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Old 09-07-2010, 08:15 PM   #1
Mullet5 OP
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Bay Area, California
Oddometer: 92
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

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.
From Minsk build

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?
'75 XS650, '77 KE100, 19xx Minsk, '01 F650GS Dakar, '14 CRF250L, '77 Scirocco, '84 Jetta GLI 16v, '88 GLI 16v, '08 Sloan Kwik Load, 85 245Ti, '69 Westfalia, '04 VW Phaeton, '94 Suburban, '74 Alfa Romeo Spider, '95 Range Rover Classic, '08 Zap Xebra truck, and probably some others that I can't remember right now.
I probably hate you.

Mullet5 screwed with this post 02-24-2015 at 10:14 PM
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