Monday, January 31, 2011

Project Blue Basketcase - xs400 - Update 1

Well, it's a little less embarrassing now, so that's good. I took everything off the front end and attached the mini gauges I picked up for the other xs400. I think it looks better already. The forks are rubbish and will have to be rebuilt also. So much for my budget. I ground down the original seat mounts on the front end and modified the rear mount points for the seat and fender. I ordered an 18 inch rear wheel from a 79' xs400 off of ebay for $50 shipped as the 16 inch stock rear looked ridiculous. I removed the upper shock covers on the rear shocks also. To do so, simply use and angle grinder to cut a slit down two sides across from each other, bend up and twist. Then pull the thin metal to one side and cut to the center.

Along with that, I've started to mount the rear fender, which is actually a front fender off of a xs650 special I got from Chris at Limey Bikes here in austin. If you're looking for parts or expertise on yamaha xs's he's the man to see. I'll be mounting a taillight on the end of the fender and building a seat pan shortly after.

There's a long way to go, but it's come a long way.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

You have plans on June 19th.

You may be wondering what you have plans doing on the 19th of June, 2011. Why it's the East Side Classic of course! Now you may be wondering what the East Side Classic is...
Well, the East Side Classic is a Bike Show and fundraising event that Russ and I are putting on to raise money for one of Austin's no kill animal shelters, Austin Pets Alive. We're still ironing out some of the details, but we know the event will be located on east 6th street, accross from chear Up Charlies. There will be a bike show, a bargin bike build off, music and loads of cool bikes.

If you'd like information on donating goods or services to this non profit event,

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Another Tasty Morsel

They're popping up everywhere aren't they?

Concerning Shark Jumpers...

I think in some cases, the shark jumper doesn't make it over, right?

Yes, this is real.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Project Blue Basketcase - xs400

I realize i should probably have waited to start a new xs400 project till I finish the other xs400 cafe project, but i couldn't resist. Oh, does this ever confirm that i have a problem. Anyone of sound mind would've left this mess alone, but I see a cool bike in there someplace. This will be an xs inspired by the work of some of the japanese shops I recently posted about. First order of business, get rid of that 16 inch wheel in the back...and sort out the electrics....and get rid of those awful clubmans...and ridiculous seat...and that massive speedo...and, and, get the idea.

Woah, ummm...

Geez...girls on bikes... awesome.

courtesy of:

Friday, January 14, 2011

AN-BU Custom Motors - Japan

It's no secret that a few of the shops east of us, FAR east of us, are producing some pretty incredible custom bikes. When I'm looking for ideas lately, I've been looking at the many obscure and indecipherable Japanese custom shop sites and blogs. Very clean, very cool bikes that are oozing with style and aren't like anything you find stateside. In fact, these shops are very competitive when it comes to design. As good, if not better than some of the more well known shops out there, like Wrench Monkees and the mighty Dues Ex Machina. It's also interesting to note, that large shipping containers full of vintage bikes are leaving our shores regularly and heading back home to Japan to be customised by some of these shops. The lives of many of our 60's and 70's Japanese bikes, unfortunately for us, are truly coming full circle. Out of the lot of these shops, AN-BU Custom Motors is one of my favorites. Concentrating on mostly small displacement bikes and producing these bikes with a wide range of styles, this shop is doing some amazing things. Not only that, what do we find on the home page of their website? None other than one of the best looking xs400s that I've ever seen. Since I'm such a nice guy, I've compiled a list of links to some of the more impressive shops.


AN-BU Custom Cycles -

Brat Style -

Gravel Crew -

Motor Rock -

Yellow Motor Cycle -

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

xs400 Inspiration

I realize the xs400 would appear to most as one of the least likely bikes to modify. In fact, a bit of an ugly duckling. Certainly not very fast or terribly sexy. It just doesn't seem to have the draw of the ever popular Honda cb350. A few of us out there have recognised this bike as something else. They're cheap, plentiful, easy to modify(or at least make handle alright), extremely fuel efficient and best of all, you aren't lost in the army cb350 riders out there. Nothing against the 350/360, they're great bikes, but Honda isn't the only game in town.

To inspire some of you xs400 owners out there:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Rockabilly Hotrod/Motorcycle Party

The great thing about vintage bikes, is that they seem to fit together well with other cool scenes perfectly. For instance, Gully Cat Tattoo(way down south on first street), had a get together over the weekend that brought out a bunch of vintage bikes and hot rods. To lure them in, Gully Cat supplied a bit of brisket and a live rockabilly band for atmosphere. So to review, vintage bikes, hotrods, tattoos, rockabilly and brisket. Turnout was great considering the weather was sketchy at best and the tattoo convention was going on downtown. The folks at Gully Cat run a nice little shop here in south Austin and I've only seen high quality work come out of the shop. If I wasn't so broke from spending all my money on bike stuff, I'd be there finishing off this left arm. Later, the guys from Deathtrap stopped by and joined the bike conversation till the sun went down. Deathtrap is a shop on south Lamar, employed by only the most sinister and totally cool bike deviants in the city. All, kidding aside though, these guys have a ton of experience and really know there stuff. Check them out if you've got a British or early American bike that needs a talking to.

Just a little get together of friends in south Austin:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Google find - 82' Yamaha xj550

I happened upon this video while on a parts finding mission for my most recent acquisition, i.e. another xs400. This bike will end up with a brat style look to it. Pictures and projects to come. This XJ550 however, is something completely different. For those who do know or care to remember what a stock Maxim xj550 looks like, here's a fine example:

As you can see, not much to complain about...except for maybe, everything. I suppose if you were filming a remake of the amazing 80's favorite Purple Rain, this bike would be perfect, but for everything else...yikes.

The short list of what was done according to the video I found on you tube consists of:
- Mono shock from an R1
- F4i headers
- R1 stabilizer
- Kawasaki tank(which is my only complaint)
- Custom clips
- GSXR controls
- Custom tail piece and taillight

Obviously a lot more than that went into this bike, but I'm amazed the builders were able to figure out which stock parts would actually change over. This kind of thing is what it's all about to me. Enjoy.

Crazy huh?
Here's the youtube video I saw also. Who would've thought that engine would sound so mean! Please excuse the spelling on the intro of the video, you don't have to be an English major to build a bike. Obviously.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Project cb160 - Head Assembly

For the first cb160 update from the frozen north, we've got a walk through on head reassembly. I know it's been a while, but cut Eric a break, it's cold as hell up there and sometimes it's hard enough to just get out from under the covers in the morning. What you're about to read worked for Eric, neither he nor I are professionals so don't bitch to me if you fuck something up. First things first, clean everything extremely well, you wouldn't want a bit of leftover media from bead blasting to score a cylinder.

Clean all parts thoroughly as well...

Then begin installing the valves into the head. To help out with this job Eric constructed a crude yet effective tool out of some 1 inch wooden dowel and a c-clamp. the top end of the tool presses down on the retainer and valve spring. The bottom prevents damage to the head. A half inch hole was drilled all the way through the wood dowel, with a channel cut out of the side to install the valve clips. Once the valve spring was compressed enough, the clip is pushed in and the c-clamp is slowly unscrewed. Check to see if the valve assembly has seated itself.

Disclaimer worthy tool...

Blurry photo of a properly seated valve...

After all the valves are installed, properly grease and install the cam. Permatex Ultra Slick engine assembly lube was used here...

Then install all the rocker arms, timing box and cam cover...

That's pretty much it. The timing and valve tappets are set when the engine is assembled. I hope this helps somebody.

Found it!

Weeks ago, I ran into a post on Ottonero of an awesome looking cb450 that someone sort of cafe'd. Here's the direct link:

In fact, there's lots of great stuff to look at through the length of the blog. Unfortunately, I'm monolingual at best and i really can't appreciate it like I should. I wished that I would've at least understood the blog enough to find out where the builder got that sweet gauge. It's a digital number with all the pertinent info packed into a single bezel. Plus, it looks rad.

Well, with a bit of help from google and a friend who's just as obsessive about this stuff as I am, we found it.

Looky, looky...

Here's the stateside distributor:
Looks like $230 brings it home. The only question now, is how bad do I need food, gas, heat, etc...