an eye out for your updates.
I agree on the upswept tail, I’ll be cutting a notch close to the back and bending the rear up, then welding the seam back together. In the past I’ve gone the route of buying a bend that slips on the back of the stock subframe, but I wanted something much more slim than the stock subframe this time around. I bought two 6” radius bends, so that’s an 1”- 1 1/2” more narrow than most subframes.

Yeah, the tank isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I’ve always loved the shape of those Yamaha dt tanks. There’s something wonky about them, but it’s so right in my opinion haha.
 

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