Andrew Clarke – The chop ive built started out as a 72′ engine, a 72′ frame, and a beer bucket of random nuts and bolts. This was the first bike ive built from just a frame and motor. At the time, all i cared about was finding a motor that wasn’t seized, and a frame with a title. I have sourced, or hand made everything else on this bike with the help of a couple good friends. This has been an on and off project for about 2 years now, working on it for a few days here and there, getting distracted with something else or losing interest, resulting in it sitting in the corner for months. Within the last few months, ive gotten a real push to finish it, but that wasnt without ALOT of trouble and fighting. There have been a few times lately where i almost through in the towel and lit a match, seriously.
A couple months ago I got the bike put together and rolled it off the table for the first time. When i got it started i knew instantly that something was wrong. The bike was running poorly, the left cylinder was almost completely dead . After doing a compression test, i found that it had a blown head gasket. At the time this really pissed me off, as the idiot i bought the motor and frame from said that he had “ridden” the bike before he tore it down, and that it was a good running motor. All in all, it is my fault for not checking the basics first. You learn from your mistakes right?
Well, ill save you a huge long novel and tell you the motor has had the top end rebuilt 4 times. Yes, 4. It all came down to tearing it apart the first time and finding it had mint 80mm old school “Forgedtrue” pistons in it with huge domes. Fast forward to the motor now. It is back to the original 650cc trim and running great. Long story short, whoever machined the cylinders for the over sized jugs did a poor job. The jugs were pressed in just a bit too much. We figured the fire ring on the head gasket would compensate for this tiny “step” but were wrong. As we later figured out as well, even after inspecting, checking for absolute true and checking for flat mating surfaces, the big bore cylinder was very slightly warped, and cracked. The crack wasnt visible to the eye, but i guess once it got hot, it would expand and hell would break loose, pun intended. So, all in all, i sourced a used, low mile stock bore cylinder, a set of NOS pistons and rings, and put it back together.
Fast forward to a week ago. We got the motor buttoned up, and i took it back to my shop to reassemble the bike. After a bit of fiddling and setting the timing, she fired up and I was able to make it more than 5 miles from my shop. Man, i was happy. This is the extreme short version of my “voodoo/twilight zone motor terrors”. Alot of other BS occurred with the bike throughout that time. I would much rather forget about all that. Moving on to a more positive note, this bike, besides all the flack its given me, has been a great experience. Ive learned alot along the way, my taste has changed alot from what i had originally planned for this bike to look like, so of course, there’s a bunch of things i would change. I guess thats how you learn. Most importantly, this bike has put awesome people in my life who i am incredibly thankful for knowing, and getting the opportunity to call them friends. It still amazes me to look back on how these friendships started, and how many other friends ive made just by meeting that one person.
Ok, enough side story, heres the details on the bike.
-72′ frame with TCBROS hardtail
-De-tabbed, smoothed, and drilled for internal wiring
-35mm triple trees modified to fit 72′ frame
-Tapered steering bearings
-Coil mount welded under back bone
-+4 fork tubes
-All new fork internals (springs/seals/boots/spacers/
-Shaved and polished sliders
-XL175 21″ front wheel with “speed holed” hub
-Heritage Special 16″ rear wheel
-Avon front tire
-Shinko rear tire
-EBC shoes front and rear
-RD brake pedal
-Shortened and reshaped shifter
-Handmade rear brake pivot with heim joint linkage
-Polished and “speed holed” front brake and clutch levers
-Hand made mids using aluminum knurled pegs
-Handlebars made to suit from zombieperformace. Shortened, rings welded on, and chromed
-Single chrome throttle assembly
-72′ XS2 650cc
-Mild port n’ polish of the intake/exhaust ports
-3 angle valve job
-76/77 BS38 carbs with K&N filters
-Modified Ascot headers
-Cocktail shaker mufflers
-Hand made ignition system
-HHB PMA kit
-Drilled sprocket cover
-Polished tappet/clutch/sprocket covers
-2.2g Axed gas tank
-Reshaped flat fender
-“Tiger eye micha” base paint color with white “endless lines”, heavy gold pearl in clear
-Handmade electrics container (houses battery, igniton switch, fuse block)
-Hand made sissy bar
-Mini LED taillight
-Dual Karmann Ghia/beetle reverse lights as headlights
-Handmade seat tufted in white vinyl with 3″ springs
-Suede “pouch” on sissy bar for registration/fuses/tools/etc.
I know im forgetting alot of little details here, but thats pretty much the bike broken down. Ive had a blast piecing this ol’ turd together, and im very happy every day that i get to ride it. This whole build has had its ups and downs, but im glad it went the way it did. It has taught me a lot, and im pretty sure i could rebuild a top end with my eyes closed now. But most importantly, at least for me, this build has brought good people into my life. I would like to thank you guys for being patient, putting up with and teaching me, and for helping in all the ways you did.
You guys know who you are, and i love you a lot. I couldn’t have done it with out you. Thanks.