I hadn’t been around motorcycles in about 30 years. But saw some of these bobber projects and thought that would be a fun way to act out my midlife crisis. I was looking for something more contemporary as my first build, like a newer Honda Shadow because that seem more like a removal process then full on construction.
But then this basket of 1978 goodness showed up on the local used site. I chatted with him a couple times more out of curiosity each time saying that was just way too much to take on I wasn’t looking for that kind of commitment. The previous owner had bought a lot of aftermarket parts for it and was moving on to another project and was offering this at fire sale pricing.
The price kept coming down ’til one day I rented a truck and picked up the whole mess. It was about 75% complete but was in about 75 different pieces. The motor was intact with low mileage, the tires were new, and the frame had the TC Bros hardtail section already tacked on.
So I got everything home did an assessment of what was there and what wasn’t and began put it together much like a Lego project to be honest with you. Each piece out of a box and onto the bike was one less thing to deal with. Soon the boxes were almost empty. But as you all know there was a lot more work and head scratching to go yet.
Thanks to the many great resources on the Internet, plus an affordable mobile welder fella up the street, and a cheap Costco sunshade for a shop, I was able to bolt it and bash it together over the month of September. The ignition and charging system is all freshened up. I’ve gone kickstart only. Wired it myself with a minimal set up. Found a Harley headlamp, some used late model Japanese levers, rattle canned the frame and the fender.
Modified the pandemonium “ya mama” headers to a 2-into-1 set-up, plus countless other wee tasks and runs for nuts and bolts and used parts. I was so stoked when it fired up after a couple of kicks ’cause I had no idea what to expect. It just kind of sat there thrumming away like it woke from a nap. I think the bike was well-maintained over the years and so the motor is solid and clean (I set the valves and timing chain tension which reduced some of the famous rattle).
After puking out some gasoline the carbs settled in and seem well synced and play nicely with the Uni filters and exhaust. I’ve not had to do much fine-tuning on it in terms of performance. It pulls nicely and idles well. But I’ve spent so much time poring over these custom bike sites that I’m keen to get to work on the 2.0 version.
There are so many great and creative ideas – from no budget to big budget. I like the art and the craft and the problem solving aspects. Mostly all good fun. Hopefully the hardtail won’t be the end of me 😉
Submitted by Todd Orchard