Chris-First Bike First Build


I’m hooked.

I picked the bike up for 500 bucks after wanting to build a bike for a couple years. I live in an apartment and am renting a 1 car garage to use for the build. The upside… it’s better than than the living room. The downside… there’s only one outlet, and it’s on the ceiling. It only took a day or two to take it apart. It took a year and a half to get it back together.

I built the hardtail from scratch with zero stretch. I bent the tube around a garage post with a long cheater bar. I was able to find a Hap Jones tank for $25. The front rim is from a Honda dirtbike (21″) and the rear is a stock 18″ rim. The exhaust was made from a combo bend set from speedway. I used some 4 inch exhaust scrap for the electronics.

There’s still some things to finish. The kickstand drags in some turns, and I’m about to do the PM alternator conversion.

Even though I’m not done with this one I’m already thinking and planning for the next one. I’m hooked.


  1. sean from boston says:

    I love it nice raw simple

  2. Marco says:

    Very nice bike. Are there more photo’s available?

  3. Bob says:

    Great video showing what you did without a word but I understood exactly.

  4. HAPPY DAN says:

    Way cool build,What are the front spokes off of,where did you get them?

  5. Ju says:

    Love it, you can’t beat a bit of ingenuity when it comes to bending.. You should post more pics.


  6. Chris says:

    Thanks guys. I’ve been pretty busy but I have been meaning to take more pictures. The only ones I have are while building it. I might try to do a photoshoot this weekend.

    I had Buchanan’s make the front spokes

  7. JET36 says:

    Whats the trick to get the rust out? Nice build!

  8. Chris says:

    I used aquarium gravel but just put something like that in the tank. Put the cap on it. Wrap the tank with blankets and stuff it in the dryer. I ran it for a few cycles. This leaves you with a bunch of dust. Wash all that out.

    Now you need washing soda (sodium carbonate), water, a battery charger, and an electrode. Arm & Hammer makes the baking soda. Mix up the water and washing soda at a ratio of 1 tablespoon per gallon of water. Make a steel electrode you can run in your tank (it has to be insulated from the tank). I used a spray can cap and rubber plug to center it in the filler opening and from touching the tank. Fill up your tank with the mixture. Connect your battery charger ground to the tank and the positive to the electrode.

    What happens is the rust is attracted to the electrode and the electrode is eaten away. I’ve heard that it works best with a “line of sight” so I also made one electrode bent to go over to the other side of the tunnel in mine. I think I let it run for a day or so checking it every now and then because the build up at the opening can ground your circuit.

    It works really well and you don’t have to mess with any chemicals. Plus the washing soda on costs about 2 bucks

  9. Mark says:

    what size/make tires are those? Love the bike

  10. Chris says:

    Thanks Mark, Front is a 21″ Avon Speedmaster. Rear is an 18″ Avon Speedmaster Mark II

  11. JET36 says:

    Thanks for the info…cant get over your bike. looks real good…Good lines

  12. Jonathond says:

    Nice work with the exhaust too that looks great very nice bike

  13. Braundo says:

    Those carbs looked great where did you get the air filters ?

  14. Chris says:

    Thanks for the comments. I was pretty nervous about getting the pipes symmetrical with just an angle grinder, but $40 in materials is a lot cheaper than buying a pair already made. I got the filters from Mikesxs.

  15. Strawberry says:

    Chris, great looking bike!
    got a few questions for ya. What is the rake on this and how much did you lower it?
    this is pretty much what i want to build mine like. looks good for no stretch. great job.

  16. harry carmony says:

    Cool !!!…- I like it…

  17. Chris says:

    Thanks, the rake is stock and I think I lowered the front 3″. The whole bike sits a little less than 4 inches off the ground.

  18. Wooley says:

    Yep, those pipes sound good.

  19. john says:

    Hey, great lookin bike, i was wondering what the drop on the hardtail was, 3-4″? thanks

  20. McLeod says:

    What you did to your bike is exactly what I want to do with mine. I want a 21″ front and stock 18″ rear with the SAME tires that you’ve rocked on them. I dig it.

    Did you powder coat the rims and hubs? Or is it paint? Also, I noticed that it wasn’t “black, black”, but like a “charcoal black” . . . which I like better since it actually MATCHES the rubber, instead of being TOO black and making the rubber look grey. Did you end up painting/powder coating the frame the same color?

  21. Chris says:

    The 21″ front is a bit more work but it’s worth it in my opinion… it makes the look. I had the wheels powder coated. It was a black, but I don’t remember the % gloss. They call them 75% gloss or 50% gloss%. It does have a nice flat sheen to it and works well with these tires.

    I haven’t painted/powder coated the frame yet. I’ve just been running it bare metal. It’s come time for an engine rebuild though (some smoke out of one cylinder). I’m thinking about stripping it down completely, cleaning up the frame and giving it a decent paint job.

    We’ll see

  22. Ed says:

    Where did you find your Hap Jones tank? I have been searching for awhile now for a deep tunnel tank that rides that high up on the top tube. By the way, bike looks incrediable! Defiantly stole a lot of ideas from your build.

  23. Chris says:

    I got really lucky. I found an ebay listing for a “motorcycle tank” and recognized it. The guy was selling it for his buddy. I offered him 25 bucks to end the auction early and he went for it. I was patient and searched thoroughly though. They can be had quicker for more money. Look around on ebay for “Wassell” tanks or if your cheap like me spend the time looking through every “motorcycle tank” on there. haha