Thursday, 25 October 2012

Let there be light!

A while ago I picked up an old side light from Newark auto jumble, it cost £1.50 with the lens and still had the original bulb holder inside. I decided it should go on the BMW. The only problem was that it was a side light and I needed a stop and tail light. I stripped the old bulb holder from the original CB-1 rear light and cut off all the extra metal so that it would fit inside the side light. The bulb holder fitted straight into the holder of the side light without any modification.

I went to the Stafford classic bike show and found a rear mudguard/fender for £5 which cleaned up well, had tabs underneath to attach the wiring and fitted perfectly! I have managed to fit the light and hide the wiring under the mudguard.
I was loaned the single seat but it's time to give it back so after a lot of internet searching for the right seat for the bike I settled on a pattern Police seat from Motorworks, no bargains to be had here, but it is very well padded and hopefully will be comfortable on long journeys!

I am struggling to find a set of 4 indicators that look the part, most modern ones look too modern and will not look right next to the old rear light, old indicators are far too big and when I do find some that look ok they cost £50 for 2!! My search continues......

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Round headlight

I have finally had some time to work on the R80 after too much work and a nice relaxing motorcycle tour of Spain and France in September.

The first thing to go was the square headlight! Over the summer I bought a head light and brackets from Ebay for a reasonably cheap price. While I was stripping the front end down I fitted new fork seals, progressive springs and gaiters. Fitting the headlight bowl needed a lot of re-routing and tidying up of the dodgy wiring bodges the previous owners had inflicted on the bike.

 I then fitted some nice new black handle bars and brown grips which seem to work quite well.

I was going to buy a new set of indicators for the bike, but found the old ones from the CB-1 will do the job without spending loads on fancy LED ones. I also need to tidy up the back end wiring and lights as well. I should be going to Stafford at the weekend so hopefully get a front/rear mudguard/fender and possibly some kind of old rusty rear carrier while I'm there!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Finest green!!

The CB-1 passed its MOT with ease but started to run rough, it would start and tick over but as soon as the throttle was twisted it would start to die. Off with the carbs! Again!

At the bottom of the float bowls was a green sediment, probably from the tank that got disturbed when stripping the paint off. I poured 6 litres of cheap diet coke into the tank (make sure it's diet or you will end up with a sticky sugary mess inside your tank) and left it overnight to eat away all the crud inside the petrol tank. The next day I drained the coke out and rinsed the tank out with clean water then immediately with petrol. The tank is now spotless inside. I will never drink fizzy pop again!

When I took the bike for its MOT I was speaking to the garage owner who originally imported the bike and sold it to my brother. He stated that he always changed the pilot jets on import bikes as he never knew how long they had been stood unused. Even though I had used the ultra sonic cleaner on the jets and thought they were clean, when I bought new jets the difference in the size of the main hole running through the jet was huge! The pilot jets I fitted were N424-21-35.

Once the carbs were re-cleaned of finest green and new pilot jets fitted the bike started up straight away and is running better than ever!

Sunday, 22 July 2012


YES as the title suggests the bike is finished!!

I have lacquered the tank in petrol resistant clear lacquer.

I have stripped and rebuilt the forks and fitted new seals as they were knackered! I used this useful website It's for a SV650 but everything is mostly the same.

My good friend Duncan came round and welded some nuts to the inside of the frame so that I could attach a small aluminium tray under the seat to house the electrics.

As you can see in the picture below, you cannot even see the tray from the side.

I bought a small aluminium mudguard at the Stafford show earlier in the year and have just used the mounting bracket from the original front guard. I painted the bracket black and used 2 bolts to fix it to the mudguard. The small timing cover was flaking its silver paint and this has been painted black as well.
I fitted smaller indicators to the rear of the bike and these just bolted to existing holes in the side panels and wired up to the existing connectors.

I fitted a nice Hagon bar end mirror to finish the bike off and it actually works!

So this is the finished bike. I like to think it looks better than the dodgy photoshop picture that I posted in March. I have enjoyed re building the bike and now have a fun pocket rocket to ride around on.

A couple of Gritty B&W photos set in an urban industrial setting!!

I was first inspired to mildly customise this bike after seeing the UM-2 by Untitled Motorcycles -
Excellent bikes and useful tips on customising your bike.

I now have a BMW R80 and that will be the next project...

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Paint stripper

A long overdue update. I have finally finished the seat unit. I kept having different ideas for the seat/back light arrangement, but I cannot weld so kept it simple with what you see below.

I have a large amount of aluminium offcuts from the Robot wars seat hump that was attached to the BMW in the previous post DISTRACTED. I made a few brackets to attach the VFR400 rear light to the seat cowling and fixed it together using 8mm bolts and lock nuts and then made 2 brackets to hold the cowling to the seat, I used the original seat mounting bolts that were already there, unfortunately I didn't take any close up shots. I then made a number plate holder that attaches to the bolts on the rear light. I didn't want any visible bolt heads on the cowling but like I said I can't weld so I will have to make do with 4 bolt heads showing!

Looks ok!

I then made a small bracket to attach the rear brake reservoir.

The tank is too blue, it needs to be silver!

Get the paint stripper out!!

I have never stripped paint off a tank before so I did some internet research to find the best way of doing it. It was either paint stripper or sanding it off. Both looked messy. Looking at various paint strippers on the market in the UK, it seemed that a lot of paint strippers have had a key ingredient removed to make them safer to use, thus making them useless. I found this paint stripper on ebay and it has the magic ingredient!

I first removed the filler cap and masked it off. I then donned a fetching pair of overalls, thick rubber gloves and safety glasses. Be warned, this stuff will burn if you get it on your skin.

Liberally spread the paint stripper over the tank and wait 10 to 15 minutes 

 It will then start to bubble! This isn't time lapse, it bubbles before your very eyes!

After about 15 minutes it looks like this!

 It took about 1 hour and 3 coats of paint stripper to get it fully stripped. I then buffed up the tank with a fine abrasive wheel attached to a drill to give it the brushed effect.

To put a sticker on or not! before I lacquer the tank. 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

back to it!

I have finally stopped moving and building sheds. That's all I seem to have done for the last 3 weeks!

I have made a tail piece for the Honda out of aluminium, as it's easy to bend. I first made a cardboard template and messed around with it until it looked right. I then drew around it onto the sheet of 1.5mm aluminium and cut it out with a jigsaw.

I have a handy metal drainpipe at the side of the house, and used it to bend the aluminium around to get the required shape I was after. A bit of de-burring and brushing to give it a dull look and it didn't take too long for it to look reasonable.

I have got an old VFR400 rear light I want to use but need to find a better way of mounting it all together.

I have also had to replace the front master cylinder seal as I noticed it leaking a few days after re-building the front brake.


I might get a day off next week, if it's not raining I might pour paint stripper over the petrol tank!

Thursday, 17 May 2012


I bought a BMW R80 on Ebay last weekend. I have always wanted one after touring south africa on a BMW slash 5 about 7 years ago. The only trouble is there so bloody expensive. After being out bid on about ten bikes in the last few months, all going for stupid money, I managed to find one that looked so crap I thought surely no one would bid on it. They did bid, but not too much. I won the auction for the princely sum of £525, a bargain compared to the prices they seem to be fetching right now.

It has a cut down GPZ fairing, with home made brackets welded by a blind man. The rear seat hump is made from strips of aluminium pop riveted together. The area between the seat hump and the back light was covered in duck tape. When I was looking at the photos on Ebay I joked that the back end was made of cardboard!!

Blimey! I was right.

I was going to take the bike out for a spin as it came Tax'd and Mot'd!! But my friend Duncan would not let me, as the bike in its current state was cheapening the brand. We had to do a 60 minute make over like they do on Tv so we could redeem the brand of BMW!

It actually took 6 hours!!

First we stripped and removed the rear sub frame, grinding the brackets off that had been welded on by the blind man to hold on the hump (The hump could be entered into robot wars if I fit a hammer and some wheels to it)

We then cleaned up the sub frame (when I say we, I mean Duncan) and sprayed it with primer and then with Halfords finest black gloss.

The rocker covers were also cleaned up and painted. Fairing was removed and new brackets made for the indicators. Duncan also kindly loaned me a single seat he had made for his R80.

Brand redeemed! Now off for a ride

Once the honda is finished the BMW will be properly stripped and re-build

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

I could not find anywhere on the bike to put the original rear brake reservoir as it looked rubbish. The original is a rectangle shape with the pipe coming out at an angle and was just plain awkward to position anywhere.

I remembered I had a spare reservoir off a Yamaha R6 knocking about from when I converted my old TRX850 to R6 blue spot front brakes. This fitted perfectly and looks much better. I also fitted a braided hose on the rear and this has made a massive difference.

I needed something to plug up the rear subframe holes. I saw a BMW on Bike Exif a while ago that had used bar end weights to fill the holes left at the end of the frame, CLICK HERE

I have a pair of old blue aluminium anodised bar ends so decided to use this handy tip for removing the anodising,



This is them fitted to the rear sub frame holes.

Now to go and find some steel!!
I spent a rainy bank holiday finishing off the exhaust hanger. I ground the corner off then filed off some of the grind marks, which took ages! I then got bored so started polishing the thing up with a hard polishing mop on a bench grinder. I used to be a polisher when I left school and forgot how dirty you get after just half an hour!! As you can see from the photo below it's not perfect as you can see some of the grind marks but it will do for me!

I then ground off the rectifier plate with the handy dremel tool. I will relocate the electrics under the seat as there should be just enough room.

The battery holder was all part of the inner mudguard so I have cut that down until I have been left with just a battery box. This will still be in its original position under the seat.

I then drilled a couple of holes in the seat so I can mount the seat to the rear subframe as there are 2 holes already pre-drilled. I have a large collection of fasteners that I made and collected over the years working in different engineering factories. The nuts holding the bolts in place are all metal lock nuts for the aerospace industry, they are guaranteed to never shake loose!!

I made a template for a steel cowl to go around the rear of the seat to neaten things up and mount the rear light too, but the piece of steel I have is an inch to small!! When I get some more steel, that will be the next job and relocating the rear brake reservoir.