This blog is chronological description of my 78 CB750 chopper project which I began in April 05. SOHC (Single Over Head Cam) CB750 motors were produced by Honda from 1969-1978.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

...the Redux year later I couldn't resist posting some updated pics. I rode the chop most of the 2006 season (April thru October). Did the Myrtle ralley, and the Back Yard Bash Put a couple hunderd miles on the bike on each trip. After the BYB in october I tore the bike down completly for a real paint job. I went with gloss black on the frame and sissy bar. Big thanx to my dad-in-law for hooking me up with that (free is always good!). For the tins I went with a Santa Fe tan and a flame on the tank for accent (vinyl decal). The base coat is rattle can (Duplicolor) with a 2 part clear on top. Total cost was about $50.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The end...

Parting is always such sweet sorrow. Its been almost a year since I started this blog. I don't like blogs that drag on and on, so I think its time to bring this one to a close.

A year ago I started a journey. The journey was as much about filling a void as it was about building a bike. I had just started back to work after having been unemployed for 5 months. With out getting to Froudian, people have different ways of dealing with questions about life, purpose, and selfworth. This project was a part of answering those questions. Building this bike has taught me how to troubleshoot, attention to detail, and above all patience. I hope this is just the beginning of a lifelong relationship with motorsports, restoration and metal fabrication.

Before I close theres a few people I'd like to thank. First to my wife for putting up with gas fumes in the garage, grease under my nails, and countless Ebay purchases. Next to Daryl "The Squirrel" Wayne Locklear for letting me crash at his place when I picked up my bikes, and the last minute calls when I was in a pinch. To all the members of . Thanks for the countless tips, tricks, and processes that allowed me to build my bike. To Louisiana Technical College , specifically Mr. Boone, Mr. Hanson, and Mr. Bill for there patient instruction and advice. And finally to the Almighty for giving me the health, strength, and grace that allows me to persue the things that make life rich.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Day 270

Last time I posted my biggest concerns were carbs and pipes. I was using carbs from my stocker, and the pipes where running a little low. First lets start with carbs. With the carbs from my stocker the chop was running like a champ. However, that could only be a temporary situation as I was rebuilding my stocker at the time, and would eventually need those carbs back so I could get my stocker in good running order. Well, last weekend I road tripped up to Arkansas and picked up a 77 Super Sport from John, AKA Digurchop on the hondachopper web site, .

...heres a pic of the bike... (the one on the right)

So when I got back, I pulled the carbs off the 77 rejetted them, and put them on my chop. While they seemed to have problems on the 77, they run half way decent on the chop. So carb problem solved for now.

On to the pipes...

So the problem here was I was running MAC drag pipes which look great, but don't hug the frame very well, and hince run low to the ground. Probably only 3 or 4 inches clearance. For me, this is a problem for two reasons. #1-I don't want to slow down to 5 miles an hour every time a take a turn. And #2-It just ain't safe! Any bike I get, I want to RIDE!!! And I can't do that if I'm worried about dragging everytime I take a turn. All it takes is one time to lean to far, and this causes the rear tire to hop, and u'r eating asphault. So, what I did was this. I had a set of stock pipes that I had cut short, well, I cut them even shorter. They'r only about 15" long now. The leave the head and stop right at the point the down tube curves to form the bottom railing. Are they loud? You better believe it, but its a chop! Still is not as loud as an HD with stright pipes, so I don't feel to bad.

I havn't even rode it since I put the new pipes on it...had stuff go'n on every day after work. The weather is nice this weekend, so I'll ride some for sure. I'm just starting to scratch the surface of the power of this bike, as I become more comfortable on it. Now maybe its just me, but this motor feels like its get'n up. I'm comparing it to my Sportster 883, and it feels like I have at least that much power. Dare I say more??? No, I don't dare...not til I put it on the street with one.

Sorry about not having pics, the wifey has been back in NC for the holidays. I'll try and get some pics this weekend, and update this post.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Day 253

Its been unseasonable cool in Louisiana the last month, so I'm doing what I can outside. However, I must say I am very pleased with progress. I've probably put 10 miles on the chop in the last few weeks. Just padding around the neiborhood becoming more comfortable on it everytime I ride. She left me stranded the weekend before last due to a failed charging system. Well, after pushing it home and trouble shooting I found the battery wasn't charging. Thought I might have had a bad reg/recifier or stator. Turns out I just did a crappy job of wiring. Straightened that out, and the battery is staying charged with no problems. The wiring is still crappy, but once I feel everything is solid, I'll take a weekend and wire everything up right.

This past weekend I [finally] got my kickstand welded onto the bike. Not a great job, but its mine, and I can say I did it. My biggest concern right now is my exhaust pipes. These are a set of MAC drags I got on the cheap. They are wayyyy to low. Probably only 2 or 3 inches off the ground. Its seriously effecting my ability to lean into turns. I'm going to try turning them out a little bit and see if that gives me the clearance I need.

Carbs are the next issue. The last time I tryed to start it with the set of carbs that I rebuilt, it wouldn't start. So I had to go back to the carbs off my stocker. I think I want to take those apart again (the carbs I rebuilt) and soak the bodies in carb dip and see if that helps. I jetted up to 120's, and the plugs look good, but had a little bit of white on the tips (lean condition), so I'm gonna try 125's.

Got to put a new set of races in the neck. I feel like such a tool! When I put the races in the neck, I thought they were a little tight, so I shaved a little off them to make them easier to drop in. Bad idea! Now when I hit a bump, the neck feels like its about to rip off the frame. Lessen have to bang the races into the neck for a reason.

So thats where I'm at. I'm heading to pick up a 77 750 in Arkansas this weekend. Fighting a cold, so I hope I'm feeling better by then. Gonna spend the night with Senica J. while I'm up there. Its always a good time at his place.


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Quiet spell...

Its been pretty quiet in the shop the last couple of weeks. We were in NC last weekend for Thanxgiving. Maybe I'll get some pics up of that. However the weekend before I put a couple miles on the chop. My next step is rejetting. With the straight pipes and pod filters I need to put larger carb jets to make up for the increased air intake. I've got the jets, and hopfully I'll get that done this afternoon. I also mounted the FZR rear wheel I have. It looks good and I think I'll be able to use it. Its gonna take a litte fab work, but nothing major. New spacers and a brake arm should do it. However for now I'm gonna stick with the spoke rim I have. Maybe I'll get the FZR wheel on before the Mytle Bike Ralley. Also in the middle of changing the head gasket on the stocker. Hopefully I'll have it on the road in another week or so. I also bought a 77 Supersport a few weeks back. Its up in Arkansas waiting for me to pick it up. I'll head up there in a couple of weeks and pick it up. I'll update with some pics ASAP.


Monday, November 14, 2005

Day 224-Maiden Voyage

Yesterday at 1414 hours Central Standard time it happened. I took my chop on its first ride. I think the last time I posted the motor was running, but I had some cylinders that were not firing. So last week I pulled the carbs that I rebuilt and put the carbs from my stocker on the chop. I knew these carbs were good and clean. After putting them on, the bike started with no problems, and ran great on all four cylinders. At this point I just had to get the wiring in some sort of resonable configuration so the bike was actually ridable. Jason came over Saturday and we got the bike off the platform. I bought a battery and charged it overnight. Yesterday I cleaned the wiring up and tood it for a spin. Didn't go far, just around the block, and barely got into 2nd gear. The chain was slapping against the fender when I got over 15 or 20 mph. The motor felt good/smooth, with a little popping out of the #4 carb. I can probably remedy this with the air/idle screw. Front brake is VERY spongy, so I won't be going very far or fast until I bleed the front brake. Turning radius is a concern. The handle bars hit the gas tank pretty quick. My goal for the weekend was to take it for a test ride. I accomplished that so I got no worries. Ground clearance is horrible. I have maybe 2". Dragman from the SOHC board says he has a used set of MAC drags...hopfully I get get'm on the cheap. The MACs should run paralell to the frame and should give me a full 4/5" of clearance. What else? Kickstand, seat and gas tank mounts, forward controls, rear brake, head/brake light wiring, coil mounting...I think u get the idea. Still plenty of work to do, but, its on the road and thats motivation enough to get me through this other stuff.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Day 210

I'm moving forward slowly...but I'm moving forward. So in the last post I was struggling with getting the motor started. Sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees, and thats what I was doing. The goal was to get the motor started, so I said the heck with the electric start and just used the kick start. When I did that she fired right up on the 2nd or 3rd kick. This was Wednesday. As soon as it started it reved up to 4 or 5000 rpm and wouldn't come down. I found that when I assembled the carbs I put the slides in backwards. So I think I'm going to skip welding tonight and knock that out...I'll need to pull the carbs off the rack, so thats about a 3 hour job. Hopfully that will solve my high idle problems.

I also began work on the cutting a slot that will allow the chain to pass through the fender. I should have that wrapped up by the weekend. And of course I'm still waiting on my throttle housing of come back from being fabbed. So more waiting...

Monday, October 24, 2005

Day 204

Spent a long day on Satruday working on the chop. The goal was to get spark at the plugs, and maybe try to start the engine depending how that went. Well, the goal was accomplished...sort of. I spent all day saturday checking and double checking wiring, points, coils, and all points (no pun intended) in between. No luck on saturday, but the day wasn't a complete wash. I also got my carbs mounted, and all associated hardware on my gas tank installed. So I have the tank mounted with gas in it. The shot above is with the carbs mounted. Not a huge accomplishment, but as soon as I get the wiring straightened out, she should be ready to fire up. On Saturday I also put a smaller (42 tooth as opposed to 48 tooth) rear sproket on my stocker. Should give me better gas milage. So yesterday after more troubleshooting on the wiring I found that if I manually break the points contact that I am getting good spark at the plugs. Evedentely whats happening is that [for whatever reason] I am loosing voltage to the coils when the switch is in the "Start" position. Someone said that sometimes automotive switches are set up to kill power to the coils in the start postion because there is a separtate curcuit that provides power to the switch??? At this point I'm just glad I feel like I have a resonable handle on whats going on. A few guys on the hondachop board have said they have had good luck with a Walmart swich, so I may try that. The other option is to use the stock solinoid to wire it up. More to come...but I'm get'n closer!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Day 193 - So close I can smell it!!!

...and it smells good! Got the fender mounted this weekend. Drilled four holes in the swingarm portion of the frame so the fender s good and stable. I had considered using a harley style strut to strenthen it. I want a passenger to be able to sit on the back and I want the fender to support the weight. The fender is pretty hefty (12 gauge steel???) and after mounting it, I'm confident it will hold an average persons weight. Also got my "Po Boy" pipes on it. I plan to wrap them in heat tape at some point...only becuase they look like crap, but I'm not in any rush. Also got the electrics mounted, I'm very proud of this work. I tucked them in nice and neat on the back side of the battery box:

And also mounted the ignition switch. I tinkered with this some more last night, and still have work to do. The starter seems to be engaging in the ON and START postions on the switch. It should only be engaging in the START position, so I have a little more research to do there. Mailed off my throttle sleeve and housing this morning to Jason Held at This guy does awesome billet aluminum work, hes making a set of grips for me that look something like these to the right. Hopfully that won't take more than a few weeks. I'm ready to fire up the engine, but with my throttle housing gone I may have to wait til this one comes back. I may try and pull the housing off my stocker until these come back.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Day 185

Made some awsome progress in the past week. Lets start with the oil lines. I got a set of sweet (don't ask me how much they cost) stainless steel oil lines from . Very pleased with them...even though they are a little pricey, they look 10 times better than black rubber hose. Nots sure if you can tell in the pic to the left, but I'm gonna pull the fittings coming from the oil tank and are brass, and I'v got some aluminum paint that will look good on them.

I think I'm settled on how I'm going to mount the gas tank. I took it with me to welding class last night and welded a U-Bolt to the inside of the tank. I only welded one U-Bolt, so its still not real sturdy. Then it hit me this morning while laying in bead. I'll weld a tab on the end of the tank (right where the seat meets the tank), and use a worm screw/strap to secure the bottom end of the tank.

Did a nice little project in class last week. I added 6 inches of stretch to a stock CB750 swingarm. I'll use this on the stock bike that I'm modifing.

Also big ups to DW Locklear...he won a nice CB750 down in "Hot"lanta, GA...

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Day 177

Greetings from the Red Stick (Baton Rouge is French for Red Baton), traffic capitol of the world! Since the hurricane you can't go anywhere without feeling like your sitting in a parking lot. At any rate, progress is moving right along. Most of it in the form of getting parts I need. Went out today at lunch and went to 4 different places before I found an oil line fitting I needed. So now I should be able to go ahead and mount my oil tank and lines. I also took my triple trees to welding class last night and welded on a tab to mount the front headlight. I also got the rear axle threaded at the machine shop at LTC, in addition to new sprokets and chain. I think I have all major parts ordered and on thier way. Its been tough getting all my stuff in a timely manner. USPS seems to be OK, but UPS is taking close to 10 days for things to get here. Everything seems to go through Jackson, MS and sit for 7 days before it comes to Baton Rouge. The last major piece of the puzzle I need to get is the rear fender. I have a set of HD Softail struts that I hope to modify to fit the frame and fender. I also got my self a badlander softail seat to finish off the saddle area. I'm hoping it will flow nicely with the struts and fender. I think I've settled on a way to mount the gas tank. I think I'll cut off the stock mounting tabs, and weld two U-bolts to the underside of the tank (inside the cutout). I can then just bolt the frame to the backbone. Once I do that, in conjuction with the oil tank being mounted, I should be able to fire this beast up! No reason that should happen in a week or so. Realistically I could see taking my first ride by the end of October. Stay tuned!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Day 170

Where to start? Got alot of little things going on. In the past week I have gotten the gas tank, rear wheel, and headlight. All look good, the pre-77 wheel fits like a glove. The stock axle was too long for the custom frame. I was looking around for a machine shope, but took the axle with me to my welding class at LTC . There is a machine shop next door, and the instructor said he could rethread the axle for me. The gas tank is a king sporty tank for a sportster. I'm still brain storming ideas on how to mount it. I'm not going to worry about it until I get the seat struts and rear fender in place, so they will all line up correctly. I also got a nice little $50 headlight from Custom Chrome (got it off ebay). I also did some wiring this weekend and got the starter to turn over. I didn't go any farther than that, as I don't have an oil tank, and just not oil in the motor. I have stainless steel oil lines on there way in, so once I get those, I can mount the oil tank. I also have to come up with a better wiring setup. Its pretty much bare bones right now. I have to come up with a much cleaner set up.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Day 162

Finally made some real progress this weekend. As you can see in the pic I got the motor mounted on saturday. Called a buddy (thanx Randal) and getting it in was easy money. Way easier than getting the motor in the stock bike. On Thursday of last week I get bolts to mount the motor which worked out great. This particular frame only uses 3 of the 4 mount points on the motor. The upper front mounting holes on the motor are free. I may use these unused mounting holes to secure the forward controls.
My forks also came in on friday...that was a long took UPS 2 weeks to get me those forks (thanx Hurrcaine Katrina!!!). At any rate the front end is together and feels good. I'm not real pleased with the front wheel as its full of rust. While its sound, it looks a little rough (even for a budget chop). Plus wheels are cheap, so I got a bid on one on Ebay as we speak. I also have issues with the front brake caliper. I'm not sure, but I think the caliper I have is for a different model fork, cuz it doesn't see to line up with the disk. I'll need to pull the front end and check that out. Oh, and I also have a rear wheel on the way. The one that mounted now is off the stock 78K, and is off center. I have a pre 77 model wheel/hub that is laced to a harley rim on its way.
I also got started on the wiring yesteray. Just got all the tape off the stock harness, and got things laid out. Was gonna try to keep everything entact, but it was just way to cluttered, so I chopped off just what I needed, and I'll wire it from stratch.
So, got lots to do now. Not even gonna try and guess when I could have the motor running, not close enough yet, so I'll keep you posted. Cheers!!!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Day 155

It has been a sad week in Louisiana. The hurricane hit today a week ago. Words can't describe the pain and devistation survivors displaced by the storm have felt, and the helplessness and frustration I have felt. Erica and myself fared pretty well, we only lost power for most of Monday. Things have finally started to look the they have turned a corner the last few days, but there is alot of work ahead. With all the devistation I feel reluctant to even give an update on my project. It all seems pretty insignificant in relation to other events of the week. I had hoped to have the frame on wheels and the motor in the bike by now. But the storm held up the set of forks I had on its way in, and I still have yet to receive them. I also have a bro from hondachop sending me a pre 77 rear hub. I hope this will work OK for the rear wheel. Things should move pretty quick when I get the forks in. I finished up grinding on the neck, so the triple tress are greased, and in place, I just need to slide the forks in and tighten everything down.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Day 142

Its been a week or so, so thought I’d post an update. Not a whole lot to tell. I have secured a set of 6/7 over forks which should be on there way to me as I write this. I bought them from a bro on the Honda chopper site. No luck with finding a rear wheel this weekend. I left for the salvage yard at Rad Cycles ( ) Saturday morning with the goal of returning with a rear wheel. I had all the measurements from the frame, however I never found anything that looked like it would fit. I was gonna give an FZR rear wheel a try, but after hearing how much they wanted for it ($300) I thought better of it. Either way, my goal is to have the motor in this weekend. I hope to have the forks mounted this weekend, and I can mount the 750K rear wheel I have just for mock up. If I get the motor in, I can start wiring the motor.

Also, I'm starting my welding class tonight. I'll let u know how that goes next time I post.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Day 131

Wanted to get a quick update in before the weekend sneaks up on me. Got my parents in town and I'm going down to Florida for a little R/R this weekend. So here is where we are. Spent all day last Saturday getting the frame and oil tank primed up:

...this is with the etching primer on it...I put a coat of El Cheapo flat black on it just so it looks a little better. I also did a quick mock up:

...I know...looks pretty crappy, but you get the idea. The lines are what I wanted. With the forks slid down in the triple trees I figure I need about 6 over forks. I have a lead on a set from a guy off Hondachop, so we'll see if that pans out.

As far as the neck goes I think I solved my problem. If you recall the diameter of the neck was to large for the dust cover. So I used my angle grinder to take about 1/8 of an inch off the top of the neck...heres a pic:

I was pretty proud of myself with this. The dust cover fits nice and slug over the neck now. I ordered a set of aftermarket sealed bearings for the neck. Hopfully they will be here today or tomorrow. I'm hoping they come today, I'd like to bolt it up tonight and see how it fits. Just checked and they left Illinois yesterday at I'll keep my fingers crossed.

So the rear wheel situation is pretty dyer. If you recall problem #1 was my axle did not fit the holes in the frame. Well the problem there was the axle holes are 3/4 inch, and the stock Honda axle is 22mm (or was it 20?). At any rate the axle is slightly larger than 3/4". The was a pretty easy fix. About 20min of grinding with my Dremel fixed the frame right up and I was able to get the axle through. So now I can bolt up my stock CB750K wheel. Well, with it all bolted up the wheel is off center by about an inch! In the immortal words of Goose to Maverick in Top Gun, "This is not good Mav!" Turns out the stock Honda hub is just to wide for frame. A fellow chopperhead on Hondachop has a cycleone frame, and he went throught the same thing. He says he has rear wheel from a CM400 that he is using that fits like a glove. So I'm working on two fronts now. One if I can find a CM400 wheel, the other is to use a sport bike wheel. I originally wanted to go with a sport bike rear wheel, but was concerned about how much work it would be to make it fit. Since it looks like I'm gonna to have to do some fabrication any, I might as well go with what I want. I won't be able to do it this weekend, but I plan on going out to Rad Cycles ( ) , they have a pretty robust bone yard with a ton of wrecked sport bikes. I have all the measurements in hand and if I can find something that will work, I'll give it a try. So all in all, I'm pleased, still running into problems, but nothing I havn't been able to solve.


Friday, August 05, 2005

Day 125

Sup all! Two thing to report. First I started making some motifications to my stock frame for a future bobber project. I'm using this web site, as a reference. I'm taking a welding class as the local techincal college, and hope to work on the project there.

From here I want continue with the downward angle of the backbone. This will allow the rider to side about 6 inches lower than normal. I'll keep you updated.

Second, my frame came in yesterday, and I got a chance to check things out. Two problems. One is the rear axle is to big for the axle holes in the frame. Its not off by much. I've emailed cycleone to get there take on it. The frame should have been machined for this axle, so not sure whats up. Either way, I think its close enough that I can grind it down and make it fit. Next is the neck. The triple trees don't seem to fit right in the neck. I'm using the stock ball bearings, and I'm hoping the neck is machined for aftermarket races...that will be an easy fix...$40 for the new races. I've emailed cycle one on both issues and hope to hear somthing today. I don't think either of these is a show stopper. Tommorrow I plan on priming the frame. Gonna go with a good etching primer as a base, then Walley World flat black sanded to a smooth finish. Cheers!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Day 120

Greetings from chopper land. I have an update on my last post. I found where my the electrical system was shorting out at. When I put the engine back in the stock bike about 6 weeks ago, I did not put the front drove sproket back on because I'm a lazy bastard. On the CB750 theres a nice fat bundle of wires that comes out of the gear shift cover, right by the front sproket. Well, without the sproket cover on, this allowed that bundle of wires to rub against the sproket and chain. I was fiddling around that area earlier in the week, and that nice bundle of wires was rubbed raw. One of the wires was about 90% worn through. This speaks to a much larger facet of my personality. Ok, I know this is getting deep, but its Friday at 4pm and I need to kill 30 minutes, so here it goes. I'm the type of person that has to see it, and understand it to believe it. Example, when was little I used to love to jump on the back of my dads van as he was pulling down the driveway. He'd tell me not to do it, but I'd run up behind the van after picking up the newpaper everyevening after school, and as he would pull down the driveway to our house (about 100ft or so) I'd run up to the van then jump on the latter that was on the back (you remember the 80's style vans with the latter on back). Anyway one day I ran and jumped on the back, lost my footing (probably cuz dad stomped the gas), got drug about 20 foot, then made a split second decision to let go cuz I didn't want my dad to know he was right, then as I let go I tumbled and rolled another 10 feet. Anyway, point being I have to internalize something before I will abide by it...and more so than others. This carried over into my young adulthood. I remember in the Army my drill seargent told us to pack gloves one morning when we had a road march. It seemed warm enough out and I didn't see the need for gloves. Well, after almost getting frostbite from cold hands and being miserable on a 3 hour march...I never forgot my gloves again. And now as a mechanic we see the same thing. I knew the front sproket cover need to be put back on, but I didn't see a good reason (other than it looks nice) for it to be on. Well, after being stranded 30 miles from home and having to call my wife to come pick me and the bike up...I'll never neglect to put a front sproket cover off again.

In other news, I got an email from cycle one yesterday, and my frame is on the way (see left). Only problem was it does not have the drop seat that I wanted. Rather than wait for them to fix it, I just told them to refund me the $50 I paid for it and get that puppy in the mail. Should be here in about a week.

Frame Specs: 6 up, 4 out, 40 degree rake

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Day 111

So I decide to go out for an excursion in the Louisiana back roads on Saturday. I'm cruise'n along and out of nowhere, Bam! She dies. No lights, no nothing. Within a minute or so, I think, this must be a fuse. Sure enought I remove the side cover and the main fuse is blown. So I replace it and she fires right up! So I'm think'n wow, that was easy. So off I go again and in about 100ft BOOM! Shes dead again. So I go through this another time or two and run out of fuses. So I call up the Wifey to come pick us up. So I spend Sunday troubleshooting this. The 78 CB750 3 fuses, the main fuse, and a headlight and taillight fuse. When removed the head and taillight fuse it seemed to run OK, at lease down the road and back (about a mile). At any rate I'm not sure what this tells me. Ususally when u blow a fuse that means you have a short somewhere. The only thing I could find was a frayed wire on the clutch sensor. So I cleaned that up, and it ran OK with all the fuses in. Monday I rode it for about 10 miles, 5 of it in the rain (that hasn't happened in a long time). So I'm hoping the clutch sensor was where the short was located. I guess the true test will be another 50+ mile trip to really get the motor up to operating temperature and see how the wiring performs.

Got an email from CycleOne last week, saying my frame should be ready this week, no word yet. Either way I'm hope it will be here next week, or the first of August.


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Day 104

Finished the paint on my stocker, and I'm very pleased. Looks so good I'm actually considering doing the chop myself..but we'll see. Here is before...
and after...

No word on my frame yet...

Friday, July 08, 2005

Day 98

Finished the paint on my gas tank yesterday, heres a pic...

Not bad for $40 worth of suppies...won't go into how much time it takes. Suffice it to say if you'r time is worth anything to you, just pay someone else to do it. At any rate I am pleased. I'll know out the side covers and rear faring now.

Still waiting on the frame, no word yet, but should be hearing something in the next couple weeks. In the mean time, I have a new head gasket and from break setup on the way.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

What does it mean...

What does it mean to be a biker? Does it mean anything at all? I have road some type of 2 or 3 wheeled motor vehicle since I was 12 or 13 years old. That doesn't define me, but I think it does say something about me. What does it mean to be a biker, and does it matter what you ride? Are there inherant differences in someone who rides a CBR and another who rides a Harley? Or is there some common bond between the two, that when stripped down to its bear essence the two can stand on some sort of common ground.

I think there is a natural evolution to motorcycling that everyone will evolve to if they ride long enough. The last evolution is that of the chopper, or the custom bike if you will. It is not bound by the constraints of stretch or rake, but only by the riders imagination. The desire to sit back meditate on what one wants in a motorcycle, and then build it for themselves. Not so much the physical act of building it, but the act of building what you want, what is asthetically pleasing to you and no one else.

I think I was searching all those years. Don't get me wrong...I've loved all the bikes I've rode. Nothing can beat the power of the CBR I rode for 3 years. Nothing coming off the line and pushing 135mph in a 1/4 mile. And I have great memories on my Harley. Honestly I think my honda chop will be the best of both worlds. The power and acceleration of a sport bike, and the stance and attitude of a cruiser.

At the heart of it I think I love these bikes (SOHC's), because they are what Harleys used to be. In the 60's & 70's Harleys were a novelty. Not a lot of people rode them, and there wasn't a dealership on every corner. When you wanted to work on it, you had to scrimp/scrap, beg-borrow and steal for parts. Thats how it is with these SOHC's. Now-a-days everybody has a harley. Their not the exception, they are the rule. If you need parts and you are lucky you'll find the parts at your Honda dealer, but more times than not it means wading through Ebay or contacting other folks who ride.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Day 88

...quick update...finished the last coat of clear this weekend...

I will be in NC for the 4th, so I'll let the clear coat cure over the holiday. Then I'll be ready for wet sanding with 1500 grit sand paper and polishing. Also pulled the head on my donor motor yesterday so I can change out the head gasket.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Day 81

This past weekend, I finished stripping the gas tank and got primer and paint on it...

done stripping...



The tank is still in pretty bad shape. Whats left is clear coat, lots of sanding, then buff and polish. The process is this:

-First I will put 3 or 4 coats of clear coat on (hope to do that today) and let that cure for a couple days.

-Next I will get 1500 grit sand paper and wet sand (water + detergent for lather) the tank to a nice even dull sheen.

-After the sanding there is special compound used to remove 1500 grit sanding. This will be polished on and should give it that "wet" look.

-Final step is a few passes with a buffing pad.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Day 74

...well, I have some time to kill while my frame is being made, so I think I'll put a new paint job on the stocker. I got started yesterday by stripping the tank. Was going to use paint stripper, but some cheap abrasive pads from Harbor Freight seem to be doing the trick OK. Heres where I got started on the tank:

This is my first forey into the world of paint. The paint is pretty crappy on the stocker, so it will be good practice. After stripping, I'll give it a good sanding, then primer and more sanding, then it will be ready for paint. More to come...

more done today...

Monday, June 13, 2005

Day 73

Its been a while, so thought I give an update. I think the last time I posted, I was having carb woes with the rebuilt K model engine. The problem with the carbs was, I had not cleaned a little peice called the man jet. While its little, its a very imortant peice for the carbs. By the time I figured out this was the problem, I had already started removing the K motor from the stock frame. I removed the K and put the F back in. My logic goes like this. Basically I want to ride. I had reached my limit on trying to figure out why I couldn't get the K motor going, so thats when I decided lets put the F back in, go ahead and order u'r frame (more on that later) and u can trouble shoot this badboy in the frame after it comes. Even if I would have gotten the motor running in the stocker, it will have to be retuned in the frame once it gets here.

So more on the frame. It from from CycleOne ( ) The specs are as follows: 4" in the down tube, 6" in the backbone, drop seat, and custom oil tank/battery box. Oh, and a nice curve in the down tube. I think this is gonna be bad a$$, and just the street fighter look I'm go'n for. I have funds on the way, so it will be another week before I can get funds to CycleOne, then about an 8 week wait, so I hope to have it in-shop by labor day, then the fun begins!!!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Day 66

Its been a tough last couple of is where I'm at. Got the original K all put back together, but the carbs refuse to cooperate. I could only get the F model carbs to run on the engine on full choke...the K carbs won't do anything. Also I failed to change the head gasket when I put the K head on the motor, and as such I'm got crazy oil leaks. So after a week of wrench'n I've decide to put the F motor back in the stocker. Reason #1 is I want to ride...its been over 3 weeks since I've rode any, and I'm getting ansie. #2 is it time to get the frame, so I'll just remove the K motor, change the head gasket, then tune it in the chopper frame when I get it. No use wasting time tuning it in the stock, when I could be riding the stocker and tunning the other bike in the chopper. Are you thouroghly confused now?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Day 61

It has been a tough last few days. Since I replace the F head, with the K had I have had nothing but problems. I think the motor is OK, but the problem is with the carbs. I'v spent the last 4 days cleaning and recleaning the carbs and can get the motor to do nothing. I'm really being tested right now, but this is was separates the men from the boys. Most people would just throw in the towel at this point, but this is just a small part of the journey. I'll keep working at it til I find the problem. I think its just a matter of properly cleaning the carbs. If all else fails, I buy a set of cleaned carbs.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Day 55

Chopper gods have been kind the last 2 days, I have got lots accomplished. Monday, went from motor fully install and running in the bike to out of the bike sitting on the floor in the span of about 3 hours. Oh, and managed to wash my truck too! Then yesterday, I had a marathon "head-o-thon". Pulled off the F head/cam. Pulled the springs/valves from the F head. Would not have pulled the vavles only I need the valve seals from the K head. Assembled the K head; seated it and bolted down the K head/cylinders and mounted the cam. I went steady from 5 until 9 last night. Did manage to stop for about an hour for dinner with the OL, and a scrap wood run. That is another post, but I'm collecting wood for a bike platform.

So this afternoon I'll mount the rockers, and set the valve clearance, and she'll be ready to go back into the bike. All I wanna do is check the compression on this puppy. It was anemic with the F head showing only 80psi. With the stock K head back on she should be 150+.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Day 53 - Its Alive!!!

Very good weekend, with slightly mixed results. First things first, I got the motor running and put about 50 miles on it this weekend. Got the motor in on Wednesday, got everything hooked up Thursday/Friday, and Friday night, she came to life. Was farely easy to get the motor running. After everything was hooked up and ready to go I was not getting any spark at the plugs. I think this was due to miswiring of the points. I swapped out the points from the F model engine and she fired right up. Couple of concerns/issues:

#1 - Compression is horrible. Its no secret why though. If you remember I put an F model head on a K motor. The F model has domed pistons, and a larger compression chamber in the head to compensate for the domed pistons. The K model has regular/flat pistons, combine this with the F head which makes for more space in the compression chamber. In the end what this means is lower compression, about half what it should be. I did a compression check yesterday and got about 80psi, it should be 150+ on a freshly rebuit topend.

#2 - Leaky valve cover. Not sure about this, but I think this also has to do with the F model head. I cranked the valve cover down, even pounded on it with the empact wrench, and it still leaks. I think there are slight differences in the valve covers that causing them to leak.

So whats the verdict? All in all I'd give the motor 1 thump up and one thumb down. I think the motor is solid, and I could go put 20,000 miles on it, but the lose of power is significant enough for me to conclude the F head is simply not a good idea. I'll find a K head and install that in place of the F head.

All is not lost though. This was my first rebuild and an excellent experience. Other than a few problems I didn't run into anything I can't handle. From here as I said I'll replace the head on the donor motor. I'm also going to put new rings/gaskets in the F motor. Right now my time frame for purchasing my chopper frame is after the July 4th holiday...then the real fun begins!!!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Day 46 - Finished Motor

Six weeks into this adventure I have finished the rebuilding of the donor motor. The latter part of last week I cleaned up the the head and got the valves and springs back in. I did run into a little problem with the head. After cleaning it up I inserted spark plugs into it and found one of the plug holes had some slightly stripped thread about half way down. After looking everywhere for a M12 X 1.25 tap and coming up empty handed, I used some "Lumbee" engineering and used my Dremel to cut 3 gouges in an old spark plug. After running that in and out of the plug holes a few times it was good to go. I spend the weekend bolting down the heads/jugs and mounting the cam, rockers and setting the valve clearance. Heres the finished product...

Now the plan is to remove the motor from my 78F stocker and replace it with this rebuilt motor. I'll drain the oil and start prepping the motor for removal this afternoon. I'm hoping it will be ready to be taken out Wednesday or Thursday, and maybe I can have the newly rebuilt motor purring by the weekend!!!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Day 42 - Cleaning heads...again...

So hopfully my ongoing "head" saga is coming to an end. As you know from former posts I have a bad valve guide on my donor motor head. So Alan, a guy off sent me an F model head, valve train and all for nothing! I mean, he wouldn't even let me pay him for shipping. I'll pay it forward to the next cat that needs a part. Anyway I got that UPS, got the valves/springs out of it the same day. Cleaned it up good yesterday, and will hopfully get all the valves cleaned up this evening. Hope to have it reassembled by the weekend. Had some concerns about swapping the K motor with my F motor in my stock bike. But looks like its an even worries. Maybe get the donor motor assembled by Sunday. Then I'll start work'n on getting the F motor out of the stocker next week.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Day 39

Quick update...

- On saturday got juggs (lower end) on donor motor.

- Rode up to New Orleans and hung with Bud. Very cool guy...lives in a warehouse and has 8 CB750's, all stock and cafe racers.

-Changed plugs in stock 750SS and was amazed at the increase in power.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Day 36 - Bad valve guide

The last few weeks all I've been doing is cleaning up the head and jugs. I got all my parts I was waiting on this week - complete gasket set and piston rings. Got the rings on last night with no problems. Now to the head. Last week, while cleaning up the head I found a chipped valve guide. The is the small cylinder that the valve runs through. I had two choices. One was to just fix the SOB. This would cost about 200 bills, thats including having the honda place replace and ream the new valve guide. The other was to just say F' it and put the head back together and just hope for the best. I don't think this was as risky as it sounds. I had pretty much made up my mind I wasn't spend'n $200 to fix it...not when their are complete donor bikes out there for that much. Besides, the chip in the valve was pretty small, and the valve still seated OK, so I think I would have been OK with it. However, you are taking a change, and u never know when u'r barreling down the interstate at 80 mph when u'r gonna here a "POP!" and there goes u'r engine. I posted this on and a brother in Texas has a complete head hes gonna give me for shipping. So for $20 its worth the peice of mind. The only concern I have is this head is for an F model, whereas the motor I'm rebuilding is a K model. There were some slight differences, but the guys on hondachop seem to feel it will work OK, so thats what I'm go'n with. At least I'm gonna give it a try. The head should be here middle of next week. I'll get my jugs on this weekend, and maybe I can have the thing put together by next weekend.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Day 35 - Rear wheel woes...

I'm really wavering on the route I want to take with my rear wheel setup. Here is the delema. I have two options with what to do with my rear wheel (really three), either the stock Honda CB750 wheel or a wider tire in the 175-200cm range. Option 1 is the cheapest and easiest route. That is to simply use a stock honda CB rear wheel. These wheels are plentiful and cheap. The DesignCycle frame I'm planning on using will accept this wheel with no problems. Options 2/3 are to go with a wide tire rear wheel setup. This is purly asthetic, but gives the bike a hard edge like no skinny/whimpy wheel can. Of the wide tire options are using a Harley Davidson (HD) setup or a metric sport bike wheel. If I go with an HD wheel, the setup is pretty easy and I simply make sure DesignCycle knows I want to go with a wide tire and they will deliver the appropriate frame to handle it. The problem here is cost. An HD wide tire setup will be in the 500-700 dollar range. Ouch!!! Thats the whole reason I got into metric bikes, the parts are cheap. Even looking for stuff on Ebay I'm still in the 500+ range. The cheap wide tire option is to go with a sport bike wheel. This would be somthing like a CBR or Yamaha R1/6 wheel and tire. These are resonable plentiful and can be aquired for around $200 on Ebay. The challenge here is application. The wheels and brakes don't just bolt on out of the box. While the wheels are plentiful all the little washers/parts and axles are not. There are alot of the wheels on Ebay because guys replace there stock wheels with customs. So when they go to sell them, thats all u get is the don't get the other stuff you need to run/mount the wheel.

The more I think about it the more I think I will go the KISS (keep it simple stupid!) route and use the stock honda wheels. Success is important in a project like this. I'm already starting to feel the pressure of the build just with the problems I've ran into with the motor (bad valve guide). Its important that I complete this project. I hope this will not be the only project I will ever do. So I think its important to be realistic and stay within my budget goals for this project. Once I get through this one, I can sell it on ebay an tackle a new project next year and challenge myself a little more next time. And the beat goes on...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Day 33-Waiting on parts

...patiently waiting on parts. Everything is on order, and if I'm lucky will be here by the weekend. I'm just hoping I can get my gaskets in this week. If I can get the gaskets in, I can put the head back together. Hopfully my search for an exhaust valve is over. I noticed some CB750 stuff for sale on Ebay from a guy in New Orleans. I sent him an email and this guy has like 8 CB750s! No choppers...all stockers and Cafe Racers. Anyway, I sent him an email and he says he thinks he has an exhaust valve that will work. I'm planning on rolling up there Saturday. I'm anxious to check out his collection too.

So all the time off has given me time to work on my polishing skills. I was just planning on cleaning the aluminum up nice, but then I see this on Ebay:,1&item=4545643998

Oh my God! I didn't know aluminum could look that good. So I'm think'n minds gotta look like that. I pulled by gear cover and stator cover off and went to work with my dremel tool. Well, I found out real quick the dremel tool just ain't cut'n it. It does a good job, but it just doesn't have the surface coverage...would take months just to do the gear cover. I went out this weekend and bought a 10,000 RPM grider/buffer. This sped this up enormously. Heres some pics of progress:

This is before using the dremel: with the grinder/polisher:

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Day 27-The DMV...

...well good news with regard to titles. I was think'n I was going to have to do an international title search and get an act of congress to title these bikes. While I had the titles I did not have anything notorized. It turns out since the titles are from Virginia I don't have to have anything notorized since Virginia is not a notory state (what ever that means). It wasn't completly painless, 2 1/2 hours at the DMV and a "Double Tax" since I didn't have a bill of sale. But I got out of there with two titles and one lisense plate for $ I ain't complaining.

On the rebuild front I placed orders for a complete gasket set and one set of piston rings. I'm suspect about the piston rings, so I just ordered one. If its the right one, I'll order the other 3. Got a couple contacts in Louisiana that I may be able to get an exhaust valve from, so still researching that.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Day 25

Spent the weekend cleaning the heads, cylinders and pistons real good. If you remember last weekend I checked the compression and had zero compression on cylinder #3. Well, I found out real quick what the problem was there. The exhaust valve on cylinder #3 was bent...enough so that I was not getting a proper seal in the cylinder. Actually it was a severe enough bend that I had to cut the top off the valve to get it out of the head.

I also completely stripped the head and cylinder, and dipped them and cleaner. Alos cleaned up the pistons and removed the rings. One of the piston rings in cylinder #3 was corroded into the piston, but managed to get it out and get it cleaned up. Here are some pics...

...the head...

...the cylinder...


So now I'm ready for reassembly. The things I need before I can begin reassembly are a gasket set, a new valve to replace the one that was bent, and piston rings.

Also have been working diligently on polishing up the valve, stator, and gear covers. I'll post some pics ASAP.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Day 22-Head is off...

I was pretty proud of myself yesterday. After about 2 1/2 hours of work I got the cam and head off of the donor motor. Was fairly straight forward had a stuck bolt on the cam that gave me a little scare. It was in an odd spot, and I thought I had stripped it, but I was able to get to it with a pair of channel locks. Also the manual wasn't great about showing where all the bolts were keeping the head on, so I muttled around with trying to get the head off for a while until I found all the bolts.

When I pulled the head off I was surprised at how bad the inside looked. Alot of gunk and sludge all on top of the pistons and valves. Not sure if there is any serious damage or not. I hope to find that out this weekend. I'm think'n I'll pull the cylinder out and completely tear the head apart. Clean all that up, and if everything looks OK figure out where I want to go from there. Basically sounds like I'm back to the original plan I laid out on Day 18 (at the very least). I'm hoping all looks solid below the cylinder...lets keep our fingers crossed...

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Day 21-Bad valve???

So I finally get a decent Compression Tester (the one from harbor freight didn't fit) and tested compression on the motor. Cylinders 1,2 & 4 are good, all at around 120psi. However, cylinder 3 has zero compression. I mean none...nada, needle does not even flicker when I kick the engine. I bounced this off a couple people and it sounds like it might be a bad valve. This afternoon I hope to get the head off, then I can check out the valves and see whats go'n on.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Day 19-Rethinking the engine... now I'm questioning the plan I laid out in yesterdays post. I posted my plan of overhauling the top end of the engine on and folks responded saying to check the compression first, and if its OK don't waste the time doing the overhaul. I take the doctors oath which is "Do no Harm", so I'll get a compression tester today and check it out this afternoon. I should have checked the compression when the motor was in the bike still, but failed to do so. There is a part of me that wants to do the engine work, just to say I've done it...however I need to stay focused on the end task, which is a chop. I'll have plenty of time to tear an engine down in the future, no reason to do it now if I don't need to...and risk screwing something up.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Day 18-The plan...

Pretty cool last couple of days. Put about 40 miles on the stock 78 CB750 on Saturday. She ran like a dream. Stretched the motor out for about 10 or 15 miles over 70mph with no problems at all. Spent yesterday tightening up the cam chain tensioner. Had some knocking coming from the engine, so thought I'd go through the process of tightening the chain for maintanance sake, and just to say I'v done it. However, the engine noise did not change any after I was done. From what I gather these motors are pretty noisy, so I think its typical.

I've made a decision on how much work I want to do with the project motor. After much deliberating and question asking, and taking into consideration my skill level, I have decided to just do the top end of the bike. This will include, new head/valve cover gaskets, new rings, valve adjustment, and possibly a new Cam Chain. I'm fairly confident I can do all these tasks myself (with the assistance of the manual of course) and this will keep $$$ to a minimum...I'm hoping under a $200. After the engine work I plan on removing the motor from the stock bike (which I want to clean up anyway) and putting the project motor in and putting miles on it to tune it. At that point once I feel confident the motor is solid it will be ready for mock up in the chopper. And the saga continues....

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Day14-Engine is out

This was a pretty painless process. Had plenty of help though, so that made it easy.

...and couldn't resist pulling the valve cover off to check out the innerts...

So now I'm at the point of trying to decide how far I want to go with the rebuild. At one side of the pole I can just do the top end...gasgets, valve job, ect. At the other end of the poles is a complete overhaul. The disadvantages with a complete overhaul are $$$ and the chance of screwing things up if I try and do it myself. Right now I'm really leaning toward just doing the top end. I feel fairly confident I could do that. Considering this is my first build, and I'v never done anything more than change my oil, I think that would be quite an accomplishment.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Day 12

Been cleaning carbs and preping the motor in the donor bike for removal from the frame. Learned a good lesson while cleaning the carbs. I bought some "non-corrosive" cleaning agent from walmart. Basically I want to dip the carbs and just let them soak overnight. After about 3 hours in he this suff they started to blister. I think they are still workable.

In removing the crankcase cover I ran into a stripped screw. Used "screw remover bit", also known as an "easy out" to remove it. I was pretty proud of myself on accomplishing that. Removed the front spocket cover and took the chain off. I think the motor is ready to come out now, just got to coordinate some help to get it out and up on a table.

Titles to the bikes should be in any day now. However this is gonna be a problem cuz they are NC titles. To transfer them to Louisiana I need a notorized tite or bill of sale...neither of which I have. I'm gonna see if I can get a local notory to hook me up. If not then I'll try and get the guy I bought them from to send me a notorized bill of sale.

Talked with Kate from CycleOne last night. This is the place up in Canada I'm planning on buying my frame from. I think I may go with a 5.5 inch Harley rear wheel. Think I can get one off ebay for under $200. Kate has the best Canandian accent...eyy?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Day 5 - Man thats a sweet sound!!!

Got to work early so I can get home by 5pm. My goal is to get this bad boy to fire before bed time. First check out the plugs and compression. Plugs got good spark...compression feels good. Next, disconnect the fuel line...fuel is flowing out of the petcock at a good clip. Next the carbs. I blow on the tubes go'n into the carbs. I can't force any air through. I pull off the airbox and carbs. Don't do anything special to the carbs, just move things around...and finally I can move air through them by blowing into the fuel intake tube. Reassmeble everything...bam!!! Shes fires up. Man thats a sweet sound!!!

Day 3 - The pickup we are at day 7. Last weekend was a bear. I did a world wind tour of the South East to pick up the bikes I won off ebay. Took a 1/2 day off work and left Baton Rouge at around 11am CST. Had been worried about the weather all week, and though it wasn't bad when I left BR, I ran into ran at about hour 5 or 6 before I got into Atlanta. Not to mention the check engine light on my little '95 Nissan truck I bought about a month ago is coming on and giving me greif. After a long night I pull into Charlotte at about 2am. I'v got a cousin there, so I crash at his place for the weekend.

Up at 9am on Saturday. I'm depending on directions I got off Yahoo to find this guys place so I can pick up the bikes. Yahoo says its about an hour from my cousins place in Moresville, NC. Fast forward 3 hours and I'm sitting in this guys yard somewhere on Lake Norman. Hes not home and his adolesent son says he'll try and get him on his cell. Kid comes out of the house 30 minutes later and says to follow him...the bikes aren't there, there at somebody elses house. Why am I not surprised? So I follow this kid to a church where the kids dad is doing a constructon job. The kids dad is not there, but he hads me off to the dude that has the bikes at his place. So I follow him another 30 minutes out of Mooresville to a Modile home, and sure enough there they are strapped to the back of a 12ft flat bed trailer.

Me and "haus" get the bikes in to the back of my truck. Pull my back out doing was making me do all the heavy lifting...there my bikes...I guess he has a point. So I leave there and have to meet another guy who has the keys and titles. He has the keys, but his dad has the titles in his truck. After trying to get a hold of his dad on his cell for 15 minutes we decide they will mail me the titles so I can be on my way.

Up at 4am Sunday morning for the treck back to Louisiana. It took 14 hours to get to NC...and I extimate is will take about 16 to make it back. The truck can pull the weight of the bikes OK. However having the bikes straped in the bed of the truck makes the truck real top heavy, and going faster than 55mph would put me in a fatal speed wobble.
I pull in to Baton Rouge at 7pm. Success!

Friday, April 01, 2005

Day 1 - In the beginning...

...actually its not day one, this has been in the works for the past 6 months or so. I've ridden some type of motorcycle since I was 12 years old (bigs ups to DW Locklear). CBR and Sportser about 5 years back. So I'm just like every other idiot sitting around watching OCC on discovery channel thinking "Cool, I'd love to do this!" Then you look at the prices and say..."How much for a big twin motor?" So I come across this site . OK, I can do this...I'm reasonably mechanically inclined, and OK, I could part with 3 grand for one of these. So fast forward 6 months and here I am. I won 2 78 CB750's off ebay, and taking a half day off work to drive and get them over a long weekend. Stay tuned...

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