Yamaha Project


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As chance would have it I seen my neighbor unloading this ugly old bike of his truck and ran over to give a hand. We got talking and he told me he wanted to sell it. So I wound up buying the ugly old xj550 from my neighbor for $100.  It was coming up on Christmas time so I thought why not build a cool bar hopper for the kid. I wanted him to have something that his sister and I wouldn't have to be too embarrassed riding next to on our Harleys, LOL. Besides, it could be a good father-son project. It only took a little effort to get the bike running and couldn't have been any uglier, so we decided, anything goes. We decided it had to be hard tailed and "I" decided to heck with spending a ton on a kit for an ugly ass import bike, so taking the cheap way out; $3 worth of steel and a few hours later, bam, chopped bike. Sit on that Son.

Like most idiots we forgot to take before pictures. But, this is kind what we started with only a lot prettier. (PS. to the fella who I stole the picture from, good luck with your project)

Stripped Down and ready to chop, Zach mocked up angles


Chomp all gone, bent the upper rails to fit into new lower rails

A little fitting and eye balling

Alright, look'in good. All fitted up and ready to weld

Oh ya starting to look like something now. Mocking up the $60 set of fenders and tank found on craiglist.

Hmmmm! That front fender just don't fit the look. Gotta an idea????

Make a fender. So we had this fender that came with the $60 purchase, but it was too wide. So, you guessed it, chop it. First trick was to figure out how much to take out of the fender. 1" was the magic number. Grab a roll of 1" masking tape for a guide, run it down the center, turn on the jig saw and bam narrowed fender. Now to put it back together.

What the heck I thought this was fiberglass, ahhhhh it's plastic. Now what? Time to go to the internet. Glues don't work, fiberglass won't work, but what is this welding stuff? Hell let's try that. Fender was free so what the heck, it will be a learning experience. (note: since the material used to make the fender was ABS plastic, I did try to weld a couple of small pieces together using plumbers ABS plastic glue, the kind for sewer lines, and it did work. But I was hesitant on the strength of the weld so I decided to go the hot weld method. I'm glad I did, the results are awesome)

First thing first, prepping the surfaces. Remove all the paint from surfaces to be welded and clean. I used 3M wax and adhesive remover. seemed to work alright. However, for painting, Zach says to, "clean with alcohol and water. This removes the static electricity from the plastic".

Now tape it all back together and get ready to weld

OK, let's get welding. I wasn't about to go spend hundreds of dollars on a profession welding unit, but there was plenty of info on the net about using a soldering iron. So Cheap Ass got out the old reliable Weller and went to town. One word of warning this is very time consuming and if you're not patient then you are going to be sorely disappointed. This project took about 12 hours. Also heed the warnings about not welding inside. The fumes from this type of welding are toxic. Do it in a well ventilated area or outdoors.

Ta Da !!! - The finished product

OK let's clean'er up

Alright, let's try on the bike. Hmmm that's better

OK, what's next. Aaaaah wiring, not wiring, oh no, I hope it runs again. MORE TO COME!