Suzuki savage - vintage roadster conversion..

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by doink1968, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. doink1968

    doink1968 Old noob.

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    I know most of you guys here are looking at Dirt bikes, but this is a thumper just the same, and I thought some of you might be into it.

    I lucked into this 1994 Suzuki Savage; 12,000 miles, and in surprisingly good shape overall for $250! It was running pretty good, only the carb had gotten a little gummy from sitting, so my friend, Jay and I decided to have some fun with it...
    [​IMG]

    That was the donor bike that's on its way to being converted into a Savage Roadster! Here's the concept drawing:
    [​IMG]

    It's a winter project for sure, but I posted a build thread on the Savage forum, if anyone wants to check it out... I think it's going to be quite a HOOT when it gets on the road this spring...

    http://suzukisavage.com/cgi-bin/YaBB.pl?num=1323582921
    #1
  2. jalles

    jalles Adventurer

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    $250 is a sweet deal! I can't wait to see how this thing turns out; what are you using for a tank? I like the 'floating/suspended' rear fender. I've wanted to something similar but never found a reasonably priced donor.

    Reminds me a bit of this http://www.rycamotors.com/
    #2
  3. bobbed06

    bobbed06 Cavalera Conspirator

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    #3
  4. JimR

    JimR Been here awhile

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    Is that the RYCA conversion? My GF and I both had Savages for a while and I really liked mine, especially the maintenance, hour and a half for a full service at the end of each riding season. Good luck with the project. Regards, Jim.
    #4
  5. bobbed06

    bobbed06 Cavalera Conspirator

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  6. doink1968

    doink1968 Old noob.

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    I like your BOINGERS... but it turns out I found a sweet pair of vintage 1970's redwing shocks, NOS... see below...
    #6
  7. doink1968

    doink1968 Old noob.

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    This bike is NOT a RYCA conversion:
    http://www.rycamotors.com/

    But I have to give them GREAT CREDIT; they've done a really great thing with their kit, and Jay and I seriously considered it, but he is a pro bike builder, and has access to a lot of tools and cool stuff that most of us don't, so we knew we could do more, or at least something different.
    Although we have sourced nearly all of our parts from vintage bikes, or fabricated our own, we have used their geometry in figuring out how to set it up, along with a whole host of their ideas. Frankly, if I hadn't seen their site, I'm not sure I would have even thought that this could be done.

    As a matter of fact, when I created the concept drawing; I did it by tracing a photo of one of the RYCA bikes, and just modifying it with images of the parts I knew we were working with....

    I also have to thank the guys on the Savage Forum; they have a tremendous technical section, and their library of tips and advice has been invaluable in resolving issues before we even began building this thing...
    #7
  8. doink1968

    doink1968 Old noob.

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    I just realized the power of cut-n-paste!
    And since you guys seem more interested in this than the guys over at road warriors, I'm going to re-post my original Savage forum post here, just to make it easier to see and refer to. Cheers!

    :clap
    HI!
    I've gotten in way over my head here, and I like it!

    It all started with an innocent conversation. My friend, Jay, who has been a client of mine for 12 years or so... (I'm a tattoo artist...) came to me this Fall to start a rather large project that will carry us through the Winter. For all the years I've known him, he's been working on bikes and hot rods. Mostly bikes. He's a painter at Stone's Custom Cycles in Massachusetts.
    http://www.stones-custom.com/

    He's their cust paint guy, but there are only 4 full time guys there, so he's had his hands in everything. He's spent most of his years working on Harley projects, but more recently he's been interested in vintage bikes and cafe bikes. He's been doing a few projects and some small builds for friends on the side, and he tells me he's excited to do more. He gets to do a lot of this stuff in the winter, when the shop slows down, and he's got access to all of their stuff.

    As for me, I got married recently, and my wife and I have a gorgeous daughter who just turned two. As you can imagine, a couple of years ago I whittled my bike meager collection (including a Yamaha 250 cafe project that I knew would never get off the ground..) down to the most sensible and practical thing I could get; a 1992 Nighthawk 750. Don't get me wrong, I love the bike. It's bullet proof and will go anywhere I want to go, but I have it outfitted mainly for touring and two-up camping trips, and while it's perfect for that, it's just not as awesome for those Sunday afternoon blasts around the lakes...

    So the question was obvious?
    Hey Jay... Wanna TRADE?

    We started talking about bikes and what to build. I wanted something small and more fun around town. I really wanted a single. Something super-simple, and something a little unique. He wanted to build me a CB350, but that didn't really jazz me up at all. We started looking around and thinking about it...

    Turns out a buddy of his had gotten a GS550 and an old '94 Savage a couple of years ago for just $500, and he'd sell us either of them for the $250 he had in it. Jay wanted to work up the 550, and I can't blame him, it would make a nice ride, but I really didn't want another 4 cylinder; I wanted something REALLY different from my nighthawk, so I got to thinking about the Savage and poking around on the internets....

    [​IMG]

    I found the RYCA site and was amazed at what they were doing with the Savage. I knew I liked the motor, but I really didn't want a cruiser or any kind of a bobber. I figured we'd have to find another old bike frame to squeeze that motor into, but RYCA prooved us wrong... Maybe we could do something with our Savage after all?
    I was really hooked on something more vintage looking than the RYCA bike: Norton Manx, Vincent, etc... something like that. The RYCA kit is a great Cafe, but a bit too modern for me. Then I found this picture...

    [​IMG]
    This thing is amazing, And it's almost entirely stock! (If you know this bike, then you'll notice that I photoshopped the seat a little bit... the real one is a bit lower profile.)

    I showed the RYCA site and the picture above to Jay, and we both agreed that we had found our winter project. Between the British one and the RYCA bike we were going to build something pretty cool out of this old Savage.

    OFF TO FLEABAY!!
    I still had the old 1969 Suzuki T350 tank I had bought for the 250 Yamaha that was never to be (I loved the shape of it, and the color is great too) So we decided to use it...

    [​IMG]
    We'll cram it on there somehow...

    I decided I wanted clubman's instead of clip-ons, so I found a bar from a new Triumph Bonnie. Factory take-off for $35, and I decided that I wanted one of those old headlights with the speedo mounted inside, and I found one from a 1969-70-ish Hodaka Ace 100; complete with the speedo!! (It's just the bucket in the photo below, but you get the idea...)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    13" New-old-stock Red Wing shocks from the '70's

    [​IMG]
    They look pretty hot!! especially with the 18" Akront rim all laced up and ready to go...
    We decided that 18"wheels front and back were a must for the right vintage feel, so i found two rims on Fleabay. The front one is still in limbo; waiting for Jay's wheel-pro-friend to get it laced up, but the back is done!
    (Turns out, the swingarm cross brace will have to be re-worked to fit the Kenda tire. It's a Kenda Challenger, which I got because the one's RYCA uses don't come in an 18" for the front, but the rear is a 90 instead of a 70, so it's just a smidge too tall... It's Jay's problem; he's the welder... more on that later.)

    We decided that to get the right period look, we needed chrome fenders. The front was pretty easy; from a 1972 Kawasaki S1 (sorry, no picture right now... later...) For the rear, I decided to look at larger front fenders, figuring I'd turn one around backwards and use it that way. Turns out that the front wheel on a 1977 Goldwing runs the same size tire as I'm running in the rear, and the fender is pretty sweet! With a 1960's BSA rocket taillight mounted back there it'll look something sorta-like this...

    [​IMG]
    Jay, holding it up for some guess-work...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    At this point, we've got enough going on that I decide to work out a fresh concept drawing, so here's the master plan! (I know, it's pretty rough, especially coming from a guy with a college degree for drawring...)

    [​IMG]

    The rear fender will get mounted fixed to the swingarm; bobber style. We decided this would look a little more Buck Rogers, and be easier for Jay to fabricate that trying to create an entire rear sub-frame from scratch...
    It'll get a Dyna muffler, a Mini battery of some sort; somehow mounted behind the gear-box in the charcoal-cannister-holder-mc-thing-a-ma-jiggy. A K&N cone filter ($15 used on Fleabay) And an 18/47 chain conversion...
    With the electricals all tucked neatly under the seat; the whole rear area behind the cylinder will be completely open. I find this VERY EXCITING!
    Jay is going to fabricate a custom seat pan, and I have another client here in Portland who has offered to do the upholstery once we have the foam figured out and carved... That'll be a while yet.

    SPEAKING OF WELDING...
    So Jay sets to work and he sends me this crappy photo...
    [​IMG]
    And I think, "Hmmm... that's strange, something's missing... what could that be?"
    Oh, Don't worry says Jay, that's just the BACKBONE OF THE FRAME...
    Turns out he decided that rather than to have to cut up and re-weld the tank to get it to fit the frame, it would be easier to get the frame to fit the tank...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Add in some rails to hold the seat pan...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And then add the tank support and the tail piece!!
    [​IMG]

    This thing's got a long way to go, and a lot may change along the way, but the first snows haven't even really gotten here yet, and there's along winter ahead of us, so we have plenty of time!!

    You say you can't wait to see what's next? Well, ME NEITHER! *;D
    #8
  9. doink1968

    doink1968 Old noob.

    Joined:
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    And just for the record...
    Jay and I had a conversation about the rear loop rail in that last photo; seems he thought it would be covered by the seat pan, but I sent him back to my drawing, and we agreed: it really needs to flow cleanly out of that lower frame tube and roll smoothly around the back, so that will get cut off and re-done...:D
    #9
  10. Krusty ...

    Krusty ... What? Me hurry?

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    :lurk
    #10
  11. ShardPhoenix

    ShardPhoenix Наглый ублюдок

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    Very nice! :clap

    I'm biased of course!

    (see sig)
    #11
  12. victor441

    victor441 Long timer

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    Thanks very much for the posts...am retiring next year and have been planning something similar (a British style road single built from a Savage donor), already have a MIG welder and lotsa saws :evil Built a Lotus 7 frame from scratch a few years ago and it was not as hard as I expected so want to try a bike frame next. Bookmarked!
    here is a photo I found while surfing that is along the lines of what I'd like to build

    [​IMG]
    #12
  13. doink1968

    doink1968 Old noob.

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    CHEERS VICTOR!
    With those kinds of skills, you'll have a pretty great time with it I'm sure.
    You should definitely go to the Savage Forum and check out what some of the guys there are doing with these bikes...

    The Savage forum is amazingly helpful with technical stuff: just about anything you'd want to do to your Savage, someone has done and documented here...


    There are also some great builds going on there. Two in particular that I like are both built around the RYCA kit, but pushed way farther. Check these guys out...

    RipnSht from Los Angeles....
    [​IMG]

    HERE IS HIS BUILD THREAD:
    http://suzukisavage.com/cgi-bin/YaBB.pl?num=1304297812/0

    MotoBuddah; probably the most thoroughly over done Ryca bike EVER. NOTHING has ben left untouched...
    [​IMG]

    HERE IS HIS BUILD THREAD:
    http://suzukisavage.com/cgi-bin/YaBB.pl?num=1309622696

    Oh, and this guy is just straight-up OUTTA HIS MIND!
    [​IMG]

    HERE IS HIS BUILD THREAD:
    http://suzukisavage.com/cgi-bin/YaBB.pl?num=1264727267

    Oh, and this guy started a Scrambler project; sadly he had to abandon it... but you can see the potential:
    http://suzukisavage.com/cgi-bin/YaBB.pl?num=1300168343
    #13
  14. tdrrally

    tdrrally Long timer

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    :lurk
    #14
  15. victor441

    victor441 Long timer

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    thanks, great info and some impressive fabrication...I especially like the scrambler project
    #15
  16. doink1968

    doink1968 Old noob.

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    WOW! Finally got to go down to Jay's place and get some work done last weekend. I drove down Saturday night after the kids went to sleep, and woke up to find my bike entirely apart! It's a good thing this Savage goes together easy...
    [​IMG]

    First time I'd seen the inside of the motor, and what's visible so far looks brand new! ;D
    [​IMG]

    And the rest of it is all over here somewhere....
    [​IMG]

    Swingarm is sitting on the table; Jay modified the center bracing to make more room for the rear tire... Just tacked together for now, and that's a good thing; we found it was a little too tight when we went to put it back together!
    [​IMG]

    Here are the shocks sitting next to the Dyna Muffler we were going to use, but Jay found this older muffler on the shelf at his shop, and it was a great price; FREE! so we thought we'd try it. Check out the new Ballistic Lithium Ion Battery sitting there too....
    [​IMG]

    And in the blink of an eye, she's all back together!
    The new muffler is amazing! Looks like it was made for the bike (It actually sits tighter than it looks here, the header wasn't tightened down, but it'll work) It's the exact size to fit over the outer header pipe, so it makes a super smooth transition. My only fear is that it'll be really loud; it's pretty wide open inside, and that it'll be hard to tune correctly... but it looks too damn cool not to use it....
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Footpegs come from a '91 FZR600; not quite the right period, but they bolt on just like all the aftermarket rearsets, and personally I like the way they look a lot better. Besides they were a third the price... Just have to weld a couple of brackets to the frame and she's done. The stock Savage shifter arm is even the exact right size!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And here's the battery tucked down into that "what-ever-it-is-you-California-types-get-that-we-don't-need" bracket between the engine and swingarm. It''ll be virtually invisible, as will the wires running up the back of the frame. Hooray! (let's just pray it works... ::))
    [​IMG]

    Gonna have to make room for the petcock... Damn, it's a tight fit up here!
    [​IMG]

    Getting ready to fiberglass the seat pan!!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Jay gives it a nice massage....
    [​IMG]

    And there she is! That'll get cut to shape this week, and mounting bolts added, and hopefully he'll be bringing it to me this weekend to get started on the upholstery! That's my job...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    OH YEAH! the chain is on... Gonna need to make some sort of delrin slider guard for that swingarm for sure!
    [​IMG]

    Fender placed just for photo's sake... The stock bracket will come off, and to hold it up, he'll use two simple rods extending up from a point on the swingarm to where the original bracket's rivet holes are. Here's a few more shots just for fun...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    This one shows the pipe hitting the swingarm, but when it's finally assembled, we will be able to pull that pipe forward another two inches or so, and bend it slightly out, so it should just clear the swingarm, especially once it's sitting on its full weight...
    [​IMG]

    I paid way more than I wanted to for these badges on Fleabay, but they have exactly the right amount of "patina" to match the tank...
    [​IMG]

    Oh, and Lastly... Jay would probably be making a lot more progress on this thing except that he just picked up this old Sportster Cafe project; FOR A DOLLAR!! ;D
    [​IMG]

    And that's all for now, Folks!!
    :clap
    #16
  17. doink1968

    doink1968 Old noob.

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    By the way... several folks have asked me about the shocks. I found mine on Ebay; new old stock.
    They are Vintage Racing shocks made by Redwing. I just found out they are available from Omar's Dirt Track racing. They are great folks, and super helpful. The shocks come in two different lengths, with 4 different spring rate options. :norton

    http://omarsdtr.com/shox2.html
    #17
  18. B.Curvin

    B.Curvin Feral Chia Tamer

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    A tad late, but here's some more inspiration. A buddy of mine built this a few years ago.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]


    I like to say I helped, but all I did was donate the front wheel. :D
    #18
  19. TINGLER

    TINGLER Swamp lips

    Joined:
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    here.
    This is an inspiration.
    I can't wait to see more progress.

    I love the tank and it looks like you guys are doing a great job with the build. :bow
    #19
  20. shipman

    shipman don't sweat minutiae

    Joined:
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    Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
    :thumb:lurk
    #20