We started this project when a customer that had some work done through us and offered this bike in return for a $80 credit. So we gladly obliged and pulled the bike out of the weeds in his backyard. When we got the bike to the shop most folks were a little skeptical of what would become of this bike as it was, for lack of a better term, a write off. The motor was seized and the frame was rusty but it was all there. Of all places the inspiration for the build came from a fallen tree in our yard. As we were chopping up the tree to remove it we looked at the wood and realized how much character it had. So we chopped a piece off and made a rough seat which ended up being perfect for our the T500.
First order of business was the power plant. The T500 motor was pulled from the frame and completely rebuilt from the bottom end up. The top end was addressed with a small port just to improve the flow. After all of the mechanical issues of the engine were addressed the motor went through the look phase. We try to address every part of our motorcycles, making sure that the entire bike flows and that nothing appears to be “hodge-podge”. The rust was removed and the cases were polished and barrels painted. The head got a speed treatment with some “go fast” holes drilled through the heat sinks to make it look like a racer.
The frame was sandblasted and the unnecessary tabs were all shaved off and the rear of the frame was shortened off before being sent off for paint. We decided on a ghost chrome to make it stand out while still being under stated. Once the frame was dry we mounted the engine back into it. Now all the nay-sayers were starting to eat their words. The front end was tossed aside and replaced by a modern Suzuki SV650 front end that was lowered and covers were made to give the modern front end a retro look. For the rear of the bike we chose to use a set of Gazi shocks to complete the handling package that makes this bike really impressive in the twisties. As for the rollers a high flange polished aluminum rim was chosen for the front and rear.
For the rear brake we reused the stock system but rebuilt it entirely. We wanted the retro racer look to shine thru so up front a 72 Suzuki GT550 front drum was used. Now the bike was a roller and the motor and frame were complete! We were originally told that the tank was ugly and had no character to which we rose the middle finger and said watch this. The tank was acid dipped and all the rust was removed. We then took some sheet metal and created a classic body line to add the knee cutouts. For the tail we took a rough mold off the rear of the tank to create the speed hump. It was now time for the piece of wood, that had been slowly drying in the corner of the shop, to get involved. We carved and sanded the piece till it was just right. After we got it to fit into the seat section we still thought the body work was missing something. So we inlaid copper into the rear tail section to match what we laid into the front of the tank panels.
We had originally painted the bike in blue …… 24hrs later it went back in the booth as it simply didn’t work. So a one year only Porsche 930 color was chosen with some slight modification. The green was laid down with a green pearl over the top and inside the accent lines a white marble was applied. After all the work on the body was completed all that was left were the finishing touches. The oil injection was retained but we replaced the can with a 1920’s brass fire extinguisher. The headlamp is a antique GM fog lamp housing. The turn signals are antique Dodge Truck dash indicator lights which we mounted in the bar ends. The grips are leather wrapped and we used the same leather on the seat pad to tie things together (and to keep the splinters outta your ass).
The exhaust had to be unique and as to be expected nothing available that tickled our fancy so we decided to make our own. With a lot of head scratching and swear words we found the right equation to size our chambers so that we could run them in the under the bike. It took a full day just to make those pipes but they turned out great. We are very proud to say we did and still continue to do all our work in house. We love a challenge and this one was exactly that, but for all the headaches and all the late nights, this old girl really shows what we love about building custom motorcycles.