Welcome back to another gripping episode of how to ruin a classic motorcycle with amateur mechanics everyone!

The strip-down phase of the project has been plodding along but …it taking longer than I thought it would…meaning the amount of things I have to write about is growing (hooray I hear you say).  As I mentioned previously  I plan on getting the frame and a few other components powdercoated. Preparing the frame and other components for sandblasting/powdercoating means everything has to be in its most simplistic form…this means bearings have to be removed, every nut and bolt has to be stored away and assemblies have to be broken down…I now have more parts in the garage than I know what to do with. There is an upside to this though….you begin to get a much better understanding for how the components work (if you care about that kind of thing)…and whats good enough to pawn on ebay!

OK onto why you are all here…the labour of love that is POS1 (that’s shorthand for Piece Of Shit #1… what I’m calling this build mimicking the blogs theme)

Handle bar trial fitment

The photo gallery below shows the process for stripping down the handlebars. It’s fairly straight forward but it was exciting task as it gave me a chance to trial fit my first upgrade for the bike, a new set of handle bars. The bars were gifted from a friend who was stripping a Ducati monster. I like the style of the handlebars as they are fitting with the tracker hybrid I am looking for on this bike (until i change my mind another 6 or 7 times). When compared to the original handlebars the profile is quite different and a lot more upright. When sitting on the bike, the footpeg placement in relation to the handlebar means there isn’t too much of a stretch and quite a comfy position (no lower back cramps for me). The gold may not stay though and they might get sent away with the other parts I am deciding to powdercoat…thoughts in the comments section?

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Front wheel, brake & fork removal 

Removing the front end of the bike was next on the agenda. Again  this was a fairly straight forward task but there was some difficulty surrounding stubborn fixings..

Firstly, once the correct nuts are undone, the axle should just slide out….should being the key word here…I seriously recommend investing in either a rubber mallet, copper headed hammer or something which wont deform the axle when you have to give some gentle persuasion (kick lumps out of it). I think it must have been a while since this wheel had last been taken off but eventually it started to come free. A helpful tip is trying to find something to rotate the axle as you chap it out. in my case a long nail fitted the bill.

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Similarly, there were issues with removing the brake caliper. For whatever reason the fork lowers where the calipers mount onto had corroded onto the thread of the bolt slightly  so when removing the bolt it was very stiff. The first came out with a big ass extension, but the second didn’t fare so well and I ended up rounding off the bolt head (FUCK). Luckily in my trusty tool box from a previous project i have a set of Irwin Bolt Grip removers  which are quite frankly awesome. The images show the differences between a common socket, they have a sharp profile that tightens on the rounded nut as you unscrew. This is the first time I have properly used them in anger, if you are also in a position where you are looking to ruin/rescue a motorbike, then I can’t recommend them enough.

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The final piece of the front end removal was the fork disassembly. Again the photos say alot more, but it was relatively straight forward, with the majority being held on with a series of pinch bolts. A good tip at this stage (actually probably before you even remove the front wheel!) is to set up a jack or equivalent to support the frame. The few issues I did encounter were relatively minor. The top & bottom yoke removal took a bit more persuasion than I was comfortable with initially. Again my trusty rubber mallet did the trick for the upper yoke. The lower yoke hit a bit of a snag when  the manual suggested using a C-Spanner to remove the castellated nut (see images)….WHO HAS ONE OF THESE LYING AROUND?! Not me, which led to my helpful friend lending me some pin punches to gently remove the nut. Again once the nut was removed, a lot of persuasion was required. I upgraded to a heavy hammer and block of wood protecting the shaft of the yokes. This saw the assembly finally come loose….woohoo!

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Rear wheel & drive assembly  removal

Having never worked on, or really been near a shaft drive motorbike before, I found this part of the strip down fairly interesting. The rear swingarm assembly not only ties together the suspension and holds on the rear wheel but it also is transfers the engines power to the rear wheel. It does so via means of a driveshaft with constant velocity joints to compensate for the suspension movement (similar to a cars drive shaft), see the very cool advertisement below that most definitely wasn’t stolen off google images…

XS750 Advertisement showing shaft drive

Why do motorcycle manufacturers use shaft drives? In short they are very low maintenance – no need to oil and adjust chain tension, alter rear wheel alignment and being a sealed system very seldom need an oil change. A few disadvantages are the weight of the system being more than conventional chain drive and also the potential power loss from the engine through the system.

Swing arm removal was fairly straight forward…I needed a 27mm socket, something which isn’t commonly in a 3/8″ drive socket set (also needed to remove the rear wheel), and my trusty allen socket set was used in anger to remove the…well i don’t know what the hell you would call them but see the images below, but they hold the swing arm in place…. once removed the heavy monstrosity can be removed. I need to strip this assembly down further prior to powder coating, but my focus is on the frame at this stage, plus i reckon it merits it’s own post for budding enthusiasts.

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Brake pivot shaft – This part connects the brake pedal to the brake master cylinder. It is a splined shaft that is meant to rotate within its housing. It is hands down the most annoyingly stubborn piece of shit so far on this build…even more so than the exhaust studs (Link previous post)….See the images gallery below for more info, but in short…Heat and persistence were the answer here. The shaft was well and truly stuck, I had 3 separate attempts to remove it, and at one point I am pretty sure I gave my self tendonitis by overcooking it a bit with the heavy hammer. Trying my best to preserve the tip of the shaft (….:D) was fruitless, the brass drift I was using was good, but didn’t allow me to apply the force needed with the hammer through fear of becoming fingerless. The shaft became slightly damaged, splaying at the top.The splines allowed some releasing agent (WD40 & Plus Gas) to get into the problematic area. I left this for 2-3 days topping up the fluid each night after work. Eventually through using a blow torch to heat the area around the shaft (this time for a good 3-4 minutes) and hitting directly on top of the damaged shaft a lot with the hammer, it came free…success! I have also managed to rescue the splined shaft by cutting off the damage. Lesson 1 – although it seems impossible to move, keep trying and it will eventually come free!

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Side/centre stand removal 

Fairly easy part here, just mind your fingers on those strong springs, if you are as lucky as me the spring will corrode in your hand and make removal much easier….I also snapped a bolt head off…but luckily it didn’t affect removal of the centre stand…AND I doubt the centre stand will go back on….

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Wrap up

What has been a bit of a surprise is the feeling I have now that the “easy” part of the project is complete. I am suddenly out of my comfort zone and into the unknown. My hope here is the blog posts will become as much of a knowledge sharing exercise as well as a means of me understanding what the hell is going on. I will be reaching out a lot more to some of the professional (and amateur) builders for their insight and generally looking around the tinterwebs for motivation. Although I have had a fairly fluid plan about what I want to do, it’s now time to firm these plans up, as a lot of the next steps will define how the final bike will look.

Thanks for reading,

To be continued