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Mullet5 09-07-2010 08:15 PM

Lovingly restoring the worst bike I've ever ridden.
Three of us recently went to Vietnam, bought three Minsks, and rode through Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia. At the end of the trip, we thought it would be fun to have the bikes dismantled and shipped back home. We were wrong. It ended up taking 6 months and a lot of money to get them here. But in the end it will be pretty sweet to have what are probably the only three Minsks in the US.

Here's a couple shots of the bikes over there

<a href=""><img src="" /></a>

I am finally getting around to writing the Ride Report (, and I thought it would be fun to do a build thread.

The owner of the awesome hotel we were staying at (E-Jay at Scan Hotel, GO THERE) told us our bikes could sit in his gated parking area for as long as we needed, so we could work out the logistics from home.

I figured out that it would be cheaper (and easier to get past customs) if the bikes were imported as parts rather than as complete bikes. I found a shop that said they would disassemble them for $20 each, so then it was just a matter of finding a shipping company. Easy, right? Not so much.

Anyway, six months, hundreds of emails, tons of frustration, and thousands of dollars later, bikes arrived at the port of San Francisco.

The box was, uhh, large.

Beer, tin snips, and motorcycles, always a good combo.

All out of the crate, everything was individually boxed. How fancy!

ok... so when I talked to the guys who were going to disassemble the bikes, I told them to do the bare minimum. Take the wheels off, engine out of the frame, seat off, and that's about it. I guess they figured that if a little dis-assembly is good, alot must be GREAT!

I did not expect this

This is a project for which I am uniquely suited, as the original build quality of these bikes falls somewhere between "Barbaric" and "Completely unsafe to ride", which means my superbly mediocre fabrication skills will be "Authentic" rather than "Sloppy and dissapointing"

After seeing how far disassembled the bikes were, I decided I should put them back together one at a time, so this is the first one...

Step one: grind off what is left of the broken right-side foot peg, cut off random pieces of metal that had been booger-welded to the frame over the years, weld up a few cracks here and there, and take the frame to be sand blasted. Then, forget to take pictures of any of this. Move directly to primering the frame and test fitting the Soviet engineering marvel that is the 125cc 2-Stroke engine.

Also, make sure you run out of grey primer half way through, then finish up with black so it looks extra terrible.
<table style="width: auto;"><tbody><tr><td></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family: arial,sans-serif; font-size: 11px; text-align: right;">From Minsk build</td></tr></tbody></table>

Next: Lose interest in this project because your assortment of bolts hasn't arrived from McMaster-Carr yet. Proceed directly to the swing arm.

This is the lower shock mount. A bolt welded to the tab. The bolt itself looks as if they cut it to length using a dull hatchet, which apparently worked just fine until they cross threaded the wrong nut onto it so many times that the threads are pretty much gone.

While in the process of replacing both lower shock mounts, I noticed that the swing arm itself is cracked, top and bottom. Very Nice!

Cracks welded up and ground down

Better than new. No, really.

Here are a few of the things I have to look forward to

What is going on here? why is there a bent bolt welded to the frame right there? I'm assuming the washer is some kind of cable guide, or maybe where the brake light switch goes?

Now here is something REALLY cool: See that big nut right there? Yeah, thats the swing arm mounting point.
And I actually added weld to that, it originally wasn't welded at the top.

Hopefully I'll have some time to do more work soon!

Let me know what you think! Got any suggestions?

bk brkr baker 09-07-2010 08:30 PM

You're gonna need a Lot of Beer.

But other than that cool!

240sx4u 09-07-2010 08:39 PM

Whoa, that is some awful fabrication. Pretty cool what you are doing there though. Looking forward to watching it materialize.

MightyChosen1 09-07-2010 08:45 PM

Wow, I feel much better about my projects now.

You should form the Minsks owners group, USA chapter. Go ahead and vote yourself in as president. After all that work You deserve it :D

I'm not an expert welder but I bet you could weld some plate steel over some of the questionable areas and really strengthen up the frame.

fishkens 09-07-2010 08:48 PM


Did they write up a manual when they disasembled those bikes? Did it come with a wiring schematic? Where does the GR-BL wire go?

And what are you going to do if the cylinders are a few thousadth's out of spec? Better have 'em bored and nikasil plated.

Enjoy the puzzle! Looking forward to the build thread. Thanks.

Hawk Medicine 09-07-2010 09:14 PM

Oh... I get it...!

One drunk night in Viet Nam :freaky ya'll guys made a bet with each other and no one was willing to call things off untill ya'd spent thousands upon thousands of dollars, importing $20 worth of worn-out motorcycle parts into the US. :huh

It also appears as if your buddies have finally sobered up, they've reconsidered the whole charade of reassembling these things and are staying home watching the thread instead of helping out! :poser

Whatever... This promises to be one of the best threads of the year and if you build a cafe out of one of em, they'll probably end up being the next ADV Rider cult bike!

Think of the possibilities!!! :evil

Mullet5 09-07-2010 09:53 PM

Hell no they didn't write instructions!

A few thousandths out of spec? I bet these damn things are a few tenths off. I think I forgot to mention just how bad these bikes are. They are listed as having 10hp when new, and I have no idea how old these bikes are. No odometer, no speedometer. But I'd wager that they have no more than 6hp. When I get the first one done I will be taking it to Derek at Motolab to put it on the dyno, just for laughs.

fishkens 09-07-2010 10:10 PM


Originally Posted by Mullet5
Hell no they didn't write instructions!

A few thousandths out of spec? I bet these damn things are a few tenths off. I think I forgot to mention just how bad these bikes are. They are listed as having 10hp when new, and I have no idea how old these bikes are. No odometer, no speedometer. But I'd wager that they have no more than 6hp. When I get the first one done I will be taking it to Derek at Motolab to put it on the dyno, just for laughs.

Okay, let's order some high compression squish band pistons, spend a few hundred on porting, modify the airbox and tune the exhaust. I'll bet we can get 12 hp out of it. Dual plug it, add a high output ignition and we can get it to 14 hp. We're well within reach of a 450 cc boxer now. Can we grind down some of those welds to lighten up the fram a bit. And add a brace, new forks, a steering damper and an Ohlins shock. This is going to be the hottest Minsks ever. Will it carry 6 of my favorite firends thorugh town?

Where can we get some original Minsks decals for the tank?


Padmei 09-07-2010 10:51 PM

You sir are an engineering GOD. :bow :bow :bow

My skills (& bikes) pale in comparison.

Yours in awe

johnjen 09-07-2010 11:22 PM

If these do become ADV cult objects of adoration you need to get the rights to the US distributorship ASAP

It's an opportunity waiting to happen, and waiting and waiting and waiting
Be the first on your blocků :evil


Photog 09-08-2010 05:20 AM

it is already a cult object of adoration for me. :lurk

perhaps we should set up a collection for beer, duct tape, a fire extinguisher or two, a box of helicoil kits, more beer, and more gray primer?

bgoodsoil 09-08-2010 07:39 AM

That's what you get when labor's cheap and parts aren't. It's like an economics lesson in the form of a motorcycle. I love it.

Are you going to try to get them street legal?

Yarddog 09-08-2010 08:26 AM

You spent HOW much money to bring those POS's home? Hell, the fact that they were crap shoulda been obvious to ya over there!!! No matter how much welding you do to fix the original engineering, just how comfy are ya gonna feel riding them things on the public streets?

If it feels good to ya, head on...just lemme know when you ride thru my town so's I can run for the hills!!!!

Mullet5 09-08-2010 08:32 AM

I am definitely going to try to get them street legal. Does anybody have any good resources for info on registering highly questionable machinery? Tips? Tricks?

I don't know if I should go in and try to register them as Minsks, or just say they are something I cobbled together out of spare Tatra parts and tissue boxes.

Sniper X 09-08-2010 08:40 AM

I'd say they are home built. Then pretty much all they need in any state is an inspection of the safety equipment. BUT they need DOT markings on the tyres and maybe the headlight and, you need to have numbers stampped into the motor and frame which match.

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