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Ade's Custom Bike Part 1

29th May 2018

Ade's Custom Bike Build Part 1

Hello and welcome to Alex's Blog. Ade, the manager from our Northwich store, has worked for J&S Accessories Ltd now for over 20 years (which is a bit of a miracle considering if you ask him he tells you he's only 28!) and if we do say so ourselves, he is an absolute expert in all areas of motorcycling. Clothing, kit, maintenance. You name it, he knows it. He also has a history of tinkering with and restoring old bikes.

You can read about his 1979 Yamaha restoration here (just in case you missed it before) and he has just completed a custom build. This blog (and probably a few here after) will be taken over by Ade:

Click on any of the images for a bigger version.

"For a very long time now I have been considering buying a scrap motorcycle, chopping it to pieces and creating a custom build. In January of this year, I came across said motorcycle. It was a 1995 Yamaha XJ900 Diversion that had been used and abused as a daily commute for nigh on twenty years:

The Donor Yamaha XJ900 Diversion Left Side of Yamaha XJ900 Diversion Right Side of Yamaha XJ900 Diversion

Was this the ideal bike to fulfill my dreams of a custom build? Probably not. But it was cheap and there is nothing that can't be done with an angle grinder and a welder. So off it went in to my man cave like a lamb to the slaughter.

Step 1: Complete strip down.

As you can see from the pictures the bike was in pretty rough shape with decades of crud built up. Eventually after a laborious process with the blowtorch and seized bolts we got it down to the bare frame.

Top box, panniers and seat off
Top box, panniers and seat off.

Mirrors, fairing and tank next
Mirrors, fairing and tank next.

The engine and drive ready to come off
The engine and drive readyto come off.

The bare chassis
The bare chassis.

Sub frameThis is where the fun began! Out came the angle grinder. Anything that looked like it wasn't needed was cut off. Including the rear subframe. I had a rough idea of what I wanted the bike to look like but nothing at this point was set in stone while I was deciding and I was making it up as I went along.

Just going back to the condition of the bike, I feel the need to show you some pictures of what I was dealing with:

Brake calliperThe rear brake calliper - could I even salvage it?
Swing armThe rear swingarm - with it being made from steel my concerns were that it may be too badly corroded - would it need replacing?
Rear shock absorberThe rear shock - I would be amazed if I could get this back to it's original condition.
Rear wheelThe rear wheel. Would this disc be unsalvageable with this amount of damage to the braking surface? Never mind the corrosion.
Rear shaft driveThe shaft drive unit. Just look at it. This made my spirits low.

The bike is now in a million pieces, all over my man cave floor and I now have to decide which parts I can recondition but where to start? Have I bitten off more than I can chew having never done a custom build before?

The swingarm as it came offI had to start somewhere so I started with the swingarm.

This involved hours (and I mean HOURS) of scraping and rubbing it with wire wool and I wasn't even certain that I was able to save it.

Swingarm cleaned upIn parts the metal had been eaten in to by rust. Luckily, as I found out, not deep enough to cause any structural damage.

Once cleaned off, aside from some areas of pitting, it wasn't as bad as I had thought and I set about spraying it.

Swingarm painted
In the mean time I had made my mind up about what the theme of the bike was going to be and that was black.

Here is how the swing arm ended up:

This gave me a real boost. With how bad the swingarm was before to how it had come up really made me think that maybe this was going to work.

So I blasted straight on to the next part, full steam ahead. I decided I didn't want the ignition on the top yoke where it originally was as the speedo that I had in mind would have fouled the ignition if I had left it there - so out came the grinder and off came the ignition:

Yoke with ignition
Pre angle grinder. This is the original mounting for the ignition.
Yoke no ignition
Post angle grinder. As you can see the ignition mount is no longer there.

Next up is tackling the final drive, wheels and rear shock. For this you will have to wait for part 2."

More to follow on Ade's custom build project in the upcoming weeks.

In the mean time if you want to see any of Ade's tips then we have a new feature coming out every week called "Ask Ade" on our YouTube channel (and promoted on our Facebook and Twitter pages) show casing his weekly videos:

Tru-Tension Motorcycle Wheel Monkey available in-store or online here.

Until next time, stay safe,